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The New World Translation and "Proskuneo"

(worship)
by Matt Slick
The chart below is a list of every occurrence of the Greek word "proskuneo" that I could find in The Kingdom
Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1969). This work was produced by the New World Translation Bible
(NWT) committee in accordance with the Watchtower organization. An interlinear is a word-for-word translation of
the Greek text. Included in this Watchtower interlinear is the text of the New World Translation Bible placed in a
column on each page so the reader can see exactly how the NWT renders each occurrence of the verb "proskuneo."
The word "proskuneo" means "to kiss the hand, bow down before, show obeisance, to worship." Since the Jehovah's
Witnesses deny that Jesus is God, they maintain that He is not to be worshipped. So, how does the Watchtower Bible
and Tract Society translate the word "proskuneo" in their Greek New Testament in reference to Jesus and other
objects of adoration? The NWT never translates the word into "worship" when it references Jesus. It does, however,
render the word as "worship" regarding the devil, the dragon, the beast, the image, demons, idols, and an angel. Of
course, they correctly translate it as "worship" when it deals with God.
Is the New World Translation biased against worshipping Jesus? It would surely seem so and especially since the
NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc., all translate the word as "worship" in reference to Jesus.
What is curious is to note that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society used to teach that worshipping Jesus was
acceptable:
"The fact that our Lord received worship is claimed by some to be an evidence that while on earth he was God the
Father disguised in a body of flesh and not really a man. Was he really worshiped, or is the translation faulty? Yes
we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so. While he was not the God,
Jehovah, he was a God. The word God signifies a mighty one, and our Lord was indeed a mighty one. So it is
stated in the first two verses of the gospel of John. It was proper for our Lord to receive worship in view of his
having been the only begotten of the Father. . ." (The Watchtower, July 15, 1898, p. 216.)
It seems that as the Watchtower theology changed, they needed a Bible consistent with those changes, hence, the
New World Translation. Following is a chart listing every appearance of the word "proskuneo" in the New World
Translation. Let's see if the bias of the Watchtower organization is obvious.
The word "proskuneo" occurs 55 times in the Watchtower Kingdom Interlinear. Of those 55, 15 are in reference to
Jesus with 40 used of others, 27% of the usage is of Jesus, and not a single reference is translated as "worship" even
though in reference to the devil, demons, idols, etc., they do translate it as worship. If this doesn't demonstrate their
bias, then what does?

Verse

Jesus

Matt. 2:2
Matt. 2:8
Matt. 2:11
Matt. 4:9
Matt. 4:10
Matt. 8:2
Matt. 9:18
Matt.
14:33
Matt.
15:25
Matt.
18:26
Matt.
20:20
Matt. 28:9
Matt.
28:17
Mark 5:6
Mark
15:19
Luke 4:7
Luke 4:8
Luke
24:52

obeisance
obeisance
obeisance

Verse
John 4:20
John 4:21
John 4:22
John 4:23
John 4:23

God

dragon,
Demons beast, Devil
image

Generic Idols

Peter

Angel

Peter

Angel

worship
worship
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
obeisance
worship
worship
obeisance

Jesus

God
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship

dragon,
Demons beast, Devil
image

Generic Idols

John 4:24
worship
John 9:38 obeisance
John
12:20
Acts 7:43
Acts 8:27
Acts 10:25
Acts 24:11
1 Cor.
worship
14:25
Heb. 1:6 obeisance
Heb.
worship
11:21

Verse
Rev. 3:9
Rev. 4:10
Rev. 5:14
Rev. 7:11
Rev. 9:20
Rev. 11:1
Rev. 11:16
Rev. 13:4
Rev. 13:8
Rev. 13:12
Rev. 13:15

Jesus

God

worship
worship
worship
obeisance
worship

dragon,
Demons beast, Devil
image

Generic Idols
obeisance

worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship

Peter

Angel

Rev. 14:7
Rev. 14:9
Rev. 14:11
Rev. 15:4
Rev. 16:2
Rev. 19:4
Rev. 19:10
Rev. 19:20
Rev. 20:4
Rev. 22:8
Rev. 22:9

worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship
worship

As you can see, the NWT is very bias in how it translates the word "proskuneo." Whenever it is in reference to
Jesus, they absolutely will not let it be translated as worship. Why? Because they erringly deny that Jesus is God in
flesh and their Bible reflects their bias. This is not how proper theology is done.