[Originally published as part of Engaging with JW’s about the deity of Jesus, pt. 1]
Below is a selection of Scriptures and questions that you can bring up in conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness. Be sure to be respectful and ask them a lot of questions to lead the conversation forward. You want to help them have space to rethink their views on each of these Scriptures. This will not happen if they feel like you are trying to pin them down or are aggressive.
You want to simply leave a rock in their shoe.
Focus on just a Scripture passage or two, ask them questions about it, and then give them time to chew on it. They may try to jump around to multiple Scriptures, but it is your job to lead the conversations and ask them if you can just focus on one Scripture at a time.
Since JW’s only believe that the NWT is authoritative, it is possible to use it to demonstrate the deity of Jesus. I would pull out your own copy of the Bible to compare the NWT to your version. While the NWT changed the original reading of commonly known explicit passages that point to the deity of Jesus (i.e., John 1:1, Colossians 1:16, and Jesus being worshiped in Hebrews 1), they didn’t bother with many of the more oblique passages. The following verses are some of the strongest combinations of Old and New Testament verses that support the deity of Jesus.
The goal here is to help them see that Jesus is Jehovah. Jesus is one with God the Father in substance, yet distinct as the second person of the Trinity. JWs need to see and believe that Jesus is the I AM, Jehovah, of the Old and New Testament, and unless they believe that, they will die in their sins (John 8:24).
Passage Set #3: John 1:3 and Isaiah 44:24
John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” ESV
John 1:3 “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” NWT
Question: According to John 1:3, we have two categories:
- All things that never came into being
- All things that came into being.
Question: As described by John 1:3, which category does Jesus belong in?
Question: Could Jesus have created himself before he existed?
Question: If Jesus is in the category of “all things that never came into being,” what is the implication?
Question: Can I share one more verse with you?
Isaiah 44:24 “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.” ESV
Isaiah 44:24 “This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: ‘I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens my myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?’” Isaiah, NWT
Question: If Jehovah created all things, yet John 1:3 says Jesus created all things, then what do you think the solution to this dilemma is?
Passage Set #4: There is only one First and the Last
Isaiah 44:6b “I am the first and the I am the last; besides me there is no god.” ESV
Isaiah 44:6 “This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6, NWT
Question: Who is talking here? (Jehovah)
“I am the alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:7–8
Question: Who is this passage talking about? (YHWH/Jehovah)
Revelation 1:12-18a “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp-stands, and in the midst of the lamp-stands one like a son of man clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand, he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying “fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one.” NKJV
Revelation 22:13,16a “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end….I, Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches.” NKJV
Question: If Jesus is a created being and is calling himself “the first and the last” how is it not considered blasphemy…unless he actually is one in substance with Jehovah?
Passage Set #5 John 2:19: Jesus said He will physically raise himself up from the dead
John 2:19-22 “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, “it has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of His Body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”
Question: If Jesus did not actually raise himself from the dead, wouldn’t that make him a liar? However, if he lied that means that he sinned and consequently would not be a perfect sacrifice for our sins, right?
Question: How can Jesus not be God when he says that He would raise himself up from the dead? When we combine this verse with Galatians 1:1 that says “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor though the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raise him from the dead)….” It seems that it’s the most logically consistent view that Jesus the Son and God the Father are both co-equal and co-eternal in divine nature. Otherwise, isn’t the logical conclusion that Jesus was lying when he said that He would raise himself up if He is not God?