Qualified to Teach with Confidence
1. As opportunity affords, what will Jehovah’s witnesses do that brings them pleasure?
USUALLY when individuals have good news that has brought them real comfort and joy of heart they want to tell others what they know. Jehovah’s witnesses have turned to God’s Word, studied it carefully, and find it filled with good news. The more they study the sixty-six books of the Bible, the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation, this good news becomes clearer and delights their souls. When a Christian has the opportunity to talk with another person about the good things of God’s kingdom it brings him real pleasure. He does not need to fight, says the apostle Paul, to make the person understand. Rather, one must be tactful and careful in one’s expressions. The instructor will try to teach his hearer new things. That is why Paul, when writing to Timothy, said: “But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be tactful toward all, qualified to teach.”—2 Tim. 2:24.
2. What was often the opinion about preaching in years gone by, and how has that view now changed?
2 Private teaching is the big work of Jehovah’s witnesses in these last days of the Devil’s organization. While for forty years since 1918 Jehovah’s witnesses have been preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, today they find an ever-greater responsibility falling upon them, and that is teaching the people concerning God’s kingdom. In years gone by it was the opinion that all that was needed was to say a few words concerning the Kingdom, to tell people about the battle of Armageddon, and then they had the witness. But people today have been so steeped in ignorance and darkness concerning God’s Word that it is necessary to do more than just remind people of what is in the Bible. It is necessary to go into their homes when invited, use their Bible and actually show them what is in it and where to find the truths concerning the kingdom of God, the only hope for mankind. Jehovah’s witnesses have good reasons for being so energetic today in their preaching and teaching the people. They have scriptures to back them up in going from house to house. (See Acts 5:42 and Ac 20:20.) There is also the scripture telling us to be at it daily, found at Psalm 96:2: “From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him.” It certainly is good news, the knowledge of God’s kingdom under which healthful living and paradise will be the blessing of every individual on earth.
3, 4. (a) In answer to the disciples’ questions on the sign of the consummation of this system of things, how did Jesus reply? (b) Who, today, are carrying out Jesus’ commandment?
3 With such a message Jehovah’s witnesses want to go from house to house every day or as often every week as they can, to speak about the salvation that Jehovah God has provided for mankind. While David had in mind preaching to his fellow man in his day, Jesus accentuated it when he was upon the earth. He was very specific in telling his disciples what to do. In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew it is recorded that the disciples came to Jesus and asked him what the sign of the end of this world would be. They were very much interested in this matter. So when he was sitting on the side of the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem four disciples approached Jesus privately and said: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the consummation of the system of things?”—Matt. 24:3.
4 So Jesus went into detail explaining to them what kind of conditions would be existing in the earth at the time of the end when this system of things would consummate, and what things they would see, so that they could be sure of his invisible second presence. Among the many things, such as wars and pestilences and famines, delinquency among the people and the bringing forth of a league among nations, he stated that a very outstanding thing would be noticeable, not only to his own people but to all the world. It was this: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Today it cannot be denied that Jehovah’s witnesses, a Christian organization, have been more active than any other religious organization in preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. In face of the facts we are bold enough to say that Jehovah’s witnesses are the only ones that proclaim the kingdom of God as the only hope for mankind and that all the efforts of mankind today through their political organizations, with their religious backing and commercial support, will be a failure. We hold that world-wide it must be proclaimed that God’s kingdom is the only thing that will bless mankind. When this preaching work has been accomplished, said Jesus, the end of this system of things will come.
5. What command at Matthew 28:19, 20 do true Christians follow, causing them to show what confidence?
5 Just before Jesus ascended into the heavens he was very specific in giving command to his disciples, and he told them: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the consummation of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Certainly Christ Jesus is with his people now in seeing to it that this good news of the Kingdom is preached and that the discipling work is going on in a teaching manner in all parts of the earth. People are being taught, not only preached to concerning the Kingdom, but studies are arranged in the homes of the people and they are taught God’s Word. Paul informed Timothy: ‘You must be qualified to teach.’ So Jehovah’s witnesses must equip themselves to do the same. Each individual Christian is going to be a teacher as soon as he can and therefore must be well versed in the Scriptures. His own integrity must be established through good works, study and service, and he must sometime be able to say as did David: “Judge me, O Jehovah, for I myself have walked in my own integrity.”
INTEGRITY REQUIRED OF TEACHERS
6. How do Jehovah’s witnesses prove their integrity, and for what kind of people are they looking?
6 Proved must be the integrity of each one of Jehovah’s witnesses today. Individually each one is responsible to Jehovah God and to his earthly organization to get this preaching and teaching work done before the final end comes. It has been said that Jehovah’s witnesses are the fastest-growing religious organization today. If so, why is it? Certainly it is not because they are trying to be the fastest-growing religious organization. But if it is true, then, it is because they have a responsibility on their shoulders and accept it, that is, to gather together all the sheep of God’s flock. Those who love truth and righteousness and who do not want their lives taken away along with bloodguilty men, nor want to associate with those of loose conduct, are going to look for Jehovah’s true people. These people that are sighing and crying because of the world’s abominations are the ones that Jehovah’s witnesses are trying hard to find. In order to find them they must go from door to door, and they do this time and time again, year in and year out. Probably Jehovah’s witnesses have called at your door often, unless you are in an isolated place where landlords or hotel owners will not allow Jehovah’s witnesses to enter. But if they can reach your home and are welcome they will talk to you; and be assured that they will be happy to do so.
7. What responsibility that David felt do Jehovah’s witnesses feel today, and whose example in preaching do they strive to follow?
7 Jehovah’s witnesses feel the responsibility that David felt, that of maintaining integrity and taking a definite stand for righteousness as against evil and having no association with this old system of things that brings degradation upon mankind. Having the Bible in hand and being well acquainted with it, they feel themselves equipped to teach and therefore they go into people’s homes and try to teach them Bible knowledge. At the same time they themselves keep studying in congregational meetings to be better qualified to teach. They remember that their leader, Jesus Christ, was the greatest teacher that ever lived upon the earth. He was able to inculcate in the minds of his followers the truth, and they were so convinced of what they heard that they believed him because what he said was backed up by Scripture. They became his disciples.
8. What requirements must a pupil of Christ Jesus meet, and is there a large majority of integrity-keepers today?
8 Followers of Christ Jesus must be his sincere pupils and anxious to know what their teacher has to say. A pupil must be interested in and love his instructor in order to grasp the ideas of his teacher. If the instructor has the opportunity of being with a devoted pupil long enough, his student will soon be like his instructor and will talk and live like him. That is exactly what happened with the disciples of Christ Jesus. When he said to them, ‘Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Get under my yoke with me and become my learners,’ he meant that he would take the time to explain to them all the difficulties and problems of life and he would help them overcome the world, even as he had overcome the world. (Matt. 11:28) Integrity-keepers are few, but there have always been some true witnesses of Jehovah on earth. If you give Jehovah’s witnesses the opportunity of coming into your home and letting them talk and study with you, using your own Bible, Catholic or Protestant or Jewish, or any translation in any language, you will find the Bible has the answers to your problems, to all problems of mankind.
9. What positive attitude does Psalm 25:4, 5 show true Christians should have, and what offer is made to those seeking knowledge?
9 However, you will not understand everything in ten minutes. But do not give up. Take time and study with Jehovah’s witnesses and at least get the knowledge even if you do not agree right away with the counsel. Your attitude should be like David’s: “Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me, for you are my God of salvation.” (Ps. 25:4, 5) Give Jehovah’s witnesses the opportunity of coming to your home once a week to study with you for an hour or an hour and a half and at a time convenient to you. Get right down to Bible study, look up the scriptures under consideration and you will be amazed at what you will learn in a period of only six months’ time; and it is free too. If none of Jehovah’s witnesses have ever studied with you, or if they have and have discontinued studying and you want to start again, just write a card to Watchtower, 117 Adams Street, Brooklyn 1, New York, and say, “I want a Bible study,” and someone will call soon to help you in your study of Jehovah’s Word. Be sure to give us your name and address and we will find you. Hundreds of thousands of persons who have had Bible studies with Jehovah’s witnesses in their own homes have learned the truth and are now followers of Christ Jesus, carrying on true worship of Jehovah God.
10. Why was Jesus’ doctrine not a new one, and what reward was to be given to those keeping integrity? To those not doing so?
10 When Jesus walked the earth and began to teach what many people said was a new doctrine, it was not new. He was bringing to them a summary of the Law. It was, Love God—love your neighbor. He was showing them the way to eternal life. He was opening up a way for all people, for all nations, for all kindreds and tongues. No longer was the truth of God’s Word or his laws being confined to just the nation of Israel, but the opportunity was soon to be given to everyone. Jesus did not come to destroy the Law, but he came to fulfill it and to show its value to all people. Jesus fully appreciated God’s Word and lived by it, and it was he who said: “Whoever, therefore, breaks one of these least commandments and teaches mankind to that effect, he will be called ‘least’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. As for anyone who does them and teaches them, this one will be called ‘great’ in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. For I say to you that if your righteousness does not abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.”—Matt. 5:19, 20.
11. The conduct of the scribes and Pharisees showed what, and who are like them today, and why?
11 In Jesus’ training of his disciples he taught them to keep the commandments of Jehovah and to live by them. As he observed the lives and teachings of the scribes and Pharisees he saw they were putting forth traditions of their own and of other men rather than the teachings of God’s Word, which Jehovah had given them in writing through the prophets he sent in olden times. The same is true concerning Christendom today. The religious clergy of Christendom are not teaching the people the Bible. They have their own traditions, their own ideas, and practically every clergyman will point to the United Nations as the only hope for mankind rather than to God’s kingdom. In this one thing alone they have turned mankind away from God’s Word and they have repudiated Jehovah and his Son and his kingdom, and therefore they should no longer declare themselves as Christians or ministers of God’s Word. They “will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.”
12. Because Christendom has watered down the truth, what is it necessary for seekers of real truth to do?
12 Christendom has watered down the truth of the Bible so much that it is difficult for individuals who claim to be Christians to understand what is truth. Jesus said: “For this purpose I have been born and for this purpose I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) So, then, go back to the Bible and find truth. It is so necessary for each individual to turn to the Word of God itself and to see what it says, rather than to listen to the traditions of men. Get to the original source of Christian teaching. Why not take the good advice Paul, a good minister and follower of Christ, gave to the congregation of Ephesus? He said: “This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every kind with greediness.”—Eph. 4:17-19.
“TAUGHT BY JEHOVAH”
13. Outline the requirements for gaining everlasting life.
13 Jesus was a wonderful instructor, and he taught his disciples how to carry on the teaching work. First, always use the Scriptures; and in that way one will teach them about Jehovah, the true God. If an individual is going to gain everlasting life he must learn about the Creator of life, the Father, and his teachings. His teachings are set forth in his own Word, the Bible, which Jehovah had written and preserved to our very day for our admonition and learning. Jesus said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him, and I will resurrect him in the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by Jehovah.’ Everyone that has heard the Father’s teaching and has learned comes to me.” (John 6:44, 45) We see, then, how necessary it is to learn or hear what Jehovah first has to say, and if we are ever going to hear what Jehovah has to say we must read his Word and study it. When one learns of the teachings of Jehovah God it will naturally lead one to Christ Jesus, and because of one’s learning from the Bible it will point one to Christ Jesus as the only redeemer of mankind who is able to give life through the merit of his sacrifice. He will “resurrect [the believer] at the last day.”—John 6:54.
14. What advice did Paul give Timothy that is of value to the Christian today?
14 Paul realized that some persons who took up the Christian ministry would afterward try to turn their followers away from the true worship of the true God, Jehovah. That is why Paul advised: “But turn down the false stories which violate what is holy and which old women tell. On the other hand, be training yourself with godly devotion as your aim. For bodily training is beneficial for a little, but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come. Trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance is that statement. For to this end we are working hard and exerting ourselves, because we have rested our hope on a living God, who is a Savior of all kinds of men, especially of faithful ones. Keep on giving these commands and teaching them.”—1 Tim. 4:7-11.
15, 16. (a) How only can knowledge be gained, and of what value is it to study the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses? (b) Why do some individuals cease studying with Jehovah’s witnesses, and yet why cannot Jehovah’s witnesses compromise Christian principles?
15 The only way that one can train himself with godly devotion as his aim is by studying God’s Word. When one reads the Bible and carefully studies it with someone who is trained in the study of the Bible he will find that what he has read is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. Jehovah’s witnesses do work hard and they exert themselves, to the end that they will keep the hope and also establish this hope and faith in the lives of others. Jehovah’s witnesses studying in the homes with people will stick to the commandments of God and teach these, even though Bible truth conflicts with men’s personal ideas. Sometimes the righteous laws of God are disturbing to individual students and they throw the study overboard. They will have nothing to do with it because it means such a tremendous change in their lives. But we cannot compromise with them and continue to remain qualified to teach with confidence.
16 “What partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said: ‘I shall reside among them and walk among them, and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘“Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,” says Jehovah, “and quit touching the unclean thing,’” ‘“ and I will take you in.’” ‘“And I shall be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me,” says Jehovah the Almighty.’” (2 Cor. 6:14-18) Those who are going to be taught by Jehovah are the ones he will take in and he will be a Father to them and they will gain everlasting life. There is no other way of gaining it. The quicker an individual turns to the Word of God, reads it, studies it and becomes a disciple the sooner he is going to have comfort, joy and blessings, and training in godly devotion. And as Paul said to Timothy: “It holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”
17. How long must one wait before he becomes a teacher?
17 While millions of the people today still ought to be taught the truth in God’s Word, there are not enough qualified ministers to teach them. Many of Jehovah’s witnesses are themselves new in the truth and as yet have not taken upon themselves the responsibility of teaching others. They are preaching from house to house, but they have not assumed the duties of a teacher. How long must one wait to be a teacher? That is not hard to decide. Paul indicates that as soon as one knows the fundamental teachings of God’s Word, then he should begin teaching at least these truths to others. As he matures he can help others in advanced study, but before then he could be a teacher. If the other person he meets in the field while witnessing knows nothing or only a little of God’s Word, the new Kingdom publisher could at least teach his pupil as much as he knows by using the Bible as his textbook.
18. (a) In what way did Paul upbraid those who slacked off from teaching in his day? (b) Is this applicable to Christians today?
18 Paul was sharp in his speech to those who knew and just did not bother about telling others what they knew. He said: “Although you ought to be teachers in view of the time, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the first principles of the sacred pronouncements of God.” (Heb. 5:12) How long have you claimed to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses, or a Christian for that matter? Any individual who professes to be a Christian should be a teacher by this time if he is mature in years and has grown up in Christian teaching. Christians cannot shirk their responsibility by saying, ‘My minister does my Bible study for me.’ Paul is not talking to the overseers of congregations, such as the clergy of Christendom claim to be. He is talking to everyone professing to be a Christian. What are you doing about teaching others in God’s Word? Paul says: “You ought to be teachers in view of the time.” You have been going to the congregation of God long enough to know what the truth is. Why, then, are you not teaching it to others? So what applies to Jehovah’s witnesses applies also to all of Christendom, in that they should preach and teach this good news of God’s kingdom. Now are you going on to maturity by studying with God’s congregation, and are you then going weekly to others not in your congregation and studying with them the things you have learned?
TEACHING AT GOD’S COMMAND
19. Why was the religious body of the Sanhedrin opposed to the apostles’ preaching, and what effect did this have on the apostles?
19 In many parts of the world great persecution is brought to bear against Jehovah’s witnesses because they are preaching and teaching the good news, but this will not slow them down. In his day Peter too was very energetic in declaring the good news of God’s kingdom. For healing those who were sick and preaching he was thrown into prison. The religionists of that day, the Sanhedrin, were very much opposed to the apostles’ teaching people about Christ Jesus. For their constructive work in educating the people in the Bible the religionists “called them and charged them in general not to make any utterance nor to teach upon the basis of the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18) However, the apostles did not stop preaching because some men directed them to do so. When this body of rulers threw the apostles into prison, the record at Acts 5:20 shows, the prison doors were opened by Jehovah’s angel and he said: “Be on your way and take a position in the temple and keep on speaking to the people all the sayings about this life.” That command of Jehovah’s angel to the early apostles is still part of God’s Word and applies to Christians just as much today. The sayings about this life and the life to come must still be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. Back there the religionists did not want it proclaimed because it interfered with the business of the religionists. There were too many persons turning away from the decaying established religion and following this new truthful religion of Christ Jesus.
20-22. (a) What principle with regard to obedience was set forth by Peter and the apostles at Acts 5:29? By David at Psalm 26:11? (b) How is this principle followed today by Jehovah’s witnesses, and how do they show they are qualified to preach with confidence?
20 After the apostles were found missing from prison they were reported as being “in the temple, standing and teaching the people.” They were immediately hurried to the Sanhedrin. The Bible account tells us: “So they brought them and stood them in the Sanhedrin hall. And the high priest questioned them and said: ‘We positively charged you not to keep teaching upon the basis of this name, and yet, look! you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring the blood of this man upon us.’ In answer Peter and the other apostles said: ‘We must obey God as ruler rather than men.’” (Acts 5:27-29) The apostles were not afraid of the rulers. Their command from God was to teach and to preach. They were like Jesus, whom David foreshadowed; David said: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk.” (Ps. 26:11) They were marvelous teachers of faithfulness by word and example. Christ Jesus was their example, and they were not faltering but continued turning the minds and hearts of the people away from the old, staid religion of hypocrisy to the words of truth and life, to a religion that showed them that the kingdom of God was the only hope for mankind.
21 The same thing is happening today as in the days of the apostles. The rulers of the Dominican Republic, under the guidance of the Catholic priests, have beaten and thrown Jehovah’s witnesses into prison because they preach the good news of the Kingdom. In Poland and other countries behind the Iron Curtain the rulers say the truth may not be proclaimed because it interferes with the doctrine of communism. However, this does not stop Jehovah’s witnesses from preaching in the same manner that the apostles preached in their day. They go underground if necessary and continue their preaching and teaching work. They obey God rather than men! Even in countries where the witnesses of Jehovah have the opportunity to preach freely, opposition often comes against their work because of the religious leaders. If these wicked men want to interfere with the proclaiming of Jehovah’s truth, let them also receive Jehovah’s judgment.
22 A true Christian, however, will follow the Word of God and not be silenced but prove himself qualified to teach. He will continue to go to the meetings among the congregated throngs of God and there learn and study diligently so that he will be better qualified to present the truth with confidence to other people. He knows that he must walk in the footsteps of Christ Jesus and preach and teach. He must be faithful to the Word of God and he must follow out Jehovah’s commandments. He must equip himself for every good work and be qualified to teach. He must be earnest about the proclamation of the Kingdom, as were the early disciples, and so prove his own integrity.
23. What helps a person to become a true Christian, and how do Jehovah’s witnesses aid to that end?
23 There is no difference between the way of Kingdom preaching carried on by the apostles in their day and the way Jehovah’s witnesses carry on their work today. It is not by big revivals, by construction of great church buildings, by powerful religious groups influencing politicians, by combining different religious denominations into one, that a nation is made a Christian nation. This does not help the people to get an understanding of Jehovah’s purposes. Rather, it is the going from house to house, finding those sighing and crying because of the abominations and teaching them the truth that will make persons change their thinking about religion. By a true Christian’s going into the home of a stranger and comforting him with the Word of God he will be effective in changing that person’s way of life. Not combined force, but the truth will do it. Remember: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be tactful toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.—2 Tim. 2:24, 25.
24. How do the methods employed by false religionists compare with those used by Christians when it comes to teaching others?
24 At times, in years gone by, a nation has risen up in battle against another nation, carrying on a religious war, trying to make people change their religion. Inquisitions were carried on by religionists in different parts of the earth to make people believe like those in authority. Religionists have tried to force Indians and others with different faiths into the faith of the persecutors. Paul never used those methods, and neither did Christ Jesus have that in mind. Early Christians used the simple method of teaching the truth, sitting down with people and tactfully, patiently, quietly and humbly telling them what God’s Word has to say. Even those under evil influence can be taught the truth if they are instructed in mildness. Even those not favorably disposed toward the Bible, if approached tactfully, will listen to a minister of God.
25. What will Jehovah’s witnesses continue to do, and what are seekers of truth encouraged to do?
25 So Jehovah’s witnesses today will try to continue to preach this good news in all the world for a witness until the end comes, and during all this period of time they too will be able to say: “Judge me, O Jehovah, for I myself have walked in my own integrity.” Why not study God’s Word with them and apply the knowledge you can get from the Bible and thus be with wise persons and become wise yourself? In that case you will surely know that he who is having dealings with stupid ones will fare badly, but that wisdom is a tree of life to those who find it. Do you love life and want to live in God’s new world of righteousness under the kingdom of heaven? Then ‘stand on a level place among the congregated throngs’ and bless Jehovah. Then you will always be determined to say: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk.”