Questions From Readers
What should I do when I have a question about something I read in the Bible or when I need advice about a personal problem?
Proverbs 2:1-5 urges each of us to “keep searching for” understanding and discernment as though we were looking for “hid treasures.” This implies that we should exert ourselves in researching answers to our Bible questions and in finding solutions to our personal problems. How can we do this?
Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education, pages 33 through 38, analyzes “How to Do Research” by using the tools that have been provided by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45) Page 36 explains how to use the Watch Tower Publications Index, each edition of which is divided into a subject index and a scripture index. This makes it possible to search either by key words or by Bible verses, whereby you will find a list of references to consult. Be patient in searching for the specific answer or direction that you need. Remember, you are looking for “hid treasures,” which takes time and effort.
Of course, there are some topics and scriptures that our publications have not specifically addressed. And even where we have commented on a particular Bible text, we may not have dealt with the specific question that you have in mind. Also, some Bible accounts raise questions because not all the details are spelled out in the Scriptures. Thus, we cannot find immediate answers to every question that arises. In such a case, we should avoid speculating about things that simply cannot be answered, lest we get involved in debating “questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith.” (1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:23; Titus 3:9) Neither the branch office nor world headquarters is in a position to analyze and answer all such questions that have not been considered in our literature. We can be satisfied that the Bible provides sufficient information to guide us through life but also omits enough details so as to require us to have strong faith in its divine Author.
What if you have done all you can to search out a matter that affects you personally but still have not found the direction or solution you need? Feel free to approach a mature fellow believer, perhaps one of the local elders. They have considerable Bible knowledge as well as experience in Christian living. Their balanced help would be especially fitting if you need advice about a personal problem or decision, for they know you and are close to you and your situation. And never forget to pray to Jehovah specifically about your concerns and ask him to guide your thinking by means of his holy spirit, “for Jehovah himself gives wisdom . . . and discernment.”