IT IS a very responsible thing to translate the Holy Scriptures from their original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into modern speech. Translating the Holy Scriptures means rendering into another language the thoughts and sayings of Jehovah God, the heavenly Author of this sacred library of sixty-six books that holy men of long ago were inspired to write down for our benefit today.
That is a very sobering thought. The translators of this work, who fear and love the Divine Author of the Holy Scriptures, feel toward Him a special responsibility to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible. They also feel a responsibility toward the searching readers who depend upon a translation of the inspired Word of the Most High God for their everlasting salvation.
It was with such a sense of solemn responsibility that over the course of many years this committee of dedicated men have produced the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The entire work was originally released in six volumes, from 1950 to 1960. From the start it was the desire of the translators to have all these volumes brought together into one book, inasmuch as the Holy Scriptures are in actuality one book by the One Author. While the original volumes contained marginal references and footnotes, the revised one-volume edition, released in 1961, contained neither footnotes nor marginal references. A second revision was released in 1970 and a third revision with footnotes followed in 1971. In 1969 the committee released The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, which presented under the Greek text revised by Westcott and Hort (1948 Reprint) a literal word-for-word translation into English. During the past 34 years the New World Translation has been translated in part or in its entirety into ten other languages, with a total printing and distribution surpassing 39 million.
This new edition is not just a refinement of the translated text beyond its already previous revisions, but it offers a complete updating and revision of the footnote apparatus and marginal (cross) references that were initially presented in English, from 1950 to 1960.
For information as to the features of this revised edition and the service it can render to the users, we refer you to the Introduction. This 1984 revision has been released by us to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania for printing, translation into other leading languages and distribution. We thus make it available with a deep sense of gratitude to the Divine Author of the Holy Scriptures, who has so privileged us and in whose spirit we have trusted in producing this revision. We pray for his blessing upon those who use this translation for spiritual advancement.
January 1, 1984, New York, N.Y.