Do Jehovah’s Witnesses mis-translate the Bible?

Mt 4:10

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (King James Version)

tovte {ADV} levgei {V-PAI-3S} aujtw'/ {P-DSM} oJ {T-NSM} #Ihsou'ß, {N-NSM} &upage, {V-PAM-2S} Satana': {N-VSM} gevgraptai {V-RPI-3S} gavr, {CONJ} Kuvrion {N-ASM} to;n {T-ASM} qeovn {N-ASM} sou {P-2GS} proskunhvseiß {V-FAI-2S} kai; {CONJ} aujtw'/ {P-DSM} movnw/ {A-DSM} latreuvseiß. {V-FAI-2S} TRANSLATION: You may only “proskunevw” or “prostrate” worship JEHOVAH GOD ALMIGHTY.

Mt 14:33

Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (King James Version)

oiJ {T-NPM} de; {CONJ} ejn {PREP} tw'/ {T-DSN} ploivw/ {N-DSN} prosekuvnhsan {V-AAI-3P} aujtw'/ {P-DSM} levgonteß, {V-PAP-NPM} #Alhqw'ß {ADV} qeou' {N-GSM} uiJo;ß {N-NSM} ei\. {V-PXI-2S} TRANSLATION: You may “proskunevw” or “prostrate” worship JESUS, so He is indeed GOD ALMIGHTY. (Jesus never rebuked their worship.)

What about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? The WATCHTOWER kindly provides the New World Translation online:

Matthew 4:10 - Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matthew 4:10, New World Translation) TRANSLATION: It agrees with the original Greek and the King James Version. OK so far…

Matthew 14:33 - Then those in the boat did obeisance to him, saying: “You are really God’s Son.” ” (Matthew 4:10, New World Translation) TRANSLATION: The New World Translation by the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate the same Greek word, “proskunevw,” two different ways, but it can only mean one thing, either worship or obeisance. Which is it? (You can’t have it both ways.) Definition of “obeisance” is merely great respect, high public esteem, honor, etc., but certainly not worship. See e.g., or

Thus, in so doing, the JW mis-translate the Bible to suit their ever-changing doctrines.

The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon

Strong's Number: 4352

Browse Lexicon

Original Word

Word Origin


from (4314) and a probable derivative of (2965) (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand)

Transliterated Word

TDNT Entry



Phonetic Spelling

Parts of Speech





1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence

2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication

a. used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank

1. to the Jewish high priests

2. to God

3. to Christ

4. to heavenly beings

5. to demons

Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." These files are public domain.