Reading the Bible or Watchtower publications? Offering a small corrective.

In the November 15, 2012 Watchtower Study Edition on p. 17 par. 9,

A humble person has heartfelt gratitude for Jehovah’s provisions, including spiritual food. Hence, such an individual is a diligent student of the Bible and an avid reader of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Like many other faithful servants of Jehovah, he may make it a practice to read each new publication before putting it away on a bookshelf in his personal library. When we manifest humble appreciation by reading and studying our Bible-based publications, we make spiritual advancement, and Jehovah is able to use us more fully in his service.—Heb. 5:13, 14.

I must first commend the Brooklyn printing corporation for including those who have “heartfelt gratitude for Jehovah’s provisions” as “diligent students of the Bible.”  I would also add that it is not merely the student of the Bible who will have heartfelt gratitude, but those who also believe and apply what the Scriptures teach.  I’m sure Jehovah’s Witnesses would concur.  However, as one who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I cannot agree with the additions above in bold.  The reason being, I see no Scriptural obligation for me, as a Christ-follower, to make it a practice to read and apply the publications of a particular Brooklyn printing corporation (also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).

Furthermore, I would severely doubt that putting such an emphasis on these so-called “Bible based publications” is necessary for my spiritual advancement.  In fact, I have reasons to believe that placing such an emphasis on these publications could actually hinder the spiritual advancement of a Christ-follower.  This is why i’d like to offer a corrective to the above paragraph that I believe is much more consistent with the Scriptures in that it is much more focused on the Scriptures themselves rather than so-called “Bible-based publications.”

A humble person has heartfelt gratitude for Jehovah’s provisions, including spiritual food. Hence, such an individual is a diligent student of the Bible. Like many other faithful servants of Jehovah, he may make it a practice to read and apply the Scriptures before putting it away on a bookshelf in his personal library.  When we manifest humble appreciation by reading and studying the Scriptures, we make spiritual advancement, and Jehovah is able to use us more fully in his service. (Word in bold are my additions)

I would like to make it clear that I do not think its wrong for someone to read bible-based publications. Instead, my point is to focus on the necessity on these publications as well as how much emphasis is placed on them.  More importantly, I find it problematic when an organization or an individual places this emphasis on their own publications as necessary or essential for spiritual advancement.

3 thoughts on “Reading the Bible or Watchtower publications? Offering a small corrective.

  1. Kyp says:

    Well, question is: Are there better magazines preaching the gospel than watchtower and awake? If there are, the watchtwoer’s statement makes no really sense. If there isn’t, the statement is a logical conlusion.

    1. Eastwardtohelel says:

      The real question is do we NEED magazines for spiritual advancement when we have already been given the Word(Memra) which is Jesus and the scriptures. Second what happens when we find blatant errors and dishonesty within said magazines? Even if, and that is a big IF, they are the best publication around does that mean that they are the de facto authoritative source of guidance? What about all other publications? What is the standard or where is the cut off? Which publications make the grade and which ones don’t? So I am not sure that your suggested logic is the best way to look at their self proclaimed authority. Just because there is a best choice out of a set of choices, doesn’t mean that it is the right choice.

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