Bible Translation and Study 

The Kingdom Interlinear Translation and the Deception of "MacGregor Ministries"

Colossians 1:16

MacGregor, doubtless copying out of other books and web pages, parrots the tired old allegation that the New World Translation has added words to the Bible.  They say:

We will consider one example here from Colossians 1:16, 17. Notice the addition of the word "other" four times to alter the meaning of the text:

Now, go back and read the text without the addition of the word "other", which has no business being inserted in the first place.

A full discussion of this allegation is found here.  However, let us just summarize the evidence:

1.     All Bible translations add words in English to complete the sense.

2.     In Koine Greek, it is often left to the reader's intelligence to understand when "other" is implied.

3.     The adjective pas, all, in particular, frequently has the meaning 'all other' or 'every other' in the New Testament.

4.     Many Biblical passages would be contradictory or unintelligible if we did not understand pas to mean 'allpas other'.

5.     The rendering 'all other' does not in any case contradict the Trinity doctrine, in as much as Trinitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses alike agree that God did not create himself, but rather created all other things.

MacGregor has another criticism of Colossians 1:16, 17:

At least they put it in brackets here, but when it got to the separate publication of the New World Translation, the brackets disappeared![16]

Is this true?  No it is not.  The brackets are there in every edition of the English-language New World Translation, including the 1984 Reference Bible edition, the 1986 pocket-sized edition and the Watchtower Library CD-ROM.[17]  See whether or not MacGregor's statement is a lie by examining this extract of the latest edition of the NWT (1984) on the left.

(By the way, check out the footnote.  It explains why other has been added by a comparison with Luke 11:41, 42.  If you look this up, you will see that sometimes the word 'other' must be added after the word 'all' in order to make sense of a text.)

You can also see the untruth of MacGregor's assertions by checking Colossians 1:16, 17 out for yourself at the Watch Tower Society's website.


John 1:1

Critics of Jehovah's Witnesses often accuse them of changing their teachings.  Yet it is the critics themselves who have changed their teachings with regard to John 1:1.  Let's take a look at their comments and compare them with later scholarship.  MacGregor states:

The Watchtower "translators" have reduced Jesus to the status of "a god" in their mistranslation of John 1:1, and made a big deal out of the "Ho" (indefinite article) (sic) missing from in front of "theos" when referring to Christ

theos en ho logos

First, we should point out that 'ho' is not the "indefinite article" as MacGregor calls it here.  In fact, Greek does not have an indefinite article.[18]  Perhaps this was just a slip.  Having cited the opinion of Bishop Westcott, they continue:

Simply put, since the definite article "ho" was used once earlier in the phrase, in Greek grammar it is understood but not stated again later in the phrase. Dr. Wescott concludes, with his knowledge of Greek, that the Word (Jesus Christ) is understood to be "Ho Theos", even in John 1:1.

This opinion was quite common among critics of the New World Translation just a few short years ago.  However, since then they have changed their tune considerably.  Note what Daniel Wallace - certainly no friend of the NWT[19] - had to say about the idea that the anarthrous theos in John 1:1 is definite:

Grammarians and exegetes since Colwell have taken θεός as definite in John 1:1c.Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Dan Wallace) However, their basis has usually been a misunderstanding of Colwell’s rule. ... If we check the rule to see if it applies here, we would say that the previous mention of θεός (in 1:1b) is articular. Therefore, if the same person being referred to there is called θεός in 1:1c, then in both places it is definite. Although certainly possible grammatically (though not nearly as likely as qualitative), the evidence is not very compelling. The vast majority of definite anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives are monadic, in genitive constructions, or are proper names, none of which is true here, diminishing the likelihood of a definite θεός in John 1:1c.

Further, calling θεός in 1:1c definite is the same as saying that if it had followed the verb it would have had the article. Thus it would be a convertible proposition with λόγος (i.e., “the Word” = “God” and “God” = “the Word”). The problem of this argument is that the θεός in 1:1b is the Father. Thus to say that the θεός in 1:1c is the same person is to say that “the Word was the Father.” This, as the older grammarians and exegetes pointed out, is embryonic Sabellianism[20] or modalism.[21]

So, McGregor Ministries' claim that "the Word (Jesus Christ) is understood to be "Ho Theos" has been jettisoned by modern-day grammarians of the Greek language.  In fact, they are becoming more and more convinced that theos in John 1:1 c is qualitative, rather than definite.  Interestingly, 30 years ago, The Watchtower contained the following statement:

Certain scholars have pointed out that anarthrous predicate nouns that precede the verb in Greek may have a qualitative significance.[22]

There is certainly a lot more that can be said about the translation of John 1:1, but the above should be sufficient to demonstrate that this criticism is unfounded.


1 Peter 3:15 and the Interlinear Footnote

In MacGregor's comments on 1 Peter 3:15, we find statements that are absurd even by their standards.  For instance:

Sometimes we have to look beyond the surface reading to the footnotes to see the depth of deception in the KIT, but the truth is there for the finding.

So, according to MacGregor, the main text reading of 1 Peter 3:15 is deceptive, and the truth is in the footnote.  It is difficult to believe that MacGregor has thought much about this statement.  Both the interlinear text and the English column on the right-hand side say that we should "sanctify the Christ as Lord", the same reading found in the Revised Standard Version, the New International Version and just about every other modern version[23].  It is difficult to see how the KIT is "deceptive" in this verse when it reads the same as all other modern versions!

Greek κύριον δε τον Χριστόν αγιάσατε εν ταις καρδιαις υμων
NWT Interlinear Reading Lord but the Christ sanctify-you in the hearts of-you
NWT But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts.
RSV but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord
NIV But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

MacGregor goes on to remark excitedly:

Ahah! a"*" after the word "Lord"[24]. What could they be concealing in the footnote? Let's see:

"Concealing in the footnote"?  Another outlandish assertion.  Footnotes in the Bible are not used to conceal information but rather to add extra information that is not in the main text.  That is exactly what happens here. 

There then follows a facsimile of the footnote found on page 1032 of the 1969 edition of the Kingdom Interlinear that reads:

Sanctify Jehovah God, J7, 8, 12-14, 16, 17

The letter J followed by those numbers refers to various translations of Peter's letter into Hebrew between 1599 and 1877.  Thus, the Kingdom Interlinear recognizes that some later translators have seen a reference to Jehovah in this verse.

Now, here McGregor gets very excited indeed:

Oh my! The Watchtower translators couldn't very well have their followers sanctifying Christ as Jehovah could they? Nor could they entertain the idea that Christ could be in their individual hearts as Jehovah God. Therefore they mistranslated, breaking all their own rules, to hide this important truth.

There is a serious problem with MacGregor's suppositions here.  The footnote does not say "Sanctify Christ as Jehovah".  It says "Sanctify Jehovah God".  In the Hebrew translations that refer to Jehovah, Christ is not mentioned.  In any case, Hebrew translations made more than a thousand years after the Bible was completed are never decisive evidence, merely interesting information for comparison. 

It would be interesting to know from MacGregor: They say the Watchtower translators broke their own rules.  What rules did they break?  And how are they hiding an important truth when their rendering is the same as that of all the other Bible translations?



The MacGregor Ministries web page on the Kingdom Interlinear Translation is a case study in deceit, prejudice, ignorance and slipshod "scholarship".

  • It ignores the evidence of well-known and respected lexicons, preferring to accuse Jehovah's Witnesses of making up definitions for words.

  • It fails to recognize that the vast majority of the renderings of the New World Translation are by no means unique to Jehovah's Witnesses, but are found in numerous other translations made by scholars of impeccable qualifications.

  • It misquotes Watch Tower literature to back up its claims.

  • It gives evidence of fundamental misunderstandings of quite elementary points of Greek and English grammar.

  • Instead of concentrating on scholarly debate and constructive criticism, it ridicules and slanders its opponent.

  • It is hopelessly out of date with regard to certain aspects of the understanding of Greek grammar.

It would be nice to be able to say that MacGregor Ministries is an exception to the rule and that most websites critical of the NWT are more scholarly and professional.  Sadly, that is not true.  The MacGregor Ministries site, appalling though it is, is no worse than many other anti-Witness sites.

 Part 1   -   Part 2   -   Part 3

"Yet these men are abusive in matters of which they know nothing" -
Jude 10, Weymouth.


[16] The writer of the MacGregor Ministries' webpage apparently believed that the Kingdom Interlinear Translation was published earlier than the standard New World Translation.  Earlier on the page, he/she states, incorrectly, that the "New World Translation (NWT) is based on the KIT".  Such sloppy research is evident throughout the whole page.

[17] Certain newer editions of the New World Translation in languages other than English do not use brackets to mark added words, a practice which is in any case considered unnecessary in modern translation theory.  Very few modern English Bible versions systematically mark words added to complete the sense.

[18] Some grammars use the term 'definite article', but many refer to it simply as 'the article'.

[19] I hope to research references to the New World Translation in Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics and publish the results of the research on this site in the future.

[20] Sabellianism is the teaching that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not three separate persons, but rather three successive modes of existence of God.  It is rejected both by Jehovah's Witnesses and by evangelical Christian groups.

[21] Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace, Grand Rapids, 1996.

[22] The Watchtower, 15 November 1975, page 703.

[23] The King James Version has the expression "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts" following the Textus Receptus.  But that reading does not say that Christ is God either.

[24] Actually, it is not an asterisk but a letter 'b'.

   Front Page
  Franz & Hebrew
  Hommel & NWT  
  Mantey & NWT
  Miscellaneous NWT
  Kingdom Interlinear
  Worshipping Jesus
  Divine Quality - theotes
  Adding Words?
  Archangel Michael
  False Prophecies?