I've been written a private letter by a brother who raised concerns over one of your answers, here's the letter I received below...
<<<<<<<<<<<<I just have a concern and wanted your opinion on it. When you have time, please read Bro Brenton's response entitled Biblical Interpretation...
some of the things he says just doesn't sound right to me, is he saying that holy spirit isn't used by God in understanding the Bible? That's what I get from what he said, also, he said NO BIBLE was written without bias.
But the NWT translation was written without bias as they said they wanted the truth, not what they thought. He said if holy spirit is used to understand the Bible then we'd be inspired. But I don't agree with that and it doesn't seem correct.
If Jehovah didn't use his holy spirit to help us understand the Bible, then anyone could understand it and they don't, only by God's holy spirit can we understand, thus Dan. 12:10.
If holy spirit wasn't used how come we are told to pray for it and that God gives those asking him holy spirit.
And the last scripture he quoted about Paul saying what he had was partial, that was because he did not have the entire Bible, we no longer have partial knowledge but full, because we have the complete Bible now, as Paul did not have at that time. And is why Jehovah sent his angels to reveal things to them, he doesn't do that anymore because we have the complete Bible...there's nothing more we need except Jehovah's holy spirit to understand His inspired word, which according to scripture he doesn't grant to just everyone, as we know we can only come if we are drawn, (John 6:44) and again Daniel 12:10, no wicked one at all will understand....
He also said once in one of his replies that the GB were self appointed men, but Jehovah chooses the anointed, they don't chose themselves...it's by God's holy spirit that elders are assigned, yes they have to be doing those things he listed, but prayer to Jehovah is also the given.
I don't agree with his answer and want your thoughts on it...>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Seeing as you answered in public I thought you should have the opportunity to clarify your answer in public.
Much Agape love to you and your family.
Take care (Bro DW)
Greetings Brother DW,
Thank you for this. I really appreciate that you have asked,(even if it on behalf of someone else)
Let me state in the outset, that I fully support the NWT and the GB. I am NOT speaking out against them. I have said several time in the 9 years I have been here that I will defend the GB even though they have, are and will make mistakes. It is the very fact that they make mistakes, and correct them, and continue trying to grow that I see as proof of them doing their best to full-fill the heavy responsibility that the carry. They are by far more accountable to Jehovah for what they do, say and or don't do, than any one of us.(Luke 12:48
.” Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.” )
I do not know what to say in reply. I have sent 2 days going over in my mind how to reply to this and preparing a long lengthy answer that I scraped and started again. My first answer was not written in a friendly manner. To be totally honest, I was upset by what I perceived the person to be saying. To me, they were questioning my integrity. I am realistic person. I expect to see mistakes. I do not see the “organisation” as a sanitised organisation. Following the examples of people in the Bible I see the good and the bad and accept that bad happens because we are imperfect. I get the feeling that to many JWs do not ever expect things to go wrong and are shocked or in denial when things do go wrong. Many that get shocked often curl up and leave us. Those in denial – well !
Re reading the message you sent, I see that person that wrote to you did not read my words carefully. For example they said - “he said NO BIBLE was written without bias.“ - I never said that. Here, in part, is what I actually said
I do not know of any Bible that is absolutely 100% error free from the original writings. For one thing, none of the original writings exist, only copies of copies. By careful comparison most errors have been eliminated. However even the few “MASTER” texts that Bible Translators use have slight differences in them. Another thing is that there is not one Bible that I know of that is free from theological bias in some form by the translators. There are passages where the translator must discern the intent of the original writer and translate accordingly. …..
Even though the modern Bibles are more accurate that the ones like the JKV, they all have some
theological bias to them.
Theological bias is not necessarily a bad thing, thou in most cases it is. Theological bias is when the average reader, reading a text is confronted by interpretation and not translation. The average reader would have no idea what is interpretation and what is good
translation. When an original language word or phrase is not translated in to a direct target language (in this case English) but a different word with different meaning is inserted the rendering is biased.
It must be noted thou, that the very nature of that process of rendering the thoughts of one person by another person into a different language means that there will be some form of “interpretation”. That is because, at the time of the original writing, there are words that have different meanings, and, extra meanings have be added to that word in later times. The best scholars do not always agree on word meanings. So every time a word appears that can have a different meaning the translator must interpret what the original writer meant. At times (not always) that means a theological idea might persuade the translator. The fact is, that a translator must often make “subjective” choices when translating a word or a phrase from Greek into English. In many instances, that decision will involve the personal opinion
of the translator/s regarding word meanings according to the context, and thus we have theological bias. Not all bias is bad, but even “good” bias, is still bias.
In the message I scrapped, I went into great lengths on that giving examples of various types of biasses but I have decided that just adds to much material and if anyone wants to ask that specific question I will be happy to respond.
The statement was made - “He said if holy spirit is used to understand the Bible then we'd be inspired. But I don't agree with that and it doesn't seem correct.”
I am not going to bother trying to answer that, because I said no such thing as they imply. They need to go back and read carefully
first of the question
and the portions where I discussed that. I had asked a rhetorical question and then answered that question. The statement he refers to is tied back to that rhetorical question.
The person writing to you said - “He also said once in one of his replies that the GB were self appointed men
, but Jehovah chooses the anointed, they don't chose themselves...it's by God's holy spirit that elders are assigned, yes they have to be doing those things he listed, but prayer to Jehovah is also the given.”
The area in bold is what I am going to address. Why he mentioned the other points I do not know, except it makes me sound as if I do not agree that Jehovah chooses the anointed or that “ it's by God's holy spirit that elders are assigned” I have never said anything along that line, nor would I argue against it.
I have not had the time to go search for the exact words I said about the GB being self appointed, but if you find it you will see that I was showing that men that have positions of responsibility in the congregation have scripture requirements to be met, when they are seen to have met those requires they may be asked if they want the responsibility of oversight. If they accept that privilege we say that those men were appointed by holy spirit (see w01 1/15 p. 13 Overseers and Ministerial Servants Theocratically Appointed ). In contrast to that, there is no
scriptural qualification set out for the GB. There is no special message from heaven saying that Brother So and So has been appointed to serve on the GB. The GB, as we have it in the present form, came into operation, from memory, on January 1 1976, and I think it was about 2000 or 2001 that the GB separated from the directors of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Up until that last change then the GB, basically, was the board of directors. So it was man choosing man to be on the GB (Hopefully after pray-full consideration). That is why it is “self a pointed”, there is no divine intervention of any sort.
The very fact that are understanding of the Bible has to change tells me they are on the right track
Being spirit directed and Paul's words about having only partial knowledge go hand in had in what I have said in the past.
We can not pray for holy spirit and expect it to be given us like a child asking for someone from their parent and the parent handing to them. We have to do our part. How do we do that? By reading the inspired word of God and acting
on it. We read the council to put on the new personality (Ephesians 4:20-24
). Now how do we do that? By applying
the council in the Bible. When we apply
what we learn, then the holy spirit (by virtue of the fact that it is how the Bible was written) is guiding us. Or I could say we are letting the holy spirit mould us. When we ask for holy spirit to help with a problem, we then have to apply council given or search the Bible for help. The problem is not solved by itself.
That is also how we have grown in knowledge. If we take the time to go back and read the various explanations on the word “generation”, we can see the holy spirit at work. How? Because by a continued study of the various usages of the word, clearer explanations (understandings) come into light. The brothers with the responsibility of teaching are following the advice to “search for wisdom”(Ecclesiastes 7:25
) and ”Search for Jehovah” (Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:13; Amos 5:6
) By diligently and continually searching the scriptures what the spirit has put there will be found
Here are some references to look at, READ the complete articles (I have only copied portions). They demonstrates that light of understanding continues to grow. That alone should tell us that we do not have full knowledge. The fact that we continue to increase in spiritual knowledge and in understanding prophecy should tell us that we do not have full knowledge. So we should expect to see changes in understanding.
*** w80 7/1 p. 32 What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror? ***
Using the mirror figuratively for God’s word, the disciple James wrote: “Become doers of the word
, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. But he who peers
into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists
in it, this man, because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing it.”—Jas. 1:22-25.
The person who persists in God’s law
is not just a respectful listener at Christian meetings. He sees where he needs to make spiritual changes and he makes them with Jehovah’s aid
. The apostle Paul showed that in their ministry Christians “reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.” (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:1) So, outstandingly, the thoughtful ‘doer of the word’ is also a “doer of the work” of evangelizing, helping others to see their lives in relation to God’s law. Hopefully, this will move them also to become happy disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.—Matt. 28:19, 20.
see also *** w75 2/1 p. 95 Questions From Readers *** Questions From Readers
● What did the apostle Paul mean in saying, “When that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with”? The last paragraph shows that full knowledge has not yet arrived
We today are living in the time when “that which is complete” is due to arrive
. The physical facts in fulfillment of Bible prophecy confirm that Jesus Christ received kingly authority over the world of mankind in 1914 C.E. (Rev. 6:1-8) With that event the “sacred secret” or “mystery” of God was “brought to a finish,” in the sense that this event removed the ‘mysterious’ aspect about this kingdom. (Rev. 10:7; compare Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10; Ephesians 3:3-9; Colossians 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:16.) From that time onward God’s people have been experiencing a continued increase in spiritual knowledge and in understanding prophecy. This is in harmony with Daniel 12:4: “As for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of the end. Many will rove about [in the book], and the true knowledge will become abundant.” Accordingly, “that which is complete” refers to the full understanding of God’s purpose as revealed in the Bible. This being a time for such increased understanding of God’s Word and the fulfillment of its prophecies, that “which is complete” must be at hand.
Find and read this whole article w00 3/15 p. 10 ‘O God, Send Out Your Light’
The last few paragraphs say
Be Willing to Adjust Your Viewpoint
17 Anyone who wishes to come to a knowledge of the truth must be willing to bring “every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ
.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) That is not always easy, especially when viewpoints are strongly entrenched. For example, before learning God’s truth, you may have enjoyed celebrating certain religious holidays with your family. After you began to study the Bible, you realized that these celebrations are actually of pagan origin. At first, you may have been reluctant to apply what you were learning. Finally, however, love for God proved to be stronger than religious sentiment, and you stopped engaging in celebrations that displease God. Has not Jehovah blessed your decision?—Compare Hebrews 11:25.
18 We always benefit by doing things God’s way. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) So when our view of a Bible passage is clarified, let us rejoice in advancing truth! Really, our continuing to be enlightened confirms that we are on the right path
. It is “the path of the righteous ones,” which “is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.” (Proverbs 4:18) True, at present we see some aspects of God’s purpose “in hazy outline.”
But when God’s due time arrives, we will see the truth in all its beauty, provided that our feet have remained firmly planted on “the path.” In the meantime, may we exult in the truths that Jehovah has made plain, awaiting enlightenment on those that are not yet clearly understood.
19 How can we demonstrate our love for the light in a practical way? One way is by reading God’s Word regularly—daily if possible. Are you following a regular program of Bible reading?
*** w60 2/15 p. 104 How Does God’s Spirit Operate Today? ***
This could be compared with what the apostle Paul said: “For at present we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face to face. At present I know partially, but then I shall know accurately
.” (1 Cor. 13:12) Accurate knowledge does not come all at once. Because it is gradual
, the Christian must adjust his understanding as the light increases. This is the way the spirit operates today
. It does not inspire anyone to make infallible interpretations of the Scriptures, but instead it exercises an influence
upon God’s servants as they study the Bible
so that certain truths come to their notice.
The holy spirit acts in a similar manner with regard to the operating of the worldwide organization of God’s modern-day witnesses. It does not inspire
those in positions of responsibility, but allows overseers and ministerial servants to plan the activity of the organization. It permits them freedom of personal movement
. As long as their plans are in harmony with the Scriptures and God’s purposes
it prospers them and backs them up. So they apply themselves to the preaching work that God’s inspired Word says is to be done now, and they follow the pattern set by Jesus and the apostles. They base their decisions on the principles found in the Bible. At all times they show a willingness to submit to the spirit’s leading.....
…. Although God’s spirit does not operate today in the spectacular way it did at Pentecost
, it is, nevertheless, causing an immense educational work to be done to the honor of Jehovah’s name. Those who follow its leadings, in unison with the New World society, are guided along the narrow way that leads to eternal life under the righteous rule of God’s kingdom.
If the person who wrote to Brother DW reads this I hope I have been able to demonstrate and lay to rest those points of concern. And please if anyone finds what I say strange have the courtesy to write to me personally, and preferably in private
, as I hate this open bickering.