“I have considered all orders regarding all things to be right.”
1. Why must we have full confidence in God’s Word?
BEFORE a Bible student can begin to go in the field ministry, he has to show that he believes that the Bible is God’s Word. * (See footnote.) All of us need to show by what we do and what we say that we trust the Bible. When we have full confidence in the Bible and learn to use it well in the ministry, we can help others to get to know Jehovah and to find the way to everlasting life.
2. Why should we continue in the things we have learned?
2 The apostle Paul made it clear that God’s Word is very important. He wrote to Timothy: “Continue in the things that you learned.” “The things” that Timothy had learned were Bible truths that gave him faith in the good news. What we learn from the Bible can make our faith stronger too. The Bible can help us to be “wise for salvation.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) What Paul says next shows that the Bible is from God. But what else can we learn from the words at 2 Timothy 3:16? (Read.) We will discuss that verse in more detail and build our confidence that all of Jehovah’s teachings are “right.”
THE BIBLE IS “BENEFICIAL FOR TEACHING”
3-5. (a) What happened after Peter gave a talk to a large crowd at Pentecost, and why? (b) Why did many in Thessalonica accept the truth? (c) What do people today notice about the way we preach?
3 Jesus told the nation of Israel: “I am sending forth to you prophets and wise men and public instructors.” (Matthew 23:34) Jesus was speaking about his disciples. He had taught them to use the Scriptures in their ministry. At Pentecost in the year 33, the apostle Peter gave a talk to a large crowd in Jerusalem. He quoted from several parts of the Hebrew Scriptures. When the people heard how Peter explained these verses, many felt very sorry for the bad things they had done. They repented over their sins and asked God to forgive them. On that day, about three thousand of them became Christians.
4 We can also learn from the apostle Paul, who preached the good news outside of Jerusalem. In the Macedonian city of Thessalonica, he spoke to Jews worshipping in a synagogue. On three Sabbaths in a row, Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures” to prove that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to be resurrected. Some of those Jews became believers, and so did many Greeks.
5 Many people today notice that we are able to use the Bible to prove what we teach. One of our sisters in Switzerland read a scripture in the ministry, and the householder asked her which church she belonged to. The sister said that she and the sister with her were Jehovah’s Witnesses. The man said that he should have realized this because Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones who would come to his house and read the Bible.
6, 7. (a) How can those who teach in the congregation use the Bible in the best way? (b) During a home Bible study, why is it important to use the Bible well?
6 How can we use the Bible in the best way when we are teaching others? If you are assigned to give talks or other meeting parts, use specific scriptures. Instead of telling the audience what a scripture says or reading it from a printout or a computer, read from your Bible. Ask the audience to use their Bibles too. Explain what the verses mean and how the scriptures can help them to have a closer relationship with Jehovah. Instead of using illustrations that are hard to understand or experiences that are just supposed to make people laugh, use the time to discuss God’s Word.
When we teach, we need to use specific scriptures and read from our Bible
7 What should we remember when teaching our Bible students? While we are studying with someone, we should not skip the scriptures that are cited in the book. Have the student read the cited scriptures. Then as we explain them, we should not do all the talking but should allow the student to say what he thinks. Instead of telling him what to believe or how he should act, we can ask good questions that will help him to understand what the Bible teaches. *
THE BIBLE IS “BENEFICIAL . . . FOR REPROVING”
8. What inner struggle did Paul have?
8 The elders in the congregation have the responsibility to reprove, or discipline, those who practice sin. (1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:13) But we also need to reprove ourselves. Paul was a good Christian who had a clean conscience. (2 Timothy 1:3) However, he had an inner struggle. He said: “I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law.” We will discuss what Paul had to do so that he could fight against his weaknesses.
9, 10. (a) What weaknesses might Paul have had? (b) How might Paul have fought against those weaknesses?
9 Paul did not say what kind of weaknesses he had, but he did say that he had been “insolent,” that is, rude and disrespectful. (1 Timothy 1:13) Before he became a Christian, Paul had treated Christians very badly. He said that he was “extremely mad against them.” (Acts 26:11) Paul learned to control his anger, but he probably still had to work hard to control his feelings and his words. (Acts 15:36-39) What helped him?
10 In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul explained what he did to keep reproving himself. (Read 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27.) He took strong action against his weaknesses. No doubt, he looked for counsel in the Scriptures, prayed to Jehovah for help to apply the counsel, and then did his best to obey it. * (See footnote.) We can learn from his example. We have a similar fight against our weaknesses.
To fight against his weaknesses, Paul followed the counsel from the Scriptures
11. How can we “keep testing” ourselves to see whether we are walking in the way of the truth?
11 We should never think that we can stop fighting our weaknesses. We need to “keep testing” ourselves to make sure that we are walking in the way of the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:5) When we read Colossians 3:5-10 or similar scriptures, we could ask ourselves: ‘Am I working hard to fight against my weaknesses? Or am I starting to like things that Jehovah says are wrong? For example, if an immoral Web site suddenly appears, do I immediately leave the site? Or do I search for bad Web sites?’ If we think about how we can apply the counsel in God’s Word in our own life, we can “stay awake and keep our senses.”
THE BIBLE IS “BENEFICIAL . . . FOR SETTING THINGS STRAIGHT”
12, 13. (a) What does it mean to set things straight? How can we follow Jesus’ example in setting things straight? (b) If we need to set things straight with someone, what kind of speech should we avoid?
12 When the Bible talks about “setting things straight,” it means to make something good or correct. Sometimes we have to set things straight when someone misunderstands what we have said or done. For example, the Jewish religious leaders complained that Jesus was kind to “tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus corrected them by saying: “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do. Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:11-13) Jesus also corrected people’s thinking about who God really is. He taught people patiently and kindly that Jehovah is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) As a result, many humble people put faith in the good news.
13 We should imitate Jesus when we try to help others. The words found at 2 Timothy 3:16 do not mean that we should speak harshly to others in order to set things straight. The Scriptures do not give us the right to speak to someone without caring about his feelings. If we criticize someone harshly, our words can be like “the stabs of a sword.” We will cause him pain and will probably not help him at all.
14-16. (a) How can elders set things straight when others need help with their problems? (b) Why is it important for parents to use the Scriptures to set things straight in their families?
14 How can we be patient and kind when we use the Bible to set things straight? Imagine a married couple who argue frequently. They ask an elder for help. He will not take sides with either one of them, and he will not give his own opinion about their problems. Instead, he uses Bible principles to help them to understand how they can stop arguing. He might use the principles discussed in chapter 3 of the book The Secret of Family Happiness. As they discuss these principles, the husband and wife may realize that they need to make some changes. Later, the elder will ask the couple if the situation is improving, and he will offer more help if it is needed.
15 How can parents help their children to set things straight? Imagine that your teenage daughter has a new friend. But you think that the new friend makes bad choices. First, you should find out more about the friend. Then, if you are still worried about your daughter, you can talk with her. You could use the Bible principles found in the book Questions Young People Ask
16 Who else might need our help? In a patient and kind way, we can set things straight when others are worried about their health, are depressed because they lost their jobs, or are confused about something that the Bible teaches. When we use God’s Word to set things straight, we all benefit in many ways.
THE BIBLE IS “BENEFICIAL . . . FOR DISCIPLINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS”
17. Why should we be grateful to accept discipline?
17 The Bible says that we do not usually enjoy discipline. In fact, it can be very difficult to accept. But when we accept it and apply it, discipline can make us righteous. (Hebrews 12:11) Most Christian adults who were raised in the truth say that the discipline from their parents helped them. And when the elders give us discipline from Jehovah, we can stay on the way to life.
18, 19. (a) Why is the counsel found at Proverbs 18:13 so important for elders who have to discipline others? (b) When elders are mild and give discipline with love, how may a sinner react?
18 How can elders and parents learn to give good discipline? Jehovah has told us that we need to give discipline “in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) This means that we need to use Bible principles when we discipline others. One important Bible principle is found at Proverbs 18:13: “When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears it, that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation.” So when someone tells the elders that a brother or a sister has committed a serious sin, the elders should make sure that they know all the facts before they give discipline. (Deuteronomy 13:14) Then they can discipline “in righteousness.”
Elders and parents need to use the Bible when they give discipline
19 The Bible also tells the elders to discipline others “with mildness.” (Read 2 Timothy 2:24-26.) It is true that a person’s sin might make others think badly about Jehovah or might hurt other people. But if an elder gets angry while he counsels that person, the elder will not be able to help him. If an elder imitates God and speaks kindly when correcting a sinner, the sinner may choose to repent.
20. What principles should parents apply when disciplining their children?
20 Parents too must apply Bible principles when they discipline their children. (Ephesians 6:4) For example, what should a father do if somebody tells him that his son has done something wrong? The father should make sure that he knows all the facts before he punishes his son. And no one in a Christian family should become so angry that he acts violently. “Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful,” and parents need to imitate him when they discipline their children.
THE BIBLE IS A PRECIOUS GIFT FROM JEHOVAH
21, 22. When you read Psalm 119:97-104, which words describe how you feel about Jehovah’s Word?
21 A servant of God once said why he loved Jehovah’s law. (Read Psalm 119:97-104.) By studying the Bible, he became wise and learned to have a clear and deep understanding of things. When he followed the principles in the Scriptures, he avoided the kinds of mistakes many people make. He truly enjoyed studying the Scriptures and benefited when he followed their counsel. He was determined to obey God’s law for the rest of his life.
22 Do you view the Bible as precious? It can help you to build strong faith that God will fulfill his purpose. It has counsel from Jehovah that helps us not to practice sin that leads to death. You can use it to help others learn how to get on the road to life and stay on it. We should continue to use the Bible in all these ways as we serve our wise and loving God, Jehovah.
^ par. 1 See Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will, page 79.