Q&A: Does the NWT remove “Christ” from the Bible?

Question: The book of Revelation Chapter 22:21 says “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” The New World Translation leaves out the word “Christ”. Are they trying to remove Christ from the scriptures?

Answer: I believe your question is actually more complicated than you may have at first recognized. First, you referenced the New World Translation put out by the Watchtower. They are the publishing company for the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Their version of the Bible is extremely questionable and their translation techniques are very unreliable and even malicious.

The main thing you need to understand is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses bear all of the marks of a cult. They rely on the teaching of one man Charles T. Russell and his re-interpretation of the biblical texts. They deny many of the primary tenets of scripture such as the trinity and the deity of Jesus. And they have made a series of false prophecies that have failed to come to fruition over the years. Their teachings are clearly contrary to the Bible and so they have essentially re-written the Bible to leave out the parts that contradict them. This rewriting is called the New World Translation and any serious Bible scholar will instantly recognize that the original texts have been severely abused in order to fit Jehovah’s Witness doctrine.

            However, your question is difficult for a different reason. The NWT aside, there are dozens of very legitimate translations of the Bible. Modern day scholars have been studying Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic in order to accurately translate the Bible into English. Most translations find themselves on a spectrum between dynamic equivalence (translating the meaning of the words) and literal translation (using the literal meaning of the word regardless of intent). As a result there is no perfect translation, but each of them has attempted to capture what the original authors intended to say and are beneficial in their own way.

Now, in your question you referenced Rev. 22:21 as saying, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” The difficulty is that only the KJV includes the word “Christ” in this verse. All other major translations (ESV, NIV, ASV, NASB, CSB, NLT) do not include the word “Christ” but simply read something like “our Lord Jesus be with you all.” Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why would these translations take something out of the Bible, especially Christ’s name? Well, what every translation wants to do is accurately reflect what was originally written by the author thousands of years ago. In roughly AD 90, the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. When he penned Rev. 22:21, he either wrote “Jesus Christ” or just “Jesus”. If he wrote “Jesus Christ” and we only translate it as “Jesus” then we have been unfaithful to the Bible. But if he only wrote “Jesus” and we add “Jesus Christ” then we have been equally unfaithful.

The science/art of textual criticism is undertaken by many Bible-loving, God-fearing scholars in order to determine what was originally written so as to be faithful to God and His Word. They gather ancient manuscripts and compare them, read scripture quotes from ancient church fathers and spend hours pouring over single strokes of the pen in order to determine the most accurate reading of God’s Word. And in the case of Rev. 22:21, they have looked at all of the evidence and the majority of translators have agreed that John did not originally write the word “Christ” in this verse.

Fortunately for us, whether or not it says “Christ” in this specific verse, we still know that Jesus is the Christ from an abundance of other scriptures. If the translators were trying to remove Christ from scripture then they would have to go a lot further than this single verse. They haven’t, because they aren’t trying to remove Christ. They’re trying to be faithful to what was originally written.

Q&A: Does the NWT remove “Christ” from the Bible?