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Scripture Explainer

Proverbs 8:22-23

“Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From ancient times I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth.”

 JW     Since Jesus was “produced” he must be a created being.

Does this refer to Jesus? No. In Proverbs 1-9, wisdom is personified, figuratively endowed with human qualities.

If Proverbs 8:22 is speaking literally about Christ, we must also say Christ is a woman crying in the street (Pr 1:20) who lives with someone named “Shrewdness” (Pr 8:12).

Most Bible scholars agree that in Proverbs 8:22 ‘possessed’ is the most accurate translation of ‘qanah’ and not ‘produced’.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten. Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun”

 JW     When someone dies, they cease to exist as a person, and their lifeless body is all that remains.

  • If the dead “no longer have any share in what is done under the sun”, what does this mean regarding their resurrection?
  • Are these verses the author’s final conclusions or rather a stage in his reasoning out how things appear from a human viewpoint? Eg. He argues back and forth on questions: is it better to be dead or alive? (Ecc 4:2-3, Ecc 9:4) what happens to man’s spirit? (Ecc 3:19-21, Ecc 12:7) what is the fate of the righteous? (Ecc 9:2-3, Ecc 12:13-14)
  • See Phil 1:21-23; Rev 6:9-11
  • Additional material        

Isaiah 9:6

JW Teach that God is the Almighty God while Jesus is a mighty God (see Insight Book p1202; Reasoning p403-404).

However, this can be easily discounted because:

  • Isaiah 10:20-22 says that Jehovah is the “mighty God.”
  • Jeremiah 32:18 also says, “the true God, the great and mighty One, whose name is Jehovah of armies”
  • Thus, the Bible knows no distinction between the mighty God and the Almighty God because Jehovah is repeatedly called mighty God

Ezekiel 18:4

  • What is the context?

Ezekiel was correcting a false teaching that Israelite children were punished for what their fathers did. He gave God’s reply: “The lives [nephesh] of all people belong to me – parents as well as children. However, only those who sin will be put to death.” (CEV) The prophet was not speaking here about the condition of the dead, but rather about individual rebellious Israelites being cut off from God’s living presence and ending up dead physically (cf. Eph 2:1).  Additional Info

  • What does the word “soul” mean?

The word “soul” (נֶפֶשׁ nephesh) occurs 754 times in the OT mostly referring to a person or his life, which in this sense of the word is mortal, as here in Ezekiel 18:4; see also Gen 2:7; 14:21; Ex 21:23; Lev 4:2; Josh 11:11, etc.

Soul can also refer to the inner part, the immaterial nature of man (ψυχή psyche in NT) that lives on after death (Matt 10:28; Rev 6:9-11, also see 2 Cor 5:8-10). The soul, the inner person, combines mind, will and emotions. Additional Info

  • The word “die” (מוּת mooth) also used in Ezekiel 18:4 occurs 842 times in the OT mostly in reference to the physical death of people, but not extinction, annihilation. Additional Info    

Matthew 24:13

“But the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”

 JW     You will lose your salvation if you don’t keep enduring till the end.

  • What does the word salvation refer to?

Vines Expository Dictionary gives us 9 meanings of the word sōzō (salvation) including “preserving life” physically. Link

  • What is the context of this scripture?

The first century Christians were facing physical persecution up to 70 AD.

The parallel account Luke 21:19 reads, “By your endurance you will protect your lives.” (ISV)

The surrounding verses (Luke 21:12-20), refer to the need for believers to act prudently during those years to protect their lives, eg. follow Jesus safety advice to flee when persecuted.

Many thereby did survive the destruction of Jerusalem. They lived to preach another day.

Matthew 24:14

“And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

JW     We are the only religion fulfilling this prophecy.

  • What is the good news of the kingdom?

Since 33 AD Christ reigns as king. God’s kingdom realm is a person, Jesus Christ. The reality of the kingdom appears when Jesus lives and reigns within us by faith (Matt 12:28-29; Col 1:13,27-29; Rom 14:17).

  • Was the gospel preached “in all the inhabited earth” in the first century?

Yes. (Luke 2:1; Acts 2:5; 11:28; Col 1:23; Rom 15:19)

  • The end of what will come?

The end of “these things” relating to Jerusalem, leading to its destruction in 70AD, in that generation (Matt 23:36; 24:2,16,34)

  • What is the message today?

“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:20-21 ESV)

  • Today, most Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which includes proselytism. There are many unreached people groups.
  • Additional Info

Matthew 24:34

“Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.”

JW     After numerous changes, the organisation teaches that “the lives of the anointed ones who were on hand when the sign began to be evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of the other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation.” (Wt 2010 June 15 p.5)

  • What does the book of Matthew 23 and 24 mean by “generation”?

The context of Matt 24:1-35 appears to refer to the “last days” of Jerusalem – a period of less than 40 years ie.33 -70 AD. Similarly, Matt 23:36 refers to “all these things” and “this generation” regarding that city (cf. Luke 17:25).

  • Does Matthew mean a generation of “anointed” Christians?

Matthew invariably uses the word generation (genea) to mean wicked people (Matt 11:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36)

  • How long was a generation as used in Matthew?

Matthew chapter 1 contains the family tree of Jesus running back over 2000 years, so 42 generations would average out around 45 years. Additional Detail

Matthew 24:45-47

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?”

 JW     This is a prophecy identifying their governing body as God’s one true channel since 1919: presently 8 men in Warwick, USA.

  • Is this a parable?

Yes, Luke 12:41 calls it an “illustration” not a prophecy. This is the second in a series of 5 parables: the householder; discreet slave; wise virgins; talents; sheep and goats.

  • What do these 5 parables have in common?

The counsel applies to ALL believers to watch and work, from Jesus ascension to his second coming. Why should one parable be interpreted to apply to 8 or so men in USA for just 100 years?

  • Are all believers called faithful slaves or stewards in the NT?

Yes. 1 Pet 4:10-11; 1 Cor 4:1-2; Rom 12:6-8; John 21:15-17.

Luke 22:19

“He took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body, which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”

 JW     Only the remaining ones of the 144,000 partake of the bread and wine once a year. Millions of others attend to observe but not to partake.

  • Does “keep doing this” simply mean attending the annual Memorial?

Doing this” means obeying the command to eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus (1 Cor 10:16-18; 1 Cor 11:25-26). Wouldn’t attending a meal, passing dishes but refusing to eat, show gross disrespect for a host? Would non-partaking of the emblems suggest a rejection of Jesus as your saviour and mediator?

  • What is the basis for forgiveness of sins?

“Drink out of it, all of you, for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matt 26:27-28) Refusal to drink means refusal of his covenant for your forgiveness.

  • What is the basis of receiving life?

“Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53)

  • Does eating and drinking “unworthily” mean partaking without being sure of the heavenly hope? (1 Cor 11:27-29)

No. It describes some in the 1st century Corinthian congregation who all shared the heavenly hope yet partook in a disrespectful manner (1 Cor 11:21-22).

John 1:1-3

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god…. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence”

JW     Jesus had a beginning and was “a god” but not almighty God.

  • Why do all mainstream Greek scholars disagree with the NWT?

Let these scholars explain why the last part of John 1:1 reads: “kai (here the Greek text omits ‘ho’, ‘the’) theos en ho logos”, it should read “and the word was God”: 

C. Colwell: “…predicate nouns preceding the verb cannot be regarded as indefinite – or qualitative simply because they lack the article; it could be regarded as indefinite or qualitative only if this is demanded by the context, and in the case of John 1:1 this is not so.” (Journal of Biblical Literature, 52 (1933), p. 20)

Dr. William Barclay: “John 1:1 translated, “the Word was a god’, a translation which is grammatically impossible. It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest. (The Expository Times Nov, 1985)

Philip B. Harner: (who is misquoted in the WT Interlinear appendix) writes “Because of the word order used by John, the verse can only be interpreted to mean that the Word (Jesus) was God in the same sense as the Father.”

Dr. F. F. Bruce: “Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with `God’ in the phrase `And the Word was    God’. Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicate construction. `a god’ would be totally indefensible.”

Additional Detail here and here

  • Is the NWT consistent in following its own ruling?

There are 282 places in the New Testament where, according to the NWT translation principle, the NWT should have translated ‘a god’ but in fact they ignore this rule of ‘a god’ 94% of the time! If we examine the passages where the article (the) is not used with “theos” we see the rendering “a god” makes no sense (Matt 5:9; 6:24; Luke 1:35,78; 2:40; John 3:2,21; 9:16,33; Rom 1:7,17,18; 1 Cor 1:30; 15:10; Phil 2:11,13; Titus 1:1).

If the NWT followed this principle in the rest of John 1, verse 4 would read “by means of him was a life”; verse 6 would read “There came a man sent from a God whose name was a John”

Other examples: 1 John 4:16 “God is love” is not translated “a love”.

          1 John1:5 “God is light” … he is not “a light” or a lesser light.

  • Does John 1:1 mean that Jesus was just divine quality?

If John had wanted to say that the Word was merely in some sense divine (“a god”), he would have used the adjective ‘theios’ (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). Christ, being distinct from the Father, was nonetheless God, of identical essence.  

  • Did Thomas call Jesus “a god” in John 20:28?

In the Greek, Thomas said to Jesus, “The Lord of me, and the God of me.”   If Jesus was not God, but “a” god, then shouldn’t Jesus have corrected Thomas? “No, Thomas, I am not the God. I am a god.”

No, there can only be one God (Deut 6:4Isa 43:10). John, a strict Jew, a monotheist, would never say there was more than one God in existence.

Idols and angels – including Satan and demons – may be falsely viewed as being gods, but Jehovah remains the only God: “See now that I – I am he, and there are no gods apart from me.” (Deut 4:39Deut 32:16,17,21,39Gal 4:8)

  • Is Jesus a “true god”, but a lesser god, a ‘mighty god’ but not Almighty? Read Isaiah 10:21(Jer 32:18) where Jehovah himself is called the Mighty God as Jesus is in Isaiah 9:6.

(Moses was not called a god; rather, he would be “as God.” – Exod 4:167:1. Also, judges, the unrighteous rulers of Israel, received the title “gods” because they received a divine commission, representing YHWH; not   that they were divine, but that they had the power of life and death in their judgments. – John 10:34Ps 82:1,6)

Additional info here and here

  • Did the Word have a beginning?

We are told that in the beginning the Word already “was”, that is, already there, present, therefore he did not have a beginning. If someone were to say “In the beginning was Jehovah,” it would not imply that Jehovah was a created being, but the exact opposite of that.

  • What does it mean that “All things came into existence through him”?

If the Word were Himself a creation, this would be utter nonsense! He could not come into existence through Himself.

Additional info here 

John 3:16

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life”

JW     Jesus is the sole direct creation of Jehovah, having a beginning. We must continually exercise faith in him to gain everlasting life.

  • What does “only begotten Son” mean?

When used of Christ, “only begotten” (monogenes) means “unique” and “only beloved.” (Heb 11:17)

C S Lewis: “When you beget something you beget something that is the same kind as yourself: a man begets human babies, and beaver begets beavers. But when you make, you make of a kind different from yourself: birds make nests, beavers make dams…. What God begets is God; as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man creates is not man.” Lewis is saying that if God “begat” Jesus, then Jesus was God.

  • Is the phrase “exercising faith” in the Greek text?

The Greek Interlinear correctly renders the verb pisteuō six times in John 3 as ‘believing’ in verses John 3:12,15,16,18,36. Why does the NWT change this to ‘exercising faith’ in three of these cases: eg. verses John 3:16,18,36? Why add the word ‘exercise’ to the original text, unless it is to create the impression that our works save us? (cf. Eph 2:8-10; Rom 4:3-4) Works do not produce salvation but genuine salvation works.

  • What does the NT mean by “everlasting life”?

Jesus made it plain that, for those believing in him, everlasting life is a present time possession which will continue without end. Notice the present tense in John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47 and 1 John 5:11-12.

It means having a close relationship with God and Jesus. Not merely the duration of life but the godly quality of life even now.

Additional info

John 10:16

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.”

 JW     Jesus was foretelling an event 2000 years ahead, the appearance of two groups: 144,000 ruling from heaven over a larger group on earth.

  • How does John explain the meaning of John 10:16 in the next few pages? John 11:51-52 and 12:32 shows the Gentiles are also to be drawn to Christ.

Were not Cornelius and thousands of Gentiles invited into the Kingdom of heaven alongside the Jews? (Acts 10:45; Acts 13:46)

  • What united the two groups into one?

Ephesians 2:13-14 says, “In union with Christ Jesus, you who were far off (gentiles) have come to be near by the blood of the Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made the two groups one and destroyed the wall in between that fenced them off.” 

  • How many hopes does the NT speak of?

Just “one hope,” just as there is only “one body … one spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all.” (Eph 4:4-5) The “one hope” is “reserved in the heavens” for “everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ.” (1 Pet 1:4; 1 John 5:1)

John 14:10

John 14:10 NWT: “Do you not believe that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me? The things I say to you I do not speak of my own originality, but the Father who remains in union with me is doing his works.”

JW’s have replaced the word ‘in’ with ‘in union’ to support their unique teachings

John 14:28

“If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am.”

 JW     The Son is subordinate to God.

  • Why did Jesus say this?

If Jesus’ disciples truly loved him, they would be glad that he is returning to his Father, to the sphere where he belongs, to the glory he had with the Father before the world began (John 17:5).

  • So, what was different about Jesus position on earth?

As a man he was temporarily in a lower position, “made for a little while lower than the angels” (Heb 2:9; Phil 2:5-8) His heavenly glory laid aside, the Father had greater glory than the Son during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

  • Did Jesus have 2 natures?

Yes, divine and human. Just as God, although greater, shares the same divine nature as His Son, so in a marriage relationship a husband is greater in position and authority than his wife, being her head (Eph. 5:23); but they share the same nature, being human.

Additional info

Acts 13:48

“When those of the nations heard this, they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah, and all those who were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers.”

 JW     Those with a certain disposition or spiritual attitude respond to the good news.

  •  Is “rightly disposed” the correct translation?

The Greek verb τάσσω means to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint, to ordain. The NWT replaces “ordained” (a divine appointment) with “rightly disposed” (a human inclination). The truth is that because they were ‘appointed’ to eternal life, they believed … not the other way around.

Neither character nor works contribute to our salvation but salvation, gifted by grace, will change our character (2 Tim 1:9). Consider for example, Zacchaeus, the thief on the cross, the Philippian jailor and Paul.

  • How does the NWT use this word in other places?

Where this same Greek verb occurs in 7 other places the NWT has rendered it correctly as either “arranged, stand placed or devoted to” (Matt 28:16; Luke 7:8; Acts 15:2; 22:10; 28:23; Rom 13:1; 1 Cor 16:5)

Is this a bias of the translators against the Christian teaching of election? (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:4) No other Bible translations use such a faulty rendering at Acts 13:48.

Acts 15:29

  • Why was the instruction given in Acts 15?

The Jerusalem elders proposed that newly converted, saved Gentiles abstain from pagan practices that were violations of the law of Moses so as not to stumble Jewish believers. See Acts 15:29

Leviticus 17:1-18:27 records the same 4 prohibitions listed in just the same order as Acts 15:20,29, not only for Israelites but also for all immigrants:

(i) food once offered to idol gods (if eaten as part of pagan temple feasts; otherwise conscience was exercised – 1 Cor 8)

(ii) things strangled (drinking the undrained blood of a slain animal)

(ii) blood (as a dietary restriction – 1 Sam 14:34)

(iv) sexual immorality (eg. orgies associated with pagan worship)

The 4 prohibitions’ original basis was in Noah’s day: Gen 8:20; 9:1,4,6.

 Additional Info        

  • Eating blood from what source was proscribed?

The dietary regulations in the Law of Moses proscribed eating blood from animals killed for food, not the use of blood in a medical procedure, from a voluntary living donor.

  • Isn’t life more precious than law?

The Rabbinic principle of Pikuach Nefesh, appealed to by Jesus at Matt 12:11-12; Luke 6:9, dictates that the Law be superseded if it would result in loss of life. If this applies to Sabbath breaking to bring about healing and preserving of life, why wouldn’t it apply to blood as well?

  • Can we really compare transfusing blood with ‘intravenous feeding’?

The medical practice of ‘intravenous feeding’ (a figurative expression) cannot be equated with “eating blood” (a literal expression). The physical processes of the body in receiving human blood into the veins are vastly different from consuming large quantities of animal blood that would go to the stomach.

  • Is abstaining from blood like abstaining from alcohol?

This is an illogical analogy because:

(a) it would not prevent a doctor administering an alcohol-based disinfectant to a laceration.

(b) blood introduced in the veins immediately circulates as blood but blood orally ingested first needs to be broken down into simple components, whereas alcohol taken orally and injected enters the bloodstream directly without being broken down.

(c) Neurologist Dr. Osamu Muramoto compares this analogy to “the refusal of a heart transplant on the basis that a doctor warned a patient to abstain from eating meat because of his high cholesterol level.”

  • How about using blood fractions?

The Watchtower states blood must not be stored yet contrariwise allows blood fractions – derived from stored blood – as a conscience matter. (Wt 2000 June 15th p31) If fractions are allowed but not full blood; would it be allowable for a thief to steal components of your car but not the whole car?

  • Conclusion?

Demanding that Acts 15:29 means never taking any kind of blood into the body for any reason in any way is going far beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6). Extra information here and here

Acts 20:20

  • Are JWs the only ones who preach door to door?

Aside from Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists, who have similar or greater success than JWs, (See FAQ) ‘Every Home for Christ’ began door-to-door preaching in 1953, and as of 2018 have visited 2.2 billion homes throughout many countries. Additional info at here and here.

  • What is the context of Acts 20?

Paul was reviewing how he had taught the Ephesian elders (“you”) “publicly and from house to house.” He had preached Christ to them publicly and since then had made visits in their homes. Before churches were first built at the end of the second century Christians met in house group: Acts 2:46; 5:42; 12:12; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:9; Col 4:15; Philem 2.

  • What do cross references show?

Note Acts 2:46, “they took their meals in different homes” – a hospitable sharing between believers. Also, 1 Tim 5:13, younger widows gossiping “from one house to another” – should we assume they called systematically on all the homes in the community!

  • What does the Greek mean?

While most Bibles translate “κατʼ οἴκους” as “house to house”, the meaning of this distributive phrase is “in your houses” (A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament p. 422). The NWT Reference Bible (1984) itself carries a footnote at Acts 20:20 acknowledging that the Greek could mean “in private houses“?

  • Are JWs just following the first century pattern?

Even if the Watchtower interpretation was correct, should everything from 1st century Christianity be a pattern for the 21st century? For example, in the early church “no one called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything.” (Acts 4:32, GW) Do JWs redistribute all their wealth and property so that it can be equally distributed among the poorer ones in their local Kingdom Hall?

Another example, In the NWT there are over 30 references to Jesus disciples preaching in the synagogues, marketplace and temple and only 3 that use the term ‘house to house’. Do JWs preach in synagogues or churches?

  • Do JWs preach the correct message?

“Every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42) Please read Acts 8:4-17 where the Christians declared the “good news of the word” (Acts 8:4), preached “the Christ” (Acts 8:5), declared “the good news of the kingdom of God” (Acts 8:12) and “baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16). Are JWs identified as preaching the Christ and baptising “in the name of the Lord Jesus”? (Matt 28:19)

1 Corinthians 1:10

“Now I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all speak in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you may be completely united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.”

 JW     All must be united in thinking and beliefs. Independent or critical thinking is not approved; nor are private group discussions which are not arranged by the congregation.

  • What is the context of this passage? (1 Cor 1:9-17)

Many in Corinth were following men instead of focusing on their relationship with Christ, their one leader. This is no prohibition on discussing different views of scripture while recognising Christ as head, but a prohibition on unconditional submission to a man or a body of men.

  • How important is a relationship with Christ to you?

In the first ten verses (1 Cor 1:1-10) Christ is mentioned 10 times. As believers conform to Him and the Holy Spirit, they will come into alignment with each other. The goal is not perfect conformity, but unity in Christ.  Divergent views do not have to mean division (see Rom 14:5-6).

1 Corinthians 11:3

“But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.”

 JW     Since God is the head of Christ, Christ cannot be God in the same sense the Father is.

  •  1 Cor 11:3 is not discussing superiority of one person over another; but patterns of authority. Paul in this same verse says the man is the head of the woman, even though men and women are equal in their essential nature. They are both human and both are created in Gods image. Also, they are said to be “one” in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
  • Equality of being and social hierarchy is not mutually exclusive. During His earthly ministry, the Son voluntarily submitted to the headship of God the Father, yet Christ was equal with the Father in terms of his divine nature.

Philippians 2:10

“In the name of Jesus every knee should bend – of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground.”

JW     We should never pray to Jesus, only through him.

  • Have you considered these scriptures?

John 14:14 “If you ask me anything in my name I will do it.” (Byington, KIT) The word “me” is found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.

Acts 7:59 “As they were stoning Stephen, he made this appeal: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Greek text, “calling upon”)

1 Cor 1:2 “those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This phrase in the OT designated prayer to God (Ps 116:4).

Additional Info

2 Cor 12:8 “Three times I begged the Lord about this.” In Paul’s writings, “Lord” (kurios) usually signifies Jesus, while “God” denotes the Father.

Rev 22:20 “Yes, I am coming quickly.’” “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” John could easily have said, “Father, may the Son come.”

  • Also, Acts 9:6,10-17; 1 Tim 1:12;1 John 1:3

Philippians 2:12

“Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

JW     It takes serious work to gain salvation; salvation can be lost.

  •  We are to work OUT in life our already worked IN gift of salvation. We are not saved by our worth but by birth (John 1:12-13); not by what we do but by what Jesus has already done for us. It is all of grace not works (Eph 2:8).
  • If we did not do good works to get saved as a son of God, then how can we do bad works to be unsaved and lose sonship? (Rom 11:6)
  • What scripture support eternal security?

John 5:24; 6:37,39; 10:27-30;

Rom 8:1;

1 Cor 1:8-9;

Phil 1:6;

1 John 5:13.

No believers are said to have lost their salvation, becoming un-sealed.

Colossians 1:15

Colossians 1:15 RNWT: “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.”

JW say that “firstborn” means first created. It doesn’t.

  • The Greek word prototokos, which is translated as firstborn, can refer to different things: to something or someone that is first in order of time, such as a firstborn child, or to someone who is preeminent in rank. Or it could refer to someone who was both firstborn and preeminent in rank. It all depends upon the context. Note these examples:

Psalm 89:27 “And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” (The Greek Septuagint translates the Hebrew here with the same Greek word in Colossians 1:15, prototokos). In this example the term firstborn obviously speaks of preeminence in rank. David was preeminent among the kings of Israel. However, he was not the oldest, or firstborn, in his family. David was in fact the youngest. Therefore, in this context, the idea of firstborn among the kings has the idea of preeminence and does not have the idea of time.

Gen 25:23; 27:32 [Younger Jacob, was viewed as firstborn, not older brother Esau]

Exodus 4:22 [Israel was firstborn, ‘most dear to God’; this is nothing to do with birth order since they were not the first nation created]

1 Chron 5:1-2 [Reuben’s firstborn rights were passed to Joseph]

Jer 31:9 [Ephraim is called firstborn, whereas Manasseh was born first]

  • If Paul wanted to teach that Jesus was “first-created” he would have chosen a different Greek word protoktisis, not first-born prototokos. First-created (protoktisis) is never used of Christ in New Testament.
  • A number of translations read, “The firstborn over all creation”. The NET bible explains, “The genitive construction πάσης κτίσεως (pasēs ktiseōs) is a genitive of subordination and is therefore translated as “over all creation.”
  • Dr Barclay summarises, “Clearly firstborn is not used in a time sense at all, but in the sense of special honour. So, when Paul says of the Son that he is the firstborn of all creation, he means that the highest honour which creation holds belongs to him.” (The Daily Study Bible -Colossians p.118)

Additional Link One

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Colossians 1:16-17

Colossians 1:16-17 RNWT: “because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist.”

JW say all “other” things were created by Jesus implying that He is also created.

  • This is a section where Jesus is described as being the creator of all things. Since JW’s believes that Jesus is created, they have inserted the word “other” to show that Jesus was before all “other” things that were created, implying that He is also created.
  • The word “other” is inserted four times in the NWT, with no explanatory footnote. It is not in the original Greek, nor is it implied. Out of all the parallel translations listed here http://biblehub.com/colossians/1-16.htm none have “other” in the text.
  • There are two Greek words for “other”: heteros, and allos. The first means another of a different kind, and the second means another of the same kind. Neither is used at all in this section of scripture. Therefore, the RNWT bible has been changed to support JW theology.
  • Some see a problem with adding “other” in Colossians in that it contradicts other scriptures saying that all things where created through Jesus, for example, John 1:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2 where there are no mentions of “other”.
  • “The Gnostics taught that there were various ranks and classes of spirit beings between God and matter, and that Christ belonged to one of these classes… Here Paul vigorously refutes such absurd notions by stating in the clearest possible terms that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of angels—in fact, of all beings, whether visible or invisible.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary p.1994)

1 Thessalonians 4:16

“The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”

JW     Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel

  • Jesus’ voice is of an archangel, then isn’t Jesus an archangel?

The “voice of an archangel” is not necessarily Jesus’ own voice ie. the king comes with an archangel announcing Him as His herald.

  • If Jesus coming ‘with an archangel’s voice’ means he is an archangel, wouldn’t him coming ‘with God’s trumpet’ mean that he is God?  
  • Doesn’t “an” archangel imply that there are more than one? In which case Jesus wouldn’t necessarily be Michael anyway.
  • Why does Daniel 10:13 calls Michael “one of the foremost princes” – one among a group of princes? But Jesus is “King of kings and Lord of lords”.
  • Why does Heb 1:4 say that Jesus is better than the angels? (Heb 1:5,13).
  • Why does Heb 2:5 tells us that the world will not be in subjection to angels?
  • Why doesn’t Michael have the authority in himself to rebuke Satan (Jude 9), yet Jesus rebuked the devil and demons? (Matt 17:18Mark 9:25)
  • Additional info

2 Timothy 3:1-5

“But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money…”

JW     The last days began in 1914; world conditions are worsening.

  •  Did the “last days” include Timothy’s times?

Yes. Paul warned him to “turn away from” deceivers and to “continue in the things” he had learned because of the presence of “wicked men… advancing from bad to worse.” (2 Tim 3:5,13,14)

  • How long are the “last days”?

Acts 2:17. Luke writes that “in the last days,” God says, “I will pour out some of my spirit.” This prophecy from Joel started fulfillment in Pentecost 33 AD.

Hebrews 1:2 says that God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” which refers to His first coming.

2 Peter 3:3-4, “in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule” …       saying, “Where is the promised presence of his?” The last days reaching to Jesus second coming. (James 5:3; Jude 18)

  • Therefore many reason that the “last days” began with Christ’s first coming, continued through Pentecost and come to their culmination at His second coming.
  • Additional Info

Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.”

 JW     It is necessary to prepare, attend and participate in all the meetings.    Any Israelite not attending Passover was “cut off” in death. (Wt 99 Nov 15th p20)

  • What is the context of Heb 10?

Some of the Jews in Jerusalem, who had been attending Christian meetings that emphasised new covenant grace, were abandoning Christ by returning to the legalistic religion of Judaism at the Temple.

  • Where can we go?

The question is “whom shall we go away to?” Answer: Jesus (John 6:68).

Many find it beneficial to meet in homes just as Christians did – at least until the end of the 3rd century – even if just 2 or 3 are present (Matt 18:20). The number present is irrelevant; Jesus presence is what matters.

  • Shouldn’t non meeting attenders feel guilty?

Illness, work, distance or difficulty finding a fellowship, could be legitimate reasons for not attending regularly.

We need not feel guilty but can keep in contact with relative ease in this technological age. Admittedly, face to face association is more desirable (Rom 1:11-12; 2 John 12).

Hebrews 12:6

“For those whom Jehovah loves he disciplines, in fact, he scourges everyone whom he receives as a son.”

JW     Accept trials and especially any severe counsel, as loving discipline from Jehovah. The discipline of shunning is just an expression of love.

  • What is the context of this verse?

Paul had just recorded in Heb 11:32-40 how the prophets had suffered for righteousness, then Heb 12:1-3 continues that Jesus was persecuted to death.

The endurance of the “scourging” of persecution is an evidence of God training his sons (1 Peter 4:16).

  • What Bible verses mention shunning?

The NWT once in Proverbs 4:14-15, to shun the “ways of evil men”.

The NKJV in Job 1:1,8; 2:3, righteous Job shunned “evil”; also 2 Tim 2, shun “idle babblings”. Yes, shun bad teachings and practices but not the person.

James 2:26

“Indeed, just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

 JW     “When a person…has belief in Christ as the Savior whom God provided and shows that faith by his works, he can consider himself as being on the way to salvation.” (Wt March 1, 1960, p134)

  • Do we need works to be saved?

No. We’re not saved by what we do but by what Christ has done. We’re not saved by works but saved by grace for works (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 3:5).

Saving faith results in God’s indwelling Spirit producing His fruitage of love (Gal 5:6). Works as a religious effort to win salvation are “dead works” (Heb 6:1).

  • Is the preaching work mentioned in the book of James?

No. The 1st century Christians generously helped the poor materially (Jas 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 Tim 5:3-10).

  • Why does James mention Abraham’s works?

He was declared righteous before God through belief in God’s promised Messiah alone not by any works (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:1-5). He provided evidence of this imputed righteousness before men 35 years later.

Revelation 3:14

“These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.”

 JW     “The beginning of the creation by God” means Jesus was the first thing created by God.

  • How is the Greek word for “beginning” (arche) used?

In John 1:1 it means the beginning of time and in Colossians 1:16 it means a ruler (NIV). These verses speak of Jesus as Creator and justify taking arche in the active sense – he was the beginning, originator, initiator, rather than was created.

  • Young’s Literal Translation of Rev 3:14 “the Chief of the creation of God”.
  • God is called “the beginning (arche) and the end” in Revelation 1:8; 21:6. Does this mean that Almighty God had a created beginning? Or simply that God is both the beginner, the first cause of creation and He is its final goal.
  • Additional Info here and here

Revelation 3:15-16

“Because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.”

JW     If not stimulatingly hot or refreshingly cold but lukewarm in preaching we will be rejected by Jesus.

  • What does it mean to be lukewarm?

The cold-stone Law of Moses, by highlighting sin, pointed to the need of Christ. Even better, is to live by red-hot grace alone. But lukewarm living with a mix of law plus grace is deadly because it leads to self-righteous performance (Luke 5:36-38; Gal 3:3).

  • What is the answer to lukewarm religion?

Notice in Revelation 3:20 Jesus stands knocking patiently outside your life. Will you let the Spirit open your mind to the person of Christ?

Revelation 7:9-10

“After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”

 JW     Only baptised loyal JWs will survive the Great Tribulation to live on a paradise earth.

  • Where do the great crowd stand?

Rev 7:9 says, “before (enopion) the throne and before (enopion) the Lamb.” Who else are seen “before the throne” or “the Lamb”? The 144,000 (Rev 14:3), the Holy Spirit [the seven spirits] (Rev 1:4;4:5), angels [24 elders] (Rev 5:8; 7:11; 8:2).

  • In what location do they serve?

Verse 15 says, “day and night in his temple (naos).” The term naos refers to the heavenly “temple sanctuary” (Rev 11:2 NWT) where only the priests were allowed to enter, which represents heaven in God’s glorious presence (Rev 14:17; 15:8; 16:1).

  • Where does Rev 19:1 describes the great crowd?

“A great crowd in heaven”

Revelation 11:18

“And the appointed time came to … bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

 JW     This verse is usually applied to environmental damage and less often to violence.

  •  How does the Bible use this word “ruin”?

Rev 19:2 uses this same Greek word “ruin” (diaphtheirō) and “earth” (gē) to describe the violence and moral corruption of human society.

  • Gen 6:11 (LXX) likewise uses the word “ruin” (diaphtheirō) and “earth” (gē) to describe the violence and moral corruption of human society.
  • Isn’t it good to know God will judge any person or organisation trying to cover over domestic violence or child sexual abuse?
  • Although man is seriously affecting his environment, yet Jesus will “sustain all things” (Gen 8:21-22; Heb 1:3).
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