Keep Faith Strong Through Personal Study
1 Study of the Bible is to spiritual health and strong faith what proper diet is to physical well-being. You cannot be strong spiritually without regular personal study of the Bible. Furthermore, good study habits enable us to maintain strong faith and thus ward off successfully Satan’s fiery darts of persecution, materialism, and temptations to do what is bad.—Eph. 6:16.
BENEFITS OF PERSONAL STUDY
2 Personal study enriches our understanding of the Scriptures. It helps us to build a strong faith and to grasp the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of the Christ. (Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:16-19) As a fruit of the spirit, faith becomes a motivating force in our lives. We are helped to put on the new personality and to conduct ourselves as spiritual persons. (Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 4:24) We are better equipped to deal with personal problems. We are enabled to overlook the shortcomings of others and to promote peace and unity in the congregation. (Col. 3:10, 13, 14) All of this can be refreshing to us and to others.
3 Personal study also better equips us to help interested persons we contact in the field ministry. Confidently we will be able to ‘make a defense before everyone that demands of us a reason for the hope in us.’ (1 Pet. 3:15) Like our Exemplar, Christ Jesus, we can speak as one having authority, accurately knowing Jehovah’s will and able to point out clearly and logically what the Scriptures teach.—Matt. 7:28, 29.
HOW AND WHEN TO STUDY
4 Our aim should be to do more than just read over study material. It takes time to reflect on what we read. Ask yourself: How does the material apply to me? What does it reveal about Jehovah, his qualities, and his ways? How might I use this information to help others? How does it relate to what I already know about the subject? By doing research to answer questions raised, we will gain a broadened understanding of the study material and see how it fits into the overall pattern of truth. This is how understanding is acquired.—Prov. 4:5.
5 Developing a good study routine requires setting aside and holding to specific times for study. (Compare Philippians 3:16.) Some may find this difficult to do, but it becomes easier with time and effort. And how rewarding! Perhaps you could study before retiring at night. Some prefer rising a little earlier in the morning to make use of this period of quietude. Lunch breaks from secular work can be used. Whenever the time, seek out the environment most conducive to study. This will enable you to concentrate and will contribute to retention. The heart can thus be motivated in the way of righteousness.—Prov. 15:28.
WHAT TO STUDY
6 Preparation for our five weekly meetings should occupy a prominent place in our personal study program. In addition to preparing for the Watchtower Study and Congregation Book Study, are you benefiting fully from the rich spiritual food outlined for the Theocratic Ministry School? Be sure to keep up with the scheduled Bible reading and take time to research Bible highlights in the Society’s publications. If you review ahead of time the material of talks 1, 3, and 4, you will find the presentations in the school more interesting. Important Bible instruction will be more deeply impressed on your mind.
7 Preparing for the Service Meeting does not require a major portion of our personal study time, but this, too, should be included in our schedule. If you use just a few minutes each week to go over the program that is outlined in Our Kingdom Ministry, this will help keep your faith strong and help you to express your faith to others in the field ministry.
8 A balanced program for personal study will help toward your being “made mighty in the man you are inside.” (Eph. 3:16) Yes, a strong faith, deepened love for Jehovah and Christ Jesus, broader knowledge, and greater effectiveness in the ministry—all these benefits and more—make personal study worthwhile. Do you have a good program for personal study?