“I will give you good instruction.”—PROV. 4:2.
1, 2. Why must we train others to take up theocratic assignments?
DECLARING the good news of the Kingdom was Jesus’ primary assignment. However, he took time to train others to be shepherds and teachers. (Matt. 10:5-7) Although Philip was busy as an evangelizer, he no doubt helped his four daughters to become effective in sharing Scriptural truths with others. (Acts 21:8, 9) How important is such training today?
2 Worldwide, the number of people accepting the good news is growing. New ones who are not yet baptized need to grasp the importance of personal Bible study. They must also be taught to preach the good news to others and to teach them the truth. In our congregations, brothers need to be encouraged to work hard in order to qualify for appointment as ministerial servants and elders. By means of “good instruction,” mature Christians can help new ones to make spiritual progress.—Prov. 4:2.
HELP NEW ONES ACQUIRE STRENGTH AND WISDOM FROM GOD’S WORD
3, 4. (a) How did Paul connect study of the Scriptures with a productive ministry? (b) Before we encourage our students to study the Bible on their own, what must we be doing?
3 How important is personal study of the Scriptures? We find the answer in the apostle Paul’s words to fellow Christians in Colossae. He wrote: “We have never stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, so as to walk worthily of Jehovah in order to please him fully as you go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:9, 10) With such accurate knowledge, the Colossian Christians would be able “to walk worthily of Jehovah in order to please him fully.” This would enable them to continue “bearing fruit in every good work,” especially in the preaching of the good news. To serve effectively, a worshipper of Jehovah must follow a routine of Bible study. We do well to help Bible students grasp that fact.
4 Before helping others to benefit from personal Bible study, we ourselves must be convinced of its value. In fact, we ourselves need to have good Bible study habits. So you might ask yourself: ‘When householders express opinions that are contrary to Scriptural teachings or they ask difficult questions, am I able to give answers that are based on the Bible? When I read about how Jesus, Paul, and others persevered in the ministry, do I meditate on how their perseverance ought to affect my service to Jehovah?’ All of us need knowledge and counsel from God’s Word. And if we tell others how much we have benefited from our personal study of the Bible, we may encourage them to obtain such benefits by being diligent students of the Scriptures.
5. Give a suggestion on how to help new ones to have a routine of personal Bible study.
5 You may ask, ‘How can I train my student to study the Bible regularly?’ A good start is by showing him how to prepare for the study you conduct with him. You might suggest that he read portions of the appendix of the What Does the Bible Really Teach? book and look up cited scriptures. Help him to prepare for the meetings with the goal of commenting. Encourage him to read every issue of The Watchtower and Awake! If the Watchtower Library or Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY is available in his language, you can show him how to use it to answer Bible questions. As a result of such help, very likely your Bible student will soon be delighting in his personal study of God’s Word.
6. (a) How can you help your student to cultivate love for the Bible in his heart? (b) What is a Bible student likely to do if he develops heartfelt love for the Scriptures?
6 Of course, we should not pressure anyone to read and study the Bible. Rather, let us use the tools provided by Jehovah’s organization to help our student deepen his or her love for the Bible. In time, the sincere student may well feel as did the psalmist who sang: “Drawing near to God is good for me. I have made the Sovereign Lord Jehovah my refuge.” (Ps. 73:28) Jehovah’s spirit will act on such a conscientious and appreciative Bible student.
TRAIN NEW ONES TO PREACH AND TEACH
7. How did Jesus train proclaimers of the good news? (See opening picture.)
7 In Matthew chapter 10, we find instructions that Jesus gave to his 12 apostles. Rather than speak in generalities, he covered specific points. The apostles listened as Jesus taught them how to preach effectively. Then the group went into the field. Having been able to observe Jesus’ methods, they soon became capable teachers of Scriptural truth. (Matt. 11:1) We can train our Bible students to become effective publishers of the good news. Let us now consider two ways to help them.
8, 9. (a) How did Jesus approach individuals in his ministry? (b) How can we help new publishers to converse with people as Jesus did?
8 Converse with people. Jesus often spoke to individuals about the Kingdom. For instance, he carried on a lively and fruitful conversation with a woman at Jacob’s well near the city of Sychar. (John 4:5-30) He also spoke with Matthew Levi, a tax collector. The Gospels record very little of that conversation, but Matthew accepted Jesus’ invitation to be his follower. Matthew and others heard Jesus speak at some length during a feast held in Matthew’s home.—Matt. 9:9; Luke 5:27-39.
9 On another occasion, Jesus spoke in a friendly way to Nathanael, who had a negative view of people from Nazareth. However, Nathanael was moved to change his thinking. He decided to learn more about what Jesus, a man from Nazareth, was teaching. (John 1:46-51) So we have good reason to train new publishers to converse with people in a friendly, relaxed manner. Those whom we help in this way will likely be delighted to see how honesthearted people respond favorably to personal interest and kind words.
10-12. (a) How did Jesus cultivate the interest others showed in the good news? (b) How can we help new publishers to improve their skills as teachers of Bible truth?
10 Cultivate interest. Jesus had limited time to carry out his ministry. Nevertheless, he took time to cultivate the interest people showed in the good news. For instance, Jesus taught a crowd, using a boat as a platform. On that occasion, he miraculously gave Peter a huge catch of fish and told him: “From now on you will be catching men alive.” What result did Jesus’ words and actions produce? Peter and his associates “brought the boats back to land and abandoned everything and followed [Jesus].”—Luke 5:1-11.
11 Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, became interested in Jesus’ teaching. He wanted to learn more but was afraid of what others would say if he spoke with Jesus in public. Jesus was flexible and generous with his time; he met with Nicodemus at night—away from the crowds. (John 3:1, 2) What lesson can we learn from these accounts? God’s Son set aside time to build up the faith of individuals. Should we not be diligent in making return visits and conducting Bible studies with interested ones?
12 New publishers are very likely to improve their skills as teachers of Bible truth if we work with them in the field service. We can help them to keep in mind those who show even slight interest. We can invite new publishers to accompany us when we make return visits and conduct home Bible studies. With such training and encouragement, less experienced publishers will surely want to cultivate the interest of others and conduct Bible studies on their own. They will also learn not to give up quickly but to be patient and persevere in the ministry.—Gal. 5:22; see the box “Perseverance Is Essential.”
TRAIN NEW ONES TO SERVE FELLOW BELIEVERS
13, 14. (a) What do you think of the Bible examples of those who made great sacrifices in behalf of others? (b) In what practical ways can you train new publishers and young ones to show love for their brothers and sisters?
13 Bible accounts highlight the privilege we have of showing “brotherly affection” and serving one another. (Read 1 Peter 1:22; Luke 22:24-27.) The Son of God gave everything, including his life, in ministering to others. (Matt. 20:28) Dorcas “abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy.” (Acts 9:36, 39) Mary, a sister in Rome, “worked hard” in behalf of those in the congregation. (Rom. 16:6) How can we help new ones grasp the importance of helping their brothers and sisters?
14 Mature Witnesses can invite new ones to come along when visiting the sick and the elderly. If appropriate, parents can take their children on such visits. Elders can work with others in making sure that our dear older ones have good food and that their homes are maintained. In these ways, younger ones and those newly associated learn to perform acts of kindness for others. While preaching, one elder would briefly visit the Witnesses living in his rural territory to see how they were doing. A young brother who often accompanied him thus learned that all in the congregation should feel loved.—Rom. 12:10.
15. Why is it important that elders take an interest in the progress of men in the congregation?
15 Since Jehovah uses men as teachers in the congregation, it is important for brothers to develop speaking ability. As an elder, could you listen as a ministerial servant practices a talk? With your help, he may be able to improve his skill as a teacher of God’s Word.—Neh. 8:8.
16, 17. (a) What interest did Paul take in the progress of Timothy? (b) How can the elders effectively train future shepherds of the congregation?
16 The need for shepherds in the Christian congregation is great, and those who will do such work in the future need ongoing training. Paul provided a general outline of how training can be provided when he told Timothy: “You, . . . my child, keep on acquiring power in the undeserved kindness that is in Christ Jesus; and the things you heard from me that were supported by many witnesses, these things entrust to faithful men, who, in turn, will be adequately qualified to teach others.” (2 Tim. 2:1, 2) Timothy learned by serving alongside the apostle, an older man. Then Timothy applied Paul’s methods in his own ministry and other aspects of sacred service.—2 Tim. 3:10-12.
17 Paul did not leave Timothy’s training to chance. He had the young man accompany him. (Acts 16:1-5) Elders can imitate Paul’s example by taking qualified ministerial servants along on shepherding calls when appropriate. Elders thus give such brothers an opportunity to observe firsthand the teaching, faith, patience, and love required of Christian overseers. This procedure contributes to the training of future shepherds of “the flock of God.”—1 Pet. 5:2.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING OTHERS
18. Why should training others in Jehovah’s service be important to us?
18 Training others is vitally important because of increasing needs and opportunities to serve Jehovah. The examples of training provided by Jesus and Paul remain valid. Jehovah wants his modern-day servants to be well-trained for their theocratic assignments. God gives us the privilege of helping less experienced ones develop their ability to do the work needed in the congregation. As conditions deteriorate in the world and new opportunities to preach continue to arise, such training becomes both important and urgent.
19. Why should you be convinced that your diligent efforts to train others in Jehovah’s service will be successful?
19 Of course, training people takes time and effort. But Jehovah and his beloved Son will support us and give us wisdom to provide such training. We will rejoice as we see those whom we assist go on ‘working hard and exerting themselves.’ (1 Tim. 4:10) And may we ourselves continue to make spiritual progress in rendering sacred service to Jehovah.
^  (paragraph 7) Among the points Jesus covered were the following: (1) Preach the right message. (2) Be content with God’s provisions. (3) Avoid arguing with householders. (4) Trust in God when facing opposers. (5) Do not yield to fear.
^  (paragraph 9) Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education, pp. 62-64, has excellent suggestions on how to converse with people in the field ministry.
^  (paragraph 15) Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education, pp. 52-61, explains the qualities needed for effective public speaking.