You see us in our public ministry. You may have read about us in news reports or heard things about us from others. But how much do you really know about Jehovah’s Witnesses?
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Check each statement true or false.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are creationists.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in doctors.
Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the entire Bible.
Jehovah’s Witnesses use only their own Bible translation.
Jehovah’s Witnesses changed their Bible to fit their beliefs.
Jehovah’s Witnesses shun community involvement.
Jehovah’s Witnesses look down on people of other religions.
For the answers, see the following pages.
1 TRUE. We try to follow closely the teachings and behavior of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:21) However, in a number of ways, we differ from other religious groups that are called Christian. For example, we have found that the Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God; he is not part of a Trinity. (Mark 12:29) We do not believe that the soul is immortal or that there is any basis in Scripture for saying that God tortures people in an everlasting hell. Nor do we believe that those who take the lead in religious activities should have titles that elevate them above others.
—Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 23:8-10.
2 FALSE. We believe that God created everything. But we do not agree with many who believe in creationism. Why not? Because a number of creationists’ ideas conflict with the Bible. For example, some assert that the six days of creation were literal 24-hour days. But the word “day” in the Bible can refer to a considerable length of time. (Genesis 2:4; Psalm 90:4) Then, too, some creationists teach that the earth is just a few thousand years old. However, the Bible indicates that the earth and the universe existed long before the six days of creation. 1
3 FALSE. We do accept medical treatment. In fact, some of us are physicians, as was the first-century Christian named Luke. (Colossians 4:14) However, we reject any treatment that conflicts with Bible principles. For example, we do not accept blood transfusions, because the Bible forbids taking in blood.
—Acts 15:20, 28, 29.
Even then, we seek the best possible medical care for ourselves and our families. In fact, blood conservation treatments that were developed to help Witness patients are now being used to benefit all in the community. In many countries, any patient can now choose to avoid blood-transfusion risks, such as blood-borne diseases, immune-system reactions, and human errors.
4 TRUE. We believe that the entire Bible is “inspired of God and beneficial.” (2 Timothy 3:16) That includes both the Old Testament and the New Testament, as they are commonly called. Generally, we refer to these sections of the Bible as the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures. In this way, we avoid giving the impression that some parts of the Bible are outdated or irrelevant.
5 FALSE. We use many translations in our study of the Bible. In languages in which it is available, though, we especially appreciate the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures for its use of God’s name, for its accuracy, and for its clarity. Consider the use of God’s name, Jehovah. In the introduction of one Bible translation, there is a list of the names of 79 people who in some way contributed to the production of the translation. Yet, this same Bible omits the name of the very Author
—Jehovah God! In contrast, the New World Translation restores the divine name in the thousands of places where it existed in the original text. 2
6 FALSE. When we have discovered that our beliefs were not completely in line with the Bible, we have adjusted our understanding. Long before we started producing the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in 1950, we used available translations and formed our beliefs accordingly.
7 FALSE. Our ministry benefits many in the community. We have helped many people to overcome harmful addictions, such as the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Our literacy classes help thousands around the world to learn to read and write. We also help when disaster strikes by providing practical relief assistance to both Witnesses and non-Witnesses. We try to give the emotional and spiritual support that victims sorely need at such times. 3
8 FALSE. We follow the Bible’s advice to “respect everyone”
—regardless of their religious beliefs. (1 Peter 2:17, Today’s English Version) For example, though in some countries there are hundreds of thousands of us, we do not try to pressure politicians or lawmakers into restricting or banning the work of other religious groups. Nor do we campaign to have laws passed that would impose our moral and religious convictions on the community. Instead, we extend to others the same tolerance that we appreciate receiving from them. —Matthew 7:12.
This article contains information selected from our official website, jw.org. To learn more, go to ABOUT US > FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
^ 1. For that reason, we have no objection
^ 2. The New World Translation has another distinction: It is distributed without charge. As a result, millions are able to read the Bible in their mother tongue. The New World Translation is now available in some 130 languages. You can even read it online at www.jw.org.
Take a look inside and see for yourself.
Around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for the free Bible study program they offer. See how it works.
Consider three reasons why we adopted this name.