Three principle brothers undertook the writing of the Watchtower Society publication “Aid to Bible Understanding” in 1967. This 1,696 page Bible encyclopedia and reference work was an enormous undertaking, representing many thousands of man-hours of intense study. It took three brothers working on it full time about five years to complete, and was released in 1971. It generated much enthusiasm and deep study of God’s Word among Jehovah’s Witnesses, an continues to do so to this day. The Aid book contained some of the finest explanations, illumination, and historical and archaeological reckoning of the scriptures ever written.

A new version was released in 1988, adding maps and charts along with beautiful colored pages and illustrations. It was also split into two volumes and renamed “Insight on the Scriptures”.

The three brothers mentioned early are:
• Raymond Franz
• Edward Dunlap
• [Name Witheld]

The first two of these brothers were dismissed from Bethel not many years after its completion. Brother Franz and Brother Dunlap were disfellowshipped soon thereafter. Do you find this shocking? Why do you suppose this happened? Does it invalidate the Aid/Insight books?

I want to do additional research and write more about this. Stay tuned…

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11 Comments on The Aid/Insight books – What they tell us

  1. Dennis says:

    What do you suppose was the catalyst in the revision of the Aid Book (the most important JW commentary of the time) into the Insight volumes? I know many Bible Students that still enjoy using the Aid book. As a matter of fact there was an Aid Book PDF disk available at a BS convention not to long ago.


  2. JJ says:

    Well I thought I read in one of Ray Franz’s books that they wanted to excise a few things after he left. In fact the
    article on “Chronology” that he wrote is about seven pages shorter. Also I think that the color graphics and maps were put in to spruce it up, which it actually did do I think.


  3. Dennis says:

    Absolutely the color graphics and maps improved the publication. The revision work though, no doubt started shortly after Ray was DFed. They certainly couldn’t have their most important theological textbook written by the evil slave. ;>)



  4. andrew says:

    I suppose it could show if someone sincere and open minded studies the scriptures deeply under God’s spirit, they will eventually find certain discrepancies between what the bible teaches and what the Society teaches.


    • JJ says:

      Possibly. Or it could be that like the Ethiopian eunuch we need someone to guide us. They have taught many true things over the years and a person gets totally conditioned to accept and believe everything that the “slave class” says. So without knowing the inner workings of the Society as Brother Franz outlined in his book it’s really hard to say. Nobody has it all right. We can just try and walk the narrow path and go by our Christian conscience. I had avoided reading it for a long time because of the strong warnings against anything that smells “apostate”. This is their greatest enemy, and their greatest fear- that we start reading and researching the history and the accuracy of the Organization.


  5. K says:

    I had heard that we do not have the Aid Book or some of the 70’s WT because Raymond Franz authored and therefore put innacuracies in it. Which leads me to this question: Do we have any way of authenticating Raymond Franz’s accounts? I am at a point in my life where I don’t believe anything that I cannot authenticate..just wondering if there is a way of confirming his account?


    • JJ says:

      Sister K

      My Dad (who was never a Witness) used to say about the magazines sometimes, “How do you know those life stories are really true? It all could be made up!” and of course he had a point. I was there in the later 80s and I knew by reputation or personally dozens of the people mentioned in his books. Also, his candor is a humble one, exposing his own culpability as well for being a part of the GB. Also I have been able to talk to another brother that was on the writing staff about that time. The picture that emerges then is that this is reasonably accurate relating of “just the facts” from this time period. What we see is that the GB past and present are quite similar to any other body of elders you may find locally- A group of mostly sincere brothers with jobs and wives making decisions as best they can, based on the concepts and policies of the WT organization. There is no chacina light that never goes out to be found during their Wednesday meetings. No umim and thumin that gets cast. Yet the decisions of these men set policy for the 7.5 million Witnesses. Ray’s first
      book in particular shows that the light isn’t always there, and the majority may vote to change a policy that could save lives but if it isn’t a 2/3 majority then the existing status quo will be maintained. Proverbs 4:18 sadly does not apply. Protecting their assets, reputation, and power base is of utmost importance. Why else emphasize that the “slave” must be obeyed as you would God and Christ over and over again? Learning this was the deepest blow my spirituality has ever taken, and I’m still trying to make sense of it. But at least we are not alone, and Jah and Jesus see all.


  6. K says:

    Thank You for your response..I too am trying to make sense of it..I asked my brother who is a sincere elder, believer, and defender about the 2/3 vote..and he said that could of been how it was done when Ray Franz was there in the 70’s but that now he thinks it is a consensus that is reached and those who are not in agreement would be expected to humbly go along with the majority as he said that is how the elder body runs today.


  7. Sally says:

    Question? Since Ray Franz was disfellowshipped in 1980, how could he have worked on the Insight Book? Where is the information on who the authors of the Insight book? I’d like to verify this information, thank you.


  8. JimmyG says:

    Sally- Ray Franz was disfellowshipped in 1981 for sharing a meal with a disassociated person ((his employer). He ‘resigned’ from the Governing Body in 1980 after they couldn’t get enough GB members to remove him.

    He was not involved with the Insight books, but did write some of the Aid book (the predecessor of the Insight books), particularly the information on the fall of Babylon- he couldn’t find any evidence that Babylon fell in 607 BCE. The evidence points to around 587 BCE.

    The WT organisation does not reveal who the ‘authors’ of their literature are, but the Insight books (1988) are largely based on the Aid book (1971). Hope this helps. Jimmy


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