Berean Studies / Ber02 - Humility And Meekness
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Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What importance does God attach to these graces of Christian character?
2. Although the Scriptures use the words interchangeably, yet strictly speaking, what is the distinction between humility...
3. What is the relation between humility and knowledge?
4. How do we know that humility is the underlying principle of the divine government?
5. What does it mean to be ‘clothed with humility’?
6. Is it possible to have too great humility?
7. What elements of character are in direct opposition to humility?
8. What lessons may we learn from Jesus’ example of humility?
9. Was humility characteristic of the apostles?
Eph 3:8; R1885 col. 1 ¶5; R2826 col. 1 ¶3- 5; F210 ¶2 to 212 ¶1
(Eph 3:8) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
R1885 c1 p5 First. The Apostle made a humble, sober estimate of his spiritual standing and strength. He did not feel puffed up at being a chosen vessel of the Lord to bear his name before the Gentiles. He did not consider himself the Great Apostle, nor vaunt himself in any way. And so far was he from boasting of his spiritual attainments, that he humbly reminded the church of the possibility of himself being a castaway, even after he had preached to others, unless he continued to stand fast in his integrity and to grow in grace. (`1 Cor. 9:27`.) And while he held up before them Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God, and the model for their imitation, he humbly declared that he, with them, was striving to follow the pattern, Christ, while trusting alone in the merit of his sacrifice to make up his own shortcomings. Thus he was relieved of that greatest hindrance to spiritual development--self-satisfaction; for if any man considers that he has attained a satisfactory spiritual state, from that very moment he may date the beginning of his spiritual decline. No present attainments can be satisfactory to a sincere follower of Christ who studiously endeavors to copy the perfect pattern. It is only when we turn our eyes away from Christ that self-complacency can be exercised; for, in full view of the pattern, our shortcomings are ever manifest. And if in pride of heart we do lose sight of them ourselves, they only become the more manifest to others. Only in the realization of a continual growth into the likeness of Christ should the Christian find satisfaction. Like the Apostle, let him consider, not that he has already attained, neither that he is already perfect, but that he is still in the race and making progress towards the goal. And no doubt it was the considering of himself as not having attained perfection, and as still subject to frailty, that led the Apostle to seek the Lord's grace, that kept him always in a humble attitude of mind and that gave him compassion for the weaknesses and failings of others. It is those who become high-minded and self-sufficient that strain to pull out the mote from their brother's eye and forget the beam in their own.
R2826 c1 p3-5 Note the simplicity of the Apostle's introduction to this most wonderful book. He did not write the title of the book as it appears in our Bibles--"The Revelation of St. John the Divine"--that is to say, the Revelation of St. John, Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Theology. On the contrary, John claims no credit for the revelation; it was not his, but, as he distinctly explains, it was from our Lord Jesus Christ,--and to him from God the Father. Nor was it even to John in any special sense, but, as he again declares, unto God's "servants," sent by his "servant John." This simplicity, common to all the apostles, commends them to us as men of humble minds,--the very kind we should expect our Lord to use as special servants and messengers to his people. The apostolic simplicity is in striking contrast with the pomposity of the majority of those who claim to be their pupils and fellow servants, and who delight in the titles of "Reverend," "Right Reverend," "Very Reverend," "His Holiness," "Doctor of Divinity," etc. And in proportion as the spirit of the world is quenched by the spirit of Christ--and in proportion as the Lord's people are zealous in seeking and finding "the old paths" (`Jer. 6:16`), in that same proportion do these human titles which seem so much to the world and to Babylon come to appear vain, inappropriate, deceitful.
Instead of adding loud and boastful titles to his name, as Reverend, Bishop, Overseer of all the Churches in Asia Minor, we find John introducing himself as "Your Brother," as the companion of all saints in tribulation and in the Kingdom, and in the patient endurance of Jesus Christ. He was sharer with Christ, as a member of his body in his afflictions, in his endurance, and prospectively a joint-heir in his Kingdom, and in all this he was the brother of all fellow-disciples, sharers of the same sufferings, and prospectively of the same glory. It is generally understood that John had already been severely persecuted, and that at the time of this vision he was in banishment on the little island in the Mediterranean Sea called Patmos--a penal island where convicts were worked in the quarrying of marble, etc. Yet John himself, with remarkable modesty, passes over not only his previous service for the truth, which had brought him his persecution, but also lightly passes over the persecution itself, merely noting that he was in the island of Patmos because of his fidelity to the word of God and the testimony that Jesus was the Christ.
This simplicity, this absence of boastfulness so noticeable in the writings of all the apostles, commends them and their words to our attention, and marks them as being in the ministry not for the gratification of vanity, or seeking earthly rewards of any kind; but simply as the servants of God, who delighted to do his will, and to tell the good tidings, to the utter ignoring of themselves, excepting in so far as mention of themselves and their affairs might be necessary and helpful to the Church. All of the Lord's followers do well to note this characteristic of the Master, and of those whom he specially chose to be his followers and our exemplars. In proportion as we attain to the Lord's spirit it will similarly manifest itself in our sentiments and conduct.
F210:2 to 212:1 The other disciples not thus chosen to apostleship were also beloved of the Lord, and no doubt they were in full sympathy with his appointment of the twelve, recognizing it as in the interest of the work in general. Upon what bases the Lord made his choice is not stated; but we have the record of his own prayer to the effect that, "Thine they were and thou gavest them me"; and again, "Of those whom thou hast given me, I have lost none save the son of perdition" --Judas. In what sense or to what degree the Father made choice of the twelve matters nothing to us. No doubt one qualification which they possessed was humility; and, undoubtedly, their lowly vocations and previous experiences in life had been such as tended to make them not only humble men, but to lead additionally to strength of character, determination, perseverance, etc., to a degree which other pursuits might not have done to the same extent. We are informed that the selection of the twelve at the time it took place, instead of waiting until Pentecost (the date of the begetting of the Church), was, in large measure, for the purpose of permitting these twelve to be specially with the Lord, to behold his works, to hear his message, that thus they might in due time be witnesses to declare to us and to all of God's people at first hand the wonderful works of God, and the wonderful words of life manifested through Jesus. Luke 24:44-48; Acts 10:39-42
The Apostolic Commission - There is not the slightest suggestion anywhere, to the apostles or concerning them, that they were to be lords over God's heritage; that they were to consider themselves as different from other believers, exempt from the operations of divine law, or specially favored or secure as respects their everlasting inheritance. They were continually to remember that "all ye are brethren," and that "one is your Master, even Christ." They were always to remember that it was necessary for them to make their calling and election sure; and that unless they obeyed the Law of Love and were humble, as little children, they should in no wise "enter into the Kingdom." They were given no official titles nor any instruction respecting special garb or peculiar demeanor, but merely that they should in all these things be ensamples to the flock; that others seeing their good works should glorify the Father; that others walking in their footsteps should thus be following in the footsteps of the leader also, and ultimately attain to the same glory, honor, immortality--partakers of the same divine nature, members of the same New Creation.
Their commission was one of service--they were to serve one another, to serve the Lord and to lay down their lives for the brethren. These services were to be rendered specially in connection with the promulgation of the Gospel. They were partakers of the pre-anointing that had already come upon their Master--the same anointing which pertains to all of the New Creation, all of the Royal Priesthood, and is described by the prophet, saying: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek,...to bind up the broken-hearted," etc. Isa. 61:1,2; Luke 4:17-21; Matt. 10:5-8; Mark 3:14,15; Luke 10:1-17
10. Why is humility a chief essential in an Elder?
11. Why should husbands cultivate and exercise humility?
12. How can wives exercise humility?
13. Why is it important that we teach our children meekness and humility?
14. What Scriptural promises are given to the meek and humble?
15. What notable illustrations and examples of meekness and humility do we find in the Bible?
16. Give suggestions as to the best methods for acquiring and cultivating these important graces.
17. What additional thoughts can be found by consulting the Topical Indexes of the ‘ New Bible ‘ and ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘?