Christianity vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses: What’s the Difference

Christianity and the Jehovah’s Witness religion stem from the Bible’s teachings but have vastly different interpretations of Scripture. Their beliefs and practices diverge significantly, especially regarding the nature of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the afterlife, and other doctrines.

Comparing them helps people to understand their distinct beliefs and historical development. For example, Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses differ in beliefs about God, Jesus, and the afterlife. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, while Witnesses believe only in Jehovah as God.

Furthermore, Christians view Jesus as God, whereas Witnesses see him as God’s son. Also, for Christians, the afterlife means heaven or hell, but Witnesses believe the righteous will live on a paradise Earth.

See the comparison charts below to compare each faith’s doctrine, view of the Bible, beliefs about Christ, key practices, their important historical events, and much more.

Jehovah's Witness
Who was Charles Taze Russell? See below

Comparing Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses: Overview

AreaChristianityJehovah’s Witnesses
NameChristianityJehovah’s Witnesses
SizeAround 2.3 billion followersApproximately 8.7 million
Date Started1st century AD1870s
FounderJesus ChristCharles Taze Russell
Key BeliefsTrinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), Jesus as the savior of humanity, belief in resurrection and eternal life.No belief in the Trinity, Jesus is the son of God but not God himself, belief in a coming earthly paradise.
Key PracticesChurch, baptism, communion, prayer, worship, spreading the Gospel.Baptism, door-to-door evangelism, observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal, avoiding secular society.
DivisionsCatholic, Orthodox, ProtestantNo major divisions
Central LocationVatican City (Catholic), varied for other denominations.Brooklyn, New York, U.S. (until 2016), Warwick, New York, U.S. (since 2016)
Sacred TextsThe BibleThe New World Translation

Evangelism in the Jehovah’s Witness religion

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for their door-to-door evangelism. The practice is vital to Jehovah’s Witnesses because they believe it’s their duty to spread the teachings of the Bible and share the message of God’s kingdom.

The King James Version (KJV) vs. the New World Translation

Christianity has many Bible translations that generally agree in theology but vary in reading level. The King James is the most popular, though the New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), and the English Standard Version (ESV) also have large readerships.

AspectKing James VersionNew World Translation
Date of Publication16111961 (complete edition)
LanguageOlder EnglishModern English
Translation MethodFormal equivalence (word-for-word)Dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought)
Manuscripts UsedTextus Receptus for New Testament; Masoretic Text for Old TestamentWestcott-Hort Greek text for New Testament; Masoretic Text for Old Testament
Translator(s)47 scholars, organized by King James I of EnglandAnonymous members of the Watch Tower Society
Notable FeaturesShakespearean English, use of “thee” and “thou”Use of the name “Jehovah” in both Old and New Testaments
ReceptionWidely accepted among Protestants, influential in English literatureControversial due to unique renderings and perceived bias
Notable VersesJohn 1:1 rendered as “the Word [Jesus] was God”John 1:1 rendered as “the Word was a god”
LegacyOne of the most printed books in history, major impact on English languageImportant for Jehovah’s Witnesses, criticized by scholars and theologians

What is The Watch Tower?

The Watch Tower is a magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. It contains articles that provide interpretations of the Bible and promotes the religion’s beliefs and teachings. The magazine plays a key role in the faith’s evangelism efforts and serves as a study aid for members.

Jesus Christ and Charles Taze Russell: A Comparison

Charles Taze Russell was raised in a Presbyterian family. In his teenage years, he faced a crisis of faith due to doubts about predestination and eternal damnation.

He turned to the Adventist movement and began studying the Bible intensively. His studies led him to start the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.

AspectJesus ChristCharles Taze Russell
Name“Jesus” means “Savior” in Hebrew, and “Christ” means “Anointed One” in Greek.“Charles” is a Germanic name meaning “free man,” while “Taze” and “Russell” are family names.
LifetimeApprox. 4 B.C. – 30 A.D.1852 – 1916
HomeBorn in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth and traveled throughout ancient Palestine.Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
FamilyMother: Mary, Father: Joseph, a carpenter. Had several siblings.Parents: Joseph L. Russell and Ann Eliza Birney, a wealthy couple. Charles was the second of five children.
MessageLove, forgiveness, repentance, and salvation through faith in Him as the Son of God.Bible study and interpretation, emphasis on the second coming of Christ and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.
Sacred textThe New Testament of the Bible, particularly the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.His works are compiled in “Studies in the Scriptures,” a six-volume series. He also founded the magazine “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.”
Bible study
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the Trinity? See below

Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses Beliefs Compared

Christianity teaches the belief in monotheism, asserting that one God exists in three distinct persons. Known as the Trinity, the three persons are the Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. This belief is revealed in the Bible.

AreaChristianityJehovah’s Witnesses
God or godsBelief in the Holy Trinity: Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit as three persons in one God.Belief in one God, Jehovah. Jesus is the Son of God but not God himself. No Trinity.
The UniverseCreated by God in six days, as described in Genesis.Created by Jehovah over an unspecified period of time, not necessarily six literal days.
Ultimate realityGod’s love and sovereignty. Heaven and Earth as God’s creation.Jehovah’s sovereignty and the coming Kingdom of God on Earth.
Human beingsCreated in God’s image, with a soul. Inherently sinful due to the Fall of Adam and Eve.Created by Jehovah with the potential for perfection. Inherently imperfect due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
Problem with the worldSin and separation from God, stemming from the Fall.Wickedness and suffering due to Satan’s influence and human imperfection.
Solution to the problemFaith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and living a Christian life.Faith in Jehovah, baptism, following Jehovah’s teachings, and spreading the faith.
The AfterlifeEternal life in heaven or hell based on faith and actions.Righteous will live forever on a paradise Earth. The wicked will be destroyed, no belief in hell.

Why is 144,000 an essential number in the Jehovah’s Witness religion?

In the Jehovah’s Witness religion, the number 144,000 is believed to be the total number of people who will be resurrected to heavenly life to rule with Christ as kings and priests. This belief is based on the book of Revelation in the Bible, particularly chapters 7 and 14.

What is a Kingdom Hall in the Jehovah’s Witness religion?

A Kingdom Hall is a place of worship used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s a simple, functional building where members gather for Bible study, prayer, and preaching.

Meetings are held several times a week, including a public talk on Sundays followed by a study of a Watch Tower article. Witnesses believe that attending these meetings is vital for spiritual growth.

Unlike many Christian churches, Kingdom Halls do not have symbols like crosses, and there are no rituals like communion or baptism performed during regular meetings. The focus is on Bible education and community.

Kingdom Hall
What does the name “Jehovah’s Witness” mean? See below

10 Important Events in Christian and Jehovah’s Witness History

The name Jehovah’s Witnesses is derived from the Old Testament name for God, “Jehovah,” and the term “witnesses” from Isaiah 43:10. It reflects the group’s belief in using the name Jehovah for God and their role in bearing witness about God’s purposes and sovereignty.

Christianity EventsJehovah’s Witness Events
Birth of Jesus Christ (~4 BC)Formation of Bible Student movement by Charles Taze Russell (1870)
Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (~30 AD)Publication of “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence” (1879)
Council of Nicaea establishes Christian doctrine (325 AD)Name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” officially adopted (1931)
Conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine (312 AD)New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures first published (1950)
Great Schism splits Eastern and Western Christianity (1054 AD)Blood transfusion doctrine introduced (1945)
Martin Luther initiates Protestant Reformation (1517 AD)Governing Body becomes sole directing organization (1971)
King Henry VIII forms Church of England (1534 AD)Decline of the “generation of 1914” teaching (1995)
Council of Trent begins Catholic Counter-Reformation (1545 AD)Membership exceeds one million (1958)
First Great Awakening revitalizes American Christianity (1730s-1740s)“Faithful and discreet slave” redefined to mean Governing Body (2012)
Second Vatican Council modernizes Catholic Church (1962-1965)International expansion with new branch offices offices (1980s-1990s)

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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