Jehovah's Witnesses have long taught that one of the identifying marks of true worship is the proclaiming of the kingdom message by door to door witnessing. This makes them different from all other religions, and is something they are famous for. They are very proud of this preaching work and always loudly proclaim "we are the only ones doing the preaching work."
The Watchtower call this a PRINCIPAL ACTIVITY. They use scriptures such as Acts 20:20 and Acts 5:42 to back this up.
Acts 5:42 And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus"
Acts 20:20: "While I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from telling you publicly and from house to house"
The Greek expression kat oikous literally means "according to houses" and not house-to-house. The American Standard Version of the scriptures renders Acts 5:42 "And every day, in the temple and at home they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ".
This scripture shows that the apostles taught, not only in the temple, but also in private homes where small groups could congregate.
The private home was the home base or central location of where 1st century Christians has their meetings. They always met in private chambers, upper rooms etc (Luke 22:8-13; Acts 1:13-15). Group meetings for Christians could also be arranged in public facilities such as schools, auditoriums (Acts 19:9,10)
The fact Paul said in Acts 20:20 'I have taught you publicly AND from house-to-house' shows there were two different ministries. One public, that is among the people in marketplaces, the temple, and other places people congregated, and one was private, in the homes of the friends where personal attention could be given.
If this greek expression (kat oikous) was taken the way the Watchtower says, then the 'house-to-house' ministry would ALSO be PUBLIC. There would have been no need for Paul to say "Publicly" and "house to house", since both would have been public.
Quite simply, this ministry was one that Paul conducted in "private homes". Simple! Think about it.
Acts 2:46 "and day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord, and they took their meals in private homes* and partook of food with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart"* Greek kat oikou
New World Translation Reference Bible footnote says, this can also be rendered "house-to-house".
What modern translator would render the above as "house-to-house", as does the King James Version? It just doesnt make sense. They wouldnt be going around from house-to-house to get their meals, surely not!
The greek rendering for kat oikous should be the same in all three verses.
The WTS chose to use the correct and most reasonable rendering of this Greek expression in Acts 2:46 of the New World Translation, they DID NOT however, choose to render it the same way in Acts 5:42 or Acts 20:20. WHY? Simple... their doctrine of preaching from house-to-house would not stand! People would see the scriptures they use to back this up actually refer to personal instruction being done in private homes!
But, what about Matthew 10:12,13 and Luke 15:5,6?
Did Jesus not specificially outline the procedure in engaging house-to-house ministry? Was he not establishing the rules of conduct when one recieves a negative response in his door-to-door service? The answer is NO!
Verse 11 of Matthew chapter 10:"Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving, and STAY THERE until you leave"
Now if we took this scripture literally as specific instructions pertaining to the door-to-door ministry, that would mean that when the disciples found ONLY ONE 'deserving person' in their so-called house-to-house ministry, they would CEASE in this work since they were told to "stay there until you leave". How ridiculous! See also Luke 9:4
Luke 10:7 reads: "So stay in that house, eating and drinking the thing they provide, for the worker is worthy of his wages. DO NOT BE TRANSFERRING FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE"
The thought being, not to search out throughout the village or city for the best possible accomodations, just accept whatever Jehovah provides. This makes more sense does it not?
Obviously, Jesus was giving them instructions in establishing a HOME BASE for launching their ministry in that particular town. This would thus provide them with a place to confidentially give personal instruction to those who would listen - yes in the privacy and relaxed atmosphere of a home belonging to a "friend of peace" (Luke 10:6). However, if by chance in "searching out" the town or village, they encountered an unappreciative person, or even an inhospitable village or city, Jesus said to "shake the dust off your feet for a witness against them" - Luke 9:5; 10:8-13
Therefore this particular form of proselytizing does not serve in any way, shape or form as being a distinctive, identifying mark of true religion today. Regretably, it only serves to highlight the weighty burden placed upon the enslaved Jehovah's Witnesses to a lifetime career of book and magazine selling and for the sole enrichment of the WTS. - Matthew 23:4, Ezekiel 34:27; 2 Corinthians 2:17
At Acts 5:42 and 20:20 the NWT renders the Greek phrase as "from house to house". If you have a 'Kingdom Interlinear Translation', compare the rendering of the same Greek phrase at Acts 2:46 as "in private homes". If you have a copy of the large edition NWT look also at the footnote for Acts 20:20. The footnote for Acts 5:42 would seem to give weight to the phrase "from house to house". One thing is clear, the apostles and early Christians visited people in their private homes. That they engaged in door to door activity as done by JW's today is not clear. Of the 150 separate incidents of witnessing recorded in the Gospel accounts and Acts only 34 include any reference to house or home. Of these, 21 refer to homes where Jesus or the Apostles lodged or were invited to have a meal, 7 refer to lodging or a place for gathering such as congregations in homes, and 2 relate to Jesus sending healed persons to their homes. The other 4 are texts the Society uses to establish precendent for door to door activity.Other uses of the Greek phrase are:Romans 16:51 Corinthians 16:19Colossians 4:15Philemon vs 2
Do I believe that Jehovah's Witnesses preach a different gospel that the one that Jesus said to preach? Yes I do.
The basic message of the Witnesses is "put faith in our Governing Body as Jehovah's spokesman". This message is based on their demonstrably false "Bible chronology" which has Christ returning invisibly to the earth in 1914, being put on an invisible throne then, and appointing Rutherford and his cronies "over all his earthly belongings" in 1919. Since there is no evidence for the latter, and a great deal of evidence that disproves their claim that their leaders comprise a divinely appointed "faithful slave", their basic message is false.
Therefore the preaching that Jehovah's Witnesses do is worse than valueless -- it is anti-christian.