How Is Your Personal Study Program?
1 Do you find that other things sometimes interfere with your program for personal and family study? If so, your experience is not unique. Every one of Jehovah’s servants has to fight against time-consuming encroachments and the imperfections of the flesh in order to devote sufficient time to personal study. Do you have a good arrangement going now? If so, fine! But if your good intentions have flagged somewhat and you are back to irregular study habits, now is the time to get back to a good schedule.
2 What can be done? Well, first it would be good to review just why it is so important to do personal study. For one thing, if you are trying to get by with only what you can get at the meetings, without doing personal study, your spiritual health will soon reflect your neglect. It is somewhat like a home Bible study you might conduct for which the student just does not prepare his lesson. Because appreciation is lacking, his progress is very slow. To grow spiritually we have to put forth personal effort and think deeply about the application of God’s Word in our own lives.
3 Convinced of the importance of regular personal study, you will have the incentive to stick by a good routine. Many families reserve at least one night each week for studying together and preparing for meetings and refuse to let anything interfere with the arrangements. Additionally, there are other times that can be redeemed individually for reading a portion of the Bible, an article in one of the magazines or a few pages in one of the books. While riding a bus to work, while waiting for an appointment, during the lunch break—yes, there are many opportunities to do personal reading.
4 At Proverbs 2:1-5, we are told that in paying attention to wisdom and calling out for understanding and discernment, seeking it as for hid treasures, we will “understand the fear of Jehovah” and “find the very knowledge of God.” We cannot have this proper “fear of Jehovah” and “knowledge of God” unless we study his Word. If we really get the impact of his Word, we will not try to beg off from what God requires or try to get around what the Bible clearly shows we should do. We will ask ourselves as we read and study, What does this mean in my life? If it does not mean anything, why not? For example, the father, instead of conducting a routine ‘ask the question, get the answer’ study with his children, might lovingly get expressions on how the Scriptural encouragement and counsel will affect how they will conduct themselves in school.
5 Do you find that your comprehension is somewhat slower than that of others? Do you read at a slower pace, perhaps not quite getting everything read before something new comes out? Do not let this worry you. With practice, there may be ways you can improve your ability to read and comprehend, but the important thing is to have regular and definite times set aside to do personal study. And make it your objective to enjoy it to the full. In seeking understanding of what you read, see how the points learned fit in with what you already know.
6 We should not hesitate to get into the deeper things of God’s Word. Paul admonished: “Solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Heb. 5:13, 14) Personal study plays a vital part in growth to maturity, and in keeping ourselves strong spiritually and properly equipped for Jehovah’s service.