Jehovah`s Witness/The Bible, Help Please.
Hello Brother Hepburn,
I have some good friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses and we speak frequently about theology, etc.
I am however still on the fence over a few things in JW beliefs that they cannot answer for me. But that is not what I want to mention and can wait for another time. I just want to say that I really admire JW because of their deep devotion to Jehovah and great support of each other. There are many religions that would benefit greatly from following your practices in the amount of personal time each of you spend individually and corporately devoted to Jehovah in worship, prayer, reading the bible, fellowship, and spreading of the word. If other religions spent as much time doing these things as JW does then the gaps between all of them would begin to close and would bring us all closer to the true fellowship Jesus intended for us to all have. Is it not supposed to be One Body in Christ? Oh my, how far we have fallen away from the teachings of Jesus, in such a short amount of time, since He left us and returned home to observe us from Jehovah's Watch Tower until His return. During these times, what is the absolute hardest thing for me to understand, let alone believe, is how so many people who declare themselves Christians have not even read the very book that was given to us by Jehovah as the Truth and the very basis of our Faith that all Churches are supposed to be founded upon. This is the Manual by which our eternal lives are dependant upon. By not reading the Bible for themselves what are they left with? A pure assumption that what they believe is actually based on any real truth. How can they test and measure, as we are told to do, that any of what they have been 'taught' is actually true and correct as written in the Bible? This is truly blind faith based on misplaced trust. I have seen this type of Christian believe the words of speakers or teachers or even authors, who are supposedly trustworthy and authoritative on their given subject, without even understanding that this person is no different than they are in the very fact that they also have not really read the bible themselves and are just regurgitating what they think is true based on what they were taught by someone they also blindly trusted. This is a travesty of Biblical Proportions. How do they possibly know that what they believe is actually based on any true biblical teaching. Do they not understand that when they stand before Jehovah and are confronted by Him over something they believed was true, and in actuality was not true, that the excuse of "but, that is what I was told or taught by someone I trusted", is NOT an acceptable excuse. Jehovah will simply say, 'Did I not give you the Bible so that you would know the truth? And did I not tell you in that very Bible that you were to always to test what you were told to know if it was actual truth? Why then have you not done what I told you to do, and listened to what I warned you about?'. What will be their excuse then? Sadly, when I bring up this point to those who have not read the very book their faith is based on, they tend to get angry and walk away spouting useless excuses as to why they haven't and how they don't need to for whatever reason.
So, what I am hoping for from you is if you could please help me out in getting this point across to Any believer whether JW or not. All those who believe that they don't need to read the bible for themselves and instead live at the mercy of those they believe unquestioningly. I really admire JW for the foundational importance they put on doing this very thing and if you could please teach me how you teach and instill this lesson and understanding into people about the importance of it so that they actually do it and not just say, "Yeah, I should do it, but.... I'll do it as soon as...." Can you help? Do you have specific scriptures that you use? Or specific teachings about it that I can read? Do you have a lesson about this that you have new members go thru? Or maybe Watch Tower has some articles on this very subject that might help me understand a better approach to getting people to truly understand its importance?
Thank You in advance and Many Blessings to you,
Thank you for your thoughts and questions
Yes I do understand how frustrating it is for people to just listen to what a “preacher” says and accept what they say as “truth”. From experience it is true that many who call them selves “Christians” fall into that category. Unfortunately there are also some who call themselves JWs that fall into that category as well.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy, warned of such a situation and encouraged Timothy to be vigilant. He said “3 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories. 5 You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do [the] work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry” ( 2 Timothy 4:3-5
- All texts are from the 1984 NWT)
Breaking that down we see in verse 3 that Paul said that from among the congregation some will not want to listen to “the healthful teaching”. The reason he gave was they wanted “their own desires” to come to the forefront, so they would gather teaches that would say things that would tickle their ears so to speak. That is, they want to hear what THEY thing is good and not what God of his son thinks is good. In the end though it was each persons responsibility Paul told Timothy “YOU, though, KEEP YOUR SENSES in all things"... That suggests the warning that one had to be vigilant for Timothy to keep his senses about what was being taught
People like to be told what they want to hear. It is often very difficult for individuals to accept council that will challenge their way of life, so they prefer to listen to things that sound good to them.
When a preacher makes salvation look easy, as many do, by saying something along the lines of “All you have to do is believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” the one hearing that does not see the need to make changes in their lives to conform to Gods standards. They have had their ears tickled. It sounds nice and easy.
It is not easy to reach the heart of someone. It takes time and effort. The apostle Paul was a good teacher and he had to persuade his listeners to understand. It is written about him “Also, YOU behold and hear how not only in Ephesus but in nearly all the [district of] Asia this Paul has persuaded a considerable crowd and turned them to another opinion, saying that the ones that are made by hands are not gods” ( Acts 19:26
). We are also told that, although Timothy was taught from infancy, he was persuaded to believe 2 Timothy 3:14, 15
“14 You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them 15 and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.”
No matter if a person is persuaded to do good or bad, the one doing the persuasion must have a good grasp of what the re talking about – must be a good teacher. If we want to persuade others to read Gods word we must have a compelling reason fro them to do so.
People must be persuaded to become doers of the word, and them persist in what they learn as is recorded by James at James 1:22-25
“ 22 However, become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 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. 24 For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. 25 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].”
An example of this attitude were the people of Beroea - Acts 17:10, 11
10 Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas out to Beroea, and these, upon arriving, went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so”
Here are some quotes from Watchtower articles (italics original)
*** w10 2/15 pp. 13-14 pars. 16-17 Skillfully Wield “the Sword of the Spirit” ***
Do more than just read scriptures; explain them
. It was Paul’s custom to ‘explain and prove by references’ the things he taught. (Acts 17:3) A Scriptural text often contains more than one point, and you may need to isolate key expressions that apply to what you are discussing. You may do this by restating the thought-conveying words or by asking questions that will help the householder to recognize them. Then, explain the meaning of that part of the scripture. Once that is done, help your listener to see how the text applies to him personally.
17 Reason from the Scriptures in a way that is convincing
. Using heartfelt entreaty and sound logic, Paul convincingly ‘reasoned with others from the Scriptures.’ (Acts 17:2, 4) Like him, endeavor to reach the heart of your listener. ‘Draw up’ what is in it by using kind questions that reflect personal interest in the individual. (Prov. 20:5) Avoid being blunt. Present arguments in a clear and logical manner. They should be supported by satisfying evidence. Your statements should be solidly based on God’s Word. It is better to use one text well by explaining and illustrating the point than to read two or three scriptures in rapid succession. Using corroborative evidence can also ‘add persuasiveness to your lips.’ (Prov. 16:23) At times, it may be necessary to do research and provide additional information. The 93-year-old woman mentioned earlier needed to know why the teaching of an immortal soul (or spirit) is so prevalent. Understanding where that doctrine originated and how it entered most religions of the world was essential to persuade her to accept what the Bible teaches on the subject.
End Quote – the full article can be found at http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2010123
***w07 7/15 pp 8 Wisdom is for a protection
Speak With “Insight” and “Persuasiveness”
How does acquiring wisdom affect our speech? The wise king tells us: “He that is showing insight in a matter will find good, and happy is he that is trusting in Jehovah. The one that is wise in heart will be called understanding, and he that is sweet in his lips adds persuasiveness. To its owners insight is a well of life; and the discipline of the foolish ones is foolishness. The heart of the wise one causes his mouth to show insight, and to his lips it adds persuasiveness.”
Wisdom helps us speak with insight and persuasiveness. Why? Because a person who is wise at heart tries to “find good” in a matter and ‘trusts in Jehovah.’ When we endeavor to find good in others, we are more likely to speak well of them. Rather than being harsh or confrontational, our words are sweet and persuasive. Insight into the circumstances of others helps us to understand the extent of hardship they may be experiencing and how they are coping with it.
Speech influenced by wisdom is also vital when it comes to our Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. When we teach God’s Word to others, our objective is not merely to convey Scriptural information. Our goal is to reach the heart of individuals. This calls for adding persuasiveness to our lips. The apostle Paul urged his associate Timothy to continue in the things he had been “persuaded to believe.”—2 Timothy 3:14, 15.
The Greek word for “persuade” has the meaning of “bringing about a change of mind by the influence of reason or moral considerations,” says An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words</, by W. E. Vine. Coming up with convincing arguments that lead to a change of mind in our listener calls for insight into his or her thinking, interests, circumstances, and background. How can we gain such insight? The disciple James answers: “Be swift about hearing, slow about speaking.” (James 1:19) By drawing the listener out and carefully paying attention to what he says, we can get to know what he is at heart.
The apostle Paul was outstanding in his ability to persuade others. (Acts 18:4) Even one of his opposers, Demetrius, a silversmith, acknowledged: “Not only in Ephesus but in nearly all the district of Asia this Paul has persuaded a considerable crowd and turned them to another opinion.” (Acts 19:26) Did Paul take personal credit for his effectiveness in the preaching work? Not at all. He considered his preaching to be “a demonstration of [God’s] spirit and power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5) We too have the help of Jehovah’s holy spirit. Because we trust in Jehovah, we are confident of his help as we endeavor to speak with insight and persuasiveness in our ministry.
No wonder that “the one that is wise in heart” is called “intelligent” or “discerning”! (Proverbs 16:21, <i>An American Translation; New International Version
) Yes, insight is “a well of life” to those who have it. But what about the foolish? They ‘despise wisdom and discipline.’ (Proverbs 1:7) What results do they reap by rejecting discipline from Jehovah? As noted above, Solomon says: “The discipline of the foolish ones is foolishness.” (Proverbs 16:22) They receive further discipline, often in the form of severe chastisement. The foolish may also bring upon themselves hardship, shame, disease, and even untimely death.
Pointing further to the wholesome effect that wisdom has on our speech, the king of Israel says: “Pleasant sayings are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and a healing to the bones.
” (Proverbs 16:24) As honey is sweet and provides quick refreshment to a hungry person, pleasant sayings are encouraging and refreshing. Honey also has health-giving and curative properties and is good for a person. So are pleasant sayings; they are healthful spiritually.—Proverbs 24:13, 14.
End Quote the full article can be found at http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2007522
*** w05 12/1 pp. 29-30 Becoming Progressive and Adaptable Ministers ***
A Progressive Minister in Action
6 Paul was attentive to the beliefs and background of his listeners. When addressing King Agrippa II, Paul acknowledged that the king was an “expert on all the customs as well as the controversies among Jews.” Then Paul skillfully used his knowledge of Agrippa’s beliefs and discussed with him matters that the king understood very well. The clarity and conviction of Paul’s reasoning was such that Agrippa said: “In a short time you would persuade me to become a Christian.”—Acts 26:2, 3, 27, 28. ......
Learning From Paul’s Example
12 Like Paul, we must be attentive, flexible, and resourceful in order to reach the heart of our diverse audience. To help our listeners get the sense of the good news, we desire to do more than make superficial contact, deliver a prepared message, or leave some Bible literature. We endeavor to discern their needs and concerns, their likes and dislikes, and their fears and prejudices. Though this requires a great deal of thought and effort, Kingdom publishers around the world are eagerly doing so. For example, the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hungary reports: “The brothers show respect for the customs and lifestyle of people of other nations and do not expect them to adapt to local customs.” Witnesses elsewhere endeavor to do the same.
end quote see complete article at http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2005886
Other articles that may be of benefit
Here is a book that JWs are currently going through. It is called “Draw close to God” It is an excellent help in teaching us about the main qualities of God
This site will give you a list of publication that you can look through to see if any of them will give you some ideas on helping others
I hope those few articles will be of help for you
Please feel free to ask ant questions