The #3 Student Talk in the Theocratic Ministry School has changed as of this year. Now it includes demonstration parts with two brothers discussing a Bible topic.
Last week and this week it is taken from pages 8 and 9 of the newest edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT Edition 2013). The theme is: How can you learn about God?
Here are the Scriptures which the students are expected to use for the discussion. They are discouraged from straying from the source material.
- Joshua 1:8 – Message: Read the Bible
- Nehemiah 8:8 – Message: Listen to those teaching you the Bible
- Psalm 1:1-3 – Message: Don’t listen to the world, but read the Bible
- Acts 8:30, 31 – Message: We need someone to explain the Bible
- Romans 1:20 – Message: Creation teaches us about God
- 1 Timothy 4:15 – Message: Meditation helps us to learn about God
- Hebrews 10:24, 25 – Message: We learn about God from our meetings
- James 1:5 – Message: Pray for wisdom
Now there is nothing wrong with any of this reasoning. It is, after all, biblical. However, something is missing, something vital. “Vital” refers to something that is “maintaining, supporting, or sustaining life.” What life-sustaining element is missing?
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being…” – Heb. 1:3
He told the Corinthians that while no one can truly know the mind of God, we do have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16)
He gave this gem to the Colossians, treating it as a cautionary warning.
“Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge. 4 This I am saying that no man may delude YOU with persuasive arguments.” (Col 2:3, 4)
Since Jesus is the exact representation of God; since we can only know God’s mind through the mind of Christ; since all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge are found in Jesus; why are men excluding him from the message of the Good News being preached from our new Bible? Those twenty topics at the start of our new NWT Bible are intended for the preaching work and Bible study instruction of beginners. The second topic presumes to teach us how to learn about God, yet completely ignores the “Chief Agent and Perfector of our faith, Jesus.” – Heb. 12:2
The reasoning that is to be presented in these two student talks on the TMS program will sound most persuasive to the audience members, because it follows the Organization’s agenda: Read the Bible, listen to what the elders and publications teach, meditate on what you are taught, keep attending meetings and of course, pray in line with our Kingdom message. But if this message slowly distances us from the true treasures of wisdom and knowledge bound up in the Christ – if this vital element is missing – then what will sustain our spiritual life through times of real trouble?
Paul’s warning to the Colossians should be resounding in our ears.
Since the #2 study topic in the NWT asks “How you can learn about God?”, we can answer that you can learn about him by learning about the one who is his image and in whom are concealed all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge so that no man (or group of men) might delude you with persuasive arguments that wisdom and knowledge can come from another source, their source.