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Jehovah's Witnesses, do we know the Bible, or do we know many Bible verses?

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ComfortMyPeople -
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I, as a Witness, feel relatively proud of my Bible knowledge. I also appreciate a lot of excellent articles, emotive videos and many other educational materials our people receive from the brothers on charge. The steward class. Also, when I observe some brothers talking in our TV channel I cannot but feel upbuilding.

Well, one of my complaints is to observe that the average JW know perfectly well different passages related to a lot of themes, and that is good! But I find an enormous lack of knowledge of the Bible books content for themselves.

What I mean:  what Galatians book does talk about?

Common answer:

  • ·        The fight of Paul with Peter
  • ·        The works of the flesh and the fruitage of the spirit
  • ·        If a man takes a false step
  • ·        And yes, many other verses

But I appreciate if we could, more or less easily, explain the connections between the different parts in Galatians. The reason why Paul wrote in this way. The meaning in context. Also, if Paul tried similar theme (the Law and the faith) in the Romans letter, what are the differences between these two letters?

But sadly, I’ve discover that not only others, I myself have trouble to answer the questions above. Why  if I’ve spent all my life attending meetings, studying, preaching, directing Bible studies?

In my opinion, perhaps wrong opinion:

  • ·        Our literature (now I will show the exceptions) have focus in Bible themes and its application, not Bible books and its content.
  • ·        The explanation of Bible passages is spread all over decades
  • ·        It is quite rare to find the explanation of the context in any given text used in our publications. Only the use the writer wants to make of it is explained.
  • ·        A lot of passages are without any comment


Prophetic Books:

  • ·        Isaiah
  • ·        Daniel
  • ·        Ezekiel
  • ·        Revelation

But, all these, full of types-antitypes old-aged stuff.

Poetic books:

  • ·        Some Psalms series
  • ·        Some Proverbs series
  • ·        Ecclesiastes

Spread in a lot of years

Historic books:

  • ·        The Gospels
  • ·        Acts

Pastoral letters

  • ·        John letters (too short articles in magazines)
  • ·        James (the best one!)
  • ·        Peter letters

What I mean with this: I’m missing some kind of Bible Encyclopedia edited by JW. In this way, when I consult other sources,I must continuously discard false teachings trying to find the explanations of the Bible Books contents.

What do you think?


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3 hours ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

What I mean with this: I’m missing some kind of Bible Encyclopedia edited by JW.

For myself, I have a few litmus tests for the accuracy and honesty of a Bible commentary. These are much like the way most of us will immediately check John 1:1 when we find a new Bible translation.

I have found a commentary that I have only read so far with reference to two short Bible books. It appears to have been written by one or more JWs or ex-JWs. It is referenced as a "site of interest" from a site which is usually critical of JW.org. I am guessing that it was written by one of the brothers (might be an ex-brother) who worked on both the Aid/Insight book and very similar commentary-type material at Bethel and who was working on exactly the kind of Bible commentary for the Society that you speak about.

The site I found it from says it was by "brothers" (plural) but the site itself mentions only one brother on the home page, and elsewhere refers to himself in the singular:

  • These renderings of Hebrew and Greek and Bible translations in other languages into English serve mainly for comparison purposes. In no way are my efforts intended to slight or detract from the conscientious labors of other translators and writers whose abilities and understanding of the ancient languages are far superior to mine.

I know of only two brothers who left Bethel from Writing after completing their work on the Aid Book and Bible commentaries who were kicked out for not believing in 1914, but who were not disfellowshipped. (in other words, not R.Franz or E.Dunlap) Only one of them, I think, had the ability and head-start to have been able to accomplish this kind of commentary. After he was kicked out of Bethel, he was still given a special pioneer stipend and was still asked by Brother Lyman Swingle (definitely) and then Lloyd Barry (possibly) to continue working on research and projects for the Writing Department over the next several years. His best friend at Bethel, who also worked on the Aid book and commentary material had an excellent grasp of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac. They made a great collaboration team at Bethel, but I have no idea if they are both still working together. I think the latter was either disfellowshipped or faded away.

I was in contact with the person who I think wrote this commentary for several years after he left Bethel, but he has either moved to another country or has decided to fade into anonymity. He has left no information about himself or his whereabouts on the Internet or any social media as far as I can see.

The site itself has "awful" navigation. If you go to the Home page: https://wernerbiblecommentary.org/?q= you can't even tell it's a Bible commentary. But if you click on the links to Jeremiah, for example, under What's New, then you will also see links to these 40+ Bible books. So far I can only recommend the ones I have read, but at least the style will be familiar to you, and you won't have to filter out the references to hell, Gehenna, Trinity, soul, spirit, etc., as you read. I think he did an excellent job on the parts of Romans I have read, and I will read Galatians next.

Bible Commentaries

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29 minutes ago, ComfortMyPeople said:

Could not we have something similar? How hard would it be?

I don't think anyone can work on that kind of contextual commentary and continue to believe in the kinds of numerology and non-sense (in my opinion) required to uphold our specific eschatological beliefs. Therefore, anyone who is put on such an assignment is likely going to be fired as soon as they touch the book of Daniel or anything Jesus, Paul or Peter said about the Parousia.

There were hopes that, after Fred Franz died, the "type-antitype" calculus would disappear, and after Franz died, Brother Schroeder stuck his neck out and pushed for its disappearance calling it presumptuous. (He had also been on the very opposite end of this controversy for many years, and was behind the pushing out of all the brothers who worked on the Aid Book.) If you listen to the 2014 Gilead talk by Brother Splane you will notice that he quotes Brother Schroeder as a primary source explaining why and how we no longer rely on type-antitype explanations from parables and Bible narratives that are not already explicitly explained this way in other parts of the Bible. (With the exception that we still need the one making the faithful and discreet slave a "type" representing the Governing Body, and Daniel 4 where Neb is a type representing the Messianic kingdom, of course.). Schroeder had long been dead, when Brother Splane quotes him. Of course, the brothers who worked on the Aid Book had already dropped that kind of presumptuous thinking by the time the Aid Book was published in 1971.

Even in the 1990's and 2000's two brothers with the apparent qualifications to work on such a project were kicked out of Bethel very quickly after they started in Writing. I didn't know these brothers, however, and can't vouch for the Bethel stories surrounding them.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

I don't think anyone can work on that kind of contextual commentary and continue to believe in the kinds of numerology and non-sense (in my opinion) required to uphold our specific eschatological beliefs. Therefore, anyone who is put on such an assignment is likely going to be fired as soon as they touch the book of Daniel or anything Jesus, Paul or Peter said about the Parousia.

Yes, I thought something similar. May God help us!!

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