(1 John 4:1) 4 Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
But how does the WTS apply this scripture? To themselves?
*** w10 8/1 p. 4 What Do Many Fear? ***
Rather than merely accepting what others say, why not open a copy of the Bible and see for yourself what it says about the end of the world? What it teaches may surprise you.
*** w10 9/1 pp. 12-13 Guard Against Being Deceived ***
Rather than being deceived by what is “falsely called ‘knowledge,’” use God’s Word to establish the truth. (1 Timothy 6:20, 21) Be like the noble-minded men and women whom the apostle Paul preached to in Beroea. They “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind.” Not only were they keenly believing what the apostle Paul taught them but they were also “carefullyexaminingtheScripturesdaily as to whether these things were so.”—Acts 17:11.
You have nothing to fear from examining your beliefs in this way. In fact, the Bible encourages you to “make sure of all things” before accepting them as true. (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Toward the end of the first century C.E., the apostle John urged his fellow Christians: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) Yes, even though a certain religious teaching seems to be “inspired”—or to come from God—it is still the course of wisdom to examine the Scriptures to make sure before accepting it as true.—John 8:31, 32.
*** w06 7/1 p. 7 Finding True Enlightenment ***
Because there were so many misleading teachings and philosophies in his day, the apostle John warned first-century Christians: “Do not believe every inspired expression.” He said: “Test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) Think of it this way. If you received a message that could have a profound effect on your life, would you accept it at face value simply because it appeared to come from a good source? Of course not. You would check its source and test out its contents before you acted on it.
*** w06 12/1 p. 7 The Antichrist Exposed ***In view of the foregoing, we should heed the apostle John’s words not to take our religious beliefs lightly or for granted. “Do not believe every inspired expression,” he warns, “but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.”—1 John 4:1.
Consider the good example of certain “noble-minded” people who lived in the city of Beroea in the first century. They “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things [spoken by Paul and Silas] were so.” (Acts 17:10, 11) Yes, while eager to learn, the Beroeans made sure that what they heard and accepted was firmly rooted in the Scriptures.
*** w08 4/15 pp. 6-7 par. 18 Repudiate “Valueless Things” ***
The aged apostle John gave fine counsel in this regard.
(Read 1 John 4:1.) In harmony with John’s counsel, we always encourage those we meet in the preaching work to test what they have been taught by comparing it with the Bible. That is a good rule for us too. If any statements come to our ears that are critical of the truth or that cast aspersions on the congregation, the elders, or any of our brothers, we do not accept them at face value. Rather, we ask: “Is the one spreading this story acting in harmony with what the Bible says? Do these stories or allegations further Jehovah’s purpose? Do they promote the peace of the congregation?” Anything we hear that tears down the brotherhood rather than builds it up is a worthless thing.—2 Cor. 13:10, 11.
Yet the WTS applied this scripture reference this way in 1981 when they felt they were not subject to scrutiny. Yet the Bereans did scrutinize the so-called GB and Christians of their time in other places the WTS commends that. But not here.
*** w81 2/15 pp. 18-19 Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible? ***
A NOBLE-MINDED VIEW
How shall we view the spiritual food provided by this “faithful and discreet slave”? Should it be viewed critically—‘Oh, well, it might be true but then again it might not be and so we have to scrutinize it very critically’? Some apparently have felt that way about it. To support their way of thinking they have quoted Acts 17:11, which says of newly interested persons at Beroea: “Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”
But does this mean that those Beroeans were looking for flaws in the message they were hearing, or that their attitude was one of doubting? Does this set a precedent for regarding critically the publications brought forth by the “faithful and discreet slave,” with a view to finding fault? Not at all!
First of all, let us note the setting of the statement about the noble-minded Beroeans. Paul, accompanied by Silas, was on his second missionary tour. Due to persecution that arose, the brothers at Thessalonica sent them on to Beroea. In Beroea they met sincere Jews who had strong faith in God’s Word. These were not Christians yet. They were simply interested persons who had to satisfy themselves that what Paul was telling them had the support of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Up to this time, these devout Jews in Beroea may never have heard of Jesus Christ. What Paul was telling them was entirely new. So those noble-minded Jews in Beroea searched the Scriptures daily to make certain that the references that Paul gave were really part of God’s Word. And with what mental attitude did they pursue their studies? With a skeptical attitude, trying to prove Paul wrong? No, they were altogether unlike Paul’s critics on Mars Hill, for we read that they heard Paul’s testimony with “the greatest eagerness of mind.”—Acts 17:11, 32.
These Beroeans listened with a readiness, yes, an eagerness, to believe. Thus not only were they open-minded, but they were wanting to have this “good news” proved true. In fact, for a person to acquire faith he must have “the will to believe.” If he is determined not to believe, then no amount of evidence will convince him; for if a person looks for them he can always find excuses, plausible reasons for not accepting the accountability that belief will bring upon him. As the apostle Paul well said: “Faith is not a possession of all people.” (2 Thess. 3:2) But the Beroeans had the will to believe. They considered what they heard with a receptive frame of mind. As a result, “many of them became believers, and so did not a few of the reputable Greek women and of the men.”—Acts 17:12.
Jesus’ disciples wrote many letters to Christian congregations, to persons who were already in “the way of the truth.” (2 Pet. 2:2) But nowhere do we read that those brothers first, in a skeptical frame of mind, checked the Scriptures to make certain that those letters had Scriptural backing, that the writers really knew what they were talking about.
OUR VIEW OF THE “SLAVE”
We can benefit from this consideration. If we have once established what instrument God is using as his “slave” to dispense spiritual food to his people, surely Jehovah is not pleased if we receive that food as though it might contain something harmful. We should have confidence in the channel God is using. At the Brooklyn headquarters from which the Bible publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses emanate there are more mature Christian elders, both of the “remnant” and of the “other sheep,” than anywhere else upon earth.