[Quotes from the Watchtower, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]
The theme for Jehovah’s Witnesses’ District Assembly for 1997 was “Faith in God’s Word”. In preparation, the June 15 WT had 3 articles on the Bible. Watchtower and Awake articles regularly promote Bible reading. In their door to door work Jehovah’s Witnesses offer Bible Studies to anyone who responds positively to their appeal. Yes, the WT appears to have the utmost confidence in the Bible, but does it trust the Bible above all else?
The Watchtower’s founder, Charles Russell, made this comparison between the Bible and his own books, known as “Studies in the Scriptures”:
“Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years - if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years..”
(WT Sept. 15, 1910, bound volume, p 4685, emphasis added)
So, did the founder of the WT have faith in the Bible or in his own books?
Has anything changed since Russell wrote that in 1910? We quote ...
· “we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ organization.” (Feb. 15, 1981)
· “..the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization ...” (Oct. 1, 1967)
· “Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do." (Dec. 1, 1981)
· The March 1, 1979 WT has these words emblazoned on it’s cover, “Put Faith in a Victorious Organization” and the inside article promises, “Our unwavering faith [in Jehovah’s visible organization] will be rewarded with ... the crown of life”.
· See also the March 15, 1997 WT page 15 and again p 17 where it encourages the study of God’s Word, but only with WT publications.
Most telling is the statement made in the August 15, 1981 WT, p 28, where the WT reprimands those Witnesses who had begun to study the Bible alone, “They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago.”
The WT’s endorsement of the Bible is still only window dressing, designed to recruit the unwary, and the promised Bible studies turn out to be book studies. The Watchtower trusts the publications put out by the Governing Body in Brooklyn more than the Bible.
Written by Greta Olsoe