Q: Does the Greek word "διατίθεμαι" (dia·ti'the·mi) mean "to make a covenant," as translated in the New World Translation?

A: No, it does not! Although the word διατίθεμαι (dia·ti'the·mi) is defined in some Bible Dictionaries "to make a covenant," as one of its meanings (being related to the word covenant/will), it does not in itself mean to make a covenant or a will, any more than the English word "bequeath" (to leave assets for others after your death) means to make a will! In the Greek language the word διαθήκη (diathēkē) means both covenant and will. The Watchtower Society does not accept this basic fact, claiming that a covenant is not a will (testament); and for that reason they also do not refer to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as the "Old Testament" and "New Testament," respectively, as they are otherwise commonly referred to. This has also influenced their definition of the word διατίθεμαι, for which they have sought support from other sources.

In order to better help us understand the meaning of the word "διατίθεμαι", please consider the English word "will" or "testament" as an example. A "will", or "testament", as a noun, refers at
law to "a legal document in which a person states who should receive his or her possessions after he or she dies." The word "will" can also be a verb (or an adjective), where a person "wills" his possessions to someone after his death; and the possessions become the willed and legal property of that one. Does "to will" (verb) mean the same as "to make a will"? Is it proper English to say that the person "willed a will"? No! He doesn't "will a will", rather he "makes a will," in which he instructs how his estate is to be disposed of after his death. It is not the will that a person inherits, but rather what is stated in the will. Therefore, it is always necessary to specify what it is that is being willed or granted or bequeathed (verb).  

In the same way, the word "διατίθεμαι" in itself does not mean to make a will, or a covenant (both of which are the same in Greek), but rather refers to something that is being bequeathed or promised. One would not say, "he (God) covenanted a covenant." That would be redundant. As in the case of the verb "will," with diatithemi it is necessary to state what it is that is being willed. At Luke 22:29, Jesus grants, bequests (diatithemi) the Kingdom to his disciples (no mention of a covenant); while at Hebrews 8:10 Paul explains that God promised to "diatithemi" [grant, make] a new covenant with the house of Israel, quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34. Since "diatithemi" does not in itself mean to make a covenant, it is always necessary to state what it is that is being bequeathed; or assigned; or conferred; or given; or granted; or appointed; or bestowed upon; as other Bible Versions translate the word.