Questions From Readers
● Can John 17:17 be used to prove that Jesus considered the Hebrew Scriptures to be inspired? Was he not referring to God’s word that he personally gave to the twelve apostles?—H. J., Denmark.
In prayer to his Father, Jesus said concerning his disciples: “I have given your word to them.” Then later in the same prayer he added: “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.”—John 17:14, 17.
The oral teachings that Jesus gave to his followers were not his own thoughts, but were from his God and Father. He publicly admitted this, saying: “I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49; compare John 3:34; 7:16; 8:28; 14:10.) Hence, the words he personally gave to his followers can correctly be viewed as God’s word and truth, but this did not exclude, but included the Hebrew Scriptures.
Throughout his ministry he quoted from the written Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis through Malachi. (Matt. 19:5; 11:10) Why, in just what is now Matthew, chapter twenty-two, Jesus quoted from four different places in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Matt. 22:32, 37, 39, 44) We cannot avoid the fact that Jesus considered the Hebrew Scriptures to be inspired.
What is recorded in the books of the Hebrew Scriptures can be seen to be God’s inspired Word for a number of reasons. One reason is that, contrary to human nature, the material is credited, not to the prophet or writer, but to God. In reference to Jehovah’s promise to Abraham concerning his seed, we read: “The word of Jehovah came to Abram.” (Gen. 15:1) We repeatedly read of the messages as being the word of Jehovah. (2 Sam. 24:11; Ezek. 1:3) The opening verse in Malachi’s prophecy, from which Jesus quoted, reads: “A pronouncement: The word of Jehovah concerning Israel by means of Malachi.”—Mal. 1:1.
Because those parts of the Hebrew Scriptures that Jesus quoted were the infallible truth of God’s word, then the whole bulk of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures must likewise be, as Jesus said in John 17:17, “the truth.” So, while Jesus included his oral teachings that are now recorded in the Greek Scriptures when he said, “Your word is truth,” he inescapably embraced the Hebrew Scriptures as God’s Word, by which his disciples must be sanctified.
As “fishers of men,” Jehovah’s witnesses obey the Lord Jesus Christ, so during March they will continue to ‘let down their nets for a catch’ by sharing in the ministry. (Matt. 4:19; Luke 5:4) As they do so, they will offer to all persons a year’s subscription for The Watchtower, along with three booklets, for $1; or a year’s subscription for both The Watchtower and Awake!, along with six booklets, for $2.
THEIR BENEFITS PROVIDE THE ANSWER
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“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
March 31: Rejoicing in the God of True Worship. Page 140. Songs to Be Used: 102, 32.
April 7: Up with the True, Down with the False! Page 147. Songs to Be Used: 111, 95.