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.
Comparing Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses: Overview
|Size||Around 2.3 billion followers||Approximately 8.7 million|
|Date Started||1st century AD||1870s|
|Founder||Jesus Christ||Charles Taze Russell|
|Key Beliefs||Trinity (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 Practices||Church, baptism, communion, prayer, worship, spreading the Gospel.||Baptism, door-to-door evangelism, observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal, avoiding secular society.|
|Divisions||Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant||No major divisions|
|Central Location||Vatican City (Catholic), varied for other denominations.||Brooklyn, New York, U.S. (until 2016), Warwick, New York, U.S. (since 2016)|
|Sacred Texts||The Bible||The 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.
|Aspect||King James Version||New World Translation|
|Date of Publication||1611||1961 (complete edition)|
|Language||Older English||Modern English|
|Translation Method||Formal equivalence (word-for-word)||Dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought)|
|Manuscripts Used||Textus Receptus for New Testament; Masoretic Text for Old Testament||Westcott-Hort Greek text for New Testament; Masoretic Text for Old Testament|
|Translator(s)||47 scholars, organized by King James I of England||Anonymous members of the Watch Tower Society|
|Notable Features||Shakespearean English, use of “thee” and “thou”||Use of the name “Jehovah” in both Old and New Testaments|
|Reception||Widely accepted among Protestants, influential in English literature||Controversial due to unique renderings and perceived bias|
|Notable Verses||John 1:1 rendered as “the Word [Jesus] was God”||John 1:1 rendered as “the Word was a god”|
|Legacy||One of the most printed books in history, major impact on English language||Important 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.
|Aspect||Jesus Christ||Charles 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.|
|Lifetime||Approx. 4 B.C. – 30 A.D.||1852 – 1916|
|Home||Born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth and traveled throughout ancient Palestine.||Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.|
|Family||Mother: 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.|
|Message||Love, 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 text||The 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.”|
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.
|God or gods||Belief 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 Universe||Created by God in six days, as described in Genesis.||Created by Jehovah over an unspecified period of time, not necessarily six literal days.|
|Ultimate reality||God’s love and sovereignty. Heaven and Earth as God’s creation.||Jehovah’s sovereignty and the coming Kingdom of God on Earth.|
|Human beings||Created 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 world||Sin and separation from God, stemming from the Fall.||Wickedness and suffering due to Satan’s influence and human imperfection.|
|Solution to the problem||Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and living a Christian life.||Faith in Jehovah, baptism, following Jehovah’s teachings, and spreading the faith.|
|The Afterlife||Eternal 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.
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 Events||Jehovah’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)|
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