In Defense of the New World Translation

Criticism: "The translators of the Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation purposely mistranslated certain words to make their version fit their theology. Listed below are some examples of their mistakes."

One such example they then give is the following. They describe the left as the "Correct translation" and that on the right as the "New World Translation."

2 Cor. 13:14 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (This verse is a Trinitarian Scripture. Therefore, the NWT attempts to change the meaning).

"The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of you." (The Greek word is "tou" means "of" and is mistranslated to "in" because JW’s don’t believe the Holy Spirit is God. The word mistranslated "sharing"’ is translated "fellowship" in 2 Cor. 6:14 in the NWT.

The New World Translation has lexical support for translating KOINWNIA, a form of the word KOINOS, as "sharing in" as the following will show.

An Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, W.E.Vine, Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1985 reprint.
"Fellowship 1.KOINWNIA....(a) communion, fellowship, sharing in common(from KIONOS, common)..."(italics ours)

The New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament(being GRIMM S. WILKES S. CLAVIS NOVI TESTAMENTI, translated and revised and enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer, Hendrickson , 1981) says
:KOINWNIA,-AS,HE,(KIONWNOS),...1. the share which one has in anything, participation; w[ith] gen[itive] of the thing in which he shares.....2 Co[rinthians] xiii.13(14).

Moulton's Analytical Greek Lexicon : "KIONWNIA..fellowship, partnership...participation, communion.."-1977 edition, p.235.

Hence, we find that C.B.Williams translates KIONWNIA as "common sharing."-The New Testament in the Language of the People.(italics ours)

The New Interpreters Bible states regarding KIONWNIA here:

"The [KIONWNIA] "association," "communion," "fellowship," of the Holy Spirit is powerfully ambiguous here..The term can refer to a close personal relationship of each auditor with the Holy Spirit; or it can refer to the fellowship among believers that is fostered by the Holy Spirit that produces, for example, all the spiritual gifts to enrich the common good of the community...Paul often uses the term KIONWNIA to refer to the association of believers(cf. 1 Cor.1:9; Phil 1:5) that in other places is called the EKKLESIA, "church." -Vol.XI, p.179.(italics ours)

The reason why the New World Translation has "in" for the Greek TOU, which literally means "of the," is that it takes it as the objective genitive rather than the subjective. True, it could be said to be more 'natural' to treat all three genitives here in the subjective. But there is nothing stopping the understanding of the third genitive TOU hAGIOU PNEUMATOS, literally "of-the holy spirit" as objective. Indeed, "scholars are divided over whether it should be understood as subjective- the fellowship which is produced by the Spirit- or objective- fellowship in the Spirit and in the gifts in which the Spirit confers."- Nigel Watson, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (Epworth Commentaries, 1993, p.151.)

Indeed, we have before us A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, Including the Apocrypha edited by Charles Gore, Henry Leighton Goudge and Alfred Guilaume, SPCK, London, reprint 1946, which comments in part on 2 Corinthians 13:11-13(p. 530):

"In the final verse, with which we may cf. 1 Cor. 12: 4-6, we have a religious benediction....... The first two genitives are subjective; the third may be so- 'the fellowship which the Holy Spirit creates'- but is more probably objective, 'fellowship in (i.e. "participation of") the Holy Spirit."-italics ours.

The New Revised Standard Version's(1989) footnote gives the objective genitive as an alternative translation by saying "Or and the sharing in." Note that this is exactly as it reads in the New World Translation.

The Bible-An American Translation(the N.T. translation is by E.Goodspeed) reads here: "...and the participation in the holy spirit be with you all."

The above quoted criticism is one that is seen to be based upon the critic's trinitarian theology for he claims this scripture is a "trinitarian" one. Where though is it stated in 2 Corinthians 13:14 that all are God, that all are equal, are of the same 'substance' and that the holy spirit is a person which are some of the elements of the trinity doctrine? It does not. We can conclude then that the above criticism is both unwarranted and indefensible and hence should be dismissed as yet another prejudiced one of no worth at all except to mislead the unwary and the un-critical reader of it.

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