*** km 11/99 pp. 4-5 Use of the Internet—Be Alert to the Dangers! ***
Noticeably, there have been a number of individuals who have created Web sites ostensibly to preach the good news. Many of these sites are sponsored by indiscreet brothers. Other sites may be sponsored by apostates who wish to lure unsuspecting ones. (2 John 9-11) Commenting on whether there is a need for our brothers to create such Web sites, Our Kingdom Ministry, November 1997, page 3, stated: "There is no need for any individual to prepare Internet pages about Jehovah’s Witnesses, our activities, or our beliefs. Our official site [www.watchtower.org] presents accurate information for any who want it."
Study Aids via the Internet? Some have felt that they are rendering a service to the brothers by posting researched information in connection with various theocratic activities. For example, a person may do research based on a public-talk outline and then post this, thinking that such information will benefit those who need to prepare the same outline. Others will post all the scriptures for an upcoming Watchtower Study or provide source material for the Theocratic Ministry School or the Congregation Book Study. Some may offer suggestions for field ministry presentations. Are such really helpful?
The publications provided by Jehovah’s organization stimulate our minds with upbuilding thoughts and train us "to distinguish both right and wrong." (Heb. 5:14) Can we say that this is achieved if others do our research for us?
The Beroeans were spoken of as "more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica." Why? Because "they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11) Although Paul and Silas preached to them, they could not make the truth their own without becoming personally involved.
Using another person’s research for a talk or for other meeting preparation really defeats the purpose of personal study. Is it not your desire to build up your own personal faith in God’s Word? Based on personal conviction, you can then make public expression of your faith—in your talks, in comments at the meetings, and in the field ministry. (Rom. 10:10) Using another person’s research does not fit the description given at Proverbs 2:4, 5 to personally ‘keep seeking and searching for the very knowledge of God as for hid treasures.’
For example, when looking up scriptures in your own copy of the Bible, you can briefly review the context of each scripture. You can ‘trace all things with accuracy,’ as did Luke when he wrote his Gospel. (Luke 1:3) The extra effort will also help you to be skillful in looking up scriptures in the ministry and when giving talks. Many have stated that they are impressed with Jehovah’s Witnesses because they know how to use their Bibles. The only way that this can apply to us is if we make it a practice personally to look up scriptures in our own Bibles.