Because the Watchtower teaches that the Bible is God’s inspired and infallible Word, Jehovah’s Witnesses can never tell you, “Oh, I think the Bible is wrong about that.”
So showing them a Scripture that doesn’t match Watchtower theology can be very effective in getting through to them.
But what’s the best way to do this?
The best method I have found is to ask them to read the text out loud from their own Bible.
Let’s look at other options and see why they don’t work as well.
If you just ask them to read it over silently to themselves, there’s a good chance they’ll just scan it superficially.
Why? They think they already know what the Bible teaches, and they’ll be thinking about the next argument and proof text they want to cite to you.
If you read the text aloud yourself, often they only half listen because they will be looking for an opening to launch into one of their prepared Watchtower presentations.
The late Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults, put it this way: “Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t listen very well but they read just fine. So get their noses into the text.”
But isn’t there a danger they’ll be reading out of a faulty translation? Yes, but they’ll only really trust the Watchtower’s New World Translation anyway, and if they read it aloud you’ll be sure you know what it says. That will alert you to translation issues and you’ll be able to discuss them openly.
Choose wisely the length of passage you’re asking them to read.
Your goal should be to choose a passage that will show them a specific point while maintaining the integrity of the overall context.
If you have them read out a passage in a block that’s too large, they’ll get lost and miss the specifics you want them to see.
On the other hand, if you chop up the text into bites that are too small, you risk losing the context that’s necessary to a proper understanding. You’ll also end up asking them to read so many bites that it will get annoying and your point will get lost.
Don’t lecture—ask questions instead
After they’ve read aloud the passage, it will be tempting to launch into a mini-sermon about what it means: “You see, Paul is clearly teaching here A, B, and C, and that’s different than what the Watchtower teaches…”
That nearly always backfires.
Witnesses think they are in the truth and that you and I are pagans living in spiritual darkness.
Accordingly, even if you are rock solid in your understanding, lecturing them on what the Bible means is likely to cause offense and stir up opposition.
Asking questions about the passage is far more effective.
If they answer your question incorrectly, don’t argue with them. Simply look puzzled and ask follow-up questions.
As lawyers know (I used to be a judge), you can control the conversation by the questions you ask.