Among the scribes and Pharisees, there were doubtless intelligent men who possessed knowledge and the skills to impart it. What made Jesus’ way of teaching so different from theirs?
The religious leaders of the day had no love for the common people. Rather, they despised them, viewing them as “accursed people.” (John 7:49) In contrast, Jesus was moved with pity for them, since they were “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt. 9:36) He was warm, sympathetic, and kind. Further, the religious leaders had no true love for God. (John 5:42)
Jesus, however, loved his Father and delighted to do his will. The religious leaders twisted God’s words to serve their own ends, but Jesus loved “the word of God”—he taught it, explained it, defended it, and lived by it. (Luke 11:28) Yes, love permeated the very being of the Christ, governing what he taught, how he dealt with people, and how he instructed them.
What about us? As followers of Christ, we desire to imitate him in our ministry and in our life. (1 Pet. 2:21) Thus, our objective is not only to impart Bible knowledge but also to reflect Jehovah’s qualities, especially his love.
Whether we have a lot of knowledge or just a little, an abundance of teaching skills or just a few, the love we show will go a long way in reaching the hearts of those to whom we preach. To be truly effective in our disciple-making work, we must imitate Jesus by teaching with love.
Of course, to be good teachers, we need knowledge of our subject and we need skill to impart that knowledge. Jesus helped his disciples to acquire both, and Jehovah, through his organization, helps us to do so today. (Read Isaiah 54:13; Luke 12:42.)
Still, we should aim to teach not only with our minds but also with our hearts. When knowledge, skill, and love work together, the results can be most satisfying. In what ways, then, can we show love when we teach? How did Jesus and his disciples do so?