In his Theological Word Book of the Bible (an essential on every Bible scholar’s shelf) Alan Richardson points out:
‘The knowledge of God is not reached by abstract speculation as in Gk. philosophy, but in the actual everyday business of living, or social relationships and of current historical events. God is not known by thinking out ideas about him, but by seeking and doing his will as made known to us by prophetic men and by our own consciousness of right and wrong. (cf. John 7:17, James.1:27, 1 John 4:7.,f 12)’
- He cites in particular Jeremiah 22:15-16,
”Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me?’ declares the LORD.”
The error upon error of the Watchtower Society is mainly the product of their having sought God in books. This arises from the laudable 19th century preoccupation with universal education and the peculiarly American preoccupation with Adventism and the careful searching the Bible for signs.
It is truly perverse, however, that Jehovah’s Witnesses have always been discouraged from further and higher education, yet they have made book publication and book study their main activity. Since they have long rejected education as a legitimate route for their lives, they have been robbed of what might truly inform their thinking and ended with an ugly literalism in all they publish, read, and say. This is no better illustrated than by their ‘translation’ of Jesus’ prayer in John 17: