This post goes out to any active Jehovah's Witnesses who are either actively engaged in or simply lurking the topics on this web site. My wife is a Jehovah's Witness who is currently an unbaptized publisher hoping (as she stated as her goal) to become baptized. Needless to say, I am not and we go to different churches (hers is the Kingdom Hall and mine is a small community church).
Anyway, this past Sunday (September 7, 2009) one of the brothers gave a talk about how some people pick a church based on the fact that it seems to "feel good to them" rather than base it on whether or not they truly teach the Bible. He commented on one woman with whom he was witnessing to that she held a different interpretation about a particular Bible passage (my wife did not state which passage) than what was apparently being said by that passage of scripture. This woman went to her pastor and asked him how did he arrive at the interpretation that he taught and he told her that sometimes we must "read between the lines."
She then later told this Jehovah's Witness brother her pastor's "read between the lines" explanation and of course the Jehovah's Witness took her up on the challenge and had her reread the passages to see if there is anyway she can arrive at her pastor's interpretation from a straight reading of the text. Turns out she couldn't and of course the Jehovah's Witness told her and his congregation something along the lines of how we must accept the Bible and what it really says and not infer a man's teaching of it where it does not seem to be present.
Upon hearing this, I challenged my wife with this question. "How come is it then that when I read the Bible alone for truth, you say that I am 'leaning on my own understanding?'" She of course, immediately tabled the subject matter (primarily because she had to leave town to visit an aunt) and the subject matter has not been brought up since. Given my past experience with her on critical thinking matters like this, she is quick to change the subject or tells me that she is only learning the "milk" of the "truth." So I doubt I will get an answer from her regarding this either.
So perhaps some of the Jehovah's Witnesses lurking these topics can help. How come on the one hand Jehovah's Witnesses (like the brother who gave the talk) can say that we should accept what the Bible says as it is without "reading between the lines" and adding some pastor's or some churches interpretation but on the hand have Jehovah's Witnesses tell us that if we read the Bible alone and consider only what the text says (again like this brother did to counter that pastor's interpretation), we're simply leaning onour own understanding? Is inferring Watchtower teachings on what the scriptures are saying simply another way of "reading between the lines?"
I encourage any and all Jehovah's Witnesses to check out this link. http://www.freeminds.org/v/WTV080115Biblestudies.html