Copying the Master’s Manner of Teaching
AS Christian witnesses of Jehovah we have a tremendous responsibility resting upon our shoulders. It is our obligation to help as many as possible to take their stand for Jehovah and his kingdom before Armageddon cuts short our work. We want people not only to hear but to listen, to understand, to appreciate and then to act upon what they learn in a right way. To accomplish our purpose we must be skilled teachers.
Our Exemplar in this is the Master, Jesus Christ, the greatest Teacher of all time. When he was on earth he had the same commission we have, that of making known Jehovah’s name and kingdom. If we let him instruct us we will become like him, even as he himself assures us: “Everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher.”—Luke 6:40.*
To be like our Master and Teacher means to copy his manner of teaching. We do this, first of all, when we speak in simple, plain, easily understood terms. Doing so makes our listeners feel at ease. At the same time we should give thought to making our speech forceful and expressive. Jesus set the example for us in both respects, for his language was at once simple and very expressive, as when he spoke of one having a rafter in one’s eye, cutting off one’s hand and gulping down a camel.—Matt. 7:3-5; Mark 9:43; Matt. 23:24.
We also copy the Master’s manner of teaching when we make effective use of illustrations, which help our listeners both in understanding and in remembering what we tell them. What fine use Jesus made of illustrations! So can we if we will but give it some thought. The Master’s manner of teaching further included a sensitive mental discernment. “He himself knew what was in man.” We are copying him in this when we let our words and manner of saying them be governed by our listener’s circumstances, such as age, culture, religion, and so forth. And in particular do we want to appeal to our listener’s love of righteousness.—John 2:25; Matt. 5:3, 6.
We also want to copy the Master’s manner of teaching by speaking with authority. Yes, when Jesus finished his sayings “the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching; for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.” To the extent that we appreciate that we have been commissioned by Jehovah, to the extent that we have a good knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, to the extent that we have strong faith and confidence in Jehovah, we too will be able to teach effectively by speaking with authority.—Matt. 7:28, 29.
Routing complacency is another earmark of the Master’s manner of teaching. So today we must copy him in arousing people to appreciate that what they may think constitutes a Christian simply is not all there is to it; God requires exclusive devotion.—Matt. 5:21-28.
Copying the Master’s manner of teaching further means that we will be mild and lowly, humble and unassuming. He said that he could “not do a single thing of his own initiative.” By his very example in this matter he taught effectively. “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” We may be sure that sheeplike men of good will toward God will respond to our teaching if we copy our Master in this regard.—John 5:19; Matt. 11:28-30.
Copying the Masters manner of teaching also means speaking from hearts full of love and affection for the sheeplike ones. “He felt tender affection for them,” and so must we. Both our words and our tone of voice should make manifest this love we have in our hearts for the Master’s other sheep.—Matt. 9:36.
And finally we want to copy the Master’s patient, unwearying and unstinting manner of teaching. What patience he showed in dealing with his disciples! No matter how tired he was he put the spiritual needs of others ahead of his own comfort. May we likewise be tireless teachers, ever letting the needs of others rather than our own convenience govern our activities.—Luke 22:23-34; John 4:5-26; Mark 6:34.
In copying the Master in these various respects we will be properly discharging our responsibilities and accomplishing our purpose, to Jehovah’s honor and to the salvation of others as well as ourselves.
For details see The Watchtower, April 1, 1960.