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MAR CH 2 0 18



APRIL 30 –JUNE 3, 2018
Two brothers offer a tract to a painter
on the bridge in front of Kaštilac,
a fortress built in the 16th century, 2,123
near the city of Split

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


21 WEEK OF MAY 21-27
Baptism—A Requirement for Christians Discipline—Evidence of God’s Love

9 WEEK OF MAY 7-13

Parents, Are You Helping Your Child “Listen to Discipline and Become Wise”
Progress to Baptism?
These two articles will help us to understand how
What should be our goal when we teach a Bible stu- God’s discipline proves how much he loves us. How
dent? Why would it be a mistake to put off getting does God discipline us? How should we respond
baptized? What has prevented some Christian par- to his discipline? And how can we develop self-
ents from encouraging their children to get bap- discipline? Find the answers in these articles.
tized? These two articles will answer those ques-
tions and others.


15 WEEK OF MAY 14-20

The Delightful Course of Hospitality
—So Needed!
The apostle Peter urged Christians in the first centu-
ry: “Be hospitable to one another.” (1 Peter 4:9)
Why is this counsel so important in our day? What
are some ways that we can be hospitable? And how
can we be good guests? This article will answer
those questions.

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for sale. It is provided
34567 ˙
March 2018
Vol. 139, No. 4 ENGLISH
as part of a worldwide
Bible educational work Unless otherwise The Watchtower (ISSN 0043-1087) Issue 4 March 2018 is published by
supported by voluntary indicated, Scripture Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.; L. Weaver, Jr., Pres-
donations. quotations are from ident; G. F. Simonis, Secretary-Treasurer; 1000 Red Mills Road, Wallkill,
the modern-language NY 12589-3299, and by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada,
To make a donation, New World Translation PO Box 4100, Georgetown, ON L7G 4Y4. 5 2017 Watch Tower Bible and Tract
please visit of the Holy Scriptures. Society of Pennsylvania. Printed in Canada.
Baptism—A Requirement
for Christians
“Baptism . . . is also now saving you.”—1 PETER 3:21.

MARIA’S parents watched as their young daughter stood SONGS: 52, 41

up with the others who wanted to get baptized. The
speaker asked two questions. Maria answered in a loud WHAT DO WE LEARN
and clear voice. Soon after that, she got baptized. ABOUT BAPTISM FROM
2 Maria’s parents were very proud that their daughter
had dedicated her life to Jehovah and got baptized. But ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

before that, Maria’s mother had been a little concerned. 1 Peter 3:20, 21
She wondered: ‘Is Maria too young to get baptized? Does
she really understand how serious it is to dedicate herself
to Jehovah? Should she wait longer to get baptized?’
Matthew 28:19, 20
Many loving parents ask themselves similar questions
when their child says that he or she wants to get baptized.
(Ecclesiastes 5:5) After all, the most important decision ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Acts 22:16
1, 2. (a) How do some parents feel when their child wants to get bap-
tized? (b) Why are those who want to get baptized asked if they have
dedicated themselves to Jehovah? (See opening picture.)

anyone can make is to dedicate his life
to Jehovah and get baptized.—See the
Have You Dedicated box “Have You Dedicated Yourself to
Yourself to Jehovah? Jehovah?”
3 The apostle Peter compared bap-

tism to Noah’s building the ark. He

Before Bible students can be baptized as
said: “Baptism, which corresponds to
Jehovah’s Witnesses, the brother who gives
the baptism talk asks them to answer two
this, is also now saving you.” (Read
questions in front of the audience. The first 1 Peter 3:20, 21.) The ark gave ob-
question is, “On the basis of the sacrifice vious proof to others that Noah whole-
of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your heartedly wanted to do God’s will.
sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to Noah faithfully did the work Jehovah
do his will?” gave him to do. Because of Noah’s
How do we know that those who present faith, Jehovah saved him and his fam-
themselves for baptism have already ded- ily during the Flood. What was Peter
icated themselves to Jehovah? Jesus told
trying to teach us?
his followers to make disciples and baptize
4 When people saw the ark, they
them. (Matthew 28:19, 20) About a year be-
fore that, Jesus had said to his apostles and knew that Noah had faith in God.
other disciples: “If anyone wants to come af- When people see someone getting bap-
ter me, let him disown himself and pick up tized, they know that he has dedicated
his torture stake and keep following me.” his life to God because of his faith
—Matthew 16:24. in the resurrected Christ. Like Noah,
While Jesus was on earth, his whole life those who get baptized obey God and
was focused on doing Jehovah’s will. So Bi-
do the work he has given them to do.
ble students who want to do all the things
that Jesus commanded his followers must
And just as Jehovah saved Noah dur-
disown themselves as he did. They must ing the Flood, he will save his loyal bap-
dedicate themselves completely to Jehovah. tized servants when he destroys this
Like Jesus, they make God’s will the most im- wicked world. (Mark 13:10; Revelation
portant thing in their life. (Matthew 26:39) 7:9, 10) Clearly, it is very important to
When a person gets baptized, he makes it dedicate our life to Jehovah and get
clear to others that he has disowned him- baptized. In fact, if someone delays
self and is determined to serve God with
getting baptized, he could lose the op-
all his strength, possessions, and abilities.
(Romans 12:1) That is why the speaker asks
portunity to live forever.
5 Now that we know how serious bap-
those who want to get baptized to confirm
that they have already dedicated themselves
3, 4. (a) How did the apostle Peter teach us
to Jehovah to do his will. that baptism is very important? (b) Why did
Peter compare baptism to Noah’s building the
5. What will we learn in this article?
tism is, we need to know the answer to 8 In the year 33, soon after his resur-
these three questions: What does the rection, Jesus spoke to more than 500
Bible say about baptism? What must a men, women, and possibly even chil-
person do before he can get baptized? dren. This may have been the time
Why should we always remember how when he said: “Go, therefore, and make
important baptism is when we teach disciples of people of all the nations,
our children or a Bible student? baptizing them in the name of the Fa-
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ther and of the Son and of the holy spir-
ABOUT BAPTISM it, teaching them to observe all the
6 In the Bible, the first person we things I have commanded you.” (Mat-
read about who baptized others was thew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 15:6) Je-
John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:1-6) sus commanded his followers to make
Why did people come to him to get disciples. Anyone who wants to be his
baptized? They did so to show that disciple, or take his “yoke,” has to get
they had repented of their sins, that is, baptized. (Matthew 11:29, 30) To serve
they admitted that they had disobeyed God in the way that pleases Him, a per-
the Law of Moses and were deeply sor- son has to accept that God uses Jesus
ry. But the most important baptism to accomplish His will. Then, that per-
that John performed had a completely son can get baptized with God’s ap-
different meaning. John had the great proval. The Bible gives much evidence
honor of baptizing Jesus, God’s per- that Jesus’ early disciples knew how im-
fect Son. (Matthew 3:13-17) Jesus had portant it was to get baptized. They did
never sinned. He did not need to re- not think that they should wait and get
pent. (1 Peter 2:22) So why did Jesus baptized later.—Acts 2:41; 9:18; 16:14,
get baptized? To show that he was 15, 32, 33.
ready to use his life to do God’s will.
7 After Jesus began preaching, his 9 Read Acts 8:35, 36. An Ethiopi-
disciples started to baptize others. an man who had accepted the Jewish
(John 3:22; 4:1, 2) Those people also faith was on his way home after wor-
got baptized because they had repent- shipping at the temple in Jerusalem.
ed of their sins against the Law of Mo- Jehovah’s angel sent Philip to preach
ses. But after Jesus died and was resur- to him, and Philip taught him “the
rected, those who wanted to be his good news about Jesus.” How did the
disciples would have to get baptized
for a different reason. 8. (a) What command did Jesus give after his
resurrection? (b) Why do Christians need to get
6, 7. (a) What did John’s baptism mean? baptized?
(b) Whose baptism was different from all others, 9, 10. What can we learn about baptism from
and why? the Ethiopian man and from Saul?

MARCH 2018 5
Ethiopian man react? He understood they love and trust what the Bible says,
how important it was to accept Jesus they are eager to dedicate their life to
as Lord, and he wanted to do what Je- Jehovah and get baptized. In fact, the
hovah requires of Christians. So he got baptism talk is always a special mo-
baptized without delay. ment at assemblies and conventions.
10 Another example is a Jewish man Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy when
named Saul. The entire Jewish nation Bible students accept the truth and
had been dedicated to God, but Jeho- decide to get baptized. Parents are
vah had rejected the Jews because they very happy when their children do the
did not obey him. Saul believed that the same. During the 2017 service year,
more than 284,000 new ones got bap-
tized to show that they had dedicat-
Bible students ed their life to Jehovah. (Acts 13:48)
Clearly, they understood that it is nec-
are grateful essary for Christians to get baptized.
to learn the truth But what did they have to do before
they could get baptized?
and are eager 12 Before Bible students can get bap-

to get baptized tized, they must learn the truth about

God, his purpose for humans and the
earth, and what he did to save man-
Jews were still serving God in the right kind. (1 Timothy 2:3-6) Then they
way, so he persecuted the Christians. need to develop faith, which will
But one day, the resurrected Jesus, help them to obey God’s laws and
who Saul thought was dead, personally to stop doing what he hates. (Acts
spoke to Saul from heaven. How did 3:19) This is important, because Je-
Saul react? He gladly accepted help
hovah will not accept the dedication
from the Christian disciple Ananias.
of a person who keeps doing things
The Bible says: “He then got up and was
that He hates. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)
baptized.” (Acts 9:17, 18; Galatians 1:
But there is more. Those who want to
14) He later became known as the apos-
dedicate their life to Jehovah need
tle Paul. Notice that as soon as he un-
derstood that God was using Jesus to to attend congregation meetings and
accomplish His will, Saul got baptized regularly preach the good news and
without delay.—Read Acts 22:12-16. teach others. This is required of any-
11 Today, too, it is similar with many one who wants to follow Christ. (Acts
Bible students, young and old. Because 1:8) A student must first do all these
things. Then he can dedicate his life to
11. (a) What makes Bible students today de-
cide to get baptized? (b) How do we feel when 12. What must Bible students do before they
someone gets baptized? can get baptized?

Jehovah in a private prayer and get or force a child or a Bible student to get
baptized. baptized. Jehovah does not force any
of us to serve him. (1 John 4:8) When
we teach others, we must help them
understand how important it is for
13 When we help our children and them to develop a personal relation-
other Bible students to do these neces- ship with Jehovah. Then, if a Bible
sary things, we must remember that student is truly grateful to know the
those who want to be true followers of truth about God and really wants to do
Jesus have to get baptized. Then we everything that true Christians should
will not be afraid to tell them at appro- do, he will want to get baptized.—2 Co-
priate times how important dedication rinthians 5:14, 15.
and baptism are. We want our children 15 A person does not have to get bap-
and other Bible students to keep mak- tized at a certain age. Everyone is
ing progress and get baptized! different, and some students progress
14 Of course, no one should pressure
faster than others. Many get baptized
13. When we teach others, why must we re- 15, 16. (a) Does a person have to be a certain
member that they have to get baptized to be age to get baptized? Explain. (b) Why must a Bi-
true Christians? ble student get baptized as one of Jehovah’s
14. Why do we not pressure anyone to get bap- Witnesses even if he was already baptized in an-
tized? other religion?

When you teach others,

do you look for
opportunities to help
them understand that
baptism is very
(See paragraph 13)

MARCH 2018 7
when they are young, and they remain think carefully about what dedication
faithful to Jehovah as they grow older. and baptism involve. To do everything
Others are already much older when that is required of a true Christian is
they learn Bible truth and get baptized. hard work. Jesus’ disciples must “live
Some are even more than 100 years no longer for themselves, but for him
old! who died for them and was raised up.”
16 One lady who studied the Bible had —2 Corinthians 5:15; Matthew 16:24.
already been baptized in a few differ- 18 As we have learned in this article,

ent religions. That is why she asked her the decision to become a true Chris-
Bible teacher if it was really neces- tian is very serious. That is why Ma-
sary to get baptized again. Her teacher ria’s mother asked herself the ques-
showed her some Bible verses that an- tions mentioned at the beginning of
swered her question. Once the lady un- the article. If you are a parent, you
derstood what the Bible requires, she may have asked yourself: ‘Is my child
got baptized, even though she was al- really ready to get baptized? Does my
most 80 years old. What do we learn child know enough about Jehovah to
from this example? Jehovah will ac- dedicate himself to God? Should my
cept our baptism only if we know the child get a good education and a job
truth about his will. So even if we were before getting baptized? What if my
baptized in another religion, we still child commits a serious sin after get-
have to get baptized as one of Jeho- ting baptized?’ We will discuss these
vah’s Witnesses.—Read Acts 19:3-5. questions in the next article, and we
17 The day a person gets baptized is a will learn how Christian parents can
very happy day. It is also a time to have the right view of baptism.
17. What should a person think about on the 18. What questions will we discuss in the next
day he gets baptized? article?

SOME To dedicate yourself to Jehovah means to promise that

you will use your whole life to serve Jehovah and do his
EXPRESSIONS will. You make this promise in a private prayer to Jeho-
EXPLAINED vah. Every Christian needs to dedicate himself to Jeho-
vah and then get baptized
Parents, Are You
Helping Your Child
Progress to Baptism?
“Why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized.”—ACTS 22:16.

“FOR months I kept telling Dad and Mom that I wanted to SONGS: 51, 135
be baptized, and they often talked to me about it. They
wanted to make sure I knew how serious my decision was. HOW CAN PARENTS
On December 31, 1934, the day came for this momentous HELP THEIR CHILDREN
event in my life.” That is how Blossom Brandt described PROGRESS TO BAPTISM?
what happened when she decided to get baptized. Today, ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

too, parents want to help their children make wise deci- Colossians 1:9, 10
sions. If a child waits to get baptized without having a
good reason for waiting, this could harm the child’s rela- ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ecclesiastes 12:1
tionship with Jehovah. (James 4:17) Before their child
gets baptized, wise parents want to be sure that he or she

is ready to become a disciple of Christ.

James 4:17
1. What do Christian parents want to be sure of before their children
get baptized?

2 Some circuit overseers have no- 19 means to teach someone with the
ticed that many young ones in their goal of helping him become a student,
late teens and early 20’s are not or a disciple. A disciple is someone
yet baptized, even though they have who learns and understands what Je-
grown up in the truth. Most of the sus taught and who wants to obey him.
time, these young ones go to the meet- So from the time their children are
ings, go in field service, and view them- born, parents should teach them with
selves as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Still, the goal of helping them to dedicate
for some reason they have not dedicat- themselves to Jehovah and become
ed themselves to Jehovah and been disciples of Christ. Of course, babies
baptized. In some cases, this is be- do not qualify to get baptized. Still,
cause the parents think that their chil- the Bible shows that even young chil-
dren are not ready to get baptized. In dren can understand and love Bible
this article, we will discuss four con- truth.
cerns that have prevented some par- 5 Timothy was a disciple who decided

ents from encouraging their children to serve Jehovah while he was still
to get baptized. young. The apostle Paul said that Tim-
IS MY CHILD OLD ENOUGH? othy began to learn the truth from
God’s Word “from infancy.” Timothy’s
3 Blossom’s parents, mentioned in
father did not serve Jehovah, but his
the first paragraph, were concerned
mother and grandmother helped Tim-
about whether she was old enough to
othy to love God’s Word. As a result,
understand what it means to get bap-
he had very strong faith. (2 Timothy
tized and how serious it is. How can
1:5; 3:14, 15) He may have been in his
parents know if their child is ready to
late teens or early 20’s when he quali-
dedicate himself to Jehovah?
4 Read Matthew 28:19, 20. The Bi-
fied to receive special assignments in
the congregation.—Acts 16:1-3.
ble does not say that a person should
6 Every child is different. Not all be-
get baptized at a specific age. But it is
good for parents to think carefully come mature at the same age. Some
about what it means to make disciples. children understand the truth, make
In the Greek language, the word for wise decisions, and want to get bap-
“make disciples” used at Matthew 28: tized when they are young. Others
may not be ready to get baptized until
2. (a) What problem have some circuit over- they are a little older. Wise parents do
seers noticed? (b) What will we discuss in this
not pressure their children to get bap-
3. What were Blossom’s parents concerned 5, 6. (a) The Bible’s description of Timothy
about? leads us to what conclusion about his baptism?
4. How can Jesus’ command found at Matthew (b) What is the best way for wise parents to help
28:19, 20 help parents today? their children?

tized. Instead, they help each child to But Paul stopped him. Then Paul and
make progress at his or her own pace. Silas taught the jailer and his family the
Parents are happy when their child truth about Jesus. They believed the
applies Proverbs 27:11. (Read.) But things they learned about Jesus and
they must remember that their goal is realized how important it was to obey
to help their children to become disci- him. So they got baptized right away.
ples. With that in mind, they should What can we learn from their experi-
ask themselves, ‘Does my child know ence?
enough to dedicate himself to God and
get baptized?’
7 As parents teach their children, of Christ must keep
they help them to know the truth well.
This knowledge will move children to learning even after
dedicate themselves to God. But that getting baptized
does not mean that a child has to know
every detail of every Bible teaching be-
fore he can make a dedication and get 9 The jailer may have been a retired
baptized. Every disciple of Christ must Roman soldier. He did not know God’s
keep learning even after getting bap- Word. So to become a Christian, he
tized. (Read Colossians 1:9, 10.) So had to learn basic truths from the Bi-
how much does someone need to know ble, understand what Jehovah requires
before he can get baptized? of his servants, and want to obey Je-
8 The experience of a family from the sus’ teachings. What he learned in that
past can help parents today. (Acts 16: short time helped him want to get bap-
25-33) In the year 50, Paul went to the tized. Of course, he would have con-
city of Philippi on his second mission- tinued to learn more after he was bap-
ary journey. While he was there, he and tized. So when your child tells you that
Silas were falsely accused, arrested, he wants to get baptized because he
and thrown in jail. During the night, loves Jehovah and wants to obey him,
there was a powerful earthquake that what can you do? You may let him talk
opened all the doors of the jail. The to the elders so that they can decide
jailer thought that all the prisoners had if he qualifies to get baptized.1 (See
escaped, and he wanted to kill himself. footnote.) Like all baptized Christians,
7. Does someone need to know every detail of he will continue to learn more about
every Bible teaching before he can get bap-
1 Parents can discuss with their child the helpful infor-
tized? Explain.
mation in Questions Young People Ask—Answers That
8, 9. What happened to a jailer in Philippi, and Work, Volume 2, pages 304-310. See also the “Question
what can we learn from his experience? Box” in Our Kingdom Ministry, April 2011, page 2.

MARCH 2018 11
Parents must have the goal of
helping their child to become a disciple
(See paragraphs 16, 17)

Jehovah for as long as he lives, even have against Satan, this world, and the
forever.—Romans 11:33, 34. world’s bad thinking. If parents put ed-
ucation and a good job first in life,
FOR MY CHILD? their child will probably believe that
the things in the world are more impor-
10 Some parents think that it would
tant than a close relationship with Je-
be best for their child to get baptized
hovah. This is dangerous. As loving
only after he gets some advanced edu-
parents, do you really want this world
cation and has a good career. These
to teach your child what it thinks will
parents may have good intentions, but
make him happy? The only way to be
they should ask themselves: ‘Will that
successful and have true joy is to put
help my child to be truly successful?
Jehovah first in our life.—Read Psalm
Does it agree with what we learn from
1:2, 3.
the Bible? How does Jehovah want us
to use our life?’—Read Ecclesiastes WHAT IF MY CHILD WERE TO SIN?
12:1. 12 One mother explained why she had
11 It is important to remember that not wanted her daughter to get bap-
this world and the things in it tized. She said, “I am ashamed to say
are against what Jehovah wants and that the major reason was the disfel-
thinks. (James 4:7, 8; 1 John 2:15-17; lowshipping arrangement.” Like that
5:19) A close relationship with Jeho- sister, some parents feel that it is bet-
vah is the best protection a child can ter for their child to wait to get bap-
10, 11. (a) What do some parents think? 12. Why do some parents feel it is better for
(b) What will really protect a child? their child to wait to get baptized?

tized until he is old enough to avoid tect him against committing a serious
making foolish mistakes. (Genesis 8: sin, because he will want to do what Je-
21; Proverbs 22:15) Those parents may hovah says is right.—Isaiah 35:8.
feel that if their child is not baptized,
he cannot get disfellowshipped. But
what is wrong with this reasoning?
14 The elders can support what par-
—James 1:22. ents are doing by being positive when
13 Of course, parents do not want they talk about goals in Jehovah’s
their child to get baptized before he is service. One sister remembered that
ready to dedicate his life to Jehovah. Brother Russell spoke to her when she
But it would be a mistake to think that was six years old. She said, “He took 15
a child is not accountable to Jehovah minutes with me to discuss my spiritu-
until he is baptized. A child becomes al goals.” What was the result? Lat-
accountable to God when he knows er, that sister became a pioneer, and
what Jehovah says is right and wrong. she pioneered for more than 70 years!
(Read James 4:17.) Wise parents do Clearly, positive words and encourage-
not discourage their child from getting ment can affect a person’s whole life.
baptized. Even when the child is young, (Proverbs 25:11) Elders can also invite
they teach him to love what Jehovah parents and children to help with proj-
says is right and hate what He says is ects at the Kingdom Hall. They can ask
wrong, just as they do. (Luke 6:40) the children to do things that fit their
Your child’s love for Jehovah will pro- age and abilities.
13. If someone is not baptized, does this mean 14. How can the elders support what parents
that he is not accountable to Jehovah? Explain. are doing?

MARCH 2018 13
15 How can others in the congrega- were born. But our children are not.
tion help? By showing appropriate per- Just because parents love Jehovah and
sonal interest in young ones. For exam- the truth, it does not mean that their
ple, you can look for signs that young children will. From the day their child
ones are drawing closer to Jehovah. is born, parents must have the goal of
Did a child give a good comment at the helping him to become a disciple, to
meeting, or did he have a part on the dedicate himself to God and get bap-
midweek meeting program? Did he wit- tized. What could be more important?
ness to someone at school, or did he do A person’s dedication, baptism, and
the right thing when he was tempted to faithful service to Jehovah will make it
do something wrong? If so, be quick to possible for him to be saved during the
tell him he did well! We can make it a great tribulation.—Matthew 24:13.
17 When Blossom Brandt wanted to
goal to talk to young ones before and
after the meetings. When we do, chil- get baptized, her parents wanted to be
dren will feel that they are part of “the sure that she was ready. When they
great congregation.”—Psalm 35:18. were sure that she was, they supported
her decision. Blossom explained what
HELP YOUR CHILD her father did the night before she got
PROGRESS TO BAPTISM baptized: “He had all of us get on our
16 One of the greatest privileges for knees, and he offered a prayer. He told
parents is teaching their children to Jehovah that he was so happy about
love Jehovah. (Psalm 127:3; Ephesians his little girl’s decision to dedicate her
6:4) In the nation of Israel, children life to Him.” More than 60 years later,
were dedicated to Jehovah when they Blossom said: “You can be sure, in all
the ages to come, I’ll never forget that
15. How can others in the congregation help night!” Parents, may you too have joy
young ones?
and satisfaction when you see your
16, 17. (a) Why is it important for children to
get baptized? (b) What joy can Christian par- children become dedicated and bap-
ents have? (See opening picture.) tized servants of Jehovah.

SOME A disciple is one who has We are accountable to

been taught about Jehovah Jehovah when we know what
EXPRESSIONS and Jesus. He tries to be like Jehovah wants us to do,
EXPLAINED Jesus and puts Jehovah’s work whether we are baptized or
first in his life. He also obeys not. Being accountable to him
Jesus and gets baptized. The means that we are responsi-
goal of parents is to help their ble for our actions and deci-
children to become disciples sions
and dedicate themselves to
Jehovah without delay
The Delightful Course
of Hospitality—So Needed!
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”
—1 PETER 4:9.

SOMETIME between the years 62 and 64, the apostle Pe- SONGS: 100, 87
ter wrote to “the temporary residents scattered about in
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” (1 Pe- HOW WOULD YOU
ter 1:1) These brothers and sisters had come from many ANSWER?
different places. They were facing “fiery trials,” or perse- ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

cution, and needed encouragement and guidance. They Why is it important to be

hospitable to our brothers
also lived during a very dangerous time. Peter wrote: and sisters?
“The end of all things has drawn close.” In less than ten
years, Jerusalem would be destroyed. What would help ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Christians everywhere to get through those stressful What opportunities do we

times?—1 Peter 4:4, 7, 12. have to be hospitable?
2 One thing Peter urged his brothers to do was to “be

hospitable to one another.” (1 Peter 4:9) The Greek ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

word for “hospitality” literally means “fondness for, or What can prevent us from
being hospitable, and how
1. What difficulties did Christians have in the first century? can we improve?
2, 3. Why did Peter urge his brothers to be hospitable? (See opening

kindness to, strangers.” But Peter was tor is alone, could you invite him to sit
urging his brothers and sisters to with you? He may be grateful if you
be hospitable “to one another,” even help him to understand what will be
though they already knew one another happening during the program or to
and were doing things together. How find the scriptures that are being read.
would being hospitable help them? This would be an excellent way to “fol-
3 It would draw them closer together. low the course of hospitality.”—Ro-
What about you? Do you remember mans 12:13.
the pleasant time you had when some- 6 For snacks or a meal: People in Bi-

one invited you to his home? And when ble times often showed hospitality by
you invited someone to your home, inviting others to their home for a
this brought you closer together. A meal, showing that they wanted to be
good way to get to know our brothers friends and have peace. (Genesis 18:
and sisters is by being hospitable to 1-8; Judges 13:15; Luke 24:28-30) To
them. Christians who lived in Peter’s whom should we be the most hospita-
time needed to draw closer to one an- ble? It should be to the brothers and
other as problems became worse. In sisters in our congregation. As this sys-
these “last days,” we need to do the tem gets worse, we will need to de-
same.—2 Timothy 3:1. pend on our brothers and sisters and
4 In what ways can we be hospitable be their loyal friends. In 2011, the
“to one another”? What can prevent us Governing Body changed the time of
from being hospitable, and how can we the Watchtower Study for the United
improve? What can help us to be good States Bethel family from 6:45 p.m. to
guests? 6:15 p.m. Why? The announcement
OPPORTUNITIES said that it would probably be easier
TO BE HOSPITABLE for Bethelites to accept and show hos-
pitality to one another if the meet-
5 At meetings: Jehovah and his or-
ing ended earlier. Other branches have
ganization invite us to the meetings.
done the same. This has been a great
We want everyone who attends our
opportunity for those in the Bethel
meetings to feel welcome, especially
family to get to know one another.
new ones. (Romans 15:7) They are also
7 Sometimes brothers from other
Jehovah’s guests, so we need to make
them feel comfortable, no matter what congregations, circuit overseers, or
they look like or how they are dressed. representatives from Bethel give a talk
(James 2:1-4) If you notice that a visi- to our congregation. Can we use these
occasions to be hospitable to these
4. What questions will we discuss in this arti-
cle? 6. To whom should we be the most hospitable?
5. How can we be hospitable at our Christian 7, 8. How can we be hospitable to visiting
meetings? speakers?

brothers? (Read 3 John 5-8.) One way us was truly a joyous experience. As
we can do this is to invite them to our newlyweds, we were able to see how
home for a snack or a meal. happy a couple can be when they serve
8 A sister in the United States re- Jehovah and pursue spiritual goals to-
members: “Over the years, my hus- gether.”
band and I have had the opportunity 11 New brothers and sisters in the

to provide hospitality in our home for congregation: Some brothers and sis-
many speakers and their wives.” She ters or families may move to your area
feels that every experience strength-
ened their faith and at the same time
was fun. She says: “We have never re- Could you invite new
gretted it.”
9 Guests who stay longer: In Bible
ones to have a snack
times, it was common to give some or a meal or to go
visitors a place to stay. (Job 31:32; somewhere together?
Philemon 22) Today, we may need
to do the same. Circuit overseers of-
ten need a place to stay when they from other congregations. They may
visit congregations. This may also be have come because your congregation
the case with students of theocratic needed help. Or they may be pioneers
schools and with construction volun- who were assigned to your congrega-
teers. And what about those who have tion. This is a big change for them.
become homeless after a natural disas- They will have to adjust to a new area,
ter? They may need somewhere to live a new congregation, and maybe even a
until their home is rebuilt. We should new language or culture. Could you in-
not assume that only those who have vite them to have a snack or a meal or
big homes can help. They may have al- to go somewhere together? This will
ready done so many times before. Can help them to make new friends and ad-
you offer someone a place to stay, even just to their changed circumstances.
if your home is small? 12 You do not need to prepare many
10 A brother in South Korea remem- things to be hospitable. (Read Luke
bers when students attending theocrat- 10:41, 42.) One brother remembers
ic schools stayed with him. He writes: something that happened when he and
“I hesitated initially because we were his wife first became missionaries. He
newly married and living in a small says: “We were young, inexperienced,
house. But having students stay with
11. Why may those who are new to your congre-
9, 10. (a) Who may need to stay with us for a gation need hospitality?
longer period of time? (b) Can those who have 12. What experience shows that you do not
smaller homes help? Give an example. need to prepare many things to be hospitable?

MARCH 2018 17
and homesick. One evening my wife you may need to spend less time doing
was particularly homesick, and my ef- things that are less important.
forts to help were not working. Then, 15 How you feel about yourself:

about 7:30 p.m., we heard a knock on Have you ever wanted to be hospitable
the door. There stood a Bible student but felt that you could not do it? Per-
who brought us three oranges. She had haps you are shy and worry that your
come to welcome the new missionaries. guests will get bored. Or perhaps you
We invited her in and gave her a glass of do not have much money and you wor-
water. Then we made tea and hot choc- ry that you cannot offer your guests
olate. We didn’t know Swahili yet, and what other brothers and sisters can.
she didn’t know English.” The brother But remember that a home does not
said that this experience helped them need to be fancy. Your guests will be
to start making friends with the local happy if your home is clean and tidy
brothers and to be happier. and if you are friendly.
16 If you feel anxious about having
FROM BEING HOSPITABLE guests, you are not alone. An elder in
Britain admits: “There can be a mea-
13 Have you ever hesitated to be hos-
sure of nervousness in preparing for
pitable? If so, you may have missed an
guests. But as with anything in relation
opportunity to have an enjoyable time
to serving Jehovah, the benefits and
and to make friends that you will have
satisfaction that result far outweigh
forever. Being hospitable is one of the
any anxiety. I have enjoyed simply sit-
best ways to stop feeling lonely. So why
ting down with guests over coffee and
would anyone hesitate to be hospita-
talking.” It is always good to show per-
ble? There are a few reasons.
sonal interest in your guests. (Philippi-
14 Time and energy: Jehovah’s peo-
ans 2:4) Most people enjoy talking
ple are very busy and have many re- about their experiences in life. We may
sponsibilities. Some may feel that they hear their experiences only when we
do not have enough time or energy to get together with them. Another elder
be hospitable. If you feel that way, you writes: “Having friends from the con-
may need to change your schedule to gregation to my home helps me to
be able to show and accept hospitality. understand them better and gives me
This is important because the Bible time to get to know them, especially
urges us to be hospitable. (Hebrews how they came into the truth.” If you
13:2) So being hospitable is the right show personal interest in your guests,
thing to do. But to show hospitality,
15. Why may some feel that they cannot be hos-
13. How does being hospitable help you? pitable?
14. What can we do if we do not have enough 16, 17. What can you do if you feel anxious
time and energy to show or accept hospitality? about having guests?

Hosts usually prepare well for their guests
(See paragraph 20)

you can be sure that all will enjoy vegetables where there’s love.’ ” (Prov-
themselves. erbs 15:17) There is no need to worry,
17 A pioneer sister who often had stu- because what really matters is that we
dents from different theocratic schools show love to our guests.
18 How you feel about others: Is
stay with her admitted: “Initially I was
concerned because my accommoda- there someone in your congregation
tions are very modest, and I have sec- who irritates you? If you do not try to
ondhand furniture. The wife of one of overcome these negative feelings, your
the instructors really put me at ease. feelings will not change. You may not
She said that when she and her hus- want to invite someone to your home if
band are serving in the traveling work, you do not like his personality. Or per-
their best weeks are those spent stay- haps there is someone who hurt you in
ing with a spiritual person who may not the past, and it is hard for you to for-
have much materially but who has the get.
19 The Bible says that you can im-
same focus as they have—serving Je-
hovah and keeping life simple. This re- prove your relationship with others,
minded me of what my mum used to 18, 19. How can being hospitable help us to
say to us as children: ‘Better a dish of overcome our negative feelings about others?

MARCH 2018 19
even with your enemies, if you are hos- wasted. (Matthew 5:37) Some people
pitable. (Read Proverbs 25:21, 22.) If cancel one invitation so that they can
you invite someone to your home, you accept one they feel is better. Is that
may be able to overcome negative feel- loving and respectful? We should be
ings and to develop a more peaceful re- grateful for whatever our host offers
lationship with him. You may begin to us. (Luke 10:7) If we must cancel, then
see the same good qualities in him that it would be loving and thoughtful to let
Jehovah saw when He drew him to the our host know as soon as possible.
truth. (John 6:44) When love moti- 21 It is also important to respect local

vates you to invite someone who does customs. In some cultures, unexpected
not expect it, this could be the start of guests are welcome. In others, it is bet-
a good friendship. How can you make ter to make arrangements before we
sure that love is really your motive? visit. In some places, the host offers
One way is to apply the counsel at Phi- his guests the best food he has, and
lippians 2:3: “With humility consider his family comes second. In others,
others superior to you.” We should everyone is treated the same. In some
think of ways that our brothers and sis- areas, guests normally bring something
ters are superior to us. Maybe we can to contribute to the meal. In others,
learn from their faith, endurance, or hosts prefer that their guests not bring
some other Christian quality. Thinking anything. In some cultures, guests po-
about their good qualities will deepen litely refuse the first or second invita-
our love for them and make it easier to tion. But in others, it is rude not to
be hospitable. accept the first invitation. We should al-
ways do our best to make sure that our
host will be happy that he invited us.
20 The psalmist David asked: “O Je- 22 Peter said: “The end of all things
hovah, who may be a guest in your has drawn close.” (1 Peter 4:7) Today,
tent?” (Psalm 15:1) After that, David we face the greatest tribulation the
discussed qualities that Jehovah wants world will ever experience. As this sys-
his guests to have. One of these is be- tem gets worse, we will need to have
ing reliable: “He does not go back on deep love for our brothers and sisters.
his promise, even when it is bad for Peter’s counsel applies now more than
him.” (Psalm 15:4) If we accept an invi- ever: “Be hospitable to one another.”
tation, we should not cancel unless it (1 Peter 4:9) Yes, hospitality is enjoy-
is absolutely necessary. The host may able and necessary now and forever.
have already prepared for our visit, and
if we cancel, all his effort will have been 21. How can respecting local customs help us
to be good guests?
20. Why and how should we be reliable when we 22. Why is it so important to “be hospitable to
have accepted an invitation? one another”?

Evidence of God’s Love
“Those whom Jehovah loves he disciplines.”—HEBREWS 12:6.

WHAT do you think of when you hear the word “disci- SONGS: 123, 86
pline”? Many people think of punishment, but discipline
is much more than that. The Bible says that discipline is HOW WOULD YOU
good for us and sometimes mentions it along with knowl- ANSWER?
edge, wisdom, love, and life. (Proverbs 1:2-7; 4:11-13) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That is because God’s discipline proves that he loves us What do we learn about
God’s discipline from what
and wants us to live forever. (Hebrews 12:6) Although
happened to Shebna?
God’s discipline sometimes includes punishment, it is
never cruel or harmful. In fact, the most important mean-
ing of the word “discipline” involves education, such as ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

the education a parent gives a beloved child. When we give discipline,

2 Think about this example. A little boy named Johnny how can we imitate Jehovah
and his Son?
was throwing a ball in the house. His mother said:
“Johnny, you know you should not play with your ball in
the house! You might break something.” But he ignored ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

his mother and continued to play with the ball. The ball For what does discipline
prepare us?
1. How does the Bible often describe discipline?
2, 3. How might discipline include teaching and punishment?
(See opening picture.)

hit a vase, and the vase broke! What
did Johnny’s mother do to discipline
him? She taught him by explaining why
what he did was wrong. She want-
ed him to realize that it is good for
him to obey his parents and that their
rules are necessary and reasonable. To
help Johnny learn this lesson, she de-
cided that it would also be appropri-
ate to punish him by taking his ball
away from him for a while. That was
If we are humble and willing to adjust
not pleasant for Johnny, but it helped our attitude, God will bless us
him to remember that there would (See paragraphs 8-10)
be consequences if he disobeyed his
3 As Christians, we are part of God’s
Christ. (Read Titus 2:11-14.) Now let
household. (1 Timothy 3:15) Our Fa-
us discuss three important questions:
ther, Jehovah, has the right to decide
(1) How does God’s discipline prove
what is right and what is wrong and to
that he loves us? (2) What can we learn
discipline us when we disobey him.
from the example of people who were
Also, if our actions have unpleasant
disciplined by God? (3) How can we
consequences, Jehovah’s loving disci-
imitate the way Jehovah and his Son
pline can help us to remember how im-
give discipline?
portant it is that we obey him. (Gala-
tians 6:7) God loves us very much and GOD DISCIPLINES WITH LOVE
does not want us to suffer.—1 Peter 5: 5 Jehovah corrects, educates, and
6, 7. trains us because he loves us. He wants
4 When we give discipline based on us to stay close to him and to live for-
the Bible, we can help a child or a Bible ever. (1 John 4:16) He never insults
student to become a follower of Christ. us or makes us feel worthless. (Prov-
We use the Bible to teach our students erbs 12:18) Instead, Jehovah focuses
what is right and to help them under- on our good qualities and allows us to
stand and ‘observe all the things Jesus have free will. Can you see how the dis-
commanded us.’ (Matthew 28:19, 20; cipline we receive through the Bible,
2 Timothy 3:16) This is the way Je- our publications, our parents, or the
hovah wants them to be trained so elders proves Jehovah loves us? In
that they too can help others follow fact, when elders try to correct us in a
4. (a) How does Jehovah want us to train oth- 5. How does discipline from Jehovah prove that
ers? (b) What will we discuss in this article? he loves us?

mild and loving way even before we from bad influences. (1 Corinthians 5:
realize that we have done something 6, 7, 11) And because God’s discipline
wrong, they are actually imitating Je- is always fair, it helps the disfellow-
hovah’s love for us.—Galatians 6:1. shipped person to understand how se-
6 Sometimes discipline involves more rious his sin is. This can cause him to
than counsel. If someone has sinned repent.—Acts 3:19.
seriously, he will no longer qualify JEHOVAH’S DISCIPLINE BENEFITS US
for certain assignments in the con-
gregation. Even when this happens,
7 To understand how important disci-
the discipline shows God’s love for pline is, we will now discuss two peo-
him. For example, it may help him ple whom Jehovah disciplined. One is
to see how important it is to spend Shebna, an Israelite who lived during
more time studying the Bible, meditat- the time of King Hezekiah, and the
ing, and praying. Doing these things other is Graham, a brother in our time.
can help his relationship with Jeho- Shebna was “in charge of the house,”
vah become stronger. (Psalm 19:7) As apparently that of King Hezekiah, and
time goes by, he may regain the re- had much authority. (Isaiah 22:15) But
sponsibilities or assignments that he Shebna became proud and wanted to
lost. Even when someone is disfellow- make others think that he was impor-
shipped, that proves Jehovah’s love tant. He even made an expensive tomb
because it protects the congregation for himself and rode in “glorious char-
iots.”—Isaiah 22:16-18.
6. How does discipline show God’s love even if
it means that someone no longer qualifies for 7. Who was Shebna, and what bad quality did
an assignment? he develop?

MARCH 2018 23
8 Because Shebna tried to get glory that he believed that Shebna could
for himself, God gave his assignment to change. (Proverbs 3:11, 12) This is a
a man named Eliakim. (Isaiah 22:19-21) lesson for those who have lost a special
This happened when King Sennacherib assignment. Instead of becoming an-
of Assyria planned to attack Jerusalem. gry and offended, they can contin-
Later, Sennacherib sent a group of of- ue to give Jehovah their best. They
ficials and a large army to frighten the can choose to view the discipline as
Jews and make King Hezekiah surren- evidence of Jehovah’s love. Remem-
der. (2 Kings 18:17-25) Hezekiah sent ber that our Father will eventually re-
Eliakim and two other men to meet the ward those who remain humble. (Read
officials. One of these men was Shebna, 1 Peter 5:6, 7.) Jehovah’s loving disci-
who was now a secretary. From this pline can mold us if we are humble and
we can see that Shebna probably had are like soft clay.
learned to be humble and did not feel 11 Third, we learn a valuable lesson

offended or sorry for himself. He was from the way Jehovah treated Shebna.
willing to accept a less important posi- Although the way that Jehovah disci-
tion. Here are three lessons we can plines shows that he hates sin, it also
learn from what happened to Shebna. shows that he loves the person who
9 First, the fact that Shebna lost his sinned. Jehovah looks for the good in
position reminds us that “pride is be- people. If you are a parent or an elder,
fore a crash.” (Proverbs 16:18) We may will you imitate the way Jehovah gives
have special assignments in the con- discipline?—Jude 22, 23.
gregation, and others may think that 12 Sadly, some people feel so hurt

we are important. If so, will we remain when they are disciplined that they
humble? Will we remember that any draw away from God and the congre-
abilities we have and any good things gation. (Hebrews 3:12, 13) Does that
we accomplish are only because of Je- mean that no one can help them?
hovah? (1 Corinthians 4:7) The apostle No! Take the example of Graham,
Paul warned: “I tell everyone there who was disfellowshipped and was lat-
among you not to think more of him- er reinstated. After that, however, he
self than it is necessary to think, but to stopped preaching and going to meet-
think so as to have a sound mind.” ings. An elder made the effort to be-
—Romans 12:3. come Graham’s friend, and eventually
10 Second, the strong counsel that Graham asked the elder to study the
Jehovah gave Shebna may indicate Bible with him.
13 The elder recalled: “Graham had a
8. How did Jehovah discipline Shebna, and
what was the result? 12-14. (a) How do some react to discipline
9-11. (a) What important lessons can we learn from Jehovah? (b) How did God’s Word help
from Shebna? (b) How do you feel about how one brother to change his attitude, and what
Jehovah treated Shebna? was the result?

problem with pride. He was critical of are someone Jehovah uses to discipline
the elders who had been involved in others, you must remain humble and
his disfellowshipping. So for the next let Jehovah guide you in life. When
few studies, we discussed scriptures on others see that you are humble, they
pride and its effects. Graham began to will respect you and it will be easier for
see himself clearly in the mirror of them to accept advice or counsel from
God’s Word, and he did not like what you. We can learn from Jesus’ example.
he saw! The effect was amazing! After
acknowledging that he had been blind-
ed by a ‘rafter’ of pride and that his When others see
critical attitude was his problem, he
began to change quickly for the better. that you are humble,
He started to attend Christian meet- it will be easier
ings regularly, to study God’s Word
earnestly, and to make daily prayer a for them to accept
habit. He also accepted his spiritual re- counsel from you
sponsibilities as family head, much to
the delight of his wife and children.”
—Luke 6:41, 42; James 1:23-25. 16 Jesus always obeyed his Father,
14 The elder added: “One day, Gra- even when doing so was very difficult.
ham told me something that touched (Matthew 26:39) He reminded his lis-
my heart. ‘I’ve known the truth for teners that his teachings and wisdom
years,’ he said, ‘and I’ve even served as came from his Father. (John 5:19, 30)
a pioneer. But only now can I honestly Jesus was humble and obedient, and
say that I love Jehovah.’ ” Soon, Gra- this helped him to be a compassionate
ham was assigned to help with the teacher. Sincere people enjoyed being
microphones at the meetings, and he around him. (Read Luke 4:22.) Jesus’
was happy to have that assignment. kind words encouraged those who were
The elder said: “His example taught me discouraged and who felt weak. (Mat-
that when a person humbles himself thew 12:20) He corrected his apostles
before God by accepting discipline, in a kind and loving way even when he
blessings just pour out!” could have become irritated with them
for arguing about which one of them
IMITATE GOD AND CHRIST was the greatest.—Mark 9:33-37; Luke
15 If we want to become good teach- 17 Any time elders give discipline
ers, we must first be good students.
(1 Timothy 4:15, 16) Likewise, if you 16. What can we learn from Jesus about effec-
tive discipline and teaching?
15. What must we do so that our discipline will 17. What qualities will help elders take good
be effective? care of the congregation?

MARCH 2018 25
based on Bible principles, they need to wisdom and strength they need when
imitate Christ. In this way they will they ask for his help in prayer and rely
prove that they want to be guided by on his Word and holy spirit to guide
God and his Son. The apostle Peter them.—Read James 1:5.
wrote: “Shepherd the flock of God un- LEARNING HOW TO LIVE
der your care, serving as overseers, not FOREVER IN PEACE
under compulsion, but willingly before 19 If we accept discipline from God
God; not for love of dishonest gain,
and imitate the way Jehovah and Je-
but eagerly; not lording it over those
sus give discipline, we will have many,
who are God’s inheritance, but becom-
many blessings! Our families and con-
ing examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:
gregations will be peaceful, and every-
2-4) Elders who joyfully submit to God
one will feel loved, valued, and safe.
and to Christ will benefit, and so will
This is just a small sample of the peace
those they care for.—Isaiah 32:1, 2,
and happiness we will have in the fu-
17, 18.
ture. (Psalm 72:7) Jehovah’s discipline
18 What about discipline and train-
is preparing us to live together forever
ing in the family? Jehovah tells family as a peaceful and united family, with
heads: “Do not be irritating your chil- Jehovah as our Father. (Read Isaiah
dren, but go on bringing them up in 11:9.) If we remember this, we will see
the discipline and admonition of Jeho- what discipline really is: a beautiful
vah.” (Ephesians 6:4) Are training and way that God shows us his love.
discipline really necessary? We read at 20 In the next article, we will learn
Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son more about discipline in the family
while there is hope, and do not become and the congregation. We will discuss
responsible for his death.” Jehovah how we can discipline ourselves. And
gives parents the responsibility to dis- we will learn how to avoid something
cipline their children. If they do not, more painful than any discipline we
they must answer to him! (1 Samuel 3: could ever receive.
12-14) But Jehovah gives parents the
19, 20. (a) What blessings come when we ac-
18. (a) What does Jehovah expect parents to cept God’s discipline? (b) What will we discuss
do? (b) How does God help parents? in the next article?

SOME When Jehovah disciplines us, he trains and teaches us.

His discipline is never cruel or harsh but is always kind and
EXPRESSIONS wise. As a loving Father, Jehovah helps us to see where we
EXPLAINED need to improve and how we can do so
“Listen to Discipline
and Become Wise”
“My sons . . . listen to discipline and become wise.”
—PROVERBS 8:32, 33.

WISDOM comes from Jehovah, and he generously shares SONGS: 56, 89

it with others. We read at James 1:5: “If any one of you is
lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives HOW WOULD YOU
generously to all and without reproaching.” One way we ANSWER?
find wisdom is by accepting God’s discipline. Doing so ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

protects us from doing things that are wrong and helps us How does Jehovah patiently
teach us self-discipline?
remain close to Jehovah. (Proverbs 2:10-12) And we will
have the wonderful hope of everlasting life.—Jude 21.
2 Because we are imperfect or because of how we were

raised, it is sometimes difficult to accept discipline or see How can parents raise their
it as something good. But when we experience the bene- children in the discipline of
fits of God’s discipline in our life, we understand just how Jehovah?

much he loves us. Proverbs 3:11, 12 tells us: “My son, do

not reject the discipline of Jehovah.” Then it says: “For ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

those whom Jehovah loves he reproves.” We can be sure How can we benefit from any
that Jehovah wants what is best for us. (Read He- discipline we may receive in
brews 12:5-11.) Because God knows us so well, his the congregation?

1. How can we find wisdom, and how will it help us?

2. How can we learn to love God’s discipline?

discipline is always appropriate and ex- and trying to be like Christ, they be-
actly what we need. In this article, come more mature. (Ephesians 4:23,
we will discuss four aspects of disci- 24) Self-discipline helps us learn “to
pline: (1) self-discipline, (2) the disci- reject ungodliness and worldly desires
pline parents should give their chil- and to live with soundness of mind
dren, (3) the discipline we receive in and righteousness and godly devotion
the congregation, and (4) something amid this present system of things.”
that is worse than any pain from disci- —Titus 2:12.
pline. 5 However, we are all sinful. (Eccle-

WHY ARE WE WISE IF WE siastes 7:20) So if we make a mistake,

DISCIPLINE OURSELVES? does it mean that we do not have
3 If we have self-discipline, we control enough self-discipline or maybe none
the way we behave and think. We are at all? Not necessarily. We learn at
not born with self-discipline, but we Proverbs 24:16: “The righteous one
have to learn it. For example, when a may fall seven times, and he will get
child learns to ride a bicycle, one of his up again.” What will help us to “get
parents usually holds the bicycle to up again”? Not our own strength, but
keep it steady. But, in time, the child God’s spirit. (Read Philippians 4:13.)
learns how to stay on the bicycle, and The fruitage of that spirit includes self-
the parent can let go of it for a few sec- control, which is very similar to self-
onds at a time. When the parent is sure discipline.
that the child will stay on the bicycle, he 6 Prayer, Bible study, and medita-

can let go of it completely. In a similar tion will also help us to develop self-
way, when parents patiently train their discipline. But what if studying the Bi-
children “in the discipline and admoni- ble is difficult for you or you do not
tion of Jehovah,” they are helping their like studying? Do not be discouraged.
children to develop self-discipline and If you let him, Jehovah will help you to
wisdom.—Ephesians 6:4. “form a longing” for his Word. (1 Peter
4 The same is true of people who 2:2) Ask Jehovah to help you disci-
come to know Jehovah when they pline yourself so that you can find the
are adults. Although they may have time to study the Bible. Perhaps you
some self-discipline, they are not ma- can begin by studying for just a few
ture Christians yet. But when they minutes at a time. Gradually, it will be-
start putting on “the new personality” come easier and more enjoyable to
study. You will love the quiet times you
3. How does a child develop self-discipline?
Give an example. spend meditating on Jehovah’s pre-
4, 5. (a) Why is self-discipline an important cious thoughts.—1 Timothy 4:15.
part of “the new personality”? (b) Why should
we not become discouraged even if we make 6. How can we become better students of
mistakes? God’s Word? (See opening picture.)

7 Self-discipline helps us to reach our on his goal. After some time, he be-
goals in Jehovah’s service. For exam- came a regular pioneer.
ple, one father felt that he was losing RAISE YOUR CHILDREN IN THE
his zeal, so he set the goal of be- DISCIPLINE OF JEHOVAH
coming a regular pioneer. How did 8Jehovah has given parents the re-
self-discipline help him? He read arti- sponsibility to raise their children “in
cles in our magazines about pioneering the discipline and admonition of Jeho-
and prayed about it. Doing this made vah.” (Ephesians 6:4) This is very dif-
his relationship with Jehovah stronger. ficult to do in today’s world. (2 Timo-
He also auxiliary pioneered when he thy 3:1-5) When children are born,
could. He did not allow anything to they do not know right from wrong,
stop him; instead, he stayed focused and their conscience is untrained.
7. How can self-discipline help us to reach our 8-10. What can help parents raise their children
goals in Jehovah’s service? to serve Jehovah? Give an example.

Children are not born knowing right from wrong, so they need to be trained
(See paragraph 8)
So they need discipline to train it. (Ro- advice from his Word and his organi-
mans 2:14, 15) One Bible scholar ex- zation. Later on, your children will
plained that the Greek word translated probably thank you for doing so! One
as “discipline” could also mean “child brother wrote: “I am filled with grati-
development,” or raising a child to be tude for the way my parents raised me.
a responsible adult. They did their best to reach my heart.”
9 When parents discipline their chil- He says that it was his parents who
dren with love, the children feel safe. helped him to draw close to Jehovah.
They learn that freedom has limits and Of course, even when parents do all
that everything they do in life has con- they can to teach their child, the child
sequences. So it is very important for may still leave Jehovah. But a parent
Christian parents to rely on Jehovah’s who has tried his best can have a good
wisdom to help them raise their chil- conscience and can hope that one day
dren. Ideas about raising children are his child will return to Jehovah.
12 For some parents, one of the most
different depending on where a person
lives, and these ideas keep changing. difficult tests of obedience comes
However, parents who listen to God do when a child is disfellowshipped. A sis-
not have to guess about what they ter whose disfellowshipped daughter
should do or rely on the experience or left home admits: “I looked for loop-
ideas of humans. holes in our publications so that I
10 We can learn from the example of could spend time with my daughter
Noah. When Jehovah told him to build and my granddaughter.” But her hus-
the ark, Noah did not know how to do band kindly helped her to see that they
it. He had to rely on Jehovah, and we were no longer responsible for their
read that he did “just so,” or just as Je- daughter and that they needed to be
hovah told him. (Genesis 6:22) What loyal to Jehovah.
13 Some years later, the daughter was
was the result? The ark saved the lives
of Noah and his family! Noah was also reinstated. The mother says: “Now she
a successful parent. Why? Because he calls or texts me nearly every day! And
trusted in God’s wisdom. Noah taught she deeply respects my husband and
his children well and was a good exam- me because she knows that we obeyed
ple for them, which was not easy in God. We have a wonderful relation-
that wicked time before the Flood. ship.” If your son or daughter has
—Genesis 6:5. been disfellowshipped, will you “trust
11 If you are a parent, how can you do in Jehovah with all your heart”? Will
you show Him that you “do not rely
“just so”? Listen to Jehovah. Let him
help you raise your children. Use the 12, 13. (a) If a child is disfellowshipped, how
do parents show that they obey God? (b) How
11. Why should parents work hard to train their did one family benefit from the parents’ obedi-
children? ence to Jehovah?

on your own understanding”? (Prov- we benefit from the work of the elders?
erbs 3:5, 6) Remember, Jehovah’s dis- We can imitate their faith and good ex-
cipline shows us how wise he is and ample, and we can follow the counsel
how much he loves us. Never forget they give from the Bible. (Read He-
that he gave his Son for all humans, brews 13:7, 17.) The elders love us and
and that includes your son or daughter. want us to draw closer to God. If they
God wants everyone to get eternal life. notice that we are missing meetings or
(Read 2 Peter 3:9.) So parents, con- losing our zeal, they will quickly try to
tinue to trust that Jehovah’s discipline help us. They will listen to us and then
and guidance are right, even when be- give loving encouragement and wise
ing obedient is painful. Listen to God’s counsel from the Bible. Do you view
discipline, and do not fight against it. their help as evidence that Jehovah
loves you?
16 Remember that it may not be easy
14 Jehovah promised to care for, pro- for the elders to give us counsel. How
tect, and teach the Christian congrega- do you think the prophet Nathan felt
tion. He does so in several ways. For when he had to speak to King David af-
example, he appointed his Son to care ter the king tried to hide his serious
for the congregation, and Jesus as- sin? (2 Samuel 12:1-14) How did the
signed a “faithful steward” to provide apostle Paul feel when he had to coun-
spiritual food to help us stay faithful. sel Peter, one of the 12 apostles, for
(Luke 12:42) That “steward” gives us treating Jewish Christians better than
valuable instruction, or discipline. You non-Jewish ones? It took courage for
can probably think of times that a talk Paul to do that. (Galatians 2:11-14) So
you heard or an article you read in one how can you make it easier for the el-
of our magazines helped you to change ders to give you counsel? Be humble,
how you think or act. You can be hap- thankful, and easy to talk to. See their
py that you have made those changes, help as evidence of God’s love. You will
because it means that you are allow- benefit, and the elders will enjoy doing
ing Jehovah to discipline you.—Prov- their work.
erbs 2:1-5. 17 One sister says that things that hap-
15 Christ also provided elders to take
pened to her in the past made it hard
loving care of the congregation. The for her to love Jehovah, and she be-
Bible calls these brothers “gifts in came very depressed. She says: “I knew
men.” (Ephesians 4:8, 11-13) How can that I had to talk with the elders. They
14. How do we benefit from Jehovah’s instruc- did not berate me or criticize me, but
tion that “the faithful steward” gives us? they encouraged me and strengthened
15, 16. (a) How can we benefit from the work me. After every congregation meeting,
of the elders? (b) How can we make the elders’
work more pleasant for them? 17. How did the elders help one sister?

MARCH 2018 31
SOME To have self-discipline means to control ourselves and
correct ourselves. This helps us improve and become
EXPRESSIONS mature Christians. We need to pray to Jehovah, asking him
EXPLAINED to help us discipline ourselves so that we can improve our
study habits and reach our goals in his service

no matter how busy they were, at least brother, and suffered terrible conse-
one of them would ask how I was. Be- quences for the rest of his life. (Gene-
cause of my past, I found it difficult to sis 4:11, 12) If Cain had listened to
feel worthy of God’s love. Time and God, he would not have experienced so
time again, however, Jehovah has used much pain.
the congregation and the elders to con- 19 Zedekiah was a weak and wicked

firm his love for me. I pray that I will king. When he ruled, the people of Je-
never let him go.” rusalem were in a bad situation. The
WHAT IS WORSE THAN prophet Jeremiah warned Zedekiah
ANY PAIN FROM DISCIPLINE? over and over again that he need-
18 Discipline may be painful, but the ed to change. But the king rejected
results of rejecting God’s discipline are Jehovah’s discipline, and the results
even more painful. (Hebrews 12:11) We were tragic. (Jeremiah 52:8-11) Jeho-
can learn from the bad examples of vah does not want us to suffer such
Cain and King Zedekiah. When God unnecessary pain!—Read Isaiah 48:
saw that Cain hated his brother and 17, 18.
20 Today, many in the world make fun
wanted to kill him, he warned Cain:
“Why are you so angry and dejected? If of God’s discipline and ignore it. But
you turn to doing good, will you not be soon, anyone who rejects God’s disci-
restored to favor? But if you do not pline will suffer painful consequences.
turn to doing good, sin is crouching at (Proverbs 1:24-31) So let us “listen to
the door, and its craving is to domi- discipline and become wise.” As Prov-
nate you; but will you get the mastery erbs 4:13 says, “hold on to discipline;
over it?” (Genesis 4:6, 7) Cain reject- do not let it go. Safeguard it, for it
ed Jehovah’s discipline, murdered his means your life.”
18, 19. What is worse than any pain from disci- 20. What will happen to those who accept
pline? Give an example. God’s discipline and to those who reject it?

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