How to Find the True Religion
‘If truth from God exists, why must I search to find it?’ some ask. ‘If God has an important message for all mankind, would he not convey it clearly enough so that people would grasp it immediately, without the need for investigation?’
SURELY God has the ability to do such a thing. But is that the way he has chosen to communicate truth?
How God Conveys Truth
Actually, God conveys his messages in a way that allows sincere seekers of truth to search them out. (Psalm 14:2) Consider the message that God delivered through his prophet Jeremiah centuries ago. It was given to God’s wayward people regarding the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.—Jeremiah 25:8-11; 52:12-14.
Yet, at the same time, other prophets claimed to speak for God. Hananiah foretold peace for Jerusalem. That was a very different message from the one that Jeremiah delivered. So whom was a person at that time to believe—Jeremiah or those who contradicted him?—Jeremiah 23:16, 17; 28:1, 2, 10-17.
To know who was right, sincere Jews needed to know Jehovah as a person. They needed to understand his laws and principles, as well as his attitude toward wrongdoing. Doing so, they would have agreed with God’s words spoken through Jeremiah that “there was not a man repenting over his badness.” (Jeremiah 8:5-7) Furthermore, they would have discerned that this sad situation did not bode well for Jerusalem and its inhabitants.—Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Jeremiah 52:4-14.
Jeremiah’s prophecies about Jerusalem came true. The city was razed by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.
Although the consequences of disobedience were foretold long in advance, effort was needed to recognize that the time had arrived for God to take action.
What About Christian Truth?
What of the truth proclaimed by Jesus Christ? Did everyone recognize it as a message from God? No. Even though Jesus was right there in the midst of the people of Israel teaching them and performing miracles, most of his listeners did not discern that he was the foretold Messiah—the Christ, or Anointed One.
To the Pharisees who asked when God’s Kingdom was coming, Jesus himself said: “The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness.” He added: “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20, 21) God’s appointed Ruler, Jesus, was among them! But those Pharisees refused to open their eyes to the evidence that he was fulfilling the Messianic prophecies and to accept him as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”—Matthew 16:16.
The response to the truth proclaimed by Christ’s first-century disciples was similar. While miracles helped to demonstrate that God was supporting the disciples, the truth was still not plain to most. (Acts 8:1-8; 9:32-41) Jesus commissioned his followers to “make disciples of people” by teaching them. As a result of listening and learning Scriptural truths, sincere seekers of truth became believers.—Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:42; 17:2-4, 32-34.
It is the same today. The “good news of the kingdom” is being “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) This is not necessarily being done “with striking observableness”—in so obvious a way that every individual on earth will recognize it as a message from God. Yet, God’s truth is recognizable and strikes a responsive chord in honesthearted individuals who want to worship God in the way approved by him.—John 10:4, 27.
The fact that you are reading a Bible journal shows that you are likely a sincere seeker of truth. How can you determine which religion is teaching it?
An Approach That Works
Some first-century residents of Beroea were commended by the apostle Paul for the way they responded when he taught them. They did not immediately accept what Paul said as truth; still, they listened respectfully. We can learn from what the Beroeans did after hearing the message.
Note that the Bible explains: “Now the [Beroeans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so. Therefore many of them became believers.” (Acts 17:10-12) So their search was not superficial. They did not expect conclusive results in just one or two brief discussions with Paul.
Observe also that the Beroeans “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind.” This tells us something about the attitude with which they approached their study of the Scriptures. They were not gullible, but neither were they cynical. They did not have a critical attitude toward what was explained by Paul, who was one of God’s human representatives.
Consider this too: The Beroeans were hearing about Christianity for the first time. It sounded good, perhaps too good to be true. But rather than dismiss it, they carefully examined the Scriptures, checking to see ‘whether the things Paul was saying were so.’ Note, too, that those in both Beroea and Thessalonica who made such a diligent search became believers. (Acts 17:4, 12) They did not give up and conclude that truth cannot be found. They identified the true religion.
How the Truth Affects People
When one finds the truth, as did the Beroeans, he is moved to share it enthusiastically. Others may disapprove, holding that it is more humble to feel that other religions could be equally correct. However, the Bible’s truth—once found—instills conviction. It does not leave one wondering if truth is attainable or if all religions might lead to salvation. Finding the truth, however, begins with an earnest examination, which does indeed require humility.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have made such an examination. That is why they believe that they have found the true religion. And they invite you to make a search of the Scriptures so as to identify who is practicing true religion today. While there is much more involved than any simple checklist could provide, the material about first-century Christians in the accompanying box on this page may help you to get started.
By accepting a home Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses at no cost, you can make an in-depth search of what the Bible really teaches. Learning this will put you in position to identify the true religion.
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Features of True Religion
Consider the practices and teachings of first-century Christians:
▪ They taught that the dead will return to life by means of a future resurrection.—Acts 24:15.
▪ They were known overall for the love that prevailed among themselves.—John 13:34, 35.
▪ They did not worship merely as individuals but were organized into congregations and were united under overseers and a central body of elders that looked to Jesus as Head.—Acts 14:21-23; 15:1-31; Ephesians 1:22; 1 Timothy 3:1-13.
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How could people know that Jeremiah was a true prophet, when others contradicted him?
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The first-century Beroeans listened to Paul but then examined the Scriptures to make sure that what he said was true
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A careful study of the Bible can help you identify religious truth