A couple of weeks ago Becky met with a pair of Jehovah’s Witness ladies in the Kingdom Hall. (She has met with these ladies for close to two years.) They were going through a passage (Colossians 1:16-17) in the JW’s own New World Translation of the Bible that is notorious for inserting one word four times in order to completely change the meaning of the passage. The New American Standard translation of the Bible translates this passage as follows.
16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Now here is the New World Translation.
16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.
17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,
Notice any differences? The word “other” appears four times in brackets. This passage is speaking about Jesus, and as the N.A.S. points out, all things have been created by Him. If Jesus is the Creator, then that means that He is Deity. Since JW’s believe that Jesus is the first creation, they have inserted the word “other” in an attempt to make Jesus look like a created being. In other words, he didn’t create all things, he created all other things. Jehovah God created Jesus, who then created everything else.
Becky was quick to point out that the word “other” does not appear in her New International Version of the Bible. Not only that, she showed the two JW ladies that the word “other” does not appear in the Greek either. Last year one of the ladies gave Becky a Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the New Testament. This is the Watchtower’s own publication which has the word for word Greek on the left side of the page and then the NWT on the right side. Becky brings this book with her every week and has found it to be very helpful.
Once the ladies saw that the word “other” is not in the original language, they tried to explain that it didn’t make any difference. The word is inserted for clarification, but even if the NWT did not include the word, the passage still has the same meaning. Becky had an idea and decided to see if the ladies really meant that.
Becky wrote on a sheet of paper, “By means of him all things were created,” and then asked,
“If this sentence was written about Jehovah, what would it mean?”
JWs- It would mean that Jehovah created all things.
Becky- All things? You mean that this would say that everything that
was ever created would have been created by Jehovah?
JWs- That is right.
Becky- Would it leave any room for even one thing to be created by someone
JWs- No, it wouldn’t. If the Bible says that Jehovah created all things, then no one else created anything.
Becky- Then why does the meaning change when this sentence is applied to
The ladies were so caught up in defending Jehovah’s right to creation that they failed to remember that Colossians chapter one attributes the creation, all of creation, to Jesus. If you take the word “other” out of the text, Jesus is revealed as the Creator Christ.