Divine Teaching Triumphs
“Your eyes must become eyes seeing your Grand Instructor. And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: ‘This is the way. Walk in it, you people.’”—ISAIAH 30:20, 21.
1. Why can Jehovah’s instruction rightly be called divine teaching?
JEHOVAH GOD is the Source of the best teaching anyone can receive. If we listen when he speaks, especially through his Sacred Word, he will be our Grand Instructor. (Isaiah 30:20) The Hebrew Bible text also calls him “the Divine One.” (Psalm 50:1) Hence, Jehovah’s instruction is divine teaching.
2. In what sense is it true that God alone is wise?
2 The world is proud of its many educational institutions, but not one of them imparts divine teaching. Why, all the worldly wisdom of the ages amounts to little when compared with divine instruction based on Jehovah’s infinite wisdom. Romans 16:27 says that God alone is wise, and this is true in the sense that only Jehovah possesses absolute wisdom.
3. Why is Jesus Christ the greatest teacher ever to walk the earth?
3 God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is a paragon of wisdom and is the greatest teacher ever to walk the earth. No wonder! For ages Jehovah had been his Teacher in the heavens. In fact, divine teaching began when God started to instruct his first creation, his only-begotten Son. Jesus could therefore say: “Just as the Father taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28; Proverbs 8:22, 30) Christ’s own words recorded in the Bible add much to our knowledge of divine teaching. By teaching what Jesus taught, anointed Christians obey their Grand Instructor, whose will it is that “the greatly diversified wisdom of God” be made known through the congregation.—Ephesians 3:10, 11; 5:1; Luke 6:40.
The Quest for Wisdom
4. What has been said about the capacity of the brain?
4 Gaining the wisdom that results from divine teaching calls for diligent use of our God-given thinking faculties. This is possible because the human brain has tremendous potential. Says the book The Incredible Machine: “Even the most sophisticated computers that we can envision are crude compared to the almost infinite complexity and flexibility of the human brain—qualities made possible by its intricate, calibrated system of electrochemical signals. . . . The millions of signals flashing through your brain at any moment carry an extraordinary load of information. They bring news about your body’s inner and outer environments: about a cramp in your toe, or the aroma of coffee, or a friend’s funny comment. As other signals process and analyze information, they produce certain emotions, memories, thoughts, or plans which lead to a decision. Almost immediately, signals from your brain tell other parts of your body what to do: wiggle your toe, drink the coffee, laugh, or perhaps make a witty reply. Meanwhile your brain is also monitoring your breathing, blood chemistry, temperature, and other essential processes outside your awareness. It sends out commands that keep your body on an even keel despite constant changes in your environment. It also prepares for future demands.”—Page 326.
5. In the Scriptural sense, what is wisdom?
5 Though the human brain unquestionably has wonderful capacity, how can we use the mind in the best way? Not by immersing ourselves solely in arduous study of language, history, science, or comparative religion. We should use our thinking faculties primarily to receive divine teaching. It alone results in genuine wisdom. But what is true wisdom? In the Scriptural sense, wisdom lays emphasis on sound judgment based on accurate knowledge and real understanding. Wisdom enables us to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, to avoid or avert dangers, to help others, and to achieve goals. Interestingly, the Bible contrasts wisdom with foolishness and stupidity—traits we surely want to avoid.—Deuteronomy 32:6; Proverbs 11:29; Ecclesiastes 6:8.
Jehovah’s Great Textbook
6. If we are to display true wisdom, what must be put to good use?
6 There is plenty of worldly wisdom around us. (1 Corinthians 3:18, 19) Why, this world abounds with schools and libraries containing millions of books! Many of these are textbooks that impart instruction in language, mathematics, science, and other fields of knowledge. But the Grand Instructor has provided the textbook that outstrips all others—his inspired Word, the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) It is accurate not only when touching on such subjects as history, geography, and botany but also when foretelling the future. Moreover, it helps us to live the happiest and most productive life right now. Of course, just as students in a worldly school need to use their books, we must become well acquainted with and use God’s great Textbook if we are to display true wisdom as those “taught by Jehovah.”—John 6:45.
7. Why would you say that intellectual acquaintance with the Bible’s contents is not enough?
7 Yet, intellectual acquaintance with the Bible is not the same as true wisdom and compliance with divine teaching. To illustrate: In the 17th century C.E., a Catholic man named Cornelius van der Steen sought to become a Jesuit but was rejected because he was too short. Says Manfred Barthel in his book The Jesuits—History & Legend of the Society of Jesus: “The committee informed van der Steen that they were prepared to waive the height requirement, but only with the proviso that he would learn to recite the entire Bible by heart. The story would hardly be worth telling if van der Steen had not complied with this rather presumptuous request.” What effort it took to memorize the whole Bible! Surely, however, it is far more important to understand God’s Word than it is to memorize it.
8. What will help us to benefit from divine teaching and display true wisdom?
8 If we are to benefit fully from divine teaching and are to display true wisdom, we need accurate knowledge of the Scriptures. We must also be guided by Jehovah’s holy spirit, or active force. This will enable us to learn profound truths, “the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10) Hence, let us diligently study Jehovah’s great Textbook and pray for his guidance by holy spirit. In harmony with Proverbs 2:1-6, let us pay attention to wisdom, incline our heart to discernment, and call out for understanding. We need to do this as though we were searching for hidden treasures, for only then will we ‘understand the fear of Jehovah and find the very knowledge of God.’ Consideration of some triumphs and benefits of divine teaching will enhance our appreciation for God-given wisdom.
9, 10. What did God say, as recorded at Genesis 3:15, and what is the proper understanding of those words?
9 Divine teaching triumphs by imparting to Jehovah’s people a progressive understanding of the Scriptures. For instance, we have learned that it was Satan the Devil who spoke through a serpent in Eden and falsely charged that God lied when He said that death would be the penalty for eating the forbidden fruit. Nevertheless, we see that disobedience to Jehovah God did bring death upon the human race. (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12) Yet, God gave mankind hope when he told the serpent, and thus Satan: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Genesis 3:15.
10 Those words embodied a secret that has been progressively revealed through divine teaching. Jehovah has taught his people that the Bible’s foremost theme is the vindication of his sovereignty by means of the Seed, a descendant of Abraham and David having the legal right to Kingdom rulership. (Genesis 22:15-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 13; Ezekiel 21:25-27) Our Grand Instructor has taught us that Jesus Christ is the primary Seed of the “woman,” God’s universal organization. (Galatians 3:16) Despite every test that Satan brought upon him, Jesus maintained integrity—even to death, the bruising of the Seed in the heel. We have also learned that 144,000 Kingdom joint heirs from among mankind will share with Christ in crushing the head of Satan, “the original serpent.” (Revelation 14:1-4; 20:2; Romans 16:20; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 3:4-6) How we appreciate such knowledge of God’s Word!
Into God’s Wonderful Light
11. Why can it be said that divine teaching triumphs by bringing people into spiritual light?
11 Divine teaching triumphs by bringing people into spiritual light. Anointed Christians have had that experience in fulfillment of 1 Peter 2:9: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Today, God-given light is also enjoyed by “a great crowd” that will live forever on a paradise earth. (Revelation 7:9; Luke 23:43) As God teaches his people, Proverbs 4:18 proves true: “The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.” This progressive learning process refines our understanding of divine teaching, even as students make advancement because of a teacher’s fine help while they study grammar, history, or some other subject.
12, 13. Against what doctrinal dangers has divine teaching protected Jehovah’s people?
12 Another triumph of divine teaching is that it protects its humble recipients from the “teachings of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1) On the other hand, look at Christendom! Back in 1878, Roman Catholic prelate John Henry Newman wrote: “Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and to transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship to an evangelical use, . . . the rulers of the Church from early times were prepared, should the occasion arise, to adopt, or imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class.” Newman added that such things as holy water, sacerdotal vestments, and images were “all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.” God’s people are grateful indeed that divine teaching protects them from such apostasy. It prevails over all forms of demonism.—Acts 19:20.
13 Divine teaching triumphs over religious error in every way. As those taught by God, for instance, we do not believe in the Trinity but acknowledge that Jehovah is the Most High, Jesus is his Son, and the holy spirit is God’s active force. We do not fear hellfire, for we realize that the Bible hell is mankind’s common grave. And whereas false religionists say that the human soul is immortal, we know that the dead are conscious of nothing at all. On and on goes the list of truths acquired through divine teaching. What a blessing it is to be free of spiritual bondage to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion!—John 8:31, 32; Revelation 18:2, 4, 5.
14. Why can God’s servants go on walking in spiritual light?
14 Because divine teaching triumphs over religious error, it enables God’s servants to walk in spiritual light. In effect, they hear a word behind them saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people.” (Isaiah 30:21) God’s teaching also protects his servants from false reasoning. When “false apostles” were causing trouble in the congregation in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote: “The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5; 11:13-15) Reasonings contrary to divine teaching are overturned by the instruction given with mildness in the congregation and by the preaching of the good news to those outside.—2 Timothy 2:24-26.
Worship With Spirit and Truth
15, 16. What does it mean to worship Jehovah with spirit and truth?
15 As the Kingdom-preaching work forges ahead, divine teaching triumphs in showing the meek how to worship God “with spirit and truth.” At Jacob’s well near the city of Sychar, Jesus told a Samaritan woman that he could provide water that imparted everlasting life. Referring to the Samaritans, he added: “You worship what you do not know . . . The hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.” (John 4:7-15, 21-23) Jesus then identified himself as the Messiah.
16 But how can we worship God with spirit? By rendering pure worship from grateful hearts filled with love of God based on accurate knowledge of his Word. We can worship him with truth by rejecting religious falsehoods and by doing the divine will, as revealed in Jehovah’s great Textbook.
Triumphant Over Trials and the World
17. How could you prove that divine teaching has helped Jehovah’s servants to face trials?
17 When God’s people face trials, divine teaching triumphs again and again. Consider this: At the start of World War II, in September 1939, Jehovah’s servants needed special insight into his great Textbook. Of great help was an article in The Watchtower, November 1, 1939, that clearly presented divine teaching on the matter of Christian neutrality. (John 17:16) Similarly, in the early 1960’s, Watchtower articles on relative subjection to governmental “superior authorities” helped God’s people to comply with divine teaching in the face of social unrest.—Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29.
18. How did professed Christians in the second and third centuries C.E. view debased entertainment, and what help does divine teaching provide in that regard today?
18 Divine teaching helps us to triumph over temptations, such as enticements to seek debased entertainment. Note what was said by professed Christians of the second and third centuries of our Common Era. Tertullian wrote: “We have nothing to do, in speech, sight or hearing, with the madness of the circus, the shamelessness of the theatre, the savagery of the arena.” Another writer of that period asked: “What does a faithful Christian do among these things, since he may not even think upon wickedness? Why does he find pleasure in the representations of lust?” Even though these writers lived some years after the first-century Christians, they condemned debased amusements. Today, divine teaching gives us wisdom to shun obscene, immoral, and violent entertainment.
19. How does divine teaching help us to triumph over the world?
19 Complying with divine teaching enables us to triumph over the world itself. Yes, applying the teaching of our Grand Instructor makes us victorious over the evil influences of this world lying in Satan’s power. (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19) Ephesians 2:1-3 says that God has made us alive though we were dead in our trespasses and sins when we walked according to the ruler of the authority of the air. We thank Jehovah that divine teaching helps us to triumph over worldly desires and the spirit emanating from his enemy and ours—the archdeceiver, Satan the Devil!
20. What questions merit further consideration?
20 Clearly, then, divine teaching is triumphant in many ways. In fact, it would seem impossible to cite all its triumphs. It affects people around the world. But what is it doing for you? How is divine teaching affecting your life?
What Have You Learned?
□ How may true wisdom be defined?
□ What has God progressively revealed concerning Genesis 3:15?
□ How has divine teaching triumphed in spiritual matters?
□ What does it mean to worship God with spirit and truth?
□ How has divine teaching helped Jehovah’s servants to triumph over trials and the world?
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Jesus maintained integrity to death—the bruising of the Seed in the heel