“When you received God’s word, . . . you accepted it . . . just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.”—1 THESSALONIANS 2:13.
1-3. What might have happened between Euodia and Syntyche? How can such problems be avoided? (See opening picture.)
WE HIGHLY value the Bible because we know it is God’s own Book. The Bible contains advice that can help us avoid problems, and it can correct us when we make mistakes. So how do we react to its advice? Think of two anointed women in the first century, Euodia and Syntyche. The Bible says that they argued, but it does not tell us why. Let us imagine what might have happened.
2 Perhaps Euodia invited some brothers and sisters to her home for a meal. But she did not invite Syntyche. Later, when Syntyche heard others saying how much they had enjoyed the meal, she got very upset. She may have thought: ‘I cannot believe that Euodia did not invite me! I thought we were best friends.’ Syntyche felt that Euodia did not really like her and that she was avoiding her. So Syntyche invited the same people for a meal but did not invite Euodia! This situation might even have upset others in the congregation. The Bible shows that Paul corrected the two sisters and encouraged them to make peace. They may have listened to him and continued serving Jehovah happily.—Philippians 4:2, 3.
3 In our congregations today, sometimes we too may have a problem with a brother or a sister. But if we follow the advice in the Bible, we can solve such problems. In fact, we can even avoid them. And when we obey what the Bible says, we show that we truly value Jehovah’s own Book.—Psalm 27:11.
THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS
4, 5. What advice does God’s Word give us about controlling our emotions?
4 It is not always easy to control our emotions. We may feel very sad or angry if someone says something insulting to us or treats us unfairly, perhaps because of our culture, the color of our skin, or the way we look. And it may hurt us even more if the person insulting or mistreating us is our brother or sister. What advice do we find in God’s Word that can help us?
5 Jehovah knows what can happen when humans do not control their emotions. When we feel upset or angry, we may say or do something that we later regret. In the Bible, Jehovah instructs us to control our temper and tells us: “Do not be quick to take offense.” Just think how many problems we avoid when we obey that advice and do not get upset easily! (Read Ecclesiastes 7:9; Proverbs 16:32.) The Bible also tells us to forgive others. In fact, Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, Jehovah will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14, 15) Do you need to be more patient and more willing to forgive others?
6. What may happen if we do not control our emotions?
6 If we do not control our emotions, we may keep feeling angry and may even start feeling hatred for someone. Or we may influence some in the congregation to feel that way. Even if we try to hide our anger or hatred, others will eventually realize how we feel. Then our brothers and sisters may stay away from us. (Proverbs 26:24-26) The elders will use the Bible to try to help us get rid of anger and hatred and forgive others. (Leviticus 19:17, 18; Romans 3:11-18) When they do, will we follow the guidance of Jehovah’s own Book?
JEHOVAH IS LEADING US
7, 8. (a) How does Jehovah lead his people? (b) What are some of the directions we find in the Bible, and why should we obey them?
7 Jehovah leads those in the earthly part of his organization today and teaches them. How? He has appointed Christ to be the “head of the congregation,” and Christ has appointed “the faithful and discreet slave” to teach and direct God’s people. (Ephesians 5:23; Matthew 24:45-47) Just like the governing body in the first century, this slave truly values the Bible because it is the Word of God. (Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13.) What are some of the directions we find in the Bible?
8 The Bible directs us to attend meetings regularly. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) It encourages all of us to believe the same Bible teachings. (1 Corinthians 1:10) It also tells us to keep “seeking first the Kingdom.” (Matthew 6:33) The Bible instructs us to preach from house to house, in public places, and wherever people may be. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 5:42; 17:17; 20:20) It directs elders to keep the congregations clean. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 13; 1 Timothy 5:19-21) And it tells us that we should keep our bodies clean and avoid thoughts and habits that Jehovah hates.—2 Corinthians 7:1.
‘Will I be loyal to Jesus and follow the direction of the faithful slave?’
9. Whom did Jesus appoint to help us understand God’s Word?
9 Some may feel that they do not need anyone to explain the Bible to them. But since 1919, Jesus has been using “the faithful and discreet slave” to help God’s people understand what the Bible teaches and follow what it says. By obeying the Bible, we keep the congregation clean, peaceful, and united. Ask yourself, ‘Will I be loyal to Jesus and follow the direction of the faithful slave?’
JEHOVAH’S CHARIOT IS MOVING FAST!
10. How does the book of Ezekiel describe the heavenly part of Jehovah’s organization?
10 By means of the Bible, we learn that Jehovah’s servants in heaven are organized too. For example, Ezekiel saw a vision of Jehovah riding on a chariot that could move quickly in any direction that Jehovah wanted it to go. (Ezekiel 1:4-28) The chariot represents the heavenly part of God’s organization, which is quick to follow his direction. In turn, it influences the earthly part of his organization. Think of the many changes that have been made in God’s organization in the last ten years. Remember that Jehovah guides such changes. Soon Christ and the angels will destroy this wicked world. No longer will anyone dishonor Jehovah and his name or criticize his way of ruling!
11, 12. What has Jehovah’s organization been able to do in these last days?
11 Consider what Jehovah’s organization has been able to do in these last days. Construction. Hundreds of brothers and sisters have worked hard to build the new headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Warwick, New York, U.S.A. Thousands of other volunteers around the world are building Kingdom Halls and branch offices. These volunteers are directed by the Worldwide Design/Construction Department. How thankful we are for the many who work very hard on such buildings! And Jehovah’s servants everywhere give what they can to help pay for building these places. Jehovah blesses his people for the humility and loyalty they show.—Luke 21:1-4.
12 Education. Jehovah loves to educate his people. (Isaiah 2:2, 3) Think of the various schools we have. There are the Pioneer Service School, the School for Kingdom Evangelizers, Gilead School, Bethel Entrants’ School, the School for Circuit Overseers and Their Wives, the School for Congregation Elders, the Kingdom Ministry School, and the School for Branch Committee Members and Their Wives. And on our website, jw.org, we can find the Bible and other literature in hundreds of languages. The website also has special sections for children and for families as well as a section with news items. Have you been using jw.org in your ministry and in your family worship?
BE LOYAL TO JEHOVAH AND SUPPORT HIS ORGANIZATION
13. What responsibility do Jehovah’s people have?
13 What an honor to be part of Jehovah’s organization and to know what he requires of us! Of course, since we know what pleases God, we have the responsibility to obey him and do what is right. And even though many people love doing bad things, we must “hate what is bad,” as Jehovah does. (Psalm 97:10) We must never be like those who think that “good is bad and bad is good.” (Isaiah 5:20) We want to please Jehovah, so we are determined to be clean in every way. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) What Jehovah tells us in the Bible is for our own good. We love him and want to be loyal to him. That is why we follow his guidance at home, in the congregation, at work, at school, or wherever we may be. (Proverbs 15:3) Think of some areas where we need to be loyal to God.
Fathers and mothers who love Jehovah want their children to have a close friendship with him
14. How can parents be loyal to Jehovah?
14 How we train our children. In the Bible, Jehovah has given parents direction on how to train their children. Christians need to be careful not to be influenced by the way of thinking that is common in this world. (Ephesians 2:2) For example, in some places a father might think, ‘Well, here the women teach the children.’ But the Bible clearly commands fathers to teach their children about Jehovah. (Ephesians 6:4) Fathers and mothers who love Jehovah want their children to have a close friendship with him, just like Samuel had when he was a little boy.—1 Samuel 3:19.
15. How can we be loyal to Jehovah when we are making major decisions?
15 How we make decisions. Before we make major decisions in life, we want to find out what Jehovah thinks so that we can be loyal to him. The Bible and his organization can help us. For example, some parents today who have left the country they came from have decided to send their newborn baby back to their country to live with their relatives. In this way, both the father and the mother can continue working and making money. True, this is a personal decision, but a couple should ask themselves, ‘What will Jehovah think of our decision?’ (Read Romans 14:12.) It would be wise first to think about what the Bible says before we make important decisions about our family and our work. We need our Father’s help because we cannot direct our steps.—Jeremiah 10:23.
16. When her son was born, what choice did one mother have to make? What helped her to make the right decision?
16 After one couple moved to another country, their baby boy was born, and they planned to send him back to live with his grandparents. But at that time, the wife began to study the Bible with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She learned that it was her duty to teach her son about Jehovah. (Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 22:6) The young woman prayed to Jehovah, as the Bible tells us to do, and begged him to help her do what is right. (Psalm 62:7, 8) She also talked about her problem with the sister who studied the Bible with her and spoke with others in the congregation. Although her relatives and friends kept telling her that she should send the baby to the grandparents, she decided that it was not right to do so. Her husband noticed how much the brothers and sisters helped his wife and their baby. He was so impressed that he began to study the Bible and attend meetings with his family. Imagine how happy this mother felt when she realized that Jehovah had answered her prayer!
17. When we are studying the Bible with someone, what direction should we follow?
17 How we follow direction. If we are loyal to God, we will follow the direction we receive from his organization. For example, consider what we need to do soon after we start studying the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? with someone. We have been told to take a few minutes after each study to help the student get to know more about Jehovah’s organization. We can use the video What Happens at a Kingdom Hall? and the brochure Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today? After completing the Bible Teach book, we can help the student become more “stabilized in the faith” by studying the book “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love” with him, even if he got baptized in the meantime. (Colossians 2:7) Are you following this direction from Jehovah’s organization?
18, 19. What are some reasons why we should be thankful to Jehovah?
18 There are many reasons why we should be thankful to Jehovah! For one thing, “by him we have life and move and exist.” (Acts 17:27, 28) He has also given us his own Book, the Bible. Like the Christians in Thessalonica, we cherish this gift because it is a message from him.—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
19 The Bible has helped us to draw close to Jehovah, and he has drawn close to us. (James 4:8) We are very grateful that our Father has invited us to be part of his organization! We feel like the psalmist who wrote: “Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good; his loyal love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1) In every verse of that psalm, the psalmist repeated the words “his loyal love endures forever.” Yes, if we are loyal to Jehovah and follow the direction he gives us by means of his organization, he will give us everlasting life and he will be loyal to us forever!