In my encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses I have compiled together some questions that I ask them. I have had these in a Word document that I have used for these times so I have decided to share then in a blog post for the benefit of others. Most of these are the result of my own research and the rest I have heard used by other Brothers in dialogues with JWs.
However before we get to the questions we can ask them I want to prepare you for some questions they may ask you. JW’s will most often question you about the Trinity. You should be well versed in the doctrine of the Trinity (CARM Trinity article) to ensure that you do not give answers that spin off into the heresy of Modalism (CARM Modalism article). Many well meaning Christians will give modalistic type answers when questioned about the Trinity since they do not understand the doctrine well enough themselves. JWs usually do not have a good understanding either about what Christians actually believe about the Trinity and therefore will ask questions that assume Modalism or Unitarianism (CARM Unitarianism Article). A clear understanding of the Hypostatic Union is also necessary to ensure you are clear in giving Biblical orthodox Christian answers to questions. (CARM Hypostatic Union Article).
A question that I have been asked before by JWs is when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane to God was he praying to himself? My answer to this question is that the question assumes modalism. We as Christians believe that Jesus, God the Son, is a different person than God the Father. In the incarnation there is no problem with Jesus praying to the person of God the Father and addressing him as God. God the Son humbled himself and took upon the form of a servant and became obedient onto death (Phil 2:5-11) as an example for us (1 Cor 11:1). In the incarnation he humbled himself in obedience to God the Father and worships the Father as God. We also see in Hebrews 1:8 where God the Father addresses God the Son as God. The three personal members of the Trinity have no issue in addressing one another with the title God as the doctrine of the Trinity teaches that all three persons are fully God.
In John 10:30 Jesus says that He and the Father are one. This has a two fold meaning Jesus in the context is stating that He and the Father are one in purpose and intention when it comes to the Salvation and security of His sheep. It also bears the meaning that they are one in the being of God. We can see that this later meaning is definitely how the Jews who heard him understood what He said because they picked up stones to stone Him for making Himself to be God (Jn 10:33).
In John 17:21-22 Jesus compares the make up of multiple persons in one Church to the persons of the Trinity as one God. You can use all the verses mentioned about in defense of the Trinity from their own perversion of the Bible called the New World Translation (NWT)
Jehovah’s Witnesses may make the argument that the Trinity is illogical because Christians are saying that 1+1+1=1. The problem with this argument is that it assumes Unitarianism and demonstrates that the one making the argument has no idea what Christians actually believe about the Trinity. The argument has a category error and is confusing the categories of person and being, which Christians differentiate, and is making them synonymous. The answer to this is that 1 person + 1 person + 1 person = 3 persons and 1 being of God = 1 God.
This next section will contain the questions that I like to ask JWs to challenge them from their own perverted version of the Bible (NWT). These questions all work with the Bible that all JWs carry. When encountering JWs it is helpful to use arguments and texts of Scripture they have not encountered before. All the traditional texts that defend the deity of Christ like John 1, Phillippians 2, Colossians 1, etc. will not be helpful to use in an encounter with a JW as they can articulate their arguments against these texts almost from a state of comatosis as they have addressed these so often. These traditional passages have been mangled sufficiently by the NWT translators that their impact is gone. For example the NWT has change John 1:1 from “the Word was God” to “the Word was a god”. Don’t try to argue with them from these text unless you are a Greek scholar because you will get no where. All the examples I give below from my experience are not arguments that they have encountered before and these arguments can all be used with their own Bibles.
1. Ask them to give you some of the attributes that make up the being of Jehovah God?
If they need help you can give them the attribute list below and they will agree with them.
2. Once they have agreed with the list ask them if Jesus Christ carries these attributes. JWs believe Jesus Christ to be a created being who is Michael the Archangel so they will have to say, “no”.
3. Next ask them if the attributes that make up the being of Jehovah are exactly represented in Jesus Christ? Can Jesus contain all the fullness of these divine qualities in himself? In other words ask them if Jesus Christ can be infinite, eternal, and omniscient as Jehovah is? They will have to say “no”.
4. Ask them to read Heb 1:3 and Colossians 2:9 from their Bible.
Hebrews 1:3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (NWT)
Colossians 2:9 because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. (NWT)
1. Ask them to read Isaiah 10:21.
Isaiah 10:21 Only a remnant will return,The remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. (NWT)
2. Ask them from the context who is Might God? Answer, Jehovah. Ask them if Jesus is Mighty God or is this a title for Jehovah alone? They will have to say, “no, Mighty God is for Jehovah alone”.
3. Ask them to read Isaiah 9:6.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child has been born to us, A son has been given to us; And the rulership will rest on his shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (NWT)
4. Ask them who the “Mighty God” is in this text?
1. Ask them to read Isaiah 44:6.
Isaiah 44:6 This is what Jehovah says, The King of Israel and his Repurchaser, Jehovah of armies: ‘I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me. (NWT)
2. Ask them who here has the title of “the first and the last“? The answer is “Jehovah”.
3. Ask them to read Revelation 1:17
Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last,
18 and the living one, and I became dead, but look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of the Grave. (NWT)
4. Ask them who was living, became dead and then became living forever and ever? The answer is “Jesus”. Ask how that can be because Jesus says here “I am the First and the Last” a title only for Jehovah?
1. Ask them to read John 1:1 and John 1:14. You will not be addressing the mis-translation of “God” to “a god”
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. (NWT)
John 1:14 So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of divine favor and truth. (NWT)
2. Ask them if Jesus Christ is the Word (logos) here in John 1:1 and John 1:14?
3. Ask them if verse 14 says that Jehovah God is giving his glory to this lesser created god called the Logos (Jesus)?
4. Ask them to also read John 17:1 and John 17:5
John 17:1 Jesus spoke these things, and raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son so that your son may glorify you, (NWT)
John 17:5 So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was. (NWT)
5. If they say “yes” to the previous question, ask them to read Isaiah 42:8 and then Isaiah 43:10.
Isaiah 42:8 I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images. (NWT)
Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none. (NWT)
6. Ask them, in light of these verses, will Jehovah give his glory to another and has there ever been a god formed after Jehovah?
This argument is quite effective. It is based upon the use of the Greek word ‘proskuneo’. The NWT has translated the word ‘proskuneo’ in every place it is in reference to Jehovah as ‘worship’ and in every place it is in reference to Jesus as ‘obeisance’. This is an attempt to diminish as much as possible the impact of the New Testament record of the worship of Christ.
- (Greek: προσκυνέω Transliteration: proskuneo Pronunciation: pros-koo-neh’-o) Definition: –literally worship
1. Ask them to read Matthew 4:9-10. Point out that the words ‘worship’ in this verse are translated from the Greek word ‘proskuneo’.
Matthew 4:9 And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship (proskuneo) to me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship (proskuneo), and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (NWT)
2. Ask them if we are to give ‘proskuneo’ worship or obeisance to any other than Jehovah according to Jesus?
3. Ask them to read Matthew 14:33 and 15:25.
Matthew 14:33 Then those in the boat did obeisance (proskuneo) to him, saying: “You really are God’s Son.” (NWT)
Matthew 15:25 But the woman came and did obeisance (proskuneo) to him, saying: “Lord, help me!” (NWT)
4. Point out that the word obeisance here is translated from the Greek word ‘proskuneo’ which Jesus said in Matthew 4:9-10 that we are to give to Jehovah only.
5. Ask them to read Revelation 19:10.
Revelation 19:10 At that I fell down before his feet to worship <proskuneo> him. But he tells me: “Be careful! Do not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing concerning Jesus. Worship <proskuneo> God! For the witness concerning Jesus is what inspires prophecy.” (NWT)
6. What happened when the Apostle John fell down and tried to worship and Angel?
7. Ask them to read Revelation 5:8-14
Revelation 5:8 When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, and each one had a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense. (The incense means the prayers of the holy ones.)
9 And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”
11 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads* and thousands of thousands,
12 and they were saying with a loud voice: “The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, saying: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.”
14 The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (NWT)
8. Is the lamb that was slain (Jesus Christ) worshiped in this passage?
1. Ask them to read Psalms 102:25-27
Psalms 102:25 Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away.
27 But you are the same, and your years will never end. (NWT)
2. Who is spoken about in Psalms 102:25-27? Answer, Jehovah.
3. Ask them to read Hebrews 1:7-12.
Hebrews 1:7 Also, he says about the angels: “He makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But about the Son, he says: “God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.
9 You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your companions.”
10 And: “At the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you will remain; and just like a garment, they will all wear out,
12 and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as a garment, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never come to an end.” (NWT)
4. Does God attribute Psalms 102:25-27 to His Son?
5. Does the cross reference in your Bible for Hebrews 1:10-12 point to Psalms 102:25-27? It does.
6. According to this text doesn’t it demonstrate that God the Father and the Son are one and the same being?
1. Ask them if Jehovah has performed the greatest act of love?
2. Ask them to read John 15:13
John 15:13 No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his life in behalf of his friends. (NWT)
3. Who has performed the greatest act of love? Jesus has and since Jesus is Jehovah than Jehovah has performed the greatest act of love.