Some accuse the NWT of "deliberately deceiving" people by mispunctuation by placing a comma after `today' in Luke 23:43.
None of the earliest manuscripts (up to the 9th century A.D.) originally had capitalization or punctuation. Later copyists have added punctuation wherever they felt it should be. So just because a modern text writer decides where he wants the punctuation and capitalization to be in his interpretation of the original text does not mean that is how the original Bible writer intended the meaning.
For example, at John 8:58, most (if not all) text writers have left ego eimi uncapitalized. However, some respected trinitarian Bibles (such as NASB, TEV, and Phillips) have ignored the text writer's preference and used capitalization here in an attempt to make this verb appear to be a Name: "I AM."
Are these popular trinitarian Bibles also guilty of "deliberately deceiving," then, by miscapitalization?
Clearly, for critics of the NWT to even hint that punctuation can be precisely determined at Luke 23:43 is totally dishonest. We see The Emphasized Bible by Joseph B. Rotherham also punctuating this scripture to produce the meaning found in the NWT:
"Verily I say unto thee this day: With me shalt thou be in Paradise."
And the footnote for Luke 23:43 in Lamsa's translation admits:
"Ancient texts were not punctuated. The comma could come before or after today."
The Concordant Literal New Testament renders it: "43 And Jesus said to him, 'Verily, to you am I saying today, with Me shall you be in paradise.'"
2001 Translation – An American English Bible: 43 And [Jesus] replied, `I tell you this today; you will be with me in Paradise.'
A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament by E.W.Bullinger, DD., page 811 says:
"'And Jesus said to him, Verily, to thee I say this day, with Me shalt thou be in the Paradise.' The words today being made solemn and emphatic. Thus, instead of a remembrance, when He shall come in...His kingdom, He promises a presence in association (meta, 'with') Himself. And this promise he makes on that very day when he was dying.... Thus we are saved (1) the trouble of explaining why Jesus did not answer the question on its own terms; and (2) the inconvenience of endorsing the punctuation of the [KJV] as inspired; and we also place this passage in harmony with numberless passages in the O.T., such as 'Verily I say unto you this day,' etc.; 'I testify unto you this day.' etc. Deut.vi.6; vii.1; x.13; xi.8;,13,23; xii.13; xix.9; xxvii.4; xxxi.2, etc., where the Septuagint corresponds to Luke xxii.43."
Yes, there is no reason to deny the rendering of Luke 23:43 as, "I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise."
For more, see:
NWT - Luke 23:43 - Punctuation
What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe Regarding Physical And Heavenly Afterlives?
Search For Bible Truths - ARCHIVE
Search For Bible Truths - Search Guide