Email us: [email protected]


This inter-link is referred to in the 1914 article.

As you associate with Jehovah's Witnesses for a length of time you will quickly learn that they prefer to use the title "Hebrew Scriptures" (a.k.a. Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures) instead of "Old Testament", and the title "Greek Scriptures" (a.k.a. Christian-Greek Scriptures) instead of "New Testament" in their Bibles. Many have questioned why they do this, and wonder about these alternative titles that are used.

We thought it would be best to let the Watchtower Society explain this for themselves:

The Watchtower, September 1,( 2007) p.6, box
The expression “old testament” is found at 2 Corinthians 3:14 in the King James Version. In that rendering, “testament” represents the Greek word di-a-the' ke'. However, many modern translations, such as the New International Version, render di-a-the' ke' as “covenant” rather than “testament.” Why?

Lexicographer Edward Robinson stated: “Since the ancient covenant is contained in the Mosaic books, [di-a-the' ke'] is put for the book of the covenant, the Mosaic writings, i.e. the law.” At 2 Corinthians 3:14, the apostle Paul was referring to the Mosaic Law, which is only a part of the pre-Christian Scriptures.

What, then, is a more fitting term for the first 39 books of the Holy Bible? Rather than implying that this part of the Bible was outdated or old, Jesus Christ and his followers referred to these texts as “the Scriptures” and “the holy Scriptures.” (Matthew 21:42; Romans 1:2) Therefore, in harmony with these inspired utterances, Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to the Old Testament as the Hebrew Scriptures because that portion of the Bible was originally written mainly in Hebrew. Similarly, they refer to the so-called New Testament as the Greek Scriptures, for the Greek language was used by men who were inspired by God to write that part of the Bible.


The Watchtower, March 1 (1995), p.19 “Old Testament” or “Hebrew Scriptures”—Which?
TODAY it is a common practice in Christendom to use the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” to describe the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek language parts of the Bible. But is there any Biblical basis for using these terms? And for what reasons do Jehovah’s Witnesses generally avoid using them in their publications?

True, 2 Corinthians 3:14, according to the King James Version as well as some other older translations, such as the German Septembertestament, Martin Luther’s first translation (1522), may appear to support this practice. In the King James Version, this verse reads: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.”

However, is the apostle speaking here about the 39 books that are commonly called the “Old Testament”? The Greek word here translated “testament” is di-a-the' ke'. The famous German theological encyclopedia Theologische Realenzyklopädie, commenting on 2 Corinthians 3:14, says that ‘the reading of the old di-a-the' ke' in that verse is the same as ‘reading Moses’ in the following verse. Hence, it says, ‘the old di-a-the' ke' stands for the Law of Moses, or at most, the Pentateuch. It certainly does not stand for the entire pre-Christian body of inspired Scripture.

The apostle is referring to only a part of the Hebrew Scriptures, the old Law covenant, which was recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch; he is not referring to the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures in their entirety. Furthermore, he does not mean that the inspired Christian writings of the first century C.E. constitute a “new testament,” since this term occurs nowhere in the Bible.

It is also to be noted that the Greek word di-a-the' ke' that Paul here used actually means “covenant.” (For further information see New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References, Appendix 7E, page 1585, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1984.) Many modern translations therefore correctly read “old covenant” rather than “old testament.”

In this connection, the “National Catholic Reporter” stated: “The term ‘Old Testament’ inevitably creates an atmosphere of inferiority and outdatedness.” But the Bible is really one work, and no part is outdated, or “old.” Its message is consistent from the first book in the Hebrew part to the last book in the Greek part. (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) So we have valid reasons to avoid these terms that are based on incorrect assumptions, and we prefer to use the more correct terms “Hebrew Scriptures” and “Christian Greek Scriptures.”


Insight On the Scriptures, (1988) Vol. 1, p.308-309 "Bible"
“Old Testament” and “New Testament.” Today it is a common practice to refer to the Scriptures written in Hebrew and Aramaic as the “Old Testament.” This is based on the reading in 2 Corinthians 3:14 in the Latin Vulgate and the King James Version. However, the rendering “old testament” in this text is incorrect. The Greek word di‧a‧the′kes here means “covenant,” as it does in the other 32 places where it occurs in the Greek text. Many modern translations correctly read “old covenant.” (NE, RS, JB) The apostle Paul is not referring to the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures in their entirety. Neither does he mean that the inspired Christian writings constitute a “new testament (or, covenant).” The apostle is speaking of the old Law covenant, which was recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch and which makes up only a part of the pre-Christian Scriptures. For this reason he says in the next verse, “whenever Moses is read.”
Hence, there is no valid basis for the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures to be called the “Old Testament” and for the Christian Greek Scriptures to be called the “New Testament.” Jesus Christ himself referred to the collection of sacred writings as “the Scriptures.” (Mt 21:42; Mr 14:49; Joh 5:39) The apostle Paul referred to them as “the holy Scriptures,” “the Scriptures,” and “the holy writings.”—Ro 1:2; 15:4; 2Ti 3:15.