Add to Your Knowledge Every Day
1. Contrast the growth of one gaining wisdom of men with that from God’s Word.
MANY persons balk at making new Scriptural ideas their own, no doubt because they will have to give up old ideas that are not in line with Bible truth. If we cling to man-made wisdom in preference to God’s teaching, we will grow but it will be in pride, followed quickly by envy, strife, suspicion, and our easily disturbed mind will be a very unhealthy one. (1 Tim. 6:3-5) Great happiness comes from changing our personality and from experiencing the replacing of old selfish ideas with solid Bible principles. (Eph. 4:22-24) You will be able to look back and compare your former thinking and its unreasonableness with the truth and the logic that you now have to use in understanding fine details of the great panoramic picture recorded in the Bible.
2, 3. While it is necessary to stop in study to look up cited scriptures and to go to the dictionary or other helps, what must we avoid?
2 To accomplish the most in the time you have requires that you stick to the subject under study. If we were to look up the meaning of a word in the dictionary and then read the definitions of all the other words listed there, we would not gain the desired information from our study. Get the idea that is the theme and fit all the relative details into place to support that idea. Otherwise your knowledge will be like the unfinished picture puzzle, limited to just little patches of scenes that could be added to and thus enlarged to a grand view of Jehovah’s will if you stuck to the subject. For example, notice how much we would have missed of the account of Gideon if in the preceding article we had not gotten the main idea involved and expressed at Judges 7:2.
3 The publications used by Jehovah’s witnesses cite many scriptures that space does not permit printing. To get the full sense of the points made, these scriptures are essential or they would not be cited. Looking up the scriptures in paragraph 22 of the previous article will soon impress upon one’s mind the point, that Jehovah understands how to teach us since he has revealed so many facts concerning knowledge and how it works.
4, 5. (a) What desired blessing will regular review of the truth give us? (b) Where can we find help on research for knowledge of God?
4 Our reviewing ideas learned plants them deeper in our mind and also causes us to express the ideas, which is the way we convey them to others. In fact, an excellent way to review is to discuss with others the things learned. Repeated ideas become your working tools. Peter wrote: “This is now the second letter I am writing you, in which, as in my first one, I am arousing your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder, that you should remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.” (2 Pet. 3:1, 2) Jehovah’s spirit brings back truths learned. (John 14:26) Lively discussions that review the knowledge we have gained are encouraging and upbuilding to all participants. In fact, Paul reveals that the reason for his visit to his fellow Christians in Rome was to view them and have an exchanging of encouragement. “For I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm; or, rather, that there may be an interchange of encouragement among you, by each one through the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”—Rom. 1:11, 12.
5 It is expected that, in an organization so given to teaching as Jehovah’s witnesses are, there would be practical suggestions on how to do research. There are; and more, there are many invaluable aids to assist the student in his research.
6. Where should we look first for research equipment, and what do you find in yours?
6 First, examine your Bible for research equipment. The table of contents lists books and the page number for locating these books. The pages may have marginal references, with symbols to locate other scriptures having to do with the same topic. The original edition of the New World Translation of the Bible contains a valuable chain reference as well as footnotes with material that would require months of study to compile, yet there it is for your use. If you have a copy of the original edition, turn your New World Translation to the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and notice the extensive footnotes and the help they render in the understanding of the texts. See Genesis 1:16 and footnote a, which reads: “‘Make.’ Not ‘create,’ as in Ge 1 verses 1, 21, 27 and in Ge chapter 2, verse 3.” This shows a difference.
7. Why is a Bible concordance helpful, and what features does yours have?
7 A Bible concordance is your “right-hand man” when it comes to finding Scripture texts. You may remember only a principal word, such as “teach,” but in the concordance, usually in the back of your Bible, you will find many words listed and where or in what Bible verses to locate them. Perhaps you want to know if we shall ever enjoy peace; so “peace” is your word, and you will find it in the concordance with scriptures giving you a broad view of that subject. There are more helpful features in various concordances that will be explained to you in the explanatory information of these Bible concordances.
PRACTICAL BIBLE AIDS
8-10. Explain the assistance available in the various publications of Jehovah’s witnesses. Why have such libraries?
8 In the publications of Jehovah’s witnesses you will find many practical aids to research. The subject index in the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” on page 378, under “World Powers,” lists seven world powers and page numbers of printed paragraphs thereon for our understanding of these in history and in God’s purposes. Information on the doctrine of “hell-fire” can be found by turning to the subject index of “Let God Be True,” and there we are directed to page 98 for the truth. The book “Equipped for Every Good Work” contains a book-by-book discussion of the Bible, along with facts pertaining to the writers, the time period these books cover and Bible languages. Various translations and descriptions of Bible composition are treated.
9 Additionally, these publications have scripture indexes. So if you are wondering what is meant at 1 Corinthians 7:39, to marry “only in the Lord,” you would find that scripture listed in the index of the book “This Means Everlasting Life” and a reference to page 149 for the explanation. The Watch Tower Publications Index is printed at the end of each year, with both a scripture and a subject index. You could look up 1 Corinthians 7:39 in the Index and find that in the 1960 and 1961 issues of The Watchtower there is outstanding and timely material on marriage.
10 Special features of these publications should not be overlooked. In the book “New Heavens and a New Earth,” page 364, is a chart of outstanding historical dates, running all the way from Adam’s creation in 4025 B.C. to A.D. 1945, when the United Nations comes into existence. This chart is complete with scripture references. On page 367 of the book You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World is a list of forty-two prophecies in the Bible of those survivors who will live on this earth forever. The book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” page 365, has a chronological chart of world powers, covering the time period 607 B.C. to A.D. 1926. “Make Sure of All Things” sets forth seventy principal themes with a well-rounded-out Scriptural coverage. Then there are maps, difficult texts explained and appendix material in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1961 edition. All these publications provide so much nourishment when used as courses of our spiritual meal. Know where to find information. Be acquainted with the books you have in your own library.
11. Why can Bible dictionaries be very useful in research on many facts, and yet why can they not be trusted fully on doctrines and prophecy?
11 Bible dictionaries are very useful in supplying details often overlooked in our study. The Bible itself is a never-ending source of new things. It contains information on every imaginable subject, dealing with the affairs of entire nations and civilizations, involving the daily life and customs of peoples. It does not always supply details. For example, read of the furnishings of homes mentioned at Amos 3:12, 15; 6:4; Ezekiel 27:15-24; Proverbs 7:16, 17; 31:21-24. You could look for further details under “House,” in the Bible dictionary. But a word of caution is in order. These dictionaries are written by men trained in various religious faiths and so are divided in opinions. When they enter the field of doctrine or prophecy they are not all reliable guides. The instrument to be trusted for building up knowledge of doctrine and prophecy would be the one measuring up to 1 Corinthians 1:10, namely: “You should all speak in agreement, . . . there should not be divisions among you.”
DAILY SPIRITUAL FOOD
12. What provision is available for adding to our knowledge every day? Is this just for Jehovah’s witnesses?
12 As regular daily eating of food keeps us strong so daily feeding on God’s Word strengthens us, not just for that day; but having added to the knowledge we already have, we progress on to maturity and to full growth, imitating our example, Christ Jesus. The annual Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses in English and German provides for this daily necessity. How? A Scripture text is listed for each day of the year with, underneath, a one-paragraph excerpt from the Watchtower magazine commenting on the text. This wonderful provision is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of persons of goodwill toward God. Issues of The Watchtower in other languages contain regularly the daily texts for the month, together with references to where the comments thereon can be found in The Watchtower in their respective language.
13-16. (a) Illustrate how we can use this provision to good advantage. (b) What do the Scriptures say such daily practice will do for us?
13 By taking advantage of this provision note how much you can learn. For example, take September 23, 1962. Hebrews 6:1 is the text for the day, and it reads: “Let us press on to maturity.” That has reference, not to bodily growth, but to spiritual growth as a Christian in knowledge, understanding, good qualities, and ability to teach the Bible to others.
14 The comment from the June 15, 1961 issue of The Watchtower on this text makes the point that, regardless of age, we can retain the will to learn and keep the mind active, and that we have many advantages as a result of our years of study toward gaining Christian maturity. In short, we never get too old to learn. The article entitled “Progressing Toward Maturity” in that issue offers much practical information on using and advancing in knowledge.
15 Turn back to the Bible now and read chapter five of Hebrews, which leads up to Hebrews 6:1, and as you do, try to discern why that statement is made at the beginning of chapter six. You will also note that Hebrews 5:11-14 gives us the reason why we do not outgrow learning. If you were to read the chapter surrounding the daily text every day, you would read a third of the Bible each year.
16 The chain reference in the six-volume edition of the New World Translation of the Bible will increase your understanding by referring you to other scriptures that are related to the daily text. The first five chapters of Hebrews 1-5 deal with paying attention to what we have heard and learned. This matter of daily spiritual food for growing to maturity is well epitomized at Proverbs 8:32-34: “Listen to me; yes, happy are the ones that keep my very ways. Listen to discipline and become wise, and do not show any neglect. Happy is the man that is listening to me by keeping awake at my doors day by day.”
17. (a) Appreciating the value of all these helps will cause us to do what? (b) Yet what is the key to getting knowledge?
17 The key to continued growth in knowledge is to remain always under the blessing of the greatest Teacher, whose wisdom we shall never exhaust. Each day we can look forward to more knowledge that will serve as a basis for our entire living. (Prov. 4:10-13, 18) The only way you can grow in knowledge is to use it.—Hos. 4:6.
18, 19. Is the greatest enjoyment found in the eating of spiritual food?
18 What would you think of a mother who allowed her daughter to grow up without teaching her how to prepare food and to cook a meal, or a father who neglected to teach his son how to work? Not much. These neglected children would always look back with regrets on the lack of teaching done by their parents. Food is to be eaten, but it must be prepared too. One must learn how to do it. In this there is pleasure.
19 So it is with spiritual food. Knowledge is too precious to keep to one’s self. It has to be used. Paul felt that way about it when he said: “Woe is me if I did not declare the good news!” (1 Cor. 9:16) Jehovah’s Word is a storehouse of knowledge. If we could only get it all in our mind. But wishing is not going to get it there; study, regular study, productive study and studying with the motive of using this wisdom is what will get it into our mind. Neither can we wishfully desire others to have it. No, knowledge has a companion. It is responsibility, to share that knowledge with others.
20, 21. (a) What is one of the companions of knowledge? (b) The Scriptures urge us to avoid what course?
20 Knowledge not only equips us to carry responsibility but also informs us as to what our responsibilities are in serving God. We live in a time when the trend is to avoid and shirk responsibility. This was foretold by Paul at 2 Timothy 3:5, when he said mankind would be “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” Many persons run away from any kind of responsibility. Yet we appreciate and take advantage of the results of others carrying their load of responsibility. For example, consider the food you eat. How many persons were involved in manufacturing, delivering, preparing and finally serving it to you? All these persons had obligations, and you are happy they faced up to them. Where would you be if those providing for your needs refused to accept responsibility? In a situation where you would have to do many things for yourself!
21 We do appreciate the Bible, and we also appreciate the helps we have to assist us in understanding the Bible and the effort put forth by others in teaching us its truths in our homes and in the congregation of God’s people. We admire zeal in other people. But Paul maintains that “each one will carry his own load [of responsibility].” (Gal. 6:5) Rather than shrinking back from privileges that come as companions with knowledge of God’s Word, we need to grow as men.
A TEACHING ORGANIZATION
22. Who will teach us how to handle responsibility, and is such one qualified to do so?
22 Jehovah’s earthly organization of His witnesses is organized to teach meek ones the truth and to help them handle responsibility. In the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses you find people from all walks of life, many of whom lack diplomas from man’s centers of learning; yet these people know the Bible, they are teachers. They accept with eagerness the obligation of teaching others God’s Word. They do it year after year with the same love of God and appreciation for spiritual food as when they first tasted it. They are the happiest and most peaceful persons on earth. Why hold back, then, only to grow small in wisdom, depriving yourself of the blessings that are enjoyed by those full grown in spiritual qualities? Grow in knowledge, grow in usefulness to the grand Teacher, Jehovah, as emphasized at Ephesians 4:11-13: “And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the training of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of growth that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.” Maturity!
23, 24. (a) Accepting responsibility includes what else? (b) Teaching others to teach requires what of us?
23 Responsibility to teach others will mean accepting the privilege of service described by Jesus at Matthew 28:19, 20: “Go . . . make disciples. . . , teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” We are reminded by Paul, too, that “solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their perceptive powers trained.”—Heb. 5:14.
24 You should be sure that what you say is in line with Jehovah’s word of truth. Never get lax in taking in knowledge; and as you take it in, also give it out in the same unadulterated way that you received it, because those persons you teach must still teach others these truths accurately.—2 Tim. 2:2.
25, 26. (a) How does Luke 6:38 fit into this matter? (b) How dangerous is it to be indifferent toward daily spiritual food?
25 Your heart is your storehouse. Get Bible treasures from Jehovah’s storehouse to fill yours. Then give these riches to those teachable, meek neighbors of yours and watch the fulfillment of the blessing described at Luke 6:38 taking place upon you: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”
26 You can read of individuals in the Bible that departed from the knowledge of God and got into trouble that swallowed them up and erased them from God’s service entirely and forever. There were Adam, Solomon, Judas, just to mention a few. Remember, too, that we live in the last days—when people will always be learning and yet never be able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth. (2 Tim. 3:7) Avoid such a disastrous course by sticking close to Jehovah as your teacher and use your knowledge to praise him. Knowledge that comes from Jehovah is pure, and he not only protects the student but assures you that his Word is pure and he is on guard to keep it that way.—Prov. 30:5, 6; Ps. 12:6, 7.
27. Describe the attitude most desirable for the receiving of wisdom from Jehovah God.
27 There will never be a conclusion to this matter, for all persons who want life must continue learning many wonderful things from Jehovah; and with such a teacher, how can they refrain from telling others, to time indefinite? But pause now in the classroom atmosphere of Psalm 119:97-105 and there be reminded of the right attitude to have in search for knowledge, as the psalmist says: “How I do love your law! All day long it is my concern. Wiser than my enemies your commandment makes me, because to time indefinite it is mine. More insight than all my teachers I have come to have, because your reminders are a concern to me. With more understanding than older men I behave, because I have observed your own orders. From every bad path I have restrained my feet, for the purpose that I may keep your word. From your judicial decisions I have not turned aside, for you yourself have instructed me. How smooth to my palate your sayings have been, more so than honey to my mouth! Owing to your orders I behave with understanding. That is why I have hated every false path. Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.”
If you were to read just four pages of the Bible each day, using the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, in 333 days, or less than eleven months, you would have read the entire Bible. Why not make it part of your daily activity?