Searching Into “the Deep Things of God”
“The spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God.”—1 CORINTHIANS 2:10.
1. What are some Bible truths that cause new Bible students to be joyful?
MOST of us in the Christian congregation can recall the joy we felt when we first learned the truth. We discovered why Jehovah’s name is important, why he permits suffering, why some people go to heaven, and what the future holds for faithful mankind in general. We may have looked into the Bible before that, but these things were hidden from us, as they are from most of mankind. We were like a man peering through the water at a coral reef. Unaided, he sees little of the beautiful things below the surface. But with the aid of diving goggles or a glass-bottomed boat, he is thrilled to see for the first time brilliantly colored corals, fish, sea anemones, and other fascinating creatures. Similarly, when someone began to help us to understand the Scriptures, we had our first glimpse of “the deep things of God.”—1 Corinthians 2:8-10.
2. Why can the joy of learning from God’s Word be unending?
2 Should we be satisfied with only a glimpse of Bible truth? The expression “the deep things of God” includes the understanding of God’s wisdom that is revealed to Christians by holy spirit but is obscured to others. (1 Corinthians 2:7) What a limitless field of exploration the wisdom of God provides for our enjoyment! We will never know everything about the wisdom of God’s ways. The joy we experienced when we first learned the primary Bible teachings can remain with us indefinitely if we continue without letup searching into “the deep things of God.”
3. Why do we need a thorough understanding of the reasons for our beliefs?
3 Why do we need to understand those “deep things”? Understanding not only what we believe but why we believe it—the underlying reasons for our beliefs—strengthens our faith and confidence. The Scriptures tell us to use our “power of reason” to “prove to [ourselves] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1, 2) Understanding why Jehovah asks us to live in a certain way fortifies our resolve to obey him. Therefore, knowledge of “the deep things” can give us strength to resist temptation to engage in lawless acts and can move us to be “zealous for fine works.”—Titus 2:14.
4. What does Bible study involve?
4 Understanding deep things requires study. However, study is not the same as reading something superficially. It involves carefully examining information to see how it fits the pattern of what we already know. (2 Timothy 1:13) It entails perceiving the reasons for what is said. Bible study should include meditating on how we can use what we learn in making wise decisions and in helping others. Also, since “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial,” our study should include “every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Matthew 4:4) Bible study can be hard work! But it can also be delightful, and understanding “the deep things of God” is not too difficult.
Jehovah Helps the Meek to Understand
5. Who can understand “the deep things of God”?
5 Even if you did not excel at school and are unaccustomed to study, you should not imagine that “the deep things of God” are beyond your grasp. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jehovah revealed an understanding of His purpose, not to wise and intellectual ones, but to unlettered and ordinary men who were humble enough to be taught by God’s servant. They seemed like babes in comparison with those educated in the schools. (Matthew 11:25; Acts 4:13) Concerning “the things that God has prepared for those who love him,” the apostle Paul wrote to his fellow believers: “It is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God.”—1 Corinthians 2:9, 10.
6. What does 1 Corinthians 2:10 mean?
6 How does God’s spirit search “into all things, even the deep things of God”? Rather than give each Christian a separate revelation, Jehovah uses his spirit to direct his organization, which provides God’s unified people with an understanding of the Bible. (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:3-6) Worldwide, all congregations enjoy a similar program of Bible study. Over a period of years, they cover the entire range of Bible teachings. Holy spirit acts through the congregation to help people adopt the attitude needed to understand “the deep things of God.”—Acts 5:32.
What “the Deep Things of God” Include
7. Why do many people not understand “the deep things of God”?
7 We should not think that “deep things” are necessarily difficult things. Knowledge of “the deep things of God” is obscured from most people, not because the wisdom of God is too difficult to acquire, but because Satan deceives people into rejecting the help that Jehovah provides through His organization.—2 Corinthians 4:3, 4.
8. To what deep things did Paul refer in the third chapter of his letter to the Ephesians?
8 The third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians shows that “the deep things of God” include many truths that most of Jehovah’s people understand quite well, such as the identity of the promised Seed, the selection from among mankind of individuals with a heavenly hope, and the Messianic Kingdom. Paul wrote: “In other generations this secret was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by spirit, namely, that people of the nations should be joint heirs and fellow members of the body and partakers with us of the promise in union with Christ Jesus.” Paul said that he had been assigned to “make men see how the sacred secret is administered which has from the indefinite past been hidden in God.”—Ephesians 3:5-9.
9. Why is it a privilege to understand “the deep things of God”?
9 Paul went on to explain God’s will that also “in the heavenly places there might be made known through the congregation the greatly diversified wisdom of God.” (Ephesians 3:10) Angels benefit by observing and understanding the wisdom of Jehovah’s dealings with the Christian congregation. What a privilege for us to understand things that interest even angels! (1 Peter 1:10-12) Next, Paul says that we should strive to “grasp mentally with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of the Christian faith. (Ephesians 3:11, 18) Let us now consider some examples of deep things that could expand our comprehension.
Examples of Deep Things
10, 11. According to the Scriptures, when did Jesus become the primary part of the “seed” of God’s heavenly “woman”?
10 We know that Jesus is the primary part of the “seed” of God’s heavenly “woman” referred to at Genesis 3:15. To broaden our understanding, we might ask: ‘When did Jesus become the promised Seed? Was it sometime during his prehuman existence, at his birth as a human, at his baptism, or upon his being resurrected?’
11 God had promised that the heavenly part of his organization, referred to in prophecy as his “woman,” would produce a seed that would bruise the serpent in the head. But thousands of years went by, and God’s woman produced no seed capable of destroying Satan and his works. Consequently, Isaiah’s prophecy calls her “barren” and “hurt in spirit.” (Isaiah 54:1, 5, 6) Eventually, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But only after his baptism, when he was begotten by the spirit to become a spiritual son of God, did Jehovah announce: “This is my Son.” (Matthew 3:17; John 3:3) The primary part of the “seed” of the woman had finally presented himself. Later, followers of Jesus were also anointed and begotten by holy spirit. Jehovah’s “woman,” who for so long had felt like a “woman that did not give birth,” could at long last “cry out joyfully.”—Isaiah 54:1; Galatians 3:29.
12, 13. What scriptures show that all anointed Christians on earth constitute “the faithful and discreet slave”?
12 A second example of deep things that have been revealed to us concerns God’s purpose to select 144,000 from among mankind. (Revelation 14:1, 4) We accept the teaching that all of the anointed ones living on earth at any given time constitute “the faithful and discreet slave” that Jesus said would provide timely “food” for his domestics. (Matthew 24:45) What Bible texts prove that this understanding is correct? Might Jesus have referred in a general sense to any Christian who builds up his brothers with spiritual nourishment?
13 God told the nation of Israel: “You are my witnesses . . . even my servant whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 43:10) But on Nisan 11 of the year 33 C.E., Jesus told the leaders of Israel that God had rejected their nation from being His servant. He said: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” Jesus said to the crowds: “Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” (Matthew 21:43; 23:38) As Jehovah’s slave, the house of Israel was neither faithful nor discreet. (Isaiah 29:13, 14) Later that same day, when Jesus asked: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” he was in effect asking, ‘What discreet nation will replace Israel to be God’s faithful slave?’ The apostle Peter gave the answer when he told the congregation of anointed Christians: “You are . . . ‘a holy nation, a people for special possession.’” (1 Peter 1:4; 2:9) That spiritual nation, “the Israel of God,” became Jehovah’s new slave. (Galatians 6:16) Just as all members of ancient Israel formed one “servant,” so also all anointed Christians on earth at any one time form one “faithful and discreet slave.” What a privilege it is for us to receive “food” through God’s slave!
Personal Study Can Be Enjoyable
14. Why does Bible study, more than mere reading, bring joy?
14 When fresh understanding of the Scriptures is opened to us, do we not feel happy because of the way it strengthens our faith? That is why Bible study, more so than mere reading, can be such a joy. Therefore, when you read Christian publications, ask yourself: ‘How does this explanation compare with what I previously understood about the subject? What additional Scripture texts or arguments can I think of that would provide further support for the conclusions being presented in this article?’ If further research is required, make a note of the question you would like to have answered, and make it the subject of a future study project.
15. What study projects can be enjoyable, and how can they have lasting benefit?
15 What study projects would give you the joy of new insight? Such projects as an in-depth analysis of the various covenants that God has entered into for mankind’s benefit are enlightening. You could strengthen your faith by making a study of the prophecies pointing to Jesus Christ or a verse-by-verse consideration of one of the prophetic books of the Bible. Faith-strengthening too is a review of the modern-day history of Jehovah’s Witnesses, using the book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, if you have this publication available in your language. * And a review of past “Questions From Readers” published in The Watchtower would surely lead you to a fresh understanding of certain texts. Take special note of the Scriptural reasoning used to reach the conclusions presented. This will help you to train your “perceptive powers” and to develop discernment. (Hebrews 5:14) As you study, make notes either in your personal copy of the Bible or on a sheet of paper so that your study will have lasting benefit for you and those you are able to help.
Help Young Ones to Enjoy Bible Study
16. How can you help young people to enjoy Bible study?
16 Parents can do much to stimulate the spiritual appetite of their children. Do not underestimate the ability of youths to understand deep things. If you assign youngsters a subject to research in preparation for the family Bible study, you can ask them about what they learned. Family study can also include practice sessions to help young people to learn how to defend their faith and to prove that what they have been taught is true. In addition, you can use the brochure “See the Good Land” * to teach Bible geography and to clarify what you are covering in your weekly Bible reading.
17. Why do we need to be balanced in our personal Bible study projects?
17 Personal Bible study projects can be fascinating and faith strengthening, but be careful not to allow them to overshadow your preparation for congregation meetings. The meetings are another way that Jehovah instructs us through “the faithful and discreet slave.” However, additional research may contribute to your making meaningful comments at meetings—for example, at the Congregation Book Study or during highlights from the weekly Bible reading for the Theocratic Ministry School.
18. Why is the effort required to study “the deep things of God” worthwhile?
18 Deep personal study of God’s Word can help you to draw close to Jehovah. Showing the value of such study, the Bible says: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12) Therefore, the effort required to deepen your understanding of spiritual things is worthwhile. The Bible promises those who keep searching: “You will find the very knowledge of God.”—Proverbs 2:4, 5.
^ par. 15 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
^ par. 16 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Can You Explain?
• What are “the deep things of God”?
• Why should our study of deep things never cease?
• Why is the joy of understanding “the deep things of God” open to all Christians?
• How could you benefit more fully from “the deep things of God”?
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When did Jesus become the promised Seed?
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Parents can assign their children subjects to research in preparation for the family study