I understand your concern about things possibly being taken out of context.
However, to study the Bible by reading it from beginning to end is much more difficult than it is to study it by subject. Example: Ezekiel 18:4 says that the soul that is sinning, it itself will die. Read the surrounding verses and ask yourself if the context lends any different understanding to the statement. Is it even possible to understand it differently? If not, then it is clear that the soul is not immortal as many churches teach. Now if you read the parable about the rich man and Lazarus it is also easy to understand why some think not only that the soul is immortal but that there is also a fiery hell where people are tormented after death forever and ever. For the Bible to be true, it can't contradict itself. If the scripture in Ezekiel [and others] can have no other meaning then the account at Luke 16:14-31 about the rich man and Lazarus has to have another explanation and it does. Verses 14 & 15 there say, " Now the Pharisees, who were money lovers, were listening to all these things, and they began to sneer at him. Consequently he said to them: “YOU are those who declare yourselves righteous before men, but God knows YOUR hearts; because what is lofty among men is a disgusting thing in God’s sight." The entire account of the rich man & Lazarus ends up being an illustration or parable of how the Jewish religious leaders who at one time were favored by God would lose God's favor and how the ordinary and unlettered ones would be the ones that would receive God's favor (Acts 4:13). And while it speaks about them being conscious in Hades, this is only an illustration which would require some length to explain. [Feel free to contact me for a complete explanation.] The fact that the context helps us reach this conclusion is noteworthy. As you study the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses more and more you will come to appreciate that it is because of the context that we draw the conclusions that we draw. (That is - IF your heart is receptive to the message.)
Understanding the Bible is thought to be difficult by many but it really isn't if it is done in an orderly fashion and step by step. For example do you understand complicated mathematical equations? advanced math or trigonometry? [Maybe you do but most don't] Yet it is math. And math is made up of 4 basic things: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You have to understand the basics first before you can begin to understand the deeper things. [1Corintians 2:10]
Consider Matthew 13:10-15:
So the disciples came up and said to him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations, because, looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, neither do they get the sense of it; and toward them the prophecy of Isaiah is having fulfillment, which says, ‘By hearing, YOU will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and, looking, YOU will look but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.’
And so when teaching others about God's word we start with the basics. You must first understand Jehovah, Jesus, the devil, & man. Who is Jehovah? What are his attributes? Why did he make us? How are we made in his image? Who is Jesus? What is his relationship with Jehovah? Where did the devil come from? Did God create such a wicked entity? Is he somehow used by God for the purpose of punishing the wicked or is he being allowed only a limited time to oppose God before he is destroyed? Why does God permit evil? What is God's purpose for man? Was man created on earth so that he could die and go to heaven? Was it God's purpose that man should sin or was it his desire that man should be obedient? If Adam was obedient would he ever have died? What is man expected to do today to be pleasing to God? Are there ways to identify the true believers?
After understanding the basic things and appreciating that the theme of the Bible is God's kingdom that Jesus taught his followers to pray for everything else will begin to fall into place. But still, don't expect perfection until God's purposes are fully accomplished.
JW for more than 47 years
Online Bible [NWT]: http://www.watchtower.org/e/bible/index....
You can download the audio book, What does the Bible Really Teach? here: http://www.jw.org/index.html?option=QrYQ...
Listen to it and hit the pause button when you come to a scripture and look it up in your own Bible (whatever translation you prefer) and pray to God for understanding.
PLEASE don't be afraid to have one of Jehovah's Witnesses call on you to answer your questions. You can fill out a request for that purpose here: https://watch002.securesites.net/contact...
or you could try contacting the Witnesses locally by looking up Jehovah's Witnesses in your phone book. Try calling on a Sunday morning or a Tuesday or Thursday evening or even a Saturday morning around 9AM or 9:30 AM as these are the times when someone is likely to be at the Kingdom Hall but you could call at anytime, depends whether the number published is the Kingdom Hall phone or another phone.