Imagine visiting a foreign land for the first time. You encounter people, customs, foods, and currency that are all unfamiliar to you. Understandably, you may feel frustrated.
You may feel the same way when you first read the Bible. You are stepping back into an ancient world that seems foreign to you. There you meet a people called Philistines, come across unusual customs, such as ‘ripping garments apart,’ or learn about a food called manna and a coin known as the drachma. (Exodus 16:31; Joshua 13:2; 2 Samuel 3:31; Luke 15:9) All of this could be confusing. As in the case of visiting a foreign land, would you not appreciate getting help from someone who could explain things to you?
HELP IN THE PAST
From the time the sacred writings were first penned in the 16th century B.C.E., help has been provided for people to understand the text. For instance, Moses, the first leader of the nation of Israel, “undertook to explain” what was written.—Deuteronomy 1:5.
Qualified instructors of the Scriptures were still on hand some ten centuries later. In 455 B.C.E., a large group of Jews, including many children, were gathered together in a public square in the city of Jerusalem. Bible instructors were there “reading aloud from the [same sacred] book.” But they did more. “They helped the people to understand what was being read.”—Nehemiah 8:1-8.
Five centuries later, Jesus Christ was involved in a similar educational work. In fact, he was primarily known among the people as a teacher. (John 13:13) He taught large crowds, as well as individuals. On one occasion, he spoke to a great multitude, giving the famous Sermon on the Mount, and “the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching.” (Matthew 5:1, 2; 7:28) In the spring of 33 C.E., Jesus spoke to two of his disciples while they were walking along the road toward a village near Jerusalem, “fully opening up [“clearly explaining,” footnote] the Scriptures” to them.—Luke 24:13-15, 27, 32.
Disciples of Jesus were also instructors of God’s Word. On one occasion, an official from Ethiopia was reading a certain passage of the Scriptures. A disciple named Philip approached him and asked: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied: “Really, how could I ever do so unless someone guided me?” Philip then explained the meaning of the passage to him.—Acts 8:27-35.
HELP AVAILABLE TODAY
Like teachers and instructors of the Bible in the past, Jehovah’s Witnesses today are engaged in a Bible educational work in 239 lands worldwide. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Week by week, they help well over nine million individuals to understand the Bible. Many of those learners come from non-Christian backgrounds. These study sessions are free and can be held at one’s home or at another convenient location. Some people even enjoy their lessons by phone or video, using a computer or a mobile device.
Please contact any one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for details on how you can benefit from this arrangement. You will discover that, far from being a closed book, the Bible is “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,” so that you “may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.