PICTURE THIS: You are touring a museum full of ancient monuments. Most are pitted, weathered, and eroded. Some have great chunks missing. One, though, is remarkably intact; its intricate design is clear in every detail. “Is this one newer than the others?” you ask your guide. “No,” he responds, “it is older than most, and it has never been rebuilt.” “Has it been sheltered?” you ask. “No,” says your guide, “this one has faced the worst wind and rain. And many vandals have tried to mar it.” Perhaps you would wonder in amazement, ‘What is it made of?’
In a way, the Bible is like that remarkable monument. It is a very ancient book—older than most. There are other ancient books, of course. But like eroded old monuments, most old writings have been badly damaged by the passage of time. Their statements on science, for instance, have been contradicted by new knowledge, provable facts. Their medical counsel often seems more dangerous than helpful. And many ancient writings are mere fragments of what they once were; parts have been lost or badly damaged.
The Bible, though, stands out as different. The writing of it began over 35 centuries ago, yet the Bible is intact. And though it has been attacked again and again over the centuries—burned, banned, and belittled—its statements have weathered every onslaught. Far from being proved obsolete in the face of new knowledge, the Bible says much that shows amazing foresight.—See the box “Outdated or Ahead of Its Time?”
VALUES WE NEED TODAY
You may wonder, though, ‘Are Bible teachings really practical for our modern day?’ To answer, ask yourself: ‘What are the worst problems facing mankind today? Which ones are the most terrifying?’ Perhaps you think of warfare, pollution, crime, or corruption. Now consider some principles that the Bible teaches. As you do, ask yourself, ‘If people lived by these values, would the world be a better place?’
LOVE OF PEACE
“Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah * freely forgave you, you must also do the same.”—Colossians 3:13.
God “made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth.” (Acts 17:26) “God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
RESPECT FOR THE EARTH
HATRED OF GREED AND IMMORALITY
“Guard against every sort of greed, because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) “Let sexual immorality and every sort of uncleanness or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as is proper for holy people.”—Ephesians 5:3.
HONESTY, HARD WORK
THE IMPORTANCE OF HELPING THOSE IN NEED
The Bible does not merely list those values. In practical ways, it teaches us to value such principles and to apply them in our day-to-day life. If more people actually applied the teachings we have listed, would there not be a great impact on mankind’s worst problems? Really, then, Bible principles are more relevant and timely than ever! What, though, can Bible teachings do for you right now?
HOW BIBLE TEACHINGS CAN BENEFIT YOU NOW
The wisest of men once said: “Wisdom is vindicated by its results.” (Matthew 11:19, footnotes) Would you not agree? The real test of wisdom is how it works when you apply it. So you may reason: ‘If the Bible really is practical, should it not produce results in my life? How is it useful for the problems I face right now?’ Consider an example.
For Delphine, * life was busy, full, and rewarding. Suddenly, though, she suffered a series of tragic losses. Her teenage daughter died. Her marriage disintegrated. Her finances fell into chaos. She recalls: “I had no idea who I was anymore—no daughter, no husband, no home. I felt I was nothing—no identity, no strength, no thought of the future.”
Never before had Delphine seen so vividly the truth of these words: “The span of our life is 70 years, or 80 if one is especially strong. But they are filled with trouble and sorrow; they quickly pass by, and away we fly.”—Psalm 90:10.
Delphine turned to the Bible in her hour of need. What it did for her is remarkable. As the following three articles will show, many others have also found that the Bible has done wonders for them when they applied its counsel to the problems of life. They have come to feel that the Bible is like that monument described at the outset. It is quite unlike the countless books that grow old and obsolete. Is that because the Bible, in effect, is made of something different? Might it actually contain God’s thoughts—and not merely man’s?—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
Perhaps you too have found that life is short and full of problems. When problems threaten to overwhelm you, where do you turn for comfort, support, and reliable advice?
Let us consider three key ways in which the Bible can prove practical in your life. It can teach you how to
avoid problems where possible.
resolve difficulties when they arise.
cope successfully with situations you cannot change.
The following articles will discuss these three areas.