Updated: Feb 18
In the following post, 'red' text indicates official Watchtower content or statements.
Be sure the watch the following video where Ray Lawrence (born and raised in a JW family) talks about his experience of the WTBTS and how to effectively converse with witnesses on the street or in your home.
Note that this post is not exhaustive and discussion with the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) can go much deeper as presented here. It is therefore of utmost importance that we know our Bibles to be able to counter every proof text they throw our way regardless of whether it is listed here or not.
In the same way, the texts that prove the deity of Christ below are not exhaustive at all. There are numerous more, and countless more that are less obvious but come to light with proper exegesis.
The purpose of the document therefore is to show some of the gaps inherent in JW reasoning in the proof texts they provide from normal translations, and the utter dishonesty in translating the meaning of the text away where they could not scramble their way around it.
How to talk to a Jehovah's Witness?
Ask them what the Good News is that they proclaim. The answer as given in their new brochure titled “Good News From God” provided by the Watchtower is:
God wants people to enjoy life on earth. He created the earth and everything on it because he loves mankind. Soon he will act to provide a better future for people in every land. He will relieve mankind of the causes of suffering. No government has ever succeeded in eliminating violence, disease, or death. But there is good news. Shortly, God will replace all human governments with his own government. Its subjects will enjoy peace and good health.
Note that this is not the Gospel (Good news) that the Bible presents us. Point the witness to the following texts and make sure to preach the Gospel to them with the sure knowledge that Christ’s sheep hear His voice. If this is all you do, it is enough. The power to save lies in the Word of God and not in smart and deceptive human philosophy. Present the texts in the following order, making sure to point out that the apostles did not waste their time to talk about anything else other than Christ as any other gospel is a false gospel that cannot save.
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:1-6
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
At this point, the JW will most probably agree with the Gospel of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to die for sinners. Stress the fact that although they might claim to agree, they need to think about the fact that they didn't open with this presentation. The conversation will now move to the identity of Jesus. The crucial difference that must be highlighted at this point is the fact that we worship different “Christs”.
They believe that Jesus is the Archangel Michael, we believe He is God in the flesh. Make sure the JW understands that a false Christ cannot save. At this point, the JW will go to one of the following texts below from “your” Bible to show you that Jesus is not God. If you know these texts, you’ll be able to identify them before the JW can even finish quoting them — this will catch them off guard. They will always use the same texts. I can't stress this enough, know these texts, and it won't be any trouble for you.
Try to keep the JW on the defensive, and show them how the NWT changed the texts to fit with their twisted theology (which is also given after the section below).
Watchtower texts 'disproving' deity of Christ
No one has ever seen God...
Nobody has ever seen God, therefore Jesus cannot be God as John saw God.
Look at the rest of the verse!
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
It says that no one has ever seen God, but God who is at the Father’s side has made Him known. This is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.
Two persons are called God, one has never been seen, one has come to reveal God. He is called the Word. In verse 3 of John 1 we read that everything was made through the Word and nothing that is created is created apart from the Word. The NWT however translated this as "all other things" were created through the Word. Point out this change. "All other things" is not in the original Greek.
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
“The beginning of the creation by God” means Jesus was the first thing created by God.
The Greek word translated "beginning" here is the word "arche." Arche certainly can mean "beginning" as in "the first in series," which is how the Jehovah's Witness understands it here. But it can also mean "beginning" in the sense of the "origin" or "source" of a thing, or can carry the sense of "the one with whom a process begins."
It even can mean "ruler" or “authority," (as the NIV renders it) from which we get words like "archbishop", "archangel", or "arch enemy." In Greek philosophy, the "arche" was the eternal absolute from which all created things are derived, from which we get words like "archetype". So it is not enough merely to note that Jesus is the "beginning of the creation of God." We have to ask in what sense is Jesus the "arche" of creation? How is He using the word here?
The 1599 Geneva Bible translates it "beginning of the creatures of God." The translators add an explanatory note to clarify the sense they mean: "Of whom all things that are made have their beginning."
The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
Verse 12 identifies “wisdom” as the one speaking in this passage. “Wisdom” is Jesus who says he was “produced” by God and became his “master worker” (verse 30). He was involved in the creation process, after he himself was created since he was “the earliest of his achievements.”
Read the beginning of Proverbs to identify the one speaking. This chapter begins with a personification of wisdom as a woman calling out in the streets. A personification is a figure of speech where human qualities are given to non-human things. For example, telling my wife that opportunity is knocking at her door is a personification of opportunity. It would be foolish for her to go check the door to see if someone is literally there knocking. Opportunity is not an actual person. In the case of Proverbs 8, personal qualities are attributed to the virtue of wisdom so that it sounds like a person (Proverbs 8:12), but it’s not really a person, therefore the JW interpretation makes no sense in the context of Proverbs.
Check out this video from the Bible Project on Proverbs:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
“Only-begotten” means Jesus was begotten or given birth by God. So he had a beginning.
Ask the JW to read Hebrews 11:17.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son
Some older translations render it as "only-begotten son"
Was Isaac Abraham’s only begotten son in the sense that he brought him and no other son into existence? No. Ishmael was Abraham’s son through Hagar. Ishmael was born to Abraham prior to Isaac. So when the author of Hebrews calls Isaac Abraham’s “only-begotten son,” he must mean something other than Abraham’s only son.
Isaac was unique to Abraham. He would be the son through whom God’s covenant would be fulfilled. “Only-begotten,” therefore, means “unique,” “chosen,” “special,” or “exalted” in some sense. The Greek word for “only-begotten” in Hebrews 11:17 is the same word used in John 3:16. The JW may respond, “But, ‘begotten’ signifies a beginning to existence.” Ask if it does in Hebrews 11:17. So we still have no Scripture that indicates Jesus was created.
The word that we find in John 3:16 translated as “only-begotten” is the Greek word “monogenes” has two primary definitions —
Pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship.
Pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind.
This objection is nothing new in Church history as well. Pre-325 (when the council of Nicea was held) a bishop by the name of Arius in Alexandria started preaching a heresy regarding the deity of Christ, he said:
If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not.
Arius was severely rebuked and the heresy dismissed. The JW arguments aren't new.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Jesus was the first thing created by God.
Link with John 1:18 as discussed previously.
The key to understanding this verse is understanding the term first-born. What does it mean? The Greek word for “first-created” is the word Protoktioti. If Paul wanted to say Christ was the first created being, he would have used this word, but he does not. He uses another term, Prototokos. Paul is referring to the Jewish use of the word first-born which not only means first one born but also is used as a title of sovereignty and pre-eminence.
See Psalm 89:27. God says of David, “I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth.” Let’s take a look and see how first-born is used here. Is David the first-born son of Jesse? No, he is the eighth and youngest son of Jesse. Then how is it that David is the first-born? In the Old Testament use of the word, he is first- born in that he is pre-eminent or sovereign of all the kings of the earth.
In Colossians 1:18 (a mere three verses later) we read the proper interpretation of the word first-born:
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he can be preeminent…
Is Jesus the first to return from the dead? Of course not, think of Lazarus. So what does it mean? First. Jesus is preeminent.
John 14:28 and 1 Corinthians 11:3
"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 11:3
“How can Jesus be God when He says, “the Father is greater than I am?” Jesus may be referring to his incarnate position, not his essence.
The term greater refers to position, not nature. The term better refers to nature. Here is a good example I use in illustrating this passage. The President is greater than you or I, correct? Yes, as Chief Executive Officer of the United States he is greater than you or I (or as President of South Africa, he is greater than other South Africans). The Jehovah’s Witness will agree. But, is the President better than you or I? Is there anything about the President that makes him a superior being to you or me? No.
You see, greater refers to position, not nature. We see in Philippians 2:6-8, that Christ though He was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself and submitted Himself to the Father and took on the form of a servant. Though Jesus emptied Himself, He was always in nature God and equal to the Father in nature. If Jesus wanted to say He was inferior to God in nature, He would have said, “The Father is better than I.” The Son, in eternity past as part of the divine council of God willingly assumed the role in the salvation of men that He did, and part of that plan is the incarnation and the Son becoming subordinate to the will of the Father.
Here is an example of the use of the term better in Hebrews 1:4 (NAS); it says speaking of Jesus, “having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” The NIV reads, “So he became as much superior to the angels....” Here we see that Jesus is a being superior to the angels, so the term better, is used. Remember, in explaining this verse, the term greater refers to position, not nature. The book of Hebrews, especially the first few chapters are interesting when discussing who Jesus is. Give it a read.
Another verse the Witnesses will use is 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Here they say since the head of Christ is God, Jesus must be inferior to God.
Once again you use the same concept of equality in nature, but Christ submitted Himself to the Father. Here the principle of headship and submission established by God is displayed both in marriage and in the Trinity. Now show the Jehovah’s Witnesses that in this passage, the head of the woman is the man. “Does this mean that the husband is a superior being to his wife?” The answer is obviously, “No.” The husband is greater than his wife by way of position but not by nature. The same applies to the Father and the Son. The Father is greater by position, but not better by nature.
Proving the deity of Christ
The wrong Jesus or the wrong God cannot save us from eternal death. Paul makes a clear warning of this in 2 Corinthians 11:4.
The Bible clearly states that there is only one God. Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” Isaiah 44:6 states, “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides me.”
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.
New World Translation:
Look out that no one takes you captive by means of the philosophy and empty deception according to human tradition, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ; because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.
Notice the subtle change in the NWT. “Fullness of deity” is translated as “Divine quality”. What does that mean? In the original Greek, the word that we translate as “deity” is the Greek word “theotes” which means deity, or Godhead.
Translating it as “divine quality” is a deliberate attempt to remove the reading that would otherwise imply that Christ is God in the flesh.
Jesus said, unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
New World Translation:
Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”
Again the NWT removes the reading of “I am” and replaces it with “I have been” to prevent the plain connection with God’s identification of Himself to Moses as “I am”.
The Greek word that we translate as “am” is the word “eimi”. This means “to be”, “to exist”, “to be present”. There is no past tense implied as the NWT inserts.
Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 22:13
Ask the JW how many “Alphas and Omegas” there are. The answer is obviously only one. Point them to the above two texts. Note that in the revelation passage, it is less obvious that Jesus is the one speaking, as he is speaking through and angel.
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Who is the redeemer of Israel?
[Jesus] I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Interestingly, this passage remains the same in the New World Translation. The interpretation will surely differ.
I and my Father are one.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The Watchtower thinks “mighty God” and not “almighty God” means Jesus is not on the same level as God. They might even attempt to quote this passage to you as proof that Jesus is not God. If he/she does this, they basically refute themselves. The next chapter clears this up when the term “mighty God” is also applied to God the Father.
"Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord [YHWH, or Jehovah], the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God,"
Isaiah 43:10 - 11, Luke 2:11
You are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
In Isaiah God says "beside me there is no saviour," in Luke Christ is called the saviour. Therefore Jesus must be God by the law of non-contradiction.
But about the Son he says,“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
New World Translation:
But about the Son, he says: “God is your throne - forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.
Hebrews 1:8 is actually a quotation from Psalm 45:6-7. Only this time, it is applied to Jesus showing that Jesus is in fact, God:
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
Psalm 45: 6 -7
while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
New World Translation:
while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
A slight change in the text by the Watchtower causes separates God and Jesus.
John 20: 28-29
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
New World Translation:
In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen me, have you believed? Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
The JW excuse at this passage is that Thomas’ exclamation ”My Lord and my God!” Is actually a 'surprised' reaction like OMG as commonly used today. Apparently he did not call Jesus his God. OR they interpret him to have looked at Jesus and said “My Lord” and the looked up at heaven and said “My God!” in surprise.
Uhh, no, not really, no.
Trying to excuse this passage by claiming Thomas uttered blasphemy is ridiculous.
And I [God] will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced...
New World Translation:
I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and supplication, and they will look to the one whom they pierced...
Other useful things to read up on
The dubious way the NWT was first translated (the translators did not have the credentials to do so, meaning the NWT is an obvious fabrication made to support preconceived JW doctrine).
Failed prophecies of the Watchtower in the past, especially the 1914 prophecy.