There are many Bibles that have extra learning aids like Timelines, Word Studies, Chain References, maps etc. and these are usually a good thing. They are there to help you understand the Bible better, to aid you in your research and to make you a more informed student of God’s Word.
The revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013) has many ‘extras’, to help the Jehovah’s Witness in their study of the Bible.
There is an ‘Introduction to God’s Word’ and then twenty questions followed by Scripture verses giving the answer to the questions. This would appear very helpful, especially to those with little or no Biblical understanding, but in reality, this question and answer format is the very same found in all Watchtower literature.
In the Watchtower publication ‘What does the Bible really teach’ chapter 1 page 12, it says God wants you to know who he is. This is followed by a paragraph which reasons that to really know someone you need to know their name. If you really want to ‘know God’ you need to know his name.
That appears to make sense, but does God have a name? The paragraph explains that indeed God does have a name, look at Psalm 83:18 (New World Translation) ‘You whose name is JEHOVAH, you alone are most high over all the earth’. The seeker is then asked the question: ‘What is God’s name?’
So what is going on here? This is the method used by The Watchtower to indoctrinate unsuspecting seekers. No seeker is allowed to discover answers for themselves they are led, by the Watchtower publication, to an answer which is given BEFORE the question is asked.
Getting back to the learning ‘aids’ found in the New World Translation, there are twenty questions and the ‘scriptural’ answers are already provided. The problem is the questions are set to lead you, not to the Biblical answer, but to the Watchtower answer. Here are a couple of examples:
Question 1 Who is God?
Psalm 83:18 May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 100:3 Know* that Jehovah is God He is the one who made us, and we belong to him. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture
Isaiah 42:8 I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”
So the question is Who is God? The answer from the verses cited from the New World Translation is clearly JEHOVAH, so the seeker when asked the question ‘Who is God?’ replies ‘Jehovah’. The seeker receives a pat on the back and a well done you are learning what the Bible really teaches. The Watchtower indoctrination is complete.
Unsuspecting seekers will be completely unaware that the addition of the ‘erroneous’ name JEHOVAH throughout the Bible, is unique to the New World Translation. They are also oblivious to the fact that they are learning what the Watchtower really teaches NOT what the Bible really teaches!
Let’s consider a further example;
Question 10 asks ‘What does the Bible promise for the future’?
Answer: (selected verses)
Psalm 37:29 The righteous will possess the earth, And they will live forever on it
Ecclesiastes 1:4 But the earth remains forever
Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces
Isaiah 65:21,22 They will build houses and live in them, And they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage They will not build for someone else to inhabit, Nor will they plant for others to eat. For the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, And the work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full.
These verses are carefully selected by The Watchtower to support their theological bias. The verses (or in some cases half verses) are ripped from their context and historical setting to lead the seeker away from Biblical truth, and nearer to the Kingdom Hall.
The final question, question 20, asks: How can you get the most out of your Bible reading? There is an image of a couple reading the Bible together, but the reality is that Jehovah’s Witnesses rarely read the Bible independently of Watchtower literature. Even when they do read it, because of previous indoctrination, they are wearing their Watchtower glasses.
It is no coincidence that the New World Translation places the twenty questions and answers before the Book of Genesis. The Watchtower is keen for you to know ‘what the Bible really teaches’ before you read the Bible for yourself.
The Watchtower denies that the Bible alone is sufficient:
“From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude . . . They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago...” The Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1981
The New World Translation is just another tool used by the Watchtower, to set forth their unique and errant doctrine, a doctrine that leads people away from truth and away from Jesus. If only they would read God’s Word, independently of Watchtower literature, they would find the truth they are searching for.