visual reinforcement to ideas that deserve special emphasis. Such
aids serve a useful purpose when they help to clarify the spoken
word, making it easier to understand, or when they provide strong
evidence of the validity of what is said. Properly used, an apt visual
aid may make such a deep impression that both the visual aid and
the pointof instruction are remembered for many years.
The ability to hear and the senseof sightboth play important roles
inlearning.Rememberhowthesesenses havebeenusedby thegreat-
estTeachers,and strivetoimitatetheminyour eﬀorts toreach others.
To build appreciation for
To teach certain Bible
truths to a child
List below visual aids that youmight use . . .
Eﬀective Use of Visual Aids
WE ARE grateful for the changes that God’s Word has broughtabout
in our lives, and we want others to beneﬁt as well. Furthermore, we
realize that how peoplerespond to the goodnews will aﬀecttheir fu-
ture prospects. (Matt. 7:13,14; John 12:48) We earnestly want them
to acceptthetruth.However,ourstrong convictions andzeal need to
be coupled with discernment in order to accomplish the
Ablunt statement of truth that exposes as false a cher-
the recitation of a long list of Scripture texts, is general-
ly not well received. For example, if popular celebrations
are simply denounced as being of pagan origin, this may
not change how other people feel about them. A reason-
ing approachis usually more successful.Whatis involved
in being reasonable?
TheScriptures tellus that“thewisdom fromaboveis ...
peaceable, reasonable.” (Jas. 3:17) The Greek word here
rendered “reasonable” literally means “yielding.” Some translations
render it “considerate,” “gentle,” or “forbearing.” Notice that rea-
sonableness is associated with peaceableness. AtTitus 3:2, it is men-
tioned along withmildness and is contrasted with belligerence. Phi-
lippians 4:5urges us to be known for our “reasonableness.”A person
who is reasonable takes into account the background, circumstanc-
es, and feelings of the one to whom he is talking. He is willing to
yield when it is appropriate to do so. Dealing with others in such a
way helps to open their minds and hearts so that they are more re-
ceptivewhenwe reason with them from the Scriptures.
Where to Begin. The historian Luke reports that when the apos-
tlePaul was inThessalonica, he used the Scriptures, “explaining and
proving by references that it was necessary for the Christ to suﬀer
What doyou need to do?
Use scriptures, illustrations, and questions in a logical way
and in a manner that encourages people to listen and to
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
and to rise from the dead.” (Acts 17:2, 3) It is noteworthy that Paul
did this in a Jewishsynagogue. Those to whom he was speaking rec-
ognized the Hebrew Scriptures as an authority.Itwas appropriate to
startwith something that they accepted.
When Paul was speaking to Greeks at the Areopagus in Athens, he
did not begin with references to the Scriptures. Instead,
he started with things that they knew and accepted, and
he used these to lead them to a consideration of the Cre-
ator and His purposes.—Acts 17:22-31.
In modern times, there are billions who do not recog-
nizetheBibleas an authority in their lives. But the life of
nearly everyone is aﬀected by harshsituations inthepres-
entsystem of things. Peoplelong for something better.If
you ﬁrst show concern for what disturbs them and then
show how the Bible explains it, such a reasonable ap-
proach might move them to listen to what the Bible says
about God’s purpose for humankind.
It may bethat the heritagepassed on to a Bible student
by his parents included certain religious beliefs and cus-
toms. Now, the student learns that those beliefs and cus-
toms are not pleasing to God, and he rejects them in fa-
vor of what is taught in the Bible. How can the student
explain that decision to his parents? They may feel that
by rejecting the religious heritagethey gave him, he is re-
jecting them. The Bible studentmay concludethatbefore
trying to explain fromtheBiblethebasis forhis decision,
hewill need to reassure his parents ofhis loveand respect
When to Yield. Jehovah himself, though having full
authority to command, shows outstanding reasonable-
ness. When rescuing Lot and his family from Sodom, Je-
hovah’s angels urged: “Escape to the mountainous region for fear
you may be swept away!” Yet, Lot pleaded: “Not that, please, Jeho-
vah!” He begged to be permitted to ﬂee to Zoar. Jehovah showed
consideration for Lot by allowing him to do that; so when other cit-
ies were destroyed, Zoar was spared. Later, however, Lot followed Je-
hovah’s original direction and moved to the mountainous region.
HOW TO DO IT
theywillbelieve, just as
Makeit ahabitto reason
(Gen.19:17-30) Jehovahknew thathis way was right,buthepatient-
ly showed consideration while Lot cameto appreciate it.
In order to deal successfully with others, we too need to be rea-
sonable. We may be convinced that the other person is wrong, and
we may have in mind powerful arguments that would prove it. But
at times it is better not to press the matter. Reasonableness does not
mean compromising Jehovah’s standards.It may simply be better to
thank the other person for expressing himself or to let some wrong
statements pass unchallenged so that you can focus the discussion
onsomething thatwill accomplish moregood.Evenif he condemns
what you believe, do not overreact. You might ask him why he feels
ashedoes.Listencarefullyto his reply.This will giveyou insightinto
his thinking.Itmay also lay the groundworkforconstructiveconver-
sation at a future time.—Prov.16:23; 19:11.
Jehovah has endowed humans with the ability to choose. He al-
lows them to usethat ability, even though they may not use it wise-
ly. As Jehovah’s spokesman, Joshua recounted God’s dealings with
Israel. But then he said: “Now if it is bad in your eyes to serve Jeho-
vah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the
gods that your forefathers who were on the other side of the River
served or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling.
But as for meand my household, we shall serve Jehovah.”(Josh. 24:
15) Our assignment today is to give “a witness,” and we speak with
conviction,but wedo not try to pressure others to believe.(Matt.24:
14) They must choose, and we do not deny them that right.
Ask Questions.Jesus setanoutstandingexampleinreasoning with
people.Hetookintoaccounttheirbackground andused illustrations
that they would readily accept. He also made eﬀective use of ques-
tions. This gave others opportunity to express themselves and re-
vealedwhatwas intheirhearts.Italso encouraged them toreason on
the matter being considered.
Aman versed in the Lawasked Jesus:“Teacher,by doing what shall
Iinherit everlasting life?” Jesus could easily have given him the an-
swer. But he invited the man to express himself. “What is written in
theLaw? How do you read?”Theman answered correctly. Did his giv-
ing a correctanswer end thatdiscussion? Not at all. Jesus letthe man
continue, and a question that the man himself asked indicated that
he wastrying to provehimself righteous.Heasked:“Whoreally is my
neighbor?”Rather thangivea deﬁnition,which the man might have
disputed because of the prevailing Jewish attitude toward Gentiles
and Samaritans, Jesus invited him to reason onan illustration. It was
about a neighborly Samaritan who came to the aid of a traveler that
had been robbed and beaten, whereas a priest and a Levite did not.
With a simple question, Jesus made sure that the man got the point.
Jesus’ manner of reasoning made the expression “neighbor” take on
ameaning that this man had never before discerned.(Luke 10:25-37)
Whata ﬁne exampleto imitate! Insteadofdoing all thetalking your-
self,ineﬀect,thinking for your householder, learnhowto usetactful
questions and illustrations to encourage yourlistener to think.
Give Reasons. When the apostle Paul spoke in the synagogue in
Thessalonica, he did more than read from an authority that his au-
dience accepted. Luke reports that Paul explained,proved, and made
application of what he read. As a result, “some of them became be-
lievers and associated themselves with Paul and Silas.”—Acts 17:1-4.
Regardless of who may be in your audience, such a reasoning ap-
proach can be beneﬁcial. That is true when you witness to relatives,
speak to workmates or schoolmates, talk to strangers in your public
witnessing, conduct a Bible study, or give a talkin the congregation.
Whenyou read a scripture, the meaning may be plain to you butper-
haps not so to someone else. Your explanation or your application
may sound like dogmatic assertion. Would isolating and explaining
certain key expressions in thescripture help? Could you present sup-
porting evidence, possibly from the context or from another scrip-
ture that deals with the subject? Might an illustration demonstrate
thereasonableness ofwhatyouhavesaid? Would questions help your
audience to reason on the matter? Such a reasoning approach leaves
afavorable impression and gives others much to think about.
(1) After you witness to someone who has strong views, analyze the way
that you handled the discussion. What evidence did you present? What il-
lustrationdidyouinclude? What questionsdid youuse? Howdid youshow
considerationfor his backgroundor feelings?If unableto do thisinthe ﬁeld
service, try itinapractice sessionwithanother publisher. (2) Rehearsehow
you would reason with someone (a peer or a child) who has in mind do-
ing something that is wrong.
WHENyou makea statement,your listeners are fully justiﬁed in ask-
ing:“Whyisthattrue? Whatis theproofthatwhatthespeaker is say-
ing should be accepted?”As a teacher,you havetheobligationeither
to answer such questions or to help your listeners ﬁnd the answers.
If the point is crucial toyour argument,makesure that you giveyour
listeners strong reasons to accept it. This will contribute
to making your presentationpersuasive.
The apostle Paul used persuasion. By sound argument,
logical reasoning, and earnest entreaty, he sought to
bring aboutachange ofmindinthosetowhom hespoke.
He set a ﬁne example for us. (Acts 18:4; 19:8) Of course,
some orators use persuasionto mislead people.(Matt. 27:
20; Acts 14:19; Col. 2:4) They may start with a wrong
premise, rely on biased sources, use superﬁcial arguments, ignore
facts that disagree with their view, or appeal more to emotion than
to reason. We should be careful to avoid all such methods.
Based Firmly on God’s Word. What we teach must not be of our
own originality. We endeavor to share with others what we have
learned from the Bible. In this, we have been greatly helped by the
publications of the faithful and discreet slave class. These publica-
but with the humble desire of letting them see for themselves what
it says. We agree with Jesus Christ, who said in prayer to his Father:
“Your word is truth.” (John17:17)Thereis no greater authority than
JehovahGod,theCreator ofheavenand earth.The soundness of our
arguments depends on their being based on his Word.
Attimes you may speakto people who are notfamiliar withthe Bi-
ble or who do not recognize it as the Word of God. You should ex-
ercise good judgment as to when and how you bring in Bible texts.
SOUND ARGUMENTS GIVEN
What doyou need to do?
Provide satisfying evidence to support statements that you
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Your listeners will notbe-
lieveor actonwhat yousay
But you should endeavor to direct their attention to that authorita-
tive source of information as soon as possible.
Should you conclude that simply quoting a relevantscripture pro-
vides an irrefutable argument? Not necessarily. You may need to di-
rect attention to the context to show that the scripture truly does
support what you are saying. If you are merely drawing a princi-
ple from ascriptureand thecontextis not discussing that
subject, more evidence may be needed. You may need to
use other scriptures that bear on the matter in order to
satisfy your audience that what you are saying is really
solidly based on the Scriptures.
Avoid overstating what a scripture proves. Read it care-
fully.The text may deal with the general subject that you
are discussing. Yet, for your argument to be persuasive,
your listener must beableto see init what you are saying
that it proves.
may behelpfulto use evidencefrom areliablesource out-
sideof theBibletohelp peopleappreciate thereasonable-
ness of theScriptures.
For example, you may point to the visible universe as proof that
there is a Creator. You may draw attention to natural laws, such as
gravity, and reason that the existence of such laws presupposes that
there is a Lawgiver. Your logic will be sound if it is in harmony with
whatis stated in God’s Word.(Job38:31-33; Ps.19:1;104:24;Rom.1:
20) Such evidence is helpful because it demonstrates that what the
Bible says is consistent withobservable facts.
Are you endeavoring to help someone realize that the Bible real-
ly is the Word of God? You might quote scholars who say that it is,
but does that prove it? Such quotations merely help people who re-
spect those scholars.Could you use science to prove that the Bible is
true? If you were to use the opinions of imperfect scientists as your
authority,you wouldbebuilding onashaky foundation.On theoth-
erhand,ifyou startwiththeWord ofGodandthenpointtoﬁndings
ofsciencethathighlighttheBible’s accuracy,yourarguments will be
established on a sound foundation.
Whatever you are endeavoring to prove, present suﬃcient evi-
HOW TO DO IT
Sound Arguments Given
dence. The amount of evidence required will depend on your audi-
ence. For example, if you are discussing the last days as described at
2Timothy 3:1-5, you may draw the attention of your audience to a
well-known news report indicating thatmen have “no natural aﬀec-
tion.”Thatone example may beadequate to provethatthis aspectof
the sign of the last days is now being fulﬁlled.
An analogy—a comparison of two things that have important ele-
ments incommon—can oftenbehelpful.The analogy does notinit-
self prove a matter;its validity must betested against what the Bible
itself says. But the analogy may help a person to see the reasonable-
ness of an idea. Such an analogy might be used, for instance, when
explaining that God’s Kingdom is a government. You might point
out that like human governments, God’s Kingdom has rulers, sub-
jects, laws, a judicial system,and an educational system.
Real-life experiences can often be used to demonstrate the wis-
dom of applying the Bible’s counsel. Personal experiences can also
be used to support statements made. For instance, when you point
out to a person the importance of reading and studying the Bible,
you mightexplainhowdoingthathas improvedyourlife.To encour-
age his brothers, the apostle Peter referred to the transﬁguration, of
which he was an eyewitness. (2 Pet.1:16-18) Paul too cited his own
experiences. (2 Cor. 1:8-10; 12:7-9) Of course, you should use your
personal experiences sparingly so that you do notdraw undueatten-
tion to yourself.
Since people diﬀer in background and thinking, evidence that
convinces one person may not satisfy another. Therefore, consider
the views of your listeners when deciding which arguments you will
useandhowyou will presentthem.Proverbs 16:23states:“The heart
of the wise one causes his mouth to show insight, and to his lips it
(1) Turn to the main heading “Jesus Christ” in Reasoning From the Scrip-
tures. Notice how questions are answered with primary emphasis on the
Bible. (2) Examine the opening series of articles in an issue of The
Watchtower or Awake!Select several of themainpoints that aredeveloped.
Underscore the key scriptures, and mark the corroborative evidence.
Sound Arguments Given
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