another JW question


I am still having the weekly meetings with a couple of very lovely JW ladies. They are pretty evasive about the authority of their Bible and I printed from EXPRESSIONS OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH, the authority we use for proof of the Bible. she took it and said she would look and it and then come back and tell me where we differ on the “authority”.

Part II: Is there any way in which I can present the case of how they even look at the Bible - by topic - with a few OT veress then flip to a couple of verses from the Psalms, then a couple of versus from Paul and then perhaps a quote ( again, only about 2 verses) A verse or two from one of the Gospels. All to hold up a particular “topic”. It seems to me nothing is in context, and she actually gets a little upset when I want to read what is around her quote - maybe at least a chapter - to see the quote in context.
I am thinking of next time showing her the first part of the Catholic Mass - i.e. The Liturgy of the world. A reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, an Epistle, and the Gospel - all related to each other. Other than cover to cover (she of course says no one has time to read it cover to cover) It seems like a much more logical way of approaching the Bible, other than selecting a “topic” and having certain small references to the topic, And, even by “topic” how do they know they have found every reference to said “topic” This has been my own little way of sharing my faith, and I find it intellectually interesting. Although I don’t see how you can call JWs Christians when they right away deny so many basic concepts of Christianity, The Trinity, Jesus is God and so is the Holy Spirit, no acknowledgement of a soul. and many other basic Christian doctrines. Thanks again for any input. You have already helped me with other questions. Was wondering if you have any helpful input on these topics - thanks, I’ll be looking forward to your replies. sherrie:juggle: :


I’m not totally familiar with this, but it might help. The verse numbers that separate (for example) John 3:16 from John 3:17 were not there in the begining. Many people will pick out a verse and say “see, it means this” but that one verse was never meant to be read alone.

So ask them what they think about the verses and chapters being seperated by those numbers that were added by men later on (as a reference to make finding those verses easier while studying them), and how we can then just mince sentences in half (as some of the verses do) and claim that is God’s teaching on something? If they imply that the numbers were added later while still under divine inspiration, then ask them what prevents you from ripping the entire book of John out of the Bible and saying you did it under Divine Inspiration. Where will the future inspirations stop? Or did they already, and if so, when? What’s the proof?


Sherrie, if you don’t already have it Mark Shea’s By What Authority? would be helpful to your discussions.


Thanks so much


Hi Sharon:

Have you taken a look at the following article on my website?

Jeff S.


Hi Sherrie, Jw’s in their preserntations commits most of the well know word study fallacies.

From chapters 1&2 of Exegetical Fallacies (second edition) by D. A. Carson ©1996, Baker Books, ISBN 0-8010-2086-7. Though Carson also addresses logical, presuppositional and historical fallacies, the main ones related to the content of this course are word-study and grammatical fallacies, as listed below:

Word-Study Fallacies

Common Fallacies in Semantics

  1. Root fallacy – thinking that every word has a meaning bound up with its shape or components
    • ajpovstoloV primarily means “messenger” or “special representative,” not “one who is sent” (even though it comes from ajpostevllw)
  1. Semantic anachronism – late use of word is read back into earlier literature
    • Early Church Fathers’ usage of ejpivskopoV (“bishop”/“overseer”) as one having authority over several churches may not reflect its NT meaning
    • duvnamiV meaning “dynamite” power (anachronism + language change)
  1. Semantic obsolescence – assigning a meaning to a word that it used to have but is no longer in its contemporary semantic range
  1. Appeal to unknown or unlikely meanings
    • kefalhv (“head”) meaning “source” or “origin” rather than “authority”
  1. Careless appeal to background material
    • Carson’s own wrong acceptance of John 3:5 as referring to the male action in conception (i.e., “begotten” rather than “born” for gennavw, with “water” being a reference to semen) when the evidence was not compelling
  1. Verbal parallelomania – the listing of verbal parallels in other writings or types of literature as if that demonstrates conceptual links or dependency
  1. Linkage of language and mentality – references to “Hebrew thought” vs. “Greek thought” and positing conclusions about the peoples’ mindsets based on the structure of the language (e.g., the lack of a neuter gender in Hebrew reflected the fact that to the Hebrew mind, all things were “alive”)
  1. False assumptions about technical meaning – falsely assuming that a word is a technical term that always has the same meaning
  1. Problems surrounding synonyms and componential analysis (attempts to isolate the components of meaning of words)
    • False distinctions between ajgapavw (“love”) and filevw (“love”)
  1. Selective and prejudicial use of evidence
  1. Unwarranted semantic disjunctions and restrictions – offering readers false either/or alternatives and forcing a decision
  1. Unwarranted restriction of the semantic field – illegitimately restricting a word’s semantic range (range of meaning)
    • Falsely declaring it a technical term (#8)
    • Semantic disjunctions (#11)
    • Abusing background material (#5)
    • Other ways
    Words can have broad ranges of meaning, e.g., the English word “board” can mean a piece of dressed lumber; room and board; a board of trustees; board a train; board up a broken window; etc.
  1. Unwarranted adoption of an expanded semantic field (also called “illegitimate totality transfer”) – supposing that the meaning of a word in a specific context is much broader than the context itself allows, and bringing with it the word’s entire semantic range
  1. Problems relating to the Semitic background of the Greek New Testament – to what extent the words of the Greek New Testament are altered or affected in their meaning by Old Testament or Hebrew or LXX influence on the authors
  1. Unwarranted neglect of distinguishing peculiarities of a corpus – false assumption that one New Testament writer’s predominant usage of any word is roughly that of all other New Testament writers
    • Matthew’s vs. Paul’s usage of dikaiosuvnh (“righteousness”)
  1. Unwarranted linking of sense and reference – wrongly linking the sense (meaning) of a word with its referent (what it refers to). The sense of a word is the mental content with which the word is associated, not its referent, and some words (like abstract adjectives, e.g., “beautiful”) have no referent. Words don’t necessarily by definition name real entities. Scholars often say things like “such and such a word denotes X” when in fact X is not the referent but the sense of the word.


continued …

Grammatical Fallacies

Fallacies Connected With Various Tenses and Moods

  1. The aorist tense – does not by definition mean a once-for-all action in past time, or necessarily an action in past time. The interaction of the aorist form with its context determines the type and meaning of the aorist verb.
    • Revelation 20:4 – e[zhsan and ejbasivleusan – “they lived and reigned a thousand years”
    • Mark 1:11 – eujdovkhsa – “In you I am well-pleased”
    • I Peter 1:24 – ejxhravnqh – “the grass withers”
  1. The first-person aorist subjunctive
  1. The middle voice – false supposition that virtually everywhere it occurs it is either reflexive (the subject does something to himself or herself) or suggests that the subject acts of itself

Fallacies Connected with Various Syntactical Units

  1. Conditionals (“if … then” statements; the “if” clause is the protasis, the “then” clause is the apodosis)
    • Wrongly assuming that in first-class conditions the protasis (the “if” clause) is actually true, when in fact it’s only assumed to be true for the sake of argument. Fallacy includes translating the eij as “since” instead of “if”.
    • Wrongly assuming that third-class conditions (ejavn plus the subjunctive in the protasis) have some built-in expectation of fulfillment, doubtful or otherwise. Third-class conditions simply indicate futurity (i.e., happening in the future) without any implication about possible or impossible, likely or unlikely fulfillment.
  1. The article: preliminary considerations – many commentators make false statements about the meaning of the presence or lack of the article
  1. The article: the Granville Sharp rule – describes relationship between two singular nouns joined by kaiv (“and”). If they both have the article, they’re separate things; if only the first noun has the article, they refer to the same thing (simplified definition of the rule).
  1. The article: the Colwell rule and related matters – if a definite predicate noun precedes a copulative verb (eijmiv, givnomai), it is normally anarthrous (i.e., does not have the article); if it follows, it is articular (i.e., has the article). The fallacy is to argue the reverse, i.e., if an anarthrous predicate noun precedes a copulative verb, it is definite. Computer searches show that half of the anarthrous nouns that precede a copulative verb are definite, and half are indefinite.
  1. Relationships of tenses – drawing conclusions without adequate attention being paid to the relationships between clause and clause, established (usually) by the verbal forms
    • Hebrews 3:14: Carson argues that the perfect gegovnamen (“we have become”) means that “We have become (past reference) partakers of Christ if we now (present) hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first.” Thus, membership in Christ is not conditional upon perseverance; rather, our having become partakers of Christ produces the fruit of perseverance. Not recognizing the force of the perfect verb can lead one to say that this verse teaches that our participation in Christ is conditional upon our perseverance.


Jeff. I love your website. I havelistened to many of your radio topics. Thanks for the help and the article is very useful. Thanks

Daniel. Thanks so much for the information. My daughter has just moved in with her 5 children and something tells me. I will need to have a few intillectual bulbs lit, actually to take in all the information you both have sent. Hopefully, there will be a quiet moment in the near future - thanks so much - I think I am so into this because one of my best friend, about 35 years ago (it was during Viet Nam conflict) left the Catholic Church “because the CC teaches that those who commit suicide go to hell”. She had not been very well catechized in the first place. She jumped into the JWs with both feet and was gone - it kind of broke my heart, to see such an intelligent girlfriend, lose a grasp of any intellectual Theology. thanks again Sherrie


Dear Daniel, I have been looking through your answer, and only operating on about 2 cylinders with many interruptions and find this very interesting. I was an English major, 1 semester of logistics,4 semesters of philosophy and 4 semesters of Theology. Catholic College, Loretto Heights College The JW ladies are not going to be back for 3 weeks, some JW mission thing. This is giving me more time to prepair, On this site it has also been suggested to me that I listen to the audio Catholics and the Bible. I do not believe these ladies have a substantial background in philosophy, theology, So I am trying to find some simple ways to speak with them. In the audio - “Catholics and the Bible”, it was presented that the Bible can be interpreted in different ways …in the literal sense…or…in the literalist sense. This was the example and I think it was a very good one. If 3000 years from now someone were to dig up a letter from our times that refers to “it’s raining cats and dogs”, in our day this means a deluge a very heavy rainfall. The author is conveying that it is raining very hard outside. However, if this idiom is lost in future centuries, a literalist, would imagine, literally, dogs and cats falling from the sky in our time. Do you think that might be a thought provoking comment to make. Especially with e.g. the 144,000. Did the author mean that number literally? Thanks everyone for your input. I am appreciating every bit of it. Also from Yessisan. She too has been very helpful in a thread posted earlier on this same issue. Thank you all. And hope you keep the advice coming. sherrie


May I suggest you make an outline of the topics that you think are important to discuss before starting your studies?


Revelation 14

1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses only have 8,758 people partaking in the Lord’s Supper as us protestants understand the topic. But, the Catholic Church has everyone partaking of it.

These 8,758 people in their thinking are part of the 144,000. So, how many are Jewish? Which tribes are each of them from? And, are they all virgins? Rev 14 plainly tells us that the 144,000 Jewish people from the 12 tribes are in fact virgins.

So, consider using the 8,758 vs Millions of Catholics partaking of the lord’s supper as a leading question to teach them about your understanding of John 6, I cor 11, etc.,

As you point out Jehovah’s Witnesses training is very limited.

In the meantime complie a list of early church fathers quotes about the lord’s supper. Point out that in the early church during perscution for example, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated every day just before sunrise.

From your perspective, I would use a lot of history because this is a major weakness for them. I would pick topics that have meaning for your worship life, like

What does the lord’s supper mean to the early church? and, how is this applied for today?

What is the authority of the church? And, how is this authority passed down?

Where are the pre-arius arians in church history? use abundent quotes about the deity of Christ.

I suggest you have your quotes printed out beforehand so you can give them a set to read along with you.

What is the doctrine of the trinity and what it is not ( three gods tritheism, Jesus is the Father, modalism ). They in their literature like to claim that we believe that Jesus is the Father, we do not. At other times they will say we believe in three Gods, we do not. With any definition of the Trinity they give, demand authoritive Catholic documents to that effect because they like to set up strawman arguements about what we believe the trinity is.

To keep it simple I strongly suggest you read,

Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse by David A. Reed

Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses Subject by Subject by David A. Reed

Jehovah’s Witness Literature:

Index of Watch Tower Errors by David A. Reed

Reed is a protestant, His format is similiar to Radio Replies: Three Volume Set (Paperback) by Leslie Rumble (Author), Charles M. Carty (Author), Charles M Carty (Author)

Maybe a catholic apologetist should follow Reed’s format for distinctly catholic topics addressed to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It would be interresting to know if at some time in their history all of them partook of the lord’s supper like they at one time they celebrated Christmas.


I think the 144,000 is a numeric multiple of 12, like 12 tribes, 12 apostles, it could be figurative as referring to “perfection of goverment” or it could be literal. Your best bet with them is to take it as literal, because the 144,000 are all Jewish Men from the 12 tribes, who are all VIRGINS. The requirement that they must be Jewish people who are virgins is enough by itself to disqualify every JW that claimed to be part of the 144,000.


is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule. The sun which “rules” the day, and the moon and stars which “govern” the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year.

Twelve is the product of 3 (the perfectly Divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, the number of what is material and organic).

While seven is composed of 3 added to 4, twelve is 3 multiplied by 4, and hence denotes that which can scarcely be explained in words, but which the spiritual perception can at once appreciate, viz., organization, the products denoting production and multiplication and increase of all that is contained in the two numbers separately. The 4 is generally prominently seen in the twelve.

from Seth to Noah and his family, and twelve from Shem to Jacob.

though actually thirteen in number, there are never more than twelve names in any one list. There are about 18 enumerations altogether, but in each list one or other is omitted. Generally it is Levi, but not always. In Revelation 7 both Dan and Ephraim are omitted (see p. 211), but the enumeration is still twelve, Levi and Joseph being introduced for this special sealing of the remnant which shall go unscathed through the great tribulation.

Then there were twelve Judges or Saviours (see p. 214).

has the number twelve as the predominating factor, in contrast with the Tabernacle, which had the number five. This agrees with the grace which shines in the Tabernacle, and with the glory of the kingdom which is displayed in the Temple.

When we come to the New Testament we find the same great principle pervading the Apostolic government as we see in the Patriarchal and National, for we have:

The twelve Apostles.
The twelve foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The twelve gates.
The twelve pearls.
The twelve angels.

will be 12,000 furlongs square, while the wall will be 144 (12 x 12) cubits, Revelation 21:16,17.

The number of the sealed in Revelation 7:4 will be 144,000, and all that has to do with the Twelve Tribes is necessarily pervaded by this number, such as the stones in the High Priest’s breastplate, the stones taken out of the Jordan, the number of the spies, etc. etc., and therefore we have not referred to all such reference in these pages.

for government of various kinds. Of course, all kings, priests, prophets, and healed lepers were anointed; but the circumstances of the anointing of twelve individuals is specially recorded. Of these, five were priests (Aaron and his four sons, Exodus 6:23) and seven were kings:

Aaron, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Nadab, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Abihu, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Eleazar, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Ithamar, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Saul, 1 Samuel 10:1.
David, * 1 Samuel 16:13.
Absalom, 2 Samuel 19:10.
Solomon, 1 Kings 1:39.
Jehu, 2 Kings 9:6.
Joash, 2 Kings 11:12.
Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:30.

  • David was anointed three times, viz:
    by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:13;
    by the men of Judah, 2 Samuel 2:4;
    by the elders of Israel, 2 Samuel 5:3.

It will be observed from the above list that Saul, the man of man’s choice, is thus stamped with the number 6. David, the man of God’s choice is stamped with the number seven. For Saul and David are the sixth and seventh respectively in order. The words, “a man after God’s own heart,” mean simply a man of God’s choice, and not, as infidels are never tired of asserting, that God approved of all the sins which David fell into.

of age was Jesus when He first appears in public (Luke 2:42) and utters His first-recorded words (see p. 52).

of angels mark the perfection of angelic powers (Matt 26:53).

sometimes denotes interruption or defect in human government, while

of words agrees with its signification, e.g., aulh, aulee, “palace,” occurs twelve times.


BTW, there is a early commentary on Revelation at under the church father section.

On Rev 7 he states,

  1. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man was able to number, of every nation, tribe, and people, and tongue, clothed with white robes.”] What the great multitude out of every tribe implies, is to show the number of the elect out of all believers, who, being cleansed by baptism in the blood of the Lamb, have made their robes white, keeping the grace which they have received.

There is a search function at new advent, try copying a phrase you are interrested in from an older translation like the king james into it to see what church fathers wrote about that phrase.


Excellent idea. Also, agree ahead of time, what one topic you want to discuss at your next meeting. My experience has been that you probably will not get them to come back more than 2 or 3 times before they will conclude that you are not ripe pickings for joining their group (I would say, cult). Once they see you do not blindly accept everything they say, and especially if you show any knowledge of Scripture, they will put you aside and move on to people they think they have a better chance of converting.

**Those are excellent resources. David Reed is an ex-JW and knows the Watchtower organization as well as anyone. Though I have never been a JW, I use to attend ex-JW conventions in PA where David was often one of the speakers. From all the talks that I have heard over the years, from David and others, here is some of what I have learned:

The JWs think they can easily refute the Trinity, so rather than start out with that subject, it is best to start out talking about the Watchtower organization and whether it is really the sole channel of God’s communication with man on the earth today (as they believe). You might say you want to talk about the subject, “Which is the true Church or organization on the earth today?” When you meet you can go over some of the false prophecies that the Watchtower has given over its 130-year history, from the first one that Christ would return in 1874 (later changed to 1914) to the more recent one that Armageddon was to have occurred by 1975. If you cannot find a full list, with supporting photocopies of the actual quotes in Watchtower literature, I can email it to you for free if you just email me your request to Those old quotes are very embarrassing to JWs and they will probably want to cut you off and say, I want to talk about the Bible, not old stuff like that. Then you can say, Well, Jesus said in the Bible, Beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15), and that in the last days, "False prophets shall rise and deceive many (Matt 24:11), and so, I want to make sure I am not talking to someone who is part of a false organization that is out to deceive people, adding, not you two nice ladies, but the organization you represent. Then ask, you’re not afraid to look at the history of your organization, are you? Surely if it’s God’s organization and God never lies, there is nothing to fear by looking at what the Watchtower has taught in the past. They will probably head for the door, showing they are indeed fearful of that.

Of course, the purpose in the above approach is not to send them running to the door, but to show them they have put their faith in a false organization, and if JWs have been lied to in the past, how do they know they are following the truth today? They have to start thinking independently of the WT or they will never be delivered from that cult.



Jehovah’s Witness leaders for over 100 years have claimed to be God’s only living “prophet” on the face of the earth. However, if one looks at their record, the documented evidence proves they are what Jesus described as “false prophets!” Most Jehovah’s Witnesses have no clue about the true history of their organization. Remember what Jesus said: “And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.” (Mat. 24:11)

Check out the documented evidence listed by year:


Thanks so much for all of your help. I am going to try to put together an Outline or at least a little something like an outline. Our next visit is Chapter 3 of “What does the Bible Really Teach?” I do know that, I belive it is an ex- jehovah witnees or perhaps it is a link from this site that has answere to this pamphlet chapter by chapter. Not so sure but will find it again - I have been to many websites investigating the “best” approach. Of course CATHOLIC ANSWERS is my primo starting point. Thanks again sherrie


If “What does the Bible Really Teach?” is their book, you need to break them away from it. It is better if you are leading the discussion not them. They don’t really listen until you get them out of their comfort zone of their own literature. Think of the book Animal Farm or 1988 by orwell when dealing with them, you need to get them away from “groupthink”.

use caution reading this,


**Sounds like they are conducting their typical “book study,” reading one chapter of their book each meeting and simply feeding you the Watchtower party lines spelled out in it. You might try questioning them about why should you be reading about “What does the Bible Really Teach” from the Watchtower organization instead of your own church? You can say, “I trust my own Church to tell me what the Bible really teaches, but why should I trust the WT organization? What has it said in the past? I found these quotes from a website, so let’s read these and find out about the WT organization before I read any more from this book of theirs.”

The JWs conducting the book study are programmed to go through the book and give you WT answers to any questions you have as you go along, but they are not programmed to explain all the false prophecies, except perhaps to say all that is old light and the book you’re studying is the latest information available, etc. Your response can be, “You mean, your organization taught false things that became ‘old light’ when they got ‘new light’? How do we know that what’s in this book won’t become ‘old light’ some time in the future?”

You might also ask them how long they have been witnesses, i.e., since what year? Then look at the years of false prophecies just while they were witnesses. For example, if they were witnesses in 1968 they should remember all the hype about the year 1975, and how that proved to be just another one of their false prophecies. Also remind them that in the OT times a false prophet was stoned to death (Deut. 18:20), so it is a very serious matter to God. The false prophet was not given an opportunity to get “new light” to avoid death.



Hi there, as an ex Jeh witness, now a Christian. I would like to say that you must ultimately pray for this jehovah witness who is destined for hell. Contact the ex jeh witness sites and get hold of copies of their book reasoning from the scriptures to get a picture of what they study, which is mainly the Watchtower. The:) average JW that knocks at door is not aware they are in a false religion as they are taught that the Catholic Church is part of Christendom and part of Babylon the Great, the Empire of False religion to be destroyed at the second coming of Christ. If you love God and are a Christian, you can only pray for their souls and find out as much as you can about why they believe what they believe, salvation is not a tennis game is it.

Christian Love your sister in Christ.


Wait a minute! You’re studying with them? :eek: You’re touching dangerous grounds Sherrie. You are studying what they believe, that is why they keep on coming back. They think you’re a pontential convert. I don’t want to tell you you’re doing wrong, but I think you shouldn’t study anything with them. I have read the book twice, once with JWs visiting my house, and once with attending the meetings w/DH. I can tell you that they will stir up your faith… you should STOP this for your own sake. I know what the book contains, it’s very anti-Catholic. It’s full of lies! I urge you to stop reading this w/them. I tell you, because I had them come to my house and read that w/them, that is why they thought I’d convert. Once I started having doubts of my own faith I had to stop. They will do that to you… you don’t want to be in the place I’m in now. I have a hard time with the Trinity, and sometimes I think, “What if they are right?”. Don’t let that happen to you, for your soul’s sake, don’t!


If you want to show them how fallicious the Watchtower is, use these rebuttals to their “Should you believe in the Trinity” booklet. It has a page by page rebuttal which shows how JWs quote out of context and how they have a mistaken idea about the Trinity. Here it is:

Although this site is a fundementalist site, it is still a good defense of the Christian faith. Print these out, and they will run away from the Watchtower for good.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit