Aid to Understanding
THE Bible enjoys a distribution that runs into thousands of millions. Millions of persons never bother to read it, but other millions do. Some read it just as a matter of religious formalism, making no earnest effort to understand it and holding no serious intent of putting its principles into everyday practice. But there are many sincere persons that read it with an honest desire to understand it and make their lives conform to its precepts. Yet their diligent efforts do not bring clear understanding and hence they fall short of the conformity they desire. What is lacking?
When Jehovah God delivered Israel from Egypt and made it his covenant nation he gave it his law, which he inspired Moses to write, along with some prophecy and history dating from the time of creation. With these first books of the Bible, guiding instruction in their application was provided in the form of a priesthood. Faithful priests constituted a teaching organization to assure clear understanding of Jehovah’s law. As centuries passed Jehovah raised up prophets, whose words of warning and prediction further clarified Jehovah’s purposes, and which were recorded and made a part of the Bible. When Jesus came to earth he preached and prophesied, and thereby brought in a period of great enlightenment concerning the completed canon of the Hebrew Scriptures. More than that, he became the mediator of a new covenant, and declared new truths and precepts, which were publicized and enlarged upon by his disciples and eventually put in writing as the Greek Scriptures, to complete the Bible canon of sixty-six books as we have it today.
However, the priests in Israel said many things in explanation of the written Scriptures that were not recorded, and the same is true with respect to the prophets and Jesus and his disciples. Jehovah uses a visible organization, entrusts the Biblical truths to it, and expects it to abide by and clarify these truths to others. Many religious organizations today claim to be this visible organization of God, but by their fruits they show they are not. All along there have been such false pretenders, who have been exposed by faithful priests and prophets before the time of Christ, by Jesus when he came and by his apostles afterward, and by his footstep followers even to our day.
Today the facts of the past few decades show Jehovah has been and is using the Watch Tower Society and Jehovah’s witnesses as a teaching organization, anointed witnesses who make up the promised “faithful and discreet slave” appointed to give spiritual “food at the proper time.” (Matt. 24:45, NW) They cause to be published material that makes the Bible clear for our day. The publications may be likened to a telescope, the Bible to the stars. Without a telescope many stars can be seen, but the view of the heavens is very incomplete. A powerful telescope brings the whole heavens more nearly into view. With the Bible alone many points can be seen, but with the aid of the Watch Tower publications a much more complete picture of Jehovah’s purposes comes into view. The Bible remains the basic essential. What good would be a telescope without the stars? What value Bible helps without the Bible? So both are needed, and together the Bible will be read with far greater understanding.