Beginning with the July 2011 issue, a simplified English edition of The Watchtower began to be produced for a trial period of one year. Now the trial is over, and the verdict is to continue publishing the simplified version indefinitely.
Beginning in January 2013, simplified editions will also be available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
The simplified edition was designed to help those who attend English congregation meetings at the Kingdom Hall but who do not speak English as their mother tongue.
From the very first issue, letters of appreciation have poured in. One came from 64-year-old Rebecca, who lives in Liberia and who never went to school. She wrote: “
I am learning to read. Sometimes I would read The Watchtower, but I would not understand it. I love the simplified edition. I can understand it.”
Many parents are using the simplified edition to help their children prepare for the Watchtower Study, one of the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Rosemary, who is raising three granddaughters, writes: “
Studying The Watchtower with the girls has always been a challenge. We had to use a dictionary to look up the meaning of many of the words. So much time was spent just understanding the wording of some articles that the children often missed the point. Our time is now spent on the scriptures and how they tie in with the lesson.”
Here is an example that shows the difference between the standard text and the simplified text. In the description of a meeting of Christ’s apostles in Acts chapter 15, the standard edition states: “
What followed was, not a mind-numbing theological debate over dry technicalities, but a lively doctrinal discussion.” The simplified edition states: “
Their meeting was, not a boring religious argument about unimportant details, but an exciting discussion about Bible teachings.”