Benefits From Loving God’s Word
1. What does truly loving God’s Word involve?
READING the Bible is essential for a Christian. However, merely reading it does not in itself demonstrate a love of God’s Word. What if someone reads the Bible but then practices things that the Bible condemns? Obviously, he does not love God’s Word in the way that the writer of Psalm 119 loved it. Loving God’s Word led him to live in harmony with its requirements.—Psalm 119:97, 101, 105.
2. What benefits come from wisdom based on God’s Word?
2 Living in harmony with God’s Word requires constant adjustment of one’s thinking and way of living. Such a course reflects godly wisdom, which means to make practical application of knowledge and understanding gained from studying the Bible. “Love [wisdom], and it will safeguard you. Highly esteem it, and it will exalt you. It will glorify you because you embrace it. To your head it will give a wreath of charm; a crown of beauty it will bestow upon you.” (Proverbs 4:6, 8, 9) What fine encouragement to develop a love of God’s Word and be guided by it! Who does not want to be safeguarded, exalted, and glorified?
Safeguarded From Lasting Harm
3. More than ever, why do Christians need to be safeguarded, and from whom?
3 In what way is one safeguarded by wisdom gained from studying and applying God’s Word? For one thing, he is safeguarded from Satan the Devil. Jesus taught his followers to pray for deliverance from the wicked one, Satan. (Matthew 6:13) Today, the need to include this request in our prayers is truly urgent. Satan and his demons were cast out of heaven following 1914, and consequently Satan has “great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:9, 10, 12) At this late date, his anger must be white-hot as he unsuccessfully wages war against those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.”—Revelation 12:17.
4. How are Christians safeguarded from satanic pressures and snares?
4 Satan in his wrath continues to stir up trouble for these Christian ministers and to foment violent persecution or cause other obstacles to their activity. He also wants to lure Kingdom proclaimers into focusing on such things as worldly prominence, the love of ease, the acquiring of material possessions, and the pursuit of pleasure, rather than on the Kingdom-preaching work. What safeguards God’s faithful servants from surrendering to Satan’s pressure or being entrapped by his snares? Of course, prayer, a close personal relationship with Jehovah, and faith in the certainty of his promises are vital. But all these are linked to a knowledge of and a determination to heed the reminders of God’s Word. These reminders come through reading the Bible and Bible study aids, attending Christian meetings, heeding Scriptural counsel from a fellow believer, or simply by prayerfully meditating on Bible principles that God’s spirit recalls to the mind.—Isaiah 30:21; John 14:26; 1 John 2:15-17.
5. In what ways does wisdom based on God’s Word safeguard us?
5 Those who love God’s Word are safeguarded in other ways. For example, they avoid the emotional distress and physical diseases that result from such things as drug abuse, the use of tobacco, and sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 7:1) They do not contribute to strained relationships by gossip or unkind speech. (Ephesians 4:31) Neither do they fall victim to doubt by delving into the deceptive philosophies of the wisdom of the world. (1 Corinthians 3:19) By loving God’s Word, they are safeguarded from things that could rob them of their relationship with God and the hope of everlasting life. They keep busy helping their neighbors to put faith in the wonderful promises contained in the Bible, knowing that they will thus ‘save both themselves and those who listen to them.’—1 Timothy 4:16.
6. How can wisdom based on God’s Word safeguard us even under difficult circumstances?
6 True, everyone—even those who love God’s Word—is subject to “time and unforeseen occurrence.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) It is inevitable that some among us will experience natural disasters, serious sicknesses, accidents, or untimely death. Still, we are safeguarded. No calamity can bring permanent harm to a person who truly loves God’s Word. Hence, we should not be overly concerned about what might happen in the future. After we take all reasonable precautions, it is better to leave matters in Jehovah’s hands and not allow today’s insecurity of life to rob us of peace. (Matthew 6:33, 34; Philippians 4:6, 7) Bear in mind the certainty of the resurrection hope and of a better life when God ‘makes all things new.’—Revelation 21:5; John 11:25.
Prove Yourself to Be “Good Soil”
7. What illustration did Jesus tell to the crowds that came to hear him?
7 The importance of having a right view of God’s Word was highlighted in one of Jesus’ parables. As Jesus proclaimed the good news throughout Palestine, crowds gathered to hear him. (Luke 8:1, 4) Not all, however, really loved God’s Word. No doubt, many came to hear him because they wanted to see miracles or because they enjoyed his marvelous way of teaching. Hence, Jesus told the crowds an illustration: “A sower went out to sow his seed. Well, as he was sowing, some of it fell alongside the road and was trampled down, and the birds of heaven ate it up. Some other landed upon the rock-mass, and, after sprouting, it dried up because of not having moisture. Some other fell among the thorns, and the thorns that grew up with it choked it off. Some other fell upon the good soil, and, after sprouting, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”—Luke 8:5-8.
8. In Jesus’ illustration, what is the seed?
8 Jesus’ parable showed that there would be different responses to the preaching of the good news, depending on the heart condition of the hearer. The seed being sown is “the word of God.” (Luke 8:11) Or, as another record of the parable says, the seed is “the word of the kingdom.” (Matthew 13:19) Jesus could use either expression, since the theme of God’s Word is the heavenly Kingdom under Jesus Christ as King by means of which Jehovah will vindicate his sovereignty and sanctify his name. (Matthew 6:9, 10) In effect, then, the seed is the message of the good news in God’s Word, the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses highlight this Kingdom message as they sow seed in imitation of the original Sower, Jesus Christ. What response do they find?
9. What is pictured by the seed that falls (a) by the roadside? (b) on the rock-mass? (c) on thorny ground?
9 Jesus said that some seed falls by the roadside and is trodden down. This refers to people who are too preoccupied for the Kingdom seed to take root in their hearts. Before they can develop a love of God’s Word, “the Devil comes and takes the word away from their hearts in order that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12) Some seed falls on a rock-mass. This refers to people who are attracted to the Bible’s message but do not let it affect their hearts. When opposition comes or when they find it hard to apply Bible counsel, “they fall away” because they have no root. (Luke 8:13) Then there are those who hear the word but are overwhelmed by the “anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life.” Eventually, like plants entangled by thorns, “they are completely choked.”—Luke 8:14.
10, 11. (a) Who are pictured by the good soil? (b) What must we do to “retain” God’s Word in our hearts?
10 Finally, there is the seed that falls on good soil. This points to people who receive the message with “a fine and good heart.” Naturally, each of us would like to believe that he falls into this category. In the final analysis, though, it is God’s view that counts. (Proverbs 17:3; 1 Corinthians 4:4, 5) His Word says that our having “a fine and good heart” is something that we prove by our actions from now until our death or until God brings an end to this wicked system of things. If our initial response to the Kingdom message is positive, that is fine. However, those with a fine and good heart accept God’s Word and “retain it and bear fruit with endurance.”—Luke 8:15.
11 The only sure way to retain God’s Word in our heart is to read and study it both privately and in association with fellow believers. This includes taking full advantage of the spiritual food provided through the channel appointed to care for the spiritual interests of Jesus’ true followers. (Matthew 24:45-47) By such means, those who retain God’s Word in their hearts are motivated by love to “bear fruit with endurance.”
12. What is the fruit we must bear with endurance?
12 What fruit is born by the fine soil? In the natural world, seeds grow into plants that bear fruit containing the same kind of seed, which can then be scattered to bear further fruit. Similarly, for those with a fine and good heart, the seed of the word grows in them, causing them to progress spiritually until they, in their turn, can sow the seed in the hearts of others. (Matthew 28:19, 20) And their work of sowing is marked by endurance. Jesus showed the importance of endurance in sowing when he said: “He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:13, 14.
“Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work”
13. What prayer did Paul utter that linked fruitage with knowledge of God’s Word?
13 The apostle Paul too spoke of the need to bear fruit, and he linked bearing fruit with God’s Word. He prayed that his fellow believers “be filled with the accurate knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as you go on bearing fruit in every good work.”—Colossians 1:9, 10; Philippians 1:9-11.
14-16. In harmony with Paul’s prayer, what fruitage is produced by those who love God’s Word?
14 Paul thus shows that gaining Bible knowledge is not an end in itself. Rather, love for God’s Word motivates us to “walk worthily of Jehovah” by continuing to ‘bear fruit in every good work.’ What good work? Preaching the good news of the Kingdom is the outstanding assignment for Christians in these last days. (Mark 13:10) In addition, those who love God’s Word do their best to give regular financial support to this work. They delight in this privilege, knowing that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) Their contributions go toward defraying the cost of operating the more than one hundred Bethel facilities from which the activity of Kingdom preaching is directed and in some of which Bibles and Bible literature are produced. Their contributions also help to defray the costs of large Christian conventions and of sending out traveling overseers, missionaries, and other full-time evangelizers.
15 Other good works involve the constructing of and caring for centers of true worship. Love for God’s Word motivates his worshipers to ensure that Assembly Halls and Kingdom Halls do not fall into neglect. (Compare Nehemiah 10:39.) Since God’s name appears on the front of such buildings, it is vital that inside and outside they be kept clean and attractive and that the conduct of those who worship inside such halls be above reproach. (2 Corinthians 6:3) Some Christians are able to do more. Love for God’s Word moves them to travel long distances in order to share in building new places of worship in parts of the world where there is a need because of poverty or a lack of skills.—2 Corinthians 8:14.
16 “Bearing fruit in every good work” also includes caring for family obligations and showing concern for fellow Christians. Love for God’s Word motivates us to be sensitive to the needs of those “related to us in the faith” and “to practice godly devotion in [our] own household.” (Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8) In this regard, it is a good work to visit the sick and comfort the mourning ones. And what fine work is accomplished by congregation elders and Hospital Liaison Committees in assisting individuals who face challenging medical situations! (Acts 15:29) Then there are a growing number of disasters—some of them natural and others caused by human folly. With the help of God’s spirit, Jehovah’s Witnesses have built up a fine record in many parts of the earth of providing quick relief to fellow believers and other victims of disasters and accidents. All of these are good fruits manifested by those who love God’s Word.
Glorious Future Benefits
17, 18. (a) What is being accomplished by the sowing of Kingdom seed? (b) What earthshaking events will lovers of God’s Word soon witness?
17 The sowing of Kingdom seed continues to bring great benefits to mankind. In recent years more than 300,000 persons each year have allowed the Bible’s message to take root in their hearts to the extent that they have dedicated their lives to Jehovah and symbolized this by means of water baptism. What a glorious future awaits them!
18 Soon, lovers of God’s Word know that Jehovah God will rise up to magnify his name. “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, will be destroyed. (Revelation 18:2, 8) Then, those who refuse to live in harmony with God’s Word will be put to death by the King, Jesus Christ. (Psalm 2:9-11; Daniel 2:44) Afterward, God’s Kingdom will bring permanent relief from crime, war, and other disasters. There will no longer be a need to comfort people because of pain, sickness, and death.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
19, 20. What glorious future is in store for those who truly love God’s Word?
19 What glorious good works will then be accomplished by those who love God’s Word! Armageddon survivors will start with the joyful task of transforming this earth into a paradise. They will have the thrilling privilege of preparing for the needs of dead humans who are now resting in the grave and held in God’s memory with the prospect of sharing in the resurrection of the dead. (John 5:28, 29) During that time, perfect direction will flow to earth’s inhabitants from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah, through his exalted Son, Jesus Christ. ‘Scrolls will be opened,’ revealing Jehovah’s instructions for new world living.—Revelation 20:12.
20 In Jehovah’s due time, the complete body of faithful anointed Christians will be raised to their heavenly reward as “joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17) During the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, all humans on earth who love God’s Word will be uplifted to perfection of mind and body. After proving faithful under a final test, they will be rewarded with everlasting life and will come to enjoy “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21; Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10) What a wonderful time that will be! Truly, whether Jehovah has granted us a heavenly or an earthly hope, an enduring love of his Word and a determination to live according to godly wisdom will safeguard us. And in the future it ‘will glorify us because we embrace it.’—Proverbs 4:6, 8.
Can You Explain?
□ How will love for God’s Word safeguard us?
□ What is the seed of Jesus’ illustration, and how is it sown?
□ How can we prove to be “good soil”?
□ What benefits can lovers of God’s Word anticipate?
[Picture on page 16]
The seed of Jesus’ illustration pictures the message of good news contained in God’s Word
[Picture on page 17]
Jehovah’s Witnesses imitate the Great Sower
[Pictures on page 18]
Armageddon survivors will enjoy the fruits of the earth