“Fully Accomplish Your Ministry”
“Do your service thoroughly.”—2 TIMOTHY 4:5, Byington.
1, 2. Though all Christians are evangelizers, what is Scripturally required of elders?
ARE you a Kingdom proclaimer? If so, thank Jehovah God for this wonderful privilege. Are you an elder in the congregation? That is an added privilege from Jehovah. But we must never forget that neither secular education nor ability to speak eloquently qualifies any of us for the ministry or for oversight in the congregation. Jehovah adequately qualifies us for the ministry, and it is because some men among us meet specific Scriptural requirements that they are privileged to serve as overseers.—2 Corinthians 3:5, 6; 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
2 All dedicated Christians do the work of evangelizers, but especially do overseers, or elders, need to set a good example in the ministry. Elders “who work hard in speaking and teaching” are noted by God and Christ, as well as by fellow Witnesses of Jehovah. (1 Timothy 5:17; Ephesians 5:23; Hebrews 6:10-12) Under all circumstances, an elder’s teaching must be spiritually healthful, for the apostle Paul told the overseer Timothy: “There will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories. You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.”—2 Timothy 4:3-5.
3. What needs to be done so that false teachings do not threaten the spirituality of the congregation?
3 To make sure that false teachings do not threaten the spirituality of the congregation, an overseer must comply with Paul’s counsel: “Be sober in every respect, . . . do your service thoroughly.” (2 Timothy 4:5, Byington) Yes, an elder needs to ‘accomplish his ministry fully.’ He must carry it out completely, in a thorough manner, or to a full degree. An elder who fully performs his ministry gives proper attention to all his responsibilities, leaving nothing neglected or only half done. Such a man is faithful even in little things.—Luke 12:48; 16:10.
4. What can help us to accomplish the ministry fully?
4 Fully accomplishing our ministry does not always require more time, but it does call for time well spent. A steady pace can help all Christians to accomplish things in the ministry. To spend more time in the field service, an elder needs good personal organization to balance his schedule and to know what to delegate and how to do so. (Hebrews 13:17) Naturally, a respected elder also does his own share, like Nehemiah, who got personally involved in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. (Nehemiah 5:16) And all servants of Jehovah should share regularly in the Kingdom-preaching work.—1 Corinthians 9:16-18.
5. How should we feel about the ministry?
5 What a joyous commission we have as proclaimers of the established heavenly Kingdom! Surely we cherish our privilege of having a share in preaching the good news in all the inhabited earth before the end comes. (Matthew 24:14) Although we are imperfect, we can take heart from Paul’s words: “We have this treasure [of the ministry] in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Yes, we can render acceptable service—but only with God-given strength and wisdom.—1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
Reflecting God’s Glory
6. What contrast developed between natural Israel and spiritual Israel?
6 Referring to anointed Christians, Paul says that God has “adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant.” The apostle contrasts the new covenant made with spiritual Israel through Jesus Christ with the old Law covenant made with natural Israel through Moses. Paul adds that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, his face was so bright that the Israelites could not gaze intently at it. In time, though, something far more serious took place because “their mental powers were dulled” and a veil came to be upon their hearts. When there is a turning to Jehovah in wholehearted devotion, however, the veil is taken away. Referring next to the ministry given to those in the new covenant, Paul says: “All of us, . . . with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.” (2 Corinthians 3:6-8, 14-18; Exodus 34:29-35) Jesus’ “other sheep” of today are also privileged to reflect Jehovah’s glory.—John 10:16.
7. How can humans reflect God’s glory?
7 How can sinful humans reflect God’s glory, when no man can see his face and live? (Exodus 33:20) Well, besides Jehovah’s personal glory, there is also his glorious purpose to vindicate his sovereignty by means of his Kingdom. Truths related to the Kingdom constitute part of “the magnificent things of God” that began to be proclaimed by those on whom the holy spirit was poured out at Pentecost 33 C.E. (Acts 2:11) With the spirit’s guidance, they could fully accomplish the ministry entrusted to them.—Acts 1:8.
8. As regards the ministry, what was Paul determined to do?
8 Paul was determined to let nothing prevent him from accomplishing his ministry fully. He wrote: “Since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up; but we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed, not walking with cunning, neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1, 2) By what Paul calls “this ministry,” the truth is made manifest and spiritual light is spread abroad.
9, 10. How is it possible to reflect Jehovah’s glory?
9 Regarding the Source of physical and spiritual light, Paul writes: “God is he who said: ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6; Genesis 1:2-5) Since we have been granted the inestimable privilege of being God’s ministers, let us keep ourselves clean so that we like mirrors can reflect Jehovah’s glory.
10 Spiritually bedarkened individuals cannot see Jehovah’s glory or its reflection from Jesus Christ, the Greater Moses. But as Jehovah’s servants, we catch the glorious light from the Scriptures and reflect it to others. If those now in spiritual darkness are to escape destruction, they need light from God. With great joy and zeal, then, we obey the divine command to let light shine out of darkness to Jehovah’s glory.
Let Your Light Shine at Home Bible Studies
11. What did Jesus say about letting our light shine, and what is one way to do this in our ministry?
11 Jesus told his followers: “You are the light of the world. A city cannot be hid when situated upon a mountain. People light a lamp and set it, not under the measuring basket, but upon the lampstand, and it shines upon all those in the house. Likewise let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Our fine conduct can cause others to give glory to God. (1 Peter 2:12) And the various aspects of our evangelizing work afford us many opportunities to let our light shine. One of our main objectives is to reflect spiritual light from God’s Word by conducting effective home Bible studies. This is a very important way to accomplish our ministry fully. What suggestions may help us to conduct Bible studies that touch the hearts of truth seekers?
12. How is prayer related to the work of conducting home Bible studies?
12 Prayer to Jehovah in this regard demonstrates our keen desire to conduct Bible studies. It also shows that we see the importance of helping others to acquire the knowledge of God. (Ezekiel 33:7-9) Jehovah is certain to answer our prayers and to bless our conscientious efforts in the ministry. (1 John 5:14, 15) But we do not pray only to find someone with whom to conduct a home Bible study. After we have established a study, prayer and meditation regarding the Bible student’s specific needs will help us to conduct each session in an effective manner.—Romans 12:12.
13. What may help us to conduct effective home Bible studies?
13 To conduct effective home Bible studies, we must prepare well for each session. If we feel somewhat inadequate, it may be quite helpful to observe how the Congregation Book Study overseer handles the coverage of each week’s lesson. On occasion, we may be able to accompany Kingdom publishers who have had good results in conducting home Bible studies. Of course, the attitude and teaching methods of Jesus Christ especially merit our consideration.
14. How can we reach the heart of a Bible student?
14 Jesus delighted in doing his heavenly Father’s will and in talking to others about God. (Psalm 40:8) He was mild-tempered and succeeded in reaching the hearts of those who listened to him. (Matthew 11:28-30) Let us therefore strive to reach the hearts of our Bible students. If we are to do so, we need to prepare for each study with the student’s particular circumstances in mind. For instance, if he belongs to a culture that does not have a background in the Bible, we may have to convince him that the Bible is true. In that case, we will obviously have to read many scriptures and explain them.
Help Students to Understand Illustrations
15, 16. (a) How might we help a student who does not understand an illustration used in the Bible? (b) What can we do if one of our publications uses an illustration that is difficult for a certain Bible student to understand?
15 A Bible student may not be familiar with a particular illustration used in the Scriptures. For example, he may not understand what Jesus meant when he spoke of putting a lamp on a lampstand. (Mark 4:21, 22) Jesus was referring to an ancient oil lamp with a burning wick. Such a lamp was put on a special stand and could thus light up an area of a house. Research on the subjects “Lamp” and “Lampstand” in such a publication as Insight on the Scriptures may be required to make Jesus’ illustration clear.a But how rewarding it is to come to the Bible study with an explanation that is understood and appreciated by the student!
16 A Bible study aid may use an illustration that is hard for a certain student to grasp. Take time to explain it, or use another illustration that makes the same point. Perhaps a publication is emphasizing that a good partner and coordinated effort are important in a marriage. To illustrate this, reference may be made to a man who swings from a trapeze, lets go of it, and depends on another performer to catch him. As an alternative, likely the need for a good partner and coordination of effort could be illustrated by the way workers cooperate by handing boxes to one another when unloading a boat.
17. What can we learn from Jesus about illustrations?
17 Using an alternative illustration may call for advance preparation. Yet, that is a way to show our personal interest in a Bible student. Jesus used simple illustrations to clarify difficult subjects. His Sermon on the Mount gives examples of this, and the Bible shows that his teaching had a good effect on his listeners. (Matthew 5:1–7:29) Jesus patiently explained things because he had a keen interest in others.—Matthew 16:5-12.
18. What is recommended regarding scriptures cited in our publications?
18 Our interest in others will motivate us to ‘reason from the Scriptures.’ (Acts 17:2, 3) This calls for prayerful study and wise use of publications made available through “the faithful steward.” (Luke 12:42-44) For instance, the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life quotes many scriptures.b Because of space limitations, some are merely cited. During a Bible study, it is important to read and explain at least some of these cited scriptures. After all, our teaching is based on God’s Word, and it has great power. (Hebrews 4:12) Refer to the Bible throughout each study, making liberal use of the scriptures found in the paragraphs. Help the student to see what the Bible says about a certain subject or course of action. Endeavor to show him how he will benefit from obedience to God.—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
19, 20. (a) Why use viewpoint questions when conducting a home Bible study? (b) What can be done if a particular subject requires further consideration?
19 Jesus’ skillful use of questions helped people to reason. (Matthew 17:24-27) If we ask viewpoint questions that do not embarrass a Bible student, his answers may reveal what he thinks about a certain subject. We may find that he still holds unscriptural views. For instance, he may believe in the Trinity. In chapter 3, the Knowledge book points out that the word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible. The book quotes and cites scriptures showing that Jehovah is separate from Jesus and that the holy spirit is God’s active force, not a person. Reading and discussing these Bible texts may be sufficient. But what if more is needed? Perhaps after the next regular study session, some time could be spent in a profitable discussion of this subject as covered in another publication of Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as the brochure Should You Believe in the Trinity? Thereafter, we can resume the study using the Knowledge book.
20 Suppose the student’s answer to a viewpoint question is surprising or even disappointing. If smoking, or some other sensitive subject, is involved, we might suggest that we continue the study and discuss the matter at a later time. Knowing that the student is still smoking enables us to find published information that may help him to make spiritual progress. As we endeavor to reach the student’s heart, we can pray that Jehovah help him to grow spiritually.
21. What may happen if we adapt our teaching methods to a Bible student’s specific needs?
21 With good preparation and Jehovah’s help, we will doubtless be able to adapt our teaching methods to fit the specific needs of the Bible student. As time goes on, we may be able to help him to develop deep love for God. We may also succeed in building respect and appreciation for Jehovah’s organization. And how gratifying it is when Bible students acknowledge that ‘God is really among us’! (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25) May we therefore conduct effective Bible studies and do all we can to help others to become Jesus’ disciples.
A Treasure to Be Cherished
22, 23. What is needed if we are to accomplish our ministry fully?
22 To accomplish our ministry fully, we must rely on God-given strength. Referring to the ministry, Paul wrote fellow anointed Christians: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.”—2 Corinthians 4:7.
23 Whether of the anointed or of the “other sheep,” we are like frail earthen vessels. (John 10:16) Yet, Jehovah can give us the strength needed to fulfill our assignments regardless of the pressures brought against us. (John 16:13; Philippians 4:13) Let us therefore trust in Jehovah implicitly, cherish our treasure of service, and fully accomplish our ministry.
a Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
b Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
How Would You Answer?
• What can elders do to accomplish their ministry fully?
• How can we improve the effectiveness of our home Bible studies?
• What would you do if a Bible student did not understand an illustration or needed further information on a certain subject?
[Picture on page 16]
Christian elders teach in the congregation and help to train fellow believers in the ministry
[Picture on page 18]
Conducting effective home Bible studies is one way to let our light shine