Can a simple misplacement of a single comma change the meaning of an entire scripture? You betcha, consider the following. The Watchtower Society has a peculiar comma placement in Luke 23:43 (see below). The section highlighted red is where the comma should be but instead they put it after the word “today”, this highlighted in blue. By moving the comma, it makes the meaning be that Jesus is proclaiming a statement today that the criminal will be in future paradise (in the millennium according to the JW’s) rather than that very day. This reflects their view of “soul sleep”. They teach that once a person dies there is nothing left of them that survives death. Hence, rejecting the teaching that we have a soul but rather we are the soul. (NOTE: TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEIR TEACHINGS ON SOUL READ THEIR 1989 “REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES” PAGE 375.)
(New World Translation) Luke 23:43
And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today,You will be with me in Paradise.”
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Below is a sample comparison of other translations that show the comma in the correct place.
(New International Version)
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(New American Standard Bible)
And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
(New Living Translation)
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(King James Version)
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
(American Standard Version)
And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
(Young’s Literal Translation)
and Jesus said to him, `Verily I say to thee, To-day with me thou shalt be in the paradise.’
In the Watchtower’s 1969 “Kingdom Interlinear Translation” pg. 408 (below) they explain why they omit the comma before the word “today”. They do so because there are no commas in the Greek.
This seems like a logical explanation but one may ask, after having the correct placement of the comma in their (written by Benjamin Wilson a non JW) 1942 “Emphatic Diaglott” pg. 305, why would they change it in their translation? To clarify here, the WBTS bought the copyright of the “Diaglott” in the early 1900’s. See below…
Unfortunately, the Society has a history of making Bible “revisions” to tailor scriptures to fit their doctrines. This is just one small example of their willingness to do so.