“Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe.” – 2 Timothy 3:14
[Study 28 from ws 7/20 p.8 September 7 – September 13]
Preview. This article will help us to appreciate the truthful teachings of God’s Word. It will also discuss ways in which we can strengthen our conviction that what we believe in is the truth.
“Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe” 2 Timothy 3:14 NWT
For context let us include verse 15 from Berean Study Bible.
“But as for you, continue in the things you have learned and firmly believed, since you know from whom you have learned them..15 From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15
From the very beginning of the article, we notice the curious way the theme text is used, and that only one other translation on BibleHub (Darby) translates “epistōthēs” as “persuaded” instead of “firmly believed”, “been assured”, or “be convinced”. This is not surprising as we have seen this before in the NWT and in fact, persuasion is the actual technique used by the FDS/GB to indoctrinate members and Bible studies. Readers may find this a harsh statement, but to support this, ask any Witness to explain from scripture, for example, the “overlapping generations” what will you find? It will be evident from a lack of any scriptures supplied they have been “persuaded” to believe this teaching. Take it a step further and inquire “from whom you have learned them” and by default, we can conclude if it is not from scripture then the source would be the self-appointed FDS/GB.
Let us review only the key portions of paragraphs that make this point.
Para 1 “HOW did you find the truth?” “Were you raised in the truth?” “How long have you been in the truth?” You have likely been asked such questions—or maybe you have asked them of others. What do we mean by the term “the truth”? Generally, we use it to describe our beliefs, our way of worship, and our way of life. People who are “in the truth” know what the Bible teaches, and they live according to its principles. As a result, they are set free from religious falsehood and they enjoy the best life possible for imperfect humans. —John 8:32.”
“The Truth” is a well-known powerful JW slogan like their version of a secret handshake used by a club or secret society to identify fellow members. That aside, the legitimate question would be, is this the same “Truth” Jesus was referring too when asked by Pilate?
“37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”” John 18:37-38
Keep in mind that words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity as we continue to breakdown the meaning of “The Truth.”
The is a definite article. It is used as a function word to indicate that the following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance.
Truth is a noun. The simple definition is a person, place, or thing. It means that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
The FDS/GB teaches the R&F that “The Truth” is the entire current doctrine as absolute truth, and absolute truth is something defined as, true at all times and in all places. It is something that is always true no matter what the circumstances. It is a fact that cannot be changed. For example, there are no round squares.
However, what we see with the teachings of the FDS/GB is the use of fluid truth.
The definition of fluid is a person, thing, or situation that moves or changes easily or according to the FDS/GB “new light.’’ (Proverbs 4:18).
We appreciate that in scripture there is no such thing as fluid truth, only the FDS/GB’s ever-changing interpretation that fits their overall narrative at any given time. The real facts are that “The Truth” since CT Russell has constantly been in a fluid state of change or “new light” up to our present day.
We will consider one example as there are many to choose from.
Remember the plethora of books from Russell to Franz that at the time were considered absolute Bible truth when published by “God’s Spirit directed earthly organization”. Well, where are they now? You got it they are all in the trash bin, most have been completely purged from the organization’s vast library!
In fact, if you have held on to any of those “true” teachings and were to teach others the once considered organizational truth you could be disfellowshipped as an Apostate.
That is hard to square when we are talking about being convinced you have the truth or better stated “the current truth.”
Para 2…” first meeting they attended, and more than anything that was said from the platform, that love made a lasting impression on them. This is not surprising because Jesus said that His disciples would be identified by their love for one another.” (Read John 13:34-35)
Most would likely agree, this was our first impression of the congregation. Unfortunately, most learned not long after their Baptism that the love-bombing first experienced turned out to be only conditional love. Although brothers and sisters would claim to die for you, they would instantly shun you or treat you as dead with just one disfellowshipping announcement from the platform without even knowing the reason as to whether it was for fornication or just questioning a particular teaching of the Organization! That is not the love Jesus was talking about, was it?
Paragraph 3…” Or perhaps someone becomes an apostate, asserting that we do not have the truth. If such things happen, will you be stumbled and stop serving Jehovah?”
This is the real focus of this article in preparation for the follow-up study article “keep Walking in The Truth.” When considering the flatlined growth, the exit of many young ones, and negative exposure on all things Watchtower via the internet especially the child abuse scandal that has long since overshadowed the organizational adultery with the UN, we can expect more of these type of articles with vague warnings about apostates. When considering so-called apostate lies, why not inform the R&F exactly what lies they are warning us about and then teach us how the truth could stand on its own when challenged, especially if it is based on the Bible? 1 Peter 3:15.
Sadly, this is missing. At one time the Watchtower would contain articles disproving the Trinity and the like. It stated the belief and gave scriptures and reasoning as to why it was incorrect. Why cannot they do the same with so-called Apostate lies? We can only conclude that they cannot write a reasonable defense of their teachings that are contradicted by the so-called Apostates.
Paragraph 4…. “Or maybe they thought that being a Christian meant living a trouble-free life —one with only blessings, no challenges”.
True it can be a challenge to live a Christian life in this world, but many of the troubles experienced by witnesses today are created by the man-made doctrines of the Organization which have nothing to do with following the Christ or supported by scripture for that matter. The following is a shortlist of “troubles” caused by the organization.
- Prohibition on higher education
- Convoluted and confusing ban on blood transfusions
- Reaching out for titles and privileges in the congregation
- Unloving focus on reporting field service time to the exclusion of other Christian actions
- Demanding loyalty and following the FDS/GB ahead of even Jesus words
Paragraph 5….” The vast majority of our brothers and sisters prove that they are convinced that they have the truth. How?”
The vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are captives to a concept and are held in fear of any questioning of the FDS/GB. The threat of being shunned is continually embedded in the subconscious mind with statements like “listen, obey, and be blessed” along with the constant reminders of the misapplied words of Jesus “that if you did it to one of least of these my brothers, (FDS) you did it to me” Matthew 25:40
Paragraph 6 “The first-century disciples accepted those teachings and relied on the holy spirit to help them understand God’s Word. They proved to themselves that these teachings were based on the Scriptures Acts 17:11”
Decades past the organization actually attempted to follow this as we were all encouraged to be like the Beroeans “making sure of all things” praying for Holy Spirit to guide us individually when studying the Bible even being encouraged to take on deep topics and doctrine and be able to explain them in the ministry. Sadly, today we are regulated to sit and listen, repeat back what is written in the paragraphs and keep it to 30 seconds or less, and repeat the process on the same topic over and over. Repetition is the mother of retention and how you persuade someone to believe what you want. Most witnesses today could not explain the Organization’s doctrine on 1914,1919, overlapping generations, or even the parable of the FDS if their lives depended on doing so, evidence these convoluted doctrines are not based on scripture.
Paragraph 9…” And third, you need to confirm that Jehovah has an organized group of people who are worshipping him under Christ’s headship and that Jehovah’s Witnesses are that group.
Proving to yourself those basic truths does not require that you become a walking encyclopedia of Bible knowledge. Your goal should be to use your “power of reason” to strengthen your conviction that you have the truth.” Romans 12:1
In all fairness, it is easy for most baptized witnesses to just settle for those two statements. Jehovah’s Witnesses are highly organized and regimented to be under the control of the FDS/GB giving them a sense of belonging, purpose, hope for paradise, and tangible works following Jesus in preaching the good news of the Kingdom. These are extraordinarily strong motivations to keep one ignoring the terrible things going on in the organization. keeping one’s head buried in the sand and allowing the FDS/GB to persuade them what to believe opposed to “firmly believed” supported by personal Bible study.
Paragraphs 12-13 focuses on teaching children some good points, but they slip in the real motive with the following,
“In doing so, they will help their children to appreciate Jehovah and the channel he uses to dispense spiritual food — “the faithful and discreet slave.”
Yes, persuading (indoctrinating) your young ones at the earliest possible age (some baptized as young as 8) to view the FDS as “the channel” of spiritual food and thus bypassing the true channel Jesus the head of the congregation, is the real motive for future adult witnesses.
Study Bible Prophecy
Paragraph 14. How many of these “explanations” from the “prophet class” has changed over the years? Why not investigate exegetical examinations of such prophecies, many of these are archived on BP and reasonably arrive at different explanations other than the one we had been “persuaded” to believe? Recently published examinations include the Messianic Prophecy of Daniel 9, and the King of the North and the King of the South from Daniel 11 & 12.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THESE PROPHECIES?
Matthew 13:36-43. The wheat and the weeds
1 Thessalonians 5:3. The proclamation of “peace and security.”
Paragraphs 15-17 Nothing new in these paragraphs as they contain the often-repeated fear-mongering bunker mentality focusing on the Nazi history of persecuting JW’s and that we should expect the same in the future.