The Bible is the best selling book of all time. Yet if you were honest, and/or you asked some of your friends, you might hear some of the following sentiments. The Bible is: “…good, but I just don’t understand it.” “…very important to me, but I don’t know how to bring it up in conversation.” “…full of ideas that hurt people and society.” “…not relevant in today’s world.” “…okay for you, but not what I need.”
Most of us probably came to believe the Bible is relevant and helpful because we encountered truth firsthand and were affected by it. We may not have been able to explain it, but we knew we were hearing the words of God and not just the words of a man like Luke, Isaiah, or Paul. We learned the Holy Spirit played a powerful role in our “awakening” towards God, but that can be challenging to explain to someone else.
Our experience is certainly personal and subjective. It also is non-rational. Not ir-rational, but non-rational. God uses a different avenue to get our attention and change our minds about His presence and His ways. The objective reasons important to belief are important to show that our subjective confidence is not off-base. What we believe in our heart should be confirmed with reasonable evidence our minds can grasp.
When you start giving people reasons to change their mind – about the Bible, for example – their first instinct is often to resist, while they keep on believing what they’ve always believed. We need to give people good reasons to believe in the Bible…but they may find a compelling interest if they first learn to listen to Scripture.
One option may be to suggest using YouVersion on their mobile device and select the opportunity to listen to a book of the Bible. Option two may be to read why you can believe in the Bible. Radio Bible Class has many resources in their discovery series about the validity of Scripture. Try http://discoveryseries.org/ten-reasons/in-the-bible
If a person says the Bible was “only written by men,” ask them if they have any books in their library? Were those books written by men or women? Sure. But they probably value them because they first listened and engaged the writers’ idea, and found them riveting. Invite them to do the same with the Bible. Encourage your friend to simply listen to Jesus for a while and then come to their own conclusions. Most people respect Jesus. They’ve just never listened closely to what He said. Try the Gospel of Mark first. Then Luke.
Try to avoid getting sidetracked in an argument about inspiration, accuracy, or authority. Ask them to engage the ideas first, then let God do the influencing (as you pray, too). The truth you’re proclaiming has a life of its own, because a) Truth is a Person, and b) the Spirit will work in and through the words. Once your friend listens for a while, their reasons for trusting in Scripture will have the soil they need to take root in.
American Bible Society has developed and delivered solutions for those inside and outside church to help people engage with Scripture. They share the latest research, proven programs, needed technology, and applicable tools to help you and your friends rediscover, engage, and live out the biblical principles found in Scripture. Think theologically. http://AmericanBible.org/solutions is a place to find the help you and your friends need.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz