“The word of God is alive and exerts power.”—HEBREWS 4:12.
1. What convinces you that God’s Word has power? (See opening picture.)
JEHOVAH’S people are convinced that his word, his message to humans, “is alive and exerts power.” (Hebrews 4:12) We have seen the Bible’s power in our own life and in the lives of others. Before becoming Witnesses, some were thieves, drug addicts, or sexually immoral. Others had fame or money but still felt that something was missing in their life. (Ecclesiastes 2:3-11) Happily, many who were hopeless and lost now have direction and hope. In The Watchtower, we have read and enjoyed many such experiences in the series of articles “The Bible Changes Lives.” And even after becoming Christians, people must continue to strengthen their relationship with Jehovah with the help of the Bible.
2. How did the power of God’s Word affect people in the first century?
2 It is not surprising that many people make big changes when they learn the truth. Our brothers and sisters in the first century who had the heavenly hope made such changes. (Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) When Paul spoke of those who would not inherit God’s Kingdom, he added: “That is what some of you were.” God’s Word and his holy spirit helped those people to change. But even after becoming Christians, some of them made serious mistakes that affected their relationship with Jehovah. For example, the Bible mentions one anointed brother who had to be disfellowshipped. Later, he made changes so that he could again be part of the Christian congregation. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8) It is encouraging that our brothers and sisters have been able to make so many changes because of the power of God’s Word.
3. What will we discuss in this article?
3 God’s Word is very powerful. Since Jehovah has given it to us, we want to make sure that we use it well. (2 Timothy 2:15) This article will discuss what we can do to use the power of the Bible (1) in our own life, (2) in our ministry, and (3) when we teach from the platform. What we learn here will help us show our love and gratitude to our heavenly Father, who teaches us to benefit ourselves.—Isaiah 48:17.
IN OUR OWN LIFE
4. (a) What can we do so that God’s Word will affect us? (b) How do you make time to do your Bible reading?
4 To allow God’s Word to affect us, we need to read it regularly. We should try to read it every day. (Joshua 1:8) Most of us have very busy lives, but we should not let anything, including our responsibilities, stop us from reading the Bible. (Read Ephesians 5:15, 16.) We may find the time early in the morning, sometime during the day, or later on at night. We agree with the psalmist who wrote: “How I do love your law! I ponder over it all day long.”—Psalm 119:97.
We should not let anything, including our responsibilities, stop us from daily Bible reading
5, 6. (a) Why do we need to meditate? (b) How can our meditation be effective? (c) How has reading the Bible and meditating on it helped you?
5 However, just reading the Bible is not enough. We need to meditate on, or think carefully and deeply about, what we have read. (Psalm 1:1-3) Only then we will be able to apply the Bible’s wisdom in our life. So whether we read the Bible in printed form or on an electronic device, we want to allow God’s Word to change and motivate us.
6 How can our meditation be effective? When we read the Bible, we should pause and ask ourselves: ‘What does this tell me about Jehovah? How am I already applying what I read in my life? What changes do I still need to make?’ When we meditate on God’s Word and pray about what we read, we will want to apply it. Then we can experience the power of the Bible in our lives.—2 Corinthians 10:4, 5.
IN THE MINISTRY
7. How can we use God’s Word well in our ministry?
7 It is important that we use God’s Word frequently when we preach and teach. One brother said, “If you were preaching from house to house with Jehovah himself, would you do all the talking or would you let him speak?” When we read from the Bible to someone, we are letting Jehovah speak to him. A well-chosen scripture is more powerful than anything we might say. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) When you are in the ministry, do you try to read from the Bible as often as you can?
When we read from the Bible to someone, we are letting Jehovah speak to him
8. Why do we need to do more than just read scriptures when we preach?
8 However, reading a Bible verse to those to whom we preach is not enough. Most people do not understand the meaning of the Bible. This was true in the first century, and it is true today. (Romans 10:2) We should not assume that the householder understands the scripture we read. We can help him by repeating main words or ideas from the verse and then explaining what these mean. In this way, God’s Word can reach people’s mind and heart.—Read Luke 24:32.
9. How can we help people respect the Bible by what we say before reading a scripture? Give an example.
9 What we say before we read a scripture can also help the householder to respect the Bible. For example, we might say, “Let’s see what our Creator says on this subject.” Or if we are speaking to someone from a non-Christian background, we could say, “Let’s see what the Holy Writings tell us.” If we meet a person who does not care about religion, we could ask, “Have you ever heard this ancient saying?” If we remember that every person has his own background and beliefs, we will do all we can to make our introduction appealing.—1 Corinthians 9:22, 23.
10. (a) What happened to one brother? (b) How have you seen the power of God’s Word in your ministry?
10 Many have found that using God’s Word can have a powerful effect on people to whom they preach. For example, one brother visited an elderly man who had read our magazines for many years. One day, instead of just giving him the latest Watchtower, the brother decided to read a scripture. He read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, which says: “The Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our trials.” These words touched the elderly man so much that he asked the brother to read the verses again. Then the man said that he and his wife really needed comfort. Because of this scripture, he wanted to know more about the Bible. Using God’s Word in our ministry is very powerful!—Acts 19:20.
WHEN TEACHING FROM THE PLATFORM
11. What responsibility do brothers who teach from the platform have?
11 We love to attend our meetings, assemblies, and conventions. The main reason we attend is to worship Jehovah. We also benefit from what we learn. For this reason, the brothers who teach from the platform have a great privilege and a serious responsibility. (James 3:1) They must make sure that their teaching is based on God’s Word. If you have this privilege, how can you use the power of the Bible to reach your audience?
12. How can a speaker make sure that his talk is based on the Scriptures?
12 The Scriptures need to be the most important part of any talk. (John 7:16) So be very careful that the way you give your talk and the experiences or illustrations you use do not attract more attention than the Bible. Also, remember that reading from the Bible is not the same thing as teaching from the Bible. In fact, if you read too many scriptures, most people will not remember them. So carefully choose the scriptures you want to use. Then take time to read, explain, illustrate, and apply them well. (Nehemiah 8:8) When a talk is based on an outline, make sure that you study the outline and the scriptures it uses. Try to understand how the outline and the scriptures are connected. Then use some of these scriptures to teach the points in the outline. (You can find good suggestions in studies 21 to 23 of Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education.) And most important, ask Jehovah to help you to share his precious thoughts from the Bible.—Read Ezra 7:10; Proverbs 3:13, 14.
13. (a) How was one sister affected by a scripture she heard at a meeting? (b) How has the way the Bible is used at our meetings affected you?
13 When a sister in Australia was a child, many tragic things happened to her, and even though she later came to know Jehovah, she still could not fully believe that Jehovah loved her. At a meeting, this sister heard a scripture that deeply affected her. She meditated on it and did research, which led her to read other verses in the Bible. She became convinced that Jehovah loved her.* (See footnote.) Have you ever heard a scripture at a meeting, assembly, or convention that affected you in such a way?—Nehemiah 8:12.
14. How can we show that we value and love Jehovah’s Word?
14 Are we not grateful to Jehovah for his written Word, the Bible? He promised that it would endure, and he kept that promise. (1 Peter 1:24, 25) So we want to make sure that we read the Bible regularly, apply it in our life, and use it to help others. When we do this, we show that we truly love and appreciate this treasure and, most important, its Author, Jehovah God.
See the box “A Turning Point.”