They are unified as one flock. (John l0:16)
They form an international association of brothers. (1 Pet.
They have learned to speak the pure language of truth,
thereby calling on the name of Jehovah. (Zeph. 3:9, 13)
They recognize God's authority and his way of doing
things. (Deut. 32:4; Isa. 33:22)
The Christian congregation of anointed ones on earth
has been entrusted with a stewardship as God's house-
hold, supported by a great crowd of helpers.
- As members of a loving household, they serve together as
a cooperative organization.
Local congregations throughout the earth are not orga-
nized according to democratic principles but are under
God-governed, theocratic control.
All congregations are directed by Christ Jesus under one
stewardship arrangement, or administration. (Heb. 3:6)
- At Ephesians 1: 10, "administration" translates the Greek
word oi.ko.no.mi'an, which basically means "household
(organizational) management" of affairs. (w74 l0/15
pp. 616-17; it-1 pp. 48-9)
Congregations receive guidance from Jehovah through
Jesus Christ, his appointed Administrator. (Heb. 1:1,2)
- As Jehovah's Chief Servant, Jesus sees to it that justice is
carried out. (Matt. 12: 18)
Jesus ensures that love prevails among all those who
follow his steps closely. (John 15:12, 13; 1 Pet. 2:21)
Holy People Must Be
Guided by God-Given Standards
All members of the household, as well as those who
work closely with it, must be holy. (Eph. 2:19; 1 Pet. 1:
- Holiness includes cleanness, purity, separateness, both
physically and spiritually.
Jehovah's people must love justice and mercy. (Ps. 33:5;
Jas. 2:13; 3:17)
As Statute-Giver, Jehovah sets righteous standards and,
at times, delegates the authority necessary to enforce
them. (Isa. 33:22)
- His laws are stated in our guidebook, the Bible. (2 Tim.
UNIT 6 (a) - 145
- We must recognize and submit to this theocratic ruler-
ship. (Isa. 2:3)
Administration of laws is entrusted to God's anointed
King. (Isa. 32:1)
- Since his invisible enthronement in 1914 C.E., Jesus has
been ruling in the midst of his earthly enemies. (Ps.
110:2; Dan. 7:13, 14)
Invisible control is exercised from heaven.
Use of a visible earthly agency is evidenced by millions of
subjects now submitting to Christ's kingship. (Prov. 14:
28a; Phil. 2:9-11)
Invisible rule requires visible representatives.
- The anointed remnant has been entrusted with all of the
Master's belongings. (Luke 12:42-44)
The steward class is faithful in dispensing spiritual food.
Overseers serve as earthly representatives under the direc-
tion of the steward class. (Isa. 32: 1, 2)
- Theocratic submission requires recognition of this or-
derly arrangement. (Zech. 8:23)
We are assured of proper guidance through the conclu-
sion of the system of things. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 28:20)
Governing in Righteousness
Requires Observance of Jehovah's
Laws and Principles
Laws are defined as rules of conduct that are necessary
for good order. (Compare Galatians 6:16.)
- Jehovah is a God of order, and his laws are perfect. (Ps.
19:7; 1 Cor. 14:33)
God's laws are based on righteous principles, and they are
enforceable by an organization or an agency.
Principles are settled guidelines based on fundamental
truths. (w57 9/1 p. 524; w52 7/1 p. 407)
146 - "Pay Attenhon to Yourselves and to All the Flock
- Example of principles based on a fundamental truth:
- Fundamental truth: Jehovah God is the Sovereign Lord
of heaven and earth. (Acts 4:24)
- Principles based on this fundamental truth:
- We owe Jehovah total obedience in everything.
(1 Sam. 15:22; Jer. 7:23)
When there is a conflict, we must obey God as
Ruler rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Principles are eternal, whereas rules may apply to limit-
ed times or conditions.
Laws, judicial decisions, and instructions from Jehovah
are transmitted through various levels of household (or-
ganizational ) management. (Eph. 1: l0, Ref. Bi., ftn. )
- Jesus Christ, the King and High Priest. (Heb. 3 :1,6)
"The faithful and discreet slave" and its Governing Body
and traveling representatives. (Matt. 24:45-47; Acts 15:
23, 28, 29; 16:4)
Congregation elders. (Heb. 13 :17 )
Husbands, fathers, and mothers. (Prov. 1:8; Eph. 5:22,
23; 6:1, 4)
Human overseers must be careful that their instructions
do not violate God's Word.
- They must imitate Jesus. (John 5:30; 12:49)
If God's Word is violated, lawlessness results. (2 Pet. 2:
1-3; l John 3:4)
Administering Jehovah's Laws With Justice and Mercy
Justice is the administration of what is right in a fair and
impartial way. (Lev. 19:15)
UNIT 6 (a) - 147
- Jehovah manifests justice in all of his dealings. (Deut.
32:4; Heb. 2:2-4)
- Illustration: A plumb line must he carefully used if a
building is to be erected properly. (Amos 7:7, 8; compare
Zechariah 4:10. )
Decisions of elders must reflect justice in imitation of
- If any of Jehovah's people do not meet the test of
uprightness in a spiritual way, Jehovah will mete out
discipline with justice.
Jehovah's ways. (Isa. 32:1 )
Jehovah tempers justice with mercy when this is war-
ranted. (Ezek. 33:14-16)
Mercy is not limited to the withholding of measured
punishment when justly due; it also expresses kind con-
sideration or pity that brings relief to those who are
disadvantaged and in need of help. (it-2 p. 376)
- Mercy lightens judgment, or punishment, and brings
relief when circumstances allow for it. (Ps. l03 :8-l0; Jas.
Mercy also involves the way in which needed correction
and discipline are given.
Mercy takes into consideration such matters as motive,
provocation, willingness to confess, temptation, mental
and emotional condition, degree of spiritual progress
made, past conduct, and present attitude of the offender.
- Elders must guard against automatic or letter-of-the-law
application of punishment for breaking God's laws.
Administering Christian law in justice and with mercy
- Decisions that are fair and appropriate to the need. (Isa.
28:24-28; w76 12/1 p. 719; w75 9/1 pp. 517-18)
Allowance for mercy when there are extenuating circum-
- Applying punishment to fit the violation.
Enforcing with impartiality the laws that carry sanctions.
(Deut. 1:16, 17)
Getting all the facts before making a decision. (Prov. 18:
148 - "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"
- Avoiding becoming unnecessarily involved in personal
disputes. (Prov. 26:17; see Unit 5 (b), page l08.)
Expelling (by disfellowshipping) those who flout God's
household law and unrepentantly contaminate the con-
gregation. (1 Cor. 5:9, 13; Titus 3:10)
Making clear to disfellowshipped ones that upon display-
ing works befitting repentance and turning around, they
may apply for reinstatement. (2 Cor. 2:6-8)
Each judicial case is different and must be judged on its
- Some people have inherited or acquired stronger faulty
inclinations than others have and may therefore need
more than the usual direction or counsel to correct their
course. (Jonah 4:11; Mark 6:34)
Need for a Righteous Judiciary
Elders should make serious efforts to expand their abili-
ty to be righteous judges.
- Use direction provided by the Society.
Be sure all decisions are solidly based on the Scriptures.
- Before handling any judicial matter, wisely make a
practice of carefully reviewing Units 5 (a), 5 (b), and
5 (c), taking special note of the cited scriptures.
- When elders rely primarily on past experience or
fail to review this material before handling a judicial
matter, they frequently overlook important points.
Since the lives of all Christians are precious to
Jehovah, the elders cannot afford to be careless or
indifferent. You must "render an account." (Heb.
Elders selected to serve on judicial or appeal commit-
tees should be outstandingly discerning and trustwor-
- If the wrongdoer or one accused is known to have strong
feelings respecting an elder being considered to serve, it
would be better that the elder not serve.
UNIT 6 (a) - 149
- An elder who is related to the accused person, has been in
business with him, or has had a special friendship with
him should not normally serve on the committee. (km
9/77 p. 6)
The judicial committee needs to be consistent, firm, and
loving in its dealings and decisions.
When questions arise, do not be hasty in deciding the
- Work interdependently as a committee. (1 Cor. 12:
Listen to fellow members on the judicial committee;
benefit from one another's observations.
God's spirit can direct any one of the elders to make a
valuable contribution to the thinking of the judicial
committee. (Prov. 27:17; Eccl. 4:9)
matter. Do research in the Society's publications. If an-
swers cannot be found and further direction is really
needed, write to the Society; if the matter is urgent,
telephone during business hours.
Elders serving as a committee of judges should imitate the
example of Jehovah and Jesus, dealing impartially and
justly with all persons. (Lev. 19: 15; John 5:30; 8:28)
By your conscientiously exercising justice tempered by
mercy, you give evidence that Jehovah's organization is
governed by him. His theocratically organized people
will therefore continue to grow in righteousness. (1 Sam.
150 - "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock"
UNIT 6 (b)
"The law of the Christ" is not the body of laws that
Law of the Christ"
formed the Mosaic Law of ancient Israel. (Gal. 6:2; Col. 2:
13, 14) Since Pentecost 33 C.E., Christians have been "un-
der law toward Christ." This control is called "the perfect
law that belongs to freedom."--1 Cor. 9:21; Jas. 1:25; it-2
Jesus did not personally write down a set of laws. Further-
more, his disciples did not set down laws in the form of a
code for Christians, using categories and subheadings. Never-
theless, the Christian Greek Scriptures abound in laws, com-
mands, and decrees that the Christian is obligated to observe.
Some rules of conduct in the Law of Moses have been
restated in the law of the Christ and are enforceable upon
Christians. (Acts 15:19-21) other rules of conduct from the
Law of Moses with their underlying principles, though not
enforceable in the Christian congregation, are useful to
Christians as they walk in the way of holiness.--Jas. 2:8, 9.
Elders must always seriously consider the guidelines that
serve to protect the congregation and keep it clean in Jeho-
vah's sight. They must also treat God's flock with tenderness.
--Acts 20:28-30; Eph. 5 :25-27.
Law of the Christian Congregation
Christians are under the law of the Christ, not the
Mosaic Law. (1 Cor. 9:21)
- The law of the Christ consists of a body of rules for
Christian conduct. (Gal. 6:16)
This law embraces the whole scope of a Christian's life
and work and focuses attention on:
- Our relationship with Jehovah. (Matt. 4:10; 22:37;
(1 John 5:3)
- Our faith in Jesus Christ and submission to him. ( Col.
1:18; 1 John 3:23)
Our relationship with fellow Christians. (John 13:
34,35; 1 John 3:16-18)
Our obligations toward unbelievers. (Matt. 24:14; Gal.
6:10; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14)
Our moral conduct and manner of life. (Gal. 5:23, 24)
The law of the Christian system of things involves the
heart. (Jer. 31:33; Heb. l0:16)
For our protection and spiritual security, it is essential
that we he obedient to the law of the Christ.
- Only in this manner can those who desire to be guided by
Jehovah's Word walk unitedly and harmoniously in the
path of righteousness.
This makes it incumbent upon us to lay aside personal or
preconceived ideas of what is right and wrong and whole-
heartedly accept Jehovah's direction.
In this way, we are kept separate from the world and
prove ourselves loyal to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah and
his King, Jesus Christ.
Elders, Guard Your
Trust of Shepherding God's Flock
How elders can guard their trust of shepherding God's
flock. (1 Pet. 5:1-4; w89 9/15 pp. l0-15)
UNIT 6 (b) - 153
- Be positive and diligent in caring for your duties. (Prov.
Maintain a good, productive schedule of personal study.
(1 Tim. 4:13-15)
- As an elder, you are rightly expected to give sound
- Reading the entire Bible meditatively, perhaps sev-
eral times, will help to equip you for such responsi-
bility. (Prov. 15:28)
- "Preach the word," both inside and outside the congrega-
tion. (2 Tim. 4:2,5)
Work hard to increase your capability as a teacher. (Rom.
12:7; Jas. 3:1)
Treat God's flock with tenderness. (Acts 20:28, 29;
1 Thess. 2:7, 8; w89 9/15 pp. 15-20)
- Be a humble slave of your fellow Christians, not 'lording
it over them.' (Matt. 20:25-28; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 5:3)
Be a source of relief and refreshment. ( Isa. 32:1, 2)
Be just, righteous, and tender when judging sheep in
God's flock. (Compare Ezekiel 34:7-14.)
Serving loyally as an elder under the law of the Christ
honors Jehovah and brings many benefits to the congre-
gation, God's flock.
- May Jehovah and his Son, in effect, tell you: "Well done,
good slave!" (Luke 19:17)
l54 - "Pay Attention lo Yourselves and to All the Flock"