QUESTION: Can you please provide any information as to why John chapter 8, verses 1 through to 11 have been omitted from the New World Translation? It is my understanding that scholars believe that the earliest manuscripts we have of the gospel of John did not include those words from Jesus. Could it be that copyists later on inserted those words into the copied manuscripts? If the latter is true, what do you believe are the implications of not having those verses in the Bible?
Apparently, those verses do not appear in the oldest manuscripts, which means they were added some time later. There are other instances of spurious verses in the Bible, but John 8:1-11 is probably the largest passage, that and the concluding verses in the 16th chapter of Mark that the New World Translation has also omitted.
Also, the last verse in the seventh chapter is apparently spurious, which is interesting, because that verse states that every man went to his home. Then in John 8:1-11 it says that Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives, then came back to the temple, apparently the next day, which is when the adulterous woman was presented to him. But, having omitted those verses the NWT actually has a more natural flow. Jesus was engaged in a very heated exchange with the Jews in the temple and after the men who were sent to arrest him went back to report their failure to do so Jesus spoke again, declaring himself to be the light of the world. The story does not suffer for lack of the omitted span. And while it may seem awkward for the eighth chapter to begin with verse 12 that is just so that the NWT is not out of synch with other translations when comparing verses.
It is worth noting that the Revised Standard Version of 1952 also omitted verses 1-11. However, under pressure from clerics, the verses were re-inserted in later revisions. It is beyond dispute that the verses do not appear in the oldest copies of John, but apparently that is of no concern to most translators.
There are no implications for those verses not appearing. Granted, it is a compelling story. However, if there is some legitimate concern about its authenticity, which there undoubtedly is, it is the responsibility of Bible publishers to act as editors. Failure to do so would make them guilty of perpetuating a fraud.