The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
The Bible’s Answer to Modern-Day Living
 
    Is the Bible modern for today? To many persons its modern practicalness is limited to, movies, music, relaxation, business, political speeches, literary quality, birthday presents and crossword puzzles. What are the Bible’s answers to problems of living? Are they practical for today? How do we know?
    Those who view the Bible as impractical, could it not be that to them it is an unknown Book? A casual browsing of a Bible translation that uses out-of-date language may cause one to conclude wrongly that the Book’s principles are also out of date. It is only by acquiring knowledge of the Bible, whether a modern-language translation is used or not, that one can truly appraise its standards. The unvarnished fact is that those who clamor the loudest that the Bible is old-fashioned are the very ones who have not acquainted themselves with it nor have they applied its principles.
    Let us look for a moment at what exists in the world as a result from viewing the Bible impractical. As we do so we can ask, How practical is it?—the love of money, robbery and murder, mounting juvenile delinquency, overcrowded jails, fornication and immoralities of the most sordid kind, black markets in babies, broken marriages, gambling mania, stupefying hero worship, increasing suicide, drug addiction, liquor addiction and skid rows, explosive nationalism, revolution and riots and colossal blood sacrifices to the god Mars.
    But how do we know that the Bible is modern enough to answer such perplexing problems? Because the Bible was written by men inspired by Jehovah God. Said one writer: “The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and his word was upon my tongue.” (2 Sam. 23:2) Who can understand the operation of a machine better than its inventor? So it is that Jehovah knows what is best for the smooth operation of his masterpiece of living machinery, the human body.

    The Bible and True Science

    Now we can understand why the Bible passes every test of modernity. Critics may harp that it is unscientific, but such ones display ignorance, not knowledge. The Bible has always harmonized with true science. The theory that the earth was a body in space and traveled around the sun was offered by Nicholaus Copernicus (1473-1543). Yet some 3,000 years before Copernicus’ time, the Bible showed that the earth was a body in space: “He stretcheth out the north over empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Magellan (1480-1521) proved the earth was round when he sailed around the world. But some 2,200 years before Magellan’s time the Bible showed the earth was round by speaking of Jehovah as “he that sitteth above the circle of the earth.”—Job 26:7; Isa. 40:22.
    The Bible and archaeology? Perfect agreement. The Bible says man was created perfect, that, because of Adam’s sin, he degenerated, not evolved upward. Archaeology has found the Bible modern, the evolutionists old fogies. Said one authority: “The culture of Egypt starts on a magnificently high level and is later reduced to a tremendous degree by a consistent record of degeneration.” Of the jewelry and metal work of Egypt’s twelfth dynasty, a modern encyclopedia says: “European goldsmiths have rarely surpassed this work.”
    The Bible and chemistry? Agreement again. The Bible speaks of gold and glass. It tells of acid-base reactions: “As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon soda, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.” It speaks of the source of iron and copper: “Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is molten out of the stone.”—Prov. 25:20; Job 28:2.
    The Bible and zoology? Accurate knowledge of animal habits is shown by the Bible. Why, even in the nineteenth century men often asserted that birds of prey hunted by smell. John James Audubon, with experiments, proved they hunted by sight. But Bible readers never needed Audubon’s experiments to know the truth, for Job 39:29 (Ro) says of the bird of prey: “He searcheth out food, far away his eyes do pierce.”
    The Bible and health? Here the Bible is more modern than many moderns. For it does not advise early retirement, a life of ease, laziness or idleness. The Bible recommends hard work. Just in the past few years doctors are awaking to the need of work, the danger of easy living and rest. Science Digest for November, 1954, reported on the words of Dr. W. Melville Arnott, professor of medicine in the University of Birmingham, England: “Work, even hard work, is good for a person—while rest may be damaging. . . . None of the known effects of work, Dr. Arnott states, can harm healthy tissues. On the contrary, all the effects are good. . . . Rest, on the other hand, can produce profound and damaging changes.” So the Bible’s advice, both spiritually and physically, holds true: “Sloth brings the sleep that has no awaking.”—Prov. 19:15, Knox.
    The Bible and disease? Some 3,000 years before modern knowledge of causes of disease, the Bible contained a prohibition on eating pig, rabbit and fish, which, respectively, are subject to trichinosis, tularemia and tapeworm. Likewise the principle of quarantine for certain diseases is recognized by the Bible.
The Bible and medicine? Still modern! But how modern is the twentieth century’s superstitious cures, its quack cures? Declared one doctor: “It is very surprising to me that the Bible is so accurate from the medical standpoint. . . . Where treatment is mentioned, as for boils, wounds, etc., it is correct even by modern standards. Also in the present day, $750,000,000 are wasted annually on worthless medicines and methods of treatment. Many superstitions are still believed by large numbers of people, such as, that a buckeye in the pocket will prevent rheumatism; that handling toads will cause warts; that wearing red flannel around the neck will cure a sore throat; that an asafetida bag will prevent diseases; that every time a child is sick it has worms; etc., but no such statements are found in the Bible.”—The Physician Examines the Bible, by C. Raimer Smith.

    Morals, Mind and Education

    Sad morals, sick minds and senseless education are all too often the products of this day and age. Bible principles produce nothing of that kind. True, there are critics who call Christ Jesus a megalomaniac, a person afflicted with delusions of grandeur, as when one thinks he is Napoleon. But to such critics we ask, Have you ever heard anything from an insane person that even remotely resembles the sermon on the mount? Abraham Lincoln said that the sermon on the mount “contained the essence of all law and justice.” Not only that, but one of the leading psychiatrists, James Tucker Fisher, writing in his book A Few Buttons Missing: the Case Book of a Psychiatrist, said: “If you were to take the sum total of all the authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene—if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage—if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount.”
    Statesmen of the highest caliber esteem the Bible to be practical. History says that “few later statesmen equaled in mental and moral stature” John Quincy Adams; this American president said: “I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life.” And said the noted American educator William Lyons Phelps: “I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.”

    The Bible Proved Practical

    A tidal wave of false religion has engulfed mankind. How to keep one’s head above the sea of error is a problem. The Bible solves it because it is the criterion for judging any religion. The Bible alone is the Book that can expose false religion and help one recognize true religion. “All Scripture,” wrote Christ’s apostle, “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 Tim. 3:16, 17.
    Could any principle solve the bulk of today’s problems, including that of world war, better than the Master’s command: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them”? If professed Christians heeded that command, there would be no need for police forces, jails or electric chairs. True Christians live by that high standard.—Matt. 7:12.
    Adultery, fornication, stealing and drunkenness are condemned by the Bible. The Bible’s answer to these problems is clear. Warned the apostle: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) Man’s punishment for these evil deeds is often light; but God’s is heavy. How foolish the way of this world! Its evil deeds lead to everlasting death. Life is practical, death is not.
    How does the Bible answer the problem of juvenile delinquency? It shows that parental delinquency is the cause of it. It commands parents to “train up a child in the way he should go,” not shunt him off to a Sunday school and expect him to go the way he should. The Bible does not agree with some modern views of child raising. For example, it shows that allowing a child to grow up according to its own whims and caprice is wrong and leads to crime. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” The literal use of the rod in punishing a child may sometimes be necessary; the Bible recognizes this: “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beat him with the rod, he will not die.”—Prov. 22:6; 22:15; 23:13.
    Emotional disturbances and psychosomatic ailments abound today. And no wonder! The hideous masks of hatred, anger, anxiety, fear and jealousy are worn on the faces of most of mankind. The Bible’s answer to these serious problems is the two great commandments of life set down by Christ Jesus: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” This is practical advice. It works. This is because love casts out fear and heals: “Love is long-suffering and obliging. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury.”—Luke 10:27; 1 Cor. 13:4, 5.
    Are the Bible’s answers practicable, that is, can they be put into practice? Indeed they can! There is living proof of this: an organization of people that are applying the Bible’s answers to all problems of life. This is the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, Christians who day by day, every day, live and apply the Bible’s principles. Regardless of race or nationality they love one another, are at unity with one another, are happy wherever they are. In the new world, the Bible declares, “righteousness is to dwell.” Those of the New World society know that to gain life then one must begin to practice righteousness now.—2 Pet. 3:13.
    No one knows true happiness until he has come to know Jehovah God and his purposes. Such joy-producing knowledge can be obtained only from the Bible. This means, then, that only when one acquires knowledge from the great instruction Book on living and in turn applies its answers to everyday problems of life does one really begin to live. For going through the ‘narrow gate’ of obedience to God’s instruction leads to happiness now and in the new world everlasting life.—Matt. 7:14.
    The whole motto of this system of things is summed up in this: from the cradle to the grave. Is that practical? But the Bible is modern and practical because it answers man’s great problem: how to live forever. “From infancy you have known the holy writings which are able to make you wise for salvation.” From the cradle to never-ending happiness and life—that is real living! Begin living now. Read the Bible. Do more. Study the Bible in company with the New World society. And you will learn that life is just beginning for those who ever live up to this counsel: “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.”—2 Tim. 3:15; Eccl. 12:13.