The Congregation Book Study—Why We Need It
1. What were the early beginnings of the Congregation Book Study arrangement?
1 In 1895, study groups of the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called, came to be known as Dawn Circles for Bible Study. Volumes of Millennial Dawn were used as the basis for study. Later, these meetings were called Berean Circles for Bible Study. (Acts 17:11) Often a group of moderate size met in a private home on an evening convenient to the group. These meetings were the forerunners of the Congregation Book Study.
2. How can we contribute to “an interchange of encouragement” at the book study?
2 Encouragement and Assistance: Since book study groups are purposely kept small, there is greater opportunity for those in attendance to make expressions of their faith. The result is “an interchange of encouragement . . . , each one through the other’s faith.”—Rom. 1:12.
3, 4. How does the book study arrangement help us to accomplish our ministry?
3 Observing the book study overseer’s manner of teaching can help us to ‘handle the word of the truth aright.’ (2 Tim. 2:15) Take note of how he emphasizes the Scriptural basis of the material. If appropriate for the publication being considered, he may highlight key points by means of a concluding review, using just the Bible. His good example can help us to improve our teaching in the Christian ministry.—1 Cor. 11:1.
4 In addition to conducting the weekly lesson, the book study overseer takes the lead in evangelizing. In cooperation with the service overseer, he makes practical arrangements for field service. He seeks to assist all in the group to fulfill their Christian responsibility to preach the good news and make disciples.—Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 9:16.
5. What personal assistance is available through the book study?
5 The book study overseer is interested in the spiritual welfare of each one in the group. He demonstrates this interest at congregation meetings and as he works with others in field service. He also uses occasions when he visits the brothers in their homes to share a spiritual gift. All should feel welcome to approach the book study overseer for spiritual assistance whenever they have a need.—Isa. 32:1, 2.
6. (a) How have our brothers in certain lands been strengthened by meeting in smaller groups? (b) How have you personally benefited from the book study arrangement?
6 Strengthen One Another: In lands where the activity of God’s people is restricted, the brothers often meet in smaller groups. One brother recalled: “Even though our Christian activities were banned, whenever possible we held our weekly meetings in groups of between 10 and 15. From the meetings we derived spiritual strength, from both our Bible study and our association after the study. We would compare our experiences, and this helped us to realize that each of us had the same struggle.” (1 Pet. 5:9) May we, likewise, strengthen one another by fully supporting the Congregation Book Study arrangement.—Eph. 4:16.