Congregation Bible Study ‒ Week Starting April 6

Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 22 ¶18-22, box p. 228 (30 min.)

***cl pp. 226-228 Is “the Wisdom From Above” at Work in Your Life?***

“Not Making Partial Distinctions, Not Hypocritical”

18. If we are guided by the wisdom from above, what must we endeavor to root out of our hearts, and why?

18 “Not making partial distinctions.” Godly wisdom rises above racial prejudice and national pride. If we are guided by such wisdom, we endeavor to root out of our hearts any tendency to show favoritism. (James 2:9) We do not give preferential treatment to others on the basis of their educational background, financial standing, or congregational responsibility; nor do we look down on any of our fellow worshipers, regardless of how lowly they may seem to be. If Jehovah has made such ones recipients of his love, we should certainly deem them worthy of ourlove.
par. 18 (Jas. 2:9) But if you continue showing favoritism, you are committing sin, and you are convicted by the law as transgressors.

19, 20. (a) What is the background of the Greek word for “hypocrite”? (b) How do we demonstrate “unhypocritical brotherly affection,” and why is this important?

19 “Not hypocritical.” The Greek word for “hypocrite” can refer to “an actor who played a role.” In ancient times, Greek and Roman actors wore large masks when performing. Hence, the Greek word for “hypocrite” came to apply to one putting on a pretense, or one playing false. This aspect of godly wisdom should influence not just how we treat fellow worshipers but also how we feel about them.

20 The apostle Peter noted that our “obedience to the truth” should result in “unhypocritical brotherly affection.” (1 Peter 1:22) Yes, our affection for our brothers must not be put on for show. We do not wear masks or play roles in order to deceive others. Our affection must be genuine, heartfelt. If it is, we will earn the trust of our fellow believers, for they will know that we are what we appear to be. Such sincerity paves the way for open and honest relationships between Christians and helps to create a trusting atmosphere in the congregation.
par. 20 (1 Pet. 1:22) Now that you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth with unhypocritical brotherly affection as the result, love one another intensely from the heart.

“Safeguard Practical Wisdom”

21, 22. (a) How did Solomon fail to safeguard wisdom? (b) How can we safeguard wisdom, and how will we benefit from doing so?

21 Godly wisdom is a gift from Jehovah, one that we should safeguard. Solomon said: “My son, . . . safeguard practical wisdom and thinking ability.” (Proverbs 3:21) Sadly, Solomon himself failed to do that. He remained wise as long as he kept an obedient heart. But in the end, his many foreign wives turned his heart away from the pure worship of Jehovah. (1 Kings 11:1-8) Solomon’s outcome illustrates that knowledge is of little value if we do not put it to good use.
par. 21 (Prov. 3:21) My son, do not lose sight of them. Safeguard practical wisdom and thinking ability;
par. 21 (1 Ki. 11:1-8) But King Solʹo•mon loved many foreign women besides the daughter of Pharʹaoh: Moʹab•ite, Amʹmon•ite, Eʹdom•ite, Si•doʹni•an, and Hitʹtite women. 2 They were from the nations about whom Jehovah had said to the Israelites: “You must not go in among them, and they should not come in among you, for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods.” But Solʹo•mon clung to them and loved them. 3 And he had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and his wives gradually inclined his heart. 4 In Solʹo•mon’s old age, his wives inclined his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father.5 And Solʹo•mon followed after Ashʹto•reth, the goddess of the Si•doʹni•ans, and Milʹcom, the disgusting god of the Amʹmon•ites. 6 And Solʹo•mon did what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow Jehovah completely as David his father had done. 7 It was then that Solʹo•mon built a high place to Cheʹmosh, the disgusting god of Moʹab, on the mountain in front of Jerusalem and to Moʹlech, the disgusting god of the Amʹmon•ites. 8 That was what he did for all his foreign wives who were making sacrificial smoke and sacrificing to their gods.

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