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Jehovah’s Witnesses

THE WATCHTOWER AUGUST 2009

Good Religion Promotes Respect for God’s Word

JESUS promoted respect for God’s Word, the Bible. This fact is evident from the way he replied when tempted by the Devil. (Matthew 4:4-11) For example, how did Jesus react when Satan challenged him to turn some stones into loaves of bread? Jesus rejected the temptation by quoting Moses’ inspired words, which you can read at Deuteronomy 8:3. And when the Devil offered Jesus rulership over all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for just one act of worship, how did Jesus reply? He refused the offer by referring to a Scriptural principle that you can find at Deuteronomy 6:13.

Just think! Even though he was God’s own Son, Jesus relied on the Bible as his authority when teaching. And he certainly never ignored God’s Word in favor of human tradition. (John 7:16-18) However, many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not share his respect for God’s Word. Why not? They had allowed human tradition to overshadow the Sacred Scriptures. Jesus bluntly told those religious men: “You have revoked God’s word because of your tradition. Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.’”Matthew 15:6-9, Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Many of the world’s religions, Christian and non-Christian alike, claim to respect  the Bible. Nevertheless, how many religions do you know of that discard human traditions when these clash with clear teachings found in God’s Word? Consider just two examples.

TOPIC: Religious titles.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES:

Jesus condemned the religious leaders of his day for their love of titles and their desire for prominence. He said that those men loved “the first places at suppers and the front seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the market place, and to be called by men ‘Rabbi.’” Jesus then told his disciples: “Do not you be called ‘Rabbi’; for one is your Master, and all you are brothers. And call no one on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven.”Matthew 23:1-10, New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.

QUESTION:

Do leaders of this religion like to be called by honorific titles and seek prominence in the community, or do they obey Jesus’ command to avoid doing so?

TOPIC: Use of images in worship.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”Exodus 20:4, 5, English Standard Version.

The apostle John wrote to Christians: “You must stay away from idols.”1 John 5:21, Contemporary English Version.

QUESTION:

Does this religion obey the Bible’s clear command to avoid the use of images and idols in the worship of God?

You Can Find the Right Path

Despite the bewildering number of religious paths available today, you can find the one that leads to life. There are many identifying marks of the “religion that is pure and undefiled before God.” (James 1:27, New Revised Standard Version) The scriptures discussed in these articles can act as signposts that help direct you to that religion.

Why not ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to explain their answers to the questions raised in these articles? As you examine what they say, follow the good example of those who lived during the first century in the city of Beroea. After hearing the apostle Paul preach, “they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true.” (Acts 17:11, Today’s English Version) If, like the Beroeans, you respect God’s Word and diligently study it, you will find the path to life. Whether you then walk down that path is a choice you will have to make.

Which religion encourages people to study the Scriptures to see if what they are learning is really true?