The Watchtower teaches that the Bible alone is God’s inspired and infallible Word. Yet Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t study the Bible in context. Instead, they study Watchtower literature to find out what the Bible really means.
Watchtower leaders carefully select the passages that will be covered. As a result, there are many Scriptures of which Witnesses either have superficial knowledge or of which they are completely unaware. In addition, the Watchtower often hopscotches the Bible, connecting unrelated passages in a way that appears to teach its doctrines.
When they come to your door, Jehovah’s Witnesses will offer you “a free home Bible study.” If you accept, what you will get instead is a study of Watchtower doctrine out of a Watchtower book which gives you the Watchtower’s answers to questions posed by the Watchtower.
That’s not really a Bible study, even though Jehovah’s Witnesses think it is.
The best way to counter these methods of Watchtower indoctrination is to get the Witnesses to study the Bible in its original context, without any outside literature. Since they will not allow you to teach them, the best way to accomplish this is to ask them to take a Bible book and teach you what it means, paragraph-by-paragraph and verse-by-verse. Your role will be to ask good questions which the Witnesses have seldom, if ever, considered.
My wife and I once had two Jehovah’s Witnesses in our living room, and I suggested that they actually teach us out of the Bible. After all, Jehovah’s Witnesses say that they offer people a “free home Bible study.” They insisted on using their Watchtower study book instead.
I said, “I’m puzzled. Are you saying that your Watchtower book is better than the Bible? I mean, is it infallible and inspired like the Bible only better written or something?”
They denied that it was infallible like the Bible, so I said, “Fine, then why don’t we just stick to the Bible? I mean, Paul wrote his letters to the various congregations in the expectation that they would read them and understand them—at least understand his main points anyway—didn’t he? So let’s study Jehovah’s inspired Word itself. What’s wrong with that?”
The lead Witness, an elder, wouldn’t do it! He told me that it was clear to him that I wasn’t really interested in the truth. I said, “If you have the truth, then show it to me right out of the Bible. Here it is. Let’s study it.” He left and never returned.
However, his witnessing partner was very disturbed by this. He decided to come back the next week by himself because he didn’t want us coming to the conclusion that Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t willing to go strictly by the Bible. After several months of studying the Bible with us, he came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and disassociated himself and his family from the Watchtower.
We won’t always have such a great outcome, of course, but this example should encourage us to aim for a real Bible study. After all, faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17), and it’s important that we study the Word in context.
In future posts in this series, I’m going to discuss how to have a fruitful Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses using the New Testament book of Galatians.