Insight on the News
New World Translation Passes Examination
In times past, Bible readers of one religion were suspicious of translations made by another religious group. Such distrust is generally unwarranted, claims theologian C. Houtman in the scholarly Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift (Dutch Theological Magazine). After reviewing these translations, his opinion is that only rarely can passages be found that reflect “the translators’ denominational or political and social viewpoint.” While for the most part this is true, there are some cases in which Bible translators have let their religious bias show through their renderings. For example, some modern translators have completely eliminated the personal name of God from their works. Others have wrongly translated the word Gehenna as “hell fire.” Yet, if someone deliberately changes or omits part of the contents of the Bible, he is on dangerous ground. As one Bible book warns: “If anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life.”—Revelation 22:19.
Rather than removing God’s name from the Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures has retained it—7,210 times. Copies of the Bible’s original language text provide a basis for doing this. Interestingly, Houtman notes that on the point of translator bias “the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses can survive the scrutiny of criticism.”
African drought and famine have grabbed newspaper headlines for over a year. Yet the deadly toll has not been new to that continent. “Ethiopia’s drought began in 1981,” says researcher Lloyd Timberlake in The Middle East magazine. “Chad has suffered from drought for 10 years, Cape Verde for about 15. But the disaster response starts and stops, the timing based more on news reports than real human needs.” Timberlake pins the major blame for Africa’s food plight not on nature but on humans. He points to “unwise governments and foolish aid and development policies” as the chief culprits that have divided the key decision makers, who are urban officials, from country people, who are the sufferers.
Mankind’s infliction of self-hurt is not new. About 3,000 years ago, Bible-writer King Solomon observed that “man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Without consideration of godly principles, man’s plans, including the providing of sufficient food for the hungry, will ultimately fail because of human selfishness or ignorance. How well the Bible sums up human wisdom compared to God’s: “Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but the counsel of Jehovah is what will stand!”—Proverbs 19:21.
Heart Surgery on Children
Jehovah’s Witnesses decline blood transfusions for religious reasons. ‘Abstain from blood,’ the Bible commands. (Acts 15:20) Does this Scriptural position work a hardship in the health care of their children? No. For example, the article “Cardiac operation for congenital heart disease in children of Jehovah’s Witnesses” in the June 1985 issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery concluded: “Cardiac operations and cardiopulmonary bypass can be safely performed in children without blood transfusion.”
The article states: “Over a 20 year period ending June, 1983, 110 children of parents of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, 6 months to 12 years of age, underwent operation for repair of congenital heart disease with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass at the Texas Heart Institute.” Although the article did not provide statistics on the point, the surgeons stated that their impression was “that children of Jehovah’s Witnesses usually do as well or better” than those transfused.
Interestingly, after listing things from which Christians are to abstain—including blood—the apostles and older Christians wrote: “If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”—Acts 15:29.