How can I help a 70-year-old man understand the gospel?

Old manVicky* sent us an email with an urgent question:

What can I give to a 70-year-old man in the hospital with heart problems? He’s very religious and believes he is a “good man.” Do you have any audio or DVDs? I am not sure he will read. He is so not open to the gospel, because he believes he does not need it. Thanks so much for any help.

Vicky

We explained to Vicky that we were in the midst of producing an audiobook edition of By This Name. In the meantime, given the elderly man’s condition, we recommended the following ideas:

Read The Lamb. Tell your friend you would like to read to him a book about God to encourage him and refresh his spirit. Over a few sessions, read aloud The Lamb to him and share with him the illustrations. If he is willing, ask him the end-of-chapter questions to check his understanding of the gospel story.

Once you have completed reading the book to him, leave him with a CD player and the audiobook CD (that comes with The Lamb) so he can listen to both the audiobook and the music on the CD. This will help cement in his mind what he has heard you read and will help in his comprehension of its message.

People have told us that using The Lamb with the elderly has worked well. This is because, that for those who are ill and suffering from short attention spans, the succinct nature of the book along with the illustrations is a valuable aid in explaining the gospel. The Lamb was written with controlled vocabulary and sentence structure so that children can understand the good news. While simple in form, none of the essentials of the gospel message is missing and so people have found it meaningful for use with both children and the elderly.

When the Holy Spirit prompts, you can ask your friend the questions on pages 174 and 175. These questions are meant to help him understand that salvation comes by placing one’s trust in Jesus alone.

Alternatively, you can read to him The Story that Matters. It’s architecture is based on The Lamb and follows the same progression in telling the gospel. With less text and line drawings, it is quicker to read through. At the end of the booklet is a series of questions that, once again, will help you assess your friend’s degree of understanding of the message.

Either of these two books ought to be helpful in guiding your friend through the good news of Jesus Christ. Do remember to pray that the Holy Spirit will help him understand and come to put his trust in Jesus for salvation.

If time allows, you can use The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus VideoBook. It takes 11 hours to watch the entire video series and we recommend that you watch with him and discuss or explain any questions he may have.

If you have read him The Lamb or The Story that Matters, a good follow-up is to read to him By This Name. This book will take what he has learned in The Lamb or The Story that Matters and build on his foundational understanding of the Bible’s core message.

We hope that you will find these ideas beneficial.

(* Name changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

Author: Amos Kwok

Curriculum development manager at the international office.