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.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

MARY E. WALSH, Bible Instructor, Pacific Union Conference

January 1959

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Ambassadors of Freedom

Is it possible that the priceless free­doms of the nineteenth and twentieth cen­turies have died or are dying out of the hearts of a race that has so marvelously benefited by them?

Science and Religious Faith—Part I

Dr. Marsh gave a series of three chapel talks during the first half of the summer session of 1958 at Potomac Uni­versity. The students at the university wished to have them in some permanent form, and it was felt that our workers in the field would also appreciate them. Therefore, rather than being mimeographed for a limited group, they are being made available through THE MINISTRY. This is the first of six articles that will bring this series to our readers.—Editors

Ideas on the Atonement Contrasted

This and the concluding article next month were presented first at the Theological Seminary and subsequently before several groups of ministers, and is being published in response to many urgent requests.—Editors.

Who Gets to Go?

This challenging article of Dr. Jacob Janzen's "Who Gets to Go?" was written primarily for the alumni of the College of Medical Evangelists (CME Alumni Journal, May, 1958), but as you read you will find it also has a message and emphasis for ministers and church administrators.

Where Shall the Minister Locate?

Dealing with the issue of ministerial housing problems.

A Life Well Spent

This is the first time we have published a service of this kind in the columns of this journal. However, Charles S. Longacre was so well known to our workers around the world that we felt we could well share this with our readers. This service was in many ways a model of sympathy, dignity, and beauty. Among those who took part in this service were C. J. Coon, retired president of the Potomac Conference, who read the obituary; R. R. Figuhr, General Conference president, who preached the sermon; and J. A. Buckwalter, secretary of the General Conference Religious Liberty Association, who offered the prayer.—Editors

Where Do We Find Our Bible Instructors?

A Bible instructor is the first base for guid­ing new recruits into the profession.

Missionary Contacts at Washington Sanitarium

NOTE.—Seventh-day Adventist health institutions have been raised up by divine instruction. Their purpose is to proclaim the message of God's saving grace while using the treatment of diseases as an "entering wedge." Health reform is the "right arm" of the message. We herewith publish a section of the chaplain's report presented at a recent biennial session. In a very practical way this report reveals the wonderful providences in the sanitariums' mission. God's challenge to all who work in these God-appointed health institutions is to meet His purpose for their existence.—EDITORS

When Did Satan's Fall Occur?

Did Sa­tan's apostasy and expulsion from heaven take place before our world was created?

Who Put You In?

Who put you in? There is all the difference in the world between being "istalled" and being "called."

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - IIW-VBS 2024 (160x600)