Benefit From the Best Education Available!
THE Bible identifies Jehovah God as the Creator of all things, including humans. (Genesis 1:27; Revelation 4:11) As the Grand Instructor, he educated the first human couple, Adam and Eve, and prepared them for life in the beautiful garden in Eden. It was his purpose to continue educating them and caring for them eternally. (Genesis 1:28, 29; 2:15-17; Isaiah 30:20, 21) Just think of that prospect!
Sadly, however, the first pair threw everything away. Their disobedient course opened the way for moral and physical degradation of the human race. (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:12) Referring to those who lived just a few generations after the founding of mankind, the Bible says: “Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.”—Genesis 6:5.
Almost 4,500 years have gone by since Jehovah concluded that man was constantly inclined toward badness, and mankind’s situation is now worse than ever. Many lie shamelessly, steal, or attack others. Problems increase every day, while concern for one’s fellow man decreases. Are not most personal relationships, including those within families, in real crisis? Yet, God is not to be blamed for the present conditions, nor has he ceased to be concerned about today’s problems. Jehovah has always been interested in man’s welfare, and he is ready to educate those who look to him for guidance to attain a happy life. Some 2,000 years ago, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth and demonstrated His interest in educating people who want to make a success of their life. Jesus left a model for education that was perfect because he had been taught by the Grand Instructor for untold aeons of time.
True Christianity—An Education
Jesus Christ instituted true Christianity, a way of life based on love. In it, all thoughts and actions are to harmonize with God’s will, for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to his name. (Matthew 22:37-39; Hebrews 10:7) Behind Jesus’ teachings on this way of life was his Father, Jehovah. We read at John 8:29 about the support Jesus received from God: “He that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.” Yes, Jesus had his Father’s support and guidance throughout his ministry. Jesus’ early followers did not have to face life’s challenges without guidance. Jehovah educated them by means of his Son. Their following Jesus’ teachings and example made them better people. This is true of his disciples today.—See the box “The Influence of Jesus and His Teachings,” on page 6.
A distinctive feature of true Christianity is that it includes education that affects mind and heart so as to transform people from within. (Ephesians 4:23, 24) To cite just one example, consider what Jesus taught about being faithful to one’s mate: “You heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28) With these words, Jesus was teaching his disciples that the heart should be kept clean and that improper thoughts and desires, though not yet carried out, may have grave consequences. Is it not true that bad thoughts can lead to acts that offend God and hurt others?
Therefore, the Bible offers this counsel: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) ‘Is it really possible to make the mind over through education?’ you may ask. Making the mind over involves motivating it in a different direction by filling it with the principles and instruction given in God’s Word. This can be accomplished by accepting education that God provides through his Word.
Motivated to Change
“The word of God is alive and exerts power.” (Hebrews 4:12) It is still exerting a powerful influence on individuals, thus proving that it does not become outdated. It can give a person the motivation to change his course, embrace true Christianity, and become a better person. The following examples illustrate the value of Bible education.
Emilia, mentioned in the preceding article, states: “Just making an effort by myself was not enough to improve the situation in my home. When I started to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I realized that there was hope and began to change my attitude. I learned to be more patient and not to indulge in fits of anger. In time, my husband joined me in the study. It was not easy for him to stop drinking, but he was able to quit. This gave our marriage a fresh start. Now we are happy Christians and are inculcating in our children the fine principles of the Bible.”—Deuteronomy 6:7.
The education that true Christianity provides can free a person from vices and an immoral lifestyle. Manuel * found this to be true. At the age of 13, he ran away from home and began to use marijuana. In time, he turned to heroin. He had sexual encounters with men and women in exchange for shelter and money. At times, Manuel also supported himself by mugging people. He was almost always under the influence of drugs. His violent conduct often landed him in prison. Once he spent four years behind bars, and there he became involved in trafficking in weapons. After he got married, Manuel’s life course continued to cost him dearly. He says: “We ended up living in what was once a henhouse. I still remember my wife cooking on some bricks. Our circumstances were so precarious that my own family encouraged my wife to abandon me.”
What changed his life? Manuel answers: “An acquaintance came to our house talking about the Bible. I accepted his visits just to show him that a God who was interested in people did not exist. I considered myself living proof of that. I was surprised that the Witness was patient and polite, so I agreed to attend the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Although some there knew my background, they greeted me in a friendly manner. They made me feel like one of them. This was a great comfort. I was moved to the point of deciding to leave the world of drugs to get an honest job. Four months after beginning my Bible study, I qualified to join in the preaching work, and four months after that, I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
What has true Christianity meant for Manuel and his family? “Without Bible education I would surely have been dead years ago. The way of life that Jesus taught gave my family back to me. My two children do not have to go through what I went through as a youth. I feel proud and very grateful to Jehovah for the good relationship I now have with my wife. Some of my former acquaintances have congratulated me and told me that they think that the course I am now following is the best one.”
In the Christian way of life, moral cleanness is accompanied by physical cleanness. John, who lives in a poverty-stricken area in South Africa, came to understand that. He explains: “Our daughter would sometimes not wash for a week, and none of us seemed to care.” His wife acknowledges that their home had a terrible appearance. But with Christian education, things changed. John stopped associating with a gang of car thieves and began to give more attention to his family. “We learned that as Christians, we should keep our bodies and clothing clean. I like the words at 1 Peter 1:16, which exhort us to be holy because Jehovah God is holy. Now we also try to make our simple home look nice.”
You Can Find the Best Education
The experiences mentioned above are not isolated cases. As a result of education based on the Bible, thousands of people have learned to live better lives. By being honest and industrious, they are appreciated by their employers. They have become good neighbors and friends, taking an interest in the well-being of their fellow man. They are determined to avoid vices and fleshly tendencies, so they take better care of their own health physically, mentally, and emotionally. Instead of wasting their resources on vices, they use them for their own good and for the good of their family. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Colossians 3:18-23) Without a doubt, the results of putting into practice what Jehovah sets forth in the Bible demonstrate that living by true Christianity is the best course in life, providing the best education available. With respect to a person who lives in harmony with God’s laws, the Bible states: “Everything he does will succeed.”—Psalm 1:3.
It is encouraging to know that Almighty God, Jehovah, is willing to educate us. He says of himself: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.” (Isaiah 48:17) Yes, Jehovah has shown the way through the example and teachings of his Son, Jesus Christ. His teachings made a difference in the life of many who knew him when he was on earth, and the same is true of many others who live by his teachings today. Why not take the time to learn more about these teachings? Jehovah’s Witnesses in your neighborhood will be happy to help you to receive such valuable education.
^ par. 12 Some names have been changed.
[Box/Picture on page 6]
The Influence of Jesus and His Teachings
Using his position as chief tax collector, Zacchaeus had become rich by extorting money and robbing common people. But he changed his way of life by applying Jesus’ teachings.—Luke 19:1-10.
Some of the Christians in Corinth had been ‘fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy persons, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.’ Yet, upon learning true Christianity, they ‘were washed clean, sanctified, and declared righteous in the name of their Lord Jesus Christ.’—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
[Picture on page 7]
The Bible can show you how to succeed