Today we begin a new series regarding what I call “The Watchtower Study Book Approach.”
This approach isn’t contained in my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways.
The objective of this approach is to use the current Watchtower study book as a springboard for employing the approaches set out in my book and discussed in this blog.
What is a Watchtower study book?
As I mentioned in a post in a previous series, Jehovah’s Witnesses offer people a “free home Bible study,” but that study is really a Watchtower book study.
The publication Witnesses use is a study book designed to teach householders the basics of Watchtower doctrine present Watchtower doctrine to potential converts through careful selection of Scriptures and arguments.
The Witnesses hope to use this book to persuade “studies” to become baptized and active Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves.
Why should you use a Watchtower study book at all?
- Often, Jehovah’s Witnesses will only engage in extended discussions with you if you are willing to let them teach you using such a book.
- Many Witnesses consider this to be God’s approved method of presenting “the truth” door-to-door and are uncomfortable with any other way.
- Even if you don’t want to invest the time to engage in numerous weekly encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you may find yourself trying to help a person who is studying with them. Knowing what their study book contains and how to refute it can be of great assistance to you.
- It helps you learn how Jehovah’s Witnesses draw people into the Watchtower—the points they make and often the order in which they make them.
Watchtower Study Book: What Does the Bible Really Teach?
Throughout this series, I’ll be referring to the Watchtower’s study book entitled What Does the Bible Really Teach?” (The Watchtower has a later, simpler version of this book entitled, What Can the Bible Teach Us?, but I’ll be using the “parent” version because it is more extensive and employs more Watchtower arguments.)
Also known as “Bible Teach,” What Does the Bible Really Teach? is available online free of charge at the Watchtower’s website. (If you study with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they may also give you a paperback edition.)
I will provide links for you throughout the series. They’ll be located in the graphic at the beginning of each post.
Please read this Watchtower study book all the way through. It doesn’t take long. In that way, you will know exactly what the book contains and where each topic can be found.
Then as I comment on “Bible Teach,” please read through the relevant portion along with my comments. In that way, you will learn the details of each chapter step by step, and what I have to say about it.
Then you can decide to what extent you would like to try this approach.
Advantages of the approach
- It puts the Witnesses at ease by allowing them to explain their beliefs to you using materials with which they are familiar.
- It provides you openings to discuss systematically a wide range of important Bible subjects with the Witnesses.
- By familiarizing yourself with the Watchtower study book in advance, you can know what topics will be covered in each session, and you can prepare your approaches and notes ahead of time.
- This type of study allows you to model critical thinking skills and ask questions that Witnesses should be asking but don’t. As you challenge the assumption that whatever the Watchtower says is true, you may be able to lead them to do so as well.
- Even if the Witnesses use a different study book than the one covered in this blog, its teachings will be the same. You can adapt my comments for use with any such Watchtower publication.
When to use this approach
In order to use this full approach, you would need to be passionate enough in your desire to lead the Witnesses to Christ that you are willing to commit to meeting with them an hour a week for as many as five or six months.
In order to be effective you will need to invest an additional 1-2 hours each week preparing for your meetings—by reading the upcoming Watchtower book chapter, studying the relevant sections of this book, and making handwritten notes to use when meeting with the Witnesses.
However, this isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.
Even if you never actually invest the time to use the full approach, learning how to analyze and respond to a Watchtower study book will give you greater confidence whenever you encounter Jehovah’s Witnesses and try to get through to them on any topic.