Category: Witnessing Tips (page 1 of 23)

How Close Can We Get with God?

Bible teach Ch 1

Click image to access this “Bible Teach” chapter on the Watchtower’s website

So far, I have discussed the first three topics in Chapter 1 of “Bible Teach.” Today, I’ll move on to the next subject.

Topic #4: How to draw close to Jehovah

Paragraph 18 (p. 15) of Chapter 1 is headed, “Can You Be Close to Jehovah?” Paragraph 19 (p. 16) quotes Jesus as saying in John 17:3, “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”

Interestingly, an earlier edition of the Watchtower Bible and of “Bible Teach” renders that verse differently: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

If they quote the earlier edition at any point, you can ask, “Which is it? To me, there’s a big difference between taking in knowledge of someone and actually knowing that person. How do you see that?”

Try to get them to express their views them on this subject. They need to see for themselves that getting close to the Father and the Son is a matter of a personal rather than organizational relationship.

Continue reading

Establish Your Right to Ask Anything

Bible teach Ch 1

Click image to access this “Bible Teach” chapter on the Watchtower’s website

In an earlier post in this series, I said, “The best way to prepare to discuss a study book chapter actively is to read it through and take notes on what the Witnesses will try to get across and why. Then—using my book and blog as resources—decide what you want to get across and why. Then prepare your discussion points accordingly.”

As you do this preparation, you’ll discover that Chapter 1 of “Bible Teach”—“What Is the Truth About God?”—covers five main topics:

  1. The need to ask important questions and keep seeking the answers
  2. God’s role in bad things that happen
  3. The importance of God’s name—“Jehovah”
  4. How to draw close to Jehovah
  5. Resisting opposition to studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses

Today, I’ll discuss Topics #1-#2. In the next post, I’ll cover Topics #3-#5. Continue reading

Getting Into “Bible Teach”

Click image to access "Bible Teach" chapter

Click image to access this “Bible Teach” chapter on the Watchtower’s website

The “Bible Teach” introduction, entitled “Is This What God Purposed?”, begins by asking you to think about crime, war, terrorism, illness, and death. Is this God’s plan for mankind? Will we ever see peace on earth? It promises that the Bible has satisfying answers for these questions. (p. 3 in the paperback edition; this introductory chapter doesn’t have numbered paragraphs).

Verse quotations and photos of ecstatic people (pp. 4-5) cast a vision of healing, resurrection of the dead, and a paradise earth.

The chapter goes on to say (p. 6) that the Bible can help you deal with your current problems and answer your questions about suffering, anxiety, what happens after death, and finding assurance that God will keep his promises about the future.

This is a good point to tell them that you believe the Bible is God’s inspired and infallible Word and that there is no other book like it. This will build bridges with them and at the same time it will allow you later to establish a contrast between the Bible and fallible Watchtower literature. Continue reading

Overview of “Bible Teach”

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Click image to access “Bible Teach” on the Watchtower’s website

As you will see when you examine the book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? is 223 pages long. It has an introduction, 19 chapters, and 14 appendices which are referred to in and supplement various chapters.

Here is a topical outline of “Bible Teach”:

 Introduction: Is This What God Purposed? (5 pages: 3-7)

  • The world has many pressing problems including crime, war, terrorism, illness, and death.
  • The Bible provides satisfying answers to these problems.
  • The Bible teaches that God will eliminate these problems on the earth.
  • The Bible explains what happens when we die and whether we will ever see our death loved ones again.
  • The book’s study questions will help you learn what the Bible really teaches.

 Chapter 1: What Is the Truth About God? 10 pages: 8-17)

  • It is important for you to ask important questions and keep seeking the answers.
  • God allows bad things to happen but he doesn’t cause them.
  • In order for you to know God, you need to use his personal name—“Jehovah.”
  • An appendix (“The Divine Name—Its Use and Meaning”) explains why many Bible versions omit Jehovah’s name, even though it appears thousands of times in ancient Bible manuscripts.
  • Studying the Bible can help you draw close to Jehovah.
  • It is important for you to resist the efforts of well-meaning friends to persuade you to stop studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 Chapter 2: The Bible – A Book from God (9 pages: 18-26)

  • The Bible is a unique book, “inspired of God.”
  • The honesty of Bible writers in admitting their own failings shows that the Bible comes from God.
  • Bible history and prophecies of the future are completely reliable.
  • An appendix (“Jesus Christ—The Promised Messiah”) lists Messianic prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

 Chapter 3: What Is God’s Purpose for the Earth? (10 pages: 27-36)

  • God’s purpose of an earthly paradise hasn’t been fulfilled because of the sinful rebellion of Satan and humans.
  • Human beings inherited sin from Adam.
  • We are in the middle of a sovereignty challenge initiated by Satan against Jehovah.
  • Satan is the current ruler of this world.
  • God’s Kingdom will soon remove Satan and make the earth a paradise.

 Chapter 4: Who Is Jesus Christ? (10 pages: 37-46)

  • It is important to know the truth about Jesus.
  • Jesus became the Messiah at his baptism.
  • An appendix (“How Daniel’s Prophecy Foretells the Messiah’s Arrival”) gives a Watchtower timeline of Messianic prophecy.
  • Jesus is God’s Son but not God the Son.
  • An appendix (“The Truth About the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”) explains why the Watchtower does not believe God is a Trinity.
  • Jesus preached “the Kingdom message.”
  • God resurrected Jesus to spirit life in heaven.
  • Jesus waited in heaven for Jehovah to make him King.

 Chapter 5: The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift (10 pages: 47-56)

  • Jesus’ sacrificial death is the means of saving humankind from sin and death.
  • All humans except Jesus inherited slavery to sin and death from Adam.
  • The ransom price was the value of what was lost—one perfect human life.
  • Jehovah transferred the life of his only-begotten Son to earth.
  • Jesus’ life of perfect obedience paid the price for Adam’s disobedience.
  • Jesus didn’t die on a cross, but on an upright stake with no crossbeam.
  • God raised Jesus from the dead as a spirit, not as a human.
  • An appendix (“Why True Christians Do Not Use the Cross in Worship”) explains why it is wrong to believe that Jesus died on a cross.
  • To appropriate the ransom gives us the hope of living forever in paradise on earth, but we need to “exercise faith” through our works.
  • We show appreciation for the ransom by attending the Watchtower’s annual “Lord’s Evening Meal.” There, the bread and wine are reserved for a limited number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who will be going to heaven rather than living forever in paradise on earth.
  • An appendix (“The Lord’s Evening Meal—An Observance That Honors God”) explains why only those who profess to be of the anointed 144,000 should partake.

 Chapter 6: Where Are the Dead? (9 pages: 57-65)

  • No part of humans survives physical death.
  • An appendix (“’Soul’ and ‘Spirit’—What Do These Terms Really Mean?”) explains why the Watchtower believes soul and spirit are not parts of a person that survive physical death.
  • The dead don’t see or hear or think or feel.
  • We die because we inherited sin from Adam.
  • The dead are at rest; they do not suffer.
  • The concept of fiery torment after death dishonors God by portraying him as very cruel.

 Chapter 7: Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died (10 pages: 66-75)

  • Jehovah promises that the dead will be resurrected.
  • Jehovah enabled Jesus to raise the dead.
  • The dead are conscious of nothing at all.
  • All those in the memorial tombs will be resurrected to a paradise earth.
  • An appendix (“What Are Sheol and Hades?”) argues against the existence of a place of fiery torment.
  • An appendix (“Judgment Day—What Is It?”) explains that the unrighteous who never knew about Jehovah will be given a chance to serve him during Christ’s millennial Kingdom.
  • Although Jesus will have a role in judging, Jehovah is the final judge.
  • Jesus was resurrected as a spirit creature, not as a human.
  • A “little flock” of 144,000 will also be raised as spirit creature and will rule over the earth with Christ from heaven.
  • Everyone else who is raised will be resurrected in physical form and live on a paradise earth.

 Chapter 8: What Is God’s Kingdom? (10 pages: 76-85)

  • Jesus will never return to the earth.
  • Only 144,000 Christians will ever go to heaven.
  • Earthly governments are about to be replaced by Jehovah’s Kingdom, which will usher in a paradise earth.
  • Jesus received kingly power from Jehovah in 1914.
  • The Watchtower correctly foresaw what would happen in 1914.
  • An appendix (“1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy”) explains the prophetic significance of 1914.

 Chapter 9: Are We Living in “the Last Days”? (10 pages: 86-95)

  • Jesus received kingly power in heaven in 1914.
  • Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth for a short time, which are known as “the Last Days.”
  • Evidence shows that this is happening now.
  • In a short time, Jehovah will punish the disobedient and reward the obedient.
  • An appendix (“Who Is Michael the Archangel?”) explains why the Watchtower believes that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.
  • The last days are marked by wars, food shortages, earthquakes, and pestilences
  • In the last days, many love money, and pleasures but do not love God.
  • During these last days, the good news of the Kingdom is being preached worldwide by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 Chapter 10: Spirit Creatures—How They Affect Us (10 pages: 86-95)

  • Angels were created by Jehovah through Jesus.
  • Demons mislead through tarot cards, crystal gazing, astrology, and palmistry.
  • Demons also mislead by posing as dead people being accessed through spirit mediums.
  • The dead have ceased to exist so they can’t be communicating.
  • We can resist Satan and demons with prayer but we need to use Jehovah’s name in our prayers.
  • Faithful angels come to the aid of those who serve Jehovah.
  • If we do God’s will and oppose the Devil, Satan will flee from us.

 Chapter 11: Why Does God Allow Suffering? (9 pages: 106-114)

  • God does not cause the bad conditions in the world.
  • God allows suffering to show all intelligent creatures the results of Satan’s rule
  • By calling God a liar and saying that He withholds good from His subjects, questioned Jehovah’s right to rule.
  • Jehovah will use his Son, the Ruler of the Messianic Kingdom, to end all human suffering and undo all its effects.
  • God is seeking sincere worshipers who will faithfully endure any suffering that may come upon them.
  • God gave us free will because he would rather have love than compulsion.
  • We can help prove Satan a liar and a miserable failure as a ruler.

 Chapter 12: Living in a Way That Pleases God (10 pages: 115-124)

  • We can become God’s friend by obeying him.
  • Satan has challenged the integrity of all humans.
  • We must shun practices that displease God.
  • We can please Jehovah by hating what he hates and loving what he loves.
  • Satan uses many methods to turn us from God, including getting others to oppose our studying the Bible and applying what we learn.
  • Satan can appear as an angel of light.
  • Satan may try to discourage us by convincing us that we are not good enough to please God, but we can prove our integrity to God.
  • We must love Jehovah with all our heart, which includes keeping his commandments.
  • We must avoid things Jehovah hates, including political involvement and misuse of blood.
  • Reading and studying the Bible and learning what God requires will help us desire to live in a way that pleases God.
  • Effort is required to strip ourselves of the “old personality” and put on the new.

  Chapter 13: A Godly View of Life (9 pages: 125-133)

  • To enjoy life to the full, we need to learn God’s laws and obey them.
  • Jehovah is against murder and abortion.
  • Jehovah commands us not to eat blood, which includes taking blood transfusions.
  • A Christian should die rather than disobey God regarding blood.

 Chapter 14: How to Make Your Family Life Happy (10 pages: 134-143)

  • A family is an organization, with the husband as the head.
  • Husbands need to love their wives as their own bodies.
  • Wives should love their family and respect their husbands.
  • Parents need to love, teach, and protect their children.
  • Children need to obey their parents.

 Chapter 15: Worship That God Approves (10 pages: 144-153)

  • There is only one true religion.
  • Six ways to identify the true religion.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses practice the worship God approves.
  • Babylon the Great is false religion.
  • An appendix (“Identifying ‘Babylon the Great’”) explains the Watchtower’s view of the world empire of false religion.
  • Babylon the Great teaches the trinity, immortality of soul and spirit, and hellfire, all of which are false.
  • The end is near so we should join true worshipers now.

 Chapter 16: Take Your Stand for True Worship (10 pages: 154-163)

  • Neither images nor ancestor worship have any place in true worship.
  • Jesus was not born in December, and his birth date is not important.
  • An appendix (“Was Jesus Born in December?”) argues that Jesus could not have been born on December 25.
  • It is wrong to take part in celebrations that have pagan origins, which includes birthdays and holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and Halloween.
  • An appendix (“Should We Celebrate Holidays?”) explains why Jehovah doesn’t want us to celebrate holidays.
  • True Christians should practice true worship and be tactful when they explain their beliefs to others.

 Chapter 17: Draw Close to God in of Prayer (10 pages: 164-173)

  • Regularly praying to Jehovah helps us draw close to him.
  • Jehovah, the “Hearer of prayer,” uses his angels, his earthly servants, his holy spirit, and his Word to answer prayers.
  • To have our prayers heard, we must give clear evidence that we have faith by the way we live every day.
  • Prayer requires humility and sincerity .
  • We must pray to the Father, Jehovah, through Jesus.
  • God’s name and God’s Kingdom should be our top prayer concerns.

 Chapter 18: Baptism and Your Relationship With God (10 pages: 174-183)

  • Water baptism by immersion is a requirement for all who want to have a relationship with Jehovah God.
  • Take steps to become an “unbaptized publisher.”
  • There are a number of steps required before you can be baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Baptism is a dedication to Jehovah God himself, not to a work, a cause, other humans, or an organization.
  • To make a dedication to Jehovah, we must disown ourselves, even as people disowned themselves to follow Jesus.
  • Baptism symbolizes dying to one’s former way of life and becoming alive to do God’s will.
  • Baptism is only the beginning; it does not guarantee salvation.
  • After baptism, you need to “keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

 Chapter 19: Remain in God’s Love (10 pages: 184-193)

  • We need to appreciate Jehovah and his Kingdom.
  • We show genuine love for God by obeying his commandments and applying his principles.
  • Studying God’s Word, praying to Jehovah in a heartfelt way, teaching others about him, and worshiping him at Christian meetings will help us to remain in God’s love.
  • Those who remain in God’s love have the hope of enjoying “the real life.”

Appendix: The Divine Name—Its Use and Meaning (pages 195-197)

 Appendix: How Daniel’s Prophecy Foretells the Messiah’s Arrival (pages 197-199)

 Appendix: Jesus Christ—The Promised Messiah (pages 199-201)

 Appendix: The Truth About the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (pages 201-204)

 Appendix: Why True Christians Do Not Use the Cross in Worship (pages 204-206)

 Appendix: The Lord’s Evening Meal—An Observance that Honors God (pages 206-208)

 Appendix: “Soul” and “Spirit”—What Do Those Terms Really Mean? (pages 208-211)

 Appendix: What Are Sheol and Hades? (pages 212-213)

 Appendix: Judgment Day—What Is It? (pages 213-215)

Appendix: 1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy (pages 215-218)

 Appendix: Who Is Michael the Archangel? (pages 218-219)

Appendix: Identifying “Babylon the Great” (pages 219-220)

Appendix: Was Jesus Born in December? (pages 221-222)

Appendix: Should We Celebrate Holidays? (pages 222-223)

Preparing to Use a Watchtower Study Book

Bible Teach 000b

Click image to access “Bible Teach” on the Watchtower’s website

Jehovah’s Witnesses will provide you with a paperback copy of their study book free of charge. As I mentioned at the start of this series, the study book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? is also available online at the Watchtower website.

  1. Establish Safeguards

In Chapter 4 of my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways, I advised my readers to establish safeguards before you begin ongoing Bible discussions with the Witnesses.

This is especially important when using “The Watchtower Study Book Approach” explained in this series. Continue reading

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