Draw Close to Jehovah: Study with biblical texts | week starting september 14

Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah

cl chap. 30 ¶10-18 (30 min.)

10. How does love help us uphold and speak the truth, even when it is not easy to do so?

10 “Love . . . rejoices with the truth.” Another version says: “Love . . . joyfully sides with the truth.” Love moves us to uphold truth and to “speak truthfully with one another.” (Zechariah 8:16) If, for example, a loved one has been involved in serious sin, love for Jehovah—and for the erring one—will help us hold to God’s standards rather than trying to conceal, rationalize, or even lie about the wrongdoing. Granted, the truth of the situation may be hard to accept. But having the best interests of our loved one at heart, we would want him to receive and respond to an expression of God’s loving discipline. (Proverbs 3:11, 12) As loving Christians, we also wish to “conduct ourselves honestly in all things.”—Hebrews 13:18.
Zechariah 8:16 “‘These are the things you should do: Speak the truth with one another, and the judgments in your gates must promote truth and peace.
Proverbs 3:11, 12 My son, do not reject the discipline of Jehovah,And do not loathe his reproof,12 For those whom Jehovah loves he reproves,Just as a father does a son in whom he delights.
Hebrews 13:18 Keep praying for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.

11. Because love “bears all things,” what should we endeavor to do with respect to the shortcomings of fellow believers?

11 “Love . . . bears all things.” That expression literally means “all things it is covering.” (Kingdom Interlinear) First Peter 4:8 states: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Yes, a Christian who is governed by love is not eager to drag into the light of day all the imperfections and shortcomings of his Christian brothers. In many cases, the mistakes and faults of fellow believers are minor in nature and can be covered by the cloak of love.—Proverbs 10:12; 17:9.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred is what stirs up contentions,But love covers over all transgressions.
Proverbs 17:9 9 Whoever forgives a transgression seeks love,But the one who keeps harping on a matter separates close friends.

Love moves us to express confidence in our brothers

12. How did the apostle Paul show that he believed the best about Philemon, and what can we learn from Paul’s example?

12 “Love . . . believes all things.” Moffatt’s translation says that love is “always eager to believe the best.” We are not unduly suspicious of fellow believers, questioning their every motive. Love helps us “to believe the best” about our brothers and to trust them. Note an example in Paul’s letter to Philemon. Paul was writing in order to encourage Philemon to welcome kindly the return of the runaway slave Onesimus, who had become a Christian. Instead of trying to coerce Philemon, Paul made an appeal based on love. He expressed confidence that Philemon would do the right thing, saying: “Trusting in your compliance, I am writing you, knowing you will even do more than the things I say.” (Verse 21) When love moves us to express such confidence in our brothers, we bring out the best in them.
Philemon 21 I am confident that you will comply, so I am writing you, knowing that you will do even more than what I say.

13. How can we show that we hope the best for our brothers?

13 “Love . . . hopes all things.” Even as love is trustful, it is also hopeful. Motivated by love, we hope the best for our brothers. For example, if a brother takes a “false step before he is aware of it,” we hope that he will respond to loving efforts to readjust him. (Galatians 6:1) We also hold out hope that those who are weak in faith will recover. We are patient with such ones, doing what we can to help them become strong in faith. (Romans 15:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14) Even if a loved one goes astray, we do not give up hope that someday he will come to his senses and return to Jehovah, like the prodigal son in Jesus’ illustration.—Luke 15:17, 18.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, even if a man takes a false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness. But keep an eye on yourself, for fear you too may be tempted.
Romans 15:1 We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 On the other hand, we urge you, brothers, to warn the disorderly, speak consolingly to those who are depressed, support the weak, be patient toward all.
Luke 15:17, 18 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, while I am dying here from hunger! 18 I will get up and travel to my father and say to him: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

14. In what ways may our endurance be tested within the congregation, and how will love help us to respond?

14 “Love . . . endures all things.” Endurance enables us to stand firm in the face of disappointments or hardships. Tests of endurance do not come only from outside the congregation. At times, we may be tested from within. Because of imperfection, our brothers may on occasion disappoint us. A thoughtless remark may hurt our feelings. (Proverbs 12:18) Perhaps a congregation matter is not handled as we think it should be. The conduct of a respected brother may be upsetting, causing us to wonder, ‘How can a Christian act like that?’ When faced with such situations, will we withdraw from the congregation and stop serving Jehovah? Not if we have love! Yes, love prevents us from becoming so blinded by the failings of a brother that we can no longer see any good in him or in the congregation as a whole. Love enables us to remain faithful to God and supportive of the congregation regardless of what another imperfect human may say or do.—Psalm 119:165.
Proverbs 12:18 Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword,But the tongue of the wise is a healing.
Psalm 119:165 Abundant peace belongs to those who love your law;Nothing can make them stumble.

What Love Is Not

15. What is improper jealousy, and how does love help us to avoid this destructive emotion?

15 “Love is not jealous.” Improper jealousy can cause us to become envious of what others have—their belongings, blessings, or abilities. Such jealousy is a selfish, destructive emotion that, left unchecked, can disrupt the peace of the congregation. What will help us to resist the “tendency to envy”? (James 4:5) In a word, love. This precious quality can enable us to rejoice with those who seem to have certain advantages in life that we ourselves do not have. (Romans 12:15) Love helps us not to view it as a personal affront when someone receives praise for some exceptional ability or outstanding achievement.
James 4:5 Or do you think that for no reason the scripture says: “The spirit that has taken up residence within us keeps enviously longing”?
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.

16. If we truly love our brothers, why would we avoid boasting about what we are doing in Jehovah’s service?

16 “Love . . . does not brag, does not get puffed up.” Love restrains us from flaunting our talents or accomplishments. If we truly love our brothers, how could we constantly brag about our success in the ministry or our privileges in the congregation? Such boasting can tear others down, causing them to feel inferior in comparison. Love does not allow us to brag about what God lets us do in his service. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) After all, love “does not get puffed up,” or as The New Testament in Modern English says, it does not “cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.” Love prevents us from having an elevated view of ourselves.—Romans 12:3.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 What, then, is A•polʹlos? Yes, what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord granted each one. 6 I planted, A•polʹlos watered, but God kept making it grow, 7 so that neither is the one who plants anything nor is the one who waters, but God who makes it grow. 8 Now the one who plants and the one who waters are one, but each person will receive his own reward according to his own work. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field under cultivation, God’s building.
Romans 12:3 For through the undeserved kindness given to me, I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think, but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has given to him a measure of faith.

17. Love moves us to show what consideration for others, and what kind of conduct will we thus avoid?

17 “Love . . . does not behave indecently.” A person who behaves indecently acts in an unseemly or offensive manner. Such a course is unloving, for it shows an utter disregard for the feelings and welfare of others. In contrast, there is a graciousness in love that moves us to show consideration for others. Love promotes good manners, godly conduct, and respect for our fellow believers. Thus, love will not permit us to engage in “shameful conduct”—really, any behavior that would shock or offend our Christian brothers.—Ephesians 5:3, 4.
Ephesians 5:3, 4 Let sexual immorality and every sort of uncleanness or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as is proper for holy people; 4 neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting—things that are not befitting—but rather the giving of thanks.

18. Why does a loving person not demand that everything be done his way?

18 “Love . . . does not look for its own interests.” The Revised Standard Version says here: “Love does not insist on its own way.” A loving person does not demand that everything be done his way, as if his opinions were always correct. He does not manipulate others, using his powers of persuasion to wear down those who have a different view. Such stubbornness would reveal a measure of pride, and the Bible says: “Pride is before a crash.” (Proverbs 16:18) If we really love our brothers, we will respect their views, and where possible, we will show a willingness to yield. A yielding spirit is in harmony with Paul’s words: “Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.”—1 Corinthians 10:24.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride is before a crash,And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.

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