“I really delight in the law of God.”—ROMANS 7:22.
1-3. How will reading the Bible and applying what we learn help us?
AN ELDERLY sister said, “I thank Jehovah every morning for helping me to understand the Bible.” Even though she has read the Bible more than 40 times, she still reads it. A younger sister wrote that reading the Bible has helped her to know that Jehovah is real and to have a closer relationship with him. She said, “I have never been happier in my life!”
2 The apostle Peter taught us that we need to love the truth from God’s Word. (1 Peter 2:2) When we study the Bible and apply what it teaches, we can have a clean conscience and a purpose in life. The Bible’s teachings can help us to have good friendships with others who also love and serve the true God. These are good reasons for us to “delight in the law of God.” (Romans 7:22) How else can Bible study help us?
3 The more you learn about Jehovah and his Son, the more your love for them and for other people will grow. Also, the Bible will teach you how God will save righteous people when he destroys the wicked. In your ministry, you have good news to tell people. And you can be sure that Jehovah will help you as you teach others what you have learned.
READ THE BIBLE AND MEDITATE ON WHAT YOU READ
4. What does it mean to read the Bible “in an undertone”?
4 Jehovah wants us to take time to think about and understand what we read in the Bible. He told Joshua: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night.” (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2) Does this mean that we have to read the whole Bible out loud or whisper as we read it? No. It means that you should read slowly enough to think about what you are reading. This will help you to focus on verses that are useful and encouraging to you. When you find an encouraging statement or story, read it slowly, maybe even saying the words quietly as you read. Then what you are reading can really reach your heart. Why is this important? Because when you truly understand God’s counsel, you will want to live by it.
Jehovah wants us to take time to think about and understand what we read in the Bible
5-7. Give examples of how reading God’s Word slowly and carefully might help you to (a) obey God’s laws; (b) speak kindly to others; (c) trust in Jehovah even during difficult times.
5 When we are reading Bible books that we think are difficult to understand, it can be helpful to read slowly and carefully so that we can think about what we are reading. For example, think of a young brother who is carefully reading the book of Hosea. In chapter 4, he stops to think after reading verses 11 to 13. (Read Hosea 4:11-13.) Why does he focus on these verses? Lately, he has been tempted at school to do immoral things. But as he thinks about these verses, he says to himself: ‘Jehovah sees the bad things people do even when they are alone. I do not want to offend him.’ The brother decides that he will make sure that he obeys Jehovah’s moral laws.
6 As a second example, think of a sister who is carefully reading the book of Joel and comes to chapter 2, verse 13. (Read Joel 2:13.) This verse makes her realize that she should imitate Jehovah, who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness.” She decides to make some changes because she sometimes speaks in a hurtful and angry way to her husband and to others.
7 As a third example, think of a brother who has a wife and children. He has lost his job and worries about how he can take care of his family. He carefully reads the book of Nahum. At Nahum 1:7, he reads that Jehovah knows those who trust in him and will protect them “in the day of distress.” This helps the brother to realize that Jehovah loves him and his family, and now he does not worry so much. Then he carefully reads verse 15. (Read Nahum 1:15.) He realizes that he can prove that he trusts in Jehovah by preaching the good news even during difficult times. So while he keeps on looking for a new job, he will use more time during the week for the field ministry.
8. Briefly explain something that you have learned from your Bible reading.
8 The helpful examples we just discussed are from Bible books that some may think are difficult to understand. But when you find encouraging verses in these books, you will want to keep reading them. They can comfort us and make us wise. All the books of the Bible can help us in the same way. God’s Word is like a mine where many diamonds are buried deep in the ground. While you read the whole Bible, keep looking to find the “diamonds,” or the valuable direction and encouragement that it contains!
WORK HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU READ
9. What can we do to understand the Bible better?
9 It is important to read the Bible each day. But you should also make sure that you understand what you are reading. So do research in our publications to learn about the people, places, and events that you read about. If you are not sure how you should apply something that you read in the Bible, you could ask an elder or another mature brother or sister for help. A Christian in Bible times needed help to understand the truth more correctly. His name was Apollos.
Make sure that you understand what you are reading
10, 11. (a) How did Apollos receive help to be a better minister of the good news? (b) What can we learn from the example of Apollos? (See the box “Is What You Are Teaching Up-to-Date?”)
10 Apollos was a Jewish Christian who knew the Scriptures well and who was a zealous minister. The book of Acts says that he preached about Jesus. But Apollos did not realize that Jesus had taught his disciples something new about baptism. A Christian couple named Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos teaching in Ephesus, and they explained “the way of God more correctly to him.” (Acts 18:24-26) How did this benefit Apollos?
11 When Apollos went to Achaia, he continued preaching. He helped those who believed the good news by using the Scriptures to prove publicly that the Jews were wrong and that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18:27, 28) Now that Apollos understood the meaning of Christian baptism, he “greatly helped” new ones to make progress in the truth. What can we learn from this? We can follow Apollos’ example by working hard to understand what we read in the Bible. But we should also humbly and gratefully accept any suggestions we receive that could make us better teachers.
USE WHAT YOU LEARN TO HELP OTHERS
12, 13. How could we use the Scriptures in a kind way to help a Bible student to make progress?
12 Like Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos, we can help others. When you help an interested person to make changes in his life so that he can make progress in the truth, how do you feel? Or as an elder, how do you feel when another Christian thanks you for the Bible counsel that you gave when he or she was having a difficult time? It makes us truly happy to use the Bible to help others make changes in their lives.a (See footnote.) How can you do this?
Use the Scriptures in a kind way to help Bible students to make progress
13 In Elijah’s day, many Israelites had not decided whether they would follow true worship or false worship. What Elijah said to those Israelites could help a Bible student who has not yet decided to serve Jehovah. (Read 1 Kings 18:21.) Or maybe an interested person is afraid that his friends or family will criticize him for studying the Bible. You could help him decide to worship Jehovah by using the words at Isaiah 51:12, 13.—Read.
14. What will help you to remember Bible verses so that you can help others?
14 There are many thoughts in the Bible that can encourage, correct, or strengthen us. But you may wonder how you can know which scriptures to use when you need them. Read the Bible every day, and meditate on what you read. You will gradually become more familiar with the Bible, and Jehovah can use his holy spirit to help you to remember what it says.—Mark 13:11; read John 14:26.b (See footnote.)
If you keep studying the Bible, you will understand it better and will learn how to use it to help others
15. What will help you to understand God’s Word better?
15 Like King Solomon, pray to Jehovah for wisdom. You need wisdom to do the preaching work and to care for your responsibilities in the congregation. (2 Chronicles 1:7-10) Imitate the prophets by carefully searching God’s Word. This will help you to know the truth about Jehovah and his will. (1 Peter 1:10-12) The apostle Paul told Timothy to study “the words of the faith and of the fine teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:6) If you keep studying the Bible, you will understand it better and will learn how to use it to help others. At the same time, your faith will become stronger.
READING THE BIBLE PROTECTS US
16. (a) How did the Beroeans benefit from reading the Scriptures each day? (b) Why is it important for us to read the Bible each day?
16 The Jews who lived in Beroea carefully read the Scriptures each day. When Paul preached to them, they compared what he said with what they knew from the Scriptures. Many of them realized that he was teaching the truth and “became believers.” (Acts 17:10-12) From this, we can learn that reading the Bible daily can help us to build strong faith in Jehovah. We must have strong faith if we want to survive into God’s new world.—Hebrews 11:1.
17, 18. (a) How do strong faith and love protect our figurative heart? (b) How does hope protect us?
17 Paul explained that we need faith, love, and hope. He said: “As for us who belong to the day, let us keep our senses and have on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) A breastplate was a type of shield worn over a soldier’s chest to protect his heart. In a similar way, our figurative heart needs to be protected. When a Christian builds strong faith in God’s promises and has strong love for Him and for others, he protects his figurative heart. He will do all he can to stay in God’s favor.
18 Paul also mentioned a figurative helmet that we need to wear. It is “the hope of salvation.” Soldiers in Bible times used a helmet to protect their head. When we build strong hope in Jehovah’s ability to save us, our hope can protect our thinking. Our strong hope gives us every reason to ignore apostates and their wicked speech, which can quickly spread in the congregation like a disease. (2 Timothy 2:16-19) Our hope will also make us strong and give us a reason to avoid bad conduct.
BIBLE READING WILL HELP US SURVIVE THE LAST DAYS
19, 20. Why are we very grateful for God’s Word? How do we show that we are grateful for it? (See the box “Jehovah Gives Me Just What I Need.”)
19 As we get closer to the end of this system, we need to rely even more on Jehovah’s Word. It can help us to stop bad habits and to fight against any desire to sin. It will comfort us and encourage us to endure under any test that Satan and his world bring on us. The instructions in Jehovah’s Word will help us to stay on the road to life.
The instructions in Jehovah’s Word will help us to stay on the road to life
20 It is God’s will that “all sorts of men should be saved.” These include his servants as well as those who are willing to listen when we preach to them and teach them about the good news. But all who want to survive the end of this system must have “an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) We must read the Bible and apply its instructions if we want to survive. Our daily Bible reading shows how much we appreciate Jehovah’s Word.—John 17:17.
a We should never use the Scriptures to try to force a person to change or use them to tell him that he is a bad person. We should imitate Jehovah and be patient and kind with our Bible students.—Psalm 103:8.
b What if you can remember some of the words from a verse in the Bible but you cannot remember where the verse is? You can find it if you look up the words in the index at the back of the Bible, in the Watchtower Library, or in the concordance of the New World Translation.