2 Timothy 3:16,17 — All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.
You know it, I know it, you’ve used it a billion times. But have you ever thought about what it means when it comes to how you should read your Bible?
The Watchtower has long claimed that without their literature there is no way for people to understand the Bible. Even Russell wrote:
if he then lays [The Studies in the Scriptures] aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness.
So the question is, can we understand the Bible ourselves, or do we need someone to interpret it for us?
Think of the wording of 2 Timothy 3:16,17. “All Scripture is inspired of God”. All of it. This is in stark contrast to what the Watchtower says about the spiritual guidance of the Governing Body, that it’s “neither inspired nor infallible”. So which one is the wisest to trust?
After listing the benefits, verse 17 goes on to say why the scripture is inspired by God. “so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” God inspired the Bible so that reading it, and it alone, we will be fully competent and completely equipped.
What does fully and completely mean?
They mean that there is nothing else to add. In other words, the Bible contains all the information we need.
But what if there’s something we don’t understand?
We sometimes need help to understand the Bible. Jesus knew this, but did he tell us to “Look it up in the Insight book” or “Search the library for an article from the Watchtower about it”?
No, this is what he said:
John 16:13 — However, when that one comes, the spirit of the truth, **he will guide you into all the truth**, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come.
Our Helper, the Holy Spirit is the one who will guide us into all the truth. Not the Watchtower. The Holy Spirit. And God has promised to give Holy Spirit to everyone who asks for it.
John further underscores this in his first letter:
1 John 2:27 — And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but the anointing from him is teaching you about all things and is true and is no lie. Just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.
(If you think that you’re not anointed by Holy Spirit then take this simple test and find out. The answer might surprise you.)
Is there other help?
I’m glad you asked. There are many many excellent concordances, dictionaries and Bible commentaries with which you can do research and see what scholars say about different passages. But remember that you should never trust any human completely in their interpretations of the Bible, just as you should not trust the Watchtower’s interpretation without checking with other sources.
Especially considering that the Watchtower Society is notoriously uneducated. They basically have no scholars of their own but rely heavily on cherry picking Christendom’s scholarly research.
For example, the reason why the NWT translation committee wanted to stay anonymous is because of their lack of education. Only one of them had even a rudimentary understanding of Greek, the rest, none. They basically just copy-pasted other English works and added, removed and changed words to fit their doctrine.
The Bible tells us
1 John 4:1 — Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The Bible commands you to not trust the Watchtower but to test their statements to see whether they are false prophets or not.
So read only the Bible, let the Holy Spirit guide you, look up words and context you need to understand. But if you want to see what other humans have said about it, compare many scholars and be sure to not put your complete trust in any particular interpretation, but let Holy Spirit guide you.