The Way to Gain Understanding
1, 2. How did Jesus gain understanding? So how must we do so?
JESUS acquired understanding from a study of God’s Word. He was not born with it as a human babe; he had to study the Word of Jehovah. It was written concerning kings: “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.”—Deut. 17:18, 19.
2 If study was necessary in order for the King to obtain understanding and learn to fear Jehovah, how much more is it necessary for us subjects to study His law and diligently apply ourselves to an understanding of his purposes. This we must do if we are to acquire that confidence and reliance that will enable us to step out on the promises of Jehovah with peace and implicit assurance that he will fulfill every one of them.
3. Hence how must we study the Bible and Bible publications?
3 This is understanding; it means ‘eating the book’. It means a great deal more than simply taking the instruments that the Lord supplies for our edification, such as the Bible, The Watchtower, the books and booklets and the Informant, and looking them over superficially or just studying them in order to be able to answer a question on the night of the meeting. No, we must diligently apply ourselves to a thorough study, so that this knowledge provided by the Lord becomes part of us and makes us ready and equipped to always give an answer for the hope that is within us. This knowledge is what the prophet had in mind when he said: “Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10, Am. Stan. Ver.) With that understanding we will be equipped to meet every issue with positive Scriptural answers, even as Jesus did when he was tempted by the adversary. We should study our Watchtower or other Theocratic publications until we thoroughly understand their contents. If necessary, wrestle with the subject, pray to the Lord for help. Don’t quit! Jacob had to wrestle all night with the angel of the Lord in order to get a blessing. The Lord rewarded his diligence and determination. He will likewise reward ours. He tells us, if we lack wisdom, to ask the Lord for it, and he will bestow it abundantly upon us without adding any sorrow thereto. Therefore, “with all thy getting get understanding.”—Prov. 4:7.
4. Whose outline of instructions should servants study? Why?
4 With his understanding, Jesus saw the need of his disciples of then and today. He gave detailed instructions and under God’s guidance he put into operation arrangements for protecting their interests. These form a model outline for the overseers in Jehovah’s Theocratic organization from then until now. Every Watch Tower Society Branch servant, every district servant, every circuit servant and every company servant would do well to study this outline carefully and continually. It shows them how they should faithfully consider the Kingdom interests in the organization to which they have been assigned to minister. They should plan their congregational meetings or other course of action to build up the weak points and to protect the concerns of Jehovah’s organization committed to their charge. They should so conduct themselves as the divine Word instructs. The same planning and correct conduct would apply also to a Bible study held at the Kingdom Hall or in homes of interested people. The needs of the people being ministered to should be lovingly considered by the study conductor and the meeting be planned and held to accomplish the greatest good.
5. How do we increase our understanding of his instructions?
5 The more we consider the loving care and tender counsel which Jesus imparted to his disciples and all other persons of good-will who assembled with him, the more we realize that this vital information constitutes splendid instruction for all servants of God to follow. It displays wisdom and understanding and love in every circumstance that might affect their ministry. By copying him we apply the same wisdom and understanding and love and we become effective ministers equipped for every good work. Carrying out his instructions increases our own understanding of them and of our relationship to God his Father.—Ps. 111:10.
6. As to understanding, what are worldly leaders like? How so?
6 We are living in a crucial day. It is very important that we get an insight into Jehovah’s purposes and the commandments that he issues to his people in harmony with his purposes. Now the world leaders, the political, commercial, religious and military elements, are pitting their so-called “knowledge” and philosophies and scientific advances against the revealed and declared purposes of God. Consequently they speak against the witnesses of the Most High God and persecute those who have been honored with the glorious privilege of proclaiming his kingdom to the ends of the earth. All such self-confident opposers of God and His people go on willfully in their ignorance of the divine purposes for this period in human history. As for an appreciation of God’s will and commandments, they are little better than brute beasts and are surely more reprehensible than such beasts. The apostle Peter aptly describes them with these words: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness.”—2 Pet. 2:12, 13.
WHO HAVE IT IN THE “TIME OF THE END”
7. As Daniel foretold, who do not understand now? Why not?
7 In this “time of the end”, when God’s righteous ones are enjoying the benefit of the increase of divine knowledge, those worldlings have no comprehension that we are at the end of this world and that God’s righteous new world under the kingdom of his beloved Son is at hand. They refuse to renounce the honors and glory of this world and to hearken to God’s message and humble themselves under his mighty hand and seek the honor that comes from him only. Is it any wonder, then, that those worldlings do not see into the operations of Jehovah God in these last days of this world? Truly, Daniel’s prophecy on the “time of the end” correctly predicted their inability to grasp divine things: “The words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”—Dan. 12:9, 10.
8. What will happen soon to their wisdom and understanding? Why?
8 Hence the wicked are not so smart as they think. In their mental darkness concerning the words of God’s Bible they are going on to early destruction at Armageddon. There all their hypocritical religious worship, together with all their worldly shrewdness, will be proved vain and will be destroyed. As Isaiah 29:13, 14 has well said: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Their worldly brand could not be the kind of wisdom and understanding that the Proverbs urge us to get, whatever else it is that we try to get. Their worldly brand is without any true love of God; it does not promote love of him, and is therefore false and deceiving. Those worldly leaders, with all their reputed braininess and smartness, are plain fools.
9, 10. So what are we exhorted urgently to do?
9 We are urged not to be like them, especially in these days when catastrophic Armageddon is so near and when what little time remains counts so much for our salvation and for that of people to whom we preach the message of salvation. With prophetic warning for our day the apostle says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit.”—Eph. 5:15-18.
10 So grasp the significance of these evil days and the astounding things that are taking place, especially among Jehovah’s people. Put your heart into your quest for wisdom and understanding from the only Source, Jehovah God. Pray for more of his holy spirit. Learn his will from his Word. Love him with all your heart, mind, soul and understanding, by doing his will. Love your neighbor as you do yourself, especially as far as sharing with your neighbor God’s Kingdom message. Remember that your closest neighbors on earth are your own brothers and sisters within the fold of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. Remember that on his last night in the flesh with his faithful apostles he told them he gave them a new commandment, to love one another as he had loved them. By this true affection all men of understanding would know they were his disciples. Their doing these things would deepen their insight into the wisdom behind Jesus’ instructions and would give them joy; for he said: “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” (John 13:17, The Emphatic Diaglott) Yes, they would be happy, because they would be wise, and their wisdom would be justified by the results that flowed from it.
11. With what especially must we love God?
11 The doing of God’s commandments through Christ proves that we love Jehovah our Father. To love him aright, it takes understanding. That is why Jesus approved of the saying of the scribe who said: “Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Seeing that the scribe answered discerningly, Jesus said: “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:32-34) Understanding gives us an evaluation of all that the one Supreme God Jehovah is and all that he means to us for our eternal welfare; and it makes us love him more. It spurs us on to keep in relationship with him by obeying his commandments.
12. What way brings us into eternal life in the new world?
12 The way of understanding is therefore the only way that will bring any of Christ’s anointed followers into the Kingdom or any of his “other sheep” of good-will into endless life on a paradise earth in the new world, now so near. In the matter of getting understanding, Jesus Christ is our highest example, for no other son of God is more understanding than he is. For this reason our heavenly Father loves him most tenderly. Teaching us understanding even as his heavenly Father has taught it to him, this beloved Son of God says to all seekers of everlasting life in the upright new world: “I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother [God’s holy universal organization]. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding.” “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”—Prov. 4:3-5; 9:10, Am. Stan. Ver.