Written by former Jehovah’s Witness elder (now a Christian pastor) David Reed, this 139-page paperback has sold over 250,000 copies in five languages.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse begins with one-paragraph explanations of the Watchtower position on various doctrinal issues. These are good capsulized summaries of Watchtower dogma. A person who is unfamiliar with Watchtower teachings would do well to take in that information slowly and invest a good deal of time making sure they understand that foundational information before moving on to the heart of the book.
Primarily doctrinal, most of the book presents scriptural proof texts in Bible order, contrasting Watchtower interpretations with those of biblical Christianity. This is followed by one five-page chapter with general advice on how to share the gospel with Witnesses. This book is a very helpful resource for readers who find themselves stumped by specific Watchtower proof texts.
Anyone who has listened to lessons or doctrinal presentations by Jehovah’s Witnesses has faced a barrage of Bible proof texts employed to support Watchtower doctrines.
I can testify from firsthand experience that if you have no idea what is coming, such a presentation can be disorienting and even overwhelming. You have the feeling that the Watchtower is wrong, but you have never considered the verses they show you in the context in which the Witnesses are presenting them. Often, you have no idea how to respond.
I have found Reed’s book to be extremely helpful. It takes the very verses the Witnesses are citing to you and explains what they are trying to prove from that passage, what the passage really means, and where the Watchtower is wrong. It gives suggestions for conveying to Witnesses the correct understanding.
As an example, I can still remember the first time I heard Witnesses challenge the deity of Christ by citing John 14:28, where Jesus stated, “My Father is greater than I.” This seemed to disprove Jesus’ status as God Almighty.
In discussing this verse Reed warns, “Don’t let JW’s lead you into this trap.” He recommends that you show the Witnesses Philippians 2:6-7, which says that when Jesus became a man he humbled himself and took on a part of a servant. Hebrews 2:9 goes on to reveal that Christ was then made “lower than the angels” for the suffering of death. These facts are not a contradiction of the Trinity doctrine; they are a part of that doctrine. Reed cross-references his book’s discussion of Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1, John 20:28, and Revelation 1:6-7.
Despite its advantages, the verse-by-verse format is not designed to meet the reader’s need for comprehensive instruction on doctrinal issues or to provide approaches targeted to specific topics. Although entries frequently contain discussion of related passages, many times readers are required to skip to other entries in order to gain a deeper understanding of how various Bible passages interrelate.
The general witnessing advice near the end of the book seems to be to be an addendum, maybe even an afterthought. The advice is good, but I found myself wishing that the author had devoted many more pages to expanding on his suggestions.
Despite these limitations, over the years I have found Jehovah’s Witness Answered Verse by Verse to be a very helpful resource.
Have you been stumped by various Watchtower proof texts, wondering how to respond? Do you think a book such as this would be helpful to you?
Share your thoughts in the comments.