‘Fight a Fine Fight for the Faith’
1. How could Paul speak with authority on fighting for the faith?
THESE words by the apostle Paul to Timothy: “Fight the fine fight of the faith,” had real meaning to Paul. He had been persecuted by his own race, the Jews, beaten with many stripes, stoned and imprisoned. He experienced shipwreck, dangers from highwaymen, dangers from false brothers, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, yes, all kinds of trials and tribulations. While under all this pressure, he still had rushing in on him “the anxiety for all the congregations.” (2 Cor. 11:23-28) So, then, these words of Paul, “Fight the fine fight of the faith,” are not idle words. Would you do the same as Paul for the sake of the good news? You would if you had faith like Paul and Timothy had, and you would ‘get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you would offer the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.’—1 Tim. 6:12.
2. Why is patience necessary for one who is charged with teaching others, and how did the apostle Paul especially show this by his comments?
2 Paul in his letters to Timothy was instructing this dedicated young Christian to carry out his duties as a true follower of Christ. As an overseer and a brother he must teach those with whom he associated only the sound doctrine that he had received from God’s Word. He was not to be full of idle talk or his own ideas. Timothy knew the truth, and it was the truth that he must teach, nothing else. This teaching would take time and patience because God’s people are not the worldly-wise, the highly intelligent men, but rather humble people. That is what Paul wrote the Corinthians: “Not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth; but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put the strong things to shame; and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are, in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29) In the uneducated, noninfluential and poor people Timothy had to build up faith and then bring them to a point where they could offer a “fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.” Are you doing that kind of Christian work? You should!
3. What does the Bible show with regard to those chosen to do Jehovah’s work?
3 From God’s own Word we see that those who were highly educated in the world, and the most prominent men, were not the ones called. Look at those whom the Son of God chose: fishermen, tax collectors, men who were looked down upon by the scribes and Pharisees. When ordinary police officers were sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees to take Jesus and to bring him to them they came back without Jesus, and the officers said: “Never has another man spoken like this.” In turn the Pharisees answered: “You have not been misled also, have you? Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he?” (John 7:45-48) Even these men with great wisdom and high education who had the Hebrew Scriptures handy in scrolls, men who were supposed to be the representatives of God, had no faith in the Son of God. They argued that no rulers or Pharisees had put faith in him. Have things changed much in our day? Who turn out to be the true Christians?
4. Therefore, who are the ones chosen primarily to do Jehovah’s work today?
4 Look around the world. Check the nations’ rulers since World War I began, A.D. 1914. Consider: Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, a so-called Christian out for world domination; Adolf Hitler, a Catholic German dictator who signed a concordat with the pope in 1933; and Mussolini, who with the blessing of the Catholic Church invaded Ethiopia. Have these dictators acted the part of true Christians? They did attend church, did they not? But do you think God called these men to be heirs with Christ Jesus? Were these rulers in their positions “by divine right” and walking in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? He did not choose the ‘rulers or the Pharisees’ as a whole to be his followers, did he? It does not appear that he is choosing them today. The faithful followers of Jesus, Peter and John, Matthew and others, were not of the ruling class. True, Paul was a converted Pharisee, but how true were his words: ‘Not many powerful were called’! Besides, here is what James had to say about the matter: “God chose the ones who are poor respecting the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he promised to those who love him, did he not?” (Jas. 2:5) Persons who are trying to walk as Christians should keep these scriptures in mind and walk in humility and show love to their fellowman.
5. How does one rich in this world’s goods put up a hard fight for the faith?
5 What must one do really to put up a fine fight for the faith if he is a man in politics, business or religion? If someone rich and powerful comes to a knowledge of the truth and declares himself a real Christian, then let him listen to Paul’s stern words written to Timothy: “Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19) Rich men should be helped to realize that this life in the present evil world is transitory and not until anyone really dedicates his life to the service of Jehovah God and walks in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, can he ever get “a firm hold on the real life.” Jesus said: “Whoever wants to save his soul [life] will lose it; but whoever loses his soul [life] for the sake of me and the good news will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Being a faithful Christian does not mean being a member of a “church” having a fine building. Being a Christian means living as one according to the Word of God, offering “the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.” Are you doing this? If you are not, you can! It will take faith and courage to do so, but it can be done and is being done by those who truly love Jehovah God and his kingdom.
6. How did Jehovah’s servants in the first century carry out their responsibilities as witnesses?
6 Jehovah’s witnesses around the world have a responsibility to help every Christian and person of goodwill who seeks truth and righteousness to “fight the fine fight of the faith” and to “get a firm hold on the everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 6:12) How do Jehovah’s witnesses help people find this kind of faith to fight for? First, an individual must hear the good news. But in order to hear there must be a preacher. (Rom. 10:13-15) In Christ’s time the disciples listened to their teacher and then were taught to go from house to house. Jesus said: “Go on telling them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:9) His little band of seventy faithful followers must have spent many hours talking about the kingdom of God to individuals that they had never before met. But that was the will of God. On the day of Pentecost after the holy spirit descended upon the 120 persons in the upper room Peter spoke to thousands of interested people and there were 3,000 who “embraced his word heartily” and dedicated their lives to Jehovah’s service through his Son Jesus Christ and were baptized. They became true Christians, and “they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles.” (Acts 2:41, 42) They must have gone to all the homes in Jerusalem in a short time and from there returned home after Pentecost to scatter throughout the land, where thousands more heard the good news and came into the Christian congregation. The true ministry of Christ had begun!
7. Why do Jehovah’s witnesses keep track of the time spent talking about God’s kingdom, and how much time did they spend during the 1962 service year in talking to people about this important news?
7 In those days when Christ’s disciples preached the good news there was no record kept of the time spent in their preaching work. But today, that the Watch Tower Society may know where the preaching work has been accomplished, it keeps a record of the hours spent by Jehovah’s witnesses talking to people about God’s kingdom. During the twelve months from September 1, 1961, to August 31, 1962, Jehovah’s witnesses spent 142,046,679 hours preaching the good news of the Kingdom publicly. That is 9,351,139 more hours than they spent the year before in their field service. Where did they spend all this time preaching? Consult the chart on pages 24-27 and you will see the list of 189 countries, protectorates, islands of the sea and colonies where Jehovah’s witnesses preached the good news in cities, villages, hamlets, on rural roads, in offices, business houses, anywhere, everywhere, when they had the opportunity of talking to people.
8, 9. (a) Outline the work of (1) special pioneers, (2) regular pioneers, (3) congregation publishers. (b) How many engaged in each field of the ministry in 1962, and what was the average number of ministers each month during the service year?
8 Who did all this preaching? True Christians, Jehovah’s witnesses, men and women, young and old, all dedicated to doing the will of Jehovah God. These ministers went from house to house and, where they could arrange to study with people in their homes, they did so. Those who spend 150 hours or more in the field work each month are called special pioneers. Some of these are missionaries who have graduated from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. All together during the year there were, on an average, 6,934 special pioneers engaged in the work every month. Then there were 26,626 pioneers who spent about 100 hours each month declaring the message of salvation. They worked in the territory of their own congregations or went out on their own into places where the need was great for telling out the good news, in isolated places, as special pioneers do. Then there are those Christians who have secular occupations and families to care for. They may be carpenters, farmers, office workers or factory workers. They cannot arrange their time to spend 100 or 150 hours a month in the ministry, but they do strive to spend a minimum of ten hours each month in the preaching activity being carried on in all parts of the earth. There were 887,360 of these witnesses of Jehovah working diligently in all parts of the world. They are called congregation publishers.
9 From this we see there were, on an average every month throughout the year, 920,920 different persons, all Jehovah’s witnesses, who preached and taught from God’s Word and who enjoyed spending time telling other people about God’s kingdom. They love peace and righteousness and want to tell others about it.
10-12. (a) What new peak in publishers was reached? (b) What percentage of increase is this? (c) Why does it appear that there has been a decrease in the work behind the Iron Curtain? (d) Why should we be joyful with the work done?
10 There were many other people who associated with Jehovah’s witnesses during the year that spent some time in different months talking to others about this wonderful hope and about the things they learned from God’s Word. Therefore some months there were peaks in the number of proclaimers of the good news, and so at one or more times there were 989,192 different individuals who were in the field service. We hope that they continue in this grand work of announcing the King and Kingdom.
11 While we are on this point of ministers, it should be pointed out that during the 1962 service year there were 36,333 more ministers in the field on the average every month than there were during the previous year, or an increase of 4.1 percent. However, please observe in checking the chart that there are twelve countries where it is unwise to show how many publishers there are in each country, and in these lands there was a 9.6-percent decrease. This is due to the scarcity of reports from some countries. We earnestly feel, however, that it is only due to communication difficulties between Jehovah’s workers in lands where Jehovah’s witnesses must work underground that the available information makes this report lower. In a number of the countries behind the Iron Curtain there have been marked increases. If the local government under totalitarian rule knew just how many witnesses of Jehovah there were in each country they would push even harder against them.
12 It is of real interest, too, to point out in the chart, page 27, that in the 177 countries outside the very troublesome areas there was an increase of 46,798 publishers. This is an increase of 6 percent in publishers, whereas for the whole world, taking into consideration the losses behind the Iron Curtain, the increase was only 4.1 percent. So there really has been a fine ingathering of those who love truth and righteousness during the 1962 service year, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Think of the difficulties in Russia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Ethiopia and other parts of our earth! In many places, however, persecution against Jehovah’s witnesses has been overcome, and this is due to their trust in Jehovah God.
LITERATURE PLACEMENTS AND BIBLE STUDIES
13, 14. Outline the interesting facts on literature placements.
13 These faithful Christians who go from house to house not only preach with their lips but also leave Bible literature with the people, that they may better understand the Word of God. During the twelve months of 1962 Jehovah’s people placed 4,680,233 Bibles and books and 11,664,763 booklets in 189 different lands in 158 languages. Christ Jesus commanded: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) He foretold this work that Jehovah’s witnesses would do and are doing.
14 Other publications that Jehovah’s witnesses use to spread the good news of God’s kingdom are magazines, The Watchtower and Awake! They obtained in their house-to-house witnessing work 1,386,404 new subscriptions. This was 63,709 more subscriptions than were obtained the year before. You may often have seen Jehovah’s witnesses on the street corners presenting the magazines The Watchtower and Awake! to passersby, or they may have stopped at your home or store and offered you these magazines. By doing this kind of work they distributed 112,788,689 copies of The Watchtower and Awake! The Watchtower is printed in 65 languages, Awake! in 25 languages.
15, 16. Show what was done in the Bible study and public meeting fields.
15 The work of God’s Christian ministers does not end with the placement of Bible literature. Jehovah’s witnesses return to the homes of the people and offer to answer their Bible questions. Many people are willing to have Jehovah’s witnesses call regularly so that Bible studies can be conducted in their own homes. Each week there were 654,210 different home Bible studies conducted throughout the world by Jehovah’s witnesses. What a fine way to help a family, the father, the mother and the children, as well as neighbors who might come to visit! What a changed outlook toward world conditions comes to those who study God’s Word of prophecy! With such studies whole families can “fight the fine fight of the faith.”
16 Not only did Jehovah’s witnesses spend freely of their own money to travel to different parts of their territory to preach and conduct home Bible studies, but hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by local congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses to sponsor public meetings, in all parts of the world. They arranged 793,136 public meetings. At the close of the year there were 22,166 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, arranged in 1,725 circuits. The circuits were grouped into 209 districts. Regular visits are made by circuit and district servants, appointed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, to each one of these congregations so as to help them with their problems and their ministry.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS
17. What work of production was performed by Bethel families in different parts of the world?
17 At the 87 branch homes and offices established in the principal countries of the world there is a working force of 1,423 ministers. Besides taking care of the Bethel homes and offices of the Watch Tower Society they had the privilege of printing and shipping 6,438,898 bound books and Bibles, 15,871,445 paper-covered booklets, 100,361,485 Watchtower magazines and 90,658,305 Awake! magazines. Many of these Bethel family members have enjoyed the fellowship of the congregation servants of their country while they attended the Kingdom Ministry School at the branch office. This four-week-long schooling and refresher course has aided the overseers of the congregations to get a clearer appreciation of their duties and responsibilities toward Jehovah’s sheep allotted to their care.
18, 19. (a) How many attended the Memorial celebration, and how many partook of the emblems of bread and wine? (b) While 69,649 were baptized, what should we all remember?
18 Once a year there is a very important celebration observed by all of Jehovah’s witnesses around the earth, and that is held on the anniversary night of the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In memory of him all of Jehovah’s witnesses gathered together for the Memorial, known to some as the Last Supper, that Jesus partook of with his disciples. At this one meeting on the night of April 17, 1962, there were 1,639,681 persons in attendance. There were 12,714 who attended that partook of the emblems, the bread and the wine, symbolizing the flesh and the blood of Christ Jesus; and these 12,714 partaking of the emblems indicated to others that they were of the anointed body of Christ, the remaining ones of the remnant still on earth. This means that 570 fewer people partook of the emblems, because during the year they finished their earthly course in death.
19 While the remnant of the body of Christ grows smaller, the great crowd of “other sheep” that Jehovah God through his Son Christ Jesus is gathering out of all nations, kindreds and tongues, is growing larger. These, too, like the remnant who had dedicated their lives to God’s service, have symbolized their dedication to God’s service by water baptism. There were 69,649 individuals who did this. The baptizing of such a great crowd in just one year places a grave responsibility upon those who are already in the truth. It reminds us of what Paul said to Timothy: “Fight the fine fight of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.” (1 Tim. 6:12) Here is where the responsibility comes upon God’s servants. These newly interested persons who have heard the truth and who have shown appreciation start in the service work preaching the good news, but sometimes they cool off. Their interest wanes. That is why Paul admonished the young overseer, Timothy, to fight the fine fight of faith. Of course, being an overseer, he was to help many others to do the same thing.
20. How does one get a “firm hold on the everlasting life,” and how does he aid others to do so?
20 On the other hand, it is not just the responsibility of overseers to aid people to remain Christians and to stay in Jehovah’s visible organization. It is the responsibility of every Christian within Jehovah’s organization to help each one. True, our love goes out to God, and Jesus said we should love Jehovah our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, but he also said we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we really do this, then as Christians we must love and aid our neighbors to put up a fine fight for the faith. Why should Christians want to do this? Because, like Paul, Christians must be able to say: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20) Christians will never “get a firm hold on the everlasting life” unless they keep on serving God in every way day by day. So it is necessary to help one another, especially in these perilous times, days that are hard to deal with, days in which every man’s hand is against his neighbor, days in which the love of the greater number grows cold, days in which immorality is rampant. So it is excellent admonition that Paul gave Timothy. Every Christian should help his brother to ‘fight the fine fight of the faith, to get a firm hold on the everlasting life.’ This is in full accord with the text that Jehovah’s witnesses have chosen for 1963: “Have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.” (Heb. 10:39) With these thoughts in mind it is hoped, not only that those who are now Jehovah’s witnesses will keep a firm hold on the real life, but also that hundreds of thousands, yes, millions of other persons still groping for the light will find it, if it pleases God. Bringing them the light is the great responsibility resting upon Jehovah’s witnesses. They must take the truth and light from the Word of God to the ends of the earth. This they will do by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness right on up to the end of this system of things. Jesus has declared that it will be done. Said he: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
[Chart on page 24-27]
1962 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD WIDE
(See bound volume)