20 Questions [For Door-Knocking JWs, or XJW Newbie Education]

By Natalie Pappas

(edited)

So, you've finally decided NOWS the time to learn what to say to the JWs who show up to your front doorstep.

Greet the JWs with a friendly smile, because they are usually very nice themselves. I can only say I've met only one unfriendly JW who has come to my door. 99% are going to smile back (after they've recovered from your friendlyness that is). Most JW are met with a scowl and get the door slammed in the face. This encourages them into believing they are being persecuted. The word "persecuted" in the Greek means "to put to flight" to "drive away". Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, got driven away and "put to flight" by getting stoned, and whipped, and beaten, and thrown into prison.

I have heard people say to allow the JWs to present what they wish to say, but I have not found this to work well. Oftentimes, as soon as they've said their message (which usually takes a couple of minutes to present), they are on their way to the next house, having done their duty at yours!

I like to keep a conversation going (and I can usually keep them here an hour or two), and the only way to do this is to break into their presentation by asking them if they mind if you ask *them* a question. By your asking the questions in a logical manner, you *can* control the conversation and direct it. BUT, if you begin explaining everything, then you will lose them completely because the minute they stop talking, they stop thinking. In other words, if you present the Bible verses to them, they will not hear them. They are not capable of hearing them. They do not have the Holy Spirit living inside them to bring that understanding. BUT, if they read the verses, then the Holy Spirit *will* bring conviction (as John chapter 14 teaches).

So, break into their prepared speech and say, "May I ask you a question, please?" or "With your permission, may I ask a quick question?" They will of course say, "yes, of course" or words to that effect. You have very quickly put an end to their sermonizing and now a REAL conversation can take place--one where you ask questions and they answer. It *is* a give and take.

Then ask, "May I ask you what gospel it is you are preaching this morning?"

This will stop them for a moment. I don't think any JW who has come to my door has heard that question before. While they are thinking about that, ask another quick question. Say, "The reason I ask is because the Bible says that there is only one gospel. Did you know that?" Before they can answer (and because YOU are asking questions, they have no choice BUT to be thinking--it is only when YOU start explaining that they turn you off--so do not explain anything. Let them come to their own conclusions by asking them questions. That is, after all, how Jesus did it.), ask again, "Do you have your Bible with you?"

You have just fired off 4 very important questions:

May I ask a quick question?

What gospel are you preaching?

Do you know there's only one gospel?

Do you have your Bible with you?

Practice in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable and are not nervous. I usually get a little jittery at first because I am always busy doing something else when they come knocking. I am usually praying silently during the first 30 seconds or so until I can break in and ask my first question. Then things just seem to flow after that.

Now, the New World Translation has been mistranslated in a lot of places, but the places we will talk about are areas which are awkwardly translated, but are not necessarily heretical and will do just fine. Ask your new JW friend when he/she says that they do have their Bible with them, "Will you turn to Galatians chapter one and read the first 10 verses outloud?"

At this point, the one who was talking will probably look up the verses and read them outloud, but now the second one will assert him or herself after he finishes reading and take charge of answering the questions. The quicker the second one takes over the conversation, the newer the recruit standing beside him. That should be a big clue for you to direct your conversation to the newer recruit because when you are preaching the gospel, or rather, leading him/her through it, you may not see instant results from the one you are speaking with, but chances are you will see understanding and/or recognition in the new recruit's eyes.

The less indoctrinated they are, the less blinded they are by Satans lies. The reason the new recruit does the talking initially is so that they can practice telling others about their new belief system. The more he/she practices, the quicker he/she can absorb more of the JW teachings, and advance in the Organization. But the more mature JW always takes over the conversation if it looks to be going in a different direction than they had planned.

So, now the new recruit has read Galatians chapter one, verses 1-10, which has just stated VERY clearly that one is going to be ETERNALLY condemned if they believe a DIFFERENT Gospel. Now, at this point it might become very tempting into going into the Biblical teaching of hell (which they don't believe exists). But resist the temptation. There are a lot of places which teach about hell being an actual place, but THIS IS NOT IT. This only teaches condemnation. The Greek word for condemnation means "a thing devoted to destruction". Those who preach a different gospel are DEVOTED to destruction -- ETERNALLY.

Now, ask another question. Ask: Do you know where the Bible defines the gospel?

Chances are you will get a blank look. I always do. At this point they might pull out a small brown covered book. This is the "Reasoning" book. But, unfortunately, they have not addressed this topic in that little brown book, OR any other. (I know because I have them all!)

Not finding any answers, they will say, "The gospel is that the kingdom of God is near". Or you may not get an answer at all. In both cases, ask again, "Would you mind turning in your Bible to 1st Corinthians 15 and reading verses 1-11?

At this point you have asked 7 excellent questions. You have asked:

May I ask a quick question?

What gospel are you preaching?

Do you know there's only one gospel?

Do you have your Bible with you?

Will you turn to Galatians chapter one and read the first 10 verses outloud?

Do you know where the Bible defines the gospel?

Would you mind turning in your Bible to 1st Corinthians 15 and reading verses 1-11?

Now, it is very important that you direct your questions to the newer JW recruit, because, it has been my experience that the more mature JW will outright LIE to you in the next few questions. It is in your best interest to go to a second hand bookstore and look for the following book, which you can purchase for only a couple of dollars, "You too can live forever in Paradise on Earth". It is not adviseable to pull this book out and prove what you are about to tell the JW--but it is important that you look at this for yourself so that if you are lied to, that you can stand your ground and say, "Oh yes it certainly DOES teach that!".

1st Corinthians 15:3,4 state that Jesus died for OUR sins (plural), died, and rose again on the third day. However, in the red book, "You can life forever in Paradise on Earth" it teaches that Jesus didn't die for OUR sins, but that he only paid for Adam's sin of eating the forbidden fruit. So basically, what is taught is that BECAUSE JWs believe Jesus died for ADAM'S sin, that NOW those who are GOOD-HEARTED (all loyal JWs and those who have not outright rejected the Organization) will get a SECOND chance to PROVE THEMSELVES *worthy* of eternal life in the 1000 year reign of Christ on a perfected earth.

This is in contrary to what the Bible teaches at John 3:16, that those who believe HAVE everlasting life, and 1st John 5:13, that one can KNOW they HAVE eternal life. But in the "Life Forever" book, page 61, paragraph 12, it says, "Yet, to make is POSSIBLE for us to gain everlasting life UNDER the RULE OF GOD's Kingdom, Jesus had to pour out his lifeblood in death." and on page 68, paragraph 28 it says, "To prove worthy of protection during this coming destruction, we must exercise faith in Jesus Chrst. (John 3:36) We must become his disciples and submit to him as our heavenly King. Will you do that?"

The JWs do not believe that God's Kingdom has arrived yet. They might have even told you this earlier when you asked them what was the Gospel.

They believe that at any second Armageddon will happen and all those who are loyal to the Organization and all those who are good-hearted who have NOT rejected the Organization, will live through it--everyone else will die. Those who were good-hearted and loyal to the Organization will be resurrected and ONLY now can they REALLY prove themselves worthy of everlasting life. Where Adam failed, THEY will succeed (or die trying)!

If you understand their teachings on the END times, then you can be in a position to know which questions to ask them. Now, I personally would not go into depth with them on this, because then YOU are talking and they are not listening. But if you go through those pages in the Live Forever book, it should be clear to YOU that their teaching on Jesus' death for our sins is warped and DOES not measure up to 1st Corinthans 15:3,4 and you will be able to stand firm.

The second part of the gospel, is that Jesus' body died. JWs do actually believe that Jesus' body died. The funny part, is that they don't believe anybody has a "soul" that leaves the body at death. So when Jesus' body died, they believe his "soul" ceased to exist as well. So they ADD meaning to the Bible text that are not there. It does not state that Jesus' soul died. The context is speaking of a physical body. Jesus' physically hung on the cross (or as they prefer to call it, a "torture stake"). 

Ask your new JW friend, "Do you believe Jesus died for every one of your sins? That you are completely forgiven?" Chances are they will say, "Yes". 

Ask them: "Do you believe that you are only getting a chance for eternal life? Or do you know for sure you are saved?" They will admit to you that they don't know if they are saved or not -- that only "Jehovah" knows this.

Ask them, "Would you mind turning in your Bible and reading 1st John 5:13 outloud?" They will now read that the Bible teaches them that they can KNOW they have eternal life.

At this point you have asked 9 excellent questions. You have asked:

May I ask a quick question?

What gospel are you preaching?

Do you know there's only 1 gospel?

Do you have your Bible with you?

Will you turn to Galatians chapter one and read the first 10 verses outloud?

Do you know where the Bible defines the gospel?

Would you mind turning in your Bible to 1st Corinthians 15 and reading verses 1-11?

Do you believe that you are only getting a chance for eternal life? Or do you know for sure you are saved?

Would you mind turning in your Bible and reading 1st John 5:13 outloud?

And so far, you have only asked questions. You do NOT have to explain WHAT they believe. They KNOW what they believe. They are STILL the ones doing all of the talking, and they are having to digest what they have been reading in their Bible. Little by little, all the strongholds they have had built up by the Organization are being torn down, piece by piece.

I would not get into a conversation regarding Soul Sleep at this time. Every person intimitely knows within themselves that will either live with Christ forever, or without Him forever. Now, jump to the third part of the gospel:

Question 10: Do you believe Jesus was resurrected?

This is going to pound the nail into the coffin because it is going to be apparent to even them that they are not preaching the correct gospel the Bible preaches. Not only do they not believe verses 3 and 4 of 1st Corinthians, but they never even tell people that door to door. Instead, they tell people about the "new revelation" that "Jesus returned invisibly and is now ruling from heaven invisibly". THAT is the gospel they preach. At least the Judiazers in the book of Galatians believed the gospel, even if they added onto the gospel with their works. The JWs do not even believe the gospel: they do not believe Jesus died for all their sins, they do not believe Jesus was resurrected either.

They believe that Jesus' body AND soul died and that only his soul was raised back to life (invisibly of course) and that he manifested a make-believe body so that he could deceive his disciples (and others) into believing that he was really alive again. When JWs say that they DO believe Jesus was resurrected, I ask:

Question 11: Do you REALLY believe Jesus' body came back to life?

This they will readily admit to not believing. They will say that Jesus only came back to life in a "spiritual" body. The problem with this view is that the word "spirtual body" is not in even ONE of the verses which describe Jesus' resurrection.

The word "resurrection" means "to stand up again". Verses 3 & 4 says that Jesus died for our sins, the context was his physical body. Verses 3 & 4 says that Jesus was buried. The context was his physical body. Verses 3&4 say that Jesus was resurrected. The context did not change anywhere--the context was STILL his phsyical body. (Can a spiritual body hang on a cross? Be buried in a tomb? Resurrect?)

Ask the JWs at your door: "Can a "spiritual body" hang on a cross? Pay for our sins? Be buried in a tomb?"

Here are a list of the questions so far:

May I ask a quick question?

What gospel are you preaching?

Do you know there's only 1 gospel?

Do you have your Bible with you?

Will you turn to Galatians chapter one and read the first 10 verses outloud?

Do you know where the Bible defines the gospel?

Would you mind turning in your Bible to 1st Corinthians 15 and reading verses 1-11?

Do you believe that you are only getting a chance for eternal life? Or do you know for sure you are saved?

Would you mind turning in your Bible and reading 1st John 5:13 outloud?

Do you believe Jesus was resurrected?

Can a "spiritual body" hang on a cross? Pay for our sins? Be buried in a tomb?

Next ask:

Question 12: Is there anything in the context of these verses which would change the context from a bodily death to a spiritual death? A bodily burial to a spiritual burial? A bodily resurrection to a spiritual resurrection?

When they say no (and they don't DARE say yes to that--if so, ask them "Where?" And if they appeal to other verses, you say, "but those aren't the verses we were discussing".) Then ask:

Question 13: Did you know that Jesus himself prophesized that his resurrection would be bodily?

(Question 14) When they look at you in amazement, ask them to please read John chapter 2:13-25. This may be a good time to mention (as they are looking this up) how much you enjoy reading your Bible, how you can never read ENOUGH of the Bible, how much you appreciate their love of the Bible, to stand there with you and make sure of ALL things, and that you very much ADMIRE them for reading through the entire context, even if it is MANY MANY verses.

Look over their shoulder and read along as they are reading. This will also give you an idea of how awkward their New World Translation really is: it is horribly rendered! BUT only one member of their translating committee had any training in the Koine Greek language, and only 2 years at that. It is hardly enough training to translate the Bible, but the passages that were mistranslated could easily be translated by any FIRST year Greek student. That gives an excellent indication that it was most likely a deliberate attempt to decieve others into believing a lie. Why? I think it is a money issue, myself. The WTB&TS owns some of the most expensive property in New York City and LOTS of it.

Now that they have read the disciples saying that by the temple being destroyed and rebuilt that Jesus meant his BODY -- now ask them to please turn to John chapter 20, because the Apostle Thomas had an extremely hard time believing in the resurrection. He refused to believe until he had himself SEEN the nail marks in Jesus' hands, and the wound in His side. (verses 24-29)

Now, ask:

Question 15: Would you please read John chapter 20 and read verses 24-29?

Question 16: Was Jesus saying, "Here, Thomas, reach your finger and see my FAKE hands, my FAKE side?"

Question 17: Is it in Jesus' character to be deceptive?

Question 18: Can one be a perfect Savior and then turn around and be deceptive?

Now the JWs at your door have a great deal to contemplate on the way home. But before they go ask them two more questions:

Question 19: Do you go door to door and preach the gospel as it is defined from the Bible?

Question 20: Are you going to change the gospel you preach now when you go door to door?

So, either way they answer, thank them for coming to your door and ALSO thank them for the opportunity to preach the gospel and that you ALWAYS enjoy preaching the gospel every chance you get! Say something like, "I want to thank you for caring enough about my eternal future to come and talk to me about religious things. However, I want to thank you even more for the opportunity to share the Gospel with you and explain from the Bible where the Gospel is defined.

During this time of discussion, if they introduce a new topic, like the Trinity, or Hellfire, or Soulsleep, I have learned to say, "That's very interesting. I'd like to talk about that in a little bit after we've covered this question over here first. Okay?" (smile REAL big)

So, here are the questions to ask:

May I ask a quick question?

What gospel are you preaching?

Do you know there's only 1 gospel?

Do you have your Bible with you?

Will you turn to Galatians chapter one and read the first 10 verses outloud?

Do you know where the Bible defines the gospel?

Would you mind turning in your Bible to 1st Corinthians 15 and reading verses 1-11?

Do you believe that you are only getting a chance for eternal life? Or do you know for sure you are saved?

Would you mind turning in your Bible and reading 1st John 5:13 outloud?

Do you believe Jesus was resurrected?

Can a "spiritual body" hang on a cross? Pay for our sins? Be buried in a tomb?

Is there anything in the context of these verses which would change the context from a bodily death to a spiritual death? A bodily burial to a spiritual burial? A bodily resurrection to a spiritual resurrection?

Did you know that Jesus himself prophesized that his resurrection would be bodily?

Would you please read John chapter 2:13-25? Do you see how Jesus himself define and prophesy that his resurrectoin body would be physical?

Would you please read John chapter 20 and read verses 24-29?

Was Jesus saying, "Here, Thomas, reach your finger and see my FAKE hands, my FAKE side?"

Is it in Jesus' character to be deceptive?

Can one be a perfect Savior and then turn around and be deceptive?

Do you go door to door and preach the gospel as it is defined from the Bible?

Are you going to change the gospel you preach now when you go door to door?


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The Bible As Understood by WHO?

By Natalie Pappas

(edited)


Let's see if I have this straight: The Bible (according to the WTB&TS) can only be understood by those who have "holy spirit". Right?

So, the average JW (those without "holy spirit") believes they are being humble when they tell others that they aren't born again (subtle pride being encouraged here by the WTB&TS, yes?).

Therefore, their dependence upon the organization increases with each passing month...after all...they're only the non-annointed ones. Right?

The problem however is that the Bible teaches that all believers are supposed to measure their teachers up to the standard of the Bible. And if a believer can't discern the Scriptures for themselves, then they are under the complete control of whoever is feeding them their spiritual food.

Jesus is our example. He placed his trust in no man (John chapter two). "He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." (verse 25). When the members of the Organization go door to door, do they testify about Jesus or testify that reading the Organization's materials are the only way we can understand truth?

Jesus spent a considerable amount of time pointing to Scripture even to testify about Himself. If you remember, He did this even when talking to Satan and the liberal Sadducees and the legalistic Pharasees. He didn't tell them to go to the temple and be taught by the priests.

At one point Jesus even said to Nicodemus (in regards to being born again: "You are Israel's teacher and do you not understand these things? (John chapter three). Jesus pointed Nicodemus back to Scripture.

The only source God has given us to know His will is the Bible. We have creation and that tells us what kind of a God created this universe, but to know the mind of God we must be in the Word. Yet, is there an example in Scripture where someone can teach us and hold to a certain standard? Yes. Paul the Apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2: "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."

Let me ask you sincerely: has the Organization proved faithful? When they turn 180 degrees in their interpretation of a passage of Scripture, is that a faithful thing to do? When they disfellowship and wreck the lives of those who were disfellowshipped for breaking a rule, do they prove faithful when they themselves end up rescending this rule? Have they gone back and apologized to those who ended up losing relationships with entire families because of teaching doctrinal errors? Faithful in teaching requires one be consistant, not only in words, but in actions.

Let it be pointed out that this type of thing never happened with any New Testament (or Old Testament) writers. Not only did they prove faithful by never contradicting themselves, they never, ever got "new light" from God which contracticted "old light". It just didn't happen.

This is the pattern of all Biblically based teaching shown to us as an example in the Bible. If the WTB&TS is really directed by God, then the WTB&TS should be extremely careful not to lower the standard set by the Apostle Paul...wouldn't you agree?

Paul proved faithful in his writings because the Holy Spirit who dwelled in Paul guided him perfectly to write his epistles.

When the WTB&TS says that it gives food in due season, it can claim with its "mouth" that it really isn't producing inspired Scripture. But when they actively disfellowship people because of the doctrines taught in their magazine which they later change because they've received "new light", they really have put their material on the same level as Scripture. That ought not to be done.

In past teaching materials, the WTB&TS has claimed that it receives its teaching through the agency of angels. Hebrews chapter one points out that God spoke to the prophets at many times and in various ways. Yet, in these last days He's spoken to us by his Son, who is Jesus Christ.

I realize that the WTB&TS teaches that Jesus is Michael the archangel, however their teaching is that angels (notice the plural) have delivered the teachings. So, my question to the JW would be: is the WTB&TS proving faithful when they contradict the Bible in how God speaks to us in these last days?

Consider what the Vindication book, Vol 3, p. 250 taught in 1939. Do angels really hear the instructions of God and pass them on to the remnant since 1919? The fact that it was a plurality of angels contradicts Hebrews chapter one. There's no way to wiggle out of it. If the JW says, "Well, we don't teach that anymore," then I have to ask, "How has the WTB&TS proved faithful?" God requires those who are to be in teaching positions that they prove faithful to the trust that has been given them. Has the WTB&TS proved faithful? No.

Furthermore, there is nothing prideful about being born again. In truth, there is nothing more humbling than admitting to God that you are not good enough to earn His love. It is the humble man who asks God for a clean heart because his is putrid and evil. Consider the tax collector who could not even raise his eyes up from the floor, so ashamed was he of himself (Luke chapter 18).

God, however, has proved faithful. As Jesus says in John chapter 14, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." Won't you trust Jesus for your salvation today? Won't you ask Him to clean your heart so that you can be born again and live in the Kingdom of God for eternity?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever [not just some, but WHOSOEVER] believes in Him (1st Corinthians 15:1-11) shall not perish but have [not just a chance] ETERNAL life. -- John 3:16


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Why Don't They LISTEN?

By Natalie Pappas

(edited)


Many times over the past several years I've encountered the question, "Why don't they listen?". To be honest, I've asked it several times myself. I have discovered over time that no matter HOW prepared we are, we are never prepared enough for the cultist at our door. It is always good to prepare to give an answer when asked, but it just as important to remember that the human heart is decietful and the mind even more so!

When we are confronting a person about their salvation, especially when they are involved in a religious organization which is bent on discrediting God's Word, we should expect the encounter to raise our eyebrows to levels on our foreheads we never thought they could reach!

Once upon a time a Jehovah's Witness lady in my living room took out a King James Version Bible to counter an argument I had been in the process of making. She opened up this Bible, pointed to a verse on a page, and began speaking gibberish. I know that the Organization teaches sign gifts are not for today, so when I asked what she was doing, I was quite astounded at her answer.

She proudly told me she was speaking the original Greek that the KJV had been translated from.

"How do you know you are really speaking the original Greek?" I asked.

"I just know," she answered.

Then she slowly repeated her babble, pointing to a different old English word at the same time. Next, further astounding me, she translated the babbled "Koine Greek" into the New World Translation's version of the Bible (which she had obviously memorized). It was something to watch! It was a wierd afternoon to say the least.

Did the woman listen to what I had to say? No. Did she care that at the time she was talking to me that I had taken two years of Koine Greek at a seminary? No. Did she accept anything I had to say as credible? No. BUT (and this is the strange part) she believed SHE spoke the truth when she made up her own version of the Koine Greek language!

When confronted with truth, people will do one of two things. They will humbly accept it and reject the false or they will make themselves look even more foolish to prove 'their interpretation of the truth'.

This is what happened in my living room. Rather than accept what I had to say as truth, or at least researching what I said to see if what I said was true, this woman just began babbling nonsense, literally. It was a version of Spanish and Chinese sounds mixed together. What she did was jump ship and change her tactic -- and in the process made herself look extremly foolish.

She, in my opinion, didn't want the truth because she either wanted her 'sin' or her 'good works' more. For anyone to confess that they really are sinners means they have to change, and people are creatures of habit. They do not want to change. To humble ourselves in front of of a Holy God and confess that we cannot ever work hard enough to please this same God, is a harder thing to do, especially if we have spent years trying!

Imagine that you have been a loyal JW since childhood. Time and time again, you have endured abuse from 'Christians' who slammed doors in your face. You have spent time fellowshipping and swapping door stories with other JWs who have endured the same things. You have been cursed and laughed at your entire life. You turn on the TV and there's Jay Leno or David Letterman making yet ANOTHER lame-o OH NO! They're at your door! JW joke.

Take this a bit further: you put over 30 + hours a week going door to door ... you attend every meeting ... You honestly TRY to live a moral life (and since you're doing it in your own strength instead of God's, it's VERY hard and VERY frustrating and when you fail you feel even GUILTIER so you go out by yourself and knock on a few more doors!).

Imagine it is YOU sitting in someone's house and someone is telling you what you would tell them. How would you react? It would be very hard to accept the truth that everything the Organization has taught you is a lie. What about all the promotions at work you passed up so that you would have more time going door to door and attending meetings? What about all the vacations you've not taken in order to serve the Organization better? And how about all the relatives you've offended over the years? How do you backpedal about all the times you wouldn't spend time with extended family members because of important religious convictions? The weddings you've missed ... the funerals you absented yourself from ... the bridges you've burned ....

What about all those times that you bit your tongue when treated badly by others in the Kingdom Hall because they didn't know HOW to be gracious about your mistakes and hounded you about them instead! Or perhaps it was you who hounded people, giving out absolutely no mercy time and time again!

Here's something to seriously consider: Maybe you've even allowed a child or spouse to die rather than go against the Organization's teachings on blood transfusions ... take some time before you witness to a JW and think about these things, how hard it would be to give up yourself and give up your life to the real living God when you FEEL you've worked HARD to earn the right to stand in His presense ... when you've given up SO much of yourself for the Organization?

I think most Christians look at such things and think: "How easy, what a blessing!"

But for the JW, all he (or she) can think about is all the work and effort, about all the hours trying to prove themselves worthy of Jehovah's good graces ... and to think of that time and effort as a complete waste is too much for their heart or mind to handle. They don't know HOW to humble themselves because all the Organization has done all those years is build up their pride and their stubborness.

The only way around this is found in 2nd Corinthians chapter 10 -- pray about this stronghold that has dominated their lives for so long. Pray that God helps them to humble themselves and acknowledge the truth about who God is. You've given them the truth and they've outright rejected it. BUT you do your job as a Christian when you tell somebody the truth. What you must do now is pray that the Holy Spirit apply this truth to their hearts. Your job is finished. It is now up to the Holy Spirit.

When foolish claims are thrown at you, you must remember that the burden to prove such things IS on that person throwing it in the first place. Ask for proof. Ask them for their source material and promise them that you will consider each claim on the basis that they can provide source material. Most likely what will happen is that they will throw a WTB&TS publication at you. You stand your ground. Ask them to show you where THIS particular claim is made. Tell THEM to bring YOU that original source material. If they CARE so much about YOUR salvation, they WILL bring you that source material which is found through any library via the research department. If they want to appear like they have all the answers, make them have those answers!

And above all, never forget to pray!


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Bible Interpretation 101

By Natalie Pappas

(edited)


There are two basic types of interpretation. One is the Allegorical Method. The other is the Literal Method. This article will examine both and determine why the Literal Method is the only sane approach to interpreting Scripture.

The first and most important reason that literal interpretation of the Bible should be employed by students of the Bible is because it is the sole method we employ in all of our daily tasks. If our spouse asks us to pick up a carton of milk from the grocery store on the way home, we pick up a carton of milk from the grocery store on the way home. We literally park our car, get out, go into the store, pick out a brand of milk, take it to the check-out counter, pay for it, and take it home. We don't spiritualize away the meaning and only remember to look fondly at the grocery store as we pass it on the way home.

When we read books, do we read them allegorically or literally? Let me phrase this differently: would we read a Chemistry book allegorically or literally? It would seem rather strange interpreting H2O as anything else other than water. In the same way, when we watch a movie, it would seem rather strange to interprete the main character's name as "Robert" as "Harry", unless of course "Harry" is a middle name which only close friends use. And the only way we would know this is if we watched the movie from the beginning and it was in the inital exposition (information) about that specific character. The movie in this way is its own dictionary. Literal interpretation simply makes more sense. Allegorical interpretation, on the other hand, is a method of interpretation used by those who manipulate those who follow them.

Using the method of allegorical Interpretation leaves one on shaky ground because with this method of interpretation, there is no such thing as absolute truth. In other words, you would not know what was absolutely true or absolutely false when reading the Bible. With allegorical interpretation anything can mean anything. The only limit is your own imagination. This is how David Koresh interpreted the Bible. This is how Jim Jones interpreted the Bible. This is why near the end March 1998, a group in the Dallas area falsely predicted God would appear on Channel 18 at midnight and give viewers a special message. Needless to say, God did not appear as scheduled. Yet hundreds of people were misled by this leader's interpretations (which led to his false prophecy that God would appear on Channel 18).

Bernard Ramm, in Protestant Biblical Interpretation, defines allegoricalism in this way: "Allegorism is the method of interpreting a literary text that regards the literal sense as the vehicle for a secondary, more spiritual and more profound sense (pg 21)". As soon as the allegorical system is used to interprete the Bible, the Bible stops being the absolute authority, and if the Bible is no longer the absolute authority, then anything goes. Since our doctrine shapes how we live our lives, a misinterpretation of Scripture could potentially harm us not only spiritually, but physically as well.

For example, if the concept of "eating blood" is allegorically defined to mean modern day blood transfusions, then many people, including children, needlessly die each year because of the method the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's chose to interprete "eating blood". Thus, it is easily demonstrated that the method one uses in interpreting Scripture can lead to life or death.

J. Dwight Pentecost writes that the Literal Method "of interpretation is that method that gives to each word the same exact basic meaning it would have in normal, ordinary, customary usgage, whether employed in writing, speaking, or thinking" (Things to Come, pg 9). He further writes that this "literalistic approach does not blindly rule out figures of speech, symbols, allegories, and types; but if the nature of the sentence so demands, it readily yeilds to the second sense (pg 10)". One example of this is the Apostle Paul's use of allegory in Galatians chapter 4. Here Hagar and Sarah are represented as two covanants. Scripture goes on to elaborate upon this, however, notice that Scripture is doing the defining and not myself.

The main difference between the allegorical and literal method of interpretation lies in how one views the Bible. If one views the Bible as the complete Word of God, breathed out by God perfectly without error, then one trusts that every word in Scripture is defined by Scripture. In other words, the Bible is its own dictionary. If one does not trust that the Bible is the ultimate authority, invaribly the allegorical method is favored.

Which method of Scripture do you employ to interprete the Bible? Allegorical or literal? It can mean the difference between life or death, physically as well as spiritually (and that's not allegoricalizing!)