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Essentially, insight is the ability to see into a situation. To act with insight is to act with prudence, discretion. According to Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, the Hebrew verb sa·khalʹ means “to look at; to be prudent, circumspect; to act prudently, to be intelligent.” (1978, p. 461) Thus, sa·khalʹ is rendered ‘have insight’ (Ps 14:2), ‘act with discretion’ (Pr 10:19), “act prudently” (1Sa 18:5), ‘have success’ (Pr 17:8), ‘cause to show insight’ (Pr 16:23). The noun seʹkhel is translated “insight” (Ps 111:10) and “discretion.”—1Sa 25:3.
Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Says the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: “While bin [understanding] indicates ‘distinguishing between,’ [sa·khalʹ] relates to an intelligent knowledge of the reason. There is the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in a wise dealing and use of good practical common sense. Another end result is the emphasis upon being successful.”—Edited by R. L. Harris, 1980, Vol. 2, p. 877; see UNDERSTANDING.
In the Greek Scriptures, the verb sy·niʹe·mi is translated ‘has insight’ at Romans 3:11, where the apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 14:2. Sy·niʹe·mi is also rendered “get the sense of” (Mt 13:13-15), ‘grasp’ (Mt 16:12), “understand” (Ac 28:26), and ‘perceive’ (Eph 5:17).
Jehovah God gives insight to his servants by providing them with counsel and advice that they can use to direct their steps and control their actions. (Ps 32:8; compare Da 9:22.) He provides such wise guidance by means of his Word. To gain insight, though, a person must do more than read the Bible. He must appreciate it so as to be motivated to do all that God directs. (Jos 1:7, 8; 1Ki 2:3) Needed also is the help of God’s spirit. (Ne 9:20; compare 1Ch 28:12, 19.) Once acquired, insight must be safeguarded. One can lose it by turning from God’s ways.—Ps 36:1-3; Pr 21:16.
Insight can be displayed in various ways, resulting in blessings both to the one who has it and to others. The psalmist pronounces happy the one “acting with consideration [with insight] toward the lowly one.” (Ps 41:1) A wife who is “discreet” (showing insight) is described as a blessing from Jehovah. (Pr 19:14) Insight, looking beyond the obvious, enables one to guard his mouth (Pr 10:19; 16:23) and to know when to keep silent. (Am 5:13) It also helps one to avoid anger and overlook transgression. (Pr 19:11) One who has insight accepts correction. (Ps 2:10) According to Proverbs 21:11, when a wise person obtains insight—that is, when he carefully considers available information and as a result acquires a clearer picture of a matter—he “gets knowledge,” that is, he knows what to do regarding the matter, what conclusions to draw, what counsel to give.
(INSIGHT on the Scriptures, God’s visible organization’s Watchtower Online Library,
The Bible’s answer
The Bible does not give the date of Jesus’ birth, nor does it say that we should celebrate his birthday. As McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “
The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of NT [New Testament] origin.”
Instead, an examination of the history of Christmas exposes its roots in pagan religious rites. The Bible shows that we offend God if we try to worship him in a way that he does not approve of.—Exodus 32:5-7.
History of Christmas customs
1. Celebrating Jesus’ birthday: “
The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”—The World Book Encyclopedia.
2. December 25: There is no proof that Jesus was born on that date. Church leaders likely chose this date to coincide with pagan festivals held on or around the winter solstice.
3. Gift-giving, feasting, partying: The Encyclopedia Americana says: “
Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs of Christmas. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.” The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that “
all work and business were suspended” during Saturnalia
4. Christmas lights: According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, Europeans decorated their homes “
with lights and evergreens of all kinds” to celebrate the winter solstice and to combat evil spirits.
5. Mistletoe, holly: “
The Druids ascribed magical properties to the mistletoe in particular. The evergreen holly was worshiped as a promise of the sun’s return.”—The Encyclopedia Americana.
6. Christmas tree: “
Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity.” One of the ways in which tree worship survived is in the custom of “
placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house in the midwinter holidays.”—Encyclopædia Britannica.