Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for their knowledge of the scriptures. We train our children to learn Bible scriptures at an early age. We make scripture flash cards and quiz ourselves. It would be hard to argue that this is anything but a good thing for a Christian to do. However, there can be a downside to this. (1 Corinthians 8:1) Memorized scriptures are learned solely to become “proof texts”. A proof text is a bible verse that is quoted or read to “prove” a certain doctrinal point or idea.
Here’s some of the more well known ones:
JOHN 3:16; MATT 24:14; JOHN 17:3; MATT 24:45-47; PSALMS 83:18; PROV 4:18; GAL 5:19-22; PSALMS 55:22; LUKE 16:10; MATT 7:21-23; JOHN 4:24; 1 COR 15:33; PSALMS 146:3, 4; ROMANS 6:7; MATT 6:9, 10; MATT 24:3; 2 TIM 3:1-5; LUK 22:19; PHIL 2:5-9; 2 TIM 3:16, 17; EZEK 18:4; GEN 3:15; GEN 1:28; JOHN 14:28; REV 11:18; PS 119:105; ECC 9:5, 10; REV 5:9, 10; REV 14:1; DAN 2:44; JOHN 10:16; LUKE 12:32; JOHN 8:32; REV 7:9,10; ZEPH 2:2, 3; ISA 65:13, 14; ISA 45:18; PSALMS 37:29; PSALMS 37:9-11
We are taught these scriptures primarily so we can refute doctrinal points of other Christians, like the Trinity (John 14:28) or the condition of the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) or the future of the earth. (Psalms 37:29)
Also, to set us apart and to understand our purpose as a Witness we learn scriptures like Matthew 24:14 and Psalms 83:18. The first scripture you learned as child is usually that one if you are raised around the truth.
If we lined up 1000 active and exemplary Witnesses, 98% would have the same ones memorized- about 40 to 50 verses. Some might know a few more, and the elders know a handful more related to their work in shepherding and in judging matters during a judicial committee, but that’s pretty much it. And there’s nothing wrong with learning these scriptures…
But what might be another reason, a better reason to learn scriptures? And what other scriptures could we focus on and maybe make our new favorite verse?
What about our own spirituality? Scriptures that are going to build us up? Psalms 119:165 is a great passage. Or how about it’s cousin, Psalms 119:105?
Aso, defending our faith and for Witnessing to others is good- scriptures like 1 Peter 3:15,16; 1 Timothy 2:5,6 are good. And 1 Corinthians 7:23 resonates with many of us because of the unfortunate circumstances we find ourselves in.
Another good one for those of us that want to gather together but don’t feel welcome at the Kingdom Hall is found at Matthew 18:20. Jesus said that it only takes two or three for him to be in their midst. Isn’t that encouraging- we don’t have to forsake the gathering of ourselves together as that other scripture that is so often referred to at the KH says. (Hebrews 10:24,25) Could we commit Matthew 18:20 to memory?
Or how about Acts 17:11 or 1 Corinthians 4:6? Then there’s John 8:32- what a gorgeous verse! Freedom from false beliefs is a point that we appreciate and so did Christ.
The scriptures free our minds- they don’t enslave us to a man or a group of men- NO! The scriptures point us to Jesus, to the glory of our Heavenly Father. Peter said in John 6:68, “Whom shall we go away to?…”
So what scriptures do we want to study? Why do we study them? “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) Our motive is an important factor.
Here’s something interesting- A study of every scriptural reference in the Watchtower magazine was done. What do you suppose were the top three scriptures- the most used scriptures from 1950 to 2010? That’s a 60 year period, a long time. Here is the each scripture along with the basic reason it is used so much by the WTO:
#1 – Matthew 24:14. Preach the Kingdom. It was head and shoulders above the other two verses.
#2 – Revelation 7:9. The great crowd has an earthly hope and the Bible was not actually written for them.
#3 Matthew 24:45. The faithful slave is in charge.
Do you see how these three verses are used to emphasize Preaching, Earthly Hope, and the Authority of the GB?
But wouldn’t it be nice then for us to REALLY press on to maturity as Paul said? (Hebrews 5:11-14) No building on the same foundation over and over again, never completing the house but only repeating the same things, “learning” the same things over and over and over again…
Each of us does well to examine WHY we are studying the Bible- and appreciate that God’s Word frees our minds. And then find those favorite verses… and memorize them!
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This information in talk form:
Talk by JJ: What's Your Favorite Scripture?
A PDF file I made of some good scriptures to memorize. Print all pages, then line up the fronts and backs and cut out and tape.
A graph of the top three verses: