IT IS a very responsible thing to translate the Holy Scriptures from their original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, into modern speech. Translating the Holy Scriptures means a rendering into another lan״ guage the thoughts and sayings of the heavenly Author of this sacred library of sixty-six books, Jehovah God, which holy men of long ago put down in writing under inspiration for our benefit today.
That is a sobering thought. The translators who have a fear and love of the divine Author of the Holy Scrip״ tures feel especially a responsibility toward Him to transmit his thoughts and declarations as accurately as possible. They also feel a responsibility toward the searching readers of the modern translation who depend upon the inspired Word of the Most High God for their everlasting salvation.
It was with such a sense of solemn responsibility that the committee of dedicated men have produced the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, over the course of many years. As soon as each part of the trans״ lation became available for publication it was turned over to the publishers for printing, all together in six volumes. The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, containing the twenty-seven books from Matthew through The Revelation, first appeared in 1950. In due order the volumes of the New World Translation of the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures appeared, the first volume in 1953, the second in 1955, the third in 1957, the fourth in 1958, and the fifth in 1960.
From the start of the work it was the desire of the translators to have all these contemplated volumes brought together in the form of one book, inasmuch as the Holy Scriptures are in fact one book by the One Author. To this end, as soon as the final volume of the series had been issued in 1960, the committee set to work to prepare the entire translation for publication under one cover. The committee was then able to take under survey the translation as a whole, and to discern where improvements could be made.
An effort was put forth to bring about even greater consistency in the renderings of the related parts of the Holy Scriptures, such as in harmonizing with the origi-nal Hebrew readings the reading of quotations made in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Since the one-volume edition of the Holy Scriptures was to contain no foot-notes, many footnote readings that had appeared in the earlier translation in six distinct volumes were lifted and put in the main text of the one-volume edition. This does not mean that the earlier rendering that was now replaced was rejected. Rather, the purpose was to attain to closer conformity to the literal reading in the original languages. All this process has resulted in re-visions in the main text of the translation.
The now completed one-volume edition may therefore be properly called a revised edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. In releasing it for publication we do so with a deep sense of gratitude to the Divine Author of the Holy Scriptures, who has thus privileged us and in whose spirit we have trusted to co-operate with us in this worthy work. We hope for His blessing upon the published translation in behalf of all who read and use it in learning his holy will.
New World Bible Translation Committee.
January 17, 1961, New York, N.Y.