1, 2. Why is the Bible an exciting gift from God?
HOW do you feel when a friend surprises you with a gift? You can’t wait to open it, and you are happy that your friend thought of you. You thank him for it.
2 The Bible is a gift from God. It gives us information that we can’t find anywhere else. For example, it tells us that God created the heavens, the earth, and the first man and woman. It gives us principles that can help us when we have problems. In the Bible, we learn how God will accomplish his purpose to make the earth a better place. The Bible is such an exciting gift!
3. What will you learn as you study the Bible?
3 As you study the Bible, you will discover that God wants you to be his friend. The more you learn about him, the closer your friendship with him will become.
4. What impresses you about the Bible?
4 The Bible has been translated into about 2,600 languages, and billions of copies have been printed. More than 90 percent of the people in the world can read the Bible in their own language. And each week, more than a million people get a Bible! Yes, there is no other book like the Bible.
5. Why can we say that the Bible is “inspired of God”?
5 The Bible is “inspired of God.” (Read 2 Timothy 3:16.) But some may think, ‘The Bible was written by men, so how can it be from God?’ The Bible answers: “Men spoke from God as they were moved [or, guided] by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) This is similar to a businessman telling his secretary to write a letter. Who is the author of the letter? It is the businessman, not the secretary. In the same way, the Author of the Bible is God, not the men he used to write it. God guided them to write his thoughts. The Bible really is “the word of God.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13; see Endnote 2.
THE BIBLE IS ACCURATE
6, 7. Why can we say that the Bible is harmonious?
6 It took more than 1,600 years to write the Bible. Its writers lived at different times. Some were well-educated and others were not. For example, one was a doctor. Others were farmers, fishermen, shepherds, prophets, judges, and kings. Even though there were different writers, all parts of the Bible agree. It doesn’t say one thing in one chapter and the opposite in another.*
7 The first chapters of the Bible explain how the world’s problems started, and the last chapters tell us how God will solve those problems by making the earth a paradise. The Bible covers thousands of years of human history and shows that God’s purpose is always accomplished.
8. Give examples that show the scientific accuracy of the Bible.
8 The Bible wasn’t written to teach science or to be a school textbook, but what it says about scientific matters is always accurate. That is what we would expect of a book that comes from God. For example, the book of Leviticus contains God’s instructions on ways the Israelites could stop disease from spreading. This was written long before people knew how bacteria and viruses cause disease. The Bible also correctly teaches that the earth hangs on nothing. (Job 26:7) And when most people believed that the earth was flat, the Bible said that it was round.—Isaiah 40:22.
9. What does the honesty of the Bible writers help us to understand?
9 When the Bible talks about history, it is always accurate. But many history books are not completely accurate because the writers were not honest. For example, they did not always write about the times their nation was defeated in battle. Instead, Bible writers were honest even when Israel was defeated. They also wrote about their own mistakes. For example, in the book of Numbers, Moses tells us that he made a serious mistake and that God had to discipline him for it. (Numbers 20:2-12) The honesty of Bible writers shows that the Bible comes from God. This means that we can trust the Bible.
A BOOK FULL OF GOOD ADVICE
10. Why is the Bible’s advice helpful for us today?
10 The Bible is “inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Yes, the Bible’s advice is helpful for us today. Jehovah knows how we are made, so he understands how we think and feel. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and he wants us to be happy. He knows what is good for us and what is bad for us.
11, 12. (a) What good advice did Jesus give in Matthew chapters 5 to 7? (b) What else can we learn from the Bible?
11 In Matthew chapters 5 to 7, we read very good advice that Jesus gave on how to be happy, how to get along with others, how to pray, and how to view money. Although he gave this advice 2,000 years ago, it is just as powerful and helpful today.
12 In the Bible, Jehovah also teaches us principles that help us to have a better family life, to be good workers, and to live in peace with others. Bible principles can always help us, no matter who we are, where we live, or what problems we have.—Read Isaiah 48:17; see Endnote 3.
YOU CAN TRUST BIBLE PROPHECY
13. What did Isaiah say would happen to the city of Babylon?
13 Many Bible prophecies have already come true. For example, Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would be destroyed. (Isaiah 13:19) He described exactly how the city would be defeated. The city was protected by large gates and a river. But Isaiah foretold that the river would be dried up and the gates left open. The attackers would take the city without a battle. Isaiah even prophesied that a man named Cyrus would defeat Babylon.—Read Isaiah 44:27–45:2; see Endnote 4.
14, 15. How did Isaiah’s prophecy come true?
14 Two hundred years after the prophecy was written, an army arrived ready to attack Babylon. Who was leading the army? Just as the prophecy said, it was Cyrus, the king of Persia. Everything was set for the rest of the prophecy to come true.
15 On the night of the attack, the Babylonians were having a feast. They felt safe because they were protected by massive walls and a river. Outside the city, Cyrus and his army dug a channel to lower the level of the river water. The water level went down enough for the Persian soldiers to walk through it. But how would the army get past Babylon’s walls? Just as the prophecy said, the city gates were left open, so the soldiers took the city without a battle.
16. (a) What did Isaiah prophesy about the future of Babylon? (b) How do we know that Isaiah’s prophecy came true?
16 Isaiah prophesied that eventually no one would ever live in Babylon again. He wrote: “She will never be inhabited, nor will she be a place to reside [or, live] in throughout all generations.” (Isaiah 13:20) Did that come true? In the place where Babylon used to be, about 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, there are just ruins. Even today, no one lives there. Jehovah swept Babylon “with the broom of annihilation [or, destruction].”—Isaiah 14:22, 23.*
17. Why can we trust all of God’s promises?
17 The fact that so many Bible prophecies have already come true means that we can trust what the Bible says about the future. We can be sure that Jehovah will keep his promise to make the earth a paradise. (Read Numbers 23:19.) Yes, we have the hope of “everlasting life that God, who cannot lie, promised long ago.”—Titus 1:2.*
THE BIBLE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
18. How does Paul describe “the word of God”?
18 We have learned that there is no other book like the Bible. It is harmonious, and when it talks about scientific or historical matters, it is always accurate. It also gives us good advice and contains many prophecies that have already come true. But the Bible does even more than that. The apostle Paul wrote: “The word of God is alive and exerts power.” What does that mean?—Read Hebrews 4:12.
19, 20. (a) How can the Bible help you to know who you are? (b) How can you show that you are thankful for the gift of the Bible?
19 The Bible can change your life. It can help you to know who you really are. It can help you to understand your deepest thoughts and feelings. For example, we may think that we love God. But to prove that we love him, we need to apply what the Bible says.
20 The Bible truly is a book from God. He wants you to read it, study it, and love it. Be thankful for this gift, and keep studying it. Then you will understand God’s purpose for humans. In the next chapter, we will learn more about this purpose.
Some people say that the Bible is not harmonious, but that is not true. See chapter 7 of the book The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If you would like to learn more about Bible prophecy, you can read pages 27-29 of the brochure A Book for All People, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The destruction of Babylon is just one Bible prophecy that came true. You can find information on prophecies about Jesus Christ in Endnote 5.