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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That People Can Understand the Bible on Their Own Without Watchtower Literature?

In actuality, Jehovah's Witnesses do believe individuals can understand the basic teachings of the Bible on their own. Our magazines have given many examples of individuals who accurately understood many Bible teachings without contact with Jehovah's Witnesses.

However, can they come to a complete knowledge of every doctrine on their own? The Bible and practical experience prove otherwise.

The Ethiopian eunuch is just one example showing that mere access to the Word of God and personally reading it is not enough to gain a complete knowledge. Only after Philip explained the prophecy to him was he was ready to be baptized as a disciple of Christ (Ac 8:27-38). That more is needed than merely reading the Bible by oneself can also be seen from Eph.4:11-13 (Cf. Mt.22:29; Jn.17:17). Another example is the resolution of the circumcision issue in Ac.15 (esp. 15:2,22-29; 16:4).

What we do not believe is that individuals can place their own interpretations on the Bible, which is what Christendom does. The Bible interprets itself (2Pt.1:20, 21; 3:15-16). And any personal interpretative efforts to get the sense out of Scripture will agree with the Scriptures as well as with true Christian doctrine.

However, God has always used an organized teaching method to disseminate his Truth i.e., Patriarchs, Prophets, Priests and Apostles. The current method is the True Christian Congregation. Paul identified this channel when he wrote that "there might be made known through the congregation the greatly diversified wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose that he formed in connection with the Christ, Jesus our Lord." (Eph.3:10, 11; Jn.6:67,68; Heb.13:17)

Daniel was inspired to write that the correct knowledge of his book would only come about in the time of the end (Dan.12:4,8,9). So, it should not be surprising that the wheat-like cleansed Christian congregation would be teaching others the correct understanding of prophetic types. And that the weed-like imitation Christians would not see it.

Jehovah's Witnesses give evidence that they are that present day organization by their strictly following Scriptural truth and by their fruitage (Mt.7:16-19; Jn.13:34,35).

What many fail to note is that Jehovah's Witnesses are repeatedly and constantly admonished that they cannot simply trust anyone else to tell them the Truth, but that they must study the Bible for themselves and make sure that they personally know and understand the facts. I regularly give a Public Talk which explicitly states that everyone must gain a personal knowledge of what and why they believe. I ask the audience the specific question: “Do you believe just because your parents or the Watchtower Society tells you to?” The sermon nowhere says that you must simply rely on some organization or person to tell you what to believe. Others can only assist us to search for and gather the evidence, but we must make it our own and confirm it further through personal experience.

So Jehovah's Witnesses are REQUIRED to read the Bible on their own. We also read and use standard reference works, lexicons and dictionaries from all types of authors. I personally have over 2000 books in my personal library, most of them reference works on the Bible or history. Logically, there are some which I have come to trust as being accurate and honest and others which I always double check because of their being less accurate or inconsistent.

It is the same with the literature from the Watchtower Society. Through extensive study individual Witnesses have come to trust the accuracy of the information the Watchtower presents. Through experience they have proven that all True Christians are associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses and this organization is the only one which gives solid evidence of being God’s means for disseminating accurate Biblical teaching. So, we do not blindly follow any organization but we also recognize those who give evidence of accurate teaching and are obedient to them (Heb.13:17,24; 1Thes. 5:12; 1Cor.16:16)

Further, Jehovah's Witnesses do not need Watchtower literature to prove their beliefs. The Bible is clear enough and other standard lexicons and dictionaries provide additional support.

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.


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