The Watchtower Society says that EVERY Baptized Jehovah's Witness is an Ordained Minister:

The Watchtower,
January 15, 2001 Issue, Page 12, Paragraph 4:

At their baptism, new disciples are ordained as ministers of Jehovah God. Who ordains them? In principle, the words recorded at 2 Corinthians 3:5 apply to them: "Our being adequately qualified [as ministers] issues from God." They could wish for no greater honor than to be ordained by Jehovah God himself! After their baptism, they will continue to grow spiritually as ministers of the "good news" as long as they accept the leadings of God's spirit and continue to apply his Word.- Matthew 24:14; Acts 9:31.

Page 25 (of the same Issue):

Closing the morning session was the baptism talk-always a highlight at large gatherings of Jehovah's Witnesses. What a joy to see newly dedicated ones follow in Jesus' footsteps by submitting to water baptism! ( Matthew 3:13-17) All who take this step have already accomplished much as doers of God's word. Moreover, when baptized they become ordained ministers of the good news, deriving much joy from knowing that they are sharing in sanctifying Jehovah's name.-Proverbs 27:11.

The Watchtower, November 15, 2000 Issue, Pages 15-20:

Who Are God's Ministers Today?

"Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant."-2 CORINTHIANS 3:5, 6.

IN THE first century of our Common Era, all Christians shared an important responsibility-the duty to preach the good news. All of them were anointed and were ministers of the new covenant. Some had additional responsibilities, such as teaching in the congregation. (1 Corinthians 12:27-29; Ephesians 4:11) Parents had weighty obligations within the family. (Colossians 3:18-21) But all shared in the basic and vital work of preaching. In the original Greek of the Christian Scriptures, this responsibility was a di·a·ko·niŽa-a service, or ministry.-Colossians 4:17 .

2 As time went by, things changed. A class developed, known as the clergy, who reserved for themselves the privilege of preaching. (Acts 20:30 ) The clergy were a small minority of those calling themselves Christians. The great majority became known as the laity. While the laity have been taught that they have certain obligations, including the making of contributions for the upkeep of the clergy, most have become little more than passive listeners in the matter of preaching.

3 The clergy claim to be ministers (from minister, a Latin translation of di·aŽko·nos, "servant").* [FOOTNOTE SAYS: The Greek word di·aŽko·nos is the source of the word "deacon," an official in the church. In churches where women can be deacons, they might be called deaconesses.] For this, they graduate fro m c olleges or seminaries and are ordained. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: "'Ordain' and 'ordination' ordinarily refer to special status accorded ministers or priests through officially sanctioned rites, with associated emphasis on authority to proclaim the Word or to administer sacraments, or to do both." Who ordains the ministers? The New Encyclopædia Britannica says: "In churches that have retained the his tori c episcopate, the ordaining minister is always a bishop. In Presbyterian churches, ordination is conferred by ministers of the presbytery."

4 Hence, in the churches of Christendom, the privilege of being a minister has been severely restricted. Yet, this is not the case among Jehovah's Witnesses. Why not? Because it was not that way in the first-century Christian congregation.

Who Really Are God's Ministers?

5 According to the Bible, all Jehovah's worshipers-heavenly and earthly-are ministers. Angels ministered to Jesus. ( Matthew 4:11; 26:53; Luke 22:43) Angels also "minister for those who are going to inherit salvation." (Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10) Jesus was a minister. He said: "The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister." ( Matthew 20:28; Romans 15:8) Therefore, since Jesus' followers were to "follow his steps closely," it is not surprising that they too must be ministers.-1 Peter 2:21.

6 Shortly before his ascension to heaven, Jesus said to his disciples: "Go . . . and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you." ( Matthew 28:19, 20) Jesus' disciples were to be disciple-makers-ministers. The new disciples they made would learn to observe all the things Jesus' commanded, including the command to go forth and make disciples. Man or woman, adult or child, a true disciple of Jesus Christ would be a minister.-Joel 2:28, 29.

7 In harmony with this, on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., all of Jesus' disciples present, men and women, joined in telling forth "the magnificent things of God." (Acts 2:1-11) Further, the apostle Paul wrote: "With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation." (Romans 10:10) Paul addressed those words, not to a restricted clergy class, but "to all those who [were] in Rome as God's beloved ones." (Romans 1:1, 7) Similarly, all 'the holy ones in Ephesus and faithful ones in union with Christ Jesus' were to have their "feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace." (Ephesians 1:1; 6:15 ) And all those who heard the letter addressed to the Hebrews were to 'hold fast the public declaration of their hope without wavering.'-Hebrews 10:23 .

8 When, though, does a person become a minister? In other words, when is he ordained? And who ordains him?

Ordination as a Minister-When?

9 As to when and by whom a person is ordained, consider the example of Jesus Christ. He did not have a certificate of ordination or a degree from some seminary to prove that he was a minister, and he was not ordained by any man. Why can we say, then, that he was a minister? Because Isaiah's inspired words were fulfilled in him: "Jehovah's spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news." (Luke 4:17-19; Isaiah 61:1) Those words leave no doubt that Jesus was commissioned to tell forth good news. By whom? Since Jehovah's spirit anointed him for the work, Jesus was clearly ordained by Jehovah God. When did this happen? Jehovah's spirit actually came upon Jesus when he was baptized. (Luke 3:21, 22) Therefore, it was at his baptism that he was ordained.

10 What of Jesus' first-century followers? Their status as ministers also came from Jehovah. Paul said: "Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant." (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6) How does Jehovah qualify his worshipers to be ministers? Consider the example of Timothy, whom Paul called "God's minister in the good news about the Christ."-1 Thessalonians 3:2.

11 The following words addressed to Timothy help us to understand how he became a minister: "You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) The foundation of Timothy's faith, which would move him to make a public declaration, was knowledge of the Scriptures. Was personal reading all that was needed for this? No. Timothy needed help to gain accurate knowledge and spiritual understanding of what he read. (Colossians 1:9) Thus Timothy was "persuaded to believe." Since he had known the Scriptures "from infancy," his first instructors must have been his mother and grandmother, his father evidently not being a believer.-2 Timothy 1:5.

12 However, more was involved in Timothy's becoming a minister. For one thing, his faith was strengthened by association with Christians in nearby congregations. How do we know? Because when Paul first met Timothy, the young man was "well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium." (Acts 16:2) Additionally, in those days certain brothers wrote letters to the congregations in order to strengthen them. And overseers visited them in order to build them up. Such provisions helped Christians like Timothy to progress spiritually.-Acts 15:22-32; 1 Peter 1:1.

13 In view of Jesus' command recorded at Matthew 28:19, 20, we can be sure that at some point Timothy's faith moved him to imitate Jesus and be baptized. ( Matthew 3:15-17; Hebrews 10:5-9) This was a symbol of Timothy's whole-souled dedication to God. At his baptism Timothy became a minister. From then on, his life, his strength, and everything he had belonged to God. This was an integral part of his worship, "a sacred service." However, Timothy did not then rest on his laurels. He continued to grow spiritually, becoming a mature Christian minister. This occurred because of Timothy's close association with such mature Christians as Paul, his own personal study, and his zealous preaching activity.-1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 6:1.

14 Today, ordination for the Christian ministry is similar. One who is "rightly disposed for everlasting life" is helped to learn about God and his purposes by means of a Bible study. (Acts 13:48 ) The individual learns to apply Bible principles in his life and to pray meaningfully to God. (Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 2:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18) He associates with other believers and takes advantage of provisions and arrangements made by "the faithful and discreet slave." ( Matthew 24:45-47; Proverbs 13:20; Hebrews 10:23-25) Thus he makes progress in a structured process of education.

15 Eventually, the Bible student, having developed a love of Jehovah God and a strong faith in the ransom sacrifice, wishes to dedicate himself completely to his heavenly Father. (John 14:1) He makes that dedication in personal prayer and then gets baptized as a public symbol of that private act. His baptism is his ordination ceremony because that is when he is recognized as a fully dedicated servant, a di·aŽko·nos, of God. He must remain separate from the world. (John 17:16; James 4:4) He has presented his whole self "a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God" without reserve or condition. (Romans 12:1)* [FOOTNOTE SAYS: While Romans 12:1 applies specifically to anointed Christians, the principle applies also to the "other sheep." (John 10:16) These 'join themselves to Jehovah to minister to him and to love the name of Jehovah, in order to become servants to him.'-Isaiah 56:6.] He is God's minister, imitating Christ.

What Is the Christian Ministry ?

16 What did the ministry of Timothy include? He had special duties as a traveling companion of Paul. And when he became an elder, Timothy worked hard at teaching and strengthening fellow Christians. But the central part of his ministry, as was the case with Jesus and Paul, was preaching the good news and making disciples. ( Matthew 4:23; 1 Corinthians 3:5) Paul told Timothy: "You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry."-2 Timothy 4:5.

17 It is similar with Christian ministers today. They engage in a public ministry, an evangelizing work, pointing others to salvation on the basis of Jesus' sacrifice and teaching meek ones to call on Jehovah's name. (Acts 2:21 ; 4:10 -12; Romans 10:13) They prove from the Bible that the Kingdom is the only hope for suffering mankind and show that even now things are better if we live by godly principles. (Psalm 15:1-5; Mark 13:10 ) But a Christian minister does not preach a social gospel. Rather, he teaches that 'godly devotion holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.'-1 Timothy 4:8.

18 True, most ministers have additional ways to serve, which may differ from one Christian to another. Many have family obligations. (Ephesians 5:21-6:4) Elders and ministerial servants have duties in the congregation. (1 Timothy 3:1, 12, 13; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 13:7) Many Christians help to construct Kingdom Halls. Some have the wonderful privilege of working as volunteers in one of the Watch Tower Society's Bethel homes. However, all Christian ministers share in the preaching of the good news. There are no exceptions. It is sharing in this work that identifies one publicly as a genuine Christian minister.

The Attitude of a Christian Minister

19 Most of Christendom's ministers expect to be given special respect, and they take such titles as "reverend" and "father." However, a Christian minister knows that Jehovah alone is worthy of reverence. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) No Christian minister claims such lofty respect or aspires to special titles. ( Matthew 23:8-12) He knows that the basic meaning of di·a·ko·niŽa is "service." The verb associated with it is sometimes used in the Bible with regard to personal services, such as waiting at tables. (Luke 4:39; 17:8; John 2:5) Even though its usage in relation to the Christian ministry is more elevated, a di·aŽko·nos is still a servant.

20 No Christian minister therefore has reason to feel self-important. Genuine Christian ministers-even those with special responsibilities in the congregation-are humble slaves. Jesus said: "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave." ( Matthew 20:26, 27) When showing his disciples the right attitude to cultivate, Jesus washed their feet, doing the work of the lowliest slave. (John 13:1-15) What a humble service! Hence, Christian ministers humbly serve Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:4; 11:23) They show lowliness of mind in serving one another. And when they preach the good news, they unselfishly serve their unbelieving neighbors.-Romans 1:14, 15; Ephesians 3:1-7.

Endure in the Ministry

21 For Paul, being a minister took endurance. He told the Colossians that he suffered much in order to preach the good news to them. (Colossians 1:24, 25) Because he endured, however, many accepted the good news and became ministers. They were begotten as sons of God and brothers of Jesus Christ, with the prospect of becoming spirit creatures alongside him in heaven. What a glorious reward for endurance!

22 Endurance is necessary today for those who are really God's ministers. Many struggle daily with sickness or the pains of old age. Parents work hard-many of them without a mate-to raise their children. Courageously, children at school resist the wrong influences that surround them. Many Christians face bitter economic struggles. And many suffer persecution or face hardships because of today's "critical times hard to deal with"! (2 Timothy 3:1) Yes, the almost six million ministers of Jehovah today can say with the apostle Paul: "In every way we recommend ourselves as God's ministers, by the endurance of much." (2 Corinthians 6:4) Christian ministers do not give up. They are truly to be commended for their endurance.

23 Moreover, as it did in Paul's case, endurance brings wonderful fruitage. By enduring, we preserve our close relationship with Jehovah and make his heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) We strengthen our own faith and make disciples, adding to the Christian brotherhood. (1 Timothy 4:16) Jehovah has sustained his ministers and blessed their ministry during these last days. As a result, the final ones of the 144,000 have been gathered, and millions more have the confident hope of enjoying everlasting life on a paradise earth. (Luke 23:43; Revelation 14:1) Truly, the Christian ministry is an expression of Jehovah's mercy. (2 Corinthians 4:1) May all of us treasure it and be grateful that its fruitage will last forever.-1 John 2:17.

The Watchtower, November 1, 1997 Issue, Page 20:

Gilead School and Special Service

In December 1942, I was among several pioneers in Arizona who received a letter of invitation to a new missionary school that was being established by Jehovah's Witnesses. The school was initially called the Watchtower Bible College of Gilead. Later the name was changed to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. The campus was located nearly 3,000 miles [4,800 km] away near the city of Ithaca in upstate New York .

After a brief visit to Oregon , in January 1943, several of us pioneers left the heat of the Arizona Desert in a Greyhound bus. Several days later we arrived at our destination and found the snow of an upstate New York winter. The school opened on February 1, 1943 , when its president, Nathan H. Knorr, said in his inaugural address to the one hundred students: "It is NOT the purpose of this college to equip you to be ordained ministers. You are ministers already and have been active in the ministry for years. . . . The course of study at the college is for the exclusive purpose of preparing you to be more able ministers in the terri tori es to which you go."

The Watchtower, May 1, 1996 Issue, Page 16:

Moreover, at a Christian's baptism, he is ordained as a minister of God, so that he can say with Paul: "God . . . has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers."-2 Corinthians 3:5, 6.

Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life Book (1995), Page 178:


17 It is important to remember that baptism is not the end of your spiritual progress. It marks the beginning of lifelong service to God as an ordained minister and one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Although baptism is vitally important, it is not a guarantee of salvation. Jesus did not say: 'Everyone baptized will be saved.' Instead, he said: "He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved." ( Matthew 24:13) Therefore, it is vital that you seek God's Kingdom first by making it the paramount concern in your life.- Matthew 6:25-34.

1994 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Pages 251-252:

Some years ago, hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses were in prison because of their stand of Christian neutrality. Now, however, as baptized preachers, ordained ministers of God, Jehovah's Witnesses in Poland are exempt from military service. Their exemption is granted by the government on the basis of a certificate issued by the Society to those who qualify. While no Witnesses are presently imprisoned for reasons of neutrality, they have not forgotten those prisoners whom they met in years past and who showed a sincere interest in God's Word. They continue to visit these, assisting them to conform their lives to his will.

The Watchtower, June 1, 1989 Issue, Page 21:

A New Home for the Gilead Missionary School

ON FEBRUARY 1, 1943 , Nathan H. Knorr, former president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, delivered the opening address to the first class of a new school. He explained to those one hundred students that "it is not the purpose of this [school] to equip you to be ordained ministers. You are ministers already and have been active in the ministry for years. . . . The course of study . . . is for the exclusive purpose of preparing you to be more able ministers." To this day the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead continues to train ministers for the foreign missionary work.

The Watchtower, August 15, 1988 Issue, Page 27:

What does water baptism signify?

Complete immersion in water is a fitting symbol of a person's dedication to God, whereby the individual becomes an ordained minister. While under the water, he, in effect, dies to his former course of life, and on coming out of the water, he becomes, as it were, alive to a new course of self-sacrifice in Jehovah's service. (Compare Romans 6:2-4; 12:1; Philippians 3:16.)-6/15, page 29.

Revelation -- Its Grand Climax At Han d Book (1988), Page 153:

16 That cavalry needs equipment for the warfare. And how wonderfully Jehovah has provided this! John describes it: "For the authority of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with these they do harm." (Revelation 9:19) Jehovah has ordained his dedicated, baptized ministers for this service. Through the Theocratic Ministry School and other congregation meetings and schools, he has taught them how to preach the word, so that they are able to speak authoritatively with "the tongue of the taught ones." He has put his words in their mouths and sent them forth to make known his judgments "publicly and from house to house." (2 Timothy 4:2; Isaiah 50:4; 61:2; Jeremiah 1:9, 10; Acts 20:20) The John class and the great crowd have left behind a stinging message, corresponding to "tails," in the thousands of millions of Bibles, books, brochures, and magazines distributed over the years. To their opponents, who are advised of the coming "harm" from Jehovah, these armies of cavalry truly seem like two myriads of myriads.-Compare Joel 2:4-6.

The Watchtower, June 15, 1988 Issue, Pages 28-31:

Becoming an Ordained Minister-God's Way!

A VISITOR would likely have been intrigued-perhaps even perplexed-by what he heard. The scene was a convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. An address was being given to a group of people who were about to get baptized. Surprisingly, the speaker told these baptismal candidates: "Your presence in this group of baptismal candidates indicates your desire to be an ordained minister of the Kingdom."

'How can that be?' a visitor might have asked. 'Is not baptism for persons freshly exposed to Christianity-and for babes? Does it not take years of extensive training and education to become an ordained minister?' Perhaps you would reason similarly. But what the Bible actually says about baptism and ordination may surprise you.

Before One Is Baptized

First of all, baptism is not for persons barely acquainted with the Christian message. The Bible, at Acts 8:12, shows that people in the first century were baptized after "they believed." Matthew 28:19 also shows that a person must become a 'disciple' before baptism. And how does one become a 'believer,' or 'disciple,' ('taught one')? Through careful study of the Bible! In this way, a person gains an accurate knowledge of Jesus and Jehovah God. (John 17:3) Only after gaining this knowledge is a student in a position to consider getting baptized. In the first century, established Christians gave such instruction to new converts.-Acts 8:31 , 35, 36.

In congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses today, arrangements are similarly made for interested individuals to enjoy a free home Bible study. A person with a responsive heart gradually comes to appreciate what he is learning. He is moved to share his newfound convictions with others. (Romans 10:8-10) He begins regularly attending Christian meetings, where he gains yet more Biblical instruction. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) And after weeks or months of this, the new believer develops a desire to follow the Bible's counsel at Romans 12:1: "Consequently I entreat you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason."

Knowledge alone, however, does not qualify one to make this dedication. One must also repent and "turn around." (Acts 3:19 ) Why is this? Frank ly, some have had immoral life-styles prior to learning God's standards. Others have been wrapped up in selfish pursuits. But to present themselves to God as "holy, acceptable," they must show regret for such past actions. They must be remorseful for having used their life, vitality, and abilities in unscriptural pursuits. Such remorse must also be accompanied by appropriate action so as really to "turn around," or change their life course.

To help the new believer further, Christian elders arrange to meet with him and spend time reviewing the basic teachings of the Bible. This, for one thing, assures the elders that the prospective Christian has acquired an accurate knowledge of God's purposes. And, of course, the review proves most helpful to the student. As needed, certain matters that were not correctly understood are clarified.

Baptisms are generally held in connection with conventions or assemblies of Jehovah's Witnesses. On such occasions, a pointed talk is given to the baptismal candidates. They are reminded that baptism is not a matter of joining a new religion. Jesus said: "If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and continually follow me."- Matthew 16:24.

The candidates are further reminded of the deep significance of baptism. The text at 1 Peter 3:21 is often read: "That which corresponds to this is also now saving you, na mel y, baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the request made to God for a good conscience,) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Here, Peter compares baptism to Noah's experience of passing through the waters of the Flood. While those waters proved death-dealing to earth's wicked populace, they proved life-saving to Noah as they safely carried him in the ark. Likewise, baptism 'saves' Christians from this wicked world. When someone, on the basis of his faith in the benefits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, gets baptized, such a person is, in a sense, in a 'saved' condition before God. He is no longer considered a part of this wicked generation doomed to destruction.-See Acts 2:40.

Therefore, getting baptized is not a step that should be taken in the heat of emotion, as so often happens at religious revival meetings. Highlighting this is the fact that before new disciples are actually immersed, the minister presiding at the baptism asks them two penetrating questions . Their answers in the affirmative are a "public declaration" of their faith in the ransom and of the fact that they have unreservedly dedicated themselves to Jehovah. (Romans 10:9, 10) Now they are ready for water baptism.

Ordained as Ministers of the Kingdom

Complete immersion in water is a fitting symbol of their dedication to God. While under the water, it is as if they have died to their former course of life. On coming out of the water, it is as if they are now alive to a new course of self-sacrifice in service to God.-Compare Romans 6:2-4.

How, though, does ordination fit in with the action of baptism? Note what M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1877), Volume VII, page 411, says: "Ordination signifies the appointment or designation of a person to a ministerial office, whether with or without atten dan t ceremonies." (Italics ours.) This acknowledges that there is no need for an elaborate ceremony or a certificate of ordination to be a Christian minister.

But does the Bible teach this? Consider Jesus Christ. There is no question that he was the foremost minister of God. Nevertheless, did he have some elaborate ordination ceremony before commencing his preaching work? Did he have a certificate identifying him as a minister? Quite the contrary. It was after his simply getting baptized in water that God expressed his approval of Jesus as his Son and ordained him as His minister.-Mark 1:9-11; Luke 4:18-21.

What of first-century Christians? There is no report of any ostentatious ordination for these early Christian ministers. The record in Acts repeatedly tells of the performance of simple baptisms of believers. This was followed by their zealously sharing in the public ministry.-See Acts 2:41 -47; 8:36 -39; 22:14 -16.

What evidence did such ministers have of their ordination? Paul says at 2 Corinthians 3:1-3: "Are we starting again to recommend ourselves? Or do we, perhaps, like some men, need letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, inscribed on our hearts and known and being read by all mankind. For you are shown to be a letter of Christ written by us as ministers, inscribed not with ink but with spirit of a living God, not on stone tablets, but on fleshly tablets, on hearts." The effect of God's spirit on these taught ones' hearts produced a new Christian personality, which could be read by all observers. This was sufficient testimony that God had indeed ordained the ones sharing in teaching these new disciples.

Exerting Oneself in the Ministry

Likewise today, a minister is recognized by his works. He is earnest in 'exerting himself vigorously' in his ministry. (Luke 13:24) He views his ministry as a grand privilege from God. He does not take it for granted.-1 Timothy 1:12-16.

Kingdom preaching is the prime obligation of such ministers. All other pursuits must be limited so that they can 'fully accomplish their ministry.' (2 Timothy 4:2, 5) Of course, they must care for their own as well as their family's physical needs. However, they are 'content with sustenance and covering.' They do not allow personal pursuits or personal desires to distract them from the ministry. (1 Timothy 5:8; 6:7, 8; Philippians 2:20-22) They make sure of the "more important things." (Philippians 1:10) They strive to keep before themselves the fine example of Jesus Christ, whose life was centered around Kingdom preaching.-Luke 4:43; John 18:36, 37.

Nevertheless, when a person is baptized as an ordained minister, he is actually in the early stages of his service to God. True, he has gained knowledge of Christ Jesus and Jehovah God. He has also made many changes in his life so that his Christian ministry cannot be found fault with. (2 Corinthians 6:3) The newly baptized Christian still has much growing to do. His baptism, which signifies his ordination, is just one important milestone in his growth as a Christian. (Philippians 3:16) Therefore, each ordained minister must continue building up heart appreciation of spiritual things. He needs to schedule time for personal study. He should take advantage of all provisions for the congregation to meet together. He should work on improving the quality of his prayers, resulting in a closer personal relationship with God.-Luke 6:45; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:7.

We hope these Scriptural thoughts have helped you to understand why a university degree is not a requirement for those who wish to serve as ministers of God. Over three million of Jehovah's Witnesses are faithfully serving God as his ministers, proclaiming the truths outlined in his Word. Why not let one of them assist you in gaining knowledge of the Bible?

[Picture on page 29]

According to the Bible, a Christian minister is ordained at baptism

The Watchtower, March 15, 1988 Issue, Pages 14-15:

But it seems that some among Jehovah's people have gone to the other extreme. Many Christian parents let their children wait until they are in their late teens before broaching the subject of baptism. Time and again, we hear of youngsters making a valid dedication solely on their own initiative. For example, the preteen son of an elder sincerely wanted to get baptized. So his father had three other elders discuss with the youngster the questions designed for those contemplating baptism.* [FOOTNOTE SAYS: The series of questions to be answered by all who wish to be baptized as Jehovah's Witnesses are found in the book Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry. It is made available to those preparing for baptism.] Their conclusion was that, though quite young, he qualified to be baptized as an ordained minister of Jehovah God. Why, attending the Pioneer Service School in the Bahamas recently was a ten-year-old baptized girl, the daughter of two full-time ministers!

The Watchtower, May 15, 1987 Issue, Page 13:

Who are these earthly servants of God? Well, who are the only ones that regularly call on people with the Kingdom good news? Even opposers recognize them as Jehovah's Witnesses. Now more than three million strong, the ranks of these Kingdom proclaimers are rapidly increasing. Last year, 225,868 new ministers of the good news were ordained. And in that one year, 2,461 new congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses were established earth wide, an average of over 6 each day, making a total of 52,177 congregations in 208 lands. Truly, the prophecy of Isaiah 60:22 is having its fulfillment: Jehovah is speeding up his preaching and ingathering work "in its own time." And now is that time!

Page 27 (of the same Issue):

Indeed, from the snow-tipped mountain peaks in the alpine north to the Mediterranean island of Sicily in the south, modern-day witnesses of Jehovah in Italy reflect the zeal of their first-century counterparts. Each day of the year they spend, on an average, over 100,000 hours in the Kingdom-preaching work. The result? Last year alone, almost 12,000 persons were baptized and became ordained ministers of Jehovah. Now they, together with the 131,000 other witnesses of Jehovah, are "buying out the opportune time" in Italy .

The Watchtower, January 15, 1987 Issue, Page 30:

Another treat was the baptism talk, "Gaining Peace With God Through Dedication and Baptism." The speaker showed that our baptism is at one and the same time a most serious and a most joyous occasion. By means of it, we gain peace with God and become ordained ministers of Jehovah's Witnesses. And our dedication is no mere commitment, for we can have and care for a number of commitments at the same time. Rather, to be dedicated means for us to be exclusively devoted to the Divine Being, Jehovah God.

The Watchtower, September 1, 1985 Issue, Pages 18-19:

Defending Our Qualification as Ministers

11 All along, it has been necessary for genuine God-ordained Kingdom ministers to defend their authorization for the ministry. That certainly has been true of Jehovah's Witnesses in this 20th century. Their qualification as duly ordained ministers of God has been challenged and discounted. By whom? Particularly by Christendom's theological-seminary graduates who receive a certificate of ordination and become paid clergymen. They consider themselves duly schooled and adequately qualified to be the exclusive professional ministers of the God of the Bible.

12 The situation was similar in the first century C.E. In the Roman province of Galatia , even the inspired writer of about half the books of the Christian Greek Scriptures met with a development that challenged his qualification as an apostle of Jesus Christ, for it put in question the correctness of what he was teaching as Christianity. So he was obliged to tell the Galatians: "I marvel that you are being so quickly removed from the One who called you with Christ's undeserved kindness over to another sort of good news. But it is not another; only there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to pervert the good news about the Christ. However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed."-Galatians 1:6-9.

13 True, that writer, the apostle Paul, did not first learn Christian teachings by personal contact with Jesus Christ or His 12 apostles. Later, Paul did spend some time with the apostle Peter, or Cephas. (John 1:42; Galatians 1:18, 19) But in defense of his being a qualified minister of the good news from God by Christ, Paul could tell the unstable Galatian Christians: "Yes, when they came to know the undeserved kindness that was given me, James and Cephas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of sharing together, that we should go to the nations, but they to those who are circumcised." (Galatians 2:9) So those Galatians should have asked themselves: If Jesus' disciples James, Peter, and John recognized Paul as a bearer of the true good news, what basis do we have for challenging his message and moving away from it?

14 But what about Jehovah's people today? Well, since a person like Paul was obliged to defend his qualifications as a minister of God and Christ, why should we be surprised if we, as dedicated, baptized witnesses of Jehovah, are challenged and have to defend our standing as Kingdom ministers? Of course, as in Paul's case, such baseless challenging of us proves nothing.

Sing Praises To Jehovah Book (1984) Song 202:

Song 202

To God We Are Dedicated!

(Exodus 39:30)

1. To Christ, by our God, Jehovah, we have been drawn. He sent us his truth like beams of dawn. Down from his heav'nly throne, His light has clearly shone. Our faith in him has grown, And now we ourselves do disown. To God we are dedicated. We've made the choice. In him and his Son, we do rejoice.

2. All those who make this decision are duly trained; As God's ministers they are ordained. They join their voices strong To sing the Kingdom song, In one united throng, Since now to their God they belong. By water immersion they've supported their vow And preach God's own Kingdom message now.

3. Through our dedication may God grant our request To have a good conscience and be blest. A joy beyond compare Is what we now can share -Jehovah's name to bear. To him we have access in pray'r. To God we are dedicated; may we be wise And this favored standing always prize.

Awake!, May 22, 1984 Issue, Page 27:

Students of Gilead School do not become ordained ministers first upon graduating. They were ordained as ministers long before coming to Gilead . What N. H. Knorr told the first class, on its very first school day, still is true today. He said:

"It is NOT the purpose of this [school] to equip you to be ordained ministers. You are ministers already and have been active in the ministry for years. This is a requirement for entrance . . . The course of study at the [school] is for the exclusive purpose of preparing you to be more able ministers in the terri tori es to which you go."

Graduates of the 76th class have, on the average, been serving as ordained ministers for more than 12 years, with 8 of those years being spent in full-time service. Interestingly, 1 in 3 of the graduates, a total of 14, had served as full-time ministers at Bethel homes in Britain , Canada or the United States .

Sam Gjesdal, assigned to Brazil , pointed out a feature of Gilead School that made graduation especially meaningful. "Worldly colleges dish out information and you take what you can get," he said, "but here they really care about you and they want to see that you do the best you can. They take a real interest in you."

Even the graduation exercise was different. There was no noisy fanfare to inaugurate the program. There was no pompous procession led by solemn-faced college faculty heads. There was no one marching down the aisle of the Assembly Hall to blaring music. There was no one garbed in long black robes and square-topped, tasseled college hats. No, there was nothing here in evidence to glorify human creatures and their attainments. Instead, glory and thankfulness were centered on the One who made it all possible, Jehovah God. Gilead graduations are truly different.

United In Worship of the Only True God Book (1983), Page 99:

10 The first ones to be baptized in harmony with those instructions given by Jesus were Jews (and Jewish proselytes), who as a nation were already dedicated to God and were shown special consideration by him down till 36 C.E. However, when the privilege of Christian discipleship was extended to the Samaritans and the Gentiles, before being baptized they personally had to make an unreserved dedication to Jehovah to serve him as disciples of his Son. For all, including Jews, this continues to be the significance of Christian water baptism down to our day. This "one baptism" applies to all who become true Christians. They thus become Christian witnesses of Jehovah, God's ordained ministers.-Eph. 4:5; 2 Cor. 6:3, 4.

The Watchtower, November 15, 1982 Issue, Page 17:

Who Are God's Ministers Today?

"We . . . sent Timothy, our brother and God's minister in the gospel of Christ."-1 THESSALONIANS 3:1, 2, AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION; SEE ALSO AUTHORIZED VERSION, NEW WORLD TRANSLATION.

RECENTLY, in Central America , ordained ministers of religion helped to organize a revolution that toppled a government. In the Far East an ordained minister led an ambush that resulted in two deaths. In southern Asia ordained ministers organized landless laborers in their struggle against the "oppressors."

2 These men all claimed to be Christian ministers, but were they? Is this the kind of thing a minister of God should be doing? This is an important question, since it is largely through the activity of God's true ministers that people learn about him and gain the opportunity for everlasting life. (1 Corinthians 3:5; John 17:3) We need to be able to recognize who God's real ministers are. But how can we? Only the Bible can help us.

"Minister" in the Bible

3 First of all, what is a minister according to the Bible? In the original language of the Christian Greek Scriptures, the word for "minister" was di·aŽko·nos. Though there are various ideas about the origin of this word, the meaning is well known. Basically, it means "a servant." In the Gospels di·aŽko·nos and related words are often used with reference to serving those reclining to eat a meal. (Luke 4:39; John 2:5, 9) However, in the Greek of Jesus' day the word often had a more elevated association. In non-Biblical documents it was used with reference to religious officials, and in the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek it was used to describe court officials and atten dan ts of the Persian king Ahasuerus. (Esther 1:10; 6:3, Septuagint Version) Of course, the most elevated ministry that a human can share in is the service of the Most High God, Jehovah.

4 Since being a minister of God is such a high privilege, how does a genuine minister view himself? He should not be proud or feel self-important. Certainly, he does not accept flattering titles such as "Holy Father" or "Reverend." ( Matthew 23:8-12) Rather, Jesus showed that a genuine Christian minister would be humble. He said: "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave."- Matthew 20:26, 27.

5 A minister obeys his master's commands. However, in doing so, his work may benefit someone else. For example, if his master has guests, then the minister obeys his master by caring for the needs of the guests. Christian ministers, being "God's ministers" and "ministers of Christ," obey the commands that God gave through his Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:4; 11:23) But the work they do benefits other humans. For example, Paul was a minister to "people of the nations." (Ephesians 3:1-7) His ministry brought great blessings to those who responded favorably. And it brought honor to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, whose commands he was obeying.

The Greatest Minister of Religion

6 But what should a minister actually do? We can answer this by considering the activities of the greatest minister of religion who ever lived, Jesus Christ. Jesus said: "The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many." ( Matthew 20:28) As a minister, whose orders did Jesus obey? To whom did he minister? And how? Jesus obeyed the orders of his heavenly Father. (John 8:28) And, to start with, he ministered to the Jews only. (Romans 15:8) But, ultimately, his ministry was for the benefit of all right-hearted persons.-John 3:16.

7 What did Jesus do as a minister? One thing he did was avoid getting involved in politics. On at least two occasions he had the opportunity to take a political stand, but he refused. (Mark 12:13-17; John 6:15) Why? Because his ministry was above politics, and the benefits it offered, including everlasting life, were much greater than those offered by political action. Besides, a minister of God cannot be a minister of this world. ( Matthew 6:24) Hence, Jesus remained "no part of the world." (John 17:14; James 4:4) So, what Jesus did was preach and teach. He publicly declared God's name. He preached that God's kingdom was the only hope for mankind. He taught his disciples God's high moral standards and trained them to follow him in the ministry. Finally, he climaxed his ministry by sacrificing his life for mankind. - Matthew 4:17 ; 5:27 -32; 20:28 ; John 17:3-6.

8 Jesus is a model for all "to follow his steps closely." (1 Peter 2:21) Only those who closely imitate the ministry of Jesus Christ can honestly call themselves God's ministers today. If we examine the activity of Christian ministers in the years following Jesus' death we will see what this involved.

The Christian Minister

9 First, how did a servant of God in those days qualify to be a minister? Today, most ministers in Christendom receive from some seminary or college documents proclaiming their status. These are their qualifications. However, Jesus did not have such a document. He was a qualified minister because God anointed him to be one. (Luke 4:18, 19) Similarly, the apostle Paul said: "Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant." (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6) Thus, God qualifies his own ministers. How?

10 Consider the example of Timothy, who was "God's minister in the good news about the Christ." (1 Thessalonians 3:2) Paul wrote to him: "You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus."-2 Timothy 3:14, 15; see also verses 16 and 17.

11 Does this mean that Timothy merely read the Bible and thus became a minister? No. First, he was "persuaded to believe" by other ministers. Who were these? Since he had known the Scriptures "from infancy," he must have received at least basic instruction from his mother and grandmother, his father evidently not being a believer. (2 Timothy 1:5) Additionally, when Paul first met Timothy he was already "well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium." (Acts 16:2) Hence, his faith had been further developed by his association with fellow Christians in these congregations. Additionally, in those days various prominent brothers, and especially the governing body of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem, used to write letters to the different congregations to strengthen their faith, and traveling overseers used to build them up by their visits.-Hebrews 10:23; Acts 15:22-32; 1 Peter 1:1.

12 At some point Timothy's faith, made strong by such study and association, moved him to be baptized in symbol of his dedication to God, to spend the rest of his life serving Him. ( Matthew 28:19, 20; Hebrews 10:5-9) Logically, at that point he became a minister of God. But his progress did not stop there. His ministerial ability was further strengthened by a special spiritual gift and by personal instruction and training from the apostle Paul. And Timothy continued making progress by his personal study and by association with other Christians. (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 2:2) Thus, Timothy was a 'minister of the good news.' As such, what did he do?

13 He had special duties, since he was a traveling companion of Paul. Being an elder, Timothy worked hard at teaching and strengthening his fellow Christians. This was a part of his ministry. (1 Timothy 4:6) But the central part of his ministry, just as it had been with Jesus, was preaching the good news. ( Matthew 4:23) The apostle Paul told Timothy: "You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry."-2 Timothy 4:5.

14 Who, though, besides Timothy and Paul, were expected to share in the Christian ministry? Merely the elders or the special traveling representatives? No. The apostle Paul pointed to the fact that the preaching of the good news was motivated by the faith that all Christians are supposed to possess. He said: "With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation."-Romans 10:10.

15 Does this mean that all those who genuinely possess the Christian faith should be Christian ministers, sharing in the preaching of the good news? Yes. Paul's words were addressed to the whole congregation at Rome , not just to the elders. (Romans 1:1, 7) The whole congregation at Ephesus were to have their "feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace." (Ephesians 6:15; 1:1) And all those who heard the letter addressed to the Hebrews were to 'hold fast the public declaration of their hope without wavering.' (Hebrews 10:23) Remember, too, that on the day of Pentecost everyone, men and women, joined in publicly declaring "the magnificent things of God."-Acts 2:1-21; 1:14 .

16 Moreover, shortly before his ascension to heaven, Jesus had said to his followers: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you." ( Matthew 28:19, 20) Those who responded in all the different nations were not to become mere listeners. They were to be disciples, with all that this involved.-Luke 10:1; 14:27 , 33; John 13:35 ; 15:8; Acts 1:8.

God's Ministers Today

17 So far, we have seen that the true Christian minister avoids politics and is separate from the world. He is humble and maintains the high moral standards that Jesus taught his followers. He is God's minister, imitating Christ. Hence, he should not follow his own ideas or water down truth so as to make it more acceptable to others. Nevertheless, his ministerial work benefits fellow humans, both believers and nonbelievers.- Matthew 20:28; 26:39; 1 Peter 4:8-10.

18 As with Jesus and Timothy, a vital part of a present-day Christian's ministry is the preaching work. What does he preach? Well, salvation is still on the basis of Jesus' sacrifice. And those who wish to be saved still have to call on Jehovah's name. (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13) Moreover, the kingdom is still the only hope for suffering humanity. Hence, Jesus prophesied: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." ( Matthew 24:14) God's true ministers are the ones who fulfill this prophecy and teach these truths. And who are doing this God-given work? Only Jehovah's Witnesses.-Isaiah 43:10-12.

19 How does one qualify to be a minister? In the same way that Timothy did: By building up a firm faith in God's purposes, based on a study of the Bible; by strengthening that faith through association with other Christians; by undergoing water baptism in symbol of a dedication made in prayer directly to God to serve him from that point on; and by accepting gui dan ce and direction from the Governing Body of the Christian congregation. (Hebrews 10:23-25; Matthew 24:45-47) Who shares in this ministry? All who have a sincere, active faith in God's purposes, based on accurate knowledge. The sharing in the ministry as Christian witnesses of Jehovah is a proof of the genuineness of that faith.-James 2:17.

20 In these last days, many ministers of religion in Christendom are busy preaching a "social gospel," mixing in with politics or questioning the existence of God and the relevance of the Bible. And Christendom's laity shows little interest in acting as ministers. Hence, we are thankful that God has raised up ministers who keep his name before mankind and help honest-hearted persons to learn the vital truths of God's Word, the Bible. There are more than two million of these ministers around the world and with God's help they are ministering to all mankind.

Our Kingdom Ministry, December 1981 Issue, Page 4:

Question Box

. The March 15, 1981, Watchtower made the point that ordination as a minister of God takes place at one's baptism. How does this affect our view of those who are qualified to perform marriages?

In each state the requirements for performing marriages may differ somewhat. In some states, cities or communities, the marriage ceremony may be solemnized only by ministers who are duly registered by the local authorities. It is, therefore, essential to check locally to find out what legal requirements are necessary for performing marriages and to comply with them. Please do not write the Society for such information as we do not have such available for the various states, cities or communities in this country.

Because Christian marriage is a very serious and binding commitment made by two individuals before Jehovah, the marriage ceremony should be presided over by a well-qualified ordained minister who gives the marriage talk and solemnizes the marriage. Therefore, it is preferred that congregation elders, men well spoken of in the congregation, care for this responsibility in order that all things take place in proper order.

Information dealing with the marriage discourse, ceremony and approved vows is to be found in The Watchtower of March 15, 1969, pages 174-179, May 1, 1974, pages 274-277, March 15, 1977, pages 172-185 and Awake! of May 22, 1974 , pages 3-6.

Arrangements for the use of a Kingdom Hall for marriage should be approved by the body of elders of the congregation. Since the Scriptural direction is to marry "only in the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39 ), those performing marriages should refrain from solemnizing unequaled marriages, nor should such weddings be held at the Kingdom Hall. If there are any very unusual situations in this connection, it is best to write to the Society about the circumstances involved.

The Watchtower, March 15, 1981 Issue, Pages 14-17:

Who Are God's Ministers?

SEVERAL years ago a number of objections were raised against having the term "minister" apply to all dedicated and baptized Christians. These objections were based on differences in language, the way other religious bodies and men in official positions might view their claim to be ministers, and so forth. However, it does not appear that such objections are sufficiently strong to negate the position that Jehovah's people have held for the greater part of the last 100 years.


In the English translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures the verb "minister" and the noun "minister" occur many times. The Greek noun thus translated is di·aŽko·nos, which literally means 'through the dust,' as though applying to one who gets dusty running errands. It appears to be used in three distinct senses, which we will now examine.

First of all, the term di·aŽko·nos is used to refer to one who serves in a material, secular sense, and may simply refer to serving in a household. Thus, in one of Jesus' parables, we read: "The king said to his servants [di·aŽko·noi], 'Bind him hand and foot.'" (Matt. 22:13) The same word is rendered "minister" at Romans 13:4, where the reference is to secular governments.

In certain contexts, this Greek word di·aŽko·nos is used in a special restricted official sense, as at Philippians 1:1, where it is applied to certain persons in the Christian congregation who hold an appointive office, for it is there linked with others holding the office of overseer, or "bishop." Thus we read: "Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Philippi , along with overseers and ministerial servants [or, "deacons," di·aŽko·noi]." The term is also used in this special sense at 1 Timothy 3:8, 12, where the apostle Paul lists the qualifications of such ministerial servants, or "deacons."

Finally, there are other instances in which these inspired Christian Greek Scripture writers appear to have used this term in a broader way, which also carries more weight than merely referring to a servant that performs mun dan e duties. This is when it is used to apply to any dedicated person who serves God in sacred or spiritual matters, and so here some languages translate it by a more fitting word, na mel y, "minister," which conveys the sense of an elevated or godly service. Thus the apostle Paul at Colossians 1:23 refers to himself as one who was "made a minister [di·aŽko·nos]," or one who 'had become or became a minister.' (See Authorized Version; Revised Standard Version; Phillips' New Testament in Modern English; The New English Bible.) Paul also speaks of others as ministers, as in the case of Timothy.-1 Tim. 4:6, AV; RSV; New International Version.


Closely related to the Greek word di·aŽko·nos is the noun di·a·ko·niŽa, referring to a "service" or a "ministry." This Greek word is also used in both a secular and a religious, or sacred, sense. It is used in a secular sense at Acts 6:1, where we read: "Now in those days, when the disciples were increasing, a murmuring arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution [footnote, "ministration"]."

When di·a·ko·niŽa is used in a religious sense some translators in certain languages use a special word for it, rendering it not as a "distribution" or a "service," but as a "ministry," meaning an elevated, godly service. Thus in such languages the apostle Paul is made to say regarding his apostleship to the Gentiles, "I glorify my ministry." ( Rom. 11:13, RSV; NE; NIV) He further wrote that he was grateful that God 'considered him faithful by assigning him to a ministry,' a godly, elevated "service." (1 Tim. 1:12, Kingdom Interlinear Translation) Thus Paul wrote Timothy: "You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry." Timothy's evangelizing, or preaching of the "good news," was not a mun dan e service. It was a godly, elevated service-a ministry-and it constituted him a minister. By the same token today, all who share in this evangelizing ministry are indeed ministers.-2 Tim. 4:5, AV; NIV; RSV.

It is the way Christian Greek Scripture writers under inspiration use the Greek words di·aŽko·nos, di·a·ko·niŽa and similar ones that sets the pattern for Jehovah's Witnesses. Actually, not only are Jehovah's Witnesses a religious organization in the commonly accepted meaning of the term "congregation," or "church," but they also constitute an association for the training and equipping of men, women and youths to be ministers, "servants," in an elevated or godly sense, preachers of the good news of God's kingdom. For this purpose they have an ongoing body of study courses for the education of men, women and young people in the vital knowledge of the Bible so that they may be increasingly effective as God's ministers. These study courses are covered at five weekly meetings in which there is exposition of Bible doctrine, interpretation of Bible prophecies, instruction in Christian conduct and training in the preaching and teaching of Bible truths.


As with all religious organizations, Jehovah's Witnesses have the privilege and right to determine when their students have reached the point where they qualify to be ministers of God's Word, "servants" in an elevated, godly sense. After an appropriate personal training period they are examined by the duly appointed elders in their congregation. If students can give evidence of having an adequate knowledge of God's Word, a heart appreciation of its message, and have unreservedly dedicated themselves to Jehovah to do his will and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and if they have brought their lives in line with God's requirements and principles, they are admitted to baptism and are thereby ordained as ministers. There is sound Scriptural precedent for this procedure, for it was only after Jesus had presented himself for baptism that he began his career as God's anointed minister, preaching the good news of God's kingdom.-Mark 1:9-15.

But is there sound reason for considering baptism, complete submersion in water, as an adequate ordination ceremony? Perhaps not according to prevailing customs in Christendom, but there certainly is from a Scriptural point of view, even as can be seen from what M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1877), Vol. VII, page 411, has to say on the subject. According to it, an ordination is "the appointment or designation of a person to a ministerial office, whether with or without atten dan t ceremonies. . . . A scriptural investigation of this subject can hardly fail to impress any ingenuous mind with the great significance of the fact that neither the Lord Jesus Christ nor any of his disciples gave specific commands or declarations in reference to ordination." A diploma or an ordination certificate is no more needed by ministers today than one was needed by the apostle Paul.-2 Cor. 3:1-3.


How do Jehovah's Witnesses carry on their ministry? Some of them serve as appointed elders, and as such they preach and teach in their congregations from the platform and at congregational Bible classes held in the homes of the Witnesses. However, the most extensive and most distinctive method used by the Witnesses in their ministry is that used by the apostles and other early disciples of Jesus in obedience to his command: "Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving . . . When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it."-Matt. 10:11-13.

Similarly, the apostle Paul distinguished himself by preaching both to congregations and to individuals in their homes. As he told the elders of Ephesus : "You well know how . . . I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus." (Acts 20:18-21) This provides a fine precedent for God's ministers today.

Regarding modern-day house-to-house ministry with the use of religious tracts the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Murdock v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1943) ruled: "The hand distribution of religious tracts is an age-old form of missionary evangelism-as old as the history of printing presses. . . . This form of religious activity occupies the same high estate under the First Amendment as do worship in the churches and preaching from the pulpits."

Also, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in the case of Ransom v. United States (1955), that court stated that it could not "validly distinguish . . . between ministers of Jehovah's Witnesses who preach from door to door and on street corners as their vocations, and ministers of more conventional faiths who preach in pulpits, teach in church schools or carry on various other religious activities for their churches."

Would the fact that these ministers did not devote all their time to their ministry reflect unfavorably on their claim to be ministers, meaning they did not qualify to be such? Not at all, for even the apostle Paul engaged in secular activities to support himself and those with him. (Acts 18:3, 4; 20:33, 34) This position was supported by this ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Wiggins v. United States (1958): "Ministers of Jehovah's Witnesses . . . have no choice except to engage in secular pursuits in order to obtain funds to make the ministry their vocation. . . . The test . . . is . . . whether, as a vocation, regularly, not occasionally, he teaches and preaches the principles of his religion."

So who are God's ministers? They are the dedicated and baptized Christians who make service to God and neighbor their chief aim in life! (Mark 12:28-31)

[Picture on page 15]

Scripturally, ordination as a minister of God takes place at one's baptism

[Pictures on page 16]

Following the Bible precedent, Jehovah's Witnesses pursue their ministry "publicly and from house to house"

Pages 18-20 (of the same Issue):


Yes, all dedicated and baptized Christians, regardless of sex or age, can be proclaimers, preachers, ministers, "servants" in an elevated or sacred sense-provided they give proof thereof by their conduct and their witnessing. Thus the apostle Paul wrote at Romans 16:1: "I recommend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister of the congregation that is in Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the holy ones, and that you may assist her in any matter where she may need you, for she herself also proved to be a defender of many, yes, of me myself." Obviously, Paul's reference is to something more than merely physical service. It is to something having to do with the spoken word, the Christian ministry. However, she had not been appointed as a female ministerial servant, as Jehovah God through Paul made no provision for women in such an office.

Again, when writing the Christian congregation in Philippi , Paul makes reference to Euodia and Syntyche as "women who have striven side by side with me in the good news [evidently preaching and teaching the good news of God's kingdom] along with Clement as well as the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."-Phil. 4:2, 3.

Also, not to be overlooked is Priscilla, wife of Aquila . She is mentioned repeatedly, most often even ahead of her husband. (Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Rom. 16:3; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19) When eloquent Apollos arrived in Ephesus and it was apparent that he needed further instruction, 'Priscilla and Aquila took him to their home and they both expounded the word of God more correctly to him.'-Acts 18:26, Kingdom Interlinear Translation.

Several courts in the United States have recognized female Jehovah's Witnesses, in carrying on the door-to-door evangelistic work, as ministers. For example, the Supreme Court of Vermont, in Vermont v. Greaves (1941), stated that Elva Greaves "is an ordained minister of a sect or class known and designated as 'Jehovah's Witnesses'."


The same principle may be applied to youthful Christians. Although in no sense of the word could they serve as appointed servants in the congregation, their age would be no impediment to their being preachers and proclaimers of the "good news," ministers of God. Jesus at the age of 12 showed himself to be capable of 'ministering' God's Word. (Luke 2:46-50) Samuel became "a minister of Jehovah" as a mere "boy." (1 Sam. 2:11, NW; see also American Standard Version; The Jerusalem Bible; Rotherham .) And so in modern times some in their early teens or even younger, after having dedicated themselves to Jehovah and having been baptized, are proving by their activity in preaching the good news of God's kingdom at every opportunity, as well as by their conduct, that they are indeed ministers of God.-2 Tim. 2:22; Eccl. 12:1.


Jesus laid down the rule that a man's claims must be measured by his works. He stated: "The works themselves that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father dispatched me." (John 5:36) By the same token, those ministers (or, "servants" in an elevated sense) that God sends forth, male or female, young or old, are to be recognized by their service for the Kingdom interests, their "sacred service" to their God, Jehovah.-Matt. 4:10 ; Rom. 12:1, 2.

So among Jehovah's Witnesses today, anyone who upon adequate instruction in God's Word has been baptized in symbol of dedicating his or her life to God, and who thereafter seriously undertakes service to Jehovah God in witnessing to his name and kingdom, is truly a minister in God's view. (John 12:26) However, whether they would always want to introduce themselves when calling from house to house as a "minister" would depend upon the circumstances, including the local attitude toward the term "minister." In any case, today's 'great crowd out of all nations' are described at Revelation 7:9-17 as 'rendering God sacred service day and night in his temple.' All are God's ministers-his servants in a sacred, elevated sense.

The Watchtower, November 15, 1972 Issue, Pages 701-702:


· Sometimes, even when one is attempting to do good for another, considerable persistence is required. This often proves true with the ministers of Jehovah's witnesses who are doing the best possible good, that of aiding people to understand and apply God's Word and thus be in line for divine blessings.

A woman minister of Jehovah's witnesses in Malaysia called on a young Chinese girl living in a garage behind a large home. She left with the girl a copy of the Bible study aid From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained in the Chinese language. Arrangements were made for a return visit to establish a free home Bible study with the girl.

On the first visit the girl was busy with a big pile of ironing and had not read any of the book. Saturday was her day off from work, and so arrangements were made to call then. On the second call the Witness found that the girl still had a big pile of ironing as well as a room full of visiting relatives. Coming the next Saturday for the third call, the minister learned that the girl was behind in her ironing. But she was still interested in the free Bible study and planned on speaking with her sister to see if her fleshly sister would like to join in the study. The next call, the fourth, the girl had some good news; her sister wanted to study also, so the following week they were all to meet at her sister's home some two miles away.

Early the next Saturday a thunderstorm was brewing. But the witness of Jehovah, not wanting to fail to keep her appointment, went anyway, getting drenched to the skin in the process. She found the house locked and nobody at home. The Witness thought to herself: 'I am determined to give the girl one more chance.'

On the sixth visit the Witness went to the girl's residence and found her sincerely apologetic. Arrangements were made for the study to be held the following Saturday. On the seventh visit the Bible study actually got under way, and from then on there was no delay or interruption at all. The young Chinese girl studied well, began coming to Christian meetings of Jehovah's witnesses and is now herself an ordained minister. All of this because of perseverance in doing what is good.-Gal. 6:9.

The Watchtower, December 15, 1971 Issue, Page 762:

The governing body is very grateful to God for the religious Society that is to be used as an agency of Jehovah's Christian witnesses. This legal nonprofit Society, through being manned by faithful dedicated, baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, all ordained ministers, who volunteer their services as directly to Jehovah God, has tremendously facilitated the carrying on of the greatest work on earth today, na mel y, the preaching of the good news of God's now established kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end of this system of things arrives, shortly now.

Page 763 (of the same Issue):

'After three months of regularly studying the Bible I began to make changes in my life. I disposed of my guns. My former friends thought I had gone crazy and stopped associating with me in my unarmed condition. The religious ornaments were removed from my living room. Within a year I was attending the meetings of Jehovah's witnesses in the Kingdom Hall and even began sharing in the field ministry with them. Finally I was baptized, becoming an ordained minister myself.

The Watchtower, May 1, 1971 Issue, Page 280:

The man decided that, in view of his "addiction" to the game, in his case it would be best to give it up altogether. He gave away the draughtboard or checkerboard. The crowds that had frequented his place drifted away. He had more time to handle his business as well as ample time to study God's Word in peace. He once again began to make fine spiritual progress. Soon thereafter he was baptized at a large assembly of Jehovah's witnesses, thus becoming himself an ordained minister of God.

The Watchtower, February 15, 1971 Issue, Pages 123-124:

On the second day of the gathering the 679 active witnesses of Jehovah in Liberia were happy to see sixty-two persons baptized in the Atlantic Ocean . A wide variety of backgrounds and walks of life was represented in these newly ordained ministers. One was a well-known lawyer, another an American woman formerly with the Peace Corps. There was a young African girl who had suffered repeated beatings in school because of her faith, and a seventy-seven-year-old former Protestant preacher. All were now united in the worship of the true God.

Awake!, January 8, 1971 Issue, Page 13:

In October of 1963 further evidence was submitted to the court. This outlined in great detail the fact that full-time ministers of Jehovah's witnesses are ordained ministers entitled to the exemption provided by the constitution.

The Watchtower, October 15, 1970 Issue, Page 614:

What happens, though, when God's Word is put to work in the lives of such people? Well, from Panama comes news of a man who started studying the Bible and subsequently quit his heavy drinking, gambling, smoking and beating of his woman companion, the mother of his four daughters. Wanting to conform to God's righteous standards, he desired to marry her. She consented; they were married, and that same week he was ordained as a Christian minister.

The Watchtower, April 15, 1970 Issue, Pages 250-251:

Is it true that all of Jehovah's witnesses are really ministers? Have they had schooling for the ministry?

Yes, in the true Bible sense of the word all of Jehovah's witnesses are ministers. A minister of God is a public servant of God, one who follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:21) Every true Christian who is dedicated to God and baptized in symbol of that dedication renders such ministerial service as a regular part of his worship and is therefore an ordained minister.-Isa. 61:1, 2; Matt. 24:14; 2 Cor. 3:5.

While seminary training and written certificates of ordination are not required for Scriptural ordination, nevertheless, Jehovah's witnesses do undergo an intensive program of schooling and training for the Christian ministry. They attend five congregation meetings a week, which amounts to five hours of instruction, as well as doing much personal Bible study at home. At their Theocratic Ministry School they learn to speak and teach effectively. This training never ends. Uniquely its students never graduate, nor do they want to graduate. They thoroughly enjoy the school program and, being progressive in outlook, they appreciate the need to keep on learning and improving their skills as ministers of God.

The Watchtower, January 1, 1970 Issue, Page 21:

This has been a most joyful year for Jehovah's witnesses because Jehovah God has blessed their efforts so much in preaching this good news in all parts of the earth. One of the outstanding events of the year was the "Peace on Earth" International Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses held in North America and Europe in July and August at which 840,572 persons were in atten dan ce. These, along with others who were not able to get to one of the assemblies, are determined to keep on with the preaching of this Kingdom good news. All are lovers of peace because they worship the God of peace. (2 Cor. 13:11) We still have work to do, and we find that, in the midst of their doing that work, Jehovah has blessed the efforts of his people so that a new peak in publishers of 1,336,112 was reached in the 1969 service year. Throughout the year there were on the average 1,256,784 ministers who could be counted on to spend time in the field ministry every month. Of course, these publishers of the Kingdom good news cannot all be in the work of spreading the message full time, but the dedicated, baptized disciples certainly are all ordained ministers. Out of all of these persons, however, there were 76,515 baptized ministers preaching full time as missionaries, special, regular and vacation pioneers. These spent anywhere from 100 to 150 hours per month spreading the good news of the Kingdom. The remaining number of persons, constituting a great congregation world wide, averaged each from ten to fifteen hours each month in the preaching of God's kingdom and implanting the word of truth in the hearts and minds of other people.

1970 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, Pages 24-25:

This has been a most joyful year for Jehovah's witnesses because Jehovah God has blessed their efforts so much in preaching this good news in all parts of the earth. One of the outstanding events of the year was the "Peace on Earth" International Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses held in North America and Europe in July and August at which 840,572 persons were in atten dan ce. These, along with others who were not able to get to one of the assemblies, are determined to keep on with the preaching of this Kingdom good news. All are lovers of peace because they worship the God of peace. (2 Cor. 13:11) We still have work to do, and we find that, in the midst of their doing that work, Jehovah has blessed the efforts of his people so that a new peak in publishers of 1,336,112 was reached in the 1969 service year. Throughout the year there were on the average 1,256,784 ministers who could be counted on to spend time in the field ministry every month. Of course, these publishers of the Kingdom good news cannot all be in the work of spreading the message full time, but the dedicated, baptized disciples certainly are all ordained ministers. Out of all of these persons, however, there were 76,515 baptized ministers preaching full time as missionaries, special, regular and vacation pioneers. These spent anywhere from 100 to 150 hours per month spreading the good news of the Kingdom. The remaining number of persons, constituting a great congregation world wide, averaged each from ten to fifteen hours each month in the preaching of God's kingdom and implanting the word of truth in the hearts and minds of other people.

The Watchtower, September 1, 1969 Issue, Page 522:


All true Christians are greatly concerned about performing their ministry in the best possible manner. It therefore was another rich blessing for them to receive much fine counsel on how they can improve their ministry. For those about to become ordained ministers of Jehovah God there was the discourse on baptism. What a thrill it was to see 12,894 at these assemblies in North America stand up and present themselves for water immersion! The candidates for baptism were told that it was a happy time to be living in spite of worsening world conditions. Why? Because it is still not too late to gain God's goodwill and the resultant everlasting life by becoming a whole-souled servant of Jehovah God.-Prov. 8:35 .

The Watchtower, April 1, 1969 Issue, Page 209:

Now, as to skill, this is something that the world makes much of, and, indeed, many extraordinary feats are accomplished with skilled minds and hands. Success in the ministry requires skill too, but the art of being a good teacher of God's Word is not too difficult for anyone to master. While it takes many years of study and practice to become a skilled surgeon or engineer, and those who qualify are few, this is not true of those who wish to be skillful ministers. Not that it does not take much study and putting into regular practice the things learned. It does, but the unique thing about the ministry is that one can begin to share in it after only a short time of study. When one begins to learn the good things from God's Word and sees the importance of teaching these to others, there is no reason for him to hold back in speaking these good things to his neighbor. He, of course, should be careful as a novice that he does not teach error unwittingly, so he should listen closely to instructions from more experienced ministers while getting on-the-job training. Before long he can make a dedication to God and get baptized and become a skillful ordained minister in teaching others.

The Watchtower, January 1, 1969 Issue, Pages 25-26:

It is evident from the report that tens of thousands have found the Word of God to be true and accurate, and with all diligence they want to tell others about God's truth. What a joy it has been to see 82,842 persons with whom Bible studies have been conducted in 1968 go on to dedicate their lives to Jehovah and be baptized in water in public symbol of their dedication to the doing of God's will henceforth! These 82,842 newly baptized individuals are not joining a religious organization just to be members, as many of them were when they went to "church" in Christendom. Their days of going to "church" once a week to be a hearer and not a doer of God's work are gone forever. These newly baptized persons have heard the call, "Get out of her, my people," and they have gotten out of false religion, 82,842 of them, and have now become ministers of God, and they feel like the apostle Paul, who said: "Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news!" (1 Cor. 9:16) These newly ordained ministers have associated with the more than one million others of Jehovah's witnesses around the world, and together they find great joy in preaching to others and teaching them to know the Bible.

The Watchtower, August 1, 1968 Issue, Page 466:

Religious news editor Louis Cassels also had this to say of Jehovah's witnesses: "Their phenomenal growth rate is the result of a zeal for evangelism which puts the established churches to shame. Every Witness is regarded as an ordained minister, and is sent out to ring doorbells, pass out literature on street corners and preach the [Kingdom] message to as many people as possible. . . . Behind this passion for convert-winning is the fir m c onviction of the Witnesses that the end of human history is imminent. They expect it to come at any hour, and almost certainly within the next 10 years."

The Watchtower, February 1, 1966 Issue, Page 75:

In contrast with the lack of personal visitations by the ministers of Christendom the fact is that every week of the year Jehovah's witnesses conducted 770,595 home Bible studies during 1965, and this conducting of home Bible studies was not being carried on by just the presiding minister of a congregation alone. Rather, this work was being done by all those who make up the congregation, for all the witnesses of Jehovah are ordained Christian ministers.-Isa. 61:1-3.

The Watchtower, May 15, 1966 Issue, Pages 300-301:

Christ Jesus was a perfect example of balance when he was on the earth. Note some of the things he said and agreed with: "It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service." (Matt. 4:10) "Give us today our bread for this day." (Matt. 6:11) "Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom." (Matt. 6:33) "My yoke is kindly and my load is light." (Matt. 11:30) "Pay back, therefore, Caesar's things to Caesar, but God's things to God." (Matt. 22:21) "You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind." (Matt. 22:37) "You must love your neighbor as yourself."? (Matt. 22:39) "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth." (Matt. 24:14) "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations." (Matt. 28:19) "Martha, you are anxious and disturbed about many things. A few things, though, are needed, or just one." (Luke 10:41, 42) He was not unbalanced by tradition; he healed a woman on the sabbath. (Luke 13:10-17) It is easy to discern that, though Jesus recognized the need to care for family responsibilities and pay taxes due, the big thing is to worship Jehovah, preach his word and kingdom, and be a praiser of his name. In fact, only such ministers will be saved. Reflect on James 2:24, 26 in this regard: "You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. Indeed, as the body without breath is dead, so also faith without works is dead." To get life you must be a working minister, which means to be a preacher and teacher of the good news of God's kingdom. You must be a dedicated worshiper of Jehovah God. Jehovah's witnesses are a society of ordained ministers and today they are participating in a twofold saving program.

The Watchtower, September 15, 1964 Issue, Page 563:


19 Young and old, all of us are constantly called upon to exercise wisdom in making right decisions. James again counsels us: "If any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him. But let him keep on asking in faith, not doubting."-Jas. 1:5, 6.

20 There is the case of the teen-age ordained minister of Jehovah in the United States of America . During his high-school days he built a good record in sports as well as academically. Near the time for his graduation he was offered a football scholarship to attend college. Outstanding sports leaders visited him to encourage him to accept. This young man was now called upon to make a vital decision. For days the battle continued in his mind; one day he would decide to accept the scholarship, the next day he would decide for the full-time ministerial service. Finally he made it a matter of prayer to Jehovah for wisdom. Along with his daily appeals he spent afterschool hours in the public preaching work. In response to his prayers he was strengthened to decide for the full-time pioneer service and to reject the scholarship offer. A right decision was made.

Page 555 (of the same Issue):

All the above-described vast throng of worshipers come as dedicated ones well instructed in Jehovah's theocratic requirements. They do not come empty-handed without gifts for their loving God. Rather, they come full of pleasing 'sacrifices of praise,' full of right public declarations that they have learned how to make through Jehovah's anointed ones still on earth. (Heb. 13:15) Yes, these "foreigners" out of the nations have "joined themselves to Jehovah" by making a dedication in association with the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel . (Zech. 8:23; Gal. 6:16) All these of the "great crowd" from the nations also come to offer their prayers through Jehovah's temple arrangement. Concerning this Isaiah further foresaw: "And the foreigners that have joined themselves to Jehovah to minister to him and to love the name of Jehovah, in order to become servants to him, . . . I will also bring them to my holy mountain and make them rejoice inside my house of prayer. . . . their sacrifices will be for acceptance upon my altar. For my own house will be called even a house of prayer for all the peoples." (Isa. 56:6, 7) Truly this vast crowd of foreign worshipers have today come to be dedicated, baptized and ordained ministers of Jehovah and thus have an official standing of recognition before God's heavenly throne. (Rev. 7:15) Like those of the anointed remnant, these alien nonmembers, not of the new covenant, count it an inestimable privilege to bear the unique name of Jehovah as Jehovah's witnesses.-Jer. 31:31-34.

The Watchtower, August 1, 1964 Issue, Pages 479-480:

Questions from Readers

. Does the scripture at Isaiah 61:1, 2 constitute the ordination of the "other sheep"?-L. H. , U.S.A.

Isaiah 61:1, 2 reads: "The spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening of the eyes even to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of good will on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones."

Note here that the prophet says that he has been anointed by Jehovah's spirit. Jesus applied this prophecy to himself but only after he had been anointed by God's holy spirit at the Jor dan at the time of his baptism. (Luke 3:21 , 22; 4:17 -21) His body members are also anointed with Jehovah's spirit at the time of their being begotten by Jehovah to be sons of God. They become members of the body of Christ, the Anointed One.-2 Cor. 1:21, 22.

The "great crowd" of "other sheep" mentioned and described at John 10:16 and Revelation 7:9 are not anointed by Jehovah's spirit even though they do have a measure of his spirit, and hence Isaiah 61:1, 2 does not constitute their ordination to preach. However, they are ordained of Jehovah God to be his ministers and certainly they are not ordained to do something different now from what the spiritual remnant are anointed to do. So they could properly quote Isaiah 61:1, 2 as setting out the work in which they are commissioned to share as ordained ministers.

Jehovah God's command to all those dedicating themselves to him to preach the "good news of the kingdom" constitutes the terms of the ordination of the "great crowd" of "other sheep." (Matt. 24:14) The command of God regarding the responsibility to preach is in the Bible for anyone to read, but this commission does not constitute anyone's ordination until after one has studied God's Word, gained accurate knowledge, dedicated himself to God, for the doing of his divine will, and then symbolized that dedication by water baptism. Thus the "great crowd" of "other sheep" have their ordination from God by virtue of his command to dedicated Christians to preach the Kingdom good news, and Jehovah also backs them up with his holy spirit, just as his spirit was upon the pre-Christian prophets and witnesses.

The Watchtower, February 1, 1964 Issue, Page 86:

Among the witnesses of Jehovah any adult, dedicated and baptized male Christian who is qualified may serve in such ministerial capacities as giving public Bible discourses and funeral talks, performing marriages and presiding at the Lord's evening meal or supper. There is no clergy class. Overseers and their ministerial assistants are merely servants of their fellow Christians. They are not specially ordained and therefore they are such special servants only so long as they have an appointment so to serve.-Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-7.

The Watchtower, January 1, 1964 Issue, Page 23:

This conducting of home Bible studies was not being carried on by just the presiding "minister" of Jehovah's witnesses' congregations, but this work was being done by those who make up the congregation. All witnesses of Jehovah are ordained Christian ministers. In the apostles' days any dedicated, baptized man or woman was commanded to 'go and disciple the people of all nations.' There is no difference in Christian work today. Neither God's Bible nor the commandments in it have changed. But people's conclusions as to what Christian religion should be have changed. Why not make your religion like what Jesus taught his to be, Christian?

The Watchtower, June 1, 1963 Issue, Pages 332-333:

One's baptism is a public demonstration of death to a past course of life. If the candidate remained submerged in water, truly it would mean his death. Fittingly, one is raised to life as it were, alive to do the will of Jehovah. Thus one's day of baptis m c ould be said to be the day of one's start in a new life. Baptism serves both as a public confession of one's dedication and as a sign of one's being an ordained minister. Doubly blessed by Jehovah is this individual. The date of one's baptism should be recorded and remembered always. As far as Jehovah's visible organization is concerned it is the date of your ordination to the ministry of the Most High.

The Watchtower, March 1, 1963 Issue, Pages 144-145:


9 It was reformer Luther who brought the teaching of the general priesthood back into daylight. He was a keen Bible student and soon saw how far the Catholic church had removed herself from the early church by her special priesthood, and in his fight against the papacy he made diligent use of what he had found. "We were all consecrated to be priests at our baptism," he emphasized, and he mocked the pope for thinking he could make priests out of already baptized Christians by an ordination ceremony. "That the pope or the bishop anoints, tonsures, ordains, consecrates and dresses a person differently from the laity," he said, "may well make a hypocrite or a fool out of him, but it will never make him a Christian or a spiritual man."

10 Then Luther, with great zeal, set out to practice the general priesthood in his newly formed church, teaching that the most important work of a Christian, a work that incorporates all the other priestly duties, is to "teach the Word of God." In this he suffered defeat, however. He had to learn that the common people had been spiritually so neglected by the Catholic church that the general priesthood and its duties were beyond their apprehension. Luther's work in this respect was never followed up by his successors. It faded out.

11 Already such pre-Reformation movements as the Waldenses in Central Europe and the Lollards of Britain had tried to live up to the general priesthood. After the "reformation" a movement in Germany known as "Pietism" and our generation's Oxford movement have to some extent tried to do the same, but all these efforts were evidently without the support of God's holy spirit, because they all came to nothing, and even within the Lutheran church today the situation has not changed since Luther's time: The doctrine of the Christian general priesthood is recognized in theory, but not practiced.

12 Nevertheless, many nonepiscopal Protestant clergymen, including Lutherans, claim they have the general priesthood and that their ministers are just servants taken out of the flock for a special task. In theory, it is said, any member of the congregation could function as such, just as the settlers in America chose the most suitable layman among them to be their minister, wherever they settled, until they could get a "real" minister, or just as sea captains are often considered ministers to their crew and passengers. The fact is, however, that the Protestant churches, including the Lutheran, have a special priesthood. The fact is that ordinarily nobody can preach or perfor m c eremonies in their churches without a special ordination. Normally, nobody gets ordained without special academic training, and they dress differently from the rest, at least when officiating. Any exceptions are so rare that they only emphasize the rule. In Protestant churches it is not as in the early church, where, according to Norwegian professor Hallesby, "all ceremonies of the church could be performed by any Christian." Therefore, honest Protestant ministers, whose churches teach the general priesthood, admit that they actually do have a special priesthood.

The Watchtower, January 1, 1963 Issue, Pages 17-18:

38 To follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus does not require a training in a theological seminary or a religious college. If such higher education were necessary, then Peter and John could not have been apostles of Christ Jesus. Those two men were ordinary men with sound minds. They appreciated and loved truth. They were men who listened and learned from their teacher Jesus Christ. When their resurrected Teacher explained to them why he had died upon the torture stake, they were not the kind to shrink back but they were ready to move out, and at Pentecost they preached the things that they heard and believed. So the Bible record tells us that when the Jewish Sanhedrin "beheld the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were men unlettered and ordinary, they got to wondering. And they began to recognize about them that they used to be with Jesus." (Acts 4:13 ) It is the spirit in a person, his zeal, devotion and knowledge that count, not his degree or diploma that hangs on a wall. These men had gained true knowledge because they had been with Jesus and learned the truth. They were fearless in expressing that truth. It was not their college education, or the rabbinical schools of their day, that qualified them as ministers of God. They never enrolled in them. They were ordained as God's ministers by God, not by men. To wear "the cloth" the clergy of Christendom may trace their lines of descent back to A.D. 325 and the Nicean creed, but not back to Christ Jesus or the Word of God.

39 This information should be of real encouragement to individuals in all parts of the world who love the Bible, and it should help them in taking their stand for the ministry. If Peter and John, fishermen, could be apostles of Jesus Christ and could qualify to represent God as his ordained ministers in the earth, then why cannot anyone who loves the truth in God's Word and who is devoted to God and has dedicated his life to God's service do likewise? All the early Christians were ministers and they studied God's written Word. It becomes clear that every person who becomes a Christian must also be a preacher of the good news. The difficulty in Christendom today is that the clergy are the only ones recognized as ministers, and their congregations have been made a listening flock, not a preaching flock. There has been a development of the clergy class and a laity class in Christendom, and, as was pointed out in The Outline of History, H. G. Wells saw "the profound difference between the fully developed Christianity of Nicaea and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth." Of early Christianity he said: "Its only organization was an organization of preachers, and its chief function was the sermon." That is what real Christians today see the need for the organization to be. The whole organization of Jehovah's witnesses is made up of ordained ministers, and their chief function and training is the use of the sermon. They use Bible sermons from door to door and in their home Bible study work. Christians now must be just like Jehovah's witnesses in the days of the apostles, who went from house to house and delivered sermons to the people of the homes visited, to any family, and they studied the Bible with them. Paul said: "I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house." (Acts 20:20 ) H. G. Wells showed that from and after A.D. 325 the religious leaders of Christendom established elaborate rituals around an altar, consecrated deacons, bishops, priests, and established the mass, and went into the construction of temples. What a difference from the way true Christians worshiped the Almighty God Jehovah!

The Watchtower, October 15, 1962 Issue, Pages 626-627:


Yes, in the true Scriptural sense of the word. A minister of God is a public servant (Greek, diákonos, "through the dust") of Jehovah God, one who follows in Jesus' footsteps, getting out in public, even traveling dusty roads, to preach the good news of God's kingdom. There is an urgency about it, as the apostle Paul emphasized when he said: "I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, . . . preach the word, be at it urgently." (2 Tim. 4:1, 2) Every true Christian gladly renders such ministerial service as a regular part of his worship leading to salvation. As Romans 10:10 states: "With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation." Authority to minister comes to dedicated men, women and youths from the highest Source, God himself. "Praise Jehovah from the earth, . . . you young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah." (Ps. 148:7, 12, 13) Everyone who wants God's approval responds to that command, bearing in mind the words of James: "You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. Indeed, as the body without breath is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (Jas. 2:24, 26; Rev. 22:17) If you embrace the teachings of the Bible and live your faith, you will be God's minister too.


The only valid ordination to the Christian ministry comes from God. (2 Cor. 3:5, 6; Isa. 61:1, 2) Those who are ordained by an organization of men are ministers of such organization, but those ordained by God are his ministers. In the Bible God outlines the requirements for those who become his ministers. They must study his Word to learn his will and then bring their lives into harmony with it. If one does this, God requires that one make a personal dedication to do His will. (Rom. 12:1) This dedication, this vow to do God's will, is made in private prayer to Jehovah God through Christ. Then, in symbol of such dedication, one must be baptized in water as Jesus was. (Matt. 3:13-17) He now becomes God's ordained minister.

He did not ordain himself by vowing to serve God, nor did the one baptizing him ordain him. God's commission to all those dedicating themselves to do His will is what constitutes the ordination of such persons as his ministers, and He backs them up with his holy spirit. Not only men, but women and qualified youths may receive this Scriptural ordination. (Ps. 68:11; Acts 2:17, 18; Rom. 16:1; Eccl. 12:1) While God's commandment to preach the Kingdom good news is there in the Bible for all to read, it constitutes the ordination only of those who meet his requirements. It may be compared to the issuing of a diploma to a school graduate. While the wording of the diplomas is basically the same, and anyone can read them, what they say does not apply to everyone. One's name belongs on such a diploma only when he meets the requirements. Likewise, it is after study, dedication and baptism that the commission of God recorded in the Bible constitutes one's ordination. Of course, seminary training and written certificates of ordination are not requirements for Scriptural ordination. (John 7:15; Acts 4:13; Gal. 1:11, 12, 15-17) Rather, ministers ordained by Jehovah and backed up by his holy spirit produce living letters of recommendation. (2 Cor. 3:1-3) Every sincere student of God's Word will appreciate that the real purpose of studying the Bible is to qualify for this ordination that means life for others a

s well as for himself. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 1 Tim. 4:16) Of course, students newly associated with the society of Kingdom witnesses may share in giving the public witness, but they become ordained ministers only when they make a dedication and are baptized in obedience to God's will. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Toward that end they study diligently.

Page 634 (of the same Issue):

All of those who live at Bethel are ordained ministers of Jehovah's witnesses, who, like their more than 900,000 fellow ministers throughout the world, are keenly interested in seeing the message of God's kingdom preached in all the inhabited earth. For that reason each one of the m c onsiders it a privilege to perform any task at Bethel to advance that preaching work. This they do voluntarily without any material recompense except the food and shelter of the home and an allowance of $14 a month for personal necessities.

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