This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ (bold emphasis mine).
Please know there are no reputable translations that render that verse taking in knowledge like the NWT does. So why did the Watchtower Society change the way this verse should be read and understood? Because it is perfectly consistent with what they are trying to declare to others, that is, only the Watchtower Society located in New York has the spiritual ability to correctly understand the Scriptures and teach them accurately, and all of this is connected with getting everlasting life. That is part of the Jehovah's Witness mind control and why the Watchtower can also print that one must be a Jehovah's Witness for everlasting life:
You must be part of Jehovah's organization, doing God's will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life. (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, p. 255).
1. It contradicts their own Greek-English word for word translation in their The Kingdom Interlinear (1969 edition), which reads they may be knowing you thereby accurately suggesting a personal relationship with God instead of just mere academic learning about him. Click here to view the Kingdom Interlinear.
Jesus spoke the following to religious unsaved people:
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39, 40)
Similarly, Jehovah's Witnesses are never told to trust in Jesus 100% for their salvation and ask him [Jesus] in sincere prayer for the living water as he promises to give:
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10).
2. Their history of changing their own doctrines refutes the concept that Jehovah's Witness of the past have taken in accurate knowledge. C. T. Russell taught Jesus is almighty since his resurrection (The Finished Mystery, Peoples Pulpit Association, 1917, p. 15, comments under Revelation 1:8) which is flatly opposed by JWs of our hour. Many other doctrinal changes have likewise occurred since its beginning.
3. Inaccuracies among their teachings are still clearly going on today by their own admittance and show the Jehovah's Witnesses are not really and accurately taking in knowledge as they think! One glaring example is their emphasis on the name Jehovah, which contradicts their own teaching that Yah-weh is more correct than Jehovah:
While inclining to view the pronunciation "Yah-weh" as the more correct way, we have retained the form "Jehovah" because of people's familiarity with it since the 14th century (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1969 ed., p. 23).
Every time a Jehovah's Witness uses the word Jehovah he, therefore, shows he is blindly following the Watchtower Society's exaltation of familiarity over accuracy.
By combining the vowel signs of 'Adho.nay and 'Elo.him' with the four consonants of the Tetragrammaton the pronunciations Yeho.wah' and Yehowih' were formed. The first of these provided the basis for the Latinized form "Jehova(h)." The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei of the year 1270. Hebrew scholars generally favor "Yahweh" as the most likely pronunciation (Aid to Bible Understanding, Watchtower Bible And Tract Society, 1971, pp. 884, 885).
4. The Greek word ginosko in John 17:3 means know. By the Watchtower Society using knowledge instead and inserting the words take in, they are able to come up with their NWT rendering of that verse.
If one would compare Matt. 1:25 with John 17:3 and note that ginosko is found in both verses he could easily notice that this term carries a meaning of intimacy and relationship with it. That fact is suggested by ginosko. Another related verse showing the meaning of ginosko is this passge:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3,4)
5. How much knowledge does a sinner have to take in before he can find forgiven of sins and eternal life? Answer: not very much. To answer in a different way -- how much knowledge did the Philippian jailer take in before he got saved in Acts 16:30-34? Again the answer is the same. That is how much we need today. (Not to stray too far off on a tangent, also notice how quickly the Philippian jailer got water baptized after his salvation.) Other examples of how little knowledge one needs to have are shown by the conversion of Zacchaeus (Lk.19:1-9), the tax collector who sincerely prayed God have mercy on me a sinner (Lk. 18:9-14), the unnamed ones along with Cornelius who got saved from the actual salvation sermon cited in Acts 10:34-43, etc.
The Watchtower Society is ensnaring sincere people to a lifelong study of their own literature by twisting the meaning of John 17:3. The worst part of all of this for those that do get deceived by them is, they have missed the true understanding of salvation shown in the Bible and, therefore, remain unsaved and spiritually dead in their sins. We have answered Jehovah's Witnesses biblically in various ways, showing their errors.
True Biblical salvation and forgiveness of sins comes instantly for all who turn from their sins and place a trusting-submitting faith in the Lord Jesus for their soul's salvation.
Eternal life, besides being a hope (Titus 1:2), yet to be reaped (Gal. 6:8,9) in the age to come (Mk. 10:30), is a gift of God (Rom. 6:23) and present tense possession for those who have the Lord Jesus (1 John 5:12,13). Hence, though eternal life is received here and now this side of the grave, there is also an aspect that isn't received unless we faithfully endure to the end. [For more information about salvation consult our 801 page book, The Believer's Conditional Security. Finally, taking in knowledge is NOT true knowledge if it isn't accurate.