How To Witness To A Jehovah's Witness
Copyright © 1990 James A. Gunn
All rights reserved
Used by permission.
All By Grace
Sola Christus          
Sola Scriptura           
Sola Gratia           
Sola Fida           
Soli Deo Gloria
2 Corinthians 4:1-7
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. NKJV                     

If I have a favorite text, this must be it. This is the tenth time I have preached from this text and the reason I use this text again and again is that it absolutely demands the equality of Jesus the Christ who is God the Son with God the Father and with God the Holy Spirit.

Very recently I was once more given the opportunity to witness to two Jehovah's Witness ministers. Every JW that I have ever encountered seems to be a nice and polite person. Furthermore, they are all serious students of the Bible and committed to their faith. I wish that Christians were as zealous for their faith.

If I were given a new opportunity to dialog with a Jehovah's Witness, this is the line of thought that I would take.

(Since this time I was in fact given the opportunity and used this line of thought.)

In order to present the Gospel to anyone you need to settle the question of authority.  Personal opinions aren't worth the effort it takes to express them.  "Well I think God is like..." So what!  The Bible tells us about God and unless the Bible shapes my opinion, it will be wrong.

Ah, but which Bible?  Dealing with a Jehovah's Witness is especially challenging because they have their own translation called the New World Translation.  In it they have taken most of the texts that clearly reveal the equality of Jesus the Christ with God the Father and changed the actual words, substituting an indefinite article for the definite article, even though the Greek text has the definite article. E.g., Jesus becomes "a god" or" an only begotten son." 

In the matter of witnessing to the Jehovah’s Witness, you have two choices of a bible: accept a translation that was first produced in 1950 by a group that has an obvious bias, i.e. Jesus is not very God; or use translations with centuries of testing.
The JW will not accept any other translation than the New World Translation; so just use the NWT to show that Jesus the Christ is very God. In order to do that let's read a few passages from the NWT and then compare them with the New King James  [NKJV] translation [or whichever valid translation you have,  KJV, ASV, NASB, ESV, NIV].

John 1:1
NWT: In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.   

NKJV: John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [The Greek has it … and God was the Word]

John 1:14
NWT: 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 undeserved kindness and truth.

NKJV: John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:16
NWT: For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (Here the NWT reads “his only-begotten Son,” not “an only-begotten Son”)

NKJV: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Colossians 2:9
NWT: Because it is in him that all the fulness of the divine quality dwells bodily.

NKJV:  Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Hebrews 1:8  (My test verse for the validity of any translation)
NWT: But with reference to the Son: “God is your throne forever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.

NKJV: But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

And the NWT of  Hebrews 1:6 says “… And let all God’s angels worship him.”

Therefore my approach to witnessing to the JWs is that if Jesus is merely "a god" then He is not due any more worship than the "god of this world," which is the devil.  If Jesus is not to be worshipped as the unique expression of God the Father, then He is not to be given even the place in their worship of “Jehovah” that the JWs give to Jesus. The stress should be placed on how the NWT states Hebrews 1:6 & 8.

Now to look more closely at 2 Corinthians 4:1-7:

1. The Authority of the Scriptures Established.
2. The Doctrine of Revelation Confirmed.
3. The Glory of God Proclaimed in Jesus the Christ.

Chapter 4:1-7 Christ is Revealed.
vs 1 we don't quit
vs 2 we don't deceive
vs 3 why falsehood is successful
vs 4 where truth is found
vs 5 we preach that Jesus is God
vs 6 the power of the Creator to reveal Himself
vs 7 God is God, not us and not creation itself

With that as an introduction, let's look at three main lessons:

1. The Authority of the Scriptures Established. 

vs 2 If the Word of God is not final, authoritative, and sufficient why would it matter how you "handled it?"    

You have to settle this matter in your mind and heart.  This is God's word and it is objective truth.  Objective Truth does not depend on my or your acceptance of it for validity.  One of the signal thoughts of the New Age Movement (NAM) is that each of us has "truth."  My truth and your truth; anything but objective truth that can rightly judge us.

The cardinal rule of Postmodernism is “NO JUDGEMENT”. This creed has been successfully ingrained in our culture by Star Wars, where “alien life-forms” and their culture were not to be judged by earth peoples’ standards. Then Jerry Seinfeld’s most used phrase was, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.”

One of the marks of a cult is extra-biblical authority, e.g. in the Mormon cult the Christian Bible of the past hundreds of years must be understood by reading The Book of Mormon.  It is not enough to claim to accept the Bible if you discount its authority.  This is what the Roman Catholic Church does.  The Bible says there is one mediator....  but they overrule the very Word of God and teach that there are many "mediators" (angels, saints, the Virgin Mary, priests, and the Pope).

Now with the NAM we have the mutterings of Maharesi somebody, or a Shirley MacLaine.

As a Jehovah's Witness you have to settle to which translation you are going to invest your eternal soul.  The Nature and Person of Jesus Christ is the issue.

2. The Doctrine of Revelation Confirmed.

Not the "occult," i.e. hidden, only available to the initiated, but that which is revealed is the same truth and known by all who are redeemed by the blood of Christ.

The doctrine of revelation (vs 4, 6) says that man is indeed dead in trespasses and sins, is blinded by Satan, the god of this age, and does not have the innate ability to learn about the true God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God must take the initiative to remove the veil that blinds all natural men. What is the difference between occultism and revelation?

The occult is the supernatural to which man submits in order to control its forces.
In doing so he becomes enslaved to the worship of the evil one.

Revelation is by the power of God and the knowledge gained is objective truth about
Jesus, the Christ.  Cf Matthew 11:25-27

3. The Glory of God Proclaimed in Jesus the Christ.

What is the glory of God and where is it found?

There must first be objective truth, absolute and unchanging truth, not “truth” that is subject to the frailties of man.  What is the authority?

A sovereign God who is not bound by man’s limited power must reveal objective truth and that is by divine revelation.

There are three words in vs 6 that answer the question,
"What is the glory of God and where is it found?"


a) KNOWLEDGE - Greek: gnosis, a spiritual truth; that which is known and is important to the one who knows; a seeking to know; an active relationship between the one who knows and that knowledge.

b) FACE - Greek: prosopon, the presence of a person; the most noble part; the person himself.  E.g. the face expresses the mind.

c) GLORY - Greek: doxa, primarily an opinion, and hence the honor resulting from the quality of that opinion.  (The O.T. Hebrew word is kabod, from a verb that means weight, to honor.)

The hippies were biblical when they said, “That’s heavy man.”

What is your opinion of Jesus Christ? Your opinion of Christ determines how much glory you see in Him.

Do you still glory in yourself?  Do think so much of yourself that you don't believe that you need a Substitute?  Do you believe that God owes you something, that God would be unjust if He sent you to an everlasting hell?  You won't be reincarnated regardless of what you've learned from Shirley MacLaine and the NEW AGE MOVEMENT.

And my dear Jehovah's Witness friend, there is surely a hell!
(Jehovah’s Witness teach annihilation, thus denying the reality of hell.)

But we have the TRUTH, the KNOWLEDGE.  And in the power of the Creator, the One who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, this KNOWLEDGE is REVEALED in the FACE (person) of Jesus Christ.

The GLORY (opinion) of God is found in the FACE (Person) of Jesus, the Christ.

IF JESUS OF NAZARETH is not very God come in the flesh; if He is merely "a god," then the Messiah (Anointed) promised by the Father in the Old Testament has not yet come!

Furthermore, the New Testament is a lie because it says that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise of Messiah.  The words Christ and Messiah mean the same thing!  ANOINTED.

There are many passages that we could use but I will only use one pair of Scriptures to make this point.  Isaiah 6 and John 12:41.

John says in 12:41 that the One he is speaking about is the fulfillment of Isaiah 6.
John is clearly referring to Jesus.  (The New World Translation missed this one!)

Jesus accepted worship.  John 9:38 & Luke 24:52 
Jesus did not rebuke them He received their worship!

Dear Jehovah's Witness will you worship Jesus?  Your New World Translation declares that you will.  (Philippians 2:11)  Why not worship Him now to the saving of your soul?

In John 8:24, Jesus declares Himself to be the “I AM” of the Old Testament. 
(Exodus 3:13-14) 

If you don't believe that Jesus is the “I AM” you will die in your sins!

In Hebrews 1, the Jehovah’s Witness “translators” attempted to remove the force of verse 8 by changing the wording to “God is your throne,” instead of “Your throne O God.”  But they missed verses 5 & 6, which command the angels to worship the Son!
Do we worship anyone other than God?

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  He does that through His substitution on the cross.  It is by revelation from God that you see your personal guilt and your just condemnation.  It is by grace through faith that you have the ability to believe in Jesus as the Christ.  If you add your good works to His perfect sacrifice for sin, you are rejecting the sufficiency of Christ's atonement.

Trust the Christ of the Bible, and yes, a truthful translation is essential.

Jim Gunn
Vineland Park Baptist Church
June 24, 1990