Taking in Knowledge—Now and Forever
GERMAN physician Ulrich Strunz wrote a series of books entitled Forever Young. In these he argued that exercise, nutrition, and a wholesome life-style can promote better health and possibly lead to a longer life. Still, he does not promise his readers that they could literally live forever by following his counsel.
However, there is one kind of knowledge that does promise everlasting life. Conversely, if you did live forever, you could take in useful knowledge forever. Jesus said in prayer to God: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Let us first define the term “everlasting life” and then establish what the knowledge entails and how you can obtain it.
According to the Bible, the Creator will soon transform the earth into a literal paradise, which will favor long life. Bringing about that Paradise will involve drastic action, similar to that of the Flood of Noah’s day. Matthew chapter 24, verses 37 to 39, shows that Jesus compared our time with “the days of Noah,” in which people “took no note” of their critical situation. They also ignored the message that Noah preached. Then came “the day that Noah entered into the ark” and the Flood destroyed all who had rejected this knowledge. Noah and those with him in the ark remained alive.
Jesus indicated that a similar “day” is coming in our time. Those heeding the knowledge associated with this event will have the prospect of not only surviving but also living forever. In addition, the dead who are in God’s memory will be raised to life with the prospect of never having to die again. (John 5:28, 29) Notice how Jesus expressed these two thoughts. When speaking to Martha about the resurrection of the dead, he said: “He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” All evidence shows that this “day” is very near, which means that you may “never die at all.”—John 11:25-27.
Jesus then asked Martha: “Do you believe this?” She answered: “Yes, Lord.” If Jesus were to ask you the same question today, what would your answer be? Perhaps you would find it difficult to believe in the possibility of never dying. But even if that was your reaction, undoubtedly you would like to be able to believe it. Imagine how much you could learn if you would “never die at all”! Picture yourself enjoying all the things that you now wish you could learn and do but never have time for. And just think of being reunited with your loved ones who have been lost in death! What is the knowledge that might make such things possible, and how can you acquire it?
Acquiring Life-Giving Knowledge—Within Our Capacity
Is taking in knowledge of God and Christ beyond our capacity? No. It is true that knowledge of the Creator’s works is endless. Yet, Jesus was not referring to astronomy or one of the other sciences when he linked “knowledge” and “everlasting life.” Proverbs chapter 2, verses 1 and 5, indicates that the “sayings” and “commandments” found in the Bible are fundamental to “the very knowledge of God.” And concerning Jesus, John 20:30, 31 indicates that the things written down are sufficient that we “may have life.”
Hence, the knowledge of Jehovah and Jesus Christ as found in the Bible is sufficient to show you how to gain everlasting life. The Bible is a unique book. The Creator kindly inspired it in such a way that even unlettered men with limited opportunities can take in enough knowledge to gain everlasting life. Likewise, someone with a quick mind and with much time and means at his disposal will always be able to learn something new from the inspired Scriptures. The fact that you can read this article is proof that you have the capacity to learn, but how should you use that capacity?
Around the globe, experience has shown that the most efficient way to acquire this knowledge is by means of a personal Bible study guided by someone who has already grasped the material. Just as Noah endeavored to impart knowledge to his contemporaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses are willing to come to your home to consider the Bible with you. They might use the brochure What Does God Require of Us? or the handbook appropriately entitled Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. * Even if you find the concept that in the earthly Paradise, faithful ones will “never die at all” difficult to believe, you can learn to put confidence in this promise by means of these Bible discussions. So if you would like to live forever or just want to see if it is reasonable to believe that you could, what should you do? Accept this opportunity to study the Bible.
How long will it take? The 32-page brochure just mentioned, available in hundreds of languages, contains just 16 short lessons. Or if you can reserve about an hour a week, you will need only a few months to study key Bible subjects, using the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. These publications have helped many to acquire much knowledge and to develop a deep love for God. The Creator will reward those who truly love him, enabling them to have everlasting life.
Life-giving knowledge is indeed within our reach, and it is readily available. The Bible has been translated, at least in part, into over 2,000 languages. Jehovah’s Witnesses in 235 lands are pleased to render personal assistance and to provide Bible-based publications so that you can increase your knowledge further.
Your relationship with God is a personal matter between you and the Creator. Only you can maintain and strengthen it, and only he can grant you everlasting life. Therefore, you should continue a personal study of his written Word. By having someone come to your home on a regular basis, you may find it easier to reserve time for study.
Since the Bible and Bible study aids contain “the very knowledge of God,” it is most appropriate to take good care of them. (Proverbs 2:5) You will thus have them for years. If you live in a developing country, you may not have used many textbooks at school, having learned mainly by listening and observing. In Benin, for example, over 50 languages are spoken. It is not unusual for individuals to speak four or five languages fluently, although they have never had a textbook in these languages in their hands. Your ability to learn by listening, observing, and concentrating is a blessing. Still, you will find that books can greatly aid you in your study.
Even if your living quarters are cramped, try to have a suitable place for your Bible and related publications. Keep them where they are readily available and where they will not be damaged.
If you are a parent, you should be interested in helping your children gain the same knowledge that you are acquiring. In developing countries, parents are often accustomed to teaching their children many of life’s necessary skills. This may include cooking, gathering wood, fetching water, farming, fishing, and bartering at the market. This is truly education for life. However, many parents do not include in this education the knowledge that can lead to everlasting life.
Whatever your situation may be, you probably feel that you do not have much time to spare. The Creator realizes this too. Regarding how to teach children his ways, note what he said a long time ago: “You must inculcate them in your son [or daughter] and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7) Based on these thoughts, why not try to develop your own teaching program, such as the following:
1. “When you sit in your house”: Endeavor to have regular discussions, perhaps weekly, with your children at home, just as someone may have had with you. Jehovah’s Witnesses provide Bible-based publications suitable for teaching children of all ages.
2. “When you walk on the road”: Speak to your children informally about Jehovah, just as you teach them about life’s necessities or give them guidelines in an informal manner.
3. “When you lie down”: Pray with your children each evening.
4. “When you get up”: Many families have experienced rewarding results from considering one Bible text every morning. Jehovah’s Witnesses use the booklet Examining the Scriptures Daily * as a basis for this.
In developing countries, many parents go to great lengths to make sure that one of their children gets a good secular education. In that way the child will be able to care for the parents when they get older. However, if you study the Bible and help all your children to do likewise, you will gain the knowledge that will enable you and your whole family to live forever.
Will the day ever come when we know everything? No. As our earth continues on its journey through the endless universe, we will continue to take in knowledge. Indeed, Ecclesiastes 3:11 states: “Everything [God] has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the true God has made from the start to the finish.” Taking in knowledge is a pleasure that will never end.
^ par. 10 Both published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
^ par. 23 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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“This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge . . .”
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Help your family take in knowledge now and forever