I will be the first to admit that the Bible can be challenging to understand. It takes effort and diligence to find what it teaches on many topics. Nearly all of them are discussed in a variety of sections of the Scriptures. Because of this, some may be interested to read What Does the Bible Really Teach? by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as a study aid. It is 224 pages in length, and is made up of 19 chapters and an appendix.
The book has a rather conversational style that may be beneficial to some. In my opinion, except for some areas, the book isn’t very threatening in tone. It is geared toward those who haven’t read the Bible much. In keeping with this, the beginning of each chapter features a few questions that are associated with the current subject. The answers provided in the text are reiterated at the end of each chapter as well. This contributes toward learning what the text seeks to convey. On top of this, it is obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the book. Like other evangelical material from the Watch Tower Society, it is filled with attractive artwork and straightforward messages.
Many of the topics it discusses are related to core teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first chapter explores their viewpoint on the truth of God. In it, they speak of Jehovah and His character often. The next section provides a defense of the Bible and the importance of its prophecies. As the book progresses, other subjects explored include the coming paradise Earth, Jesus, his suffering on a stake, what happens when we die, and more (pgs. 33-36, 37-46, 51, 57-60). All of these are examined through the lens of the Watch Tower’s doctrine.
Because of this, even though some of the book’s teachings are decent, it doesn’t really teach the Bible. If you have read all of the Old and New Testaments, it will be obvious that much of its material is slanted toward promoting only certain concepts. This is noticeable throughout, and especially when Jesus is discussed. For example, the authors ask, “Still others believe that Jesus is God and should be worshipped. Should he?” (pg. 37). This question is raised, but I don’t recall them ever admitting that people did worship Him while He was on the earth (Matt. 14:33). Another fact that compliments this is that Jesus never said not to worship Him. This is noteworthy because the New Testament records angels rejecting the apostle John’s worship (Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9).
The funny thing is that What Does the Bible Really Teach? Takes pains to say that Michael the Archangel is another name for Jesus (pgs. 218-219). If the two were really the same, I don’t see how Jesus would accept worship but angels would not. This consideration of Jesus and Michael is found in the book’s appendix. Some of the other subjects this part examines include the Lord’s Evening Meal; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Sheol and Hades; and the prophecy related to 1914. As you may notice, much of this is related to topics that the Watch Tower has taken particular stances on. It seems like the book is designed to teach the reader just enough to convert him or her to become a Jehovah’s Witness.
I don’t blame them for that. All sorts of religious organizations use books and other media to teach others. For this work, it was obviously designed to help people be taught. All paragraphs have sequential numbers that precede them. The bottom of each page also include questions that support guided studies for both individuals and groups. These also provide the corresponding paragraph number so the answer can be found easily. At one point, the book’s purpose of convincing people to convert is basically admitted as such. Near the end, the text speaks of readers possibly studying earlier chapters with one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (pg. 175). The same chapter shares the importance of baptism, faith, repentance, and dedicating oneself to Jehovah in order to become a Witness.
All of this reminds me of one of the points I made earlier in this review. This book doesn’t really teach the Bible. It guides the reader through a number of teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses with some Biblical terminology, but without complete Biblical definitions. Because of this, What Does the Bible Really Teach? is useful for those who want to know what the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society teaches. Just don’t use it to accurately understand what the Bible actually teaches. All of us should read the Old and New Testaments in their entirety to do that.
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
People Having Bible Study by congerdesign from Pixabay.