“Let each one of you be baptized.”—ACTS 2:38.
SONG 72 Making Known the Kingdom Truth
1. What was a large crowd in the first century told to do?
A LARGE crowd made up of men and women from many countries and speaking a number of languages had gathered. Something remarkable happened that day. A group of ordinary Jews could speak in the visitors’ native languages! As surprising as that was, what those Jews were saying to them and what the apostle Peter said to all was more remarkable. It included the message that they could be saved by exercising faith in Jesus Christ. The crowd was deeply affected by that message. The people were so moved, in fact, that they asked: “What should we do?” In reply, Peter said: “Let each one of you be baptized.”—Acts 2:37, 38.
2. What will we examine in this article? (See cover picture.)
2 What happened next was exceptional. Some 3,000 individuals got baptized on that day, becoming disciples of Christ. This was the beginning of the great disciple-making work that Jesus commanded his followers to do. That work has extended to the 21st century. In our day, we cannot help someone to the point of baptism in just a few hours. It may take months or even a year or more for a student to reach that goal. Disciple-making takes work, as you well know if you are currently studying the Bible with someone. In this article, we will examine what you can do to help your Bible student become a baptized disciple.
HELP YOUR BIBLE STUDENT TO APPLY WHAT HE IS LEARNING
3. As indicated at Matthew 28:19, 20, what must a student do to progress to baptism?
3 Before getting baptized, a Bible student must put into practice what the Bible teaches. (Read Matthew 28:19, 20.) When a student applies what he learns, he becomes like the “discreet man” in Jesus’ illustration who dug down deep to build his house on solid rock. (Matt. 7:24, 25; Luke 6:47, 48) How can we help a student to apply what he learns? Let us consider three suggestions.
4. How can we help a student to work steadily toward baptism? (See also the box “Help Your Student to Set Goals and Reach Them.”)
4 Help your student to set goals. Why should you do that? Consider this illustration: If you were going to take a long road trip, you might include interesting stops along the way. Thus the distance to your destination would seem less overwhelming. Likewise, when a Bible student sets and reaches short-term goals, he will likely realize that the goal of baptism is within his reach. Use the “Goal” feature in the Enjoy Life Forever! book to help your student make progress. At the end of each lesson, discuss how the goal relates to what your student has just learned. If you have a different goal in mind for your student, write it in the space labeled “Other.” Regularly use this portion of the study to review with your student both his short-term and his long-term goals.
5. As recorded at Mark 10:17-22, what did Jesus tell a rich man to do, and why?
5 Help your student to make lifestyle changes. (Read Mark 10:17-22.) Jesus knew that it would be difficult for a rich man to sell all his belongings. (Mark 10:23) Yet, Jesus told the man to make this big change in his lifestyle. Why? Because Jesus felt love for him. At times, we may hold back from encouraging a student to apply what he is learning because we feel that he is not ready to make a needed change. It may take time for people to strip off old habits and put on the new personality. (Col. 3:9, 10) But the sooner you openly discuss the issue, the sooner the student can begin to change. By having that discussion, you show that you care about him.—Ps. 141:5; Prov. 27:17.
6. Why should we use viewpoint questions?
6 A viewpoint question is one with which we ask a student for his opinion or thoughts on a subject. Use such a question to determine what your student understands and believes. If you do this regularly, you will find it easier to discuss sensitive topics with him in the future. The Enjoy Life Forever! book contains many viewpoint questions. For example, lesson 04 asks: “How do you think Jehovah feels when you use his name?” Lesson 09 asks: “What are some things you would like to pray about?” At first, your student may need time to think about how to answer viewpoint questions. You can help by training him to reason on related scriptures as well as on the artwork.
7. How can we use real-life experiences effectively?
7 Once your student understands what he needs to do, use real-life experiences to encourage him to do it. For example, if your student struggles to attend meetings, you could show him the video Jehovah Cared for Me featured in the “Explore” section of lesson 14. In many of the lessons in the Enjoy Life Forever! book, you will find such experiences in either the “Dig Deeper” or the “Explore” section.* Be careful not to compare your student with someone else by saying, “If he can do it, you can do it too.” Let the student come to that conclusion himself. Instead, isolate key points that helped the person in the video to apply Bible teachings. Perhaps you can point out a key scripture or something practical that was done. Whenever possible, emphasize how Jehovah helped that person.
8. How can we help our student come to love Jehovah?
8 Help your student come to love Jehovah. How? Look for opportunities to draw attention to Jehovah’s qualities. Help your student to view Jehovah as a happy God who supports those who love him. (1 Tim. 1:11; Heb. 11:6) Show the student that he will benefit by applying the information, and explain that this is a reflection of Jehovah’s love for him. (Isa. 48:17, 18) Your student will be more motivated to make any needed changes as his love for Jehovah deepens.—1 John 5:3.
INTRODUCE YOUR STUDENT TO FELLOW WORSHIPPERS
9. In line with Mark 10:29, 30, what can help a person to make sacrifices to become a baptized disciple?
9 To progress to baptism, a Bible student will need to make sacrifices. Like the rich man mentioned earlier, some students may need to sacrifice material things. If their employment is not in harmony with Bible principles, they may even have to make a change. Many may have to leave behind friends who do not love Jehovah. Others may be abandoned by family members who dislike Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jesus acknowledged that it may be difficult for some people to make such sacrifices. But he promised that those who follow him will not be disappointed. They will be richly rewarded with a loving spiritual family. (Read Mark 10:29, 30.) How can you help your Bible student to benefit from this beautiful gift?
10. What do you learn from Manuel’s experience?
10 Develop a friendship with your student. It is important for you to show your student that you care about him. Why? Note a comment from Manuel, who lives in Mexico. Recalling when he was a Bible student, he says: “Before every study session, my teacher would ask me how I was doing. He helped me relax and allowed me to open up about other matters. I could feel that he really cared about me.”
11. How might our students benefit from spending time with us?
11 Spend time with your students, as Jesus spent time with his followers. (John 3:22) If appropriate, invite your progressive Bible student to your home to enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal or to watch one of our monthly broadcasts. Your student might especially appreciate such an invitation during holiday seasons when he may be feeling lonely. “I think I learned as much about Jehovah from spending time with my teacher as I did during our study,” says Kazibwe, who lives in Uganda. “I saw how much Jehovah cares for his people and how happy they are. That’s what I wanted in my life.”
12. Why should we bring different publishers to a Bible study?
12 Invite different publishers to the Bible study. At times, we may feel that it is easier to go on our own or to bring the same publisher with us. While it may be more convenient to do so, our Bible student will likely benefit if, over time, we bring a variety of publishers. “Each publisher who came to my study would explain things in a unique way,” says Dmitrii, who lives in Moldova. “That helped me to look at the material from different angles. I was also less shy when I attended my first meeting, since I had already met many of the brothers and sisters.”
13. Why must we help our student to attend meetings?
13 Help your student to attend congregation meetings. Why? Because Jehovah commands his worshippers to meet together; it is part of our worship. (Heb. 10:24, 25) In addition, our brothers and sisters are our spiritual family. When we are at the meetings with them, it is as if we were together at home sharing a fine meal. When you help your Bible student to attend meetings, you help him to take one of the most important steps toward baptism. But it may be a difficult step for him to take. How can the publication Enjoy Life Forever! help your student to overcome any challenges he may face?
14. How can we motivate our student to attend meetings?
14 Use lesson 10 of the Enjoy Life Forever! book to help you motivate your student. Experienced publishers who were asked to test this lesson before the book was released had great success in helping their students to attend the meetings. Of course, do not wait until lesson 10 to invite your Bible student to our meetings. Invite him as soon as possible and continue to do so regularly. Different Bible students face different obstacles. So pay attention to your student’s needs, and see if you can offer practical help. Do not be discouraged if it takes some time before he attends. Be patient but persistent.
HELP YOUR BIBLE STUDENT TO OVERCOME HIS FEARS
15. What fears may our student have?
15 Do you remember feeling a bit afraid of becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Perhaps you felt that you would never be able to preach publicly. Or maybe you feared that your family or friends might oppose you. If so, you can sympathize with your Bible student. Jesus acknowledged that such fears are possible. However, he urged his followers not to let fear stop them from serving Jehovah. (Matt. 10:16, 17, 27, 28) How did Jesus help his followers to overcome their fears? And how can you follow his example?
16. How can we train our student to share his faith?
16 Progressively train your student to share his faith. Jesus’ disciples may have felt nervous when he sent them out to preach. But Jesus helped them by telling them where to preach and what their message was to be. (Matt. 10:5-7) How can you imitate Jesus? Help your student to see where he can preach. For example, ask him if he knows someone who could benefit from learning a specific Bible truth. Then help him to prepare what to say by showing him a simple way to share that truth. When appropriate, you can use as a practice session the features “Some People Say” and “Someone May Ask,” found in the Enjoy Life Forever! book. When you do, focus on training your student to use the Bible to give simple and tactful answers.
17 Help your student to trust in Jehovah. Jesus assured his disciples that Jehovah would help them because He loved them. (Read Matthew 10:19, 20, 29-31.) Remind your student that Jehovah will help him too. You can help him to rely on Jehovah by praying with him about his goals. “My teacher often mentioned my goals in his prayers,” says Franciszek, who lives in Poland. “When I saw how Jehovah answered my teacher’s prayers, I quickly started to pray. I felt Jehovah’s help when I needed to have days off from my new job to attend the meetings and the convention.”
18. How does Jehovah feel about the work that Christian teachers do?
18 Jehovah cares deeply about our Bible students. He appreciates how hard Christian teachers work to help people draw closer to him, and he loves them for it. (Isa. 52:7) If you are not currently conducting a Bible study, you can still help Bible students to progress toward baptism by accompanying other publishers on their studies.
SONG 60 It Means Their Life
This article will examine how Jesus helped people to become his disciples and how we can imitate him. We will also discuss some features of the new book Enjoy Life Forever! It is designed to help our Bible students to progress to baptism.
You can also find real-life experiences in (1) the Research Guide for Jehovah’s Witnesses under the subject “The Bible,” then “Practical Value,” and then “‘The Bible Changes Lives’ (Watchtower series)” or in (2) the JW Library® media section under “Interviews and Experiences.”
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother, accompanied by his wife, studies with a young man. At other times, various brothers sit in on the study.