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The spotlight effect and the extended applications

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What letter do you see in the attached  photo? If you answer is an "A" well, you are right, but partially. Did you also observe the "B" close to the upper right corner? This aims to demonstrate the "evil" (side) effect of a spotlight: anything inside the focus obscures the surrounding area. And this is my question:

Have we, the JW put so much emphasis, for decades and decades, to the extended applications of some cherished, favorite verses till the point to obscure the more basic, beautiful and inspired meaning?

Only two examples:

(Proverbs 27:23) "You should know well the appearance of your flock…"

Ask any brother around the world about the meaning of this verse. "Easy: the spiritual shepherds should be familiar with the situation and problems of the brothers in the congregation." Right, this has been always the "spotlight" we've found reading our literature, hearing in the meetings and attending several schools. But this is an extended application. Not the real use for the writer of Proverbs. And this inspired meaning is, obviously more important than our "added" point.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I've only read once in my life the exact meaning of the verse quoted:

 w91 8/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers *** What basic counsel is Proverbs 27:23 offering to spiritual shepherds as well as to Christians in general?

Follow part of the article: ======================================

"...The book of Proverbs contains many verses that stand alone as pithy statements of counsel, but Proverbs 27:23 is part of a group of verses: “You ought to know positively the appearance of your flock. Set your heart to your droves; for treasure will not be to time indefinite, nor a diadem for all generations. The green grass has departed, and the new grass has appeared, and the vegetation of the mountains has been gathered. The young rams are for your clothing, and the he-goats are the price of the field. And there is a sufficiency of goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the means of life for your girls.”—Proverbs 27:23-27.

This inspired passage extols having a life-style marked by diligence, industriousness, simplicity, and recognition of our dependence on Jehovah. It does this by highlighting the pastoral life of an Israelite shepherd, perhaps in contrast with a flamboyant life based on business deals and quick riches...."

"...Proverbs 27:26, 27 mentions one result of such labor—food and clothing. Granted, the description is not of fancy convenience foods or gourmet specialties, nor does it give a laborer reason to expect clothing in the latest designer style or the best material. But if he was willing to put forth effort, the shepherd and his family could obtain from the flock milk (and thus cheese), as well as wool for weaving sturdy garments.

So the advice: “You ought to know positively the appearance of your flock” is not primarily for spiritual overseers; it is for all Christians. It underscores the value of our being content with sustenance and covering obtained by steady, diligent work,"

====================================== End of the quote

Aren't these fine admonitions! I'm sad that this basic, genuine and inspired teaching remains blurred under the light power of the dozens of our "extended" applications.

And what now? Are we without verses to encourage to our shepherds in this regard? By no means! Perhaps Acts 20:28 "Pay attention...to all the flock?" between many others.

Any way, if we are tempted to continue with our indiscriminate custom, let's consider this wise advice:

*** w72 8/15 p. 499 Questions That Disturb You—What Should You Do? ***

Quote follows======================================

However, we should not be indiscriminate and careless in applying Bible texts, remembering, rather, that the contextual application is the primary and basic one. If it is possible to use the text in a secondary or broader application in principle, it can add force to our presentation to point out to our hearers the basic contextual sense and to make clear that we are using the text in its secondary application, applying it only in principle.

====================================== End of the quote

What do you think about my view? Ah, it remains another blatant example, but better for another post

My affection to everyone, and I apologize for my English, not my mother language.

spotlight.jpg

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On 1/9/2017 at 2:08 PM, ComfortMyPeople said:

However, we should not be indiscriminate and careless in applying Bible texts, remembering, rather, that the contextual application is the primary and basic one. If it is possible to use the text in a secondary or broader application in principle, it can add force to our presentation to point out to our hearers the basic contextual sense and to make clear that we are using the text in its secondary application, applying it only in principle.

====================================== End of the quote

What do you think about my view? Ah, it remains another blatant example, but better for another post

You are right in many respects and this is why it is good to get into the habit of reading around a particular scripture, (the whole chapter usually) especially with scriptures which are "popular" and used over and over again and "usually" applied one way, or the way we are used to. In my opinion this is what it means to be a deep Bible student.

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On 1/9/2017 at 2:08 PM, ComfortMyPeople said:

What do you think about my view?

I think it's "spot on."

I also hope you continue to give further examples in your posts. I think this point is closely related to one of the absolutely most important recent changes to our teachings. I wanted to add some info from a historical perspective on this point. For better or for worse, I got involved in this same subject in 1978, and learned something interesting from the experience. (Interesting to me, at least.) 

For me, the experience gives some additional perspective on why it took forty-two years to make the official change, from the time this 1972 article first presented this same important question about extended applications, sometimes called: "type-antitype" applications.

The 1972 Watchtower you quoted was actually a summary of what Ray Franz had learned from the team that researched and put together the Watch Tower's first Bible encyclopedia: "Aid to Bible Understanding" (finished in 1971). The "Aid Book" research resulted in adjustments to the elder arrangement and the GB arrangement. It contains literally dozens of statements about how we can't be absolutely sure of the meaning or reason for certain Biblical references. But the biggest practical change for the Writing Department, was that this Bible dictionary/encyclopedia revolved almost completely around Biblical context. It was not a doctrinal reference.

I thought this idea about the importance of Biblical context was almost a "radical" idea, because it changed the way that many of us would read and study the Bible. The article you quoted presented the first evidence that we could question the overly specific extended applications (types and antitypes) that we were so accustomed to. It subtly moved the "type-antitype" application from a specific prophetic drama about specific classes of Christians to lessons that taught all of us something about Jehovah's unchanging principles. Everyone on the "Aid Book" team believed that only a few few specific "types and antitypes" should be a part of our doctrinal teachings. (Only the ones that were specifically said to be "type-antitype" in the Bible itself.) But this would mean that literally hundreds of type-antitype applications would have to be dropped. It was too many doctrines to change all at once. Brother Fred Franz, who was the source or "keeper" of many of the type-antitype teachings, argued against dropping them. Brother Fred Rusk (Watchtower Editor) also supported keeping them. I don't know for sure, but I assume that most of the Governing Body at that time would have sided with Fred Franz on anything doctrinal, since he was still treated as "The Oracle" at this time.

Therefore, the 1972 article was an important and controversial move, but ultimately ended up "compromising" or postponing a big change on this very important point. (The very next article was supposed to balance the idea you quoted with the idea that there are still "prophetic dramas" that have difficult and specific meanings that are too difficult to grasp from principles and context alone.)

The suggested change was not finally made until October 2014 at the Annual Meeting by Brother Splane. This was forty-two years after it was first presented in 1972. The specifics of this change were credited to Bert Schroeder during the Annual Meeting in 2014. Brother Schroeder had died in 2007, though, and I have no idea what time period Brother Splane was referring to. But I do know that Brother Schroeder suggested this change not long after the death of Fred Franz. His reasons might be clearer with a little more context.

The primary members of that "Aid Book" team continued to contribute work for the Writing Department from 1972 to 1980, and they were easily the most prolific writers of our Bible-based study material and convention releases. Many others in Writing worked from "news" material, spending a lot of their day reading about wars, earthquakes, food shortages, pestilences, and commenting on "pro" and "con" references to "Jehovah's Witnesses" found in outside publications. About 25% of the study material came from Fred Franz, mostly indirectly from those who based their "new" articles almost totally on prior articles from Franz had written. While I was there, about 75% of the study articles and all but a few of the convention releases came from the  "Aid Book" team.

The four primary members of that team were dismissed from Bethel in mid-1980. One was disfellowshipped at the time, and another (R Franz) was disfellowshipped in 1981. A couple of them tried to keep a low profile in their congregations, or even continued to get research assignments for the Society for several more years, being given a bit of support through the "special pioneer" arrangement. (Ironically, some of those continuing assignments were related to replacing the Aid Book with the updated Insight Book.) But ultimately all of them, I'm told, finally found themselves outside of the organization even though all of them, as far as I knew, had wanted to quietly remain inside the organization for as long as they were allowed. One of them lasted at least a couple of decades in his congregation, serving as an elder and special pioneer for years, but I do not currently know his status. I haven't heard from him or about him in 10 years, but I heard a rumor that he was "pushed" out.

While at Bethel, when I read through a large portion of the Aid Book for technical errors and typos, I was a bit troubled at first by the neutral, undogmatic style that sometimes said, "we don't know for sure." I mentioned this to someone on the "Aid Book" team, and said that I'm beginning to understand that the style was necessary as s a kind of public-facing, academic style. In 1978, I asked if it was troubling to anyone else. He said: "There are a lot of people here who would LOVE to hear that about the Aid Book." This really surprised me, because this was early in 1978 and it was a hint of trouble. He explained that the Aid Book was considered "dangerous" and had created a division between Fred Franz supporters in Writing, because it put a new value on context, and relatively less value on "extended applications."

He said that the most common response (letters/comments) from those who had become familiar with the Aid Book's style were commenting on how much more value they were getting out of their Bible reading because they were realizing for the first time that the meaning from context was now more open to them. For example, they no longer read Ezekiel 18 as just the chapter that had a verse or two about the soul dying (18:4). There's another message in the context that is also very important, and they hadn't noticed it before. By 1975 there were many brothers who had been so overjoyed at this "new" way of reading the Bible that groups of Bethelites would join others in their rooms just for Bible reading. The Aid Book "style" was being credited. Because all of these Bible reading groups were "banned" in 1980, and even brothers on the Governing Body spoke out against them, it was assumed that these all had something to do with the apostasy. But there were dozens of them, and hundreds of Bethelites participated. It's true that most of the "apostates" had also participated, but the majority of participants remained in responsible positions.

I regularly attended one in the room of a brother from Writing that often went on for three hours on Wednesday. Whenever I could, I also started attending another one after the Monday-night Watchtower study for one hour. One of these had one of the "Aid Book" team and I was questioned about it later in 1980, although I continued to do research for Brother Schroeder from 1977 until 1983. Schroeder kept a good measure of personal control over who was and was not dismissed for "apostasy" 1980 through 1983. Yet, even Brother Schroeder quietly sided with the "Aid Book" team on this same point about "type-antitype" during the 1980 crisis. My best friends in the Writing Department also included Brother Fred Rusk, who gave my wedding talk later in 1980. (I last saw and spoke to Rusk in 2013, at a funeral talk.) Rusk and Schroeder were both very strong opposers of the entire Aid Book team. But I kept friends on "both sides of the aisle."

I don't know how easy it is to tell that the writer of the article below was asked to write in support of types and antitypes but was intentionally "subversive" or "ambiguous" in a way that would still get past the editors.

*** w72 8/15 p. 501 God Readjusts the Thinking of His People ***

JEHOVAH is infallible, and he is the Great Teacher and Leader of his people. (Ps. 143:10) They are fallible, and at no point do they understand all things. . . .

Another thing that has given rise to questions is the use by Jehovah’s witnesses of parallels or prophetic types, applying these to circumstances and to groups or classes of people today. Many people who read the Bible view its accounts all as simply history, but when they begin to study with Jehovah’s witnesses a readjustment of viewpoint takes place as they see that there is more to the accounts than history.

The question that is sometimes asked is, Did Jehovah stage that ‘dramatic’ event, so that we would have a warning now? Well, would he cause such bad things to happen? Would he maneuver them himself? No. The Christian disciple James answers: “With evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” (Jas. 1:13). . . .

We can therefore read what took place with ancient Israel and surrounding nations and know that they were just as real as our situation today and that God will act toward us according to the same principles, just as surely as he did back there. As we benefit from the record of God’s dealings with his people in the past, we experience a readjustment of viewpoint. But, of course, at times there may be points that we find difficult to grasp.

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, JW Insider said:

JW Insider, as always, I appreciate your insightful comments. Sad these brothers you mention leave the congregation. I'd like to elaborate more about these situations later. Let me ask you, because I value your opinion. Are they any subtle differences between the Aid and the Insight books? Well, the easiest to perceive is the abandon of the chronology emphasis.

Also, I'm finishing the second post as continuation to this one, but I prefer to put it in another thread. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Commenting about some of your ideas. I enjoyed a lot with books as “Commentary on the later of James”, or articles explaining verse-to-verse the Bible, for example the series about Proverbs from 1999 to 2006,. It should be fine if we could have a commentary on the whole Bible -without extended applications- It’ll not be necessary to rewrite the work continuously, because no “new light” would arise.

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Shows we have one spirit.  I was thinking the same thing recently that we pin the scriptures too much to one point or aspect of the scripture.   Jehovah’s word is  deep, wide, high and long at the same time, so it can tell us many things, so we can use it as a multi-purpose  tool to do and learn many things  (2 Tim 3:16,17).  Jehovah’s spirit helps us to understand even with language limitations. Jehovah’s Word also encourages us to perceive what the will of God is. (Ephesians 5:17) Everything will not be spelled out for us.

 

 [I find your (ComfortmyPeople) language ability is wonderful.]

The apostle Paul acknowledged this long ago as we can see at Ephesians 3:17-19.

 

(Ephesians 3:17-19) . . . May you be rooted and established on the foundation, 18 in order that with all the holy ones you may be thoroughly able to comprehend fully what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of the Christ, which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness that God gives.

 

(Romans 11:33) O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and beyond tracing out his ways are!

 

Jehovah is the originator of language and he has no problem helping us to understand or using his holy spirit to reveal things to us. He has used the faithful and discreet slave to feed us well over the years but the Bible is written to all of us personally as well. If Jehovah wishes to teach us personally something from a particular text who should limit that?

 

 (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.

 

 (Rev 22:7) 7 Look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.

 

Anyone can benefit from and apply God’s Word.

 

I have also noted that when I pay attention to a particular scripture, seeing something in it that I had never paid attention to before, often I find that it is highlighted also by the current CO when he comes.  I will have to start writing these things down so I can give a few examples in the future.  I often forget the details but the knowledge of the times it occurred remains with me.  I am sure JWInsider and Anna would have had similar experiences.

Look how many years we thought that only the anointed had Jehovah’s spirit.  Jehovah gives his spirit to anyone who wants to find him and serve him. We know the instance of Cornelius and his family who got it even before Peter got there and before they wee baptized.

Really enjoyed the post and the comments of Anna and JWI.

 

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34 minutes ago, Melinda Mills said:

Shows we have one spirit.  I was thinking the same thing recently that we pin the scriptures too much to one point or aspect of the scripture.   Jehovah’s word is  deep, wide, high and long at the same time, so it can tell us many things, so we can use it as a multi-purpose  tool to do and learn many things  (2 Tim 3:16,17).  Jehovah’s spirit helps us to understand even with language limitations. Jehovah’s Word also encourages us to perceive what the will of God is. (Ephesians 5:17) Everything will not be spelled out for us.

Really enjoyed the post and the comments of Anna and JWI.

 

Thank you Melisa for your kind words. I fully agree with you, and I aslo enjoy reading Anna and JWI posts!

I've also post a new "extended application" verse here. I'd also like your comments. Greetings, my sister!

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On 1/11/2017 at 9:35 PM, JW Insider said:

I think it's "spot on."

Thanks for some interesting background info again JWI!

(I did like the Aid book)

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On 1/12/2017 at 4:50 PM, ComfortMyPeople said:

Are they any subtle differences between the Aid and the Insight books? Well, the easiest to perceive is the abandon of the chronology emphasis.

Yes. There are many subtle differences between Aid and Insight. All of them together make Insight much better, and much more valuable as a Bible reference. Aid was printed at a time when we did not have the ability to print multi-color and at a time when we rarely referenced our sources as a matter of policy. Content-wise, the vast majority of the Aid book remained unchanged. The subtle differences will be in the style of the additional material. The additional material is primarily based on more recent, or updated information and a lot more relevant photographs. Naturally there will be exceptions to every rule, but I don't think you were looking for a discussion of all the trivial differences. As far as minor mistakes and typos remaining in the latest material, I don't know of any in Insight. The Aid book went from Remington-Underwood-Selectric style typewriters to linotype typesetters. Everything was therefore typed twice and there was no direct transfer through Word Processing or Spellchecking utilities, and some typos and mistakes remain in the latest printed version. Insight took advantage of both. 

I'll quote the Watchtower article below at the end of this post, and it explains the best reasons for Insight, and draws several comparisons. The one point you made that is relevant here is the fact that the Insight book tried to push some doctrinal material into the content, and the Aid book almost always avoided this. While working on the Aid book, writers were suprised that the factual, non-doctrinal style had allowed commentaries like Matthew Henry and Barnes Notes to remain valuable for a hundred, or even 200 years, and they were amazed at how much Biblical knowledge could still be drawn from them.

A lot of the "in-demand" speakers from Bethel (those usually called upon to give talks in area congregations), along with Governing Body, District Overseers and Circuit Overseers) began to quote more often from such commentaries, and they were more often made use of by everyone in the two Bethel Libraries. (124 for Writing and 107 for Gilead Students). Bethelites could even order their own copies through Dean Songer's Department in the factory. Of course, 1980 put a stop to all that. One of the first moves was to stop the ability of Bethelites to purchase commentaries through Society channels. The Bethel Library was then made off limits to Bethelites, the Gilead Library now had very limited access, which was also then removed from easy Bethelite access. These were replaced with a few bookshelves placed in public access areas of the larger Bethel residential buildings with mostly just Society publications. Governing Body members spoke out against the use of commentaries to the Bethel family.

On 1/12/2017 at 4:50 PM, ComfortMyPeople said:

It should be fine if we could have a commentary on the whole Bible -without extended applications- It’ll not be necessary to rewrite the work continuously, because no “new light” would arise.

This was the reason that the Insight books needed to get an update. The article on the Faithful and Discreet Slave was updated in 2015 to match the latest Watchtower changes, for example. There were a few other articles with more minor changes, relative to some parables. The Insight book has added information about 1914 in the Gentile Times article and the Earthquake article. Some of these changes that add specific doctrinal material to the content might make the Insight book subject to more frequent revision as was required in 2015. I believe in these cases, that the Aid book remained just as accurate all along. Both of them had some trouble with chronology, but the Insight book sticks its neck out a little further with claims that might not prove accurate.

Here's the Watchtower's assessment of the differences. Quoted in its entirety:

*** w89 3/15 pp. 10-11 “Insight on the Scriptures”—A New Bible Encyclopedia ***
“Insight on the Scriptures”—A New Bible Encyclopedia
AT THE “Divine Justice” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, announcement was made of the release of a new Bible encyclopedia entitled Insight on the Scriptures. This is a two-volume publication, with a total of 2,560 pages, all of it in clear, readable type. At present it is available only in English, but translation is already well under way in a number of other languages.
Insight on the Scriptures includes much of what was formerly in the book Aid to Bible Understanding and a great deal more. In what respects is it different? Scores of sections have been revised and updated. There are also many new articles as well as added features in Insight on the Scriptures.
Books of the Bible
Each book of the Bible has been given special attention. Valuable background material is presented. There are fresh outlines of all the books of the Bible, each one drawing attention to the book’s distinctive features. These convey a concise but comprehensive view of the contents of the book in a manner that is easy to grasp. For example, there are four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, each having a different objective. When introducing the Gospels, the respective outlines present those objectives in this way: ‘The apostle Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life was written primarily with the Jews in mind. This Gospel demonstrates that Jesus is the foretold Messianic King.’ ‘Mark sets out a concise, fast-moving account of Jesus’ life, presenting him as the miracle-working Son of God.’ ‘Luke’s account of the life of Jesus was written to confirm the certainty of events surrounding the life of Christ and in a manner that would appeal to people of all nations.’ ‘The apostle John’s account of the life of Jesus highlights the theme that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, by means of whom eternal life is possible.’ After these introductory remarks, the outlines present the contents of the books under a limited number of main headings. This can help you to remember the principal ideas that the Bible writer developed.
Refinements
Careful analysis of statements in this publication has been made in the light of the meaning of words used in the original languages of the Bible. Details have also been included to enable the reader to appreciate the Biblical scope of meaning of the original-language words. Additionally, Biblical name meanings have been refined in the light of the way the basic elements of those names are actually rendered in the New World Translation.
A diligent effort has also been made to bring the material in this publication up-to-date with what has been published in The Watchtower in recent years. For example, we have learned much about the heart, the book of life, being declared righteous, and many other things. This information has been embodied in Insight on the Scriptures.
Details of secular history have been checked against the original sources, where available, instead of simply relying on what other writers have said about the content of those sources; hundreds of references have also been included to show where such information can be found. Scientific aspects of the articles have been updated. There has been a complete reappraisal of geographic locations on the basis of archaeological research done in recent years.
A Bible Atlas
Insight on the Scriptures includes some 70 maps, showing hundreds of locations mentioned in the Bible. Thus, included in this publication is a comprehensive Bible atlas. In most instances, an individual map focuses on just a limited aspect of Biblical or secular history. Hence, it draws attention to places that are of special significance in that context. You will find a map setting out the travels of Abraham, one outlining the wilderness wanderings of Israel, another covering the conquest of the Promised Land, one for David’s life as a fugitive and another for events associated with his kingship, a series of maps outlining the places to which Jesus traveled during his earthly ministry, and a number of maps showing details of Jerusalem during various periods of history. A map index is provided to help you to locate the specific maps that provide the most helpful information regarding given places or locations.
With many of the maps, there is also a list of place names, along with scriptures that show why the places are significant in the particular historical context under consideration. On the adjoining pages of the book are color photographs of locations featured on the map. These features can help you to benefit more fully from the Bible accounts, as you see the relationship of one location to another, read details as to what took place there, and see what the places look like today.
Special Features in Full Color
In preparing this publication, museums in North America, Europe, and the Middle East were combed in order to locate valuable objects related to the Bible record. Pictures of the most worthwhile items were obtained. In addition, a number of collections of photographs of places mentioned in the Bible were reviewed, in order to select the ones that would be most helpful. The results have been worked into eight 16-page full-color inserts that are of practical value. These are fascinating highlights that you will enjoy and will be able to use in many ways when teaching others.
For example, there is a section entitled “How We Got the Bible.” Graphically, it depicts the steps through which the Bible has reached us—from the original writings down to modern translations. It contains pictures of portions of some of the oldest manuscripts and visual evidence testifying to the care taken by early scribes, even to the point of counting the letters in manuscripts that they copied.
Another section is about the “Flood of Noah’s Day.” It considers such issues as, “Could the ark have held all the animals?” and, “Where did the floodwaters go?” It also presents an analysis of Flood legends from six continents and the islands of the sea to show that memories of the Deluge of Noah’s day are found among people of diverse cultures all over the earth.
Other sections deal with geographic features of the Promised Land, ancient empires whose activities affected Israel, and a picture tour of places that visitors can see in and around Jerusalem today. Altogether, there are 50 of such topics developed in full color.
All this information has been made easily accessible by means of comprehensive indexes right in these volumes. These indexes direct you to the choicest discussions of scriptures cited and subjects listed.
Taking an overall view of the work, these introductory comments appear in the first volume: “The objective of this publication is to help you to acquire insight on the Scriptures. How is it done? By bringing together from all parts of the Bible the details that relate to subjects being discussed. By drawing attention to original-language words and their literal meaning. By considering related information from secular history, archaeological research, and other fields of science and evaluating this in the light of the Bible. By providing visual aids. By helping you to discern the value of acting in harmony with what the Bible says.” So within the pages of Insight on the Scriptures is a wealth of truly valuable information that you can use to benefit yourself and others.

 

On 1/12/2017 at 4:50 PM, ComfortMyPeople said:

It should be fine if we could have a commentary on the whole Bible -without extended applications- It’ll not be necessary to rewrite the work continuously, because no “new light” would arise.

One thing I noticed that I thought was a bit funny is that the Insight book quotes Barnes Notes about 5 times and Matthew Henry about 2 times. But each time it quotes Barnes it always references only the date 1974, and each time it quotes Matthew Henry, it always references only the date 1976.

This reference method tends to obscure the fact that Barnes Notes was completed in 1832, not 1974. It also obscures the fact that Matthew Henry was written in 1706, not 1976.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

One thing I noticed that I thought was a bit funny is that the Insight book quotes Barnes Notes about 5 times and Matthew Henry about 2 times. But each time it quotes Barnes it always references only the date 1974, and each time it quotes Matthew Henry, it always references only the date 1976.

This reference method tends to obscure the fact that Barnes Notes was completed in 1832, not 1974. It also obscures the fact that Matthew Henry was written in 1706, not 1976.

I see. Perhaps this modern dates refer to some reprint of the original work

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5 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

Perhaps this modern dates refer to some reprint of the original work

That's true. They have both been re-published by various publishers through the years. At Bethel, in the 1970's when we quoted from it a lot more often, we only knew of one edition of Matthew Henry, although that same edition with same page numbering was also in a three-volume paperback version. For Albert Barnes, there was an 1850-something version that was on the shelf until 1977 and it disappeared, probably to someone's office. There were also a couple of old stand-alone volumes from an incomplete set, or from prior to the combined set. We also had two single-volume Barnes' Notes on the New Testament both from Kregel Publications: a 2nd printing 1963, and a 7th Printing from 1974. The page numbering was nearly the same. Also, Brother Schroeder had, in his office, a set of them which had been published in several separate volumes, along with some standalone OT commentaries by Barnes. They had completely different page numbering.

It's not wrong to mention only the publishing date, which could be any of about 25 different dates for Barnes (less for Matthew Henry). But in WTS publications, we sometimes mentioned a date, but without a page number, and we sometimes mentioned a page number, but without any date. I was primarily commenting that the Watchtower readership would generally have no idea if these men were from modern times or hundreds of years ago. Since Insight, the Watchtower, as far as I know, has never put a date next to quotes from Matthew Henry, or Albert Barnes.  Since the 1980's, except for two footnotes (without dates), all references to Matthew Henry do not refer specifically to a commentary or a book, but to Matthew Henry as a commentator, scholar, or British author:

*** w05 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Understandably, then, many draw the conclusion reached by Bible commentator Matthew Henry . . .

*** w07 4/15 p. 14 Follow Paul’s Steps to Beroea ***
They tested what they heard by using the most trustworthy touchstone. They carefully and diligently searched the Scriptures. Bible scholar Matthew Henry concluded: “Since Paul reasoned out of the scriptures . . . .

*** w98 9/15 p. 14 par. 17 Times and Seasons in Jehovah’s Hands ***
Some Bible scholars link this expectation to Daniel’s prophecy. In commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry wrote: “We are here told . . .

*** w94 2/15 p. 11 “What Will Be the Sign of Your Presence?” ***
British author Matthew Henry commented: “The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was very terrible, but this exceeded it.

Prior to Insight, references to him more often included the name of his work: "Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible" even if without a hint about the fact that it originally came from the 1700's.

With the exception of one side note (like a footnote) this is similar to the "Barnes' Notes" references. Since Insight, there is never a date or name of his books or commentaries, although at least the term "19th-century" is mentioned a couple of times. Examples:

*** w11 9/15 p. 22 par. 9 “Run . . . That You May Attain It” ***
Scholar Albert Barnes observed: “As a runner would be careful . . .

*** w07 4/15 p. 27 Let the Congregation Be Built Up ***
Bible scholar Albert Barnes recognized that Jesus’ direction to “speak to the congregation” could mean . . .

*** w02 12/15 p. 5 Lessons From the Record of Jesus’ Birth ***
19th-century Bible scholar Albert Barnes . . .

*** w02 12/15 p. 5 Lessons From the Record of Jesus’ Birth ***
19th-century Bible scholar Albert Barnes . . .

*** w00 6/15 p. 17 par. 2 “All You Are Brothers” ***
. . . it is contrary to the ‘simplicity that is in Christ,’” noted the Bible scholar Albert Barnes. . . .

With reference to what I said in a previous post on the use of commentaries in the Watchtower magazine, Albert Barnes is referenced 10 times in the 1970's (positively) and only 2 times in the 1980's (once negatively). Yet, his works, such as "Barnes' Notes" are mentioned 8 times in the 1970's (positively) and have only been mentioned twice since the 1970's until now. And one of those was a negative reference in 1984. Discounting the negative reference that means only one time, positively, since 1978. And even that supposedly positive reference said he "makes an honest admission" that something was true. (Imagine how "positive" we would take it if someone said that Brother Splane had to honestly admit that something was true.)

There is also a tendency, as partially indicated above, to reference any commentators as persons: as scholars, commentators or theologians, but not necessarily as authors, and therefore with very few references to their specific books. Before Insight, it was much more common to also reference the title of their commentaries or books. 

Sorry for a lot of trivial detail, but if you are looking for subtle differences between the Aid Book research "era" and the Insight research "era," then the above does express a kind of trend to quote commentaries less. Although the two commentaries I used in the examples above are almost always used favorably, except in the 1980's, it is a little more common now to quote a commentator as a "bad" example, too. I think this helps serve as a kind of reminder that we heard in the 1980's, in warnings against seeking out commentaries for a different view of something.  

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Note to admin. Someone has "voted up" one of my comments in this topic. Unfortunately, this means that the default sort is by "votes" and that post appears out of order. It moves it to the top as some forums do for "best answer." This would be OK if I could leave "sort by date" as a default, but I really hate to look through these topics and have to go click for "sort by date" just to find my post. This has happened before and I was able to get someone to vote it down to avoid the problem.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to vote down my own post. But I would appreciate it if one (and only one) person would vote it down so that it gets back into chronological order.

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Prior to Insight, references to him more often included the name of his work: "Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible" even if without a hint about the fact that it originally came from the 1700's.

With reference to what I said in a previous post on the use of commentaries in the Watchtower magazine, Albert Barnes is referenced 10 times in the 1970's (positively) and only 2 times in the 1980's (once negatively). Yet, his works, such as "Barnes' Notes" are mentioned 8 times in the 1970's (positively) and have only been mentioned twice since the 1970's until now. And one of those was a negative reference in 1984. Discounting the negative reference that means only one time, positively, since 1978. And even that supposedly positive reference said he "makes an honest admission" that something was true. (Imagine how "positive" we would take it if someone said that Brother Splane had to honestly admit that something was true.)

There is also a tendency, as partially indicated above, to reference any commentators as persons: as scholars, commentators or theologians, but not necessarily as authors, and therefore with very few references to their specific books. Before Insight, it was much more common to also reference the title of their commentaries or books. 

Sorry for a lot of trivial detail, but if you are looking for subtle differences between the Aid Book research "era" and the Insight research "era," then the above does express a kind of trend to quote commentaries less. Although the two commentaries I used in the examples above are almost always used favorably, except in the 1980's, it is a little more common now to quote a commentator as a "bad" example, too. I think this helps serve as a kind of reminder that we heard in the 1980's, in warnings against seeking out commentaries for a different view of something.  

That is! This kind of info was what I was waiting for. I also remember the days when was famous in our literature  McClintock & Strong's work. They were quoted almost as much as the Bible (hyperbole!)

 

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16 hours ago, JW Insider said:

There is also a tendency, as partially indicated above, to reference any commentators as persons: as scholars, commentators or theologians, but not necessarily as authors, and therefore with very few references to their specific books. Before Insight, it was much more common to also reference the title of their commentaries or books. 

 

 

Because of these quotes I started to buy books from commentators and enjoy reading them. I remember with special affection, of those days, "New Testament Words” from W. Barclay. I think reading these publications did not hurt me. But I understand the possible effect on others: doctrinal disparity and divisions, in the style of The Watchtower says this, but according to this author could also be this other thing ...

In relation to this, I think we can be both loyal and intelligent. Let me ask you. Can a JW be cultivated, erudite, disagree with the slave's focus at any given time, and still be loyal? (Note: I was not thinking of myself as scholar or intelligent, I hope no one think this way!)

Regarding this question. Some time ago the media contact of our branch came to my city for a certain public event regarding Nazi’s period and our brothers. He gave this wise advice to a brother helping him related to that occasion. "When you are asked in the University about our beliefs, do not say ‘the Bible says this or that’, but rather, ‘we think that the Bible says this, we believe the Bible says this thing else’, otherwise we would appear dogmatic."

And I have copied this example when I teach my students about subjects that, to myself, I am not sure they are one hundred percent this way. I take the opportunity to transmit them loyalty in spite the changes they inevitably will find. I hope I’m not putting part of the world to fire and sword.

More or less this way: "After much investigation and prayer, the Witnesses came to understand this teaching. (I think teaching is better than ‘truth’, truth never changes). Perhaps over time God will continue to help us to understand it better and we may see it from another way.” Now, I continue: “of course, it is not a good idea to teach different things at the same time. The Bible says we must be united. God reveals things to his people gradually", and this kind of thing.

Does this mean that I don’t need the slave class? Perhaps that I receive the teaching from our brothers with suspicion or skepticism? Certainly not! To the contrary! Please, let me explain a little bit more!

I began to learn the truth when I was a teenager in 1971. Now, I’m about 60. What I’ve learnt all these years has been wonderful. It has changed my life and, the most important for me, has allowed me to approach God. At the beginning believed there were three states of be informed:

  • 1. The Bible writer, inspired and unerring.
  • 2. You and me, error prone.
  • 3. An intermediate state, the ‘slave class’, almost the first -inspired- class, because they are guided by God’s spirit and, we belong to a people guided by Him. Aren’t we? And we use to say ‘what God teach us’ with relation what these brothers prepare.

Well, over time, as informed and thinking person, I began to think that it isn’t possible that God ‘transmits’ supposed ‘truths’ they proved to be, over time, not only wrong, but sometimes ridiculous (House of the Princes, 1925, ridiculous in the words of the brother Rutherford himself) or dangerous (1975).  At this point I know others leave the congregation. Others slow down.I began to think more, to meditate more, to study more and to pray more. It has been a process of many years, still underway.

  • 1. When on history of God’s servants they have had a perfect understanding about his will? Never. So, why to expect God’s people these days to have this kink on knowledge?
  • 2. I sincerely believe that the ‘core’ teachings I believe are the same Russell and his relatives and friends had in the beginnings: The death situation, the Earth destiny, no existence of a hell of fire, trinity and others. For me, these are sufficient to proudly identify myself with the heirs of this group, and preach zealously with the congregation. I think ALL, or almost all religions believe in life after death, burning of earth, trinity and so. For me, this is demonstration of the blessing of God for these persons. My brothers. It is a world apart the field of PROPHECIES! A new post topic perhaps.
  • 3. Jehovah’s way to transmit information to his people has been different according the eras. Face to face to Moses, speaking loudly to some prophets, inspiring to apostles… but, regarding the last days, I find that the mechanism would be absent from miracles. I’ve tried to explain this in other post http://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/28606-the-path-of-the-righteous-is-like-the-bright-morning-light/#comment-36721
  • 4. I’m even ready if God deems it necessary to punish or even discipline we the JW. Yes, yes, yes… now we are living in a wonderful spiritual paradise only waiting for the prize (after the persecution) and no punishing at sight according our present point of view. But, what if this view, as many other PROPHETICS turn out to be wrong? Hasn’t be always the case God allowed these same situations to his people, his worshipers? I’m not saying this is going to happen, but what if this occur? Remember the very same thing was prophesized regarding the true worshipers in the last days, with no ‘type-antitype effect’, it’s only a matter of time: If it has happened or if it has to happen:

(Revelation 11:7) “When they have finished their witnessing, the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will wage war with them and conquer them and kill them.”

(Daniel 11:35) “And some of those having insight will be made to stumble, in order to do a refining work because of them and to do a cleansing and a whitening until the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed.”

If this were the case, I’m ready to suffer the same fate that my brothers, waiting God’s forgiveness.

One final thought. The reason I openly mention these ideas is because there is no niche inside the congregation to express them. And I find it logical and scriptural. But, on the other hand, I know THERE ARE a number of loyal brothers with these kind of thoughts, some of them a little confused, or disappointed, or wondering if they are in the true religion, or temped to go to places to get information handled for resentful persons, that hate us, skilled in mixing truths, half-truths or plain lies. Or imputing us false motives when we have been, simply, wrong. I prefere these brother find posts like mine, a thinking, active brother that in spite of his ideas loves not only God (easy) but also his people (sometimes a little bit harder.)

And, if any of you is kind of share some thougts showing me a better way to think, no doubt I’ll consider with appreciation!

[Disclaimer: I sincerely apology because reading my English must be a painful experience]

 

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2 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

One final thought. The reason I openly mention these ideas is because there is no niche inside the congregation to express them. And I find it logical and scriptural. But, on the other hand, I know THERE ARE a number of loyal brothers with these kind of thoughts, some of them a little confused, or disappointed, or wondering if they are in the true religion,

I understand many of the things you mentioned, and many of them have been discussed on here. I also understand what you mean about there being no niche where you can feel safe to discuss your thoughts. This is why it's nice to be able to go on here. What I would like to ask you is what makes you think that Jehovah might need to punish the Witnesses. Is there a specific reason (reasons) to lead you to this conclusion? I know you have already alluded to a few, but could you be even more specific?

By the way your English is fine! :)

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12 hours ago, Anna said:

I understand many of the things you mentioned, and many of them have been discussed on here. I also understand what you mean about there being no niche where you can feel safe to discuss your thoughts. This is why it's nice to be able to go on here. What I would like to ask you is what makes you think that Jehovah might need to punish the Witnesses. Is there a specific reason (reasons) to lead you to this conclusion? I know you have already alluded to a few, but could you be even more specific?

By the way your English is fine! :)

Anna, I have no time at this moment and the answer is worth to elaborate a little!

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10 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

Anna, I have no time at this moment and the answer is worth to elaborate a little!

I understand, same problem with me, so take your time, there is o rush! :)

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And of course, this understanding does not conflict with the doctrine of the ransom because maybe not all have noticed that it is death to take away sin, then it is not the blood of Christ to do so - compares Romans 6:23 And 'death to take away sin, or is the blood of Christ? Let this simple question. If it is the blood of Christ to take away sin, those who will take advantage of the ransom will not in court - John 5:24 This topic was covered in the article entitled "Death erases really sins?" at the following link   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.   As we have achieved this goal? We had to become experts in ancient greek, we consulted hundreds of ancient manuscripts, asked for advice to various scholars, learned something from other religions or have been around the world? Absolutely not (if we did, we'd be back with more confusion than before). We have only compared the writings in context. To understand the Bible, we used the work of better consultation, the most accurate, the most objective, the most accurate : the Bible. Surely it is challenging but not difficult. Any of us can compare scripture is not it? In this way also our wisdom (presumed) passes in the second floor - 2 Corinthians 3: 4-6 What will come of it it will show what the Bible says: It is all we really need. However the human being, has a strange emotional need to complicate your life. Really such a simple method can help to reveal the Book of God? This question can only be answered with facts. With that the assumptions made at the beginning in mind , let's see what goals have been achieved and why we can be reasonably confident of being on the right track. Each subject reported below has been treated in older articles. To "make sure of all things" the reader is invited to look for these items and see if they are in harmony with Scripture.   Thanks to Jehovah, we realized that ...   1) Babylon the Great is the modern nation of Israel, NOT the world empire of false religion, and this makes logical many things including the fact that it will see only after the Lord's day and ride the UN - compares Revelation 17: 3   2) Its destruction precedes Armageddon and not the great tribulation - see Revelation 16:12, 13; 19: 11-16   3) The horsemen of the apocalypse of war, famine and deadly plague are led into battle by Jesus Christ (it is his "arrows") and this is in keeping with many judgments of the past where Jehovah has used the pagan nations - see Revelation 6: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and Psalm 45: 1-6   4) The first plagues of Revelation indiscriminately affect God's people as the people of the world just as happened during the plagues of Egypt.   5) There will be a world war that will bring down the king of the south and this harmonizes both Daniel and the last and only power that we see in Revelation and which so far has been erroneously identified as the Anglo-American empire.   6) The Revelation trumpets are sequential, and then is written in chronological order - compare 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; Revelation 11:11, 12, 15   7) The anointed did not start to rise again in 1919 but will start to rise again at the sound of the seventh trumpet, shortly after the killing of two witnesses in sackcloth (future event).   8) The war in heaven break out soon after the ringing of the seventh trumpet, and will last about 30 days. These are also the "days shortened for the elect" in the likeness of what happened in the first century.   9) At the end of the war Satan will be thrown on the ground and from that moment can only act for 42 months (1260 days), which is a short period of time. 10) These are the 42 months of the great tribulation period.   11) At the end of the 1260 days of great tribulation will start Armageddon (with the fall of Babylon the Great), which will last 45 days.   12) Before Armageddon God he will lead his people to "Edom" and "Moab" that is, in a free zone where their lives and prepare to cross the Promised Land. The literal repopulation of Israel (after the destruction that has liberated from Babylon the Great) harmonises the scriptures that say that the people of Israel would be rejected but the nation was inhabited from generation to generation as the nation chosen by God to reside His Name. This situation makes us understand what it refers to writing when he says that the king of the north "will be troubled by news from the east and from the north" because it will come to know that God's people survived his fury and now is reaching promised land in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.   13) The War of the Great Day of God Almighty will take place in a relatively small area of the earth but it will be the greatest war in history where they will die the kings of the earth and their armies.   14) The Jerusalem Above is the organizational part of God's people and not heavenly organization made up of faithful spirit creatures and loyal men. This explains how it is possible that Satan tries to "drown her" spewing a river of water behind her. This awareness helps us to understand many basic things such as what is the one people of God on earth, because Christ is called "son of man" and the depth of meaning of Genesis 3:15 prophecy. 14 a ) The Above Jerusalem, towards the end of satanic system, will be led by members of the great crowd and be nourished by God to the end.   15) Armageddon will destroy the wild beast, the false prophet, all those who have the mark of the false prophet, who has opposed true Christians etc. There will be destroyed all people nor all the nations, apart from the dominant power that will end up in the lake of fire, the other kingdoms will be "removed the domain" but an extension of life will be granted for a time and a season. This period refers after Armageddon and until the end of the millennium .
      This awareness helps us to understand how is it that Satan's bait to mislead "the nations which are in the four corners of the earth" after a thousand years of sinking and to understand who is Gog of Magog and how he can "check" in the middle of the Millennial Kingdom   And many other things (the original post had a list of 26 important subjects but the article would become long, boring and certainly confusing for those who come to this post for the first time).   Article wanted to highlight a simple concept as it is profound. The Bible was also written for you. You can understand it. If you will have the intellectual honesty to get back fully into question, they will come to understand many things. Do not be afraid to find things very different from what we have been taught. Paradoxically, although this process has called into question some doctrines and virtually all the prophecies , has also shown that there is only one people of God on earth and it is this . According to the prophecies of this people it will be disciplined for this reason. Know the prophecies will allow us to not be shocked when these things begin to come true. The prophecy enables us to see beyond the darkness that is going to get even giving us the chance to help others. The prophecy, among other things, says that at one point "knowledge will become abundant." We will be among those who have insight and who will enjoy the blessings future? By our attitude, we decide it even now.
      If we continue to appreciate the Word of God above all else humbly asking Him to enlighten us to understand it, we will not be disappointed - Job 36:22; Psalm 119: 99   Footnote. The article is not meant to imply that, following such a method, you can not make mistakes. Even you do not want to diminish the importance of Hebrew or Ancient greek but today will be provided with many versions of the Bible that nornalmente you need to compare multiple versions to understand what fits best not with our preconceptions but with the context. The harmony of the Bible, alone, is able to refute all acts speeches to demonstrate unbiblical beliefs.   Plaese, visit Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.          
    • Guest Nicole
    • By ComfortMyPeople
      The Five Fingers Rule
      Sometimes I’ve tried to help others not using the Scriptures to proof any kind of idea or behavior one person could have. I’ve used what I’ve denominated “the five fingers rule”, from the weakest to the stronger evidence

       
      Only one finger: the evidence is only in the same division of the Bible, Greek or Hebrew Scriptures.
      This is the weakest evidence. The explanation about our verse under scrutiny is in the “other side” of the Bible. We’re trying to prove some idea based in the Hebrew Scriptures with another verse from Greek Scriptures, or vice versa. So, there are centuries of distance in the meaning, language, cultural environment and God’s dealings.
      If we use this approach we should be very careful. Only if we have direct mention of some application in the Bible we should feel free to try the same, for example:
      (Matthew 24:15) “…when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet…” In spite we have here one verse in the Greek against other in the Hebrew Scriptures, as we have the direct mention of Christ we can, with confidence apply the verses.
      Conversely, when we read (Da 4:25) “seven times will pass over you, until you know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he grants it to whomever he wants”, and we try to apply the seven times to Jesus words in Lu 21:24 “…Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled” we only have a weak evidence. When we read in Daniel about “times”, we cannot think any mention in the Bible about “times” share the same or related meaning. And it seems a little bit farfetched to apply the Nebuchadnezzar happenings to Christ.
      Two fingers: the writer is contemporary.
      Either in the Greek or Hebrew period. Well, now our evidence has more weight.
      (Isaiah 37:22) “…The virgin daughter of Zion despises you…” (Jeremiah 14:17) “…For the virgin daughter of my people has been completely crushed and broken…” No problem when applying the term virgin to the nation of Israel.
      Three fingers: the verses share the same writer.
      But, perhaps, not the same book.
      (Romans 3:20) “…no one will be declared righteous before him by works of law…” (Galatians 2:16) “…not by works of law, but only through faith…” When we develop the idea about how obtain salvation, we have strong evidence, from the same Bible writer, clarifying the meaning.
      Four fingers. The evidence is in the same Bible book.
      Now, the evidence is still stronger.
       (Zechariah 1:8) “…I saw a vision in the night. There was a man riding on a red horse, and he stood still among the myrtle trees in the ravine; and behind him there were red, reddish-brown, and white horses...” (Zechariah 6:2, 3) “…The first chariot had red horses, and the second chariot, black horses. The third chariot had white horses, and the fourth chariot, speckled and dappled horses…” (Rev 6:4-7) “a fiery-colored horse… a black horse… a pale horse…” We have a good foundation If we think these horsemen represent angels. Both declaration in the same book of Zechariah share the same meaning: the horsemen meant spirits. And with Revelation, there is no other place in the Bible with this kind of visions.
      Five fingers: the complete evidence.
      Not only the same writer in the same book of the same period, but also in the immediate context.
      (1 Corinthians 2:7-9) “…But we speak God’s wisdom in a sacred secret, the hidden wisdom, … But just as it is written: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
      The application, based in the same context has to do with the secret, hidden purpose of God, only revealed by His spirit.
      Applying the five fingers rule
      (2 John 7-11) “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist… The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For the one who says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works. When we even refused to say hello to a disfellowshipped person, based in the previous word from John, are we aware than the apostle was writing about deceivers and antichrist? This is five fingers. But if we apply this radical behavior for the person being spoken in 1Cor. 5, we have only the two fingers evidence. The Corinthians received the instruction to avoid eating (fellowship).
      One more example:
      (Matthew 24:3) “...Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence…” (Matthew 24:30) “…Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, …” The five fingers rule determine that the sign of the presence is the same as the sing of the Son of man. By the way, a sign completely visible, as the lightning.
      Obviously they will be exceptions, but we should be cautious with these exceptions.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is now home to some of Ethiopia’s most important religious manuscripts after they were recently donated to the university by Chicago-based collectors Gerald and Barbara Weiner. The couple gave out the handmade leather manuscripts with the hope of allowing Ethiopians in the U.S. to use them for prayers and study, according to Catholic News Agency.
      Dr. Aaron M. Butts, a professor of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literature at the university, put up a statement saying the collection “provides unparalleled primary sources for the study of Eastern Christianity.”
      What’s In the Collection?
      In total, the collection is comprised of 125 Christian manuscripts, including liturgical books, hagiographies, psalters, and 215 Islamic manuscripts, including the Quran and commentaries on Quran.

      According to the Catholic News Agency, it’s the largest collection of Ethiopian Islamic manuscripts outside of Ethiopia.
      More than 600 manuscripts were handmade using hides from calves, sheep, and goats, and are estimated to date back to the 18th and 19th century.
      In the collection, there are over 350 “magic” scrolls, which are traditional Christian prayer talismans, and each was handwritten by a “debtera,” or a cleric in the Ethiopian church, and includes the name of the person it was written for.
      Pieces of the manuscripts were worn around the neck for purposes of helping people with different kinds of ailments, including headaches, painful menstruation, and complicated childbirth.
      Butts suggests that some of these scrolls, which were predominantly worn by women, may have been passed down through many generations, mainly from mother to daughter.
      He added that the prayer jewels haven’t been studied much due to the personal nature of their use.
      Washington, D.C., hosts one of the largest Ethiopian communities outside Ethiopia, and has several Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches and cultural centers, making it the best location to donate the manuscripts.
      Ethiopian Religion
      Ethiopia is predominantly a Christian country, with the majority of Christians belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
      However, there are other small religious communities in the country, including Muslims, Judaists, and Pagans. There is also a minority section of Christians who are Roman Catholics or Protestants.
      Many Ethiopians still use the prayer scrolls for protection and healing. They are often inscribed with prayers, spells, and charms to offer protection to their specific owner.
      The text on these “magic” scrolls is often derived from the bible, which is why the majority of churches in the country tolerate despite their connection to magic.

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    • By ComfortMyPeople
      Silly question. First and Second to the Corinthians, don’t you know how to add?

      Now, open your Bible and read:

      ·        (1 Corinthians 5:9) “In my letter I wrote you to stop keeping company with. . .”

      Well, if we read in the FIRST letter Paul mention another previous letter, namely “In my letter”, there was one more, the, let’s say, zero to Corinthians!

      Next, related question. Was this zero-letter inspired by God?

      ===========quote follows, with some remarks

      *** w53 2/15 p. 127 Questions From Readers ***

      That there actually existed at one time a letter to the Laodiceans seems established by Colossians 4:16. Do we have it today? Or do we have a replica of it? Maybe we do; maybe we do not. It may have been inspired; it may not have been inspired. But if it was not inspired that does not mean it was false, any more than statements that we might make today are necessarily false merely because they are uninspired. A statement can be absolutely true, though uninspired. So if the letter to the Laodiceans was not inspired, that does not make it false. Merely because it was not preserved in the Bible canon does not make it false. It was not included because it doubtless is not necessary for us today; other letters that are included may cover the same points for us. To include it might mean useless duplication. ==================

      Let us admit this zero letter wasn’t inspired. Another question, a very important one:

      ·        There is a possibility of errors in the apostle writing?

      Well, as only the INSPIRED Word of God is errorless, the possibility existed. Perhaps this explains these words of Paul himself:

      (Galatians 1:8) “However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed”

      Yes, it was a hyperbole. In another words, if I go crazy and declare you…etc. Naturally, Paul himself could develop a mental disorder and declare estrange things. And, in spite he was used to transmit inspired and errorless words, not always could be the case. In other moments, perhaps writing the zero to the Corinthians some minor errors could be introduced. Should the Corinthians be suspicious reading the inspired letters, because some of them weren’t? No, because the apostle himself mention regarding the INSPIRED letter (1 Corinthians 7:40) “I certainly think I also have God’s spirit.”

      Nowadays. We had our “steward” class. These brothers are being using for Jehovah to take care of the whole house of God. This is an enormous responsibility. Always are correct? No. Was Paul always right? Yes… WHEN INSPIRED. So, as the “slave” class is not inspired, grant these brothers at least the same weight than the zero to the Corinthians.

    • By ComfortMyPeople
      This is my question: what photo bellow best represents the meaning of Pro 4:18, "A" or "B"?

      A)   Oh, no, this picture doesn't represent our normal use of Pro. 4:18. This, apparently, better fits with Eph. 4:24 and the new personality transformation.

      B) This is, with total security, our quickest choice! The photo represents the gradual increase in knowledge about the God's purposes and his word.

      But, this is my question. What is in first and foremost place the real meaning of this Proverb?

      The background in our literature.

      There is a lot of "back" in the timeline. This is the first reference I've found in our publications in the use of Pro.4:18

      Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1879, article "ON INTERPRETATION" page 25, right column, 2nd paragraph

      Follows part of the article, bold letters are mine======================================

      "The path of the just is a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Pro. iv. 18. Many do not understand how the Bible could be so written as to remain dark for a time, and then gradually unfold its truth as a burning lump..."

      End of quotation=================================================

      And, going to the other side, one of the most recent utilization. And please, observe the emphasis added (not in the original) for a later explanation.

      *** w11 7/15 pp. 29-30 par. 7 God’s Rest—Have You Entered Into It? ***

      Follows part of the article======================================

      7 Many of us can quote Proverbs 4:18 from memory: “The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.” That means that our conduct and our understanding of God’s purposes will improve over time.

      End of quotation=================================================

       

      The Bible Context

      Well, according the same article I quoted in other post -http://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/28423-the-spotlight-effect-and-the-extended-applications/#comment-36450 - (w91 8/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers) Proverbs 4:18 is also “part of a group of verses”, and this fact sheds much light about our quest.

      Follows part of Pro. 4:10-27:

      Listen, my son, and accept my sayings,

      And the years of your life will be many.

      11 I will instruct you in the way of wisdom;

      I will lead you in the tracks of uprightness.

      12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered;

      And if you run, you will not stumble.

      […]

      14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,

      And do not walk in the way of evil men.

      15 Shun it, do not take it;

      Turn away from it, and pass it by.

      […]

      17 They feed themselves with the bread of wickedness,

      And they drink the wine of violence.

      18 But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light

      That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.

      19 The way of the wicked is like the darkness;

      They do not know what makes them stumble.

      […]

      25 Your eyes should look straight ahead,

      Yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you.

      26 Smooth out the course of your feet,

      And all your ways will be sure.

      27 Do not incline to the right or the left.

      Turn your feet away from what is bad.

       
      Didn’t you easily perceive the same train on thought? A father given counsel to his son about the ways, the paths to avoid and the tracks, the steps to follow. And, regarding our verse under scrutiny, it emerges the same idea that in the rest of the context, as would be expected. The father (Jehovah/Solomon) is saying to his son (ourselves) If you choose the bad way, your life would convert in a dark experience but, if you follow my advices, your path, life, track, way… each day will be brighter and brighter.

      The Basic meaning, in its own context

      It is the reason I’ve emphasized the quote in the Watchtower above (w11 7/15 pp. 29-30): “That means that our conduct and our understanding of God’s purposes will improve over time.” Have you noticed the “our conduct … will improve”? This is the basic and real meaning of the verse. And this idea is what I’ve tried to represent with my picture “B”. A man whose life is a complete disaster, who lives in darkness, as he learns the truth and makes changes in his behavior, his way, path, tracks gets more and more brighter.

      (Digression. I suppose JW Insider as a former graphic designer will smile sympathetic seeing my ‘art’)

      The problems with the explanation in the Watchtower article I’ve just quoted are, in my opinion, two. First, how is supposed the readers of the magazine, mainly JW, could grasp the basic idea of the verse, when during more than a century, once and again, hundreds of times, and also in the same sentence occurs the extended application, “gradual improve in knowledge of God’s purposes”. Second: Why on earth is the basis for this extended application? I think, quoting brother Splane in 2015 October meeting, this is another of our cherished verses, with its concomitant extended explanation.

      Alternatives

      Are there any alternatives without this stretching of the context? Let me share two that show the gradualness of our understanding of the Bible and the chance to make mistakes.

      First, Daniel (11 and 12).

      (Daniel 11:33) “And those having insight among the people will impart understanding to the many” (Daniel 12:4) “Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.”

      First, we noticed there is a people (not persons at home reading and interpreting the scriptures). Secondly, there are a group with more insight, and, consequently, have the capacity to teach the people. Finally, the mechanism, the gradualness: will rove about to obtain the true knowledge.

      Regarding this last idea, I wish to include some quotes from scholars ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ). The emphases are mine.

      Benson Commentary:

      Many shall run to and fro — Many shall diligently search into these prophecies, and make use of all the means in their power to arrive at a true knowledge of them; shall improve all opportunities of getting their mistakes rectified, their doubts resolved, and their acquaintance with divine things in general, and with these and the other prophecies of God’s word in particular, improved and perfected.

      Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

      run to and fro—not referring to the modern rapidity of locomotion, as some think, nor to Christian missionaries going about to preach the Gospel to the world at large [Barnes], which the context scarcely admits; but, whereas now but few care for this prophecy of God, "at the time of the end," that is, near its fulfilment, "many shall run to and fro," that is, scrutinize it, running through every page. Compare Hab 2:2 [Calvin]: it is thereby that "the knowledge (namely, of God's purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased." This is probably being now fulfilled.

      Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

      many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased; that is, towards the end of the time appointed, many persons will be stirred up to inquire into these things delivered in this book, and will spare no pains or cost to get knowledge of them; will read and study the Scriptures, and meditate on them; compare one passage with another; spiritual things with spiritual, in order to obtain the mind of Christ; will peruse carefully the writings of such who have gone before them, who have attempted anything of this kind; and will go far and near to converse with persons that have any understanding of such things: and by such means, with the blessing of God upon them, the knowledge of this book of prophecy will be increased; and things will appear plainer the nearer the accomplishment of them is;

      Conclusions about Daniel 11 and 12

      “To rove about.” Not going straight. To go ahead, then back, to left, to right. Did the angel tell to Daniel that, in the last days, new revelations from heaven will occur? No. Perhaps some angelical visit? Neither. Instead, it would be a process of trial and error, because to study implies learning, make changes to correct errors. What would be, in short, according Daniel 11 and 12, the way those persons with more “insight” will teach others? Trying, these with more insight, to understand better what to teach. And from these expressions the only conclusion is to accept the necessity of changes and improvements. And the same idea seems that the commentators above quoted agree.

      Secondly, Paul’s example.

      Paul is credited “of receiving such extraordinary revelations.” (2Cor.12:7). But he himself, in the days of miraculous powers, what recognize about his understanding of the God’s purposes?

      Emphasis and comments added. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12) “For we [me also] have partial knowledge and we prophesy [or, teach] partially, 10 but when what is complete comes, what is partial will be done away with. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, to think as a child, to reason as a child [I make mistakes as a child]; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a child. 12 For now we see in hazy outline [not clear] by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face. At present [despite my revelations] I know partially, but then I will know accurately [when in front, face-to-face to God]”

      Accordingly, it-1 p. 801 says “Comparing the understanding of God’s purpose had by the early Christian congregation with the fuller understanding to be had upon receiving their heavenly reward, and then coming to comprehend the divine purpose in its entirety as prophecy is fulfilled, the apostle Paul said: “For at present we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face to face”

      Well, the apostle, humbly, recognizes that only when face-to-face to God is when everything would become crystal clear. Why ourselves were going to be more than him? Why to expect from the steward class (Lu.12:42) more than Paul? Grant the brothers on charge of teaching to the brotherhood the same “partial” knowledge than Paul, until they, with Paul, go to heaven.



    • By ARchiv@L
      hello everyone.
      perhaps you had noticed that screen on the january broadcasting program.

       
      I searched the internet to find that papyrus, so I like to share the information with all of you.
       

      can anyone tell us, where is that from the bible ?
      thank you.

      (and for those who like the greek letters),
      can you see those 3 words ?
      ΘΕΟΣ
      ΔΑΜΑΣΚΟΥ
      ΙΣΡΑΗΛ

       
       
      [my greetings to all]
    • By ARchiv@L
      Success—Despite Opposition
      Translating and printing was one thing. Getting the Bibles to Britain was another. Church agents and secular authorities were determined to prevent shipments across the English Channel, but friendly merchants had the answer. Hidden in bales of cloth and other merchandise, the volumes were smuggled to the shores of England and up into Scotland. Tyndale was encouraged, but his fight had only begun.
      On February 11, 1526, Cardinal Wolsey, accompanied by 36 bishops and other church dignitaries, assembled near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London “to see great basketfuls of books cast into a fire.” Included among them were some copies of Tyndale’s precious translation. Of this first edition, there are now just two copies extant. The only complete one (lacking just the title page) is in the British Library. Ironically, the other, with 71 pages missing, was discovered in St. Paul’s Cathedral Library. How it got there, nobody knows.
      Undaunted, Tyndale continued to produce fresh editions of his translation, which were systematically confiscated and burned by English clerics. Then Tunstall changed tactics. He struck a bargain with a merchant named Augustine Packington to buy any books written by Tyndale, including the New Testament, in order to burn them. This was arranged with Tyndale, with whom Packington had made an agreement. Halle’s Chronicle says: “The bishop had the books, Packington had the thanks, and Tyndale had the money. Afterward when more New Testaments were imprinted, they came thick and threefold into England.”
      Why were the clergy so bitterly opposed to Tyndale’s translation? Whereas the Latin Vulgate tended to veil the sacred text, Tyndale’s rendering from the original Greek for the first time conveyed the Bible’s message in clear language to the English people. For example, Tyndale chose to translate the Greek word a·gaʹpe as “love” instead of “charity” in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. He insisted on “congregation” rather than “church” to emphasize worshipers, not church buildings. The last straw for the clergy, however, came when Tyndale replaced “priest” with “elder” and used “repent” rather than “do penance,” thereby stripping the clergy of their assumed priestly powers. David Daniell says in this regard: “Purgatory is not there; there is no aural confession and penance. Two supports of the Church’s wealth and power collapsed.” (William Tyndale—A Biography) That was the challenge Tyndale’s translation presented, and modern scholarship fully endorses the accuracy of his choice of words.
      READ MORE:
      *** w95 11/15 p. 26 William Tyndale—A Man of Vision ***
       
       

       
       
      *** na pp. 17-18 God’s Name and Bible Translators ***
      The name first appeared in an English Bible in 1530, when William Tyndale published a translation of the first five books of the Bible.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By The Librarian
      The Bible is Meant to be Bread for daily use, not Cake for special occasions

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Showing a Bible study on how to use his new Hindi Bible! I was so happy because is much easier for us to help him find the scriptures, he kept thanking us for bringing this "holy book".
       
       

    • By Bible Speaks
      Bible Reading—Profitable and Pleasurable
      “You must . . . read in it day and night.”—JOSHUA 1:8.                         The Bible’s Author, Jehovah God has preserved it through centuries of virulent opposition from its enemies, both religious and secular. Since it is his will that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth,” he has seen to it that his Word is made available to all humankind. (1 Timothy 2:4) It is estimated that about 80 percent of earth’s inhabitants can be reached by the use of 100 languages. The text of the entire Bible is available in 370 languages, and parts of the Scriptures can be read in a further 1,860 languages and dialects. Jehovah wants his people to read his Word. He blesses his servants who give attention to his Word, yes, who read it daily.—Psalm 1:1, 2.                          
      Notice the reasons why Jehovah required all future kings of Israel to read the book of divine law daily: (1) “in order that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God so as to keep all the words of this law and these regulations by doing them”; (2) “that his heart may not exalt itself above his brothers”; (3) “that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right or to the left.”              
      READ GOD'S WORDS TODAY AND BECOME WISE. JW.ORG
      IMG_9197.mov

    • By Bible Speaks
      What Does the Bible Say About Christmas? ???????
      The Bible’s answer
      The Bible does not give the date of Jesus’ birth, nor does it say that we should celebrate his birthday. As McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of NT [New Testament] origin.” Instead, an examination of the history of Christmas exposes its roots in pagan religious rites. The Bible shows that we offend God if we try to worship him in a way that he does not approve of.—Exodus 32:5-7.  History of Christmas customs
      Celebrating Jesus’ birthday: “The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”—The World Book Encyclopedia.
      •December 25: There is no proof that Jesus was born on that date. Church leaders likely chose this date to coincide with pagan festivals held on or around the winter solstice.
      •Gift-giving, feasting, partying: The Encyclopedia Americana says: “Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.” The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that “all work and business were suspended” during Saturnalia.
      •Christmas lights: According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, Europeans decorated their homes “with lights and evergreens of all kinds” to celebrate the winter solstice and to combat evil spirits.
      •Mistletoe, holly: “The Druids ascribed magical properties to the mistletoe in particular. The evergreen holly was worshiped as a promise of the sun’s return.”—The Encyclopedia Americana.
      •Christmas tree: “Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity.” One of the ways in which tree worship survived is in the custom of “placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house in the midwinter holidays.”—Encyclopædia Britannica.
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    • By Outta Here
      Interesting SH Bookshop find. I'm not sure when published.


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