Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH? Review of Chapter 2 of this Watchtower Publication

CHAPTER 2 is entitled: The Bible—A Book From God
The following 3 questions are addressed in this chapter.
In what ways is the Bible different from any other book?
How can the Bible help you cope with personal problems?
Why can you trust the prophecies recorded in the Bible?

On the face of it, there is little that Christians would disagree with in this chapter. The chapter emphasises the uniqueness and centrality of the Bible. On page 18 it says:

The Bible is a gift from God, one for which we can
be truly grateful. This unique book reveals things that
we could never find out otherwise. For example, it tells
us about the creation of the starry heavens, the earth,
and the first man and woman. The Bible contains reliable
principles to help us cope with life’s problems and
anxieties. It explains how God will fulfill his purpose and
bring about better conditions on the earth. What an exciting
gift the Bible is!

Though we can find ourselves saying ‘Amen’ to much of what this chapter says, the keen eye’d amongst us will spot the subtle way that Watchtower theology is being introduced to the reader. Notice the sentence:

‘It explains how God will fulfill his purpose and bring about better conditions on the earth’

And this ‘throw away’ line on p20:

The first book of the Bible tells us how mankind’s
problems began. The last book shows that the whole
earth will become a paradise, or garden.

These, easy to miss, comments prepare the reader for what is to follow in Chapter 3; the WT belief in a ‘paradise earth’.

In Chapter 1, the prospective JW is introduced to the Watchtower god and told that he has a name ‘Jehovah’ This name of course, has to be used. In Chapter 2, and everywhere thereafter, the name Jehovah is used repeatedly to convince (indoctrinate) the reader that this truly is God’s name.
Pages 18, 19 says this:

The Bible is also a heartwarming gift, for it reveals
something about the Giver, Jehovah God. The fact that
he has provided such a book is proof that he wants us to
get to know him well. Indeed, the Bible can help you to
draw close to Jehovah.

The liberal use of the name Jehovah, not only in this book, but in all Watchtower literature, reinforces in the readers mind, the importance of using this name. Not only that, but it reinforces an attitude of superiority within amongst the group – after all – they alone are JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES.

The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (their Bible version), adds the name Jehovah throughout. Though they may feel justified in adding it into the Old Testament, there is not a single ancient New Testament manuscript that has been found containing the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). Therefore, the inclusion of the word Jehovah in the New Testament of the NWT is one of the most deceptive errors in Watchtower theology.

Under the heading: ‘A BOOK OF PRACTICAL WISDOM’ we read this:

Because the Bible is inspired of God, it is “beneficial
for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.”
(2 Timothy 3:16) Yes, the Bible is a practical book. It
reflects a keen understanding of human nature. No wonder,
for its Author, Jehovah God, is the Creator! He
understands our thinking and emotions better than we
do. Furthermore, Jehovah knows what we need in order
to be happy. He also knows what pathways we should
avoid. p21

The final comment here:

Furthermore, Jehovah knows what we need in order
to be happy. He also knows what pathways we should avoid.

is typical Watchtower language. The readers, believing they are learning about the Bible are slowly being introduced to the idea that they need to trust in, and follow, the Watchtower god ‘Jehovah’. Only ‘Jehovah’ knows what we need to be happy. Only ‘Jehovah’ knows what is right and the pathways we should avoid. But where can this ‘Jehovah’ be found? Where can I find out how to be happy and what I should avoid?
There is only one place… Jehovah’s organisation.

“[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbour private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and “the faithful and discreet slave.” Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14

The poor unsuspecting would be converts believe they are learning what the Bible really teaches, but are actually being fed what the Watchtower organisation really teaches; and the Watchtower teaches that there is NO SALVATION outside of Jehovah’s organisation:

“Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.” Watchtower 1989 Sep 1 p.19

A quote from page 23 reveals the transition from Bible to Jehovah (and his organisation):

The wisdom found in the Bible is summarized
by God’s words through the prophet Isaiah: “I, Jehovah,
am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.” Isaiah 48:17

Biblical wisdom is known and understood by acknowledging that Jehovah is your God and he is the one whose teaching will benefit you. This then puts a firm thought in the mind of the enquirer, Bible = Jehovah = Jehovah’s Organisation which in turn leads to a dependence on the organisation rather than the Bible.

In closing, the following quote seems fairly innocuous:

Reading God’s “word,” or message, in the Bible can
change our life. It can help us to examine ourselves as
never before. We may claim to love God, but how we
react to what his inspired Word, the Bible, teaches will
reveal our true thoughts, even the very intentions of the
heart. The Bible truly is a book from God. It is a book
that is to be read, studied, and loved. Show your gratitude
for this divine gift by continuing to peer into its
contents. As you do so, you will gain a deep appreciation
of God’s purpose for mankind. p26

Amen, Amen. Amen… but wait a minute. Those of us who have been there know that the Bible is never read or studied without the ‘aid’ of Watchtower literature. The moment anyone shows any interest in the Bible – the Jehovah’s Witnesses give them a book – NOT THE BIBLE! Oh that the Jehovah’s Witnesses would just read the Bible only. If they did it would surely not take them long to see that they have been deceived. It would not take them long to have a conviction that JESUS is LORD!

Let’s keep praying and sharing what the Bible really teaches with those who have been led away by ‘a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all’. (Galatians 1:6,7)

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7 Responses »

  1. Good review, thank you.

    I had a recent conversation with a young lady on You-Tube. She actually said the Witnesses have a better knowledge of anyone on earth regarding the Bible and it is all because of the wonderful literature that the Watchtower organization provides them. She disagreed with me that the Bible, on it’s own, was sufficient.

  2. Yes, she would. The JWs are so indoctrinated with the idea that the Bible can only be understood ‘with ‘Jehovah’s Organisation in mind’, that they believe anyone outside the ‘org’ cannot possibly understand it. As a consequence, they learn Watchtower theology NOT Biblical truth. Keep sharing Jesus with them and pray that God would open their minds and hearts. Blessings <

  3. Tony Brown, I am confused. Where should one go to understand the Bible? There are thousands of opinions available. It only seems reasonable that God would provide direction for us. After all, he inspired the writing of the Bible for a purpose, not for spreading confusion.

    2000 years ago one had to recognize the organization God used to set matters straight from the confusion and distortion by the Jewish religious leaders. Starting with Jesus, then the 3000, that organization was provided. The Bible was used to prove what was being told to them, as the Beroeans accepted (Acts 17:11). Why should we expect anything different today?

    “For if the trumpet sounds an indistinct call, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Cor 14:8) Thousands of “Christian” religions, often each with variations depending upon region. Jehovah’s Witnesses speak in total unity anywhere in the world. I would feel totally at home in ANY Kingdom Hall with the obvious exception of the local language.

    • Hi Kenneth, thank you for your feedback. I realise that there can appear to be confusion regarding what the Bible really teaches and so the, seemingly coherent and uniformed teachings of the Watchtower Society, will be very appealing. Let me work through what you have said. ‘Where should one go to understand the Bible?’ The answer to this is THE BIBLE itself. When Jehovah’s Witnesses offer a free home Bible study, they really mean a free home WT BOOK STUDY. The potential convert will be taken through a WT publication ‘What does the Bible really teach’ in order to understand the Bible! Now you may say Kenneth that through this WT publication the Bible is being taught, but in reality what is being taught is WT theology. Let me ask you something. When Paul wrote his letters to the church at Corinth (or elsewhere) did he send a WT publication along as well so they could understand what he was saying? Obviously, Paul assumed that the believers at Corinth would read and understand what he was saying to them – so we too can read the Bible and understand it. Now you speak about ‘spreading confusion’ and I can see why you feel that, and the WTS play on the apparent confusion to promote their ‘ we are all united’ line. In order for you to understand where we come from let me quote from Augustine, who said: In ESSENTIALS UNITY, in NON ESSENTIALS LIBERTY and in all things CHARITY. All true Christians will agree on essential doctrine and then there is freedom to disagree on non essential doctrine. The fact that JWs agree on everything is not actually a sign of God’s approval, but rather an evidence that JWs are being told what to believe/not to believe by an organisation. JWs have no liberty to exercise free thinking. Disfellowshipping anyone who disagrees with the Org will obvious keep a ‘united’ group! The Org becomes the authority not the Bible. Kenneth you quoted Acts 17:11 which is a great verse to use on this very issue. The Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonicans because they didn’t just believe what they were being told, they checked it against Scripture. That is exactly what we are to do. The Bereans didn’t ask an Organisation, or go to a publication to see if these things are true, they went to the Bible. There are not ‘thousands of Christian religions’ as you put it. There are a number of Christian groups who agree on the essentials, but who may differ on non essentials. Do you really follow the Bible or the Organisation Kenneth? There is only one name given by which men must be saved JESUS (Acts 4:12) and we are to be JESUS WITNESSES (Acts 1:8). We need to be born again (John 3:3) in order to see the Kingdom of God Kenneth. Have you been born again?

  4. Kenneth, you need not be confused . Let’s look at what you said :

    you asked , ” Where should one go to understand the Bible? There are thousands of opinions available . It only seems reasonable that God would provide direction for us . After all , He inspired the writing of the Bible for a purpose , not for spreading confusion.”

    My reply : first off , Pastor Tony was right , we go to the Bible itself . Spend quality time studying it , be sure to read it by chapter , and read each chapter over several times .
    Now just because there are many opinions out there is not God’s fault . Since He has provided the scriptures , then in the end we as individuals are each accountable to Him .

    Secondly, you mentioned that God provided direction for us by inspiring the Bible , and that was for a purpose . I think that Jn 20:30-31 records what His main purpose was .

    you said , ” 2,000 years ago one had to recognize the organization God used to set matters straight from the confusion and distortion by Jewish religious leaders .”

    My reply : we need to be careful in how we use the word ” organization ” here . But one thing’s for sure and that is the Watchtower organization is not the modern day extension of the first century Christian community / Body of Christ , as it claims .

    Also , it’s important to remember that God used men ( apostles ) who He inspired to write down His Word thus it was their teachings that served as the measuring rod to defend their flock against false doctrines — Jude 3 .
    Unlike the Watchtower , the early church was not a autocratic religious system , and early Christians could interpret the scriptures for themselves as individuals — Jw’s today do not have that freedom . [ see W.t. 10-1-1967 , p 587 ] . On this issue Jw’s find themselves in a situation that is similar to Catholics .The Watchtower, citing a Catholic publication, said that a person considering the Roman Catholic organization would be told that ,
    “… the authority of the Catholic church is the divinely provided means for preserving Christ’s full teaching for all time . In other words , it is not the voice of God ‘s Word , but, rather , the voice of the Catholic church that should be heeded as having full and final authority .” [ W.t. 3-15-1963, p 169-170 , paragraph 6 ] .

    Children of the Roman Catholic church are told “… that the ordinary priest and even the bishops are not authorized to interpret the Bible .” [ W.t. 10-15-1956 , p 617 , paragraph 1 ].

    Simliarly , in the Watchtower organization , those in the local congregation and Elders can’t interpret the Bible as individuals , only the hierarchy in Brooklyn has that authority.

    you cited 1 Cor . 14:8 and seem to think that only the Watchtower can provide stable teachings , i.e. only the Watchtower’s ” slave” can be trusted to be a reliable guide to understanding the Bible . Sorry, but that is simply not true at all . Fact of the matter is the Watchtower has proven to be unreliable guide , it has exhibited a pattern of vacillating doctrines . It also has introduced glaring false prophecies as well as some harmful policies along the way . Eph 4:14

    you said , ” Jehovah’s Witnesses speak in total unity anywhere in the world .”

    That’s true . However it’s more like uniformity because Jw’s are forced to relay to the public whatever their Gov. Body teaches them , otherwise they will be accused of showing signs of apostasy , and / or “independent thinking ” and that will bring Jehovah’s anger unless they repent .

    Kenneth, I hope that you will see that you simply do not need the watchtower in order to have a right relationship with God . Take a Bible ( not one published by the Watchtower ) and get alone with it and read it a chapter at a time , then read that chapter again . Start with the gospel of John , Acts , Romans , or Galatians . May you come to see what God’s new arrangement for gaining His approval and salvation is .
    Praying for you .

  5. Chapter 2 does say a lot of good things about the Bible . It’s great that Jw’s accept it as God’s inspired Word . The problem is that Jw’s believe that the Watchtower is God’s , ” singular channel of reliable spiritual guidance ” [ W.t. 5-15-1955, p 316 ] to mankind , so to fully understand the Bible one must become a Jw [ W.t 2-15-1981 , p 17 ]. Jw’s tell us that one must, ” come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation ” [ W.t. 11-15-1981, p 21 ] .

    When the Apostles were alive and traveling preaching the gospel , the people had them as guides , but after they were gone those in the Christian community had their writings that God had ordained and inspired them to write , and all those who could read their letters could interpret them for themselves thus protecting them from being deceived by false teachers who arose ( Acts 20:28-32 ; 1 Cor 11:4 ) . Today we also have their teachings and the Bible has been the final authority Christians look to learn spiritual truths , especially the gospel of salvation — Jn 20:30-31; 1 Cor 15;1-4 . The Word of God is powerful — Heb 4:12 ; and it with the Holy Spirit’s role to aid in learning of it’s great truths , serves as a light in a world of spiritual darkness .It’s also our standard to test anyone claiming to a prophet today — Matt 24:11 ; 1 Jn 4:1 .

    Sadly , the Watchtower has told it’s members that they cannot interpret the Bible for themselves as individuals but must accept whatever interpretation comes from their hierarchy in Brooklyn
    ,N.Y. :

    ” Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the christian congregation as an organization , not to individuals , regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible . For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.” [ W.t. 10-1-1967 , p 587 ] .

    Jw’s have been short changed . They have been detoured .

    For Jw’s it’s reading the Bible .But for true Christians it’s reading and interpreting it for themselves that has been life changing . That’s a huge difference .

    May Jw’s one day discover that Watchtower is not the reliable guide nor the exclusive authority it has advertised . Freedom from the Watchtower is available , and those that run this ministry can help .

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