Aid to Bible Understanding - can you help summarise any useful sections?

by Fernando 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Fernando

    Randall Watters presents the fascinating backstory of the "Aid Book", and the brouhaha surrounding it, in this article:

    "The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: The Critical Years 1975-1997"

    So far it seems the project to research and write the "Aid to Bible Understanding" revealed serious doctrinal and institutional flaws that the GB wanted to preserve nonetheless.

    It seems what Ray Franz and his team were learning, and were largely blocked from presenting:

    1. Legalism is apostasy (the making and keeping of many rules)
    2. Salvation is by faith not works
    3. A right and clean standing with God is not earned but rather imputed as a "free gift"
    4. The liberating gospel of grace (Romans and Galatians)
    5. The "Good News" or gospel message is about a lot more than the Watchtower's reductionist Kingdom (future, physical paradise on this earth)
    6. The two class system is unbiblical ("one hope", "one flock")
    7. Autocracy (and hierarchy?) is unbiblical
    8. Jerusalem was destroyed in 587-586 BC and not 607 BC (1914 date and calculations false)


    Are you able to find anything useful that slipped through into the "Aid Book" which either made it into the Insight Books or was dropped entirely?

    The 1971 "Aid Book" can be downloaded from:

    which links to

  • zeb
    1. "Jerusalem was destroyed in 587-586 BC and not 607 BC (1914 date and calculations false)"

    see; "The Gentile Times Reconsidered" x Jonsson for this matter in detail and also the reaction of the gb when told they are wrong.

  • Crazyguy

    I was told by a higher up that Riegnheart knew the 607 was BS and tried to get Ray Franz to stay away from the details but he didn't listen and went out and spoke with some history pros at some of the local colleges and then also Couldn't find any info at the museums either. It was this and the mediator subject that got so many thrown out of bethel in the early 80s.

    Riegnheart was one of the few that got out unscathed and was even contacted to do the insight books after he left. I think he agreed to collect what ever money they would give him until he got on his feet. He was able to live cheap invest in a place and retire with money in some retirement accounts. He recently sold his place for a nice profit so is retired and doing fine. He even helped out on some of the Greek translations of the new updated Septuagint bible that was published a few years ago.

    Isn't it weird that those who left gods house were able to make a life for themselves and retire with money etc. , while those that didn't mostly died poor broke destitute and ignorant.

  • Fernando

    Thank you zeb.

    I have managed to track down a pdf of "The Gentile Times Reconsidered":


    The original research behind the book inescapably brought the author on a collision course with the Watch Tower organization and — not unexpectedly — led to his excommunication as an “apostate” or heretic in July 1982. This dramatic story, not told in the first two editions, is now presented in the section of the Introduction titled “The expulsion.”

    End quote

  • Fernando

    Thank you for adding "mediator" Crazyguy.

  • slimboyfat

    I think the major thing that arose from the Aid book research was the replacement of the congregation overseer with the new elder arrangement in the congregations, and the replacement of the presidency with the governing body as the centre of power in the organisation as a whole.

  • careful

    SBF, a good observation.


    He even helped out on some of the Greek translations of the new updated Septuagint bible that was published a few years ago

    Do you mean the revised NWT of 2013? Surely you are not thinking of the translation of the Septuagint done by real scholars in 2007 and published by Oxford, and slightly revised in 2009. That was the first English translation of the Septuagint into English in over a century. Do you think that Reinhard Lengtat "helped out" with that?

    Fernando, I think it is in the old Aid book that I first saw a reference to the translation of the New Testament by George Woosung Wade (1934), an Anglican scholar, trained at Oxford with a doctorate of divinity, and who was a professor of Latin at St. David's College in Lampeter, Wales for 40 years. He was a liberal academic theologically and his NT translation is quite good. The Aid book cites it, if I recall correctly, at Rev. 19:1-6 because Wade used "Jehovah" in his translation of the four instances of "Hallelujah" there. Unfortunately, I never saw this excellent translation used again in any WTS publications. It has a lot to offer beside the use of the divine name at Rev. 19. I suppose it was deemed too liberal by WTS writers, a real shame.

    So there is one useful thing in the old Aid book that I can remember.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    I agree with SBFs comment that the major and most lasting effect of the Aid book research was the elder arrangement and governing body.

    The Insight Volumes are undoubtedly simply a rework of the Aid Book. Many parts of Insight are taken word for word from the Aid Book. What they did was take the Aid book, put in some pictures, enlarge the text, and change the wording only in the places where the text didn't support WT doctrine. there may have been some entirely new content, but not much.

  • slimboyfat

    It's also interesting to note what they left out of the Aid/Insight books. In particular they left out many of the speculative interpretations of Daniel and Revelation and the type/anti-type interpretations. A tacit admission even then, that most of this stuff would likely be scrapped at some point, so was better left out of their version of a Bible Encyclopedia if it was to have any longevity.

    Come to think on it, and without checking, I don't think there are entries for "this generation" or the UN as the "scarlet-coloured beast" either. They probably knew they'd have to revise the first, and didn't want to promote the latter in such a formal statement of doctrine.

    Also absent is any discussion of disfellowshipping or congregation discipline, which they claim is completely Bible based. If it's Bible based then why not discussed using Bible terms in a Bible dictionary?

    I should have checked before making these points but I think they're correct.

  • sparky1

    DISFELLOWSHIPPING. See Expelling. Aid to Bible Understanding page 454, 1971 Edition

    DISFELLOWSHIPPING. See Expelling. Insight on The Scriptures page 634, 1988 Edition

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