Bible teach Ch 12

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

Chapter 12 of “Bible Teach”—“Living in a Way that Pleases God”—is a continuation of the Watchtower’s works-oriented “prove your dedication to God” salvation system.

In dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s important for us to acknowledge the importance of obedience and good works in the Christian life.

That said, we also need to get across to them the Bible’s teachings:

  • That good works have no role in saving us
  • That without a transforming new birth, none of us can live up to God’s righteous standards.

For these reasons, I recommend that you respond to the contents of this chapter by using a combination of The Faith and Works Approach and The New Birth Approach from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways.

The biblical relationship of faith and works

Paragraph 1 (p. 115) asks, “What kind of a person would you choose as a friend? Very likely you would want the company of someone who shares your views, interests, and values. And you would be drawn to one who has fine qualities, such as honesty and kindness.”

Point out to the Witnesses that this projection of our own attitudes onto God is ironic, given that Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders for being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). It’s not that he approved of their sin; it’s that he loved them and died to save them and to transform their lives.

Paragraph 2 (p. 115) says, “Throughout history, God has chosen certain humans to be his close friends… God referred to David as ‘a man agreeable to my heart’ because he was the kind of person Jehovah loves.”

No mention is made of the fact that God loved David and continued to work in his life despite David’s great moral lapse in committing adultery and instigating the murder of the woman’s husband, Uriah, in order to cover it up.

Paragraph 3 (p. 115) concludes that “Jehovah draws close to those who humbly do what he asks of them.”

One of the objectives of The Faith and Works Approach is to show Jehovah’s Witnesses’ the biblical relationship between faith and works in the Christian life.

The entire approach should prove helpful, but I want to draw your attention specifically to pp. 95-97, where I focus on Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

Ask, “According to verse 9, what role does Paul say works played in his readers’ obtaining their salvation?” The answer is, “None.” If our works had a role in saving us, then we could boast about our faithfulness and loyalty to God.

Add, “Verse 10 does say that God has good works he wants us to do, but they are his works done through people whom he has already saved by faith. They are the product of salvation, not a prerequisite to salvation.”

As I said on page 97 of The Faith and Works Approach, you can use these equations to illustrate your point:

     It’s NOT “Faith + Works = Salvation.”

     Rather, it’s “Faith = Salvation + Works”[i]

The Watchtower puts works on the wrong side of the equation. In so doing, it keeps Jehovah’s Witnesses on an endless and fruitless treadmill of works, trying to achieve an inner righteousness that can only be received by faith as a free gift.

Paragraph 5 (p. 116) says, “…if you serve Jehovah with a complete heart, you can be as confident as the psalmist who said: ‘I keep Jehovah before me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken.’”

Ask, “Who except Jesus has actually served Jehovah with a complete heart?”

If they say that Jehovah will help us, ask, “If you have done well at keeping the Ten Commandments, how are you doing meeting the standards of the Sermon on the Mount—no lusting, no looking down on a brother, and so on?”


Next week, we’ll move forward in Chapter 12 by looking at what the book of Job is and isn’t about.


[i] Keith Walker, “Jesus 2.0”, video,