How to Make Disciples With the Knowledge Book
1 A desirable goal for all Christians is to teach the truth to others and make disciples of those who are “rightly disposed for everlasting life.” (Acts 13:48; Matt. 28:19, 20) Jehovah’s organization has placed in our hands a wonderful tool with which to accomplish this—the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life. Its title keeps to the fore the great importance of home Bible studies, for everlasting life depends on taking in knowledge of Jehovah, the only true God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ.—John 17:3.
2 The Knowledge book is now the main publication of the Society for use in conducting home Bible studies. Using it, we can teach the truth with simplicity, clarity, and brevity. This will help reach the heart of those being taught. (Luke 24:32) Of course, there is a need for the conductor to use good teaching techniques. To that end, this insert has been prepared to set out suggestions and reminders regarding teaching methods that have proved effective. With discernment, and according to individual circumstances, you may be able to apply progressively some or all of what is here presented. Save this insert, and refer to it often. Various points in it may help you to be more effective in using the Knowledge book to make disciples.
3 Conduct a Progressive Home Bible Study: Take a genuine personal interest in the student as a potential Christian disciple and spiritual brother or sister. Be warm, friendly, and enthusiastic. By being a good listener, you can get to know the other person—his background and situation in life—which will help you to discern how best to assist him spiritually. Be willing to give of yourself for the sake of the student.—1 Thess. 2:8.
4 Once a study is established, it is preferred that the chapters in the Knowledge book be studied in numerical order. This will allow the student to acquire a progressive understanding of the truth, since the book develops Bible subjects in the most logical sequence. Keep the study simple and interesting so that it is lively and moves along. (Rom. 12:11) Depending on the circumstances and aptitude of the student, it may be possible for you to cover most chapters in one session of an hour or so, without rushing through the study. Students will make better progress when both teacher and student keep their appointment for the study each week. Thus, with most persons, it may be possible to complete the book’s 19 chapters in a matter of about six months or so.
5 Introduce each session with brief remarks that stimulate interest in the material. You will observe that the title of each chapter is its theme, which needs to be emphasized. Each subheading isolates a main point, helping you to keep the chapter theme in focus. Be careful not to do too much talking. Instead, try to draw out the student’s expressions. Asking specific leading questions of the student, based on what he already knows, will help him to reason and come to correct conclusions. (Matt. 17:24-26; Luke 10:25-37; see School Guidebook, page 51, paragraph 10.) Stick closely to the printed information in the Knowledge book. Introducing extra details could detract from or obscure the main points and protract the study. (John 16:12) If a question that does not pertain to the subject being studied is raised, in most cases you could address it at the end of the session. This will allow you to cover the week’s lesson without getting sidetracked. Explain to the student that eventually most of his personal questions will be answered through the course of the study.—See School Guidebook, page 94, paragraph 14.
6 If the student strongly holds to the Trinity, immortality of the soul, hellfire, or other such false doctrines, and what is presented in the Knowledge book does not satisfy him, you could give him the Reasoning book or another publication that discusses the subject. Tell him that you will discuss the subject with him after he thinks about what he reads.
7 Beginning and ending the study with prayer for Jehovah’s guidance and blessing dignifies the occasion, puts one in a respectful frame of mind, and draws attention to Jehovah as the true Teacher. (John 6:45) If the student is still a tobacco user, you may eventually need to ask him to abstain during the study.—Acts 24:16; Jas. 4:3.
8 Teach Effectively With the Scriptures, Illustrations, and Review Questions: No matter how many times he may have studied the material before, a skillful teacher will review each lesson with the particular student in mind. This helps to anticipate some of the student’s questions. To teach effectively, get a clear grasp of the main points in the chapter. Look up the scriptures to see how they apply to the material, and decide which ones should be read during the study. Give thought as to how you can teach using the illustrations and the review questions at the end of the chapter.
9 By making effective use of the scriptures, you will help the student to appreciate that he is indeed studying the Bible. (Acts 17:11) Using the box “Put Your Bible to Good Use,” on page 14 of the Knowledge book, teach him how to locate scriptures. Show him how to identify the quoted verses in the lesson. As time allows, look up and read cited scriptures that are not quoted. Have the student comment on how they support or clarify what is stated in the paragraph. Emphasize key portions of the texts so that he comes to appreciate the reasons for the main points of the lesson. (Neh. 8:8) Generally, there is no need for the teacher to incorporate more texts into the discussion than those the book provides. Comment on the value of knowing the names and order of the Bible books. It may be helpful for the student to read pages 27-30 of the June 15, 1991, Watchtower. When appropriate, encourage use of the New World Translation. You could progressively demonstrate how to use its various features, such as the marginal references and the index of Bible words.
10 Study 34 in the Theocratic Ministry School Guidebook explains that illustrations stir up one’s thinking processes and make it easier to grasp new thoughts. They couple intellectual appeal with emotional impact, so that the message is conveyed with a force that is not often possible with simple statements of fact. (Matt. 13:34) The Knowledge book has numerous teaching illustrations that are simple yet powerful. For example, an illustration used in chapter 17 builds appreciation for how, in a spiritual sense, Jehovah furnishes food, clothing, and shelter through the Christian congregation. The Knowledge book’s beautiful pictorial illustrations can be used effectively to stir the emotions. Under the subheading “The Joyous Resurrection,” on page 185, the impact of paragraph 18 will be strengthened by having the student look back at the picture on page 86. This may move him to think of the resurrection as a reality under God’s Kingdom.
11 Bible students need to make spiritual progress with each lesson. For this reason, do not fail to ask the review questions in the “Test Your Knowledge” box that appears at the end of each chapter. Listen for more than an intellectual explanation of what was studied. Several of these questions are designed to draw out a personal response from the heart. For example, see page 31, where the student is asked: “What qualities of Jehovah God especially appeal to you?”—2 Cor. 13:5.
12 Train Students to Prepare for the Study: A student who reads the lesson beforehand, marks the answers, and thinks of how to express them in his own words will make faster spiritual progress. By your example and encouragement, you can train him to prepare for the study. Show him your book, in which you have highlighted or underlined the key words and phrases. Explain how to find direct answers to the printed questions. Preparing a chapter together may be helpful to the student. Encourage him to express himself in his own words. Only then does it become clear whether he understands the material. If he reads his answer from the book, you can stimulate his thinking by asking him how he would explain the point to someone else in his own words.
13 Encourage the student to look up unquoted scriptures as part of his weekly preparation, as there may not be time to read all of them during the study. Commend him for the effort he is putting into his lessons. (2 Pet. 1:5; see the August 15, 1993, Watchtower, pages 13-14, for additional suggestions on what can be done by both teacher and student to increase learning on a Bible study.) In this way, the student is being trained to prepare for and make meaningful comments at congregation meetings. He will be learning how to develop good personal study habits that will equip him to continue making advancement in the truth after his personal Bible study in the Knowledge book is completed.—1 Tim. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:2.
14 Direct Students to Jehovah’s Organization: It is a disciple maker’s responsibility to direct the student’s interest to Jehovah’s organization. The student will advance more quickly to spiritual maturity if he recognizes and appreciates the organization and realizes the need to become part of it. We want him to find pleasure in associating with God’s people and to look forward to being with us at the Kingdom Hall, where he can receive the spiritual and emotional support that the Christian congregation offers.—1 Tim. 3:15.
15 The brochure Jehovah’s Witnesses—Unitedly Doing God’s Will Worldwide has been produced to acquaint individuals with the only visible organization Jehovah is using today to accomplish his will. Once the study is established, why not give the student a copy? From the very start, keep inviting the student to the meetings. Explain how they are conducted. You could tell him the title of an upcoming public talk or show him the article that will be discussed at the Watchtower Study. Perhaps you could take him to see the Kingdom Hall when a meeting is not in progress so as to alleviate any anxiety he may have about going to a new place for the first time. You may be able to offer transportation to the meetings. When he attends, make him feel welcome and comfortable. (Matt. 7:12) Introduce him to other Witnesses, including the elders. Hopefully, he will begin viewing the congregation as his spiritual family. (Matt. 12:49, 50; Mark 10:29, 30) You might set a goal for him, such as attending one meeting each week, and progressively raise the goal.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
16 As the home Bible study proceeds through the Knowledge book, emphasize the portions that highlight the need for regular association with the congregation at meetings. Note especially pages 52, 115, 137-9, 159, as well as chapter 17. Express your own deep feelings of appreciation for Jehovah’s organization. (Matt. 24:45-47) Speak positively about the local congregation and about what you learn at the meetings. (Ps. 84:10; 133:1-3) It would be good if the student could watch each of the Society’s videos, beginning with Jehovah’s Witnesses—The Organization Behind the Name. For further ideas on how to direct interest to the organization, see the November 1, 1984, Watchtower, pages 14-18, and the April 1993 Our Kingdom Ministry insert.
17 Encourage Students to Witness to Others: Our goal in studying with people is to make disciples who witness for Jehovah. (Isa. 43:10-12) That means the teacher should encourage the student to talk to others about what he is learning from the Bible. This can be done as simply as asking: “How would you explain this truth to your family?” or “What scripture would you use to prove this to a friend?” Emphasize key places in the Knowledge book where witnessing is encouraged, such as pages 22, 93-5, 105-6, as well as chapter 18. When appropriate, the student may be given some tracts to use in informally witnessing to others. Suggest that he invite his family members to sit in on his study. Does he have friends who would also like to study? Ask him to refer you to those who are interested.
18 By attending the Theocratic Ministry School and the Service Meeting, the prospective disciple can receive additional training and stimulus that will help him become a publisher of the good news. When he expresses an interest in enrolling in the school or becoming an unbaptized publisher, the principles that are set out on pages 98 and 99 of the Our Ministry book will apply. If an aspect of his life prevents him from qualifying, you can search in the Society’s publications for helpful material that bears on the matter and share it with him. For example, a student may be having difficulty overcoming an addiction to tobacco or other drugs. The Reasoning book points out strong Scriptural reasons why Christians avoid such harmful habits, and on page 112 it outlines a way that has proved successful in helping others to break free. Pray with him about the matter, teaching him to build his dependence upon Jehovah for help.—Jas. 4:8.
19 The procedure to be followed for determining whether one qualifies to share in the public ministry is outlined in the January 15, 1996, Watchtower, page 16, paragraph 6. When the student qualifies, it would be helpful to conduct a practice session to prepare him for his first day in field service. In a positive manner, discuss the people’s reactions and objections that are common in your territory. Start him in the house-to-house work first if at all possible, and progressively train him in other features of the ministry. If you keep your presentation short and simple, it will be easy for him to imitate. Be upbuilding and encouraging, radiating joy in the work, so that he picks up your spirit and reflects it. (Acts 18:25) The goal of a new disciple should be to become a regular, zealous publisher of the good news. Perhaps you can help him to work up a practical schedule for service. In order for him to progress in his ability to witness to others, you may suggest that he read the Watchtower issues of August 15, 1984, pages 15-25; July 15, 1988, pages 9-20; January 15, 1991, pages 15-20; and January 1, 1994, pages 20-5.
20 Motivate Students Toward Dedication and Baptism: It should be possible for an honesthearted student to learn enough through a study of the Knowledge book to make a dedication to God and qualify for baptism. (Compare Acts 8:27-39; 16:25-34.) However, before a person will be motivated to make a dedication, he needs to develop devotion to Jehovah. (Ps. 73:25-28) Throughout the course of the study, look for opportunities to build appreciation for Jehovah’s qualities. Express your own deep feelings for God. Help the student think in terms of developing a warm, personal relationship with Jehovah. If he really comes to know and love God, then he will serve Him faithfully, for godly devotion has to do with how we feel about Jehovah as a person.—1 Tim. 4:7, 8; see School Guidebook, page 76, paragraph 11.
21 Strive to reach the student’s heart. (Ps. 119:11; Acts 16:14; Rom. 10:10) He needs to see how the truth affects him personally and to decide what he should do with what he has learned. (Rom. 12:2) Does he really believe the truth that is presented to him week by week? (1 Thess. 2:13) To that end, you can draw the student out by asking discerning viewpoint questions, such as: How do you feel about this? How can you apply this in your life? By his comments you may discern where more help is needed to reach his heart. (Luke 8:15; see School Guidebook, page 52, paragraph 11.) The captions for the pictures on pages 172 and 174 of the Knowledge book ask: “Have you made a dedication to God in prayer?” and “What prevents you from getting baptized?” These may effectively motivate the student to action.
22 The procedure to be followed when an unbaptized publisher desires to be baptized is outlined in the January 15, 1996, Watchtower, page 17, paragraph 9. The Knowledge book was written with the objective of equipping the person to answer the “Questions for Those Desiring to Be Baptized,” found in the appendix of the Our Ministry book, which the elders will review with him. If you have stressed the answers to the printed questions in the Knowledge book, the student should be well equipped for the question sessions conducted by the elders in preparation for his baptism.
23 Help Those Who Complete the Home Bible Study: It should be expected that by the time a person completes a study of the Knowledge book, his sincerity and depth of interest in serving God will have become apparent. (Matt. 13:23) That is why the final subheading of the book asks, “What Will You Do?” The closing paragraphs appeal to the student to focus on the relationship he should have developed with God, the need to apply the knowledge he has learned, and the need to act quickly to demonstrate his love for Jehovah. There is no provision for studying additional publications with those who complete the Knowledge book. Kindly and clearly explain to a student who fails to respond to the knowledge of God what he has to do to progress spiritually. You might keep in touch periodically, leaving the way open for him to take the steps that lead to everlasting life.—Eccl. 12:13.
24 A new disciple who embraces the truth and gets baptized will have much more growing to do in his knowledge and understanding in order to become fully stabilized in the faith. (Col. 2:6, 7) Rather than continue his home Bible study after you complete the Knowledge book, you can make yourself available to provide any personal assistance he may need in order to mature spiritually. (Gal. 6:10; Heb. 6:1) For his part, he can round out his understanding by reading the Bible daily, personally studying The Watchtower and other publications of the ‘faithful slave,’ preparing for and attending the meetings, and discussing the truth with fellow believers. (Matt. 24:45-47; Ps. 1:2; Acts 2:41, 42; Col. 1:9, 10) His reading the Our Ministry book and applying what it contains will play a vital role in his becoming theocratically organized to accomplish his ministry fully.—2 Tim. 2:2; 4:5.
25 Develop the Art of Teaching: We have been commissioned to “make disciples of people . . . , teaching them.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Since the art of teaching is inseparably linked to disciple making, we want to strive to improve as teachers. (1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:2) For additional suggestions on how to develop the art of teaching, you may wish to read: “Developing the Art of Teaching” and “Reaching the Heart of Your Listeners” in the School Guidebook, studies 10 and 15; “Teacher, Teaching” in Insight, Volume 2; and the Watchtower articles “Building With Fire-Resistant Materials” and “When You Teach, Reach the Heart,” August 1, 1984; “Do You Effectively Reason From the Scriptures?,” March 1, 1986; and “How to Find Joy in Disciple Making,” February 15, 1996.
26 As you endeavor to make disciples, using the Knowledge book, always pray that Jehovah, the one “who makes it grow,” will bless your efforts in reaching human hearts with the Kingdom good news. (1 Cor. 3:5-7) May you experience the joy of teaching others to understand, to appreciate, and to act on the knowledge that leads to everlasting life!