Help Others Obey What the Bible Teaches
“As for that on the fine soil, these are the ones that, after hearing the word with a fine and good heart, retain it and bear fruit with endurance.”—LUKE 8:15.
1, 2. (a) For what purpose is the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? designed? (b) In recent years, how has Jehovah blessed the efforts of his people to make disciples?
“THE book is simply excellent. My students love it. I love it. This book makes it possible to start Bible studies with people right at their doorstep.” So said a full-time pioneer minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?* Referring to the same publication, an elderly Kingdom proclaimer said: “I have had the privilege of helping many people come to know Jehovah in the 50 years I have been active in the ministry. But I must say, this study publication is outstanding. The refreshing word pictures and illustrations are a delight.” Is that how you feel about the Bible Teach book? This Bible study aid is designed to help you fulfill Jesus’ command: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.
2 No doubt, Jehovah’s heart rejoices as he sees some 6.6 million of his Witnesses willingly obeying Jesus’ direction to make disciples. (Proverbs 27:11) Jehovah is obviously blessing their efforts. During 2005, for example, the good news was preached in 235 lands and, on average, over 6,061,500 Bible studies were conducted. As a result, many people ‘heard God’s word and accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Over the past two years, more than half a million new disciples have conformed their lives to Jehovah’s standards and dedicated themselves to God.
3. What questions regarding the use of the Bible Teach book will be examined in this article?
3 Have you recently experienced the joy of conducting a Bible study with someone? Worldwide, there are still individuals with “a fine and good heart” who upon hearing the word of God will “retain it and bear fruit with endurance.” (Luke 8:11-15) Let us consider how you can use the Bible Teach book in the disciple-making work. Our discussion will examine three questions: (1) How can you start a Bible study? (2) What teaching methods work best? (3) How can you help a person to become not only a student but also a teacher of God’s written Word, the Bible?
How You Can Start a Bible Study
4. Why might some hesitate to study the Bible, and how may you help them to overcome their reluctance?
4 If you were asked to leap a wide stream in one bound, you might balk at the suggestion. But if stepping-stones were placed at regular intervals across it, you would likely be more inclined to attempt the crossing. Likewise, a busy person may hesitate to study the Bible. The householder may think that too much time and effort are required to study it. How can you help him to overcome his reluctance? By conducting a series of brief, informative discussions, you can use the Bible Teach book to lead the person into a regular study of God’s Word. If you prepare well, each return visit on the person will become like a stepping-stone toward his friendship with Jehovah.
5. Why do you need to read the Bible Teach book?
5 However, before you can help someone else benefit from the Bible Teach book, you need to become thoroughly familiar with it. Have you read the book from beginning to end? One couple took the publication with them on vacation and started reading it while relaxing at the beach. As a local woman selling goods to tourists approached them, she noticed the title What Does the Bible Really Teach? She told the couple that just a few hours earlier, she had prayed about that very question, asking God for an answer. The couple gladly gave the woman a copy of the book. Have you ‘bought out time’ to read this publication, possibly a second time, while waiting for an appointment or taking a break at work or at school? (Ephesians 5:15, 16) If you do, you will become familiar with this Bible study aid and may also create opportunities to talk to others about its contents.
6, 7. How can you use the Bible Teach book to start Bible studies?
6 When offering the book in the public ministry, make good use of the illustrations, scriptures, and questions on pages 4, 5, and 6. For example, you might start a conversation by asking, “With all the problems facing mankind today, what do you feel is a reliable source of guidance?” After listening carefully to the person’s response, read 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, and explain that the Bible offers a real solution to mankind’s problems. Then, direct the householder’s attention to pages 4 and 5, and ask: “Of the conditions illustrated on these pages, which one distresses you most?” When the householder points to one, have him hold the book while you read the associated scripture from your Bible. Next, read page 6, and ask the householder, “Of the six questions mentioned at the bottom of this page, which one would you like to have answered?” When the person picks one, show him the chapter that answers that question, leave the book with him, and make definite arrangements to call again and discuss that question.
7 The presentation just outlined would take about five minutes to complete. In those few minutes, however, you will have learned what concerns the householder, read and applied two scriptures, and laid the basis for a return visit. Your brief conversation with the householder may well be the most encouraging and consoling experience he has had in a long time. As a result, even a busy person is likely to look forward to spending a few more minutes with you as you help him take his next step to get on ‘the road that leads to life.’ (Matthew 7:14) In time, as the householder’s interest develops, the duration of the study should be extended. This can be done by offering to sit down and study for a longer specified period.
Teaching Methods That Work Best
8, 9. (a) How can you prepare your Bible student to stand up to the obstacles and tests that he will likely encounter? (b) Where can the fire-resistant materials to build strong faith be found?
8 Once a person starts to obey what the Bible teaches, he will probably face obstacles that could hinder his progress. The apostle Paul said: “All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Paul compared these trials to a fire that would destroy inferior building materials but leave such materials as gold, silver, and precious stone unharmed. (1 Corinthians 3:10-13; 1 Peter 1:6, 7) To help your Bible student develop the qualities required in order to stand up to the tests that he may encounter, you need to assist him by building with fire-resistant materials.
9 The psalmist likens “the sayings of Jehovah” to “silver refined in a smelting furnace of earth, clarified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) Indeed, the Bible contains all the precious materials that can be utilized to build strong faith. (Psalm 19:7-11; Proverbs 2:1-6) And the Bible Teach book shows you how to be effective in using the Scriptures.
10. How can you focus the student’s attention on the Bible?
10 During the study, focus the student’s attention on the scriptures provided in each chapter under discussion. Use questions to help the student understand key Bible texts and apply them personally. Be careful not to tell him what to do. Instead, imitate Jesus’ example. When a man versed in the Law questioned him, Jesus replied: “What is written in the Law? How do you read?” The man answered from the Scriptures, and Jesus helped him see how to apply the principle to himself. Giving an illustration, Jesus also helped the man see how the teaching should affect him. (Luke 10:25-37) The Bible Teach book is full of simple illustrations that you can use to assist a student in applying Scriptural principles to himself.
11. How much material should you cover in each study session?
11 The Bible Teach book uses simple, direct language to explain God’s Word, just as Jesus conveyed complex ideas in simple terms. (Matthew 7:28, 29) Follow his example. Convey the information simply, clearly, and accurately. Do not rush through the material. Rather, let the circumstances and the ability of the student determine the number of paragraphs you discuss during each study session. Jesus knew the limitations of his disciples and did not burden them with more information than they needed at the time.—John 16:12.
12. How should the appendix be used?
12 The Bible Teach book contains an appendix that has 14 topics. Based on the needs of the student, you as his instructor should be able to determine how this material can best be used. For example, if a student finds a subject difficult to grasp or has questions on specific matters because of previously held beliefs, it may suffice to direct his attention to the appropriate section of the appendix and let him consider the subject himself. On the other hand, the student’s needs may dictate that you cover the material with him. The appendix contains essential Scriptural subjects, such as “‘Soul’ and ‘Spirit’—What Do These Terms Really Mean?” and “Identifying ‘Babylon the Great.’” You may want to discuss these topics with your student. Since no questions are provided for the subjects discussed in the appendix, you will need to be familiar with the information in order to formulate meaningful questions.
13. What role does prayer play in strengthening faith?
13 “Unless Jehovah himself builds the house, it is to no avail that its builders have worked hard on it,” states Psalm 127:1. Therefore, as you prepare to conduct a Bible study, pray for Jehovah’s help. Let the prayers you say at the beginning and end of each study reflect your warm relationship with Jehovah. Encourage the student to pray to Jehovah for the wisdom to understand His Word and the strength to apply its counsel. (James 1:5) If he does so, the student will be strengthened to endure trials and will continue to grow strong in faith.
Help Bible Students to Become Teachers
14. What progress do Bible students need to make?
14 If our Bible students are to obey “all the things” Jesus commanded his disciples, they need to progress from being students of God’s Word to being teachers of it. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:6-8) What can you do to help a student make that kind of spiritual progress?
15. Why should you encourage your Bible student to attend Christian meetings?
15 Right from the first study, invite the student to attend congregation meetings with you. Explain to him that the meetings are where you receive your training as a teacher of God’s Word. Over a number of weeks, take a few minutes at the end of each Bible study to describe the program of spiritual instruction that you receive at the various meetings and assemblies. Speak enthusiastically about the benefits you gain on these occasions. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Once the student starts attending meetings regularly, he is likely to become a teacher of God’s Word.
16, 17. What are some goals that a Bible student can set and attain?
16 Help the Bible student to establish goals that he can attain. For example, encourage him to share what he is learning with a friend or a relative. Also, suggest that he set the goal of reading the entire Bible. If you help him to establish and maintain a routine of regular Bible reading, this habit will benefit him long after he is baptized. In addition, why not suggest that the student make it a goal to remember at least one Bible text that answers a key question from each chapter of the Bible Teach book? By doing so, he will become “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.”—2 Timothy 2:15.
17 Rather than teaching a student simply to repeat scriptures or to give the gist of what they say, encourage him to explain pertinent Bible verses as he provides an answer to those who demand of him a reason for his faith. Brief practice sessions may help, with you playing the part of a relative or a workmate who asks him to explain his beliefs. As the student responds, show him how to answer with “a mild temper and deep respect.”—1 Peter 3:15.
18. When a Bible student qualifies as an unbaptized publisher, what further help can you give him?
18 In time, the student may qualify to engage in the field ministry. Emphasize that it is a privilege to be allowed to share in this work. (2 Corinthians 4:1, 7) Once the elders have determined that the student qualifies as an unbaptized publisher, help him prepare a simple presentation and then accompany him in the field service. Continue to work with him regularly in various aspects of the public ministry, and teach him how to prepare for and make effective return visits. Your own good example will be a positive influence.—Luke 6:40.
“Save Both Yourself and Those Who Listen to You”
19, 20. What goal should we have, and why?
19 Without a doubt, it takes much hard work to help a person come to “an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) However, few joys in life can compare with the pleasure of helping someone obey what the Bible teaches. (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20) Indeed, what a privilege we have to be “God’s fellow workers” in this worldwide teaching work!—1 Corinthians 3:9.
20 By means of Jesus Christ and powerful angels, Jehovah will soon call to account those “who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8) Lives hang in the balance. Can you make it your goal to conduct at least one home Bible study in the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? As you engage in this work, you have the opportunity to “save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Now more than ever, it is urgent that we help others obey what the Bible teaches.
Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
What Did You Learn?
• The Bible Teach book is designed for what purpose?
• How can you start Bible studies using the Bible Teach book?
• What teaching methods work best?
• How can you help a student to become a teacher of God’s Word?
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Are you putting this book to good use?
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A brief discussion can whet a person’s appetite for Bible knowledge
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What can you do to direct the student’s attention to the Bible?
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Help the Bible student to progress