QUESTION: Why do Jehovah Witnesses interpret the Bible differently than almost everyone else in the world?
ANSWER: Hello Chris and thank you for writing.
Witnesses of Jehovah God adhere to the Bible and strive to be footstep followers of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:21). In doing so, we look to Jehovah, the author of the Bible for guidance and direction, as we believe all Scriptures are inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
We also let scripture interpret scripture, we align our beliefs with what the Bible says, not what we may think or feel. It is possible to examine the Bible in such a way that it actually sheds light on itself. If the surrounding verses do not make the meaning of a particular statement clear, compare that statement with others in the Bible that discuss the same subject. In this way, we let the Bible, not personal opinion, guide our thinking.
Most religions today DO NOT teach what the Bible actually teaches. They have doctrines that they try to make the Bible agree with how they believe, and thereby end up with illogical doctrines that are contradictory and really not taught in the Bible.
The Bible says, there is ONE faith, (or belief), not many faiths (or beliefs) leading to God. Ephesians 4:5. So if we are to be approved by God, a person needs to seek out what that ONE FAITH is (Acts 17:27). The One that goes according to the Bible, regardless of what popular belief is going around in the world today.
So one must ask themselves, which will they believe? The Bible or man made doctrines?
Take for example the condition of the dead. It seems that almost everyone else in the world today believe and are taught in their belief system that people really never die. That some part of them lives on after death, that people have immortal souls that never really dies.
The Bible actually tells us the condition of the dead and when we read different passages in the Bible they are harmonious, as God is the author. Please read along with me and review a few of these:
“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17 KJV
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:3,4
“The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. KJV
“The grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee....The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” Isaiah 38:18,19 KJV
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4 KJV
Concerning the recent death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus Christ said: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well....Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:11-14 KJV
All these scriptures are in harmony would you agree? They tell us that the dead are really
dead, and Jesus likened death to sleep. Since Lazarus was a friend of Jesus surely he would have just said, Lazarus my friend has gone to heaven. Why not let him be if he was in heaven why bring him back to life just so he could die again from old age? Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead because he knew as the Bible teaches, the dead are really dead, not conscious of any thing.
As you can see these scriptures are contrary
to the popular belief of most religions today. We as Jehovah's Witnesses want to adhere to the Bible, so we will not go with what almost everyone else in the world does. We prefer to go with the Bible, as that is from God.
Since this is contrary to most everyone else in the world beliefs, then we are labeled as you said today. But when you really examine the Bible and what we TRULY believe, meaning asking a true JW, like you did, which I commend you for asking and not just going by what someone may tell you, or what you may read on the internet from ex JW's or non JW's, but ask a true Jehovah's Witness why we believe what we do, then you will find out that we really go by the Bible instead of man made doctrines that most of the times are contrary to Bible teachings.
In history, you can read about ones like John Milton and Sir Isaac Newton and others who examined the Bible and had contrary beliefs from what was the doctrine of their day, but to express ideas contrary to official doctrine of the church was dangerous. Therefore, much of their Bible scholarship remained unpublished until after their deaths. There were ones who were tortured and burned at stakes because they believed in the Bible rather than to go along with what everyone else did.
If there are any specific things you would like to know about in regards to why we may not go along with the popular belief of other religions of this world, please feel free to ask.
I will do my best to answer with the Bible, as the Bible is in harmony from cover to cover and thus ones beliefs should reflect that same harmony as well. Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs do reflect logic and harmony because it's based on the inspired Word of God the Almighty, whose name is Jehovah!
"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." Psalms 83:18 KJV
Have a great day Chris, you can also check out our website JW.org that has a lot of answers to questions that many may have as well, along with Bible scriptures that you can look up for yourself.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am sorry to say I did not really see an answer to my question. (or maybe I just did not understand)Clearly,the goal of most religions is to adhere to the Bible. I suppose it comes down to interpretation of scriptures. Why are your interpretations so vastly different than most? While I appreciate you explaining why you believe what you do, its not helping to understand why so few go along with what you consider the "truth". I hope that is clear. Thank you.
Well put frankly, whether ones want to admit it or not, the fact is most religions do not adhere to the Bible, how could they when there are so many different teachings and religions out there, all of them can't adhere to the Bible, regardless of their goal. The Bible is not contradictory but in harmony. Unlike the religions of today. That's why it's important to look up scriptures for yourself to see if what you are being taught is from the Bible. Jehovah's Witnesses go according to the Bible, that's the vast difference, we go according to the Bible whereas other religions go according to doctrines of men that are inspired by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)
The Bible answers your question as to why most are vastly different than JW's.
Here's the answer right here:
1 John 5:19 ".....the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one."
That's the answer to your question and it's from the Bible.
The religions of this world teach the complete and total opposite of what the Bible teaches, because they are Satan's religions. And Satan is the complete and total opposite of Jehovah God and his son Jesus Christ. Therefore, that is why the vast difference. Few are on the road to life as to MOST are on the road to death, (Matt 7:13,14)
Out of an entire world of people, only 8 people survived the flood! Really think about that. If you are sincere in your questions...
2 Timothy 4:3,4 "For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories."
Here are some more scriptures that you can look up as to why also:
2 Cor 4:4-6 "If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.5 For we are preaching, not about ourselves, but about Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God is the one who said: “Let the light shine out of darkness,” and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ."
Mark 7:6,7 "He said to them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. 7 It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’ 8 You let go of the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men.”
(Regardless of whom a group profess to worship, if they hold to doctrines of men instead of the inspired Word of God, their worship is in vain.)
Romans 10:2,3 "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge. 3 For because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."
(People may have God’s written Word but lack accurate knowledge of what it contains, because they have not been taught properly. They may feel that they are zealous for God, but they may not be doing what he requires. Their worship is not going to please God, is it?)
2 Cor. 11:14,15 "And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works."
(Here we are cautioned that not everything that originates with Satan may appear hideous. One of his chief methods of deceiving mankind has been false religion of all kinds, to some of which he gives a righteous appearance.)
Please take the time to read these and think on them. If you are sincere in wanting to know. If you are not, then I suppose you will come back and say I still did not answer your question. I cannot provide answers beyond what the Bible itself says, Therefore, if you do not accept the Bible's reply as shown above, I can not help you any further.
Have a great day!