The Book of “Everlasting Good News” is Beneficial
“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial.”—2 Tim. 3:16
1. For what reason is the Bible often used in courtrooms in many parts of our earth?
HAVE you ever gone on the witness stand or into a witness box or dock in a courtroom, say in Scotland or Canada or the United States of America? Before you were called upon to bear witness you were sworn in to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But why, when swearing to tell the naked truth, were you obliged to lay your right hand upon a copy of the Holy Scriptures or the Holy Bible? It is because that book is looked upon as being God’s Book, the written Word of God, and it represents him. So when one swears to bear witness to the truth, with hand upon the Holy Bible, one is really swearing before God the Bible’s Author and thus becomes responsible to Him for what he says under oath.
2. Since it is impossible for God to lie, what can be said about his Word the Bible?
2 The Bible’s Author is the “God of truth,” and “it is impossible for God to lie,” and when we swear before Him He expects us to tell the solemn truth, and the judicial Court expects us to tell the truth. (Ps. 31:5; Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2) He being the “God of truth,” he could never be the Author of a book of lies. If his Book, the Holy Bible, were a book of lies, myths and fairy tales and “old wives’ fables,” how could we sincerely swear to tell the truth with our right hand resting upon such a book? We could not do so, and it would not stimulate us to tell the truth. Concerning the Holy Scriptures, Jesus Christ said in prayer to God: “Your word is truth.” If we are truly his followers, we will prayerfully say the same thing concerning the Holy Bible. We will make a distinction between it and myths, fables.—John 17:17.
3. How does the Bible magnify the Creator of heaven and earth, and what should all mankind do in this day?
3 Why must the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Bible, be the only Book of the one and only true God? The true God is no creation, no creature. For time eternal he was before creation. Just as it ought to do, the Bible, as being His Book, starts out with an account of Him as the Creator. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” are its opening words. (Gen. 1:1) To the very last book of the Bible this same Creator is given his true prominence and dignity, although this last book was written one thousand six hundred years after the first book. In this last book there are addressed to Him on his heavenly throne these words: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, and power, for you created all things; by your will they existed and were created.” And an angel is seen who “swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it.” (Rev. 4:11; 10:5, 6, AT) And another angel tells all earth’s inhabitants: “Fear God and . . . worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6, 7) That is the right kind of conclusion to which God’s Book should come.
4. (a) What makes the Bible different from any other book? (b) Is authorship of a Book by God something strange?
4 Critics of the Bible do not need to point out that mere men wrote this book. The Bible itself honestly informs us of that fact. But what makes this book different from any other book written by men is that the Holy Bible is “inspired of God.” That is to say, “breathed of God,” as one of the Bible writers describes it. It was as if God, by an invisible breath, put into the minds of the thirty-nine God-fearing men who composed the Bible what to write and what truths to put on record. This fact makes God the Creator really the Author of this Book. This is not strange. He could create a book just as easily as he could create heaven and earth and the brains in man’s head.
5. (a) Why is it necessary to know the name of the God who authored the Bible? (b) What is his name, and how often does it appear in the Bible?
5 There are ever so many gods worshiped by earth’s inhabitants today. For this reason we insist on knowing which one of all these gods authored the Holy Bible. What is the name of the Bible’s divine Author? In Christendom there are religious clergymen and also translators of the Bible into other languages who say that God needs no name to identify him, because he is a universal God and it is enough for him to be just God without a name. But God the Creator does not agree with such clergymen and Bible translators, and he inspired his original Bible writers to use his name thousands of times. He did not want his name to be hidden at any time, so that he would become a nameless God. Conveniently, the Holy Bible names its Inspirer about seven thousand times, from its first book, chapter two, down to its joyful outcries of Hallelujah, in its last book, in the fourth last chapter, that is to say, in Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6. The outcry Hallelujah means “Praise Jah,” and the name Jah is an abbreviation of the name Jehovah, or Yahweh, as some critical clergymen prefer to pronounce it today. He inspired his prophet Isaiah to write: “I am Jehovah. That is my name.” (Isa. 42:8) He dignifies himself with a name.
6. (a) What is unique about the judgments, laws, prophets and prophecies of the Bible? (b) As the living God, what has Jehovah done in authoring the Bible that makes this Book so different?
6 The Holy Bible is written in God’s name, Jehovah. Its judgments and laws are pronounced in his name. Its prophets are sent in his name, and their prophecies are declared over his name and written with his name as a signature of guarantee. The Bible does credit to God’s name. What other book tells us so much about this God the Creator? What other book describes him so fully or presents him so vividly? He is not a god set out in unhistorical, undatable mythologies and unreasonable religious traditions that are the product of man’s imaginations. He is a God tied in directly with human history from man’s very start till now, for He is man’s Creator. He has nothing to do with myths or religious mythologies. As a living God, he weaves his speeches, his prophecies, his deeds and his course of action right in with dated, true-life history of mankind, and gives his attention, not to just his chosen servants or people, but also to nations, not excluding a single nation today.
7. Why is the Bible not just a Book of the ancient past, and so of what can we be confident today?
7 God’s dealings with mankind did not stop nineteen hundred years ago with the writing of the last book of the Bible. That very last book, because it is prophetic, together with all the other prophetic books and utterances of the whole Bible, projected Jehovah God into the then distant future, yes, into our very own day. In the light of these prophecies Jehovah God is clearly seen to be responsible for many marvelous things taking place today. Certain almost unbelievable things of our time can only be explained on the understanding that He is accountable for them. Of one thing we may be absolutely sure: Jehovah God the Almighty is at work today. Fulfillment of Bible prophecy proves that fact. In turn, that fact proves that the Bible is inspired, and that it is God’s Book.—2 Pet. 1:20, 21.
8. For whom is the “everlasting good news” meant, and how valuable is that news now?
8 Why are we especially interested today in knowing that the Holy Bible is God’s Book, that it is “inspired of God”? We want to know this because we desire to be sure that its glorious message is true. It is a book of “everlasting good news” for every nation, tribe and people of no matter what language. (Rev. 14:6) What the Bible announces was “good news” nineteen centuries ago when the writing of the Holy Scriptures was finished. With the passing of all these centuries the good news of the Bible has not grown stale and lost its interest or appeal. Its news is just as good today as ever, because it is “everlasting” good news. It never loses its value. In fact, the news it bears is more alive and interesting today than at any time in the past! Why? Because the inspired Bible prophecies are undergoing realization today, to prove that we have reached the conclusion of this old system of things with its overabundance of bad news today.
9. What divine promise causes us great happiness now?
9 So we have proof that we are at the time for God to bring in his new order of righteousness that He has promised in his Word. All right-minded men and women, all lovers of truth and uprightness long for a new order of things such as God has promised in his Bible. He alone is mighty enough to do away with this old order and replace it with a perfectly righteous new order. We want salvation through Jesus Christ from this corrupt, death-dealing old order. O what good news it is to know that now is the time for the Almighty God, Jehovah, to save us from it and to bring us into his new order with its blessings of freedom from war, of prosperity and plenty, of truth, of pure worship of God and of healthful living, not dying, yes, of the resurrection of our dead loved ones!
“WISE FOR SALVATION”
10, 11. (a) How did Paul show the value of God’s Book in writing to Timothy? (b) What constituted the “holy writings” at that time?
10 For us to become wise enough to gain that salvation we need the only book that tells us about it, God’s Book, the Holy Scriptures. This need is what the Christian apostle Paul stressed to a younger Christian overseer named Timothy, when Paul wrote: “You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:14, 15) Among those from whom Timothy learned the things that he was persuaded to believe were his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, who was a Jewess. From Timothy’s infancy Eunice especially could teach the “holy writings” to him as her little son, for her husband was a Greek. Doubtless she took him to the Jewish synagogue.
11 The holy writings that were then available for Timothy’s learning were the Hebrew Scriptures from the first book, Genesis, to the thirty-ninth and last book, Malachi, written hundreds of years before Timothy’s birth. No inspired writings were added to those Hebrew “holy writings” until the Christian apostle Matthew wrote his Gospel of the life of Jesus Christ, first in Hebrew, about the year 41 of our Common Era, the so-called Christian era. A few years after the Gospel of Matthew was written, the apostle Paul set out on his first missionary tour and visited the hometown of Eunice and Timothy and declared the good news there, at which time doubtless Eunice and Lois believed, becoming Christians.
12. Logically, what “holy writings” did Paul thus use?
12 In declaring the good news about Jesus Christ as the one whom Jehovah God sent into the world for man’s salvation, the apostle Paul used the Hebrew “holy writings” from Genesis to Malachi. Whether he had Matthew’s Gospel with him is not certain, but Matthew continually quoted the Hebrew Scriptures to prove that Jesus is the promised Christ, the Son of the living God. (Acts 13:1 to 14:21; 16:1-3) From the time of their conversion, Timothy’s mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois could instruct him in the Hebrew Scriptures from the standpoint of the “faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” They continued doing this until Paul revisited their hometown on his second missionary trip a few years later.
13. What additions were now made to the “holy writings”?
13 By now Timothy had become a Christian himself and was well reported on by the local Christian congregation. So Paul took Timothy along with him on this missionary trip, which now extended itself from Asia Minor into Greece, including the city of Thessalonica. (Acts 16:4 to 17:14) It was then that the second inspired Greek book was added to the Hebrew “holy writings,” for under inspiration Paul wrote his letter of comfort and instruction to the persecuted Christian congregation in Thessalonica, in which letter he mentions Timothy three times. (1 Thess. 1:1; 3:2, 6) After that the apostle Paul was inspired to write further additions to the Hebrew “holy writings,” including a first letter to Timothy.
14. (a) Who were used to write inspired “holy writings”? (b) When Paul wrote the words “All Scripture is inspired” how much of the “holy writings” were then completed and what do they include today?
14 In this work of adding to the inspired Hebrew Scriptures the apostle Paul was joined by other faithful Jewish Christians, such as Luke the physician, Mark, James and Peter. When Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy, which was Paul’s last inspired letter, he and Timothy had been associated together in the work for fifteen years. During all those years the further additions to the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures were made, with the exception of possibly the book of Jude, the writer of which was the brother of James, and also the five writings of the apostle John, which were written toward the close of the first century of our Common Era. Consequently, when Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy and said: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial,” there were doubtless twenty-one inspired books, all addressed to Christians, in addition to the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew Scriptures. (2 Tim. 3:16) Today Paul’s expression “All Scripture is inspired of God” includes the writings of Jude and John, for these also were written under inspiration of God’s holy spirit and were added to the collection of inspired Christian writings, to complete the inspired Holy Bible.
15. How only can we be “wise for salvation”?
15 Today, therefore, “all Scripture” includes the sixty-six books of the Bible, as it is now divided up in order. Those who practice Judaism or the Jews’ religion reject the twenty-seven books of the Christian Greek Scriptures. But as for us, if we are to prove successful in gaining the “salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus,” we must accept these inspired writings by his apostles and disciples. We must accept “all Scripture” that is inspired of God the Father of Jesus Christ. Only in this way can we become “wise for salvation.” Those who reject part of the inspired “holy writings” are unwise and are certain to fail of gaining salvation to life in God’s new order.
FOR MEN OF GOD
16. What obstacle to gaining salvation has to be faced, but what must we do?
16 There are enemies who are opposed to your gaining the “salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” They begrudge you this salvation that they themselves do not desire. The apostle Paul pointed to these when he wrote about the persecutions he had borne and then remarked: “In fact, all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted. But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” That is why Paul went on to say to Timothy: “You, however, continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them.”—2 Tim. 3:12-14.
17. What can be said about those who taught Timothy?
17 Those from whom Timothy learned what he did were not wicked impostors who were themselves misled and who were also trying to mislead others. Paul, from whom Timothy had learned so much for fifteen years, was no impostor. Had Paul been an impostor he would not have undergone all the persecution that he suffered “in association with Christ Jesus”; Paul would have quit and gone in for something that would have spared him persecution. Neither were Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois, who taught him the “holy writings” from infancy, impostors. They were all teaching Timothy the truth for his salvation, and not trying to mislead him in order to make selfish gain from him.
18, 19. Why do we have even greater need today for the “holy writings”?
18 Today we need God’s Book, the “holy writings,” just as much as the Christian overseer Timothy did, if not more so. We are living in those very days and their conditions against which Paul warned Timothy earlier in his letter, saying: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away. For from these arise those men who slyly work their way into households and lead as their captives weak women loaded down with sins, led by various desires, [women] always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”—2 Tim. 3:1-7.
19 We know that those foretold conditions are upon us and mark these as the critical “last days.” To meet the situation and come to an accurate knowledge of truth and stay in the truth, living it, we need more than a man’s book. We need God’s Book, with all its counsel and instruction. Almighty God has provided it for us. To gain the promised salvation, we have to “continue in the things” that are written in that Book. The Christian overseer Timothy was a “man of God,” and that is why Paul wrote Timothy as he did. (1 Tim. 6:11) That is what we want to be, men of God, people of God.
20. To aid one to qualify as a man of God, what has Jehovah given us?
20 In ancient times both the prophet Elijah and his successor Elisha were known as men of God. (1 Ki. 17:18; 2 Ki. 4:9, 21-27) A materialized angel and also unnamed prophets were called men of God. (Judg. 13:6-8; 1 Sam. 2:27; 1 Ki. 13:1-31; 2 Chron. 25:7-9) The prophet Moses was the first one whom the Bible spoke of as a man of God, and he was a prophetic figure or type of Jesus Christ, who was the greatest man of God ever on earth and who is the example for all his disciples. (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6) That we disciples of Christ may be men of God, people of God, who are “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work” in these critical “last days,” God has given us his Book in completeness, the inspired “holy writings.” (2 Tim. 3:17) How grateful we should be to God the Giver!
21. (a) For what reasons do we call God’s Word “holy”? (b) What change can it make in a person’s life?
21 The Holy Bible has qualities had by no mere man-made books, of the making of which there is no end. (Eccl. 12:12) The writings in the Bible are “holy.” That is so because they are “inspired of God” and they were written for the purpose of vindicating, justifying, glorifying God and sanctifying his people, making them holy. Jesus Christ called attention to this fact when he prayed to God for his disciples and said: “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth. And I am sanctifying myself in their behalf, that they also may be sanctified by means of truth.” (John 17:17, 19) The Holy Bible has sanctifying power, able to produce a complete change in a person’s life so as to make him a “man of God,” a person separate from this bedeviled world, a person completely dedicated to God and to his worship and service. Persons of this kind are the ones whom God will save to life eternal in His righteous new order, now so near at hand. The Bible is therefore most beneficial to us. Why, then, should we not prefer it above all other books? We do!
This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.—Josh. 1:8.