Studying with a Jehovah's Witness should
be no different that studying with any well informed believer of God that
you think is living by an incorrect doctrine.....
Mutual respect is critical, your friend is going to feel the same way
about you and what you believe. You cannot go into a study with the attitude
- I am right and you are wrong - this kind of arrogance will quickly bring
about frustration, anger and resentment.
Prayer and worship
Start out your studies by having both of you pray for openness,
honesty and direction. You are both there to worship God first and "convert"
each other second - by a demonstration of your belief in action over a
long period of time you can have a great impact.
It is important to come to an agreement between the parties that intellectual
honesty will rule at all time - that all materials are open to be scrutinised
for the source of their information and the qualifications of those sources
to be able to give that information. If the person you are studying with
is not open to an intellectual challenge and fully believe that all Watchtower
information is divinely inspired then there is probably not a lot of hope
- anytime someone deflects evidence with blind faith is not being intellectually
New World Translation
The key to the Jehovah's Witness doctrines come from its 1950's
translation of the bible - In scholarly circles it is known as a corrupt
sectarian paraphrase - which means they have deliberately perverted the
meaning of a lot of passages in the bible to suite their doctrine. With
the NWT they have a case for building up their fanciful doctrine - without
it it collapses. As a rule the Jehovah's Witness will not use anything
except the NWT; they may consent to study from other passages but will
not believe it - it is important to tackle intellectual honesty from the
very outset and be open and discuss differences at the smallest level.
The NWT translation committee is kept a secret whereas every other major
translation's is open to be scrutinised. Know your different Bible translations
and why they differ - i.e. the KJV differs in a number of places because
it used inferior manuscripts - as new and more accurate ones were unearthed
newer and more accurate translations became available. Do not be afraid
to get into the Greek! The Bible translations like the NIV, RSV etc all
have excellent scholars for the translations of Greek that are used -
This is where intellectual honesty comes into play and you will need to
challenge the person you are studying with.
Do not be afraid or overwhelmed by the depth of material that a Jehovah's
Witness will refer to or bring to a study, make sure that you give them
the time and opportunity to present their beliefs, just as you will expect
them to give you the same courtesy. Break each argument or doctrine down
to the verses that support it in the NWT - look at these verses and then
cross reference them in other translations and look to see where the differences
are - this is time consuming and much patience is required.
Committed to Them
Do not try and convert someone overnight - if they are knowledgeable of
Jehovah's doctrine then it will take time to bring them over. They have
obviously studied hard, believed what has been taught to them and they
deserve respect for that devotion. Build a friendship up and study a little
bit at a time in a friendly manner. Do not leave God out of the picture
- pray together, play sports, eat out etc. Be willing to go to a few of
their activities - again mutual respect.
It is vitally important that you know what they believe and where it is
flawed. To this end I have put together a selection of articles that would
be well worth reading before you study with a Jehovah's Witness:
If you are not getting anywhere you need to agree to disagree and go separate