“They Were Borne Along by Holy Spirit”
“Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 PETER 1:21.
POINTS TO THINK ABOUT
How did God use holy spirit to help Bible writers know what to write?
What reasons do we have to believe that the Bible is from God?
What can you do every day to show that you are thankful for the Bible?
1. Why do we need the Bible?
MANY people around the world would like to know the answers to these questions: Where do we come from? Why are we on this earth? What will happen to us in the future? Why is the world the way it is? What happens to us when we die? We would not know the answers to these and other important questions if we did not have God’s Word, the Bible. Without the Bible, we would mainly have our own experience to teach us about life. And if we had only experience to teach us, then we would not be able to have the same feelings as the psalmist did about “the law of Jehovah.”—Read Psalm 19:7.
2. What will help us to continue to be thankful for the Bible?
2 It is very sad that some do not love Bible teachings as much as they did before. (Compare Revelation 2:4.) They stopped living in a way that makes Jehovah happy. (Isaiah 30:21) That does not have to happen to us. We can and should do our best to continue to be thankful for the Bible and its teachings. The Bible is an important gift from our loving Creator. (James 1:17) So, what will help us to be more thankful for “the word of God”? We need to think about how men were used to write the Bible and examine some of the many reasons why we can believe that the Bible is from God. This will help us want to read God’s Word every day and apply its counsel.—Hebrews 4:12.
HOW MEN WERE “BORNE ALONG BY HOLY SPIRIT”
3. What does it mean that prophets and Bible writers were “borne along by holy spirit”?
3 It took 1,610 years to write the Bible, from the year 1513 before Christ to the year 98 after Christ. About 40 different men wrote the Bible. Some were prophets, and the Bible says they were “borne along by holy spirit.” (Read 2 Peter 1:20, 21.) The expression “borne along” comes from a Greek word, and in this verse it means to be moved, to be carried, or to let yourself be moved. Acts 27:15 uses the same word to describe a boat that was moved or pushed in a certain direction by the wind. When we read that prophets and Bible writers were “borne along by holy spirit,” it means that God communicated with them, influenced them, and guided them by his active force, or holy spirit. So they wrote, not their own thoughts, but God’s thoughts. Sometimes these prophets and writers did not even understand what they prophesied or what they wrote. (Daniel 12:8, 9) So it is true that “all Scripture is inspired of God.” We do not find the opinions of humans in the Bible.—2 Timothy 3:16.
4-6. How did Jehovah help Bible writers to know what to write? Give an example.
4 But how did God use holy spirit to help Bible writers know what to write? Were they given the exact words or were they just given ideas to write using their own words? Think about how a businessman writes a letter. When it is important to use just the right words, he writes the letter himself or tells his secretary what words to use. The secretary types the letter, and the businessman signs his name on it. At other times, he may tell his secretary only the important ideas, and the secretary writes the letter using her own words. Later, the businessman may check it and have the secretary make any needed changes. When the letter is finished, he signs his name on it. The person who receives that letter accepts it as being written by the businessman himself.
5 In a similar way, some parts of the Bible were written by God himself. (Exodus 31:18) When it was very important to use certain words, Jehovah told the writer what words to use. For example, at Exodus 34:27, we read that Jehovah said to Moses: “Write down for yourself these words, because it is in accordance with these words that I do conclude a covenant with you and Israel.” And Jehovah told the prophet Jeremiah: “Write for yourself in a book all the words that I will speak to you.”—Jeremiah 30:2.
6 But most of the time, God did not tell Bible writers which words to use. God put his thoughts into their hearts and minds, and then he allowed them to choose their own words to write his message. Ecclesiastes 12:10 says: “The congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.” And Luke “traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them in logical order.” (Luke 1:3) God used his holy spirit to make sure that human imperfection did not change his message.
7. Why was it wise of God to use humans to write the Bible?
7 It was very wise of God to use humans to write the Bible. Words help us to understand information, and they also help us to feel the emotions in the ideas. What if Jehovah had used angels to write the Bible? Could they have described such human feelings as fear, sadness, and discouragement? Because he allowed imperfect men to choose their own words to write his message, God’s message touches our heart.
REASONS TO BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS FROM GOD
8. Why can we say that the Bible is not like any other book of religion?
8 We have many reasons to believe that the Bible is from God. Because it helps us to know the true God, the Bible is not like any other book of religion. For example, the books of Hinduism tell us about its religious ceremonies, philosophy, myths, and rules on morality. Books of Buddhism explain the rules that monks and nuns need to follow. They also explain Buddhist doctrines and the teachings of Buddha. Buddha did not say that he himself was a god, and he said very little about God. The books of Confucianism talk about things that happened in the past, rules on morality, magic, and songs. There is also the book of Islam, which teaches that there is one God and that he knows everything, including the future. But it does not even reveal the name of God, Jehovah, which appears thousands of times in the Bible.
9, 10. What can we learn about God from the Bible?
9 Most books of religion teach very little about God. But the Bible helps us to know Jehovah God and everything that he does. It helps us to understand his personality. The Bible tells us that he is a God of justice, wisdom, and great power. It also says that God loves us. (Read John 3:16; 1 John 4:19.) The Bible tells us more. It says: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) The Bible has been translated into many different languages. This shows that God is not partial. Experts on language say that about 6,700 languages are spoken today. Nearly 100 of those languages are spoken by about 90 percent of the people in the world. The whole Bible or parts of it have been translated into more than 2,400 languages. So almost everyone in the world can read at least a part of the Bible in their own language.
10 Jesus said: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (John 5:17) Jehovah is God “from time indefinite to time indefinite.” So think about all the things that he has done! (Psalm 90:2) Only the Bible tells us about what God has done in the past, what he is doing at present, and what he will do in the future. We learn what makes God happy and what makes him unhappy. We also learn how we can “draw close to God.” (James 4:8) We should never leave Jehovah because we are interested in other things or because of our worries.
11. What wise advice do we find in the Bible?
11 There is great wisdom in the Bible. This is another reason to believe that the Bible comes from God. The prophet Isaiah asked people who lived in his time: “Who has taken the proportions of the spirit of Jehovah, and who as his man of counsel can make him know anything?” (Isaiah 40:13) Later, the apostle Paul asked a similar question: “Who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, that he may instruct him?” (1 Corinthians 2:16) The answer is no one because no one knows more than Jehovah. That is why we have the best results when we apply the Bible’s counsel on working hard, marriage, children, entertainment, honesty, morality, and the friends we choose. We never get bad advice from the Bible. But humans are not wise enough to give advice that always works. (Jeremiah 10:23) They often change and update their advice when they realize that it is wrong. The Bible says that the advice of men is worth very little.—Psalm 94:11.
12. How have people tried to destroy the Bible?
12 History also gives us reason to believe that the Bible is from the true God. In the past, many people have tried to destroy God’s message. In the year 168 before Christ, Antiochus IV, the king of Syria, ordered people to find all the books of the Law and have them burned. In the year 303 after Christ, Diocletian, the emperor of Rome, ordered that all meeting places of Christians be destroyed and that their Scriptures be burned. This destruction continued for about ten years. For hundreds of years, popes did everything they could to stop the translation of the Bible into different languages because they did not want people to learn about the Bible. Even though Satan and the people who supported him tried to destroy the Bible, we still have the Bible today. Jehovah has not allowed anyone to destroy his gift to mankind.
REASONS WHY MANY BELIEVE
13. For what reasons can we believe that the Bible is from God?
13 There are other reasons to believe that the Bible is from God. It does not contradict itself, it is scientifically correct, its prophecies have come true, and its writers are always honest. Also, the Bible has the power to change lives, its historical facts are accurate, and it gives good answers to the questions in paragraph 1. Let us read about what helped some to believe that the Bible is from God.
14-16. (a) What convinced three different people that the Bible is from God? (b) What reasons do you like to use in the ministry to convince people that the Bible is from God?
14 Anwar* (see footnote) grew up as a Muslim in a country in the Middle East. While he was living in North America, Jehovah’s Witnesses visited him in his home. Anwar says: ‘I did not like Christian religions because of all the bad things the Church had done in the past. But I enjoy learning, so I agreed to have a Bible study.’ Soon after that, Anwar returned to his country but was not able to contact the Witnesses. Years later, he moved to Europe and started studying the Bible again. He later said: ‘I became convinced that the Bible is from God because Bible prophecies have come true, the Bible has one basic theme from beginning to end, it never contradicts itself, and Jehovah’s worshippers have love for one another.’ Anwar was baptized in 1998.
15 Asha is 16 years old, and her family is Hindu. She says: ‘I only prayed when I went to the temple or when I was having problems. But I never thought about God when I had no problems. Then one day Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked at my door, and my life changed completely.’ Asha studied the Bible. She got to know God as her friend. What convinced her that the Bible is from God? She says: ‘The Bible answered every question I had. The Bible helped me to have faith without my going to a temple and bowing to an idol.’
16 Paula grew up in a Catholic family. But when she got older, she was not sure whether God existed. Then something happened. She says: ‘I met a friend whom I had not seen in months. We were living at a time when many people had long hair and used drugs. But he had changed. He had shaved, cut his hair, and looked happy. So I asked him what had happened to him and where he had been. He said that he had been studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then he witnessed to me.’ Because Paula saw how Bible truth had changed her friend, she became interested in the Bible’s message and started to believe that the Bible comes from God.
“YOUR WORD IS A LAMP TO MY FOOT”
17. How will it help you if you read the Bible every day and meditate on what you read?
17 The Bible is a wonderful gift that Jehovah has given us by using his holy spirit. Enjoy reading it every day, and you will have more love for the Bible and for God. (Psalm 1:1, 2) Each time you read the Bible, pray before you start and ask God for his holy spirit so that you can understand what you read. (Luke 11:13) The Bible has God’s thoughts. When you meditate on what it says, you can learn to think the way God thinks.
18. Why do you want to continue to learn from the Bible?
18 As you continue to learn more about Bible truth, apply what you learn. (Read Psalm 119:105.) Reading the Bible can be like looking into a mirror. So if you realize that you need to make some changes, make them. (James 1:23-25) The Word of God is like a sword. You can use it to defend what you believe. You can also use it to remove false teachings from the hearts of meek people. (Ephesians 6:17) When you use the Bible, be thankful that the prophets and men who wrote it were “borne along by holy spirit.”
Some names have been changed.
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It was very wise of God to use humans to write the Bible
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The Bible helps us to know Jehovah and everything that he does
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Jehovah has not allowed anyone to destroy his gift to mankind
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The Bible has the power to change lives
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A letter is viewed as coming from the person whose signature it bears