Equipped to Speak Delightful Words of Truth
1, 2. (a) After his resurrection, what command did Jesus give his disciples when he met them in Galilee? (b) Why did they have reason to be amazed, but what assurance did Jesus give?
WHEN Jesus was resurrected from the dead and thereafter appeared to his eleven disciples at a mountain in Galilee, as he had promised, it showed he was indeed Jehovah’s spokesman of the truth. What words of encouragement and instruction would he have? He declared to them: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” This authority on earth would include something very dear to his heart, the continuation of the preaching activity he had instituted. He proceeded to instruct the disciples: “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 conclusion of the system of things.”—Matt. 28:16-20; John 2:19-21.
2 What a staggering command! Imagine telling a little group of eleven disciples to go and preach to people of all the nations, teaching and baptizing them! Just to illustrate it: today there are 149 languages each spoken by a million or more persons, 16 languages each of which is spoken by 50 million or more. What a task it would be for this little group just to learn that many languages or accurately to teach the way of life to the millions then living! They must have been amazed at the scope of these instructions. True, Jesus said he would be with them, but how could such a vast work be accomplished?
3. How did the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost aid in the spread of the truth?
3 It was just ten days after Jesus’ ascension to heaven that about one hundred and twenty disciples were together in Jerusalem at the time of the festival of Pentecost. Suddenly, they heard a sound like that of a rushing stiff breeze and tongues as if of fire became visible over the heads of each of them. The meaning became clear as they were filled by God’s holy spirit and began to speak in different languages. Just on that occasion about three thousand more embraced the message heartily and were baptized. This action not only confirmed that Jehovah’s spirit and direction were now with this little group of faithful Christians; but also the door was opened for the message Jesus had been proclaiming to be spread rapidly to faithful Jews scattered throughout many nations.—Acts 2:1-4, 41.
4. What opened up with the conversion of Cornelius?
4 However, the message was not to be confined to persons of Jewish descent. Jesus had told his followers to “make disciples of people of all the nations.” Thus, about three years and four months later, the holy spirit guided Peter to accept an invitation extended to him by the Italian centurion Cornelius. The conversion of this Gentile and his relatives and intimate friends marked the beginning of an extensive effort to spread the Kingdom message among people of all nations. Later, Paul and his companions pushed ahead on preaching tours throughout Asia Minor, Greece, Italy and perhaps as far as Spain. (Acts 10:1-35; 11:18; Rom. 15:24) The early disciples clearly felt the seriousness and importance of their evangelizing work. As Paul and Barnabas declared: “Jehovah has laid commandment upon us in these words, ‘I have appointed you as a light of nations, for you to be a salvation to the extremity of the earth.’”—Acts 13:47; 1 Cor. 9:16.
5, 6. What examples are encouraging for us to consider even though we may not feel that we are well qualified to preach the truth to others?
5 Do you share that feeling? Do you appreciate that Jesus is with his followers in our time, exercising authority in heaven and earth even during the conclusion of this system of things, in which time we now live? This means that Christians still have the assignment to carry on a disciple-making work! You may protest that you are no speaker or teacher, that you could not possibly do what the apostles did. But how did they feel about it? Remember that they were spoken of as “men unlettered and ordinary.” Yet they learned to speak boldly so that even the rulers and elders of the Jews “began to recognize about them that they used to be with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13.
6 Even outstanding spokesmen and servants of Jehovah from times past such as Moses and Jeremiah felt their own inadequacy to carry out Jehovah’s commands. When Jehovah directed Moses to speak to Pharaoh, he protested that he was “not a fluent speaker,” being “slow of mouth and slow of tongue.” (Ex. 4:10) In time, however, Moses was able to address hundreds of thousands under Jehovah’s direction as he led the people of Israel to the Promised Land. Similarly, Jeremiah said: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but a boy.” Yet Jehovah responded: “Do not say, ‘I am but a boy.’ But to all those to whom I shall send you, you should go; and everything that I shall command you, you should speak.”—Jer. 1:6, 7.
7. What question is important consider, and what shows that Jehovah’s backing is sufficient?
7 Even if we do feel we are unlettered like the apostles, or slow to speak like Moses, or too young like Jeremiah, the question really is, Do we have the desire to share in Jehovah’s service? If so, then we can be assured that Jehovah will provide the training, strength and backing so we can share in the teaching and discipling work that Jesus commanded must be done and that is yet being done in this time of the end on a now-unprecedented scale. Young and old, over one million six hundred thousand strong, are now having a share in this ministerial activity in 208 countries and island groups of the world. But the conclusion of this work is rapidly approaching and more workers are needed. Will you have a share? (Matt. 9:37; 10:23) If you would like to enhance your ability as a speaker and teacher of the good news, you will enjoy considering how Jehovah provides the way.—2 Cor. 3:5.
8. Is there Scriptural support for training youths to praise Jehovah?
8 Training for Jehovah’s service from youth starts in the home, beginning even in infancy. (2 Tim. 3:14, 15) Jesus reminded the chief priests and the scribes: “Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?” (Matt. 21:15, 16) This requires much help and encouragement from the parents. Jesus must have received excellent home training, giving him familiarity with the Scriptures and faith in them, so that by the time he was just twelve years of age even the teachers in the temple were amazed at his understanding and answers. (Luke 2:47) Similarly today Christian families are encouraged to study and read together with a view to instructing their children in the ways of Jehovah.
9. Why is Bible reading important?
9 Jehovah’s Word contains his guide for living, and so we do well to give it a prominent place in our family discussions. Since Jehovah himself directed the recording of the thoughts it contains, it gives us his viewpoint on vain and worthwhile works and provides a fine guide in upbuilding and meaningful speech. Many of Jehovah’s witnesses enjoy regular family Bible reading together. They find that it not only improves their reading and speaking ability, but, even more important, strengthens their faith and their understanding of Jehovah’s purposes and helps their children to get started “on the right foot” in life, with the desire to share the truth with others.
10. What ability should be developed, and how?
10 But just reading is not enough. We should be interested in sharing in the latter-day evangelistic work under Jesus’ direction, and it is necessary to remember what we read in order to be able to convey it to others. This takes concentration and repetition. Do you talk to others about the things you read? Why not make it a point to discuss with your family Scriptural and upbuilding matters that come to your attention? Most people are very busy these days, and not all have as much time to read as others, so, as opportunity affords, it is informative and beneficial if we share what we learn. Have you ever tried selecting a subject for general family discussion at mealtime? It may take some effort on the part of the parents to encourage all in the family to take part, but what a wonderful thing to see your children developing the ability to speak well, particularly about Scriptural matters and other things that are important in life.—Ex. 12:26, 27; Prov. 4:1, 4.
11. What are some good sources for Scriptural discussions?
11 A fine source of material for family discussion can be found in the weekly meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. Try to review what was presented. Or you may enjoy discussing the variety of articles contained in the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. After reading an article, talk to your family about the various points you found to be of interest. Many families also make a practice of discussing the Scripture text and comments for the day as found in the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But do not let the conversation be one-sided on the part of the parents. Encourage your children to comment on the material you may be reading, or on the Scripture text for the day. Or try assigning something of particular interest to them that they can review with the family so they benefit by the experience and feel they are having a share too.
12. How was an older brother enabled to speak freely on Bible subjects?
12 Practice results in improvement. This was true in the case of an elderly witness of Jehovah who spent many years visiting congregations as a circuit overseer to build them up spiritually. Over the years he developed the ability to comment with much depth of thought on a wide variety of Scriptural matters. It was no problem for him to reply to a Bible question at considerable length and with many interesting details on any occasion, but it was because of his having put the time into private study and then repeating what he had learned, doing so time after time in private discussions, on Bible studies as well as in public lectures.
13. How can we help our family to be “taught by Jehovah,” and how will it benefit all?
13 Can you do the same? What about your children? Can they explain with more than a few brief words what they believe on various Bible topics? Most people enjoy what they do well, so with your help and by your developing constructive family discussions, your whole family can progress in thinking and speaking ability. Such ability, in turn, may help us to assist others on the way to everlasting life. (Prov. 15:2) Try to make it a point to speak about Scriptural truths each day with your family, thus contributing to their faith in Jehovah and their love for his purposes. Then they too will desire to share in the disciple-making work under Jesus’ direction. In this way it will come to be true of your children as it is of those whom Jehovah accepts as his “sons”: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.”—Isa. 54:13.
14. (a) What is the purpose of the Theocratic Ministry School? (b) Who can benefit, and where?
14 Besides encouraging such fine family training, congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses provide weekly instruction with a view to training for ministerial service. Paul encouraged Timothy to become “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright,” and similar encouragement is given young people today. (2 Tim. 2:15) An outstanding provision that Jehovah has made through his organization to help all interested ones to become well qualified for the ministry of the “good news” is the Theocratic Ministry School. This weekly course of instruction has been arranged by the Watch Tower Society in over 28,000 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses world wide. All persons who want to be trained by Jehovah for the field ministry will benefit from this instructive program, thanks to the progressive training it offers.—Prov. 4:18.
15. (a) How is appreciation for the school program shown? (b) What results has it had?
15 While no official figures for the number enrolled world wide are available, the average attendance at the Theocratic Ministry School in the United States is currently above 100 percent of those sharing in the field ministry. This would indicate that there are now well over one million six hundred thousand persons throughout the world receiving training in speaking on Bible subjects to equip them for ministerial service. Is there any other school course with so many attending for training in the Christian ministry? Is there any other school that has produced so many public speakers world wide or so many effective teachers of the Word of God? During just one recent year, 1,190,748 public Bible lectures were given by persons trained in the Theocratic Ministry School. We have good reason to be thankful for the privilege that is offered to all associated with the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses to share in the Theocratic Ministry School.
16. What threefold benefit does the Theocratic Ministry School provide?
16 If you are not acquainted with this ministerial training course, you are invited to attend the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses to enjoy its informative program without cost. You do not have to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses to do so. Even those not enrolled in the school can benefit in a threefold way. How so? First, there is a weekly program of Bible reading, with supplementary material for personal home study available to all attenders. Next, there is the school itself with its weekly program of five Bible-related talks prepared by persons enrolled in the school, both young and old, men and women. These talks are accompanied by helpful suggestions for improvement offered by the minister assigned to conduct the course. Finally, as those enrolled in the school appreciate, there are many opportunities to use the assigned material to build up the faith of other persons.
17. Can material from the Ministry School be used in the field service? Explain.
17 One Witness in Japan prepared a talk on the subject “God’s People Instructed to Get Out of Babylon.” (Rev. 18:4) She decided it would be good to review the material with an acquaintance who was a church member to get her reaction. So she made a special visit and rehearsed the talk for this person. As a result, the woman became very much interested in the Bible message and accepted a home Bible study.
18. What is highlighted in the school course, and with what goal?
18 The Theocratic Ministry School highlights the Bible as our source of divine instruction. It concentrates on helping all interested persons to become effective in teaching their own families as well as others the Word of God. (Heb. 5:12) It emphasizes the fact that we should not rely on our own wisdom in teaching others, but, rather, on God’s Word, which is well described as the “word of life.”—Phil. 2:16.
19. (a) What effective pattern for teaching did Jesus establish? (b) Why should lack of secular education not deter one from sharing in this training?
19 The pattern of teaching advocated in the Theocratic Ministry School is the same that Jesus used—his reliance on God’s authoritative Word, the simplicity with which he spoke, and his use of illustrations. The fact that simplicity is a key to effective teaching is encouraging to many. As Paul explained, it has not been the highly educated or those “wise in a fleshly way” that God has 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 . . . But it is due to him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God.” (1 Cor. 1:26-31) So lack of secular education should not deter one from enrolling in the Theocratic Ministry School or from sharing the truth with others.
20. What was necessary for Solomon in using delightful words in teaching others the truth?
20 Becoming effective in the ministry takes effort for everyone. Even of King Solomon it was written: “And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise, he also taught the people knowledge continually, and he pondered and made a thorough search, that he might arrange many proverbs in order. The congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.” Those enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School have a similar desire to teach Jehovah’s Word to all who are searching for truth. They appreciate that this takes a thorough search and study of the Scriptures in order to find the delightful words that will make their message both interesting and instructive to their hearers. As Solomon observed, such well-chosen words can be as powerful as an oxgoad in directing people on the road to life.—Eccl. 12:9-11.
21. How should we speak to our families, but what should we avoid?
21 If our interest, like Solomon’s, is in finding and using correct and delightful words of truth, then it should affect the way we speak every day. It should affect our conversation with our family and our friends, at work and in the field ministry, because Christians should not have two standards of speech. Fathers are told not to be ‘irritating their children.’ Wives are told to have “deep respect” for their husbands, children to ‘honor their father and mother.’ (Eph. 4:31–5:4, Eph 5:33; 6:2-4; Titus 2:7, 8) Why should any speak in a way that causes unhappiness in their family, or take delight in spreading gossip, or enjoy making a cutting or sarcastic remark? As Jesus explained: “The things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man.”—Matt. 15:18-20.
22. In what way can our heart be motivated to speak things that are upbuilding?
22 Just the opposite is also true. If we put into our hearts the upbuilding, faith-strengthening information provided us as ‘spiritual food in due season’ by the “faithful and discreet slave” class, then the things that our heart will motivate us to speak will be words of life that promote healing, peace, happiness and a reverence for our Creator. Is this the heart attitude you parents are building in your children? Is it the attitude you are strengthening in yourself by a regular program of Bible reading and study? If so, you are following a course that will build in you a fine understanding of Jehovah’s marvelous purposes and that will enable you to contribute both to the “upbuilding of the congregation” and to a happy family life.—1 Cor. 14:12; Ps. 19:14.
23. In what still-continuing work should we desire to share, and how?
23 If it is your desire to be able to speak delightful words of truth as Solomon did, Jehovah will help you to do so. Show it by the way you speak to your own family, and by expressing appreciation for the things Jehovah has provided. (Eph. 5:20) Direct the hearts and minds of your family and friends toward the Creator as you speak, “not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:13) By so doing you and your family will be motivated to share in the great evangelizing work foretold by Jehovah’s spokesman for truth, Jesus, which work is now being accomplished world wide. On a scale never before seen Jehovah is equipping his people to make disciples of people of all nations. You too can share in this prophetic work by accepting the invitation of the psalmist: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah. Praise Jah, you people!”—Ps. 150:6.
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The Theocratic Ministry School equips all interested persons to teach their own families as well as others the Word of God
There are over 1,600,000 persons attending the Theocratic Ministry School, both young and old, men and women