MARY E. WALSH, Bible Instructor, Pacific Union Conference

When D. L. Olsen, Pacific Union Confer­ence home missionary secretary, and I ar­rived in the Hawaiian Islands, we entered into a busy program following the appointments prepared by the local secretary, L. E. Davidson. My part was to teach the laymen how to pre­pare the way for the Bible reading, how to meet the doctrinal questions that arise, and how to avoid interruptions. We devoted considerable time to the subject of how to study with our Catholic friends. Wherever we presented our in­struction we found our members eager to learn the technique of instructing their unconverted relatives and friends. Here is a brief summary of the subject matter covered in these classes:

The Teacher Himself. Preparation of heart is of primary importance. The teacher must be vitalized by the message he is to present, and the Jove of truth must first be kindled in the heart of his student if the message is to be ef­fective.

Teaching is an art that must be learned and practiced like every other art. To be a good teacher one must possess the qualities of the divine Teacher. The teacher must also have a knowledge of his pupil. Aided by the Holy Spirit and by sympathetic observation, he may understand the person with whom he will be dealing.

We all need to study character and manner that we may know how to deal judiciously with different minds, that we may use our best endeavors to help them to a correct understanding of the word of God and to a true Christian life.—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 69.

It is not enough for the teacher to be intelli­gent on subject matter and to be able to present it in an interesting way. If the student's atten­tion is not on the presentation he will not be able to grasp the subject to the extent of ap­plying it to his own heart.

Presenting the Subject. The instructor of truth must be well prepared with a thorough knowledge of his subject. He must ever keep the objective of soul winning in mind. He loves people and yearns to see them saved in Christ's soon-coming kingdom.

The teacher should be a great Bible student. But here again, even knowledge of his topic would not qualify him as a good teacher, for the art of presentation must be mastered. If the subject is poorly presented it dulls the edge of desire for continued studies. So the subject matter, its organization, and its presentation are all of vital importance.

What to Expect of the Student. Many with whom we study have never learned to know the Scriptures, and topical Bible study is foreign to them. Their powers of mind and heart are latent and need the awakening touch of the Holy Spirit through the Word. The teacher of truth may expect definite changes in the spiritual life of his student. Where the student sincerely desires to learn what the Bible teaches, the joy of discovering truth will be evident.

The following points were methodically dis­cussed in our instruction: The purpose of the study, its subject matter, its organization, se­quence of facts, manner of presentation, grip­ping and holding the interest, and securing the decision to follow its instruction.

Because of the many converts from Roman Catholicism in our Hawaiian churches there was a deep interest in learning not only how to approach the Catholic mind but also how to deal with the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church in the light of the Scriptures. All this must be done tactfully, patiently, and thor­oughly. In one of the island churches we found that 50 per cent of the membership had Roman Catholic background.

We instructed the laymen to ascertain how those present came into the message. By far the majority had embraced Adventism through personal contact with a lay member, a fact that emphasizes the great potentialities of our lay people when they are instructed in this way.

Personally, I realized again my privilege in being able to devote my instruction to the lay­men in our churches. It is a rewarding service, for many of them are endowed with the soul-winning gift. All who attended these classes in doctrinal soul winning were anxious to use their newly acquired skills in missionary serv­ice. Among them were many young people, and also some with physical handicaps.

In the Honolulu area several churches com­bined so that they could be instructed together. After presenting a topic we allowed time for questions. It was obvious that our believers were interested in learning to meet doctrinal argument, and in answering such questions as, What is meant by—"absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord," "the min­istration of death," "baptized for the dead," "Christ . . . preached unto the spirits in prison," et cetera? Fortifying our laymen in this way strengthens their own Christian expe­rience and provides them with courage to stand their ground when opposition arises.

One of our office secretaries in Honolulu writes about having worked with her "one soul for 1958." Her joy is beyond bounds, for last Sabbath her precious student was baptized. She is now working for a second interested person and is enlisting her new convert to help her win another soul. There is indeed no joy equal to that of winning a soul to Jesus and His mes­sage. As we enlighten and inspire others in the message it reacts upon our own hearts. When all our believers will unite their efforts with those of the ministers and church officers in soul winning, then the work of God will be brought to a finish. The church should pray and work for a realization of the latter rain, for it is long overdue.

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MARY E. WALSH, Bible Instructor, Pacific Union Conference

January 1959

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