The Faithful and Discreet Slave


Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  • A group of 8 anointed brothers in the US called the Governing Body who direct the lives and preaching of 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses [1]
  • The “faithful and discreet slave class” was appointed in 1919 [2]
  • The “faithful and discreet slave” class has proven to be both faithful and discreet [3]
  • Proper interpretation of the Bible cannot be obtained without help from the “faithful and discreet slave” class of Jehovah’s Witnesses [4]


How has JW’s teaching on this changed over time?


What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Q1. Is Matthew 24:45-47 a prophecy or a parable?

Answer: Luke 12:41, a parallel account, calls it an “illustration” not a prophecy. This is the second in a series of 5 parables: the householder (24:42-44), faithful slave (24:45-47), wise virgins (25:1-13), talents (25:14-30), sheep and goats (25:31-46). All these parables apply to ALL believers from Jesus ascension to his second coming, not to a 100-year central leadership.

Luke 12:41-42 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?

Why did Jesus write to 7 individual churches (Rev 1-3) rather than any supposed central governing body? 

Q2. Who are referred to as slaves (stewards) in the New Testament?

Answer: All believers should be faithful slaves.

Matt 25:20-23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

1 Cor 4:1-2 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

1 Pet 4:10-11 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: … in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

(Also, John 21:15-17; Rom 12:6-8)

Q3. Were ‘anointed ones’ of the Watchtower organisation faithfully providing timely and nourishing spiritual food before 1919 when they claim to have been appointed by the Master?

Answer: The only ‘spiritual food’ distributed at that time was the ‘Finished Mystery [FM]’ book (1917) and the public speaking campaign “Millions Now Living Will Never Die!” (1918) – both of which were the basis of their preaching work. Would Jesus have chosen them on this basis? Please judge for yourself:  

Additional info here and free copy of Finished Mystery book here

Examples from the book Finished Mystery:

  • FM p.14 Charles Taze Russell is the faithful and wise servant
  • FM p.64 The remnant will be taken to heaven in 1918
  • FM p.68 A list of scriptures to prove that Jesus’ second advent occurred in 1874
  • FM p.85 The leviathan and behemoth mentioned in Job 41:2-19 are locomotives
  • FM p.93 The valiant men in Nahum 2:3 are the locomotive conductor and fireman
  • FM p.103 Num 4:46-48, the number of the great crowd will be 411,840,000
  • FM p.128 The churches and her millions of members will be destroyed April 27, 1918 (p.485, p.513, p.530)
  • FM p.171 The “Time of the End” started in 1799
  • FM p.178 The “Great Tribulation” started in 1914
  • FM p.188 Michael the Archangel is the Pope of Rome
  • FM p.230 Rev 14:20 gives the distance between Scranton, Pennsylvania (where this book was written) and Bethel in Brooklyn (where this book was printed) … 137.9 miles
  • FM p.273 The “glory” of the angel in Rev 18:1 enlightened the earth with such inventions as airplanes, the Panama Canal, vacuum cleaners, the books from the Watchtower, etc.
  • FM p.301 The Millennium started in 1874 with the second coming of Jesus
  • FM p.432 43. The preachers of Christianity say things that originate in their own imagination
  • FM p.483 Ezekiel 24:15-19 was fulfilled in God taking away Russell’s desire for his wife, as dead in his eyes, by God putting a spiritual plague over her
  • FM p.569 According to Ezekiel 40:1, the establishment of the Kingdom on earth will occur 13 years after 1918

Millions Now Living Will Never Die p.88

“What, then, should we expect to take place? The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favour, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth.”

[This book taught that the resurrection of faithful men of old was going to happen by 1925. They calculated that seventy jubilees of 50 years, 3,500 years starting from 1575 BC, would end in 1925. Hence it was confidently claimed millions living in 1918 would not die before this starling event! “The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914…” Watchtower 1924 Jul 15 p.211]

Additional info here

Also see our Prophecies Timeline 

Q4. Should we rely on an organization of men for the only correct interpretation of God’s word?

Answer: The Father and Son enlightens through the indwelling Spirit. Avoid false teachers and a dependency on scholars while appreciating that at times mature Christian teachers can assist our understanding.

Matt 16:16-17 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Acts 8:30-31 Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

[There were teachers in local congregations who were guided by God’s Word and Spirit. Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 12:29; Eph 4:11]

Gal 1:15-18 [He who] called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

1 John 2:26-27 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. [Avoid false teachers and a dependency on scholars, while appreciating the helpful insights of humble teachers]

(Also, Matt 18:20; John 14:26; 15:26; 1 John 5:20)


  • There is more than one faithful slave mentioned in Jesus’ parables
  • The “faithful and discreet slave” will be identified and rewarded when Christ returns in the future
  • The “faithful and discreet slave class” of Jehovah’s Witnesses has proven to be neither faithful nor discreet
  • Christians are taught primarily by the Bible and by the Holy Spirit, although Christian teachers can clarify and edify at times


  1. Watchtower 2013 July 15th pp 20-25
  2. Watchtower 2017 (simplified) Feb pp 20-26
  3. Watchtower 2013 July 15th pp 20-25
  4. Watchtower 1994 Oct 1st p 8

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