Core Differences

The Watchtower

Versus 

The Bible

 

 

What are some of the core differences between The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s teachings and what the Bible teaches?

What you need to know.

 

The Watchtower

Teaches About Jesus 

 

  1. Jesus did not eternally exist.

 

Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) means Jesus… “was God’s first creation.”

[From JW.org: “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” Chapter 4, p. 41]

 

  1. Jesus is Michael the Archangel.

 

“Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role.”

[From JW.org: “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” Appendix 11, p. 219]

 

  1. Jesus is not Almighty God.

 

“Is the firstborn Son equal to God, as some believe? That is not what the Bible teaches.”

[From JW.org: “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” Chapter 4, p. 41]

 

  1. Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead but was raised as a spirit-creature.

 

“On the third day after Jesus died, his heavenly Father resurrected him back to spirit life.”

[From JW.org: "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" Chapter 4, p. 46]

 

 

The Bible Teaches

About Jesus 

 

[Note: Click verses to read Scripture]

 

  1. Jesus existed eternally.

John 1:1; ; Isaiah 9:6 (“Eternal Father” also means “Father of Eternity”); Hebrews 13:8; Colossians 1:17 (Jesus is “before all things.”)

 

(Note: "Firstborn" does not mean first created in Col. 1:15. It means preeminence. E.g. God calls David firstborn in Ps. 89:27, yet he was the youngest son of Jesse.)

 

  1. There are no passages in the Bible identifying Jesus as Michael.

Challenge the JW to show you one verse that says Jesus is Michael.

 

  1. Jesus is Almighty Creator God.

Colossians 1:16-17; 2:9; ; Isaiah 44:24; John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8-10; Revelation 22:13 with 1:7-8; Revelation 2:8 with Isaiah 44:6.

 

(Note: The Watchtower has their own distorted translation called the New World Translation where it says Jesus created “all [other] things” in Col. 1:16. They inserted ‘other’ 4 times, because as originally read without this added word, the passage actually announces Jesus as Creator. Also notice that Isaiah 44:24 teaches there is only one Creator identified as God.)

 

  1. Jesus rose bodily from the dead.

Check out: John 2:18-22; Luke 24:36—46; John 20:27-29.

 

 

The Watchtower

Teaches About the Holy Spirit

 

  1. The Holy Spirit is not a person.

 

“The holy spirit is not a person.”

[From JW.org: "Bible Teachings - What Is the Holy Spirit?"]

 

  1. The Holy Spirit is not God.

 

“This spirit is not God himself but a force that God sends forth, or uses, to accomplish whatever he wishes.”

[From wol.jw.org, “The Watchtower—2002 - May 15”]

 

 

The Bible Teaches

About the Holy Spirit

 

  1. The Holy Spirit has personality.

1 Timothy 4:1; Acts 8:29, 13:2-4 (communicates expressly); John 16:13 (hears); John 14:16-21; Acts 9:31 (helps/comforts); John 16:13; Romans 8:14 (leads); Romans 8:26 (intercedes in prayer); John 14:26 (teaches); Acts 13:2-4 (sends); Ephesians 4:30 (grieves); Acts 5:3 (can be lied to)

 

  1. The Holy Spirit is God.

Romans 8:11 (raises the dead); Genesis 1:2; Acts 5:3-5, 9-10 (gives/takes life); Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:13-14 (adopts/seals children of God); 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 1:2 (justifies/sanctifies); Matthew 12:31-32 (cf.  with) Acts 10:38-40a (can be blasphemed)

 

(Note: Acts 5:3-4 shows lying to the Holy Spirit is the same as lying to God)

 

 

The Watchtower

Teaches About Salvation

 

  1. Water baptism by the Watchtower Organization is essential for salvation.

 

“Water baptism is a requirement for all who want to have a relationship with Jehovah God.”

[From JW.org: “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” Chapter 18, p. 175]

 

  1. You must work before qualifying for baptism.

 

Watchtower elders "will let you know that you qualify to share in the field ministry as an unbaptized publisher of the good news.... Some other steps must be taken before you qualify for baptism.... Before you can get baptized, then, doing Jehovah God’s will (directed by the Watchtower's Governing Body) must be your main purpose in life." (Bracket added. See "Good News From God!", p. 29)

[From JW.org: “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” Chapter 18, pp. 177-179]

 

 

 

The Bible Teaches

About Salvation

 

  1. Salvation cannot be earned. It is God’s free gift.

Matthew 19:25-26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16; Acts 8:26-40 (Read how the Ethiopian was baptized prior to works)

 

  1. We can become children of God solely through a personal relationship with Jesus. Not through works.

 

For through him (Jesus) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)

 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

Whatchtower discontinues “What Does the Bible Really Teach?”

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WT) is discontinuing their publication, “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” They are replacing this teaching tool with their newest publication, “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” JWs will not be teaching from “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” anymore.

At first glance, “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” appears to be identical to “What Does the Bible Really Teach?”; and in many places they are virtually word for word. Every chapter in their newest publication covers the exact same topics as their discontinued teaching tool (with some exceptions in their endnotes). However, there are some significant changes with the wording in certain places. I was told they made these changes to make it an easier read for Bible students to understand better what the WT is teaching.

So far from what I’ve seen, it seems the emphasis of change is upon how their teachings are delivered. The newest book uses friendlier language such as eliminating words like “requirements”. Example, look at the differences in chapter 17 in both publications:

“For our prayers to be favorably heard by God, therefore, we must meet some basic requirements... A primary requirement is that we exercise faith.” (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, chapter 17 verses 5-6)

Compared to:

“So if we are not careful, we could do things that would distance us from Jehovah, causing him to ignore our prayers... If we want Jehovah to listen to our prayers, we must have faith in him.” (What Can the Bible Teach Us?, chapter 17 verses 5-6)

The difference in wording seems to match their “friendlier” method of teaching. It is my opinion that their non-confrontational approach, is to ease the students into the Watchtower Organization’s doctrines. However, if there are certain requirements, shouldn’t people be told right up front what they are?

Take a look at this next example found in chapter 18. What does the WT teach is requirement to have a relationship with God?:

“Water baptism is a requirement for all who want to have a relationship with Jehovah God. Baptism publicly indicates your desire to serve God. It shows that you are delighted to do Jehovah’s will... To qualify for baptism, however, you must take definite steps.” (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, chapter 18 verse 4)

Compared how they changed it to read:

“When you get baptized, it shows others that you really want to be God’s friend and to serve him... So you may wonder, ‘What do I need to do to get baptized?’” (What Can the Bible Teach Us?, chapter 18 verse 4)

Notice they do not mention baptism is a requirement for having a relationship with God in their newest teaching book. One change is especially worth noting:

“Is the firstborn Son equal to God, as some believe? That is not what the Bible teaches.” (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, chapter 4 verse 12)

Compare with:

“Some people believe that Jesus and God are the same person. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.” (What Can the Bible Teach Us?, chapter 4 verse 12)

The first statement deals with what Christians truly believe and is easily proven by the Scriptures (see WT Core Differences). The second statement is a bit more confusing, since in Watchtower theology the “person” of God refers to the Father only. If a Christian identifies the person of God as Jesus, then the JW automatically sees a contradiction... they think he/she is saying the Son is the Father (which of course the Bible does not teach).

There is only one God in essence, who being the originator of eternity, has always existed and is revealed in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 44:6, 8; 45:5; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2Corinthians 13:14; Acts 5:3-4)

“What Can the Bible Teach Us?” is a brand new publication. I will give more information about this book later, but I wanted to give you a head’s up of some of the changes I’ve noticed so far.