The Bible—Practical for You
“HE HAS told you, O earthling man, what is good,” a man of God wrote over 2,700 years ago. (Micah 6:8) But is it “good” or practical for us in our modern day?
“The Bible was written long before anyone knew anything about modern psychology and the psychosexual developmental process,” states Dr. Chesen. “Even if its writers’ intentions were of the best, they could not have taken these important factors into consideration. Yet when it comes to the issue of morals and/or commandments, the Bible and its interpreters have much to say.”
That point might have been valid if the Bible were the product of man’s thinking. But as shown in our issue of April 1, 1986, the Bible is not man’s word but God’s. This important fact cannot be overlooked. Why? Because God’s knowledge is not restricted by time and circumstances, as is man’s, nor is it subject to change. As the Creator of humankind, God thoroughly knows our makeup and what is best for us. So the apostle aptly states: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
What, then, about the monumental changes that have taken place in our modern times? Is it not felt that we are living in a freer and more enlightened age? Have not many of the traditional shackles been discarded by society in general? True, but despite the increased knowledge and newly assumed “freedom,” man’s basic needs and makeup have not changed. Inwardly, we are still the same. We still have drives to eat, drink, sleep, procreate, and worship, as did our forefathers. We still have need of love and affection, and we want to be happy. We still need to lead meaningful lives.
Bible principles address these needs. Moreover, the Bible’s teachings work to our good, even in these modern days. And what is more, the results derived from following the Bible’s counsel are superior to any obtained by other means. Let us briefly examine how that is true in the areas of morality, economics, and health.
The Bible and Morality
One of the biggest changes in our modern times has been in regard to views on morality. Practices formerly considered abhorrent have become acceptable. Women bearing children out of wedlock are no longer shunned by society. Homosexuals openly campaign for their “rights.” A widely held view is that no one has the right to complain about or interfere with any practices that take place between consenting adults. And the Bible’s standards are rejected as Victorian.
But the Bible’s standards were set by God long before the 19th century, the age of Queen Victoria of England. And they continue to prove good for mankind. Certainly this can be seen when one considers that, hand in hand with the “new morality,” there have come skyrocketing divorce rates, multitudinous abortions, an epidemic of teenage pregnancies, and a vast array of sexually transmitted diseases. These are costly, debilitating, and even death-dealing problems. Would it not be more practical to follow the Bible’s counsel regarding sex, chastity, and marital faithfulness?—Proverbs 5:3-11, 15-20; Malachi 2:13-16; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
Note particularly how this is true in the matter of just one disease, as shown in this report from The New York Times: “‘AIDS continues to spread rampantly among those in the risk groups, but not outside them,’ said Dr. David J. Sencer, the New York City Health Commissioner. . . . Those at risk include homosexual and bisexual males; intravenous drug users; . . . those receiving transfusions from infected donors, and the sex partners or children of those who have AIDS.”
Really, which makes more sense—a few minutes of illicit pleasure, often accompanied by fear and anxiety, or a clear conscience and self-respect? Which brings lasting happiness and satisfaction—a brief affair with the possibility of tragic consequences, or the solidly based commitment of a clean marriage that the Bible advocates?
The Bible and Economics
Few people consider the Bible to have a solution to economic problems. Yet, following its standards can actually put more bread on your table. How is this so?
Often, much of what a person earns is needlessly squandered. Adhering to the Bible’s counsel will preserve these funds for useful purposes. For example, a practice that often leads to poverty is that of excessive drinking. Millions of people, with wages in hand, head for bars or liquor stores. In many cases, they leave without sufficient funds to pay bills or provide adequate food for their families. Sometimes money must be borrowed to obtain life’s necessities. Wisely, the Bible condemns excessive drinking; it advocates moderation.—Proverbs 23:20, 21, 29, 30; 1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 8.
The same is true of those who take up the habit of smoking or the abuse of drugs. How costly these habits are! And how difficult to stop! Typical is this letter to psychologist Joyce Brothers, as printed in the New York Post: “I started using cocaine because it was fun and most of my friends were snorting it on weekends. Well, it’s really getting in the way of everything good in my life and I’m having terrible difficulty stopping. I’m the mother of two children and I’m terrified that if I can’t quit soon, they’re going to suffer. I’m free-basing twice a day. I’m in debt up to my eyebrows, I’m miserable.”
Another drug user wrote: “My husband and I are both successful career people who’ve been into cocaine for three years. It was great initially but it’s now becoming more and more important. In fact, it’s taking over our lives. We’re now in debt because our habits cost a fortune. We’ve both had really bad trips on it. Some days the hallucinations never stop.”
Smokers are also hurt economically by their habit, though perhaps not to the same extent. A current report in the magazine Modern Office Technology states: “Non-smokers who are looking for a job are much more likely to get hired than equally-qualified job candidates who smoke, according to a recently released nationwide survey. The study, based on interviews with vice presidents and personnel directors of America’s largest companies . . . revealed that today’s employers overwhelmingly prefer job candidates who do not smoke.” Why? Because, as shown in a congressional study, smoking raises the nation’s health-care costs, including medical bills and lost productivity, some $65 billion a year—equal to $2.17 for each pack of cigarettes sold!
Yes, a person is helped economically simply by following the Bible’s counsel: “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) And the same holds true for those who, by following Bible principles, keep free from all forms of gambling. (Isaiah 65:11, 12; Luke 12:15) Besides, those who adhere to Bible principles are greatly prized by employers for their honesty, integrity, and industriousness, and are likely to be the first ones hired and the last ones fired.—Colossians 3:22, 23; Ephesians 4:28.
The Bible and Health
Since we are so advanced medically today, has the Bible’s counsel been superseded? Well, a fact that has astounded researchers is how accurate and up-to-date the Bible is on matters relative to medicine and health, although it was written at a time when superstition abounded and little or nothing was known about modern medical practices, or even germs and viruses.
Despite modern medical science, of course, health problems abound. Yet, the Bible’s counsel promotes the very best of health. As already noted, following Bible principles protects us from practices that are very damaging to our health. They also work toward improving our mental health. The Bible recognizes the effect that attitudes and emotions have on the body. (Proverbs 14:30) So it directs us away from damaging attitudes and emotions, and it helps us replace them with positive, upbuilding qualities.
Note the counsel given at Ephesians 4:31, 32: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another.” Yes, the Bible stresses a change from a destructive, hurtful personality to the new, healthful Christian personality. (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:5-14) It helps us to manifest the fruitage of God’s spirit: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) The Bible provides healthful food on which the mind and the heart can feed and be at peace.—Proverbs 3:7, 8; 4:20-22; Philippians 4:6-8.
Additionally, those who abide by Bible regulations do not become involved in crimes, riots, uprisings, or other things that result in bodily injury. They have a good conscience, which greatly contributes toward maintaining a happy disposition and good physical health. (1 Peter 3:16-18) Moreover, those who apply the Bible’s counsel enjoy a warm, rewarding, happy homelife, together with peaceful relations with others.
Yes, the Bible is practical for our day. This is evident in the lives of millions who truly apply its principles. And it can help you. You are invited to put its teachings to the test in your life. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to show you how.