What does a "Bible Study" from the JWs teach? I've been offered one, is it a good idea to accept? They tell me that they will just show me what they believe and why the believe that, that's it.
Sure, go for it. Whatever you decide, keep us posted.
You'll find it is not so much a bible study as it is a book study - and the book is a recent, glossed-over, soft peddling Watchtower Bible and Tract society publication. The person you would study with will have some preconceived notion of how far to get thru a book in any one session. You will be assured that if you will just go along with the paragraph-and-question mode, it will all make sense by the end.
Expect that once you are into a study, and once they decide that you've learned a certain amount, they will expect you to proceed to the next level. They will expect you to mature as a Christian by embracing what you have been taught. Here is where you will see a darker side, and here is where it is no longer just an explanation of their beliefs. The friend with whom you study is happy to be a friend with you because he/she thinks they can bring you into the truth. When you backpedal, you will lose that friend.
Some things to look for during a study:
- Circular logic. Witnesses are famous for their presenting their beliefs, then showing how they are the only ones that believe it, then concluding that they are the only ones doing God's will.
- Extraneous detail. The books are loaded with fluffy explanations that are designed to look like illucidations on the point at hand. But usually, they are just nice-sounding little apositives designed to get your head nodding.
- Foregone conclusions. JW books will often step up softly when they are trying to make a critical conclusion. Look for statements like 'history shows' or 'it is clear that'. The rest of the sentence will be an unbased conclusion. The hard part is that the rest of the book will refer to that conclusion as tho it were established fact. You will absolutely see that kind of explanation whenever they explain beliefs likke 1914 (return of Christ to a heavenly kingdom), 1919 (selection of WTS as the channel of God).
What you can do:
- Study. Read the book, or at least the entire chapter before the study with the JW. At the end of the chapter, make notes as to what you thought the writer was trying to convey in that chapter. Then go back to see if they actually made valid points. You see, the read-a-paragraph-and-ask-the-question-at-the-bottom-of-the-page mode actually interrupts any critical approach to the material. It is mind-numbing.
- Challenge. If they have the truth, they should be able to back it up. It shoulld make sense to you. If you are sincerely trying to understand, and they are sincerely trying to help you understand, then you will.
- Slow way the hell down. For every scripture thay cite, grab a bible and look it up. And I don't mean just the scripture snippet cited. Get ahold of some bible commentary - plenty of it on the web - and see what that book was for. See what the context is for the chapter. Read the surrounding verses yourself. You won't believe how oftern the scripture snippets are out of context. You'll even find citings that are designed to make you infer the exact opposite of what your research indicates to you.
That is so true. Also get the books "Crisis of Conscience" and " In search of Christian Freedom" by Raymond Franz. U can look online at book stores and that a peek inside.It will show you they are not Gods channel and are false and are very cult like. You must do research or you are going to fall in a trap and may not get out.Take care and keep us posted so we can help you.
Also The WTS or JW's like to bashs the UN or as they say the wild beast. However they were hooked up or a member of the UN from 1991 to Oct 2001. They will say it was to use their library.WRONG you don't need to be a member to use it.Also I don't think Jesus would go to Satan and become a member of his group to further the preaching work.Thats the stuff they won't tell U. If you do your research you will find all that out and more.
Also you know about the whole birthday thing. When that comes up use these scripts Job 1:4,5 (special day aka Birthdays), Rom 14:5,6 is good for dec. 25 etc etc, Luke 2:13,14 (The angels rejoiced when Jesus was born), Luke 2:42 (Are we really to conclude that the arrival of a person's birthday would produce no celebration or emotional response at all). Also Pharaoh & Herod will come up, here is the real answer. Was Its the birthdays or the MEN themselves? Obviously, it is the MEN who did the evil.There is nothing to suggest that these men did evil Because of their brithdays.These MEN did evil all the time not just on their birthdays. Also, in Genesis account Pharaoh also did some good by setting a men free on his birthday(JOSEPH).
You must do your homework or you'll get F in your head/mind.Take care
I have tried to get some information out of JW people with little success. One question that seems to steimy them is "who was the person that modified the Bible to come up with their version?" Also "what are the credentials of those individuals?"
As in all Bible studies, it isn't a "study". It is an endoctrination into an interpretation of the religious organization you are "studying" with. If you question them too much with apprpriate questiong, you will be kicked out of the study. Undesirable?
I agree with Buster's description. However, I'd suggest slowing way down with the questions, and don't make them too hard for the people/person who's studying with you. They are instructed that if they become too confused by your questions/comments, that you're likely being influenced by demons (if not an actual apostate), and they will cut short the indoctrination session. If you really want to continue the indoctrination, you're better off appearing a bit slow.
I agree with Blacksheep. If you are trying to make a point, they will scare away quite easily - but before they go away for good, they are likely to introduce a more senior member. He/she may may ask first, maybe not. But you will be expected to be intimidated by the awesome biblical experience now before you.
Phil: Just in case you still haven't been able to get answers to the questions you say you ask JWs, let me thro in a point or two:
- The JW's New World Translation (NWT) was translated by a committee led by none other than their doctrinal leader, Fred Franz. He is the JWs most pervasive thread thru the 20th century, culminating in his presidency during the 90's. You will be able to find out all you would like about him on this site, once the Search function is available.
- Fred Franz claimed to be a scholar in both Greek and Hebrew. He was neither, either by skill or education. He did go to college, and he did take some Greek - a year or two.
It wouldn't surprise me that JWs you may speak to have no such knowledge. Only old-timers would know. The WTS claims that the authors are not attributed in their WTS publications because they do not want to encourage any false idolatry. A cynic (me?) would claim that they hide from scholarly scrutiny.