New World Translation

The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was released on August 2, 1950 at the international assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Yankee Stadium, New York, The first edition was 480,000 copies. Nine months later, in May 1951, the first revision was published. This second version was incorporated in the so called "Student's Edition"; see later.

Volume I of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was printed in 1953 and was released at the second international assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Yankee Stadium. It contains the first eight books of the Bible. The first edition was of a half million copies.

Volume II was released in 1955 in Chicago, Illinois, at the first of a series of thirteen five-day assemblies. This volume, with a first edition of 300,000 copies, contains the next nine books of the Bible.

Volume III was released in 1957 as the feature of a series of District Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses that summer. This volume contains the five poetical books of the Bible, and had a first edition of 350,000 copies.

Volume IV was released in 1958 at the international assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Yankee Stadium. It contains the three prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and had a first printing of 300,000.

Volume V was released in 1960 at a district assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Manchester England. It contains the fourteen prophetic books from Ezekiel through Malachi, and had a first printing of 280,000.

The Hebrew Scriptures Volumes I to V and the May 1951 revision of the Greek Scriptures were bound together in one; later this bulky volume was called ´Student's Edition`, but colloquially dubbed "Fat Boy" due to its girth of nearly 3500 pages.

The first revised complete edition was edited in 1961, but devoid of cross references and footnotes.

In identical shape this version was brought out with minor changes as "Second Revision" in 1970.
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Noted "Revised 1971 C. E.", a much larger new version, this time again with footnotes but without cross references, was edited as "Third Revision". Ten years later, in 1981, this 3rd, revised edition was edited in standard small 8vo–size, but without footnotes. The typical green cover had been replaced by a black one (for the standard editions)

In 1984 a refinement of the translated text was published, together with an updating and expanding of the marginal cross references. This edition has the editorial note –Revised 1984–; it was also available in larger size with "Study Helps".

August 2013 saw the latest revision –Revised 2013 –, No. 5, called "Silver Sword". Since October 2013, at least one slightly corrected version was published. The amount of cross references has been reduced considerably.

For sample verses from the New World Translation, click here

Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) 1st ed. 1950

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Title: New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures • Rendered from the Original Language / by the / New World Translation Committee
Date: A.D. 1950. Ⓒ 1950 [1st edition]
Publisher: Brooklyn, N. Y. (U.S.A.): Watchtower Bible and Tract Society / International Bible Students Association
Contents: Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament). – Foreword (w/ photographs), Explanation of the symbols; Names and order of the books, Alphabetical index. Apendix: Scripture verses specifically commented on; Subjects, Chain of outstanding Bible subjects and proper Bible names. Watchtower Scripture Editions and Bible study aids; maps & drawings.
Language:
References:Chamberlin 41-2, Herbert 2299, Hills 2494, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.100.
Images: Cover, Title page
Location: Collection Bibelarchiv–Birnbaum. Karlsruhe/ Baden. Germany

Comments: Hardcover small octavo, sewn binding, 792 & (8) pp. Scripture text in single column, cross references in the inner margins; alternate readings and manuscript information in footnotes.

The 22 paged illustrated “Foreword“ defends the Watchtower translation against other ones which, though having their own points of merits, have fallen victim to the power of human traditionalism in varying degrees. In contrast to those translations it is said about the NWT: »Our primary desire has been to seek, not the approval of men, but that of God, by rendering the truth of the inspired Word as purely and as consistently as our consecrated powers make possible. (…) The Greek text that we have used as the basis of our New World translation is the widely accepted Westcott and Hort text (1881), by reason of its admitted excellence. But we have also taken into consideration other texts, including that prepared by D. Eberhard Nestle and that compiled by the Spanish Jesuit scholar José Maria Bover and that by the other Jesuit scholar A[ugustin] Merk. Where we have varied from the reading of the Westcott and Hort text, our footnotes show the basis of our preferred reading.«

All the ancient manuscripts and Codices are listed in the “Explanation of Symbols …“ (6 pp). – The Appendix (35 pp) mainly deals with the typical JWs´ discussion topics, like the divine name ´Jehovah` and its occurences in the New Testament, the teaching about the torture stake vs. the cross, the tormenting of the deceased in the Gehenna, the mortality and destructability of the creature soul, the divinity of Jesus etc.

Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) 2nd, revised ed. 1951

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Title: New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee — A.D. 1950
Date: 1951
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: New Testament
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Herbert 2299, Hills 2494, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.105.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 480,000 copies, Second edition (revised May 1, 1951): 750,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)

Volume 1 - Genesis-Ruth - 1953

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Title: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures - Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - A.D. 1953
Date: 1953
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Genesis-Ruth
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Hills 2527, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.112.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 500,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Volume 2 - 1 Samuel-Esther - 1955

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Title: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures - Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Volume II - A.D. 1955
Date: 1955
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: 1 Samuel - Esther
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Hills 2527, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.113.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 300,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Volume 3 - Job-Song of Solomon - 1957

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Title: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures - Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Volume III - A.D. 1957
Date: 1957
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Job-Song of Solomon
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Hills 2527, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.114.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 350,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Volume 4 - Isaiah-Lamentations - 1958

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Title: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures - Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Volume IV - A.D. 1958
Date: 1958
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Isaiah-Lamentations
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Hills 2527, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.115.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 300,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Volume 5 - Ezekiel-Malachi - 1960

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Title: New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures - Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Volume V - A.D. 1960
Date: 1960
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Ezekiel-Malachi
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Hills 2527, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.116.
Images: Cover, Title page
Comments: First edition: 280,000 copies.
Facsimile: A facsimile is available at archive.org.

Complete Bible

Combined "Student´s Edition" – 1963

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures • Rendered from the Original Language / by the / New World Translation Committee [»Fat Boy«]
Date: A.D. 1953–1960. Ⓒ 1953–1960. „Bound together in one volume herein, with the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, in 1963" /
Hebrew Scriptures: Volume One – 1953 / Vol. Two – 1955 / Vol. Three – 1957 / Vol. Four – 1958 / Vol. Five – 1960
Greek Scriptures: Second Edition: 1,000,000 copies, Revised May 1951.
Publisher: Brooklyn, N. Y. (U.S.A.): Watchtower Bible and Tract Society / International Bible Students Association
Contents: Hebrew Scriptures Vols. 1 to 5; Christian Greek Scriptures. – Foreword (w/ photographs), Explanation of the symbols; Names and order of the books, Alphabetical index. Apendix: Scripture verses specifically commented on; Subjects, Chain of outstanding Bible subjects and proper Bible names. Watchtower Scripture Editions and Bible study aids; Bible Words indexed for quick information (Concordance). Coloured maps on both flyleaves.
References:Taliaferro-EELBV see 7990.105, 7990.112, 7990.113, 7990.114, 7990.115, 7990.116.
Images: Cover, Title page
Location: Collection Bibelarchiv–Birnbaum. Karlsruhe/ Baden. Germany

Comments: Hardcover small octavo, sewn binding, 3646 & (2) pp. Scripture text in single column, cross references in the inner margins; alternate readings and manuscript information in footnotes.

This bulky combined volume is colloquially called “Fat Boy“, later it was referred to as “Student´s edition“ in the Watchtower publications. The nearly 3500 pp have running pagination. The maps of the 1st NT– edition have been replaced by coloured ones on front and rear flyleaves.

First, revised edition - 1961

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Revised A. D. 1961 -
Date: 1961
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Bible
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.118.
Images: Cover, Title page

2nd Revised edition - 1970

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures • Rendered from the Original Language / by the / New World Translation Committee
Date: Ⓒ 1961. Second Revision 1970. Seventh Printing: 7,000,000 copies
Publisher: Brooklyn, N. Y. (U.S.A.): Watchtower Bible and Tract Society / International Bible Students Association
Contents: Hebrew Scriptures; Christian Greek Scriptures. – The layout of Bible and the arrangement of biblical books are identical to the 1961 version.
The Foreword, given New York, N. Y. January 17, 1961 is printed with following dates: First Revision 1961; Second Revision 1970. Coloured maps on both flyleaves.
References: Taliaferro-EELBV 120
Images: Cover, Title page
Location: Collection Bibelarchiv–Birnbaum. Karlsruhe/ Baden. Germany

Comments: Hardcover small octavo, sewn binding, 3446 & (2) pp. Scripture text in double column, no extras.

„Names and Order of the Books“, „Alphabetical Order, Abbreviation and Pages of the Books of the Holy Scriptures“ (2 pp) preceed the text. From p. 1341 103 pages “Important Bible Words for Quick Reference“ are listed as a concordance; from p. 1445 “A Listing of Outstanding Word Changes in the 1970 Revised Bible“ (2 pp.) are found; The Appendixes contain „Scripture verses specifically commented on“, and “Subjects“ (13 pp). “Table of the Books of the Bible“ (2 pp) and charts & maps (6 pp) conclude this green standard NWT.

3rd Revised edition – 1971

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee - Revised 1971 C.E. -
Date: 1971 (revised edition)
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Bible
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.125.
Images: Cover, Title page

New edition of the 3rd Revised Edition – 1981

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee
Date: 1981 (New Edition)
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Bible
References: Chamberlin 41-2, Taliaferro CN00025, Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.127.
Images: Cover, Title page

Revised edition - 1984

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee Revised 1984
Translation: New World Translation
Date: 1984 (Revised Edition)
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Bible
References: Taliaferro-EELBV 7990.130.
Images: Cover, Title page
Location: Personal library, Havelock, North Carolina, USA

Revised edition - 2013

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Title: New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee Revised 2013
Date: 2013 (Revised Edition)
Publisher: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: New York
Contents: Bible
references: Taliaferro-EELBV see 7990.
Images: Cover, Title page

When the 2013 revision of the New World Translation was published there was a typographical error on page 267: the running header reads "Numbers 35:37-33:22" instead of the correct "Numbers 32:37-33:22" The first variant has a publication date of August 2013 while the corrected variant has a publication date of October 2013. No textual variants have been discovered between the two editions.

Gallery of the Several Editions of the New World Translation

From left: ➊ 1984 Version with Study Helps (here: German ed. 1986) ❷ 1971 ed. with footnotes ❸ Greek Scriptures 1st ed. 1950 ❹ "Student's Edition" 1963 ("Fat Boy") ❺ Standard ed. 1961 ❻ Standard ed. 1970 ❼ Standard ed. 1981 ❽ Standard ed. 1984 ❾ Standard ed. 2013 ("Silver Sword")

Advertisement for Watchtower Scripture Editions as shown in the first 1950 Greek Scriptures ed.

➊ This advertisement taken from the first edition of the Greek Greek Scriptures (1950) lists those Bible editions printed by the WtB&TS; for the 1950 edition see first entry above; for the KJV (Watchtower print) there's no entry yet; for the ASV see American Standard Version.


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