The Bible—a Book That Gives Hope
WHILE studying for examinations, a twenty-eight-year-old nurse in Australia suffered a mental breakdown. The best psychiatric treatment failed to bring about a recovery. The girl threatened suicide. The local doctor pronounced her a hopeless case and placed her under heavy sedation. An application was made on her behalf for a full invalid pension. Her parents spared nothing, yet all their efforts seemed so very hopeless because their daughter did not get better.
Finally, in desperation the father consented that a Bible study be held with his ailing daughter. After a few Bible studies the daughter’s health picked up noticeably. Her father, friends and relatives were all amazed at her restored condition. The girl’s doctor, too, was positively dumbfounded at her rapid and complete recovery. He asked her the reason for the big change. Her reply was simple and to the point: “I now have something to live for—the new world.” Yes, the Bible is the Book that gives hope.
Strangely enough, many of the so-called “greats” among the Greeks and other nations felt that hope was an illusion. Aeschylus said it was “the food of exiles.” Euripides called it “man’s curse.” But the Bible takes an opposite view. It extols hope and links it to faith and love. (1 Cor. 13:13) It not only lauds the efficacies of hope, but urges Christians to “rejoice in the hope ahead” and to “abound in hope.” Further, it calls hope “an anchor for the soul.”—Rom. 12:12; 15:13; Heb. 6:19.
What the Bible has contended all along doctors are now admitting to be true, namely, that hope is indispensable to a healthy life. Psychiatrist Karl Menninger stated that some of his patients scoffed at the idea of the need for hope, then he added: “Partly that is why they were patients.”
The Bible is the book that gives hope, because it contains the promises of the Almighty, the God of hope. The apostle Paul highlights this fact in his letter to the Romans. He said: “All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4, 13) To man, who because of sin inherited the frailty and corruption of his forefathers, the Bible opens up the precious hope of everlasting life. At Titus 1:2 it speaks about “the basis of a hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised.” The apostle John wrote: “This is the promised thing that he himself promised us, the life everlasting.” (1 John 2:25) Everlasting life is the abundant life that Jesus Christ made possible for mankind. (John 10:10) Nowhere outside the Bible can so great a true hope be found.
The abundant life of Bible promise is to be lived, not in this world filled with dilemmas, threats of nuclear annihilation, unprecedented woes, sickness and death, but in a new world of God’s making. The apostle Peter wrote of this hope in these words: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 3:13) The apostle John wrote of the blessings that are to be enjoyed in that new world. He said: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:2-4) What a wonderful hope this is! Think of living in a world without sickness, sorrow or death! Little wonder this hope inspired the Australian girl to better health. These promises can be trusted because they have the backing of God. He assures us that “these words are faithful and true.”—Rev. 21:5; 1 Ki. 8:56; Heb. 10:23.
The fact that the Ruler of God’s promised new world is Jesus Christ also inspires hope. Paul writes: “On him nations will rest their hope.” (Rom. 15:12; 1 Tim. 1:1) Why hope in Jesus? Paul answers for us: “This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm, and it enters in within the curtain, where a forerunner has entered in our behalf, Jesus, who has become a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek forever.” (Heb. 6:19, 20) When on earth Jesus performed many marvelous works in behalf of the people. We are told he cured “every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity.” (Matt. 9:35) He opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf and caused the dumb to speak. The lame he made whole and even raised the dead to life. His earthly works were only a token of the blessings that God’s kingdom by Jesus Christ will bring to those who will live in the new world.
Think what this should mean to those who grope in physical darkness today, to those who are deaf, dumb or lame! Jesus is still their only hope, and the Bible makes this fact known to us. As for the oppressed, the promise is that the defrauders and oppressors will be crushed and that depressed souls will be comforted. Those hungering for friends have only to embrace the good news. Jesus assured his followers that they would gain “a hundredfold now in this period of time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming system of things everlasting life.”—Mark 10:30; Ps. 72:4.
What hope does the Bible hold out for the dead? There is a resurrection hope for them. God promises to bring them back to enjoy life on a paradise earth. This hope Jesus left with an evildoer who was impaled alongside him, saying: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43; 1 Cor. 15:22) Surely this is a grand hope.—Acts 26:6-8.
Only for the wicked the Bible holds out no hope. They will perish. (Ps. 9:17; 68:2) But to all who love God and seek to know and do his will the Bible gives hope. How vital that we study its pages and make the hope that it holds out ‘an anchor for our souls’!