Conduct Progressive Bible Studies
1 To guide Bible students progressively to the point of discipleship requires forethought and good planning. Studies should be started and conducted with a clear purpose in mind, that of helping the student to become a productive disciple of Christ Jesus. (Matt. 13:23) So, teach them to observe all the things Jesus commanded. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Help the student understand that the study will be conducted weekly to help him get a basic knowledge of God’s Word. Also, kindly point out the urgency of his making genuine progress through application of what he learns. (Prov. 22:17; Phil. 3:16) But in what specific areas should progress be observed?
2 Periodically the publisher should reflect on the progress being made by the Bible student. Ask yourself: Does he prepare his lesson in advance, looking up Scriptural references cited but not quoted? (Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 2:13) Are his comments given in his own words and do they reflect heartfelt appreciation for the Bible truths he is learning? (Prov. 2:1-6) Would it be appropriate to encourage him to do additional reading of God’s Word and the Society’s publications? Does he subscribe to the Awake! and The Watchtower? Has he progressed to the point where he would appreciate the provision of the daily text?
3 Does he show by his speech, attitude, and conduct that he is adopting the Bible’s standard of morality? (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) Is he making personality adjustments? (Eph. 4:22-24) Is heart appreciation for Bible truths moving him to talk informally with relatives, workmates, or neighbors about the things being learned? (Luke 6:45) If physically and circumstantially able to do so, is he establishing a regular pattern of attending congregation meetings? (Heb. 10:23-25) Consideration of the student’s progress in these areas will help determine the extent to which he is ‘accepting with mildness the implanting of the word.’—Jas. 1:21.
TERMINATING UNFRUITFUL STUDIES
4 If a student is not making meaningful progress after you have patiently aided him over a reasonable period of time, it may be best to use the time to better advantage searching for deserving ones. (Matt. 10:11-13) Depending on the circumstances, it may be wise to discontinue the study. Genuinely commend the householder for the progress made. Point out, however, that as Bible truths are learned they should be applied. Using Jesus’ parable of the sower, you might discuss each of the four kinds of soil referred to and then show how this illustration emphasizes the need to respond positively to the Kingdom message. This may help the student to realize what has held him back from making steady progress. You may have opportunity to comment on what you have observed. Be kind, but straightforward and clear. (1 Cor. 14:8, 9) Let him know that the study might be resumed when the needed adjustments have been made. In the meantime, you will be calling periodically to encourage him.—See Kingdom Ministry, February 1970, page 4.
5 When locating people in the territory who have studied before, it is wise to find out how long they studied and with whom. Why did they stop? If the one who previously conducted the study is known, it would be good to discuss the matter with him and the service overseer before resuming the study. Likely there are factors about which you are not aware. Some persons have studied with many different publishers over the years without ever making any real progress. We need to spend time with those who show a genuine interest in the truth.
6 Whether terminating a Bible study or resuming one previously stopped, you may wish to discuss with the householder the fine material appearing in the article “There Is Still Time to ‘Turn to Jehovah’” on pages 220-2 of the April 1, 1976, issue of The Watchtower. As we sharpen our abilities in conducting progressive Bible studies, countless others may yet be aided to learn, accept, and practice the truth. This can result in their obtaining an approved relationship with Jehovah God and, ultimately, everlasting life.—Phil. 4:9; John 17:3.