Study Article 41
How to Conduct a Bible Study That Leads to Baptism—Part One
“You are shown to be a letter of Christ written by us as ministers.”—2 Corinthians 3:3.
Song 78 “Teaching the Word of God”
To teach a person something means to help him “think, feel, or act in a new or different way.” Our 2020 yeartext, Matthew 28:19, has reminded us of the importance of studying the Bible with people and teaching them how to become baptized disciples of Jesus Christ. In this article and in the one that follows, we will see how we can improve in this all-important work. [End of Box.]
Question 1. How does 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 help us to appreciate the privilege we have of conducting a Bible study that leads to baptism? (See cover picture.)
1 How do you feel when you see a Bible student from your congregation territory get baptized? Surely it makes your heart rejoice. (Matthew 28:19) And if you are the one who studied with the new disciple, how thrilling for you to witness that one’s baptism! (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20) Newly baptized disciples are fine “letters of recommendation,” not just for those who studied with them but also for the whole congregation.—Read 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.
[“Read” scripture.] 2 Corinthians 3:1-3: Are we starting to recommend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some men, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, inscribed on our hearts and known and being read by all mankind. For you are shown to be a letter of Christ written by us as ministers, inscribed not with ink but with the spirit of a living God, not on stone tablets but on fleshly tablets, on hearts. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Cover Picture: [Image:] A young woman getting baptized.
Caption: What could be more thrilling to an entire congregation than seeing a Bible student whom they have grown to love get baptized?
Question 2. (a) What important question do we need to consider, and why? (b) What is a Bible study? (See footnote.)
2 It is very good to see that for the past four years, on average, some 10,000,000 Bible studies* have been reported every month worldwide. And during those same years, on average, over 280,000 got baptized each year as Jehovah’s Witnesses and new disciples of Jesus Christ. How can we help more of those millions of Bible students to get baptized? As long as Jehovah is patiently allowing people the time and opportunity to become Christ’s disciples, we want to do all we can to help them progress to baptism as quickly as possible. Time is fast running out!—1 Corinthians 7:29a; 1 Peter 4:7.
[Footnote.] *Expression Explained: If you regularly and systematically have discussions using the Bible, you are conducting a Bible study. You may report the study if you have conducted it two times after the study arrangement was demonstrated and if you have reason to believe that the study will continue. [End of Footnote.]
Question 3. What will we consider in this article about conducting Bible studies?
3 To address the urgent need to make disciples, branch offices were surveyed to find out how we can help more of our Bible students progress to baptism. In this article and in the one that follows, we will see what we can learn from experienced pioneers, missionaries, and circuit overseers.* (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22) They point out what Bible teachers and their students can do to make a Bible study more successful. In this article, we will consider five things every student needs to do to make steady progress toward baptism.
[Footnote.] *These articles also include suggestions from the series “Conducting Progressive Bible Studies,” which appeared in the July 2004 through May 2005 issues of Our Kingdom Ministry. [End of Footnote.]
Study Every Week
Question 4. What should we realize about a doorstep Bible study?
4 Many of our brothers and sisters are conducting Bible studies right on the householder’s doorstep. Although this is a good start for developing interest in the Bible, these discussions are usually quite brief and may not even be held every week. To cultivate the interest further, some will ask for the interested person’s contact information and then phone or text the person between visits to share a brief Scriptural thought. Such occasional discussions might continue for months without developing into a productive study of the Bible. Will a student really progress to dedication and baptism if that is all the time and effort that he* devotes to studying God’s Word? Probably not.
[Footnote.] *Any reference to a male student also applies to a female student. [End of Footnote.]
Pictures on page 7: [Image:] Collage: 1. A sister conducts a doorstep Bible study with a woman. 2. On a different day, the sister is invited inside the woman’s home to study.
Caption: Ask the student if you can sit down together to discuss the Bible (See paragraphs 4-6)
Question 5. According to Luke 14:27-33, what did Jesus emphasize that can help us in our disciple-making work?
5 On one occasion, Jesus illustrated the cost of becoming his disciple. He spoke about someone wanting to build a tower and about a king wanting to march into war. Jesus said that the builder must “first sit down and calculate the expense” to complete the tower and that the king must “first sit down and take counsel” to see whether his troops can accomplish what they intend to do. (Read Luke 14:27-33.) Likewise, Jesus knew that a person who wants to become his disciple should analyze very carefully what it means to follow him. For that reason, we need to encourage prospective disciples to study with us every week. How can we do that?
[“Read” scripture.] Luke 14:27-33: Whoever does not carry his torture stake and come after me cannot be my disciple. For example, who of you wanting to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, he might lay its foundation but not be able to finish it, and all the onlookers would start to ridicule him, saying: ‘This man started to build but was not able to finish.’ Or what king marching out against another king in war does not first sit down and take counsel whether he is able with 10,000 troops to stand up to the one who comes against him with 20,000? If, in fact, he cannot do so, then while that one is yet far away, he sends out a body of ambassadors and sues for peace. In the same way, you may be sure that not one of you who does not say good-bye to all his belongings can be my disciple. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 6. What might we try to do to have progressive studies?
6 Start by lengthening those doorstep studies. Perhaps you can discuss an additional Scriptural point each time you visit. When the householder feels comfortable with a longer visit, ask him if there is some place where you can sit down together and continue the discussion. The householder’s reply will reveal how serious he is about studying the Bible. Eventually, to accelerate his progress, you might even ask the student if he would be willing to study twice a week. Yet, more is needed than to study once or twice every week.
Prepare for Each Study Session
Question 7. How can the teacher prepare well for each Bible study session?
7 As the teacher, you need to prepare well for each Bible study session. You can begin by reading the material and looking up the scriptures. Get the main points clearly in mind. Think about the title of the lesson, the subheadings, the study questions, the “read” scriptures, the artwork, and any videos that may help explain the subject. Then with your student in mind, meditate in advance on how to present the information simply and clearly so that your student can easily understand and apply it.—Nehemiah 8:8; Proverbs 15:28a.
Pictures on page 8: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister prepares the study lesson in advance. 2. Later, the sister helps the student identify which points to highlight in her publication.
Caption: Prepare well for your Bible study, and show the student how to prepare (See paragraphs 7-9)
Question 8. What do the apostle Paul’s words recorded at Colossians 1:9, 10 teach us about praying for our Bible students?
8 As part of your preparation, pray to Jehovah about the student and his needs. Ask Jehovah to help you teach from the Bible in a way that will reach the person’s heart. (Read Colossians 1:9, 10.) Try to anticipate anything that the student may have difficulty understanding or accepting. Keep in mind that your goal is to help him progress to baptism.
[“Read” scripture.] Colossians 1:9, 10: That is also why from the day we heard of it, we have never stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his 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; [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 9. How can the teacher help the student to prepare for his study? Explain.
9 It is our hope that through a regular Bible study, the student will appreciate what Jehovah and Jesus have done and will want to learn more. (Matthew 5:3, 6) To benefit fully from the study, the student needs to concentrate on what he is learning. To that end, impress on him how important it is that he prepare for each study session by reading the lesson beforehand and reflecting on how the material applies to him. How can the teacher help? Prepare a lesson together with the student to show him how this is done.* Explain how to find the direct answers to the study questions, and show how highlighting only key words or phrases will help him recall the answer. Then ask him to give the answer in his own words. When he does so, you will be able to determine how well he has understood the material. There is something else, though, that you can encourage your student to do.
[Footnote.] *Watch the four-minute video Teaching Our Students to Prepare. In JW Library®, go to MEDIA > OUR MEETINGS AND MINISTRY > IMPROVING OUR SKILLS. [End of Footnote.]
Teach Him to Communicate With Jehovah Every Day
Question 10. Why is it important to read the Bible daily, and what is needed to get the most out of Bible reading?
10 In addition to studying every week with his teacher, the student would benefit from doing some things every day on his own. He needs to communicate with Jehovah. How? By listening to and talking to Jehovah. He can listen to God by reading the Bible daily. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3) Show him how to use the printable “Bible Reading Schedule” that is posted on jw.org.* Of course, to help him get the most out of his Bible reading, encourage him to meditate on what the Bible is teaching him about Jehovah and how he can apply what he is learning to his personal life.—Acts 17:11; James 1:25.
[Footnote.] *Go to BIBLE TEACHINGS > BIBLE STUDY TOOLS. [End of Footnote.]
Pictures on page 9: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister prays before beginning the study session with the student. 2. Later, the Bible student prays on her own.
Caption: Teach your Bible student how to communicate with Jehovah (See paragraphs 10-11)
Question 11. How can a student learn to pray properly, and why is it important for him to pray to Jehovah often?
11 Encourage your student to talk to Jehovah by praying each day. Offer heartfelt prayers at the beginning and at the end of each study session, praying with and for your student. As he listens to your prayers, he will learn how to pray from his heart and sincerely address his prayers to Jehovah God in the name of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:9; John 15:16) Imagine how reading the Bible daily (listening to Jehovah) and praying (talking to Jehovah) will help your student draw ever closer to God! (James 4:8) Developing these habits will help your student acquire something else that can lead to his dedication and baptism.
Help Him to Develop a Personal Relationship With Jehovah
Question 12. How can a teacher help a student to develop a relationship with Jehovah?
12 What a student learns on a Bible study should appeal not just to his mind but also to his heart. Why? Our heart—which includes our desires, emotions, and feelings—motivates us to action. Jesus used logical reasoning that appealed to the mind. But people followed him because he also stirred their heart. (Luke 24:15, 27, 32) Your student needs to see Jehovah as a real Person, someone with whom he can develop a relationship, and to see Him as his Father, his God, and his Friend. (Psalm 25:4, 5) During the Bible study, make our God’s personality come alive. (Exodus 34:5, 6; 1 Peter 5:6, 7) Regardless of the topic you are discussing, focus attention on the kind of Person Jehovah is. Help the student to appreciate Jehovah’s beautiful qualities—his love, kindness, and compassion. Jesus said that “the greatest and first commandment” is to “love Jehovah your God.” (Matthew 22:37, 38) Try to instill deep love for God in your student’s heart.
Question 13. Give an example of how to help a student learn about Jehovah’s personality.
13 In your conversations with your student, express your deep feelings for Jehovah. This may help your student to realize that he needs to develop his own warm, personal relationship with God. (Psalm 73:28) For example, is there a phrase in the study publication or in a scripture that reveals something about Jehovah—his love, wisdom, justice, or power—that touches your heart? Mention it to your student, and let him know that this is one of the many reasons why you love our heavenly Father. There is something else that every Bible student needs to do in order to progress to baptism.
Encourage Him to Attend Congregation Meetings
Question 14. What does Hebrews 10:24, 25 tell us about congregation meetings that can help a Bible student make progress?
14 All of us want our students to progress to baptism. One important way we can help them is by encouraging them to attend congregation meetings. Experienced teachers say that students who attend meetings right away make the fastest progress. (Psalm 111:1) Some teachers explain to their students that they will receive half of their Bible education from the study and the other half from the meetings. Read Hebrews 10:24, 25 with your student, and explain to him the benefits that he will receive if he comes to the meetings. Play for him the video What Happens at a Kingdom Hall?* Help your student to make weekly meeting attendance an important part of his life.
[Footnote.] *In JW Library®, go to MEDIA > OUR MEETINGS AND MINISTRY > TOOLS FOR THE MINISTRY. [End of Footnote.]
[“Read” scripture.] Hebrews 10:24, 25: And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Pictures on page 10: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister uses a Watchtower, a video, and a meeting invitation to explain to the student how our meetings are conducted. 2. The sister comments during the Watchtower Study. Her student sits next to her and observes intently.
Caption: Encourage your student to start attending meetings as soon as possible! (See paragraphs 14-15)
Question 15. What can we do to encourage a student to attend meetings regularly?
15 What can you do if your student has not yet attended a meeting or is not attending regularly? Enthusiastically share something you learned at a recent meeting. That is more motivating than just inviting the student to attend. Give him the Watchtower or the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook that is currently being studied at the meeting. Show him what will be discussed at the next meeting, and ask him what part of it sounds most interesting to him. What your student experiences at his first meeting will far exceed anything he ever experienced at any other type of religious gathering. (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25) He will meet others whose good example he can imitate and who will help him progress to baptism.
Question 16. What is needed to conduct Bible studies that lead to baptism, and what will we learn in the next article?
16 How can we conduct Bible studies that lead to baptism? We can help each student take the study seriously by encouraging him to study every week and prepare for each study session. We also want to encourage him to communicate with Jehovah every day and to develop a personal relationship with Him. We want to motivate the student to attend congregation meetings. (See the box on page 12, “What Students Need to Do to Progress to Baptism.”) However, as the next article will explain, there are five additional things that Bible teachers can do to lead students to baptism.
Box on page 12
[Box.] What Students Need to Do to Progress to Baptism
Picture: [Image:] A sister conducting a Bible study with her happy student.
1. Study every week
• Devote the needed time and effort to study regularly
• If possible, study twice a week
2. Prepare for each study session
• Read the lesson beforehand
• Highlight key words or phrases that answer each study question
• Think of how the material applies to them
3. Communicate with Jehovah every day
• Listen to Jehovah by reading the Bible daily
• Think of what the Bible is teaching about Jehovah
• Speak to Jehovah by praying each day
4. Develop a personal relationship with Jehovah
• See Jehovah as a real Person
• Appreciate Jehovah’s beautiful qualities and personality
• Learn to love Jehovah from the heart
5. Attend congregation meetings
• Accept this as part of the Bible study program
• See the benefits they can receive by attending the meetings
• Meet others whose good example they can imitate [End of Box.]
[Box.] What Did You Learn?
How can we make doorstep Bible discussions more productive?
How can we teach students to communicate with Jehovah every day, and why is that necessary?
How can we encourage students to attend congregation meetings? [End of Box.]
Song 76 How Does It Make You Feel?
Study Article 42
How to Conduct a Bible Study That Leads to Baptism—Part Two
“Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.”—1 Timothy 4:16.
Song 77 Light in a Darkened World
When we conduct Bible studies, we have the privilege of helping people learn how Jehovah wants them to begin thinking, feeling, and acting. This article will further explain how we can improve in our teaching skills. [End of Box.]
Question 1. How do we know that the disciple-making work is a lifesaving work?
1 The disciple-making work is a lifesaving work! How do we know? When Jesus gave the command that is recorded at Matthew 28:19, 20, he said: “Go, ... make disciples ... , baptizing them.” What do we know about the importance of baptism? It is a requirement for those seeking salvation. The baptism candidate must have faith that salvation is possible only because Jesus died a sacrificial death and was resurrected. That is why the apostle Peter told fellow Christians: “Baptism [is] now saving you ... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:21) So when a new disciple gets baptized, he puts himself in line for salvation.
Question 2. What does 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 impress on us as teachers?
2 To make disciples, we need to develop the “art of teaching.” (Read 2 Timothy 4:1, 2.) Why? Because Jesus commanded us: “Go, ... make disciples ... , teaching them.” The apostle Paul said to “persevere” in that work, “for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” For good reason, then, Paul said: “Pay constant attention to ... your teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Since teaching is linked to disciple-making, we want our teaching to be the best.
[“Read” scripture.] 2 Timothy 4:1, 2: I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdom: Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 3. In this article, what will we consider about conducting Bible studies?
3 We are regularly teaching millions of people the truths found in the Bible. But as noted in the preceding article, we want to know how we can help more of them to become baptized disciples of Jesus Christ. In this article, we will consider five additional things that every teacher needs to do to help a student progress to baptism.
Let the Bible Do the Teaching
Question 4. Why must a teacher exercise self-control when conducting a Bible study? (See also footnote.)
4 We love what we teach from God’s Word. So we may be tempted to talk at length about what we love. However, whether conducting the Watchtower Study, the Congregation Bible Study, or a home Bible study, the conductor should not do too much talking. In order to let the Bible do the teaching, the teacher has to exercise self-control and not try to explain everything he knows about a certain Bible passage or subject.* (John 16:12) Compare the Bible knowledge that you had at the time of your baptism with what you have now. Likely back then, you understood just the primary doctrines. (Hebrews 6:1) It has taken you years to learn what you know today, so do not try to teach a new student everything all at once.
[Footnote.] *See the article “Avoid These Pitfalls When Conducting a Bible Study” in the September 2016 issue of the Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook. [End of Footnote.]
Pictures on page 15: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister featured in the previous article conducts a Bible study with her student. She makes large gestures and her Bible is facedown on the table. An older sister sits in, and both she and the student look confused. 2. Later, at a café, the sister listens as the experienced teacher offers suggestions on how she can improve her teaching.
Picture Description: Sometime after the Bible study, the experienced sister helps the one who conducted it to see how not to do so much of the talking during the study.
Caption: Ask an experienced teacher to help you improve your skills in letting the Bible do the teaching (See paragraphs 4-6)
Question 5. (a) In harmony with 1 Thessalonians 2:13, what do we want our student to understand from his study? (b) How can we encourage a student to talk about the things he is learning?
5 We want our student to understand that what he is learning comes from God’s inspired Word. (Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13.) How can we do that? Encourage the student to talk about the things he is learning. Instead of always explaining Bible texts to the student, ask him to explain some of them to you. Help the student to see how God’s Word applies to him personally. Ask leading and viewpoint questions that draw him out—what he thinks and feels about the scriptures he reads. (Luke 10:25-28) For example, ask him: “How has this scripture helped you to see one of Jehovah’s qualities?” “How can you benefit from this Bible truth?” “How do you feel about what you just learned?” (Proverbs 20:5) What matters most is, not how much a student knows, but how much he loves and applies what he knows.
[“Read” scripture.] 1 Thessalonians 2:13: Indeed, that is why we also thank God unceasingly, because when you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in you believers. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 6. Why might it be good to take an experienced teacher with us on a Bible study?
6 When conducting a Bible study, do you ever take with you publishers who are experienced teachers? If you do, you can ask them for their observations about the way you conduct the study and how well you do in letting the Bible do the teaching. You must be humble if you are to improve your teaching skills. (Compare Acts 18:24-26.) Afterward, ask the experienced publisher if he thinks that the student is grasping the truth. You could also ask the same publisher to conduct the study for you if you will be away for one or more weeks. That will keep the study regular and will emphasize to the student the importance of his study. Never feel that this is “your” study and that no one else can conduct it. After all, you want what is best for the student so that he can make consistent progress in learning the truth.
Teach With Enthusiasm and Conviction
Question 7. What will help a student to get excited about what he is learning?
7 A student needs to see your enthusiasm and to hear your conviction about the truths that are found in the Bible. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) Then he will be more likely to get excited about what he is learning. If appropriate, tell him how living by Bible principles has helped you personally. Then he will come to realize that the Bible contains practical guidance that can benefit him too.
Pictures on page 16: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister shows her Bible student a video of a real-life example. 2. The Bible student explains her new beliefs to her husband.
Picture Description: During the study, the student learns how to be a better wife. Later, she shares with her husband what she has learned.
Caption: Share real-life examples to help your student understand how to apply Bible principles (See paragraphs 7-9)
Question 8. What can you do to supplement the Bible study, and why would you do so?
8 During the Bible study, tell your student about real-life examples of those who faced challenges similar to his and overcame them. You could bring along on the study someone from the congregation whose example might benefit the student. Or you can find touching experiences on jw.org in the series “The Bible Changes Lives.”* Such articles and videos will help your student to see how wise it is to apply Bible principles in his life.
[Footnote.] *Go to ABOUT US > EXPERIENCES. [End of Footnote.]
Question 9. How can you encourage a student to share what he is learning with his family and friends?
9 If the student is married, is the spouse also studying? If not, invite the mate to join in the study. Encourage your student to share what he is learning with his family and friends. (John 1:40-45) How? You might simply ask: “How would you explain this truth to your family?” or “What scripture would you use to prove this to a friend?” In this way, you will be training the student to be a teacher. Then when he qualifies, he can begin sharing in the ministry as an unbaptized publisher. You could ask the student if he knows anyone else who would like to study the Bible. If he does, contact the person right away and offer to study with him. Show him the video What Happens at a Bible Study?*
[Footnote.] *In JW Library®, go to MEDIA > OUR MEETINGS AND MINISTRY > TOOLS FOR THE MINISTRY. [End of Footnote.]
Encourage the Student to Make Friends in the Congregation
Question 10. As described at 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8, how can a teacher imitate Paul’s example?
10 Teachers must show genuine, personal interest in their students. View them as your future spiritual brothers or sisters. (Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8.) It is not easy for them to give up friends in the world and to make all the necessary changes to serve Jehovah. We need to help them find true friends in the congregation. Be a friend to your student by spending time with him not only during the Bible study but also on other occasions. A phone call, a text message, or a short visit in between studies shows that you really care about him.
[“Read” scripture.] 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8: On the contrary, we became gentle in your midst, as when a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. So having tender affection for you, we were determined to impart to you, not only the good news of God but also our very selves, because you became so beloved to us. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Pictures on page 17: [Image:] Collage: 1. The sister introduces her Bible student to a sister at the Kingdom Hall. 2. The sister, her student, and her student’s husband enjoy association at the home of the sister she met earlier at the Kingdom Hall.
Picture Description: The student and her husband enjoy association at the home of one of the friends she met at the Kingdom Hall.
Caption: Encourage the student to make friends in the congregation (See paragraphs 10-11)
Question 11. What do we want our students to find in the congregation, and why?
11 It has been said: “It takes a village to raise a child.” We could say: “It takes a congregation to make a disciple.” That is why effective Bible teachers introduce their students to others in the congregation who can have a good influence on them. The students can then enjoy associating with God’s people, who can give them spiritual and emotional support. We want each student to feel that he belongs in the congregation and is part of our spiritual family. We want him to be drawn to our warm and loving Christian brotherhood. Then it will be easier for him to stop having close association with people who do not help him to love Jehovah. (Proverbs 13:20) If his former associates reject him, he will know that he can find true friends in Jehovah’s organization.—Mark 10:29, 30; 1 Peter 4:4.
Emphasize the Goal of Dedication and Baptism
Question 12. Why should we talk about Christian dedication and baptism with our student?
12 Talk openly about Christian dedication and baptism. After all, our goal in conducting a Bible study is to help a person become a baptized disciple. Within a few months of having a regular Bible study and especially after beginning to attend meetings, the student should understand that the purpose of the Bible study is to help him to start serving Jehovah as one of His Witnesses.
Picture on page 18: [Image:] The Bible student stepping out of the baptismal pool. Her husband, the sister who studied with her, and several others from the congregation smile and applaud.
Caption: Step-by-step, a sincere Bible student can reach the goal of baptism! (See paragraphs 12-13)
Question 13. What steps does a student take as he progresses to baptism?
13 Step-by-step, a sincere Bible student can reach the goal of baptism! First, the student comes to know and love Jehovah and put faith in Him. (John 3:16; 17:3) The student then forms a relationship with Jehovah and begins to bond with the congregation. (Hebrews 10:24, 25; James 4:8) Eventually, the student rejects bad practices and repents of his sins. (Acts 3:19) Meanwhile, his faith impels him to share the truth with others. (2 Corinthians 4:13) Then he dedicates himself to Jehovah and symbolizes his dedication by getting baptized. (1 Peter 3:21; 4:2) And what a joyous day that is for everyone! As the student takes each step toward his goal, be generous with sincere commendation and encourage him to continue his progress in the right direction.
Periodically Evaluate the Student’s Progress
Question 14. How can a teacher evaluate a student’s progress?
14 We need to be patient when helping a student progress to dedication and baptism. But at some point, we need to find out if he has the desire to serve Jehovah God. Do you see signs that the student is trying to obey Jesus’ commandments? Or does he only want to learn facts from the Bible?
Question 15. What signs of progress must a teacher look for in a student?
15 Regularly analyze the progress that the student is making. For example, does he express his feelings for Jehovah? Does he pray to Jehovah? (Psalm 116:1, 2) Does he enjoy reading the Bible? (Psalm 119:97) Is he attending the meetings regularly? (Psalm 22:22) Has he made any needed changes in his lifestyle? (Psalm 119:112) Has he started sharing what he is learning with his family and friends? (Psalm 9:1) Most important, does he want to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? (Psalm 40:8) If the student is not making progress in any of these areas, tactfully try to find out why and then discuss the matter with him kindly but frankly.*
[Footnote.] *See the articles “Love and Appreciation for Jehovah Lead to Baptism” and “Are You Ready to Get Baptized?” in the March 2020 issue of The Watchtower. [End of Footnote.]
Question 16. What might indicate that a Bible study should be discontinued?
16 Periodically evaluate whether you should continue studying with someone. Ask yourself: ‘Does the student fail to prepare for the study? Does he lack interest in attending meetings? Does he still have bad habits? Is he still a member of a false religion?’ If the answer is yes, continuing to study with him would be like trying to give swimming lessons to someone who does not want to get wet! If the student does not truly appreciate what he is learning and is not willing to make changes, why continue studying with him?
Question 17. According to 1 Timothy 4:16, what must all Bible teachers do?
17 We take seriously our responsibility to make disciples, and we want to help our Bible students progress to baptism. That is why we will let the Bible do the teaching and we will teach with enthusiasm and conviction. We will encourage the student to make friends in the congregation. And we will emphasize the goal of dedication and baptism, periodically evaluating the student’s progress. (See the box on page 13, “What Teachers Need to Do to Lead Students to Baptism.”) We rejoice that we can share in this lifesaving work! May we be determined to do our best to conduct progressive Bible studies that lead to baptism.
Box on page 13
[Box.] What Teachers Need to Do to Lead Students to Baptism
Picture: [Image:] A sister happily conducting a Bible study with her student.
1. Let the Bible do the teaching
• Exercise self-control by not talking too much
• Ask experienced teachers to help you improve your teaching
2. Teach with enthusiasm and conviction
• Let the student see that you are excited about Bible truths
• Share examples of others who applied what they learned
• Encourage the student to share what he is learning
3. Encourage the student to make friends in the congregation
• Show genuine, personal interest in your student
• Introduce him to others who can have a good influence on him
• Help him to feel that he belongs in the congregation
4. Emphasize the goal of dedication and baptism
• Step-by-step, lead the student to baptism
• Be generous with your commendation and encouragement
5. Periodically evaluate the student’s progress
• Look for signs that reveal his desire to serve Jehovah
• If he is not making progress, discuss the matter with him kindly but frankly [End of Box.]
[Box.] What Did You Learn?
How must a teacher exercise self-control when conducting a study?
How can we help Bible students draw close to the congregation?
Why should we not hesitate to emphasize the goal of dedication and baptism? [End of Box.]
Song 79 Teach Them to Stand Firm
Study Article 43
Jehovah Is Directing His Organization
“‘Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ says Jehovah of armies.”—Zechariah 4:6.
Song 40 To Whom Do We Belong?
Are you convinced that Jehovah is directing his organization today? In this article, we will consider how Jehovah directed the early Christian congregation and how he continues to direct his people today. [End of Box.]
Question 1. What must baptized Christians continue to do?
1 Are you baptized? If so, you have publicly expressed your faith in Jehovah and your willingness to serve with his organization.* Of course, your faith in Jehovah must continue to grow. And you need to keep building your confidence that Jehovah is using his organization today.
[Footnote.] *Expression Explained: Jehovah’s universal organization has a heavenly part and an earthly part. In this article, the word “organization” refers to the earthly part. [End of Footnote.]
Question 2-3. In what way does Jehovah direct his organization today? Give examples.
2 Today, Jehovah directs his organization in a way that reflects his personality, purpose, and standards. Let us consider three of Jehovah’s attributes that are reflected in his organization.
3 First, “God is not partial.” (Acts 10:34) Love moved Jehovah to give his Son as a “ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6; John 3:16) Jehovah uses his people to preach the good news to all who will listen, thereby helping as many as possible to benefit from the ransom. Second, Jehovah is a God of order and peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) Therefore, we should expect that his worshippers serve him as an orderly, peaceful group. Third, Jehovah is the “Grand Instructor.” (Isaiah 30:20, 21) Thus, his organization focuses on teaching his inspired Word, both in the congregation and in the public ministry. How were those three aspects of Jehovah’s personality evident in the early Christian congregation? How are they manifest in modern times? And how can holy spirit help you as you serve with Jehovah’s organization today?
God Is Not Partial
Question 4. As stated at Acts 1:8, what did Jesus command his followers to do, and what help would they receive?
4 In the first century. The message that Jesus preached offered hope to all mankind. (Luke 4:43) He commanded his followers to continue the work he started, to give a witness “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Read Acts 1:8.) Of course, they could not do this work in their own strength. They would need holy spirit—“the helper” that Jesus had promised them.—John 14:26; Zechariah 4:6.
[“Read” scripture.] Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the most distant part of the earth.” [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 5-6. In what ways did holy spirit help Jesus’ followers?
5 Jesus’ followers received the holy spirit at Pentecost 33 C.E. With the help of that spirit, they immediately began to preach, and in a short time, thousands accepted the good news. (Acts 2:41; 4:4) When opposition arose, the disciples did not give in to fear but turned to God for help. They prayed: “Grant to your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.” They were then filled with holy spirit and kept “speaking the word of God with boldness.”—Acts 4:18-20, 29, 31.
6 Jesus’ disciples faced other challenges too. For example, copies of the Scriptures were few. There were no study aids such as we have today. And the disciples had to preach to people who spoke many different languages. In spite of all those challenges, those zealous disciples did the seemingly impossible—within just a few decades, they had preached the good news “in all creation under heaven.”—Colossians 1:6, 23.
Question 7. More than 100 years ago, how did Jehovah’s servants know what God required of them, and how did they respond?
7 In modern times. Jehovah continues to direct and empower his people. The direction, of course, comes largely through God’s spirit-inspired Word. There we find a record of Jesus’ ministry and his command that his followers continue the work he started. (Matthew 28:19, 20) As far back as July 1881, this magazine could say: “We were not called, nor anointed to receive honor and amass wealth but to spend and be spent, and to preach the good news.” To Whom the Work Is Entrusted, a booklet published in 1919, stated: “The work appears stupendous, but it is the Lord’s, and in his strength we will perform it.” Yes, like the early Christians, these brothers courageously poured themselves into the work, confident that holy spirit would help them to preach to all sorts of people. We continue to have the same confidence today.
Question 8-9. What methods has Jehovah’s organization used to further the preaching work?
8 Jehovah’s organization has used the best tools available to spread the good news. These tools have included printed publications, the “Photo-Drama of Creation,” phonographs, sound cars, radio broadcasts and, more recently, digital technology. God’s organization is also engaged in the greatest translation effort in history! Why? So that all sorts of people can hear the good news in their own language. Jehovah is impartial; he foretold that the good news would be declared “to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” (Revelation 14:6, 7) He wants the Kingdom message to be available to all.
9 What about those who are hard to reach, perhaps because they live in high-security apartments? With a view to reaching more of these people, Jehovah’s organization was moved to consider various forms of public witnessing. For example, in 2001, the Governing Body approved the use of literature carts and other displays in France and later in other places as well. The results were positive. In 2011 a pilot program was started in the United States in one of the busiest parts of New York City. During the first year, 102,129 books and 68,911 magazines were placed. And 4,701 people asked for a Bible study! Clearly, holy spirit was backing this work. So the Governing Body approved the use of literature displays in the worldwide field.
Pictures on pages 22-23: [Image:] Collage: Past and present tools used to spread the good news. 1. A radio broadcast. 2. A sound car. 3. A phonograph. 4. The Zion’s Watch Tower and Golden Age magazines. 5. The Watchtower and Awake! magazines. 6. The jw.org website. 7. A couple standing next to literature carts preach to passersby.
Caption: Jehovah’s organization has used the best tools available to spread the good news
Question 10. What can we do to improve in our ministry?
10 What you can do. Take full advantage of the training Jehovah provides at Christian meetings. Work regularly with your field service group. There you can get personal help in areas where you may need it, as well as encouragement from the fine example of others. Endure in the ministry. As our theme text reminds us, we accomplish God’s will, not in our own power, but by holy spirit. (Zechariah 4:6) After all, we are doing God’s work.
Jehovah Is a God of Order and Peace
Question 11. How did the first-century governing body work unitedly to maintain order among God’s people?
11 In the first century. The governing body in Jerusalem worked unitedly to maintain order and peace among God’s people. (Acts 2:42) For example, when the issue of circumcision came to a head about 49 C.E., the governing body, under the direction of holy spirit, considered the matter. If the congregation had remained divided over this issue, the preaching work would have been hindered. Even though they were Jewish, the apostles and older men were not influenced by Jewish tradition or by those strongly promoting it. Rather, they looked to God’s Word and spirit for guidance. (Acts 15:1, 2, 5-20, 28) The result? Jehovah blessed their decision, peace and unity prevailed, and the preaching work moved ahead.—Acts 15:30, 31; 16:4, 5.
Question 12. What shows that order and peace exist in Jehovah’s organization today?
12 In modern times. Jehovah’s organization has worked to maintain order and peace among Jehovah’s people. As far back as 1895, Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence of November 15 had an article entitled “Decently and in Order,” based on 1 Corinthians 14:40. The article stated: “The apostles had much to say to the early Church concerning order ... It is safe to continue to heed very carefully ‘the things written aforetime for our admonition.’” (Romans 15:4) Yes, the same desire for order and peace that marked the early Christians is evident in Jehovah’s organization today. To illustrate: If you were to attend a Watchtower Study in another congregation—even in another land—you would know how the study would be conducted and which article would be considered. Immediately, you would feel at home! What else but God’s spirit can account for this precious unity?—Zephaniah 3:9, footnote.
Question 13. With James 3:17 in mind, what questions should we ask ourselves?
13 What you can do. Jehovah wants his people to “maintain the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) So ask yourself: ‘Do I promote unity and peace in the congregation? Am I obedient to those taking the lead? Can others depend on me, especially if I have responsibilities in the congregation? Am I punctual, helpful, and eager to serve?’ (Read James 3:17.) If you see room for improvement, pray for holy spirit. The more you allow it to mold your personality and influence your actions, the more your brothers and sisters will love you and value you.
[“Read” scripture.] James 3:17: But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Jehovah Educates Us and Equips Us
Question 14. According to Colossians 1:9, 10, how did Jehovah educate his people in the first century?
14 In the first century. Jehovah takes great pleasure in educating his people. (Psalm 32:8) He wants them to know him, to love him, and to live forever as his beloved children. All of this would be impossible without the education he provides. (John 17:3) Jehovah used the first-century Christian congregation to educate his people. (Read Colossians 1:9, 10.) Holy spirit—the “helper” that Jesus had promised—played a major role. (John 14:16) It gave the disciples more insight into God’s Word, and it brought back to their mind the many things Jesus said and did, as later recorded in the Gospels. This knowledge strengthened the early Christians’ faith as well as their love for God, for his Son, and for one another.
[“Read” scripture.] Colossians 1:9, 10: That is also why from the day we heard of it, we have never stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his 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; [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 15. In what ways have you seen Jehovah fulfill his promise found at Isaiah 2:2, 3?
15 In modern times. Jehovah foretold that “in the final part of the days,” people of all nations would flock to his figurative mountain to be instructed about his ways. (Read Isaiah 2:2, 3.) We are seeing that prophecy being fulfilled. True worship has been exalted far above all forms of unclean worship. And what a spiritual banquet Jehovah is providing! (Isaiah 25:6) By means of “the faithful and discreet slave,” he is giving us not just an abundance but also an amazing variety, from articles and talks to digital animations and videos. (Matthew 24:45) We feel as did Job’s friend Elihu, who rightly said: “What instructor is like [God]?”—Job 36:22.
[“Read” scripture.] Isaiah 2:2, 3: In the final part of the days, The mountain of the house of Jehovah Will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, And it will be raised up above the hills, And to it all the nations will stream. And many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, To the house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, And we will walk in his paths.” For law will go out of Zion, And the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 16. What can you do to grow spiritually?
16 What you can do. God’s spirit will help you to make practical application of what you read and study in God’s Word. Pray as did the psalmist: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I will walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) So continue to take in the spiritual food that Jehovah provides through his Word and his organization. Of course, your goal is not just to gain knowledge. You want to impress the truth on your heart and apply it in your life. Jehovah’s spirit can help you to do that. You also want to encourage your brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Why? Because they are your spiritual family. Pray for God’s spirit to help you to give heartfelt comments at Christian meetings and to do your very best when you have a part on the program. In these ways you show Jehovah and his Son that you love their precious “sheep.”—John 21:15-17.
Pictures on page 24: [Image:] Collage: 1. A sister sits at a desk and watches a video about serving where the need is greater. She writes down some notes on a notepad. 2. The sister preaches in another land.
Picture Description: After watching videos and seeing others who are serving in lands where the need is greater, a pioneer sister is motivated to follow their example. She eventually realizes her goal of serving in such territory.
Caption: Impress the truth on your heart, and apply it in your life
Question 17. In what ways can you show that you faithfully support Jehovah’s organization?
17 Soon, the only organization left on earth will be the one led by God’s spirit. So zealously work with Jehovah’s organization. Reflect God’s impartial love for people by proclaiming the good news to all you meet. Imitate his love for order and peace by promoting unity in the congregation. And listen to your Grand Instructor by taking full advantage of the spiritual banquet he provides. Then as Satan’s world comes to its end, you will not be fearful. Instead, you will confidently stand among those who are loyally serving with Jehovah’s organization.
[Box.] How Does Jehovah’s Organization Help Us To . . .
preach to all sorts of people?
serve together as an orderly and peaceful group?
benefit from divine education? [End of Box.]
Song 3 Our Strength, Our Hope, Our Confidence
Study Article 44
December 28‒January 3
Will They Grow Up to Serve God?
“Jesus went on progressing in wisdom and in physical growth and in favor with God and men.”—Luke 2:52.
Song 134 Children Are a Trust From God
Christian parents want their children to grow up to be happy servants of Jehovah. What choices can parents make that will help their children to reach that goal? What choices do Christian youths need to make to find real success in life? This article will answer those questions. [End of Box.]
Question 1. What is the best decision that anyone could make?
1 Often, the choices that parents make affect their children for a long time. If parents make poor choices, they can cause problems for their children. But if they make wise choices, they give their children the best chance of having a happy, satisfying life. Of course, children must also make good decisions. The best decision anyone can make is to serve our loving heavenly Father, Jehovah.—Psalm 73:28.
Question 2. What good choices did Jesus and his parents make?
2 Jesus’ parents were determined to help their children to serve Jehovah, and the choices the parents made proved that this was their main goal in life. (Luke 2:40, 41, 52) Jesus likewise made good choices that helped him to fulfill his role in Jehovah’s purpose. (Matthew 4:1-10) Jesus grew up to be a kind, loyal, and courageous man—the type of son who would bring pride and joy to the heart of any God-fearing parent.
Question 3. What questions will we answer in this article?
3 In this article, we will examine the following questions: What good choices did Jehovah make regarding Jesus? What can Christian parents learn from the choices that Jesus’ human parents made? And what can Christian youths learn from the choices that Jesus made?
Learn From Jehovah
Question 4. What important choice did Jehovah make regarding his Son?
4 Jehovah chose excellent parents for Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-38) Mary’s heartfelt expressions recorded in the Bible reveal her deep love for Jehovah and his Word. (Luke 1:46-55) And the way that Joseph reacted to Jehovah’s direction shows that he feared God and wanted to please him.—Matthew 1:24.
Question 5-6. What did Jehovah allow his Son to experience?
5 Note that Jehovah did not choose wealthy parents for Jesus. The sacrifice Joseph and Mary offered after Jesus’ birth shows that they were poor. (Luke 2:24) Joseph may have had a small shop next to his home in Nazareth where he worked as a carpenter. Their way of living must have been simple, especially as the family grew in size to include at least seven children.—Matthew 13:55, 56.
6 Jehovah protected Jesus from certain dangers, but He did not shield His Son from all challenges. (Matthew 2:13-15) For example, Jesus had to deal with unbelieving relatives. Imagine how disappointing it must have been for Jesus to have members of his own family who did not initially accept him as the Messiah. (Mark 3:21; John 7:5) Likely, Jesus also had to cope with the death of his adoptive father, Joseph. Such a loss may have meant that Jesus, the oldest son, had to take over the family business. (Mark 6:3) As he grew up, Jesus learned to be responsible for the welfare of his family. He likely had to work hard to support them. So he knew firsthand how it felt to be physically tired at the end of the day.
Question 7. (a) What questions will help married couples in parenting their children? (b) How can Proverbs 2:1-6 be helpful in training one’s children?
7 If you are a married couple and would like to have children, ask yourselves: ‘Are we the kind of humble, spiritually-minded people whom Jehovah would choose to care for a precious new life?’ (Psalm 127:3, 4) If you are already a parent, ask yourself: ‘Am I teaching my children the value of hard work?’ (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13) ‘Do I do my best to protect my children from the physical and moral dangers that they may encounter in Satan’s world?’ (Proverbs 22:3) You cannot shield your children from all the challenges they may face. That is an impossible task. But you can progressively and lovingly prepare them for the realities of life by teaching them how to turn to God’s Word for advice. (Read Proverbs 2:1-6.) For example, if a relative chooses to reject true worship, help your children to learn from God’s Word why it is so important to remain loyal to Jehovah. (Psalm 31:23) Or if death claims a loved one, show your children how to use God’s Word to cope with grief and to find peace.—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; 2 Timothy 3:16.
[“Read” scripture.] Proverbs 2:1-6: My son, if you accept my sayings And treasure up my commandments, By making your ear attentive to wisdom And inclining your heart to discernment; Moreover, if you call out for understanding And raise your voice for discernment; If you keep seeking for it as for silver, And you keep searching for it as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of Jehovah, And you will find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; From his mouth come knowledge and discernment. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Pictures on page 27: [Image:] Collage: 1. Mary helps young Jesus to write a copy of a scripture onto a tablet. 2. A mother uses a publication designed for children to teach her daughter about God’s Word.
Picture Description: Mary must have instilled deep love for Jehovah in young Jesus. Mothers today can likewise instill love for Jehovah in their children.
Caption: Parents, prepare your children for the realities of life by teaching them how to turn to God’s Word for advice
Learn From Joseph and Mary
Question 8. According to Deuteronomy 6:6, 7, what did Joseph and Mary have to do?
8 Jesus’ earthly parents helped Jesus to grow up to have God’s favor; they followed Jehovah’s directions to parents. (Read Deuteronomy 6:6, 7.) Joseph and Mary had a deep love for Jehovah, and their priority was to encourage their children to develop that same kind of love.
[“Read” scripture.] Deuteronomy 6:6, 7: These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 9. What important choices did Joseph and Mary make?
9 Joseph and Mary chose to maintain a good spiritual routine as a family. No doubt, they attended weekly meetings at the synagogue in Nazareth, as well as the annual Passover in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:41; 4:16) They may have used those family trips to Jerusalem to teach Jesus and his siblings about the history of Jehovah’s people, possibly along the way visiting locations that are mentioned in the Scriptures. As their family grew in number, it must not have been easy for Joseph and Mary to keep a good spiritual routine. But look at the benefits they enjoyed! Because they put worship of Jehovah first, their family was well cared for spiritually.
Question 10. What lessons can Christian parents learn from Joseph and Mary?
10 What can God-fearing parents learn from Joseph and Mary? Most important, teach your children in word and action that you love Jehovah deeply. Realize that the greatest gift that you can give them is the opportunity to love Jehovah. And one of the most valuable lessons that you can teach them is how to keep a good spiritual routine of study, prayer, meetings, and participation in the ministry. (1 Timothy 6:6) Of course, you must give your children the material things they need. (1 Timothy 5:8) But remember that it will be your children’s close relationship with Jehovah, not their material possessions, that will help them to survive the end of this old system and make it into God’s new world.*—Ezekiel 7:19; 1 Timothy 4:8.
[Footnote.] *See Pure Worship of Jehovah—Restored At Last!, pages 69-70, paragraphs 17-18. [End of Footnote.]
Question 11. (a) How will the admonition found at 1 Timothy 6:17-19 help parents to make good choices when they are raising their children? (b) What goals might your family consider, and what blessings could result? (See the box “What Goals Will You Pursue?”)
11 How heartwarming it is to see so many Christian parents who are making good spiritual choices for their families! They consistently worship together. They attend congregation meetings and conventions. And they share in the field ministry. Some families are even able to preach in seldom-worked territory. Others visit a Bethel home or support theocratic construction projects. Families who choose these activities must make financial sacrifices, and they will likely face some challenges. But the benefits they receive truly make them spiritually rich. (Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19.) Children who are raised in such families often continue with the good habits they learned, and they have no regrets!*—Proverbs 10:22.
[Footnote.] *See the box “I Couldn’t Imagine Having Better Parents” in Awake!, October 2011, page 20, and the article “A Special Letter to Their Parents” in Awake!, March 8, 1999, page 25. [End of Footnote.]
[“Read” scripture.] 1 Timothy 6:17-19: Instruct those who are rich in the present system of things not to be arrogant, and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy. Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, so that they may get a firm hold on the real life. [End of “Read” scripture.]
Pictures on page 28: [Image:] Collage: 1. Joseph, Mary, and their children arrive at a synagogue. Other Israelites greet them. 2. Parents and their daughter arrive at a Kingdom Hall. A brother greets them.
Picture Description: Joseph must have valued attending the synagogue with his family. Fathers today can value attending congregation meetings with their family.
Caption: It is heartwarming to see Christian parents making good spiritual choices for their families!
Box on page 29
[Box.] What Goals Will You Pursue?
1. Auxiliary pioneer as a family when the circuit overseer visits
2. Spend a week in seldom-worked territory
3. Volunteer to work on a Kingdom Hall or at an Assembly Hall
4. Visit and tour the local branch office [End of Box.]
Learn From Jesus
Question 12. What did Jesus have to do as he grew up?
12 Jesus’ heavenly Father always makes good choices, and his earthly parents also made wise decisions. However, as Jesus grew up, he had to make his own choices. (Galatians 6:5) Like all of us, he had the gift of free will. He could have chosen to seek his own interests first. Instead, he chose to maintain a good relationship with Jehovah. (John 8:29) How might his example help young ones today?
Question 13. What important choice did Jesus make while still young?
13 Early in his human life, Jesus chose to be submissive to his parents. He never rejected his parents’ direction, reasoning that he knew more than they did. Rather, “he continued subject to them.” (Luke 2:51) Jesus no doubt took his responsibility as the oldest son seriously. He surely worked hard to learn a trade from his adoptive father so that he could help support his family.
Pictures on page 30: [Image:] Collage: 1. Joseph teaches Jesus how to use a carpentry tool. 2. A father teaches his son how to use a drill.
Picture Description: Jesus learned practical skills from his father. Youths today can learn skills from their father.
Caption: Youths, never reject your parents’ direction
Question 14. How do we know that Jesus was a good student of God’s Word?
14 Jesus’ parents likely told him about his miraculous birth and what God’s messengers had said about him. (Luke 2:8-19, 25-38) Jesus was not satisfied with what he was told; he also studied the Scriptures for himself. How do we know that Jesus was a good student of God’s Word? Because while he was still a boy, the teachers in Jerusalem were “in constant amazement at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:46, 47) And at only 12 years of age, Jesus had already proved to himself that Jehovah was his Father.—Luke 2:42, 43, 49.
Question 15. How did Jesus show that he chose to do Jehovah’s will?
15 As Jesus learned about his role in Jehovah’s purpose, he chose to accept his assignment. (John 6:38) He knew that he would be hated by many, and that thought must have been sobering for him to contemplate. Yet, he chose to submit himself to Jehovah. When Jesus got baptized in 29 C.E., his main focus in life was that of doing what Jehovah required of him. (Hebrews 10:5-7) Even when he was dying on the torture stake, Jesus never wavered in doing his Father’s will.—John 19:30.
Question 16. What is one lesson that children can learn from Jesus?
16 Obey your parents. Like Joseph and Mary, your parents are not perfect. However, your parents have been assigned by Jehovah to protect, train, and guide you. If you value their advice and respect their authority, it will “go well with you.”—Ephesians 6:1-4.
Question 17. According to Joshua 24:15, what decision do young ones have to make for themselves?
17 Decide whom you will serve. You have to prove to yourself who Jehovah is, what his purpose involves, and how his will relates to your life. (Romans 12:2) Then you will be able to make the most important decision of your life, the decision to serve Jehovah. (Read Joshua 24:15; Ecclesiastes 12:1) If you keep a regular schedule of Bible reading and study, your love for Jehovah will continue to grow and your faith in him will become stronger.
[“Read” scripture.] Joshua 24:15: Now if it seems bad to you to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods that your forefathers served on the other side of the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But as for me and my household, we will serve Jehovah.” [End of “Read” scripture.]
Question 18. What is a choice that young ones must make, and in what will it result?
18 Choose to put Jehovah’s will first in your life. Satan’s world promises that if you use your talents for your own benefit, you will be happy. In truth, those who focus on material goals stab themselves “all over with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) On the other hand, if you listen to Jehovah and choose to put his will first in your life, you will be successful and “you will act wisely.”—Joshua 1:8.
What Will You Choose to Do?
Question 19. What must parents remember?
19 Parents, do your best to help your family serve Jehovah. Rely on him, and he will help you to make wise choices. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Remember that your children will be influenced more by what you do than by what you say. So make decisions that give them the best chance possible of gaining Jehovah’s favor.
Question 20. What blessings will young ones receive if they choose to serve Jehovah?
20 Young ones, your parents can help you make wise choices in life. But it is up to you to win God’s favor. So imitate Jesus and choose to serve your loving heavenly Father. If you do, you will have a busy, rewarding, exciting life now. (1 Timothy 4:16) And in the future, you will enjoy the most satisfying life possible!
[Box.] How Would You Answer?
What can Christian parents learn from the choices that Jehovah, Joseph, and Mary made regarding Jesus?
What can Christian youths learn from the choices that Jesus made?
What blessings have you seen from putting Jehovah’s will first in your life? [End of Box.]
Song 133 Worship Jehovah During Youth
Visit the jw.org® website. [End of Box.]