Chapter 1. Bible
The Bible and the spiritualist J. Greber
Although the Watchtower Society has been publishing its own English Bible since 1950, it also confirmed that translation by spiritualistic version of the New Testament published by J. Greber (1937). Later the organization abandoned that doubtful practice, claiming that it did not know that the author was a spiritualist!
The knowledge about Greber’s work and quoting him since the mid-50s of the 20th century
Says Johannes Greber in the introduction of his translation of The New Testament, copyrighted in 1937: “I myself was a Catholic priest, and until I was forty-eight years old had never as much as believed in the possibility of communicating with the world of God’s spirits. The day came, however, when I involuntarily took my first step toward such communication, and experienced things that shook me to the depths of my soul. . . . My experiences are related in a book that has appeared in both German and English and bears the title, Communication with the Spirit-World: Its Laws and Its Purpose.” (Page 15, ¶ 2, 3) In keeping with his Roman Catholic extraction Greber’s translation is bound with a gold-leaf cross on its stiff front cover. In the Foreword of his aforementioned book ex-priest Greber says: “The most significant spiritualistic book is the Bible.” Under this impression Greber endeavors to make his New Testament translation read very spiritualistic (...) Very plainly the spirits in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation (The Watchtower February 15, 1956 pp. 110-111).
A translation by a former Roman Catholic priest, Johannes Greber (1937 ed.) renders the second appearance of the word “god” in the sentence as “a god.” (Aid to Bible Understanding 1971 p. 1669).
The translation by Johannes Greber (1937) of these verses reads as follows: “Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city.” (Aid to Bible Understanding 1971 p. 1134).
The abandonment of using citations from Greber’s translation in 1983
This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on “God’s Spirit World” to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. It is stated: “His wife, a medium of God’s Spiritworld was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God’s Messengers to Pastor Greber.” The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The scholarship that forms the basis for the rendering of the above-cited texts in the New World Translation is sound and for this reason does not depend at all on Greber’s translation for authority. Nothing is lost, therefore, by ceasing to use his New Testament. (The Watchtower April 1, 1983 p. 31).
Studying books equals the Bible study?
Studying the Scripture Studies equals the Bible study
If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes-- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself, since there is no desire to build any doctrine or thought on any individual preference or on any individual wisdom, but to present the entire matter on the lines of the Word of God. (...) Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years --if he then lays them 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. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures. (The Watchtower September 15, 1910 p. 4685, reprints).
God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. [Rev. 22:18] — His penalty will be, when he comes forth from the tomb in the Times of Restitution, that he will have to read the Seven Volumes of Scripture Studies, and get the matter straightened out in his own mind. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 338).
Congregational study is a book study
The congregation book study conductor has a marvelous privilege in connection with teaching in the congregation (The Watchtower August 1, 1972 p. 461).
It was noted at our recent conventions that in the some 20 years that “Let God Be True” was our primary study book (from 1946 to the mid-1960’s) over 1,000,000 new Kingdom proclaimers were added to our ranks. Then another 1,000,000 publishers were added when The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life became our primary study book following its release in 1968. With the use of our new study book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, will we see a similar expansion in the ranks of the Kingdom publishers? Surely, if this be Jehovah’s will! (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 10, 1982 p. 1).
Is the congregational book study a Bible study?
“Commencing January 1, 2009, the Congregation Book Study will be held at the same time as the Theocratic Ministry School and the Service Meeting. The name of the Congregation Book Study will be changed to Congregation Bible Study.” (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 10, 2008 p. 1).
Congregation Bible Study: This meeting will be patterned after the Watchtower Study. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 10, 2008 p. 1).
The Governing Body publishes spiritually encouraging literature in many languages. This spiritual food is based on God’s Word. Thus, what is taught is not from men but from Jehovah.—Isa. 54:13. (The Watchtower September 15, 2010 p. 13).
An independent group study of the Bible is prohibited
Does “the faithful and discreet slave” endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?—Matt. 24:45, 47. No, it does not. And yet, in various parts of the world, a few associates of our organization have formed groups to do independent research on Bible-related subjects. Some have pursued an independent group study of Biblical Hebrew and Greek so as to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others explore scientific subjects related to the Bible. They have created Web sites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating their views. They have also held conferences and produced publications to present their findings and to supplement what is provided at our Christian meetings and through our literature. Throughout the earth, Jehovah’s people are receiving ample spiritual instruction and encouragement at congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions, as well as through the publications of Jehovah’s organization. Under the guidance of his holy spirit and on the basis of his Word of truth (...) Surely we are grateful for Jehovah’s spiritual provisions in these last days. Thus, “the faithful and discreet slave” does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight.—Matt. 24:45-47. It is commendable for individuals to want to use their thinking ability in support of the good news. However, no personal pursuit should detract from what Jesus Christ is accomplishing through his congregation on earth today. (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 9, 2007 p. 3).
The question of the Great Pyramid called “The Bible in stone” is discussed in the chapter The Great Pyramid.