“Between-the-Lines” Translations of the Bible
1. What kind of two-language manuscripts have been written by scribes, and of what value are they?
MANUSCRIPTS have been written by scribes with the inspired Greek Scriptures on the one side of the page and the Latin Vulgate translation alongside on the opposite side of the same page. This allowed for a comparing of the two language texts. Had the Latin translation of the whole Bible as made by the Catholic translator Jerome been made with the “correct words of truth”? Well, let those who know Latin and Greek compare the two texts and see for themselves.
2. (a) Sanctes Pagninus produced a translation of what sacred volume, and where did Servetus issue an edition of this? (b) The Antwerp Polyglot Bible was worked on by what Spaniard, under whose patronage, and printed by whom?
2 In the year 1528 an Italian monk named Sanctes Pagninus published in Lyons, France, a work on which he had labored for thirty years. Its Latin title, translated into English, is “A New Translation of the Old and the New Testament.” The translation was, of course, into Latin. Later an edition of this was published in Lyons, in 1542, by Servetus. However, in the meantime, along came the Spanish priest and Orientalist named Arias Montanus. King Philip II of Spain called him to labor at a projected Polyglot Bible, which the king was causing to be made at the suggestion of the famous printer, Plantin. Finally, in 1569-1572, this Bible was printed in Antwerp. Its Latin title, translated into English, is “The Sacred Bible in Hebrew, Chaldaic, Greek and Latin, of Philip II, King, Catholic in Piety and Study, toward the Sacrosanct Church’s Use,” printed by Plantin, in eight (8) volumes, folio size. Because of the place where printed it is generally called the “Antwerp Polyglot.” Sometimes it is called the “Royal Bible,” because of the patronage of King Philip II; and sometimes, the “Plantinian Bible,” after the printer.a
3. (a) The Antwerp Polyglot contained the Latin Bible translation of what Italian monk? (b) How was the Latin translation of this monk used to make an interlinear Bible translation, and what dates do the Society’s copies show?
3 In this Antwerp Polyglot the Spanish priest Arias Montanus incorporated a correction of the Latin translation of the Bible by Sanctes Pagninus. Years later, Arias Montanus died, in 1598. In the year 1599 and the years 1610-1613 editions of the Latin text of the Bible by Pagninus appeared, which editions gave an interlinear and word-for-word translation of the Hebrew with the Hebrew vowel points and with the Latin translation appearing above the Hebrew text. This Hebrew-Latin Bible was long considered the most convenient Hebrew Bible for those beginning to learn Hebrew. The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania possesses original copies of the interlinear translation printed by the Plantinian printshop, and the eleven volumes bear the dates of 1610, 1611, 1612, 1613 and 1615. Volume I, containing the Bible books Genesis and Exodus bears the Latin title, which, translated into English, is “Hebrew Bible with Interlinear Latin Interpretation of Sanctes Pagninus of Lucca.”
4. How was the Latin translation of the Spaniard Arias Montanus used in this Bible version?
4 The tenth volume, which begins with the Gospel of Matthew, bears the title that, translated into English, reads: “Greek New Testament with the Common Latin Interpretation Inserted in the Lines of the Greek Context, which interpretation, indeed, . . . expressing the sense, evidently, rather than the words, is placed alongside in the margin of the book, and another of the Blessed Arias Montanus the Spaniard, . . . ” In this volume the Latin translation appears above the Greek text, word for word.
5. (a) Thus so far back we have what type of Bible version appearing? (b) Later, how did the British prelate, Dr. Brian Walton, make use of this foreign interlinear material?
5 Thus at the close of the sixteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth century we have this interlinear and word-for-word translation of the Bible appearing. The foregoing interlinear material was incorporated in the Polyglot Bible, which was published in 1654-1657 by the noted British prelate, Dr. Brian Walton. Original copies of this massive work, in eight large volumes, are possessed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The heading above the interlinear section for the Hebrew textb and the heading above that for the Greek textc mention the Italian monk Pagninus and the Spanish priest Arias Montanus to show the origin of the material.
6. (a) In 1864 Benjamin Wilson of Geneva, Illinois, brought out what volume, and what does its name mean? (b) In 1902 to whom were the copyright and plates of this volume presented, and when were copies of this printed on the presses thereof?
6 Two hundred years later comes forth something more practical for Bible students in general. In the year 1857 Benjamin Wilson, a newspaper editor in Geneva, Illinois, U.S.A., published the first section of his interlinear translation of the inspired Greek Scriptures. The final section was issued in 1863. It was issued as one bound volume in 1864 and was called “The Emphatic Diaglott.” The name “Diaglott” means, literally, “through tongue,” but is understood to signify “interlinear.” In 1902 the copyright and plates of the Diaglott were bought from the Fowler & Wells Company of New York city and were presented as a gift to the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell being then president of the Society. In the year 1927 this Society began issuing the Diaglott as printed on its own presses, and continues publishing it till now.
7. In that volume what appears in the left-hand column of each page, and what in the right-hand column?
7 In the broad left-hand column of each page the Diaglott presents the Greek text, using the recension made by the German Dr. J. J. Griesbach in 1775-1777, and under each Greek word is presented its English equivalent. In the slim right-hand column of each page is presented a modern English translation as made by Benjamin Wilson.
8. (a) Through the Diaglott C. T. Russell learned what Bible truth, and so what full title did he give to his magazine? (b) What earlier foreign translation had a similar feature?
8 It was through The Emphatic Diaglott that the Society’s first president, C. T. Russell, learned that the inspired Greek Scriptures speak of the second “presence” of Christ, for the Diaglott translated the Greek word “parousía” correctly as “presence,” and not as “coming” like the King James Version Bible. Accordingly when C. T. Russell began publishing the new Bible magazine in July of 1879, he called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. Today, ninety years later, this magazine is entitled “The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom,” and is published in seventy-two languages. Apparently, in first naming the magazine in 1879 Editor Russell was unaware that in 1862, or a year before The Emphatic Diaglott was completed, Dr. Robert Young had published in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Bible translation called “Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible” and that this translation also translated the Greek word “parousía” as “presence” and not as “coming.” He also produced the Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, which, on page 188, column 1, shows parousía to mean “a being alongside,” or “presence.” The Watch Tower issue of April, 1883, recommended this Concordance to Bible students.
9. (a) What interlinear translations did Samuel Bagster and Sons, Limited, bring out in 1877 and 1960? (b) In 1896 what interlinear translation of Scriptures was published in Chicago, Illinois?
9 After The Emphatic Diaglott there came other interlinear translations of the Sacred Scriptures. In the year 1877 there was published in London, England, by Samuel Bagster and Sons, Limited, what was called “The Englishman’s Greek New Testament,” giving an interlinear word-for-word translation under the Greek text of Stephanus of 1550, along with the King James Authorized Version of 1611 in the outer column of each page. Later, in 1960, this same publishing company brought out The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. This presented in the right-hand column of each page the Greek text as compiled by the German scholar Eberhard Nestle as of 1898 with a word-for-word translation underneath as made by Dr. Alfred Marshall. Alongside, in the left-hand column of each page, was printed the King James or Authorized Version translation.d As for an interlinear translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, there was published in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., in 1896, The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Only volume one has appeared, containing Genesis and Exodus, the interlinear translation being done by George Ricker Berry, Ph.D.e
A NEW INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION
10. (a) What new interlinear translation was released at the “Peace on Earth” International Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1969, and what are its features? (b) With it what will we be able to do regarding any translation of the Greek Scriptures?
10 And now, in this year 1969 at the “Peace on Earth” International Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is released to the reading public The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. This is a clothbound book of 1,184 pages. The Greek text that it uses is that prepared and published by Westcott and Hort in 1881. Underneath this is printed a literal word-for-word translation. In the right-hand column alongside on each page is presented the modern-day translation as found in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in a revised edition. However, in the interlinear literal translation of the Greek the English words are not taken bodily or directly from the New World Translation and placed under the appropriate Greek word. No! But under each Greek word is placed its basic meaning, according to its grammatical construction, whether this agrees literally with the New World Translation or not. What we as Bible students should want is what the original Greek text says. Only by getting this basic meaning can we determine whether the New World Translation or any other Bible translation is right or not.
11. For example, what does the interlinear reading show regarding words such as “army officer,” “military commanders” and “assembly”?
11 For example, in Matthew 8:5 the New World Translation uses the expression “army officer” but in the interlinear translation under the Greek word you read “centurion,” because that is what the Greek text literally calls this army man. In Mark 6:21 the words “military commanders” are found, but under the Greek word you read “chiliarchs,” meaning a commander of a thousand soldiers, for that is what the Greek word literally calls this army officer. In Acts 19:41 the New World Translation has the word “assembly,” but the interlinear reading says “ecclesia,” like the Greek. In this particular verse it does not mean a “church” or “congregation,” as the word does elsewhere. Thus we learn more specific details.
12. What features of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures are preserved in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation, and for what vital reasons?
12 The Kingdom Interlinear Translation contains and preserves for us both the Foreword and the Appendix as found in the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, as published in the year 1950. These two features are very vital, because The Kingdom Interlinear Translation contains footnotes that refer the reader to such Foreword and Appendix and also to an Explanation of the Symbols Used in the Marginal References. For instance, those footnotes will refer you to the Foreword in order that you may learn why, in the New World Translation, the divine name Jehovah appears in its translation of the Greek Scriptures.
13. What Hebrew phrase does the Westcott and Hort Greek text contain, and how does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation render this in its interlinear reading and in the modern-day translation, and with what footnotes?
13 Of course, the Westcott and Hort text does not contain God’s name Jehovah or Yahweh by itself. But in Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6 the Greek text does contain the word Hallelouiá and beneath this Greek word each time the interlinear translation renders it literally “Hallelujah.” This is really a Hebrew phrase and it means “Praise YOU Jah,” this word “Jah” being an abbreviation for Jehovah. Hence the New World Translation in the right-hand column renders it, “Praise Jah, YOU people!” In other places where the New World Translation uses the divine name Jehovah, the interlinear literal translation puts “God,” or “Lord,” or “the Lord,” under the corresponding words in the Westcott and Hort Greek text. But the footnotes show where Hebrew translations of the inspired Greek Scriptures use God’s name Jehovah in those places. The footnotes also show where even The Emphatic Diaglott uses the name Jehovah in a number of places in its modern-day translation, but not in the interlinear.
14. How does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation deal with the “soul” question?
14 The English word “soul” is much misunderstood, most religious people thinking the Bible’s use of the word makes it mean that man has an immortal, invisible soul inside him that departs from the human body at death. With The Kingdom Interlinear Translation you can find out that this is not true, for the interlinear reading shows “soul” under wherever the Greek word psy·kheʹ occurs. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 and 1Co 15:44, 46 and elsewhere you will find in the interlinear the adjective form “soulical,” for the Greek word above is psy·khy·kosʹ, which the New World Translation renders as “physical,” not “psychic.” Matthew 10:28 speaks of the soul or psyche as being destroyed, and Revelation 16:3 speaks of the soul or psyche as dying. The human soul is not immortal.
15. (a) What does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation show concerning the indefinite articles “a” and “an”? (b) What about the definite article “the”?
15 The Kingdom Interlinear Translation plainly shows that the common Greek in which Jesus’ disciples wrote the inspired Greek Scriptures did not contain the indefinite articles “a” and “an.” How so? Because nowhere in the interlinear English translation will you find those indefinite articles. This is very important, for these indefinite articles can make a difference in meaning. For instance, there can be a difference between “God” and “a god,” can there not? Especially so in cases where the Greek uses the definite article “the” before the title “God.” In such cases, the interlinear will read “the God” (or “the god”). But in cases where the Greek expression “the God” refers to the one whom Trinitarians call “God the Father,” the interlinear readings of the translations produced by Samuel Bagster and Sons, Limited, omit the definite article “the” even though the Greek definite article is there in the text. The Emphatic Diaglott does not hesitate to put the word “the” under the Greek definite article when it occurs before the title “God.”
16. How does The Emphatic Diaglott deal with John 1:1, 2, both in its interlinear reading and in its main reading?
16 In this connection, let us take those controversial verses of John 1:1, 2, which the clergymen of Christendom resort to in order to prove their doctrine of a Trinity or One God in Three Persons, as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In these verses the Greek term Logos means “Word.” So the Diaglott’s interlinear wording reads: “In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word. This was in a beginning with the God.” However, in its modern-language reading it drops the article “the” before “God” and puts the title “GOD” in all capital letters. Also, it drops the article “a” from before “beginning” and from before “god” and puts “the” before “beginning” and puts “god” with an initial “G,” thus, “God.” This way the modern-language rendering reads: “In the Beginning was the LOGOS, and the LOGOS was with GOD, and the LOGOS was God. This was in the Beginning with GOD.” So, only the kind of type used shows the difference between “the God” and “a god.”
17. How does the King James Version deal with John 1:1, 2?
17 Other Bible translations drop all use of the indefinite article “a” and insert the definite article before the word “beginning” and drop the definite article “the” before God. For example, the King James or Authorized Version reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”—John 1:1, 2.
18. (a) How does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation render John 1:1, 2 both in the word-for-word reading and in the main reading? (b) How do other modern translations also fail to show support here for the Trinity?
18 However, in its interlinear word-for-word rendering, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation reads: “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward the God, and god was the Word. This (one) was in beginning toward the God.” From this literal reading it is apparent that the writer, the apostle John, is speaking of two individuals and is showing that the one who was with the Other is different from that Other One. Hence the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures endeavors to show this difference and, with grammatical correctness and doctrinal correctness, it reads: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God.” To avoid saying “a, god,” other Bible translations like An American Translation and the one by Dr. James Moffatt say “divine”; and The New English Bible—New Testament says “what God was,” that is to say, “what God was, the Word was.” Thus even these Bible translations cannot be used to prove the Trinity doctrine.
19. Why do Trinitarians have no grounds for complaint against this us of “a” here, because of the way they use articles in their slanted translations?
19 Trinitarians have no grounds for complaining against this use of “a” before “god,” because all other Bible translations use the indefinite articles “a” and “an” hundreds of times before words although they are nowhere found in the original Greek text. Not only that, but those translations repeatedly insert the definite article “the” before certain words where it does not occur in the Greek. Take, for example, many cases of the word “spirit” or the words “holy spirit.” There are cases in the Greek text where the definite article “the” does not occur before those words. But the Trinitarian translators will slant their translation by inserting a “the” before “spirit” or “holy spirit,” to make it read “the spirit” and “the holy spirit.” In such cases they will also capitalize the word “Spirit” in order to give the reader the impression that it refers to some intelligent person, the Third Person of some Trinity.
20. How does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation handle such cases of the word “spirit,” thereby showing what?
20 In such cases The Kingdom Interlinear Translation, in its word-for-word translation, shows that there is no “the” there, and the New World Translation does not there insert a “the” or capitalize the word “spirit,” but lets it read plain “spirit,” and “holy spirit.” So, in Acts 6:3, the apostles say to the Jerusalem congregation: “Search out for yourselves seven certified men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom.” Then, in Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist says concerning the coming Jesus Christ: “That one will baptize you people with holy spirit and with fire.” This rendering of the Greek text agrees with the Bible truth that God’s spirit is his invisible active force that is used for a holy purpose, in a holy manner.
21. With regard to the expression “inspired of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), how does the interlinear word-for-word reading go?
21 By means of his holy spirit God inspired the writing of all the Holy Scriptures. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching.” But, instead of the words “inspired of God,” the interlinear word-for-word reading shows that the one Greek word here used means literally “God-breathed,” that is, breathed by God. As it were, God breathed upon the men whom he inspired to write the Holy Bible.
22. (a) Why was much oral teaching required in apostolic days? (b) What does the interlinear word-for-word reading show regarding oral teaching in Galatians 6:6?
22 Back in the apostles’ days there were not too many handwritten copies of the Holy Scriptures at hand, neither were there books written about the Bible and in explanation of it. Hence much instruction in the Bible had to be done by reading Bible verses out loud to students and with explanations by word of mouth. So, in Galatians 6:6 we read: “Moreover, let anyone who is being orally taught the word share in all good things with the one who gives such oral teaching.” But the interlinear reading brings out the basic sense of the Greek words used respecting oral teaching by using the expressions “the (one) being sounded down to” and “the (one) sounding down.” This vividly shows that the sound of the teacher’s voice went down into the ears of his Bible student. This made the course of instruction one of oral teaching.
SAFEGUARD AGAINST ERROR
23. (a) Persons with what version of the Christian Greek Scriptures can especially appreciate the above points? (b) How have the translators of such version tried to imitate “the congregator,” and trusting in what helper?
23 Many other cases could be here treated to show how The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures brings out the precise meaning in its word-for-word translation under the Greek text. Bible students who have the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, besides English, will particularly be able to appreciate these points. They will appreciate how the New World Translation has endeavored to put God’s Word as contained in the original Greek into these languages with the “correct words of truth” in each language. No claim of divine inspiration is made for these translations in modern-day language. The translators had to do what even the inspired Bible writer, “the congregator,” King Solomon, had to do, and that is, search to “find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.” (Eccl. 12:10) Nevertheless, in all this searching they have trusted in the guidance, not inspiration, of God’s holy spirit. Solomon indeed wrote his books in the Bible with “delightful words.” The translators tried to imitate him.
24. Why does The Kingdom Interlinear Translation serve as a safeguard against error today, especially against clergymen claiming to know Greek?
24 Because of digging down into the literal meaning of the original Bible language The Kingdom Interlinear Translation can serve as a safeguard against error in these days when many religious leaders are teaching twisted things, even twisting the written Word of God. Religious clergymen of Christendom come along and try to overawe sincere Bible students by claiming to know the original Bible language and therefore knowing what it actually says. But by going to The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, a student can go to the original Bible text and consult the interlinear literal translation of that language. Thus he can check as to whether what such domineering clergymen may say is true or not. In this way the student can be helped to put up a defense argument and safeguard himself against being misled from the Bible truth.
25. How will readers of Watch Tower publications in other languages indirectly get the benefit of this new Bible-study aid?
25 Although readers in English will get the most benefit from The Kingdom Interlinear Translation in a direct way, yet this new Bible help will be used by the owners, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, in preparing its magazines, books, booklets, and other publications. Thus those not reading English will indirectly get the benefit thereof in those languages in which the Society’s literature is published. So all lovers of God’s written Word can thank him for this new Bible-study aid.
a The Antwerp Polyglot was preceded, in 1514-1517, by the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, produced by Cardinal Francisco Ximenes of Cisneros, in Spain, and published in 1522.
b The heading, in Latin, above this section uses the word “interlinear” and reads: “HEBREW TEXT, with interlinear version of Sanctes Pagninus, counterbalanced with the Hebrew phrase by Ben. Arias Montanus, and others.”
c Above this section there is the heading, in Latin, that reads: “Greek text of the New Testament from the edition of Robert Stephanus, with the INTERLINEAR version, which Benedict Arias Montanus Hispalensis laid out according to the sense of the Greek language.”
d As regards a comparative Greek-German version, Dr. Eberhard Nestle brought forth his Novum Testamentum Graece et Germanice in the year 1898. According to the title page, this volume presents The New Testament in Greek and German as edited by Eberhard Nestle - The Greek Text with variant readings and Manuscripts and Editions - The German Text according to the new revised edition of Luther’s translation, compared with Luther’s last edition of 1545. In this volume each page of the Greek text has alongside, on the opposite page, the German translation.
e In 1903 The British & Foreign Bible Society published the entire Hebrew Bible, with the Hebrew text in the outer column of each page and with the King James or Authorized Version Bible text in the inner column, alongside. But this was, of course, no interlinear translation.
[Picture on page 689]
A “between-the-lines” translation of 1613, showing Genesis chapter one. The Latin translation appears above the Hebrew text
[Picture on page 690]
Genesis chapter one of Walton’s “Polyglot Bible,” with Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Syriac texts
[Picture on page 693]
John 1:1-4 as presented in Benjamin Wilson’s “The Emphatic Diaglott” of 1864. The name “Diaglott” signifies “interlinear”
[Picture on page 694]
John 1:1-9 as presented in “The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures” of 1969, with its word-for-word translation under the Greek text