Would you go to a JW Bible study?

(90 Posts)
quizzywizz Tue 09-Apr-13 21:13:39

I have wanted to do a Bible study for a while but there aren't many around here and the times at the church ones just don't fit in with everything else that I do.

I work with a Jehovah's Witness and she said that they do Bible studies in people's homes or in the home of the JW and they work right through the Bible and the key features. She said that a lot of non-JWs go the the studies and that even some non-believers do too. They are usually 1 on 1 or 2 JWs and 1 student.

Would you go to a JW Bible study? Do you think there would be anything to worry about?

rhondajean Tue 09-Apr-13 21:15:19

I'd be wary. They will use their own translation of the bible and their own literature and will only present their view in the study.

It's actually a carefully designed way to recruit you into the religion.

FrancesFarmer Tue 09-Apr-13 21:15:21

No. They have rather odd views on the Bible, quite at odds with the interpretations of the mainstream Christian churches.

Why do you want to study the Bible? Do you want someone to put a lot of effort into convincing you that their religion is right, and that they are really "there for you"? Because that is what you will get. In fairness, you'll get a fair amount of that from many kinds of bible study groups, but the JWs put a lot more effort into it than most.

And their opinion of it is certainly not what most churches would consider mainstream, so it's not going to teach you what most Christians think the Bible means.

They are not really considered Christians though, are they, so not sure why you would study their version of the Bible?

Why not try find an Alpha course?

Viviennemary Tue 09-Apr-13 21:28:52

I don't think this would be a good idea. I agree with find an Alpha course. They are run by quite a few churches.

quizzywizz Tue 09-Apr-13 21:41:22

There was an Alpha course around here but only 3 people signed up so it was cancelled. sad

She did say I could take my own Bible (NLT) with me to compare - maybe it is just like another translation like NLT compared to KJV.

I want to study the Bible because I want to understand it more plus there is a lot that I haven't read plus it is pretty central to the Christian faith.

JWs are Christians though aren't they? I just assumed that they were!

Oh no, they're really quite different. They make it sound like they are quite ordinary and mainstream, but they're not. Even if their Bible is the same (I'm not sure either way) their interpretation of it is quite different. They don't believe in the Trinity, for one fairly glaring thing.

Try this for an overview -en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovas_witnesses

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Tue 09-Apr-13 22:27:30

Why should the JW interpretation of the bible be any less valid than the so called 'mainstream' interpretation. Perhaps they are right. Why not see what they have to say?

Mumcentreplus Tue 09-Apr-13 22:41:06

What I recommend is you use a bible translation during your study (if you choose to have one) that you are happy with, then you will feel confident that you are not just using one point of reason, they are decent people and even if you choose not to be part of them you will certainly learn much about the bible and where many of the teachings mainstream Christianity accepts come from.

The Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christian. All the ones I've met have been good and decent people. They are not mainstream Christians as they could not sign up to the Nicene Creed.

If you want to study the Bible and Christian beliefs from a mainstream Christian perspective then an Alpha or Emmaus course is a good idea. There will be a group of people and not 2 or 3 instructors and 1 pupil which is how all JW Bible studies that I've heard of have operated.

The thing to remember when about the Bible is that how it is read is one of the things that really divides Christians with some (mostly in America) taking a view that it is literally the word of God through to the mainstream view that you find in the academic texts that it is a library of books rather than one that reflects the culture and thought world of its day and needs respectful interpretation.

Some books to get you started:

Simon Jenkins 'The Bible from Scratch'
Mary Batchelor 'Opening up the Bible'
Anything by NT Wright or Tom Wright
Etienne Charpentier 'How to Read the New Testament' and 'How to Read the Old Testament'
For something a bit more weighty you could see if your library has John Drane's Introduction to the New Testament.

Or look at www.rejesus.co.uk

Hope that helps.

quizzywizz persoanlly I would not want to do a Bible study with the Jehovah's Witnesses as they are not mainstream Christians. I am sure they are very nice and I met some on my dorrstep and had agood chat and ended up giving them a hug/them giving me a hug! But the majority of the church does not sigh up to their ideas.

I would certainly recommend the Alpha and I feel very sorry the course was cancelled because of low turn out. I think that even a few people would be enough to make it more than worth while to run it. Look on the Alpha website or maybe email them your experiences and ask them to hook you up for a course that will definitely run.

http://www.alpha.org/

Good luck exploring the Bible and your thoughts on faith. It really is worth it. Feel free to PM me, we are running a course but I expect we are not in the same area as you!!

glastocat Wed 10-Apr-13 11:59:38

God no, you will never get rid of them ( my mum was brought up a JW, many of my family remain JW).

stressedHEmum Wed 10-Apr-13 12:44:46

No, I wouldn't, and, like rhonda, I used to be one.

You will be "allowed" to use your NLT to begin with but you will be steered towards the NWT very quickly. You will only get their view and be led to believe that every other version of faith is actually part of the Great Whore of Babylon (false worship) and is really worshipping Satan.

You'll be encouraged, after a while, to distance yourself from non-JW family and friends and to spend more and more time in the JW community - bad associations spoil useful habits. And then it's all downhill from there.

The whole free bible study thing is just a clever way of sucking you in and recruiting you.

As far as being Christian is concerned - they believe that Christ was Jehovah's son but not in his divinity,as such. They believe that they are the only true Christians, hence calling themselves The Truth, and that the rest of us are part of false Christendom.

quizzywizz Fri 12-Apr-13 18:16:28

Hmmm stuff to think about then! I am supposed to be going to some special talk on Sunday - will see how that goes.

It just sounded really interesting but I don't want to get sucked into anything. Not sure I would as no one in my family even believes in God never mind being JWs.

YoniLoveCanSetYouFree Fri 12-Apr-13 18:26:32

What stressedHEmum said. I had a few Bible study sessions with the JWs last year and I found them very pushy. The whole thing got me quite stressed.

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 18:31:59

They believe that they are the only true Christians, hence calling themselves The Truth, and that the rest of us are part of false Christendom

But isn't that pretty much the same as what non-JW Christians say about JWs in that 'they've got it all wrong and we're right', an opinion that has been clearly expressed on this thread. from what I can see they just have their own interpretation of the bible as all the other's have theirs.

I don't think anyone is saying that the JWs are 'wrong' and mainstream Christians are 'right'. But if the OP wants to 'do Bible study' then she is most likely wanting to find out what mainstream Christians believe about it, not what one very specific group believe. Therefore she needs to be cautious about hearing one limited and unusual point of view, and thinking she has heard what 'Christians' think the Bible says (although that in itself is a very varied topic, and things like the Alpha course will probably also present a limited view).

JWs are also very well known for being 'pushy', and for their Bible study opportunities actually being manipulative. They recruit in a very 'friendly' way, and then discourage their members from involvement with people (even family) outside their own denomination.

It's not something that anyone should just 'sleepwalk' into - if she really wants to get deeply involved in a religion, then JWs are an available choice. But if she does't, then she neds to be aware of the risks.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:24:52

To be fair, I've met some pretty pushy Christians who would probably consider themselves 'mainstream'.

But I don't think there is any such thing as mainstream anyway is there? Arguably there are more Catholics floating around than other denominations, but they have different beliefs to C of E, who is the mainstream?

My guess is that mainstream means different things to different people and likely to be whatever they happen to be themselves.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:27:53

JWs are also very well known for being 'pushy', and for their Bible study opportunities actually being manipulative. They recruit in a very 'friendly' way, and then discourage their members from involvement with people (even family) outside their own denomination.

Yet here you are discouraging involvement with JWs.... And you're friendly, no?

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 20:36:24

So the way it works with religion is that whatever the majority thinks must be right? I thought Jesus said something about 'the way being narrow'?

I don't discourage people from being friends with JWs. I discourage them from joining a religious group which discourages you from spending any time with anyone outside of that specific religion.

And 'friendly' is not the same as actually being friendly. Hence the quotes.

I also know a lot of pushy mainstream Christians. I wouldn't encourage her to join them either. But I believe there is slightly more chance of her not being manipulated into anything in a different setting - not her alone with two JWs. A larger group of 'interested beginners' gives more chance of hearing alternative points of view.

Oh and mainstream Christianity = those which believe what is in the Nicene Creed, which includes Protestants, Catholics, and the Orthodox churches. There are variations in belief, but not in the essentials. JWs are not in that group, because their beliefs are significantly different in the essentials - like Christ being divine, like the Trinity, like what happens after death.

Branleuse Fri 12-Apr-13 20:37:42

They are more of a cult than a religion and id advise you not to take her up on her offer

I'm not saying mainstream Christians are right. I'm saying if the OP wants to know what 'Christians' think, then she'd be better off finding out what mainstream Christians think, not one obscure sect.

She started with the assumption that JWs were 'Christians' - that is not the case by most normal definitions. I'd say pretty much anyone of another religion, or an atheist, would say that Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. So, by common understanding, JWs are not what people mean when they say 'Christians'.

She's welcome to go talk to anyone, of any religion. But its worth pointing out some basics before she wanders along to this.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:44:45

Cult: A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

I personally don't find the two to be that different. Only that people of religion would attribute the word cult to smaller and/or newer religions such as Scientology.

I consider that all organised religions fall under the category of cult.

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