Where to Start?

by theundecided2004 15 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • theundecided2004

    Thanks for all of your suggestions. I do feel like I'm trying to do to many things at once sometimes, but I agree with jgnat in that I've been trying to individually read Bible books in their own contexts. Someone encouraged me to get reinstated if I think the GB runs the org-I'm not DF'd or DA'd but inactive and simply trying to leave, over time. I've never been more critical of the org in my life than now and there is no return in the near future, or movement into any religion at this point!

    And garybuss, I mis-stated what I was trying to say about Judaism. I was trying to say that I'd like to study how Christianity sprang from Judaism over time, since I don't really believe in faiths or Jesus as being necessarily divine but instead in terms of religious evolution with the times. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


  • garybuss
    I was trying to say that I'd like to study how Christianity sprang from Judaism over time, since I don't really believe in faiths or Jesus as being necessarily divine but instead in terms of religious evolution with the times.

    Cool! When you get that done, let's compare notes. The invention of historical Christianity is a favorite topic of mine. Don't forget to read The Age Of Reason by Thomas Paine if you haven't done that yet. It helped me get it all in perspective. The article "The Bible" in Encyclopedia Britannica and Karen Armstrong's book The History Of The Bible helped me understand the secular nature of the book.
    I enjoy challenging those who say god had a new testament and an old testament. A testament is a will, as in will and testament. I ask, God has two wills? Most have never thought about that. I didn't for many years. When I challenged my assumptions, my assumptions were mostly delusions. I love the sound of one of my blind beliefs hitting the trash can.

  • tdogg

    Also, availiable in this forum is the ever valuable and entertaining "Athiest Book of Bible Stories" written by an ex-JW. Dont let the "A" word scare you away, this book has some very good insight on the Bible and is a little on the lighter side.

  • Shining One
    Shining One


    My story is on the post I made in reply to Dave, thread "Explaning the hateful passages of the Bible". I can show you the differences between the JW, Catholic and Evangelical Protestant communities. Please do e-mail me.


  • Leolaia

    One popular book that helped me a lot in understanding the history of the Bible and how it was written is Azimov's Guide to the Bible (single-volume version, if you can find it). It's now a little dated, but it was written for a general audience and does a remarkable job in engaging the reader with the biblical text and explaining the views of Bible scholars.

    If you don't know biblical languages, I would recommend collecting a variety of translations and compare between them. But I think the most important thing is to read the text fully with its connected, full context. As JWs, we were not really taught the read the Bible this way, but rather jumping from isolated verse to proof-text, which disregards the context. It is much better to read, say, Romans with an eye on how Paul develops his argument and how he supports it and why Paul says the things he does. At the same time, I don't find it as helpful to read translations that do little to break the text into sections and subsections. That is why I like using the Jerusalem Bible version the most, because it takes each text and divides it into sections and subsections and subheadings and makes it very easy at a glance to see where the author is going or when one argument ends and another one begins.

    I would also recommend collecting other texts to understand the broader context of the Bible. I would especially recommend the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Apostolic Fathers, but also recommend some of the early church fathers (e.g. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, etc.). The first will help you understand how early Christianity drew on Second Temple Judaism, the second will show the closest Christian writings to the NT and how Christians developed many issues of faith discussed in the NT, and the third develops the concepts even further. All in all, these sources can show how Watchtower doctrine, which was arbitrarily constructed by texts confined to the current canon, frequently resembles nothing like what early Christians believed.

    Finally, getting a commentary (like the Interpreter's Bible) or a collection of commentaries would be another valuable part of trying to understand the text. But you may find that there is no end to this exploration. The text is like an abyss and the deeper you plunge into it, the more you realize that the process of discovery and learning can go on forever (often because of the ambiguities of the text and multiplicity of opinion on how to interpret it -- there often isn't any single "correct" interpretation).

  • carla

    First thing you should do is dump your NWT! find the research on your own as to why. carla

Share this