The truth about JW “Bible Studies”
It’s not really a “Bible study” at all. A provided study book is your only guide. The Bible will be rarely opened, and when it is used, the JW only refers to and reads one or two verses at a time.
You hear a knock at your door. When you answer, you find one or more Jehovah’s Witnesses standing there. Oh yes, you remember them; they were the nice people who you spoke to a couple of weeks ago when they came by and left a free Watchtower and Awake! magazine with you. You were polite to them during that visit, so they have marked your address down for a “go-back” (revisit).
“Hello. We just wanted to stop by and drop off the latest issues of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines for you to read,” says a JW. “There are some really good articles in them announcing God’s kingdom that will soon rule the Earth.”
You reach out to accept the magazines and thank them. The JW continues, “We’d very much like to offer you the opportunity to have a free weekly Bible study in your home. This will be your opportunity to learn about all the great things that are promised to mankind within our lifetimes. You do have a Bible don’t you?”
After confirming that you do have a Bible somewhere around the house, but admit that you have hardly ever read it, you think about it and then respond that having a Bible study might be a good thing.
JW makes arrangements to come back in a few days to begin the Bible study sessions with you. You will be given a copy of a Watchtower study book and maybe a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the Watchtower’s own version of the Bible written in modern English.
As you study though, you find that the process has a certain pace to it and an unnatural feeling will come over you. When the JW comes to your home to conduct the “Bible study,” you will spend one hour a week reading through one of the Watchtower’s basic training books. Their book will be your only guide and the Bible will be rarely opened, and when it is, JW only reads one or two verses at a time.
“Why don’t you read the first paragraph in the study book?” JW asks. You do. Then JW reads the question at the bottom of the page and asks you to answer it from the paragraph that you just read.
JW might also suggest that you highlight that answer with a marking pen or underline it with a pencil. But the answer is seems so obvious that you wonder, “Why should I mark it? After all I can always find it again by simply reading the short paragraph.”
Then JW reads a paragraph. After asking you the next question, JW may add comments to expand on the information. But why? The paragraph supposedly says it all and it wasn’t that long to begin with. This procedure goes on and on for the rest of the hour.
But wait a minute! Wasn’t this going to be a “Bible study.” Yes, both you and JW had your Bibles handy and read a half-dozen verses from them during the hour, but you really didn’t “study the Bible,” did you?
After four to six weekly studies, the JW will invite you to come to the Kingdom Hall, to listen to the Sunday “public talk” and sit in on the Watchtower study. JW will tell you that the speaker will provide new information during the talk that will answer your questions about why “this system of things must come to an end and be replaced by Jehovah’s new heavens and a paradise new earth.”
If you go to the Kingdom Hall, you will hear a well-dressed gentleman give a 30-45 minute sermon that will explain that all men die because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden; that Jesus Christ came to Earth after being an archangel in heaven to die on a wooden stake as a sacrifice to remove Adam’s curse on man. Then he tells you that we are living in the “time of the end,” a period that started in 1914 and is soon to end with the great Battle of Armageddon. Every wicked person (that means those who are not faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses and you, if you don’t convert and become a Witness) is destroyed by God during Armageddon. Jehovah God will take a thousand years to beautify the Earth and turn it back into a Edenic paradise where Jehovah’s Witnesses will live forever along with resurrected faithful men of ancient times like Moses and David. Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who were faithful to “Jehovah’s organization” unto death will also be resurrected and given new, perfect bodies. Everyone will live forever in peace under the rule of Jesus Christ and 144,000 super-faithful anointed Christians who live in Heaven.
If you manage to get through that and the Watchtower magazine study that follows, you will pretty much know everything basic about the teachings of the Watchtower Society and how the Witnesses present them. If you go again the next week, you will hear a different sermon with a different title, but the basic information and flow will be exactly the same. The outlines for the 6-10 public talks all follow the same general teaching format with almost the same subject lists. They change a few words and add a few things to make them all sound a little different – but I can assure you that they are all the same. You hear one, you’ve heard all. “Rinse and repeat.”
What most new converts or those studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t realize is that what they have just experienced is pretty much what their lives will be like as long as they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They will find that the same material is rehashed over and over in exactly the same way: question, answers, read the paragraph – “rinse and repeat” so to speak.
Even though nothing really new is ever presented (except possibly at summer conventions), every JW is still expected to study the magazine or book the night before a meeting, highlight or underline the answers, and then dress up and come to the meetings to go over it all again word for word.
If someone actually volunteers a comment that expands upon the information being read, they will be often cut off in mid-sentence by the conductor and will get pulled to the side after the meeting and counseled not to do that again by one of the elders.
If you have not committed to being baptized, or at least regularly attend the Kingdom Hall meetings on your own after six months, the JW will let you know that the Bible study can not continue unless you promise to commit to becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses very soon.
This could be your last real opportunity to show JW the door and get your life and freedom back, so take it. You might get a couple more visits from JW (usually accompanied by one of the elders) trying to encourage you to make the choice to become a Witness and be a member of the local Kingdom Hall congregation. But consider your options very carefully because becoming a Jehovah’s Witness will change your life forever.
Trust me on this: You will never regret ending your association with Jehovah’s Witnesses before you commit to baptism. Once you commit to baptism, you will regret your decision for the rest of your life. You have locked yourself and your family into a life of boring, cultish practices and behavior.