A Book for All Mankind
WHAT would you expect of a book that is for all mankind? Surely it would have to be available in all major languages. Its message ought to be meaningful to you, enabling you to get the best from life even now. Is there really such a book in existence?
Yes, there is. It is a very ancient book that has reached every land and even distant, isolated islands. It may be found in simple huts and modern homes. The book itself has been translated, the whole or in part, into more than 1,525 languages and dialects, so nearly everyone can read it in his own language. No other book even approaches its circulation. Each year millions upon millions of copies are distributed earth wide. That book is the Bible.
But can this book really help you to get the best from life now? Millions of persons today believe that this simply could not be the case. They judge the Bible by what they know about those professing to follow it. They are appalled at the shameful record that Christendom has made in the form of horrible wars, prejudice, hatreds, oppression and exploitation. They reason that, if this is what people and nations that have the Bible do, they want no part of it.
However, as you know, mere possession of a book does not mean that the owner upholds the principles it sets forth. Many people have books in their libraries advocating ideas that they do not support. Could this not also be true of millions who have the Bible?
Many religious organizations claiming to represent the Bible gave their full support to the violent wars of this twentieth century. Did they have the Bible’s backing in this? Some may try to justify their course, pointing to the wars mentioned in the Bible. True, God did use certain individuals and nations to war against others in order to execute his judgment against them because of their wickedness. But no individuals or nations today can claim that they have been so used.
The Bible strongly condemns those who carry on selfish warring. We read:
“From what source are there wars and from what source are there fights among you? Are they not from this source, namely, from your cravings for sensual pleasure that carry on a conflict in your members? You desire, and yet you do not have. You go on murdering and coveting, and yet you are not able to obtain. You go on fighting and waging war. You do not have because of your not asking. You do ask, and yet you do not receive, because you are asking for a wrong purpose, that you may expend it upon your cravings for sensual pleasure.”—Jas. 4:1-3.
As for selfish warring, often feelings of racial, national or tribal superiority are responsible for it. Does the Bible encourage such feelings? No, it shows that what counts with God is, not one’s station in life, one’s race or national origin, but what one is as a person. Note the following clear standards the Bible expresses: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) “He made out of one man every nation of men.”—Acts 17:26.
Similarly, the Bible does not side with those who have oppressed and exploited fellowmen. We find these words addressed to oppressors and exploiters:
“Weep and wail over the miserable fate descending on you. Your riches have rotted; your fine clothes are moth-eaten; your silver and gold have rusted away, and their very rust will be evidence against you and consume your flesh like fire. You have piled up wealth in an age that is near its close. The wages you never paid to the men who mowed your fields are loud against you, and the outcry of the reapers has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on earth in wanton luxury, fattening yourselves like cattle—and the day for slaughter has come.”—Jas. 5:1-6, New English Bible.
The way of life recommended in the Bible is one of love, an unselfish concern for the welfare of fellow humans. “Owe nobody anything,” it admonishes, “except the duty of mutual love, for whoever loves his fellow-men has fully satisfied the Law. For the commandments, ‘You must not commit adultery, You must not murder, You must not steal, You must not covet,’ and any other commandments there are, are all summed up in one saying, ‘You must love your neighbor as you do yourself.’”—Rom. 13:8-10, An American Translation.
You would certainly benefit if people in your neighborhood, town or city would do their utmost to apply this excellent admonition. Would you not feel much safer and more secure in your home? Would it not be a relief to be able to live among people who do not engage in fraud, robbery, theft or vandalism? Then, too, those who show genuine neighbor love are themselves much happier. They are free from the envies and jealousies that spring from wanting what others have. They do not experience the heartache and pain of single and married people who try to satisfy their passions outside the marriage arrangement. They avoid loathsome venereal disease, pregnancies out of wedlock, and broken homes.
Despite the obvious benefits that come from demonstrating the kind of love the Bible recommends, many people do not want to change their ways. This can really make it hard for you and may tempt you to adopt their selfish attitudes. But that would not improve matters, would it?
Nevertheless, some may reason: “Why should I study the Bible? I don’t hurt anybody. I try to do what’s right.”
Perhaps you have heard others express themselves similarly. But would it not be of value to find out whether the Bible could help you to find greater joy in life? Millions of intelligent men and women are convinced that the Bible provides the best guide for living. Are they right? Is the Bible merely the product of ancient wise men, or does it originate with a source higher than men? Can it help you to enjoy the best from life now and to gain a secure future for yourself and your loved ones?
[Blurb on page 132]
The Bible teaches: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.