34567                                    JUNE 15, 2011   S TUDY EDITIO N   STUDY ARTICLES FOR THE WEEK S OF:   August 1-7 ...
34567                                              6                                                                      ...
Should Youths Get Baptized?“I AM so happy that my daughter is now a   servant of Jehovah, and I know that she is happy too...
enough to know that we wanted to serve Je-         go out in the field service and talk at the hovah and live in Paradise. ...
Those questions may help you to gauge          ever. I am glad that he has helped me to con-the spiritual progress of your...
Should My Child Put Off Baptism?       Occasionally, even when children qual-      learn to work so that, in time, they ca...
THERE IS GOOD NEWS                   THAT ALL NEED           “The good news . . . is, in fact, God’s power for salvation.”...
not believe.” Thereafter, Paul ‘would kind-              Christian merchants and travelers spreadly receive all those who ...
10  Before a person can develop lifesavingfaith, he must acknowledge that he is a sin-ner. The idea of being such would no...
A ‘Witness Bearer’      The book of Romans identifies another     15                                                       ...
20 We should definitely bear in mind this           Scriptures, we will need to explain Jesus’aspect of the good news as we...
equitable way? And what are individuals               sin. Thus, sin and death ruled down to thecalled upon to do to quali...
begotten Son to earth. Jesus did his Father’s                                                    will perfectly, despite t...
they did not always succeed. Why? Because          the prospect of being resurrected to heaventhey had inherited sin. (Rom...
What good news     —by means of Jesus we can         be declared righteous!forgive sins that occurred inthe past. Thus, Ab...
Did Abraham ReallyOwn Camels?C    AMELS were among the domestic animals that Abraham     received from Pharaoh, says the B...
these animals were not widely domesticated until approxi-mately 1200 B.C., long after the time of Abraham.” Any earlierBib...
Rome                                                                    Troas‘Bring the Scrolls,                          ...
so as not to miss a word, and parents and         maintained a longing for God’s Word dur-children must have discussed at ...
“SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD         IN YOUR CARE”                   “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under      ...
Like shepherds in ancient times, elders today must protect the “sheep” in their carechased with the blood of his own Son.”...
to the flock. Instead of intimidating their             doing so. (Matt. 22:37-39) They give ofbrother, the elders tenderly...
older men about the danger of shepherding             the nations, they wanted to have a promi-the flock out of “love of di...
and disciple-making work. His pattern of hu-           older men by referring to a promise for themility touched the heart...
not as experienced as Paul and his traveling          slave’s direction, the local elders work hardcompanions; nor did the...
flock. Likewise, the elders today may sacri-        place decently and by arrangement.”—1 Cor.fice some sleep while tending ...
seeking guidance from the Scriptures. Their          cord? (3 John 9, 10) The whole congregationgoal is to apply Scriptura...
but does not indicate hostility. (Acts 20:31;      seemed medically inexplicable. Then a phy-2 Thess. 3:15) For instance, ...
“Make Your                                                       ever, young Christians should                            ...
W e 20110615
W e 20110615
W e 20110615
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W e 20110615

  1. 1. 34567 JUNE 15, 2011 S TUDY EDITIO N STUDY ARTICLES FOR THE WEEK S OF: August 1-7 There Is Good News That All Need PAGE 7 SONGS TO BE USED: 47, 101 August 8-14 God Recommends His Love to Us PAGE 11 SONGS TO BE USED: 18, 91 August 15-21 “Shepherd the Flock of God in Your Care” PAGE 20 SONGS TO BE USED: 42, 84 August 22-28 “Have Regard for Those Who Are Working Hard Among You” PAGE 24 SONGS TO BE USED: 123, 53
  2. 2. 34567 6 JUNE 15, 2011THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE, The Watchtower, is to honor Jehovah God, the Supreme Ruler ofthe universe. Just as watchtowers in ancient times enabled a person to observe developments from afar,so this magazine shows us the significance of world events in the light of Bible prophecies. It comfortspeople with the good news that God’s Kingdom, which is a real government in heaven, will soon bringan end to all wickedness and transform the earth into a paradise. It promotes faith in Jesus Christ, whodied so that we might gain everlasting life and who is now ruling as King of God’s Kingdom. Thismagazine has been published by Jehovah’s Witnesses continuously since 1879 and is nonpolitical. Itadheres to the Bible as its authority.This publication is not for sale. It is provided as part of a worldwide Bible educational work supported by voluntary donations. Unless otherwise indicated,Scripture quotations are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References.PURPOSE OF STUDY ARTICLES ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 3 Should Youths Get Baptized? 16 Did Abraham Really Own Camels?STUDY ARTICLES 1, 2 PAGES 7-15 -In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul re- 18 ‘Bring the Scrolls,ferred to an aspect of “the good news” that Especially theconcerns sinful mankind. What is it, and how Parchments’ )can you benefit from that aspect of “the goodnews”? These two articles will deepen your 29 “Make Yourunderstanding of and your gratitude for Je- Way Successful”sus’ sacrifice and for God’s love expressed —How?through it.STUDY ARTICLES 3, 4 PAGES 20-28These articles point out how elders can en-hance their appreciation for the privilege ofshepherding. Also considered are ways for thecongregation to show earnest regard for theelders.The Watchtower (ISSN 0043-1087) is published semimonthly by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.; M. H. Larson, President; G. F. Simonis,Secretary-Treasurer; 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11201-2483, and by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, PO Box 4100, Georgetown,ON L7G 4Y4. Periodicals Postage Paid at Brooklyn, NY, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Watchtower, 1000 Red MillsRoad, Wallkill, NY 12589-3299. 5 2011 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada.Vol. 132, No. 12 Semimonthly ENGLISH
  3. 3. Should Youths Get Baptized?“I AM so happy that my daughter is now a servant of Jehovah, and I know that she is happy too,” said Carlos,1 a Christian father progress, but is he strong enough to resist immoral pressures and remain clean before Jehovah?’ Others may ask themselves, ‘In in the Philippines. A father from Greece facing the pull of materialism, will my wrote: “My wife and I are delighted that our child continue serving God with joy and three children were baptized as Jehovah’s zeal?’ Accordingly, what Biblical guidance Witnesses during their adolescence. They can help parents determine whether their are making spiritual progress and are happy children are ready for baptism? about serving Jehovah.” Discipleship Christian parents have reason to be over- —The Prime Requirement joyed when their children get baptized, but Instead of specifying an age to get bap- sometimes the joy is accompanied by un- tized, God’s Word describes the spiritual easiness. “I was very happy and very anx- condition of those qualified to take that ious,” said one mother. Why the mixed step. Jesus instructed his followers: “Make emotions? “I understood that my son was disciples of people of all the nations, baptiz- now fully accountable to Jehovah.” ing them.” (Matt. 28:19) Hence, baptism is Serving Jehovah as one of his baptized for those who are already disciples of Christ. Witnesses is a goal that all young ones What is a disciple? Insight on the Scrip- should have. Yet, godly parents may won- tures explains: “The principal application of der, ‘I know that my child has made good the term is to all those who not only be- 1 Some names have been changed. lieve Christ’s teachings but also follow them closely.”Are relatively young people capable of being genuine disciples of Christ? A sister A youngster can give who has served as a missionary in Lat- evidence of discipleship in America for over 40 years writes about herself and her two sisters: “We were old Preparation for and participation at meetings
  4. 4. enough to know that we wanted to serve Je- go out in the field service and talk at the hovah and live in Paradise. Our dedication doors? Is he mindful of his responsibility as helped us to be strong when we faced the an unbaptized publisher? Does he have a temptations of youth. We do not regret hav- desire to call back on interested ones he ing made our dedication to God at an early meets in the territory? Does he make known age.” to schoolmates and teachers that he is a Wit- How do you know if your child has be- ness of Jehovah? come a disciple of Christ? The Bible states: Is attending congregation meetings im- “Even by his practices a boy makes himself portant to him? (Ps. 122:1) Does he enjoy recognized as to whether his activity is pure commenting at the Watchtower Study and and upright.” (Prov. 20:11) Consider some the Congregation Bible Study? Is he enthu- practices that reveal that a youth is making siastically participating in the Theocratic ‘his advancement manifest’ as a disciple. Ministry School?—Heb. 10:24, 25. —1 Tim. 4:15. Does your child strive to stay clean moral- Proof of Discipleship ly by avoiding harmful associates in school Does your child obey you? (Col. 3:20) and elsewhere? (Prov. 13:20) What are his Does he do his assigned chores around the preferences regarding music, movies, televi- house? The Bible states about 12-year-old Je- sion programs, video games, and the use of sus: “He continued subject to [his parents].” the Internet? Do his words and actions give (Luke 2:51) Of course, no child today will evidence that he wants to comply with Bible obey his parents perfectly. But true Chris- standards? tians are to “follow [Jesus’] steps closely.” How well does your child know the Bible? So youths interested in baptism should be Can he put in his own words what he learns known for their obedience to their parents. during your Family Worship evening? Can —1 Pet. 2:21. he explain basic Bible truths? (Prov. 2:6-9) Consider the following questions: Does Does reading the Bible and studying the your child ‘keep seeking first the Kingdom’ publications of the faithful and discreet in the ministry? (Matt. 6:33) Is he willing to slave class interest him? (Matt. 24:45) Does share the good news with others, or do you he ask questions about Bible teachings and have to give him strong encouragement to verses?Obedience to parents Participation in the ministry Personal prayer
  5. 5. Those questions may help you to gauge ever. I am glad that he has helped me to con-the spiritual progress of your child. After tinue in his service.”considering them, you may conclude that Whether young or old, a person who giveshe should improve in some area before get- evidence of true discipleship should get bap-ting baptized. If, however, his life course tized. The apostle Paul wrote: “With thegives proof of discipleship and he has in- heart one exercises faith for righteousness,deed dedicated his life to God, you may feel but with the mouth one makes public decla-that you can allow him to get baptized. ration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) When a young disciple of Christ takes the important Young People Can Praise Jehovah step of baptism, both he and his parents Many servants of God showed faithful- have reached a milestone. May nothing de-ness and loyalty during adolescence or earli- prive you or your children of the joy thater. Think of Joseph, Samuel, Josiah, and awaits you.Jesus. (Gen. 37:2; 39:1-3; 1 Sam. 1:24-28; 2:18-20; 2 Chron. 34:1-3; Luke 2:42-49) AndPhilip’s four daughters, who prophesied,must have been well-trained from an early The Proper View of Baptismage.—Acts 21:8, 9. A Witness in Greece said: “I was baptized Some parents consider their chil- dren’s baptism as a beneficial stepwhen I was 12 years old. I have never regret- that involves risk—much like getting ated my decision. Since then, 24 years have driver’s license. But do baptism andpassed, 23 of which I have spent in the full- sacred service ever threaten a person’stime service. My love for Jehovah always future success? The Bible answers no.helped me to face the difficulties of youth. Proverbs 10:22 states: “The blessing ofAt the age of 12, I did not have the Scriptural Jehovah—that is what makes rich, andknowledge that I have now. But I knew that I he adds no pain with it.” And Paulloved Jehovah and wanted to serve him for- wrote to young Timothy: “To be sure, it is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency.” —1 Tim. 6:6. True, serving Jehovah is not easy. Jeremiah faced many hardships in his work as God’s prophet. Yet, he wrote about his worship of the true God: “Your word becomes to me the exulta- tion and the rejoicing of my heart; for your name has been called upon me, O Jehovah God of armies.” (Jer. 15:16) Jeremiah knew that God’s service was the source of his joy. Satan’s world is a source of hardships. Parents need to help their children to recognize that distinction.—Jer. 1:19. THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 5
  6. 6. Should My Child Put Off Baptism? Occasionally, even when children qual- learn to work so that, in time, they can be ify for baptism, their parents may decide self-sufficient. But there is danger in en- that it should be postponed. What may couraging them to take up a lifestyle cen- be their reasons? tered on education and financial security I fear that if my child gets baptized, instead of true worship. Regarding a he might later fall into serious sin and get “seed,” or the word of the Kingdom, that disfellowshipped. Is it reasonable to be- does not grow, Jesus said: “As for the one lieve that a young person who puts off sown among the thorns, this is the one baptism will not be accountable to God hearing the word, but the anxiety of this for his conduct? Solomon directed the fol- system of things and the deceptive power lowing words to young ones: “Know that of riches choke the word, and he becomes on account of [your actions] the true God unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22) Plans for a life will bring you into judgment.” (Eccl. 11:9) that subordinates spirituality to worldly And with no exception as to age, Paul goals can snuff out a young person’s de- gave this reminder: “Each of us will ren- sire to serve God. der an account for himself to God.” Commenting on youths who qualify for —Rom. 14:12. baptism but whose parents do not agree, Both baptized and unbaptized wor- an experienced elder said: “Preventing a shippers are accountable to God. Do not young one from getting baptized can forget, Jehovah protects his servants by break his spiritual momentum and lead ‘not letting them be tempted beyond to discouragement.” And a traveling over- what they can bear.’ (1 Cor. 10:13) As seer wrote: “A youth could begin feeling long as they ‘keep their senses’ and fight spiritually insecure or inferior. He might temptation, such ones can count on look to the world to gain a feeling of ac- God’s support. (1 Pet. 5:6-9) A Christian complishment.” mother writes: “Children who are bap- tized have more reasons to stay away Should university come first? from the bad things of the world. My son, baptized at 15, feels that baptism is a pro- tection. ‘You don’t think about doing something contrary to Jehovah’s law,’ he said. Baptism is a strong motivation for righteousness.” If you have trained your children by word and example to obey Jehovah, you can be confident that they will continue to do so after they are baptized. Proverbs 20:7 states: “The righteous is walking in his integrity. Happy are his sons after him.” I would like to see my child reach certain goals first. Young people should6 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  7. 7. THERE IS GOOD NEWS THAT ALL NEED “The good news . . . is, in fact, God’s power for salvation.”—ROM. 1:16.‘I AM happy to share the good news each day.’ Likely that sentiment has crossed your mind or lips. As a devoted Witness of should we keep it in mind as we preach “the good news of God” to people in our territo- ry?—Mark 1:14; Rom. 15:16; 1 Thess. 2:2. Jehovah, you know how important it is to preach “this good news of the kingdom.” What Those in Rome Needed You may be able to recite from memory Je- 4 It is instructive to note the topics that sus’ prophecy about our doing that.—Matt. Paul addressed when he was first impris- oned in Rome. We read that when a number 24:14. 2 In preaching the “good news of the of Jews visited him, he bore ‘thorough wit- ness concerning (1) the kingdom of God kingdom,” you are continuing what Jesus and used persuasion with them concern- started. (Read Luke 4:43.) Doubtless, one ing (2) Jesus.’ The result? “Some began point that you stress is that God will soon in- to believe the things said; others would tervene in human affairs. With the “great tribulation,” he will end false religion and 4. During his first imprisonment in Rome, about clear the earth of wickedness. (Matt. 24: what did Paul preach? 21) You probably also highlight that God’s Kingdom will reestablish Paradise on earth so that peace and happiness can flourish. In fact, the “good news of the kingdom” is part of “the good news [declared] beforehand to Abraham, namely: ‘By means of you all the nations will be blessed.’ ”—Gal. 3:8. 3 Could it be, though, that we might give little attention to a key aspect of the good news that people need? In the letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul used the word “kingdom” only once, but he used the ex- pression “good news” 12 times. (Read Ro- mans 14:17.) What aspect of the good news did Paul refer to so often in that book? Why is that particular good news vital? And why 1, 2. Why do you preach the “good news of the kingdom,” and what aspects of it do you stress? 3. Why can we say that the apostle Paul emphasized good news in the book of Romans?
  8. 8. not believe.” Thereafter, Paul ‘would kind- Christian merchants and travelers spreadly receive all those who came in to him, the truth in Rome? Whatever the case,preaching (1) the kingdom of God to them by the time Paul wrote the book, aboutand teaching the things concerning (2) the 56 C.E., the congregation was long estab-Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Acts 28:17, 23-31) Clearly, lished. (Rom. 1:8) What type of peoplePaul gave attention to God’s Kingdom. But made up that congregation?what else did he stress? Something that is 7 Some had a Jewish background. Paulcentral to the Kingdom—Jesus’ role in God’s greeted Andronicus and Junias as “my rela-purpose. tives,” likely meaning relatives who were fel- 5 All people need to know about Jesus and low Jews. Tentmaker Aquila, in Rome withput faith in him. In the book of Romans, his wife, Priscilla, was also Jewish. (Rom.Paul addressed this need. Early on, he wrote 4:1; 9:3, 4; 16:3, 7; Acts 18:2) But many brothers and sisters to whom Paul sent greetings were likely Gentiles. Some mayThe good news highlighted have been “of the household of Caesar,”in Romans involved Jesus’ vital perhaps meaning Caesar’s slaves and minor officials.—Phil. 4:22; Rom. 1:6; 11:13.role in God’s purpose 8 Every Christian in Rome faced a predica- ment that also confronts each one of us.of “God, to whom I render sacred service Paul put it this way: “All have sinned and fallwith my spirit in connection with the good short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)news about his Son.” He added: “I am not Clearly, all to whom Paul wrote needed toashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, recognize that they were sinners and had toGod’s power for salvation to everyone hav- put faith in God’s means to meet that need.ing faith.” Later he referred to the time“when God through Christ Jesus judges the Recognizing the Problem of Sinsecret things of mankind, according to the 9 Early in the letter to the Romans, Paulgood news I declare.” And he related: “From pointed to the wonderful result that couldJerusalem and in a circuit as far as Illyricum come from the good news he kept mention-I have thoroughly preached the good news ing: “I am not ashamed of the good news; itabout the Christ.” 1 (Rom. 1:9, 16; 2:16; 15: is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to every-19) Why, do you think, did Paul stress Jesus one having faith, to the Jew first and alsoChrist to the Romans? to the Greek.” Yes, salvation was possible. 6 We do not know how the Roman con- However, faith was necessary, in line with agregation started. Did Jews or proselytes profound truth quoted from Habakkuk 2:4:who were present at Pentecost 33 C.E. return “The righteous one—by means of faith heto Rome as Christians? (Acts 2:10) Or did will live.” (Rom. 1:16, 17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10: 38) But how does that good news, which 1 Similar expressions appear in other inspired books.—Mark 1:1; Acts 5:42; 1 Cor. 9:12; Phil. 1:27. can lead to salvation, relate to the fact that “all have sinned”?5. What real need did Paul address in the book ofRomans? 8. Those in Rome faced what predicament?6, 7. What can we say about the start and makeup 9. Paul called attention to what possible result ofof the Roman congregation? the good news?8 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  9. 9. 10 Before a person can develop lifesavingfaith, he must acknowledge that he is a sin-ner. The idea of being such would not bestrange for those who grow up believing inGod and having some familiarity with theBible. (Read Ecclesiastes 7:20.) Whetherthey agree or have doubts, at least they havean idea of what Paul meant when he said:“All have sinned.” (Rom. 3:23) Yet, in carry-ing out our ministry, we may meet manywho do not understand that statement. 11 In some lands, the average person is not We were all bornraised thinking that he (or she) was born a with a fatal flaw—sin!sinner, that he inherited sin. Granted, heprobably realizes that he makes mistakes, “no hope” and being “without God in thehas undesirable traits, and may have done world.”—Eph. 2:12.some bad things. And he observes that oth- 13 In the letter to the Romans, Paul pre-ers are in a similar situation. Still, given his sented two reasons why such a backgroundbackground, he does not really understand cannot be an excuse—not then, not today.why he and others are like that. In fact, in The first reason is that creation itself bearssome languages, if you say that a person is a witness to the existence of a Creator. (Readsinner, others may think that you are saying Romans 1:19, 20.) This accords with an ob-that he is a criminal or at least a person who servation Paul made when writing frombroke some rules. Obviously, a person grow- Rome to the Hebrews: “Every house is con-ing up in such an environment may not structed by someone, but he that construct-readily think of himself as a sinner in the ed all things is God.” (Heb. 3:4) That line ofsense that Paul meant. reasoning points to there being a Creator 12 Even in lands of Christendom, many who constructed, or brought into existence,do not believe in the concept of being sin- the entire universe.ners. Why not? Even if they go to church on 14 So Paul was on solid ground in writingoccasion, they consider the Bible account of to the Romans that any—including the an-Adam and Eve to be merely a fable or a cient Israelites—who gave their devotion tomyth. Others grow up in an anti-God cli- lifeless images “are inexcusable.” The samemate. They doubt that God exists and there- can be said for those who gave in to immor-fore do not understand that a Supreme Be- al sexual practices contrary to the natu-ing set moral standards for humans and that ral use of the male and female bodies.failure to uphold those standards amounts (Rom. 1:22-27) Referring to such reasoning,to sin. In a sense, they are like those in the Paul rightly concluded that “Jews as well asfirst century whom Paul described as having Greeks are all under sin.”—Rom. 3:9.10, 11. Why is the concept mentioned at Romans 13, 14. (a) What is one reason why those who do3:23 not strange for some people but is for others? not believe in God and in sin are inexcusable? (b) To12. Why do many not believe that all are sinners? what has disbelief led many? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 9
  10. 10. A ‘Witness Bearer’ The book of Romans identifies another 15 Do You Recall?reason why people should recognize that ˙ The book of Romans highlights whatthey are sinners and need a way out of that aspect of the good news?predicament. Regarding the code of laws ˙ What fact do we need to help othersthat God gave to ancient Israel, Paul wrote: to understand?“All those who sinned under law will be ˙ How can “the good news about thejudged by law.” (Rom. 2:12) Continuing his Christ” mean blessings for us andreasoning, he points out that people of na- others?tions or ethnic groups unacquainted withthat divine code often “do by nature thethings of the law.” Why do such ones com- vah will by no means take into account.”monly forbid incest, murder, and stealing? (Rom. 4:7, 8) Yes, God has arranged a legallyPaul identified the reason: They have a con- proper means for pardoning sins.science.—Read Romans 2:14, 15. Good News Centered on Jesus 16 Nonetheless, you have likely seen that 18 You might well respond, “That is reallyhaving a conscience that functions like an good news!” Indeed it is, which brings usinner witness bearer does not mean that a back to the aspect of the good news that Paulperson will follow its guidance. The case of highlighted in the book of Romans. As men-ancient Israel shows that. Though the Israel- tioned, Paul wrote: “I am not ashamed of theites had both a God-given conscience and good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for sal-specific laws from God against stealing and vation.”—Rom. 1:15, 16.adultery, they often violated both their con- 19 That good news centered on Jesus’ rolescience and Jehovah’s Law. (Rom. 2:21-23) in the outworking of God’s purpose. PaulThey were doubly culpable and thus certain- could look forward to “the day when Godly were sinners, falling short of God’s stan- through Christ Jesus judges the secret thingsdards and will. This seriously marred their of mankind, according to the good news.”relationship with their Maker.—Lev. 19:11; (Rom. 2:16) In stating that, he was not mini-20:10; Rom. 3:20. 17 What we have considered from the mizing “the kingdom of the Christ and of God” or what God will do by means of thebook of Romans might seem to paint a grim Kingdom. (Eph. 5:5) But he showed that forpicture of the human situation before the us to live and enjoy the blessings to prevailAlmighty, including ours. However, Paul did under God’s Kingdom, we must recognizenot leave matters there. Quoting David’s (1) our situation as sinners in God’s sightwords at Psalm 32:1, 2, the apostle wrote: and (2) why we need to exercise faith in Je-“Happy are those whose lawless deeds have sus Christ to have our sins forgiven. When abeen pardoned and whose sins have been person comes to understand and acceptcovered; happy is the man whose sin Jeho- those parts of God’s purpose and sees the fu-15. Who have the faculty of conscience, with what ture that this opens to him, he can rightlyeffect? exclaim, “Yes, that truly is good news!”16. Why does having a conscience not necessarilymean avoiding sin? 18, 19. (a) On what aspect of the good news did17. We find what encouragement in the book of Ro- Paul focus in Romans? (b) To get Kingdom bless-mans? ings, we must recognize what?10 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  11. 11. 20 We should definitely bear in mind this Scriptures, we will need to explain Jesus’aspect of the good news as we carry out our role. The following article will consider howChristian ministry. With reference to Je- Romans chapter 5 develops this aspect of thesus, Paul quoted Isaiah’s words: “None that good news. You will probably find that studyrests his faith on him will be disappointed.” to be useful in your ministry.(Rom. 10:11; Isa. 28:16) The basic message 21 How rewarding it is to help honestheart-about Jesus may not be strange to those who ed ones to understand the good news men-are acquainted with what the Bible says tioned repeatedly in the book of Romans, theabout sin. For others, though, this message good news that “is, in fact, God’s power forwill be quite new, something not known or salvation to everyone having faith.” (Rom. 1:generally believed in their culture. As such 16) Beyond our being thus rewarded, we willones come to believe in God and trust in the see others agree with the sentiment that Paul quoted at Romans 10:15: “How comely are20, 21. In our ministry, why should we bear inmind the good news that is stressed in the book of the feet of those who declare good news ofRomans, and with what potential result? good things!”—Isa. 52:7. GOD RECOMMENDS HIS LOVE TO US “Undeserved kindness [will] rule as king through righteousness with everlasting life in view.”—ROM. 5:21.“T HE Romans’ greatest . . . bequest to those who succeeded them [was] their lawand their sense that life should be lived ac- mans chapter 5, the apostle Paul did not pre- sent these aspects as a dry, legalistic treatise. Rather, he began with this thrilling assur-cording to law.” (Dr. David J. Williams of the ance: “We have been declared righteous as aUniversity of Melbourne, Australia) How- result of faith, [so] let us enjoy peace withever valid that might be, there is a bequest or God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thosegift of far greater value. This gift is a divine who receive God’s gift are moved to lovemeans to have an approved and righteous him in return. Paul was one. He wrote: “Thestanding with God and the prospect of salva- love of God has been poured out into ourtion and everlasting life. hearts through the holy spirit.”—Rom. 5: 2 In a sense, there were legal aspects to 1, 5. 3 Why, though, was this loving gift neces-how God made this gift available. In Ro- sary? How could God offer it in a just,1, 2. What two gifts might be considered, andwhich is the greater? 3. What questions logically arise? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 11
  12. 12. equitable way? And what are individuals sin. Thus, sin and death ruled down to thecalled upon to do to qualify for it? Let us find time when God gave the Israelites a lawthe satisfying answers and see how they un- code, which clearly showed that they werederscore God’s love. sinners. (Read Romans 5:13, 14.) The effect of inherited sin might be illustrated with God’s Love Versus Sin certain inherited diseases or defects, such as In an act of great love, Jehovah sent his 4 Mediterranean anemia or hemophilia. Youonly-begotten Son to help humans. Paul ex- may have read that Alexis, son of Russianpressed it this way: “God recommends his Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra, inheritedown love to us in that, while we were yet sin- the bleeding disorder hemophilia. Granted,ners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Think of even in such a family, some children do notone fact there mentioned: “We were yet sin- suffer from those diseases, but they still mayners.” All need to know how that came to be carriers. Not so with sin. The defect of sinbe so. from Adam was inevitable. All are subject to 5 Paul outlined the matter, starting with it. It is always fatal. And it is passed on to allthis point: “Through one man sin entered children. Could that predicament ever beinto the world and death through sin, and overcome?thus death spread to all men because theyhad all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) We are in a posi- What God Provided Throughtion to understand this because God had a Jesus Christrecord made of how human life began. Jeho- 7 Lovingly, Jehovah made a provision forvah created two humans, Adam and Eve. The humans to overcome inherited sinfulness.Creator is perfect, and so were those first hu- Paul explained that this was possible bymans, our ancestors. God gave them but one means of another man, a later perfect manlimiting directive and informed them that —in effect, a second Adam. (1 Cor. 15:45) Butdisobeying that law would bring a death the course of each of the two perfect men hassentence. (Gen. 2:17) However, they chose led to very different results. How so?—Readto act ruinously, violating God’s reasonable Romans 5:15, 16.directive, thus rejecting him as Lawgiver and 8 “It is not with the gift as it was with theSovereign.—Deut. 32:4, 5. trespass,” Paul wrote. Adam was guilty of that 6 It was only after Adam had become a sin- trespass, and he justly received an adversener that he fathered children, passing on sin sentence—he died. Yet, he was not the onlyand its effects to all of them. Of course, they one to die. We read: “By [that] one man’shad not violated the divine law as Adam had, trespass many died.” The just sentence onso they were not charged with the same sin; Adam demanded the same for all his imper-nor had any law code yet been given. (Gen. fect progeny, including us. Still, we can take2:17) Still, Adam’s descendants inherited comfort in knowing that the perfect man, Je- sus, could produce an opposite result. What4, 5. (a) In what great way did Jehovah express hislove? (b) Knowledge of what background enables us is the result? We see the answer in Paul’sto understand Romans 5:12? mention of “a declaring of [men of all kinds]6. (a) Why did Adam’s descendants die both be- righteous for life.”—Rom. 5:18.fore God gave the Mosaic Law and thereafter?(b) What can be illustrated with a disease like he- 7, 8. How did the course of two perfect men lead tomophilia? different results?12 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  13. 13. begotten Son to earth. Jesus did his Father’s will perfectly, despite temptations, extreme ridicule, and abuse. He kept his integrity even to the extent of dying on a torture stake. (Heb. 2:10) In sacrificing his perfect human life, Jesus offered a ransom that might re- lease, or redeem, Adam’s offspring from sin and death.—Matt. 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8. 11 Elsewhere, Paul termed this “a corre- sponding ransom.” (1 Tim. 2:6) What was the correspondence? Adam brought imper- fection and death to billions, his descen- dants. It is true that Jesus, as a perfect man, could have been the source of billions of per- fect descendants.1 Hence, it was understood that a combination of Jesus’ life plus that of all his potential perfect descendants formed a sacrifice equivalent to that of Adam and his imperfect descendants. However, the Bible The perfect man Adam sinned. does not say that any potential offspring of The perfect man Jesus offered Jesus formed part of the ransom. Romans 5: “a corresponding ransom” 15-19 makes the point that the death of just “one man” provided the release. Yes, Jesus’ 9 What is the sense of the Greek words un- perfect life corresponded to Adam’s. The fo-derlying the expressions “declaration of righ- cus is, and should be, on Jesus Christ alone. Itteousness” and “declaring of them righ- became possible for men of all sorts to re-teous”? One Bible translator wrote of the ceive the free gift and life because of Jesus’concept: “It is a legal metaphor that makes a “one act of justification,” his course of obedi-quasi-legal point. It speaks of a change in a ence and integrity even to death. (2 Cor. 5:14,person’s status in relation to God, not of an 15; 1 Pet. 3:18) How did that result comeinner change in the person . . . The metaphor about?pictures God as the judge who has reached adecision in favor of the accused, who had Acquittal Based on the Ransombeen brought before God’s court, so to speak, 12 Jehovah God accepted the ransom sac-on a charge of unrighteousness. But God ac- rifice that his Son offered. (Heb. 9:24; 10:10,quits the accused.” 12) Still, Jesus’ disciples on earth, including 10 On what basis could the righteous his faithful apostles, remained imperfect.“Judge of all the earth” acquit an un- Though they strove to avoid doing wrong,righteous person? (Gen. 18:25) Laying the 1 For example, that view involving descendants, orgroundwork, God lovingly sent his only- progeny, was included in Insight on the Scriptures, Vol- ume 2, page 736, paragraphs 4 and 5.9. God was doing what in declaring men righteous,as mentioned at Romans 5:16, 18? 11. The ransom is based on what correspondence?10. What did Jesus do that provided the basis for 12, 13. Why do those who are declared righteoushumans to be declared righteous? need God’s mercy and love? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 13
  14. 14. they did not always succeed. Why? Because the prospect of being resurrected to heaventhey had inherited sin. (Rom. 7:18-20) But as actual spirit sons to “rule as kings” withGod could and did do something about that. Jesus Christ.—Read Romans 8:15-17, 23.He accepted the “corresponding ransom”and was willing to apply it in behalf of his God’s Love Manifest to Othershuman servants. 16 Not all who exercise faith and serve God 13 It is not that God owed it to the apostles as loyal Christians expect to “rule as kings”and others to apply the ransom because they with Christ in heaven. Many have a Bible-had performed certain good works. Instead, based hope similar to that of God’s pre-God applied the ransom in their behalf out Christian servants. They hope to live foreverof his mercy and great love. He chose to ac- on a paradise earth. Can they even now re-quit the apostles and others of the judgment ceive a loving gift from God and be viewedagainst them, viewing them as absolved of as righteous with earthly life in view? Basedinherited guilt. Paul made that plain: “By on what Paul wrote to the Romans, the re-this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have assuring answer is yes!been saved through faith; and this not ow- 17 Paul discussed a prime example, Abra-ing to you, it is God’s gift.”—Eph. 2:8. ham, a man of faith who lived before Jeho- 14 Think what a gift it is for the Almighty vah provided a law code to Israel and longto forgive the sin a person inherited as well before Christ opened the way to heavenlyas the wrongs he committed! You could not life. (Heb. 10:19, 20) We read: “It was notcount how many sins individuals commit- through law that Abraham or his seed hadted before becoming Christians; yet, on the the promise that he should be heir of abasis of the ransom, God can forgive those world, but it was through the righteous-sins. Paul wrote: “The gift resulted from ness by faith.” (Rom. 4:13; Jas. 2:23, 24) Somany trespasses in a declaration of righ- God counted faithful Abraham as righteous.teousness.” (Rom. 5:16) The apostles and —Read Romans 4:20-22.others receiving this loving gift (being de- 18 That cannot mean that Abraham wasclared righteous) would have to continue to sinless while serving Jehovah over the de-worship the true God in faith. With what fu- cades. No, he was not righteous in thatture reward? “Those who receive the abun- sense. (Rom. 3:10, 23) However, in his limit-dance of the undeserved kindness and of less wisdom, Jehovah took into accountthe free gift of righteousness [will] rule as Abraham’s exceptional faith and his workskings in life through the one person, Jesus resulting therefrom. In particular, AbrahamChrist.” Indeed, the gift of righteousness exercised faith in the promised “seed” toworks in the opposite direction. The gift come in his line. That Seed proved to be thehas life as its outcome.—Rom. 5:17; read Messiah, or Christ. (Gen. 15:6; 22:15-18) Ac-Luke 22:28-30. cordingly, on the basis of “the ransom paid 15 Those receiving that gift, being de- by Christ Jesus,” the divine Judge is able toclared righteous, become God’s spiritualsons. As joint heirs with Christ, they have 16. How might ones with an earthly hope receive a gift?14, 15. What reward was placed before those 17, 18. (a) In view of Abraham’s faith, how didwhom God declared righteous, but what did they God consider him? (b) How was it that Jehovahstill need to do? could view Abraham as righteous?14 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  15. 15. What good news —by means of Jesus we can be declared righteous!forgive sins that occurred inthe past. Thus, Abraham andother men of faith in pre-Christian times are in linefor a resurrection.—Read Ro-mans 3:24, 25; Ps. 32:1, 2. Enjoy a Righteous Standing Now 19 The fact that the Godof love counted Abraham asrighteous should be hearten-ing for true Christians today. Jehovah did —friendship with God—differs from “the freenot declare him righteous in the sense that gift” the anointed receive. Yet, it certainly is ahe does those whom he anoints with spirit gift that they accept with deep gratitude.to be “joint heirs with Christ.” The limited 21 If you hope to enjoy everlasting life onnumber of that group are “called to be holy earth, you should realize that this opportu-ones” and are accepted as “God’s sons.” nity has not come to you because of a capri-(Rom. 1:7; 8:14, 17, 33) In contrast, Abraham cious act by a human ruler. Rather, it reflectscame to be “Jehovah’s friend”—and that be- the wise purpose of the Universal Sovereign.fore the ransom sacrifice was offered. (Jas. 2: Jehovah has taken progressive steps to ac-23; Isa. 41:8) What, then, about true Chris- complish his purpose. These steps have beentians who hope to live in the restored earthly in line with true justice. More than that,Paradise? they have reflected God’s great love. Well 20 These have not received “the free gift of could Paul say: “God recommends his ownrighteousness” with heavenly life in view love to us in that, while we were yet sinners,“through the release by the ransom paid by Christ died for us.”—Rom. 5:8.Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24; 5:15, 17) Neverthe- 21. What benefits are available because of Jeho-less, they exercise deep faith in God and his vah’s love and justice?provisions, and they manifest their faithby good works. One such work is that of“preaching the kingdom of God . . . and Do You Recall?teaching the things concerning the Lord Je- ˙ Adam’s progeny received whatsus Christ.” (Acts 28:31) Thus, Jehovah can inheritance, and with what result?view these as righteous in the sense that he ˙ How was a corresponding ransomdid Abraham. The gift such ones receive provided, and in what sense was there a correspondence?19. Why should God’s view of Abraham be heart-ening to many today? ˙ The gift of being declared righteous20. God expects what of those whom he today brought what prospect to you?views as righteous, as he did Abraham? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 15
  16. 16. Did Abraham ReallyOwn Camels?C AMELS were among the domestic animals that Abraham received from Pharaoh, says the Bible. (Gen. 12:16) WhenAbraham’s servant went on a long journey to Mesopotamia,he “took ten camels from the camels of his master.” So the Bibleclearly states that Abraham owned camels about the begin-ning of the second millennium B.C.E.—Gen. 24:10. Some do not accept this. The New International Version Ar-chaeological Study Bible reports: “Scholars have debated the his-toricity of these references to camels because most believe that
  17. 17. these animals were not widely domesticated until approxi-mately 1200 B.C., long after the time of Abraham.” Any earlierBiblical reference to camels would therefore be considered ananachronism, or a chronological misplacing. Other scholars, however, argue that although the domesti-cation of camels became a factor of importance about the endof the second millennium, this does not mean that camelswere not used earlier. The book Civilizations of the Ancient NearEast states: “Recent research has suggested that the domestica-tion of the camel took place in southeastern Arabia some timein the third millennium [B.C.E.]. Originally, it was probablybred for its milk, hair, leather, and meat, but it cannot havebeen long before its usefulness as a beast of burden became ap-parent.” This dating to before Abraham’s time seems to be sup-ported by bone fragments and other archaeological remains. Written evidence also exists. The same reference work says:“In Mesopotamia, cuneiform lists mention the creature [thecamel] and several seals depict it, indicating that the animalmay have reached Mesopotamia by the beginning of the sec-ond millennium,” that is, by Abraham’s time. Some scholars believe that South Arabian merchants in-volved in the incense trade used camels to transport theirgoods northward through the desert, heading to such areas asEgypt and Syria and thereby introducing camels to theseareas. This trade was probably common as early as 2000 B.C.E.Interestingly, Genesis 37:25-28 mentions Ishmaelite merchantswho used camels to transport incense to Egypt about a hun-dred years after the time of Abraham. Perhaps camels were not widely used in the ancient NearEast at the beginning of the second millennium B.C.E., but evi-dence seems to confirm that they were not completely un-known. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia thereforeconcludes: “It is no longer necessary to regard the mention ofcamels in the patriarchal narratives as anachronisms, sincethere is ample archeological evidence for the domestication ofthe camel before the time of the patriarchs.” THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 17
  18. 18. Rome Troas‘Bring the Scrolls, Ephesus Especially the Parchments’W ITH the above words, the apostle Paul urged his fellow missionary Timothyto bring him some written material. To what “parchments” in this verse, Bible scholar A. T. Robertson observed: “These in particu- lar would likely be copies of Old Testamentkinds of scrolls and parchments was Paul re- books, parchment being more expensiveferring? What led him to say this? And what than papyrus.” From youth on, Paul wascan we learn from this request? “educated . . . at the feet of Gamaliel,” who By the middle of the first century C.E. taught the Mosaic Law and was esteemed bywhen Paul wrote these words, the 39 books all the people. So it is understandable thatof the Hebrew Scriptures had been divided Paul would have obtained personal copies ofinto either 22 or 24 books, most of which the scrolls of God’s Word.—Acts 5:34; 22:3.were likely in separate scrolls. Professor AlanMillard noted that these scrolls, though ex- Christians’ Use of Scrollspensive, were “not . . . out of the reach of the Still, those who owned scrolls of the Holyreasonably well-to-do.” Some had access to Scriptures were privileged. How, then, didat least one of them. For example, the Ethio- most of the Christians in those days gain ac-pian eunuch had a scroll in his chariot and cess to the Word of God? Paul’s earlier letterwas “reading aloud the prophet Isaiah.” He to Timothy gives us a hint. He wrote: “Whilewas ‘in power under Candace queen of the I am coming, continue applying yourself toEthiopians and was over all her treasure.’ He public reading.” (1 Tim. 4:13) Public readingmust have been wealthy enough to own por- was a part of the meeting program of Chris-tions of the Scriptures.—Acts 8:27, 28. tian congregations, a traditional practice In his request to Timothy, Paul wrote: among God’s people since the time of Mo-“When you come, bring the cloak I left at ses.—Acts 13:15; 15:21; 2 Cor. 3:15.Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially As an elder, Timothy had to ‘apply him-the parchments.” (2 Tim. 4:13) This suggests self’ to reading out loud, which would bene-that Paul owned a number of books. What fit those who did not own copies of thewould have had a higher place in his library Scriptures. Surely, during the public readingthan the Word of God? Regarding the word of the Word of God, all listened attentively18 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  19. 19. so as not to miss a word, and parents and maintained a longing for God’s Word dur-children must have discussed at home what ing this most distressing period of his life.was read at the meetings. Do you not see this as a secret to his always The well-known Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah being spiritually alive and active as well asis almost 24 feet (7.3 m) in length. With a his being a source of encouragement torod at each end and often with a cover for many?protection, a scroll would be heavy. Probably Today, how blessed we are if we own a per-most Christians could not carry many with sonal copy of the complete Bible! Some ofthem for preaching. Even if Paul possessed us even have several copies and editions.some scrolls of the Scriptures for his person- Like Paul, we need to cultivate eagerness toal use, he likely could not take on his travels gain a deeper understanding of the Scrip-all the scrolls he owned. Evidently he left tures. Of the 14 inspired letters Paul wassome with his friend Carpus in Troas. privileged to write, his second to Timothy was the last. His personal request appears to- What Can We Learn From ward the end of the book. In fact, Paul’s en- Paul’s Example? treaty to Timothy ‘to bring the scrolls, espe- Just before making his request, Paul, im- cially the parchments,’ was one of his finalprisoned in Rome for a second time, wrote: wishes on record.“I have fought the fine fight, I have run the Is it your ardent desire to fight the finecourse to the finish . . . From this time on fight of the faith to the finish, just as Paulthere is reserved for me the crown of righ- did? Do you want to keep yourself spiritual-teousness.” (2 Tim. 4:7, 8) He likely wrote ly stimulated and prepared to engage in thethese words about 65 C.E. during the perse- witnessing work for as long as the Lordcution by Nero. This time the imprison- wants us to continue? Then why not doment was very severe. In fact, he sensed as Paul encouraged Christians to do? “Paythat his execution was imminent. (2 Tim. constant attention to yourself and to your1:16; 4:6) Understandably, Paul expressed teaching” by eager and constant study ofhis heartfelt desire to have his scrolls on the Bible, which is now available to morehand. Though he was confident that he had people than ever in forms more convenientfought the fine fight to the finish, he longed than the scrolls.—1 Tim. 4:16.to continue strengthening himself by study-ing the Word of God. Timothy was probably still in Ephesuswhen he received Paul’s request. (1 Tim. 1:3)From Ephesus to Rome via Troas is roughly1,000 miles (1,600 km). In the same letter,Paul urged Timothy: “Do your utmost to ar-rive before winter.” (2 Tim. 4:21) The Bibledoes not reveal whether Timothy found aboat to get him to Rome by the time Paul de-sired. What can we learn from Paul’s request for“the scrolls, especially the parchments”? He
  20. 20. “SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD IN YOUR CARE” “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly.”—1 PET. 5:2.S OMETIME before Nero launched his per- secution against Christians in Rome, theapostle Peter wrote his first letter. He wanted over’ the flock. (1 Thess. 5:12) A consider- ation of these matters will help us to take a firm stand against our chief Adversary, rec-to strengthen his fellow believers. The Dev- ognizing that he is the one with whom weil was ‘walking about,’ seeking to devour have a wrestling.—Eph. 6:12.Christians. To stand firm against him, theyneeded to ‘keep their senses’ and to ‘humble Shepherd the Flock of Godthemselves under the mighty hand of God.’ 4 Peter encouraged the older men among(1 Pet. 5:6, 8) They also needed to stay unit- the first-century Christians to have a godlyed. They could not afford to be “biting and view of the flock entrusted to them. (Readdevouring one another,” for that could re- 1 Peter 5:1, 2.) Although he was considered asult in their being “annihilated by one an- pillar in the congregation, Peter did not talkother.”—Gal. 5:15. condescendingly to the elders. Rather, he 2 Today, we face a similar situation. The admonished them as fellow elders. (Gal. 2:9)Devil is looking for opportunities to devour With a spirit like Peter’s, the Governingus. (Rev. 12:12) And ahead of us looms a Body today exhorts congregation elders to“great tribulation such as has not occurred strive to fulfill the heavy responsibility ofsince the world’s beginning.” (Matt. 24:21) shepherding God’s flock. 5 The apostle wrote that the older menJust as first-century Christians had to guardagainst squabbling among themselves, so were to ‘shepherd the flock of God in theirmust we. To accomplish this, at times we care.’ It was most important for them to rec-need help from qualified older men. ognize that the flock belongs to Jehovah and 3 Let us consider how elders can enhance Jesus Christ. The elders had to render an ac-their appreciation for the privilege of shep- count about how they kept watch over God’sherding ‘the flock of God in their care.’ sheep. Suppose that a close friend of yours(1 Pet. 5:2) Thereafter, we will reflect on the asked you to look after his children while heproper way of carrying out the shepherding was away. Would you not take good care ofwork. In the next article, we will examine them and feed them? If one child got sick,how the congregation can ‘have regard for would you not make sure that he receivedthose who are working hard and presiding any needed medical help? Similarly, the el- ders in the congregation are “to shepherd1. What circumstances were Christians facing the congregation of God, which he pur-when Peter wrote his first letter?2, 3. Against whom should we be fighting, and 4, 5. How should the older men view the flock? Il-what are we going to consider in this series? lustrate.20 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  21. 21. Like shepherds in ancient times, elders today must protect the “sheep” in their carechased with the blood of his own Son.” against the lionlike attacks of the Devil. This(Acts 20:28) They keep in mind that each may involve a courageous act of figura-sheep was bought with the precious blood of tively snatching the sheep from the Dev-Christ Jesus. Being accountable, the elders il’s jaws. By taking hold of the wild beastfeed, protect, and care for the flock. by the beard, so to speak, elders can res- 6 Think of the responsibilities that literal cue the sheep. They may reason with un-shepherds had in Bible times. They had to wary brothers who are tempted by Satan’sput up with the heat of the day and the cold snares. (Read Jude 22, 23.) Elders, of course,of the night in order to tend the flock. (Gen. do not accomplish this without Jehovah’s31:40) They even risked their life for the help. They handle an injured sheep tender-sheep. The shepherd boy David rescued his ly, bandaging him and applying the sooth-flock from wild beasts, including a lion and a ing balm of God’s Word. 8 A literal shepherd also guided the flockbear. With regard to each one, David saidthat he “grabbed hold of its beard and struck to an appropriate pasture and a wateringit down and put it to death.” (1 Sam. 17:34, place. Likewise, elders direct the flock to the35) What bravery! How close he must have congregation, encouraging regular meetingcome to the beast’s jaws! Still, he did not attendance so that the flock can be well-fedhold back from saving the sheep. and receive “their food at the proper time.” 7 Today, elders need to be on guard (Matt. 24:45) The elders may need to spend extra time helping those who are spiritual-6. What was the responsibility of ancient shep- ly sick to accept nourishment from God’sherds? Word. A stray sheep may be trying to return7. How may elders snatch the sheep from Satan’sjaws, figuratively speaking? 8. To where do elders guide the flock, and how? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 21
  22. 22. to the flock. Instead of intimidating their doing so. (Matt. 22:37-39) They give ofbrother, the elders tenderly explain Scriptur- themselves, not grudgingly, but willingly.al principles and show him how he can ap- 12 To what extent should the elders give ofply these in his life. themselves? In caring for the sheep, they 9 When you are sick, what kind of doctor imitate the apostle Paul, even as he imitateddo you prefer? One who spends little time Jesus. (1 Cor. 11:1) Having tender affectionlistening to you and then quickly prescribes for the Thessalonian brothers, Paul and hismedication so as to be free to see the next pa- companions were well-pleased to impart totient? Or would you rather consult a doctor them ‘not only the good news of God butwho hears you out, explains what might be also their own souls.’ When doing so, theywrong with you, and outlines possible treat- became gentle, “as when a nursing motherments? cherishes her own children.” (1 Thess. 2:7, 8) 10 Likewise, the elders can listen to the Paul understood how a nursing mother feltspiritually sick person and help to heal the about her children. She would do anythingwound, thus figuratively “greasing him with for them, including getting up in the middleoil in the name of Jehovah.” (Read James 5: of the night to feed them. 13 The elders need to take care to maintain14, 15.) Like the balsam from Gilead, God’sWord can soothe the ailing one. (Jer. 8:22; balance between shepherding responsibili-Ezek. 34:16) When applied, Bible principles ties and obligations to their own family.can help the faltering one to regain spiritual (1 Tim. 5:8) The time that elders spend withbalance. Yes, the elders do much good once the congregation is precious time away fromthey hear the ailing sheep’s concerns and their family. One way to balance the two re-pray with him. sponsibilities is to invite others to their Fam- ily Worship evening on occasion. Over the Not Under Compulsion but Willingly years, Masanao, an elder in Japan, invited 11 Peter next reminded the older men how single ones and spiritually fatherless fami-the shepherding work should and should lies to his family’s study. In time, some whonot be done. Elders are to shepherd the flock were helped became elders themselves andof God, “not under compulsion, but willing- imitated Masanao’s fine example.ly.” What moves elders to serve their broth-ers willingly? Well, what moved Peter to Shun Dishonest Gain —Shepherd the Flock Eagerlyshepherd and feed Jesus’ sheep? A key was 14 Peter also encouraged elders to shep-his love and affection for the Lord. (John herd the flock, “neither for love of dishonest21:15-17) Because of love, elders “live no gain, but eagerly.” The work of the elderslonger for themselves, but for him who died takes up a considerable amount of time, yetfor them.” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15) This love, com- they do not expect any financial compensa-bined with their love for God and their tion. Peter saw the need to warn his fellowbrothers, compels elders to serve the flock,devoting their efforts, resources, and time to 12. To what extent did the apostle Paul give of him- self?9, 10. How should elders care for spiritually ailing 13. Elders need to maintain what balance?ones? 14, 15. Why should elders guard against the “love11. What moves elders to shepherd the flock of God of dishonest gain,” and how can they imitate Paul inwillingly? this regard?22 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  23. 23. older men about the danger of shepherding the nations, they wanted to have a promi-the flock out of “love of dishonest gain.” nent position.—Read Mark 10:42-45.That danger is evident in the life of luxury 18 Today, brothers who are “reaching outled by religious leaders of “Babylon the for an office of overseer” do well to examineGreat” while many people are forced to lead themselves as to why they are reaching out.a life of poverty. (Rev. 18:2, 3) The elders to- (1 Tim. 3:1) Those who are now elders mayday have good reason to be on guard against want to ask themselves frankly whether theyany tendency in that direction. have a desire for authority or prominence as 15 Paul set a fine example for Christian el- some of the apostles did. If the apostles hadders. Though he was an apostle and could difficulty in this area, then elders can appre-have been “an expensive burden” on Chris- ciate that they need to work hard to avoidtians in Thessalonica, he did not “eat food any worldly tendency to enjoy having au-from anyone free.” Rather, he ‘labored and thority over others.toiled night and day.’ (2 Thess. 3:8) Many 19 Granted, there are times when the el-present-day elders, including those who are ders need to be firm, such as when protect-in the traveling work, set a fine example in ing the flock from “oppressive wolves.” (Actsthis regard. Although they accept hospitality 20:28-30) Paul told Titus to keep “exhortingfrom fellow believers, they do not “put an ex- and reproving with full authority.” (Titus 2:pensive burden” upon anyone.—1 Thess. 2:9. 15) Yet, even when having to take such ac- 16 The elders shepherd the flock “eager- tion, the elders try to dignify the ones wholy.” Their eagerness is evident in their self- are involved. They appreciate that rathersacrificing attitude in helping the flock. than harsh criticism, gentle persuasion isHowever, that does not mean that they force usually more effective in reaching heartsthe flock to serve Jehovah; nor do loving el- and in moving someone to follow a rightders encourage others to serve God out of a course. 20 Christ’s fine example motivates elderscompetitive spirit. (Gal. 5:26) Elders appreci-ate that each sheep is unique. They are ea- to love the flock. (John 13:12-15) Ourger to help their brothers to serve Jehovah hearts are warmed as we read how hehappily. taught his disciples in the preaching Not Lording It Over the Flock 19. What should elders remember when taking ac- tion to protect the flock? but Being Examples 20. How can elders imitate Jesus in setting a fine ex- 17 As we have discussed, the elders should ample?keep in mind that the flock they are shep-herding is God’s, not their own. They arecareful not ‘to lord it over those who are By Way of ReviewGod’s inheritance.’ (Read 1 Peter 5:3.) At ˙ Why was it appropriate for Peter totimes, Jesus’ apostles reached out with the admonish fellow elders to shepherdwrong motive. Like those who were ruling the flock of God in their care? ˙ How should elders shepherd spiritu-16. What does it mean to shepherd the flock “ea- ally ailing ones?gerly”?17, 18. (a) Why did the apostles at times have dif- ˙ What moves elders to shepherd theficulty grasping Jesus’ teaching on humility? (b) In flock of God in their care?what similar situation might we find ourselves? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 23
  24. 24. and disciple-making work. His pattern of hu- older men by referring to a promise for themility touched the hearts of his disciples, future. (Read 1 Peter 5:4.) The anointedmotivating them to follow a course reflect- overseers “will receive the unfadable crowning ‘lowliness of mind considering that the of glory” with Christ in heaven. The under-others were superior to them.’ (Phil. 2:3) El- shepherds of the “other sheep” will have theders today are likewise moved to follow Je- privilege of shepherding the flock of God onsus’ example, and they, in turn, want to be earth under the rulership of “the chief shep-“examples to the flock.” herd.” (John 10:16) The next article will dis- 21 Peter concluded his admonition to the cuss ways in which congregation members can support those appointed to take the21. To what reward can elders look forward? lead. “HAVE REGARD FOR THOSE WHO ARE WORKING HARD AMONG YOU” “Have regard for those who are working hard among you and presiding over you in the Lord and admonishing you.”—1 THESS. 5:12.I MAGINE yourself as a member of the first- Understandably, after leaving Thessalo- 2 century Thessalonian congregation, one nica, Paul was concerned about the fledglingof the earliest to be established in Europe. congregation. He tried to return, but “SatanThe apostle Paul had spent considerable cut across” his path. So he sent Timothy totime building up the brothers there. He encourage the congregation. (1 Thess. 2:18;may have appointed older men to take the 3:2) When Timothy brought back a good re-lead, as was the case in other congregations. port, Paul was moved to write the Thessalo-(Acts 14:23) But after the congregation was nians a letter. Among other things, Paul en-formed, the Jews organized a mob to rid the couraged them to ‘have regard for those whocity of Paul and Silas. The Christians who re- were presiding over them.’—Read 1 Thessa-mained might have felt deserted, perhaps lonians 5:12, 13. 3 The brothers who were taking the leadeven fearful. among the Thessalonian Christians were1, 2. (a) What was the situation of the Thessalo-nian congregation when Paul wrote his first letter to 3. What reasons did Thessalonian Christians havethem? (b) What did Paul encourage the Thessalo- for giving extraordinary consideration to the oldernians to do? men?24 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  25. 25. not as experienced as Paul and his traveling slave’s direction, the local elders work hardcompanions; nor did they have the rich spir- to feed their brothers spiritually. Those initual heritage of the elders in Jerusalem. Af- the congregation may have Bible-based liter-ter all, the congregation had existed for less ature in abundance, and in some languagesthan a year! Still, those in the congregation such tools as the Watch Tower Publicationshad reason to be grateful for their older Index and Watchtower Library on CD-ROMmen, who were “working hard” and “presid- are available. To satisfy the congregation’sing over” the congregation and “admonish- spiritual needs, the elders spend hours pre-ing” the brothers. Indeed, they had good paring meeting parts so that they can pre-reason to “give [the elders] more than ex- sent the assigned information in a meaning-traordinary consideration in love.” This re- ful way. Have you thought about how muchquest was followed by Paul’s counsel to “be time the elders spend preparing their partspeaceable with one another.” If you had for meetings, assemblies, and conventions?been there in Thessalonica, would you have 6 The older men in Thessalonica remem-shown deep appreciation for the elders’ bered the fine example that Paul set in shep-work? How do you view the “gifts in men” herding the flock. It was not a matter of hiswhom God through Christ has provided in making calls in a mechanical or perfunctoryyour congregation?—Eph. 4:8. way. As discussed in the preceding article, Paul “became gentle . . . , as when a nursing “Working Hard” mother cherishes her own children.” (Read 4 After sending Paul and Silas to Beroea, 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8.) He was even willinghow were the older men in Thessalonica ‘to impart his own soul’! When shepherd-“working hard”? Imitating Paul, they no ing, the older men were to be like him.doubt taught the congregation, using the 7 Christian shepherds today imitate PaulScriptures. ‘Did the Thessalonian Christians by cherishing the flock. By nature, somehave appreciation for God’s Word?’ you may sheep may not be warm and companion-wonder. After all, the Bible says that the able. Still, the elders try to show insight andBeroeans were “more noble-minded than “find good” in them. (Prov. 16:20) True, be-those in Thessalonica, . . . carefully examin- ing imperfect, an elder may struggle to haveing the Scriptures daily.” (Acts 17:11) The a positive view of each one. Yet, as he triescomparison, however, was with the Thessa- his best to be gentle toward all, should helonian Jews in general, not with the Chris- not be commended for his effort to be atians. Those who became believers ‘accepted good shepherd under Christ?God’s word, not as the word of men, but as 8 We all have reason to “be submissive” tothe word of God.’ (1 Thess. 2:13) The older the elders. As Paul wrote, ‘they are keepingmen must have worked hard to feed such watch over our souls.’ (Heb. 13:17) That ex-ones spiritually. pression reminds us of the literal shepherd 5 Today, the faithful and discreet slave who forgoes sleep in order to protect hisclass is providing God’s flock with “food atthe proper time.” (Matt. 24:45) Under the 6, 7. (a) What example did the older men in Thes- salonica have in Paul? (b) Why might it be challeng-4, 5. Why was it hard work for the older men in ing for elders today to imitate Paul?Paul’s day to teach the congregation, and why is it 8, 9. What are some ways that present-day eldersthat way today? ‘keep watch over our souls’? THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 25
  26. 26. flock. Likewise, the elders today may sacri- place decently and by arrangement.”—1 Cor.fice some sleep while tending to the needs of 14:40.those who have poor health or emotional orspiritual problems. For example, brothers “Presiding Over You”on Hospital Liaison Committees have been 11 Paul described the hardworking olderawakened from sleep to respond to a medi- men of Thessalonica as “presiding over”cal crisis. Yet, when we face such a situation, the congregation. The word in the origi-how appreciative we are of their service! nal language implies “standing before” and 9 Elders on Regional Building Committees can be rendered “directing; taking the leadand relief committees work hard to help the among.” (1 Thess. 5:12; ftn.) Paul referred tobrothers. They deserve our wholehearted the same elders as “working hard.” He wassupport! Consider the relief effort after Cy- talking, not about one “presiding overseer,”clone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008. To reach but about all the older men in the congrega-the Bothingone Congregation in the hard- tion. Today, most elders stand before thehit Irrawaddy Delta region, the relief team congregation and conduct meetings. The re-traveled through devastated terrain strewn cent adjustment to employ the designationwith corpses. When the local brothers saw “coordinator of the body of elders” helps us to view all the elders as members of a unifiedthat the first relief team to reach Bothingone body.included their former circuit overseer, they 12 “Presiding over” the congregation in-cried out: “Look! It’s our circuit overseer! Je-hovah has saved us!” Do you appreciate the volves more than just teaching. The same ex-hard work that the elders render day and pression is used at 1 Timothy 3:4. Paul saidnight? Some elders are appointed to serve that an overseer should be “a man presidingon special committees to handle difficult ju- over his own household in a fine manner,dicial problems. These elders do not brag having children in subjection with all seri-about what they have accomplished; yet ousness.” Here the expression “presidingthose who benefit from their service are real- over” obviously includes not only teachingly grateful.—Matt. 6:2-4. his children but also taking the lead in the 10 Many elders today also have paper- family and “having children in subjection.” Yes, elders take the lead in the congregation,work to do. For example, the coordinator of helping all to be in subjection to Jehovah.the body of elders prepares the schedules —1 Tim. 3:5.for weekly meetings. The congregation sec- 13 In order to preside well over the flock,retary compiles the monthly and annual the elders discuss among themselves how tofield service reports. The school overseer address the needs of the congregation. Itgives careful thought to the school schedule. might be more efficient if one elder made allEvery three months, congregation account the decisions. Yet, following the example ofrecords are audited. The elders read letters the first-century governing body, modern-from the branch office and apply the direc- day bodies of elders discuss matters freely,tion that helps maintain “the oneness in thefaith.” (Eph. 4:3, 13) Through the efforts of 11, 12. Who preside over the congregation, andsuch hardworking elders, “all things take what does doing so involve? 13. Why might it take time to reach a decision at an10. What lesser-known work do elders do? elders’ meeting?26 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  27. 27. seeking guidance from the Scriptures. Their cord? (3 John 9, 10) The whole congregationgoal is to apply Scriptural principles to the will surely suffer. If Satan tried to upset theneeds of the local congregation. This is most first-century congregation, we can be sureeffective when each elder prepares for the el- that he wants to disrupt the peace of theders’ meetings, considering the Scriptures congregation today. He might appeal to self-and the guidelines from the faithful and dis- ish human tendencies, such as the desire forcreet slave class. Of course, this takes time. prominence. Thus, elders need to cultivateWhen there is a difference of opinion, as humility and work together as a unifiedoccurred when the first-century governing body. How we appreciate the humility of thebody considered the matter of circumcision, elders who do cooperate as a body!extra time and research might be needed toreach a consensus based on the Scriptures. “Admonishing You”—Acts 15:2, 6, 7, 12-14, 28. 15Paul then highlighted a difficult yet im- 14 What might happen if one elder insists portant task of the older men: admonishingon having his way or tries to promote his the flock. In the Christian Greek Scriptures,own ideas? Or what if someone—like Diotre- only Paul used the Greek term translatedphes in the first century—sows seeds of dis- “admonish.” It can refer to strong counsel14. Do you appreciate that the body of elders work 15. What motive do elders have when admonish-together in unity? Why do you feel that way? ing a brother or a sister? Do you appreciate the many ways in which the elders shepherd the congregation?
  28. 28. but does not indicate hostility. (Acts 20:31; seemed medically inexplicable. Then a phy-2 Thess. 3:15) For instance, Paul wrote to the sician correctly identified the problem, butCorinthians: “I am writing these things, not the diagnosis was rather hard to accept.to shame you, but to admonish you as my Would you hold a grudge against that doc-beloved children.” (1 Cor. 4:14) His motive tor? No! Even if he recommended an opera-behind the admonition was loving concern tion, you would likely agree to the treatment,for others. believing it to be for your benefit. The way 16 The elders bear in mind the importance the doctor conveyed the information mayof the manner in which they admonish oth- have a bearing on your feelings, but woulders. They strive to imitate Paul by being you let that determine your decision? Prob-kind, loving, and helpful. (Read 1 Thessalo- ably not. Likewise, do not allow the way younians 2:11, 12.) Of course, the elders ‘hold are admonished to prevent you from listen-firmly to the faithful word so that they may ing to those whom Jehovah and Jesus may bebe able to exhort by teaching that is health- using to let you know how you can help orful.’—Titus 1:5-9. protect yourself spiritually. 17 Of course, elders are imperfect and may Appreciate Jehovah’ssay things that they later regret. (1 Ki. 8:46; Provision of the EldersJas. 3:8) Also, elders know that for spiritual 19 What would you do if you received abrothers and sisters, receiving counsel is nor- gift especially made for you? Would youmally not ‘joyous but grievous.’ (Heb. 12:11) show your appreciation by using it? TheSo when an elder approaches someone with “gifts in men” are what Jehovah through Je-words of admonition, he likely does so after sus Christ has provided for you. One waygiving the matter much consideration and you can show your gratitude for these gifts ispraying over it. If you have been admon- by listening intently to talks given by the el-ished, do you appreciate that elder’s loving ders and by trying to apply the points theyconcern? bring out. You can also show your apprecia- 18 Suppose you had a health problem that tion by making meaningful comments at16. Elders do well to keep what in mind when ad- meetings. Support the work in which the el-monishing others? ders are taking the lead, such as the field17, 18. What should you keep in mind if you re- ministry. If you have benefited from counselceive admonition from an elder? you received from a certain elder, why not tell him so? In addition, why not show your appreciation for the elders’ families? Re- Do You Recall? member, for an elder to work hard in the ˙ What reasons did the Thessalonian congregation, his family is sacrificing time Christians have to appreciate those spent with him. taking the lead among them? 20 Yes, we have ample reason to show grat- ˙ How do the elders in your congrega- tion work hard for you? itude for the elders, who are working hard among us, presiding over us, and admonish- ˙ How do you benefit from the elders’ presiding over you? ing us. These “gifts in men” are truly a lov- ing provision from Jehovah! ˙ If given admonition by an elder, what should you keep in mind? 19, 20. How may you show appreciation for the “gifts in men”?28 THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011
  29. 29. “Make Your ever, young Christians should ask themselves: ‘How much of my time might those activi- Way Successful” ties demand? What about as- sociations? What kind of spirit am I exposed to when engaging How? in those activities? And what might become the focus of my life?’ You likely realize that one could become so obsessed with“S UCCESS”—an eye-catching word! Some have climbed the corporate ladder and have achieved great success in getting rich such activities that little time or energy would be left for maintaining a relationship with God. You can see, then, why setting and making a name for themselves. Others priorities is important.—Eph. 5:15-17. have dreamed of success but have met with Consider the case of Wiktor.1 He relates: utter failure. “When I was 12, I joined a volleyball club. To a large extent, success depends on In time, I won many prizes and awards. I had what you make the focus of your life. Two an opportunity to become a star.” In time, other important factors are how you use Wiktor became disturbed about the effect your time and energy and whether you that his pursuit of the sport was having on show initiative. his spirituality. One day, he fell asleep while Many Christians have found that having trying to read the Bible. Also, he recognized a full share in the ministry has brought that he derived little joy from the field min- them great satisfaction. Having the full- istry. “The sport robbed me of my energy, time service as a career has helped young and soon I realized that it was also robbing and old alike to be successful. Yet, some may me of my spiritual zeal. I knew I was not do- feel that the ministry is somewhat boring ing all that I could.” and give it a secondary place in their lives as Higher Education? they pursue other goals. Why might this A Christian has a Scriptural obligation to happen? What can you do to avoid losing care for his family, and that includes provid- sight of what is truly valuable? And how can ing for their material needs. (1 Tim. 5:8) you “make your way successful”?—Josh. 1:8. Still, does this really require a college or a Extracurricular Activities and Hobbies university degree? Christian youths need to maintain the It would be good to consider what effect proper balance between serving the true pursuing higher education could have on God and participating in other activities. one’s relationship with Jehovah. Let us il- Those who do so are heading for success in lustrate this by considering a Scriptural ex- life and deserve warm commendation. ample. Some young Christians, though, become Baruch was the secretary to the prophet heavily involved in extracurricular ac- Jeremiah. At one point, rather than focusing tivities and hobbies. Such activities may on the privileges he had in serving Jehovah, not in themselves be objectionable. How- 1 Some names have been changed. THE WATCHTOWER ˙ JUNE 15, 2011 29

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