1, 2. What questions do people often ask?
CHILDREN ask lots of questions. You may explain something to them, but they often ask, ‘Why?’ And when you try to give them an answer, they may ask, ‘But why?’
2 Whether we are young or old, we all have questions. We may have questions about what we will eat or wear or buy. Or we may have important questions about life and the future. But when we don’t find satisfying answers to these questions, we may stop looking for answers.
3. Why do many people think they can’t find the answers to their important questions?
3 Does the Bible have the answers to the important questions we ask? Some people may think so, but they feel that the Bible is too hard to understand. They may think that only teachers or priests have the answers. And others are too ashamed to admit that they don’t know the answers. What do you think?
4, 5. What important questions do you have? Why should you keep looking for the answers?
4 You probably want answers to questions, such as: Why am I here? What will happen to me when I die? What is God like? Jesus, the famous Teacher, said: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Don’t give up until you find answers that you can trust.
5 Yes, if you “keep on seeking,” you will find the answers in the Bible. (Proverbs 2:1-5) These answers are not too hard to understand. What you learn will give you a happier life right now and a wonderful hope for the future. Let’s talk about one question that has confused many people.
DOES GOD CARE ABOUT US OR IS HE CRUEL?
6. Why do some people think that God doesn’t care about their suffering?
6 Many people think that God doesn’t care about us. They feel that if God really cared, the world would be very different. We see war, hatred, and misery everywhere. People get sick, they suffer, and they die. Some wonder, ‘If God cares about us, why doesn’t he stop all this suffering?’
7. (a) How have religious leaders taught people that God is cruel? (b) Why can we be sure that God is not to blame for bad things that happen?
7 Religious leaders sometimes make people believe that God is cruel. When something terrible happens, they say that it’s God’s will. They say that he wanted it to happen. When they say this, they are really blaming God. But the Bible teaches that God is never the source of evil. James 1:13 tells us that God does not test anyone with evil things. It says: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried [or, tested] by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.” This means that even though God hasn’t stopped bad things from happening, he never makes them happen. (Read Job 34:10-12.) Let’s use an example.
8, 9. Why would it be unfair to blame God for our problems? Give an example.
8 Imagine a young man who lives at home with his parents. His father loves him very much and has taught him how to make good decisions. Then, the young man rebels against his father and leaves home. He does bad things and gets into trouble. Would you blame the father for what happened because he didn’t stop his son from leaving home? Of course not! (Luke 15:11-13) Like that father, God didn’t stop humans when they chose to rebel and do what is bad. So when something bad happens, we should remember that God didn’t make it happen. It would be unfair to blame God.
9 There is a very good reason why God has not yet stopped bad things from happening. In Chapter 11, you will learn what the Bible says about this. But you can be sure that God loves us and that he is never to blame for our problems. In fact, he is the only One who can solve them.
10. Why can we be sure that God will repair all the damage that has been done by bad people?
10 God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3) Everything he does is pure, clean, and good. So we can trust him. Humans are not like that. They sometimes do wrong things. And even the most honest ruler does not have the power to repair all the damage that bad people do. No one has as much power as God has. He can and will repair all the damage that has been done by bad people. He will remove all evil forever.
HOW DOES GOD FEEL WHEN PEOPLE SUFFER?
11. How does God feel about your suffering?
11 How does God feel when he sees what is happening in the world and what you are going through? The Bible teaches that God “loves justice.” (Psalm 37:28) So he cares deeply about what is right and what is wrong. He hates it when people suffer. The Bible says that “his heart was saddened” when he saw the world filled with badness in the past. (Genesis 6:5, 6) God has not changed. (Malachi 3:6) The Bible says that God really cares about you.
12, 13. (a) Why do we love and care for others, and how do we feel about the suffering in the world? (b) Why can we be sure that God will remove all suffering and injustice?
12 The Bible also says that God created us in his image. (Genesis 1:26) This means that God made us with the same good qualities that he has. So if you feel bad when you see innocent people suffer, God must feel even worse when he sees it! How do we know this?
13 The Bible teaches us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Everything God does is motivated by love. So we love because God loves. Think about this: If you had the power, would you remove all the suffering and injustice in the world? Of course you would, because you love people. What about God? He has the power, and because he loves us, he will remove all suffering and injustice. You can be sure that every one of God’s promises mentioned at the beginning of this book will come true! But to be able to trust these promises, you need to know more about God.
GOD WANTS YOU TO KNOW HIM
14. What is God’s name, and how do we know that we should use it?
14 If you want to be someone’s friend, what’s the first thing you usually tell him? Your name. Does God have a name? Many religions say his name is God or Lord, but these are not names. They are just titles, like “king” or “president.” God has told us that his name is Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 says: “May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Bible writers used God’s name thousands of times. Jehovah wants you to know his name and to use it. He tells you his name so that you can become his friend.
15. What does the name Jehovah mean?
15 God’s name, Jehovah, has deep meaning. It means that God can fulfill any promise he makes and can accomplish his purpose. Nothing can stop him. Only Jehovah can have this name. *
16, 17. What is the meaning of (a) “the Almighty”? (b) “King of eternity”? (c) “Creator”?
16 As we read earlier, Psalm 83:18 says about Jehovah: “You alone are the Most High.” Also, Revelation 15:3 says: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.” What does the title “the Almighty” mean? It means that Jehovah is more powerful than anyone else in the universe. And the title “King of eternity” means that he has always existed. Psalm 90:2 explains that he is from eternity to eternity. Isn’t that amazing!
17 Only Jehovah is the Creator. Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” Yes, from the angels in heaven to the stars in the sky to the fruit on the trees and to the fish in the sea
CAN YOU BE JEHOVAH’S FRIEND?
18. Why might some people think that they can never be God’s friend? What does the Bible say about that?
18 When some people read about Jehovah’s impressive qualities, they feel afraid and think, ‘God is so powerful, so important, and so far away, why would he care about me?’ But is that how God wants us to feel? Not at all. Jehovah wants to be close to us. The Bible says that God is “not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) God wants you to draw close to him, and he promises that “he will draw close to you.”
19. (a) How can you become God’s friend? (b) Which of Jehovah’s qualities do you like the most?
19 How can you become God’s friend? Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Keep on learning, and you will come to know Jehovah and Jesus. And then you can have everlasting life. For example, we have already learned that “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) But he also has many other beautiful qualities. The Bible tells us that Jehovah is “merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love and truth.” (Exodus 34:6) Jehovah is “good and ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5) God is patient and loyal. (2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 15:4) You will learn much more about his beautiful qualities as you read about him in the Bible.
20-22. (a) How can we feel close to God if we cannot see him? (b) What should you do if others want you to stop studying the Bible?
20 How can you feel close to God if you cannot see him? (John 1:18; 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17) When you read about Jehovah in the Bible, you get to know him as a real Person. (Psalm 27:4; Romans 1:20) As you learn more about Jehovah, you will love him more and more and you will feel closer to him.
21 You will understand that Jehovah is our Father. (Matthew 6:9) He gave us life, and he also wants us to have the best life possible. That is what a loving father would want for his children. (Psalm 36:9) Yes, the Bible teaches that you can become Jehovah’s friend. (James 2:23) Imagine that. Jehovah, the Creator of the universe, wants you to be his friend!
22 Some people may want you to stop studying the Bible. They may fear that you will change your religion. But don’t let anyone stop you from becoming Jehovah’s friend. He is the best Friend you could ever have.
23, 24. (a) Why should you keep asking questions? (b) What will we discuss in the next chapter?
23 As you study the Bible, there will be things that you don’t understand. Don’t be ashamed to ask questions or to ask for help. Jesus said that we should be humble, like little children. (Matthew 18:2-4) And children ask lots of questions. God wants you to find the answers. So study the Bible carefully to make sure that what you learn is the truth.
24 The best way to learn about Jehovah is to study the Bible. In the next chapter, we will find out why the Bible is different from every other book.