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

The Bible or The Watchtower?

It is often said by Christians that we should admire Jehovah’s Witnesses for their zeal in sharing what they believe, this is true. It is sometimes also said that we should admire Jehovah’s Witnesses because they teach from the Bible, and the Bible alone, this is not true.

Under the subject heading: ‘You can understand the Bible’, the Watchtower magazine December 2015 asks its readers a question: Why understand the Bible? It begins with three quotes:

 

“The Bible is a religious classic. But it’s a foreign book and not relevant to the Chinese.”—LIN, CHINA.

“I can’t even understand the holy books of my Hindu religion. So how could I understand the Holy Bible?”—AMIT, INDIA.

“I respect the Bible as an old book and have heard that it’s a best seller. But I’ve never personally seen a copy.”—YUMIKO, JAPAN.

As usual in Watchtower literature, most quotes often cannot be traced back to ‘real’ people, but these thoughts set up the rest of the article.

It begins by saying that people cannot understand the Bible, but understanding it will bring you the following benefits:

  • Contentment and happiness
  • Help dealing with family problems
  • Help you to cope with anxieties
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Manage money wisely

We are then introduced to another Japanese lady ‘Yoshiko’ who wondered what the Bible was about so she read it for herself. What did she find? She said:

“The Bible has helped me to find a purpose in life and hope for the future,” she said, adding: “I no longer feel empty inside.”

This is really interesting. Yoshiko read the Bible for herself and understood it! We are then reintroduced to Amit (who is quoted earlier in the article). After examining the Bible personally, he said:

“I was amazed; The Bible contains practical information for everyone.”

It appears that Amit also read the Bible and found that he could understand it.

It is strange to find this in Watchtower literature, as it flies in the face of what the Watchtower believes and teaches its adherents:

“Only this organization functions for Jehovah’s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God’s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book,” (Watchtower, July 1, 1973, p. 402).

“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,” (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587).

As these quotes show, only the ‘organization’ can truly understand the Bible, so the closing comment to the readers is confusing:

Why not examine it for yourself and see how it can benefit you?’ (Bold Italics mine)

Although there is the challenge to read the Bible for yourself, it is to be noted that this article is the first of three in this Watchtower magazine; with each article leading you towards the need for a ‘Bible’ study with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The next article is entitled: ‘A Book to Be Understood’ which has a picture of a gentleman reading the Bible. In the corner of the picture though, is a mobile phone showing the New World Translation and the reader is introduced to JW.ORG.

The article says:

If a book is to be a helpful and beneficial guide to people, it must be understandable and relevant to them. The Bible is just such a book. It offers satisfying answers to life’s most important questions. For example, have you ever wondered, ‘Why are we here?’ That question has baffled man for thousands of years, and it still does. Yet, the answer can be found in the first two chapters of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. There the Bible account reaches back to “the beginning”—billions of years ago—when our physical universe, including the galaxies, the stars, and the earth, came into existence. (Genesis 1:1) Then it describes, in progressive stages, how the earth came to be habitable, how various life forms came into existence, and how humans appeared on the scene—as well as the purpose of it all.

Perhaps in order to be relevant to its non JW readers, the article reveals here the Watchtower belief in theistic evolution, ‘billions of years ago’ and ‘progressive’ stages’. These terms are not found in Genesis, so it has to be ‘read into’ the Scripture. This appears to contradict what is said later in the article: ‘First, the Bible’s language is clear, direct, and appealing.’

A clear and straightforward reading of the Genesis account shows no ‘billions of years; but rather six creative 24 hour days. So we see despite their claims the Watchtower does not just use the Bible alone!

The article continues by saying that the Bible is ‘written to be understood’ and it is should be ‘available to all’; and offers reasons why this is the case. Then, at the end of the second article, we begin to see where this was all leading it says:

No other religious text can compare with the Bible in these respects. Clearly, the Bible is a book to be understood. However, understanding it can be challenging. But help is available. Where can you find it? And how can you benefit? Find out in the following article. (Bold italics mine)

The final article has the title: Finding Help to Understand the Bible. The premise is laid out that a person needs help from ‘qualified instructors of the Scriptures’. Moses needed to explain things to the Israelites; later Bible instructors were on hand to teach the people and then Jesus came along to explain things further.

Now let’s make it clear, Christians are not against using commentaries and other literature to help them understand the Bible. We acknowledge that we need help at times, but there is a big difference between this and what the organization claims:

“We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ organization,” (Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1981).

This quote reveals that the organization’s role in understanding the Bible. Christians believe that God can and does speak to people directly through the pages of Scripture, whereas Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught they cannot understand the Bible without the organization.

Now it is interesting to note that when the Holy Spirit inspired authors of the New Testament sent their letters to the early Christian congregations, they sent them assuming that their words could be understood. They didn’t send a Watchtower booklet along to explain what they ‘really meant’. But to read the Bible without Watchtower aids is, according to the Watchtower to be ‘like… Satan’:

“From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude . . . They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago . . ,” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1981).

This is an enlightening quote showing why the organization needs to teach you what the Bible means. If you read the Bible alone you will believe what Christians teach and NOT what the Watchtower teach. No one reading the Bible alone would ever come to the conclusion that you cannot celebrate birthdays or Christmas, that Jesus was only an angel or that you cannot have a blood transfusion. These teachings are imposed upon the Bible from an extra biblical source – namely The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

The article ends by inviting the reader to contact JW.ORG to arrange a free home bible study. Please be advised that it will not be a bible study, it will be a Watchtower book study. They will use their own ‘changed’ version of the Bible, and you will look at verses in the Bible, but this will be alongside a Watchtower publication which will guide you through the indoctrination process. My advice is to read the Bible, not the Watchtower, and ask God to speak to you through it. He will.

 

Advertisements

Tagged as: , ,

Categorised in: JW.org, New World Translation, Read the Bible Not The Watchtower, The New World Translation, Watchtower Magazine

10 Responses »

  1. One must say that the Witnesses strictly follow their Bible in a fervent belief, that their Bible-publisher tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:
    And this Bible publisher, aka the Watchtower wrote, to emphasize their point about their ‘Bible’ called “the Silver Sword”, the following:
    »What kind of translation is this? For one thing, it is an
    accurate, largely literal translation from the original languages.«
    http://wol.jw.org/da/wol/dsync/r9/lp-d/r1/lp-e/1101989250
    Should one laugh or cry – It is demonstrably neither nor?
    Because the sad fact is, that it is widely known (outside the Jehovah’s Witnesses), that neither the so-called “Silver Sword” or earlier versions of the NWT, demonstrably in essential verses, not follows any of the known Christian basic Scriptures nor uses the theology that is described in these basic Scriptures:

  2. The Watchtower hierarchy claims to be the exclusive source today in offering trustworthy, reliable , guidance to understanding of the scriptures?

    Their track record of teachings reveals otherwise . It reveals a pattern : ever since it arrived on the scene it has been a source of unstable teachings . Eph 4:14 .

    Bottom line : the Watchtower prophet / “slave” is not a reliable guide and therefore should not be trusted in understanding the Bible .

    Jw’s can be loyal to God by dismissing the Watchtower from their lives . Matt 24:11 .
    Despite what the Watchtower has convinced them , Jw’s can read and interpret the Bible for themselves as individuals . Jehovah has some great news in His Word for Jw’s to discover once they accept that simple fact .

    Thanks for another great article Pastor Brown .

  3. The WTBTS or JW’s may not be the organisation to follow, but we should give it that their bible translation is a very good literal bible translation and every fervent Bible student can use the referral quotes to make their study. In the Bible text itself are no denominational or doctrinal quotes, like you can find in so many other Bible translations. As such that New World translation leaves much more openness and free thinking than certain other versions. People for themselves can find out what the Bible really says and compare it with the many false teachings of other trinitarian churches who prefer to keep to human doctrine instead of Biblical doctrine.

    • Here’s a few questions. If the NWT is a good translation, why is it only used by Jehovah’s Witnesses? If the NWT is a good translation, why does it add words that are not in the Greek? (eg Jehovah; the word ‘other’ in the text of Colossians 1:15-19 etc). If the NWT is a good translation, why doesn’t the Watchtower reveal the names of their so called ‘scholars? You say that the NWT leaves ‘more openness’ and ‘free thinking’ … in reality it is doctored and changed to suit Watchtower Theology. As for free thinking lol, there is NO FREE THINKING for JWs. If they could read the Bible with free thinking, they would accept Jesus is God and leave the org. Finally, the trinity is Biblical doctrine and to deny it puts you outside of Christianity!

      • You are totally misinformed to think it is only used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. We and many other Christians use it too.

        Like any other translation to any language, for readability sometimes words have to be added. In the NWT you clearly can see which words are added.

        for your remark and/or question: ” If the NWT is a good translation, why doesn’t the Watchtower reveal the names of their so called ‘scholars? ” you should ask them. But if you would take time to read some more material of them you would be able to find articles in which they give names of the co-workers, so please do find those articles and come to get to know translators who helped to create that translation.

        Please can you give some examples where the NWT is doctored and changed to suit Watchtower Theology?

        Naturally when there woudl be a JW who takes Jesus as their God they would be asked not to be part of their society. In our denomination like in many other non-trinitarian denomination a person can only be baptised and taken into that chuch when he accepts the Biblical doctrine that Jesus is the son of God (like God Himself says) and that he as the sent one from God (what the Bible or infallible Word of God says also) is the promised Messiah (what followers of Christ should believe) and is the Way to God (like Jesus himself says).

        Where do you get it from that ” Finally, the trinity is Biblical doctrine and to deny it puts you outside of Christianity!”

        first of all the Trinity is not at all a Bbilical but a human doctrine. The Bible is very clear that there is Only One true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and his disciples, the Divine Creator and God of Israel, Who gave His only begotten son Jeshua (Jesus Christ) and accepted his ransom offer for the salvation of the world.

        Christians are those (or should be those) who follow the teachings of Christ (hence the name).
        In Christendom you have all sorts of people who call themselves Christians but in Christianity is only place for those who really follow the teachings of Christ, and that is what non-trinitarians do, whilst trinitarians neglect ánd the sayings of Christ ánd the sayings of the Most High God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

    • Did the members of the Belgian Biblestudents know following:

      The bishops believed Jesus was God
      The Bishops was apparently all raving imbeciles,
      In the first three centuries of the Christianity

      So according to the Watchtower’s and the Governing Body’s indisputable opinion!

      *The bishops believed Jesus was God*
      The Bishops was apparently all raving imbiciles,
      In the first three centuries of the Christianity

      So according to the Watchtower and the Governing Body clear sense!

      [*Important note!*
      The Catholic Church is divided in several eras:
      The first two eras is respectively called and goods from
      • The Apostolic and Ante-Nicene Era: c. AD37 to c. AD325
      • The Conciliar Era: c. AD325 to c. AD1453
      https://orthodoxwiki.org/Timeline_of_Orthodox_Church_and_Roman_Catholic_relations%5D

      *Read yourself the following*

      Bishop Ignatius of Antioch • (AD 30 to circa 108)
      [Ignatius studied with John the Apostle and was friends with all the apostles, and yet he believed that Christ Jesus was his God and Saviour]

      • Bishop Ignatius wrote on page 55, line 1 and 2:
      _*For our God, Jesus Christ*, was conceived by Mary to a Divine Purpose;_
      https://archive.org/stream/theepistlesofsti01srawuoft#page/54/mode/2up

      Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna • (AD69-155)
      [Polycarp studied with the Apostle John, and yet he believed that Christ Jesus was his God and Saviour • Polycarp became a teacher of Irenaeus]

      • Bishop Polycarp wrote on Page 46, line 6-8:
      _to believe in *our Lord and God Jesus Christ*, and in His Father, “who raised Him from the dead”_
      https://archive.org/stream/stpolycarpbishop08poly#page/46/mode/2up

      Bishop Irenaeus of Lugdunum (Lyon (Lione)) (AD130 to circa 202)
      [Irenaeus studied with among others Bishop Polycarp, probably therefore Irenaeus believed, that Christ Jesus was his Lord and God, Saviour and King]

      Irenaeus wrote several books among other the below:

      • Bishop Irenaeus wrote in the chapter *The Rule of Faith* • on page 70 line 5-7:
      _the earth should bow to *Christ Jesus our Lord and God*, our Saviour and our King, according to the Will of the invisible Father_
      https://archive.org/stream/cu31924029267188#page/n77/mode/2up

      The exact same line can be found in:
      the chapt. “The Faith of the Church” • P 360 • L 12-15
      https://archive.org/stream/LCC1_ECF/ECF#page/n359/mode/2up

      • Why do you always come up with the Watchtower? And than probably with the JW Watchtower and not with the Zions Watchtower of the Internatioanl Bible students. !?!

        You also seem to forget what happened in the 4th century and why the Trinity was taken. Please look at your history books concerning those bisshops who did not agree with the Christians who wanted to keep to the teachings of the Jew Jeshua (Jesus Christ) who like the apostles and every other Jew only believed in One True God.

      • Can you give the number of the JW Watchtower where they would have written “The bishops believed Jesus was God / The Bishops was apparently all raving imbeciles, /
        In the first three centuries of the Christianity” which according to us such believers would never use such words.

        You also get saying bad things about those Witnesses and sometimes we do have the impression it looks like you think we are also Jehovah Witnesses. But then you are mistaken. We like many other Bible students are no Jehovah Witnessess and have nothing to do with nor believe in such governing organisations what you call “the Governing Body’s indisputable opinion”.

  4. *The bishops believed Christus Jesus was God*
    The bishops was apparently all imbiciles,
    in the first three centuries of life of Christianity

    All according to the Watchtower and the Board of Directors

    *NB! Important information; To understand the bishops*
    Ignatius, Polycarp and Irenaeus, it is necessary that
    become familiar with the development of the Catholic Church!

    *The Catholic Church* is divided into different periods:
    The first two periods respectively called and goods
    • The apostolic era and Ante-Nicene: c. AD37 to c. 325 AD
    • The balance was: c. 325 AD to c. AD1453
    https://orthodoxwiki.org/Timeline_of_Orthodox_Church_and_Roman_Catholic_relations

    *I find it distressing, to think of, that most Witness*
    probably not has the courage to realize what the bishops wrote!

    *Bishop Ignatius of Antioch* • (AD 30 to circa 108)
    [Ignatius studied with John the Apostle and was friends with all the apostles, and yet he believed that Christ Jesus was his God and Saviour]

    • Bishop Ignatius wrote on page 55, line 1 and 2:
    _*For our God, Jesus Christ*, was conceived by Mary to a Divine Purpose;_
    https://archive.org/stream/theepistlesofsti01srawuoft#page/54/mode/2up

    *Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna* • (AD69-155)
    [Polycarp studied with the Apostle John, and yet he believed that Christ Jesus was his God and Saviour • Polycarp became a teacher of Irenaeus]

    • Bishop Polycarp wrote on Page 46, line 6-8:
    _to believe in *our Lord and God Jesus Christ*, and in His Father, “who raised Him from the dead”_
    https://archive.org/stream/stpolycarpbishop08poly#page/46/mode/2up

    *Bishop Irenaeus* of Lugdunum (Lyon (Lione)) (AD130 to circa 202)
    [Irenaeus studied with among others Bishop Polycarp, probably therefore Irenaeus believed, that Christ Jesus was his Lord and God, Saviour and King]

    Irenaeus wrote several books among other the below:

    • Bishop Irenaeus wrote in the chapter *The Rule of Faith* • on page 70 line 5-7:
    _the earth should bow to *Christ Jesus our Lord and God*, our Saviour and our King, according to the Will of the invisible Father_
    https://archive.org/stream/cu31924029267188#page/n77/mode/2up

    The exact same line can be found in:
    the chapt. “The Faith of the Church” • P 360 • L 12-15
    https://archive.org/stream/LCC1_ECF/ECF#page/n359/mode/2up

Trackbacks

  1. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: