evangelism-101

Ephesians 6:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Not long ago, those trying to curb the use of drugs within the American youth had the saying, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Our next piece of the armor of God would be a very useful tool for protecting the Christian mind, the helmet of salvation. The Apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians, “we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armor. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet,” because it protects our Christian mind. (1 Thessalonians 5:8) Even though we may have accepted Christ, and have entered onto the path of salvation, we still suffer from imperfect human weaknesses. Even though our foremost desire is to do good, our thinking can be corrupted by this fleshly world that surrounds us. We need not be like this world, but rather openly allow God to alter the way we think, through his Word the Bible, which will help us fully to grasp everything that is good and pleasing to him. (Romans 7:18; 12:2) You likely recall the test that Jesus faced, where Satan offered him “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” (Matthew 4:8-10) Jesus response was to refer to Scripture, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Paul had this to say about Jesus, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”–Hebrews 12:2.

THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST

We need to understand that the examples of faith within Scripture do not come to us automatically. If we are focusing on what this current satanic world that caters to the fallen human flesh and what it has to offer, as opposed to focusing on the hopes that are plainly laid out in Scripture, we will be weak in the face of any severe trial. After a few stumbles, it may be that we suffer spiritual shipwreck and lose our hope altogether. Then again, if we frequently feed our minds or concentrate the mind on the promises of God, we will carry on delighting in the hope that has been offered us.–Romans 12:12.

If we are to keep our Christian mind on the hope that lies ahead, we need to possess the Sword of the Spirit. The book that reveals heavenly Father, his will and purposes, i.e., the Bible is stated to be “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This Word, if understood correctly, applied in a balanced manner, can transform our lives, and help us avoid or minimalize the pitfalls of this imperfect life. We can depend on that Word when we are overwhelmed, or temple to give way to the flesh, and when the Bible critics of this world attempt to do away with our faith. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) We need to heed the words of the Apostle Paul to his spiritual son, Timothy:

 2 Timothy 3:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 You [Timothy], however, continue in the things you have learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from whom you have learned them [Paul, who Timothy traveled with and studied under for 15 years], 15 and that from infancy[1] you have known the sacred writings [the whole Old Testament], which are able to make you wise for salvation through trust[2] in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, equipped for every good work.

The goal of all this instruction, discipline, and training is not to keep us busy. God intends that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. We study the Bible, we rely upon God’s Spirit, his revelation, and the community of the faithful to keep us on track–obedient and maturing in faith. Continuing in this commitment will enable us to do whatever God calls us to do. Timothy could withstand the attacks of false teachers, the abandonment of professing believers, and the persecution that surrounded him because God had equipped him for the task. God never calls us to do something without first enabling us through his Spirit and the power of his truth to accomplish the task.

We neglect the Scriptures at our own peril. Through them we gain the ability to serve God and others. The Scriptures not only point the way; through the mysterious union of God’s Word and faith, they give us the ability to serve. (Larson 2000, 307)

After two years of proclaiming the good news, Jesus entered into another campaign throughout Galilee. “Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” Jesus had compassion for the lost sheep of Israel,

Matthew 9:36-38 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”[3]

 After stating the above, Jesus “called to him his twelve disciples” and “sent out after instructing them.” (Matt. 9:35-38; 10:1, 5) Later, Jesus “appointed seventy[4] others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. Then he was saying to them: ‘The harvest, indeed, is great, but the workers are few; therefore beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.’”–Luke 10:1-2

This was true in Jesus’ day when there were but about one hundred million people on the planet, how much more true it is today with over seven billion. Moreover, the need for workers is far graver today, as the churches are not sending workers out into their communities to share the good news.

John 4:34-35 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is that I do the will of the one who sent me and complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months and the harvest comes’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already.

The fields of humankind alienated from God are, indeed, white for harvesting. Therefore, all should pray that God gathers together workers, preparing them, to go out into the communities of their churches, to sow the good news. When we pray such things, we need to act in harmony with our prayers. One way we can do this is by reading such books as CONVERSATIONAL EVANGELISM, THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK, and THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST, all by Edward D. Andrews. These books will prepare all Christians to share God’s Word effectively in their community, in their family, in the workplace or school, and informally.–Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 13:10.

The Word of God Is Living and Active

Hebrews 4:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

What power the message within the Word of God has! It is so powerful that it can change the entire makeup of anyone’s inner person if they are receptive to the truth.

Colossians 3:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man[5] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man[6] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge[7] according to the image of the one who created him,

The Bible contains so much wisdom; it is almost unfathomable to contemplate it. There are endless amounts of life principles, do’s and don’ts, commands, counsel, which can help its reader to have far more success in this wicked world than those who refuse to consider its unrivaled wisdom. Psalm 119:105 makes the point perfectly, ‘the Word of God is a lamp to my feet [immediate concerns] and a light to my path [what lies ahead].’ The Bible will lead us in the way we ought to go in making everyday decisions, or choosing friends, deciding entertainment, employment choices, just how revealing our clothes will be, and so on. (Ps. 37:25; Prov. 13:20; John 15:14; 1 Tim. 2:9) Living by the principles and counsel of the Word will help us to have better relationships with others. (Matt. 7:12; Phil. 2:3-4) We can make a decision for the day, but we can also plan a life, based on what the future hold, as we have our roadway lit with the Word. (1 Tim. 6:9) Our objective is to live under the umbrella of God’s sovereignty, to live according to his will and purposes. (Matt. 6:33; 1 John 2:17-18) Life need not be meaningless to the one living by the Word of God.

CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

Then, there is the fact that the Bible is also a weapon in spiritual warfare. The apostle Paul referred to the Word of God as “the sword of the Spirit.” (Eph. 6:12, 17) “The sword of the Spirit pictures the soldier’s weapon sheathed to his belt and used both for offensive and defensive purposes. Taking the sword of the Spirit–defined for us as the Word of God–can be understood as using Scripture specifically in life’s situations to fend off attacks of the enemy and put him to flight. We see the example of Jesus using the Scripture this way in Matthew 4:1–11.”[8] If we are effective in our evangelism, we can be used by God as his ambassador, helping those within Satan’s world to be set free from spiritual bondage. Unlike imperfect man sword of carnal warfare, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” saves lives rather than destroy them. However, this is dependent on just how effective we are at wielding this sword.

Teach the Word of Truth Correctly

Can we imagine the ancient soldier who dared enter into warfare without practicing with his sword? How effective would he be with his weapon? He would likely be killed within minutes. The same holds true with our use of “the sword of the spirit,” namely, God’s Word, in our spiritual warfare, i.e., we would be beaten down by the critic or opponent in short order. If our faith is genuine, we will be like the prophet Jeremiah. In the beginning, he was hesitant to speak out, saying to God, who had just commissioned him to be his prophet to the nations, “I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” However, in time Jeremiah became a force to be reckoned with, so effective a communicator that his enemies viewed him as one that makes gloomy predictions of impending disaster. (Jer. 38:4) After that day of saying, but “I am only a youth,” Jeremiah would go on to serve as God’s prophet for 65 years, becoming one of the best-known prophets in the history of God’s Word. So much so, when Jesus came, the people were discussing who the Son of Man might be, and some thought he was Jeremiah the prophet returned. Thus, we must ask, how did the young, she boy overcome his reluctance to proclaim God’s Word? Jeremiah tells us,

Jeremiah 20:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
then it becomes in my heart like a fire burning
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary of holding it in,
and I cannot endure it.

Yes, the truth of God’s Word in the heart of man is so very powerful; it will compel, provoke, and encourage him to speak. While we may be shy or reluctant to proclaim God’s Word to others, it will become a burning fire within us, to the point we will eventually share it. However, if we have not prepared ourselves to use “the sword of the spirit,” namely, God’s Word, in our spiritual warfare, we will be beaten down by the critic or opponent quickly. Do not believe that every critic is one with a closed heart and mind. Many are critics because they had begun to doubt and started to read books or listen to talks by Bible critics, which only served to reinforce their doubts, and they have never heard anyone overturn these Bible difficulties floating around in their mind and heart. We may recall that the apostle Paul ‘reasoned with the unbelievers from the Scriptures, explaining and proving’ the truth to those he came across. We may be thinking, “yes, but I am no Jeremiah the prophet nor the apostle Paul.” Well, neither were they at one time, and we cannot know who new are until we allow ourselves to be used by God. Paul told young Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15, ESV) On this, New Testament Bible scholar Knute Larson writes,

Timothy, by contrast, must do his best to present [himself] to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed. Timothy, and all who follow Christ, are to consecrate themselves to God, working diligently for his approval. The teacher whom God approves has no need of shame in his presence.

God bestows his approval on the one who exhibits truth, love, and godliness in daily living, and who correctly handles the word of truth. The false teachers were mishandling God’s words, using them for their own benefit. Timothy was commissioned to handle the words of God correctly. All preaching should present the truth clearly, cutting through erroneous ideas or inaccurate opinions. (Larson 2000, p. 286)

The English Standard Version renders the participial clause of 2:15 “rightly handling the word of truth,” while the Holman Christian Standard Bible renders it “correctly teaching the word of truth,” and the New American Standard Bible, “accurately handling the word of truth.” The Greek word, orthotomeo, means “to give accurate instruction—‘to teach correctly, to expound rightly.’ … ‘do your best … to teach the word of truth correctly’ 2 Tm 2:15.”[9] This is all that can be asked of any Christian, that ‘we do our best to teach the word of truth correctly.’

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

What can help us to teach the word of truth correctly? If we are to teach another, we must correctly and clearly understand the Word ourselves. When we clearly understand something, we are able to give reasons as to why it is so. Moreover, we are able to express it in our own words. If we are to understand the Bible correctly, we must read it within the context of the verses that surround it, the chapter it is within, the Bible book it is within, the Testament that it is in, and the Bible as a whole. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, immediate context (i.e., of a word, phrase, clause or sentence) is “the words that are used with a certain word or phrase and that help to explain its meaning.”[10] The meaning of a text is what the author meant by the words that he used. On this Robert H. Stein writes,

Great confusion can result if we do not pay careful attention to context. For instance, both Paul (Rom. 4:1–25) and James (2:14–26) use the term “faith” (pistis). Yet we will misunderstand both if we assume that by faith they mean “a body of beliefs.” We will misunderstand Paul if we assume that he means “a mere mental assent to a fact,” and we will misunderstand James if we assume that he means “a wholehearted trust.” It is evident from the context that Paul means the latter (cf. Rom. 4:3, 5) and that James means the former (cf. 2:14, 19). (Stein 1994, p. 59)

Stein also wrote, “A context is valuable because it assists the reader in understanding the meaning the author has given the text.” Another example would be Paul’s statement at Galatians 5:13 (ESV), “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” If we were looking at this verse alone, not considering what is before and after, we would be asking, what does Paul mean by “freedom”? Was he speaking of freedom from sin and death, freedom from being enslaved to false beliefs, freedom from corruption, or was it something entirely different? If we consider the context, we get our answer. The context tells us the “freedom” that Paul spoke of was our being freed from “the curse of the law,” as Christ became the curse for us. (Gal. 3:13, 19-24; 4:1-5) If we look at Galatians 3:10, “Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 to prove that, contrary to what the Judaizers claimed, the law cannot justify and save. It can only condemn. The breaking of any aspect of the law brought a curse on the person who broke the law. Since no one can keep the law perfectly, we are all cursed. Paul, with this argument, destroys the Judaizers’ belief that a person is saved through the law.” [11] Thus, Paul was referring to the freedom that Christians possess. Just because we are not under the Mosaic Law, a law that imperfect man cannot keep perfectly, this is no excuse to use our “freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” Rather, if we truly understand and value our freedom, we will slave for one another because of our love for one another. However, those in the Galatian congregation who lacked that love were engaged in vicious infighting and quarreling.–Galatians 5:15.

There is another meaning of the word “context,” i.e., background, conditions, historical setting, and situation. Some call the surrounding text cotext and the historical setting context. Either way, the second meaning here is just as important. The background information that must be considered is, who penned the book, when and where was it written and under what historical setting. Why was the author moved to pen the book, or more realistically, why did God move him to write the book? Within any book on Bible backgrounds, the author will discuss the social, moral, and religious practices of the time Bible book was written. [12]

Correctly handling the word of truth goes deeper than simply explaining a biblical truth accurately. We do not want to use our knowledge of god’s Word in an intimidating way. Of course, we want to defend the truth offensively and defensively, following the example of Jesus, who used Scripture to defeat Satan the Devil when under temptation. Nevertheless, figuratively speaking, we do not use the Bible to club others over the head. (Deut. 6:16; 8:3; 10:20; Matt. 4:4, 7, 10) Rather, we want to follow the counsel Peter gave, “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”–1 Peter 3:15.

New Testament Bible scholar Richard L. Pratt Jr. offered the following on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5,

Paul responded by reminding the Corinthians that his ministry was successful warfare. He had previously described his gospel ministry as a parade of victory in war, and he used similar military analogies elsewhere as well. His apostolic effort was a war he was sure to win.

Paul admitted that he and his company live[d] in the world, but insisted that they did not wage war as the world does. They did not employ the intimidation, coercion, and violence normally associated with worldly authorities. Instead of employing the weapons of the world, Paul relied on divine power. These weapons appeared weak by worldly standards, but they were actually very powerful. The preaching of the cross brought great displays of God’s power in the lives of believers everywhere, including Corinth.

Consequently, Paul was certain that he was on a course to demolish the strongholds or fortifications of arguments and every pretension that anyone set up against the knowledge of God. As Paul traveled the world proclaiming the gospel of Christ, he encountered pretentious disbelief supported by clever arguments and powerful personalities. But through the “weakness” of preaching Christ, Paul went about taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (Pratt Jr 2000, p. 417)

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh[1] but powerful to God for destroying strongholds.[2] We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

[1] That is merely human

[2] That is tearing down false arguments

YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE_Third Edition

If we have a sound understanding of the Scriptures and are always working toward growing it, we can accomplish much. Our use of God’s Word can “destroy strongholds,” namely, expose the false or mistaken beliefs of others, any irreligious practices, as well as all worldviews that are not biblical, but rather are fleshly. In Addition, we will be able to remove “every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” Moreover, we can use our knowledge of Scripture to help unbelievers to bring their thinking in line with a biblical worldview, as we make disciples.

We must keep in mind that our obligation is not just toward the unbeliever, but also toward the others who claim to be Christians, who are on a false path. No true conservative, evangelical Christian would consider Catholicism to be the true way to pure worship of God, and the same would hold true of Pentecostalism, among many other so-called Christian denominations. Both the unbeliever and those claiming to be Christian are holding onto unbiblical beliefs that are deeply embedded in their mind and heart. If we are able to use the Scriptures, logic, and reason effectively, we will be able to remove “every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” In the end, then they will understand and find the knowledge of God.

Using Questions Effectively

Why does it matter that we use question effectively when we are witnessing to others about the Word of God? Imagine that you just took your car into the garage because it has been having many different problems. In the first scenario, the mechanic says to throw your keys over on the desk; he can have it fixed as good as new for you, come back Saturday to pick it up. Would you feel comfortable with the mechanic, or would alarms be going off. In a second scenario, you take the car to another garage and the mechanic stops what he is doing; he comes over and asks you some probing questions, like ‘what is it doing, what sounds is it making,’ and the like. He has you start it; he revs the engine and listens. He asks if he can take it around the block. After that, he asks you some more leading questions based on what he has thus learned. Now, he gives you a preliminary diagnosis but says it would be best to put it on the diagnostics machine to verify his findings. He comforts you with the words; we can get such and such parts in here and have it fixed for you by this Saturday. Why does the second scenario give you much more confidence in the competency of the mechanic? In any field, a person must ask probing and leading questions, to discover symptoms or evidence that can lead them to help find the ‘why’ or the ‘what.’ If we are to help an unbeliever, find the truth we must ask effective questions. If we are to help a “Christian” on a false path, find the correct path, we must ask effective questions. Just like the second mechanic, we are trying to discover the cause of what is contributing to the unbelief or the wrong belief. After that, we can use the Word of God to lead them in the way they ought to go.

Jesus was the master teacher, who used questions as he learned more about the student but also allowed the one listening to feel involved in the discussion. For example, when the disciples were in need of a lesson in humility, Jesus started with a question, not a lecture. (Mark 9:33) To teach Peter how to find the principle behind the black and white, Jesus offered him a multiple-choice question. (Matt. 17:24-26)  When Jesus sought the disciples understanding of who he was, he asked them viewpoint questions. (Matt 16:13-17) Jesus was about imparting knowledge and understanding, but he did not do this with sermons alone. He also used questions combined with statements, which got down into the hearts of his listeners, moving them to act in harmony with the gospel message he was sent by the Father to deliver to the lost sheep of Israel. We use questions in our ministering to other, because we want to help them to act in harmony with the Word of God. We also want to use questions to overcome their objections that are designed to dismiss us. Moreover, we want to find those with receptive hearts.

What would we do as a parent, if our child came to us, saying, ‘I am constantly being challenged about my belief in creation as opposed to evolution?’ Certainly, we want our children to be able to have faith in the Word of God as absolute truth and to be able to defend that truth with fellow classmates, even teachers. Rather than stressing the importance of defending God’s Word, which may come across as being critical, or offering advice, why not show him how effective viewpoint questions can be.

FIRST EXAMPLE

Father: Say you were to ask your science teacher how DNA is packed with the chromosomes, what would she say?

Son: She would go on and on about it, talking about how efficient that it is. She would say something like, “The most striking property of every chromosome within the eukaryotic cell nucleus is the length of each molecule of DNA incorporated and folded into it. The human genome of 3 x 109 bp would extend over a meter if unraveled and straightened, yet it is compacted into a nucleus only 10-5 m in diameter. It is an astonishing feat of engineering to organize such a long linear DNA molecule within ordered structures that can reversibly fold and unfold within the chromosome.”[13]

Father: What if you were to ask her, “How do we explain that such an astonishing feat of engineering rose by an undirected chance of events; does not a feat of engineering suggest an engineer?

SECOND EXAMPLE

Father: Say you were to ask your science teacher, ‘Can you please explain to me about DNA’s capacity for stored information,’ what would she say?

Son: She would say something like; “The information stored in DNA must by no means be underestimated. So much so, that one human DNA molecule contains enough information to fill a million-page encyclopedia, or to fill about 1,000 books. Note this fact well: one million encyclopedia pages, or 1,000 books. This is to say that the nucleus of each cell contains as much information as would fill a one-million-page encyclopedia, which is used to control the functions of the human body. To draw an analogy, we can state that even the 23-volume-Encyclopaedia Britannica, one of the greatest mines of information in the world, has 25,000 pages. Therefore, before us lies an incredible picture. In a molecule found in a nucleus, which is far smaller than the microscopic cell wherein it is located, there exists a data warehouse 40 times bigger than the biggest encyclopedia of the world that includes millions of items of information. This means a massive 1000-volume encyclopedia which is unique and has no equal in the world.”

“Computers are currently the most advanced form of technology for storing information. A body of information, which, 30 years ago, was routinely stored in a computer the size of a room, can today be stored in small “discs,” yet even the latest technology invented by human intelligence, after centuries of accumulated knowledge and years of hard work, is far from reaching the information storage capacity of a single cell nucleus. The following comparison made by the well-known professor of microbiology Michael Denton, will probably suffice to highlight the contrast between the tiny size of DNA and the great amount of information it contains:”

The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number according to G.G. Simpson of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written. (Michael Denton. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. London: Burnett Books, 1985, p. 334)[14]

Father: What if you were to ask her, “How is it that human computer technicians are unable to accomplish these types of results, yet we are to believe that mindless matter can do so alone?”

From a few more examples like this, the son can begin to see how effective viewpoint questions are. Many great publications out there offer strong apologetic reasoning for intelligent design. Some leading authors would be John C. Lennox, William A. Dembski, Jonathan Witt, Stephen C. Meyer, David Klinghoffer, Michael J. Behe, Michael Denton, among many others. How else can we become more effective in our evangelism of others?

Using God’s Word with Persuasion

A confusion that arises over using the Bible effectively when witnessing to others is the belief that is simply boils down to knowing and quoting Scripture. What do we read of the way the apostle Paul went about witnessing to others. It says, “He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them.” (Ac 19:8-9) On another occasion, “when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” Persuasion is “attempting to win others over to one’s own point of view. It can be either positive, as with preaching the gospel, or it can spring from a malign intent to seduce people from the truth.” (Manser 2009) When one is persuaded, he is won over by the ability of the persuader’s reasoning, arguments (reasons put forward in support), explaining of the Scriptures, i.e., he is so convinced that he gains confidence in God’s Word. When Christians persuade a person to accept the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, we are winning him over, so that he will place his trust in the Bible. If we are to accomplish this in the skeptical, atheistic, agnostic, humanistic, liberal, progressive world that we live in, we must possess the skills to teach our listeners of the truthfulness of our reasons we put forward in support of the biblical worldview, or rather in opposition to the fleshly worldview of todays’ hedonistic society.

We do not want to shy away from using God’s Word; because that just demonstrates that, we have a lack of respect for it. The modern day critic of the 20th and 21st centuries has taken over in the driving of the conversation, and it is he who decides what is evidence and what is not. The critic’s conclusion is that Bible manuscripts that date back 2,300 years are not historical, archaeological evidence, but rather are biased material and if we cannot offer up secular evidence for what we say; well then, we have no evidence at all. The modern day Bible scholar has chosen to play by the critic’s rules of engagement, so they actually run around looking for ways to prove things with secular history alone. First, we do not cower before Satan and his people, leaving them to determine whether we can draw attention to God’s Word. It is certainly beneficial and appropriate that our great apologetic arguers, like Norman L. Geisler, William Lane Craig, or Craig Evans defend the truth against the lies of the great minds of Satan’s side. However, our primary commission is winning the hearts and minds of those receptive to the truth, not winning arguments against those who will never accept the truth, regardless of the evidence.[15]

Therefore, we need to be quite familiar with the Word of God and know what the authors meant by the words that they used. Whether we open our Bible to share a Scripture or reference it aloud, draw attention to the importance of what God’s thinking is on the subject that we may be discussing. After a very brief introduction and our mission of sharing God’s Word, we might open with an open-ended question. We might say, fifty percent of marriages in America fail, and then ask, “Why do you think that is?” [Allow for an answer] How do you think this principle from God’s Word would help, Paul said, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (1 Cor. 10.24, ESV) If both mates were to seek the good of the other, how might we see that playing out, can you think of any examples? [Allow for an answer] If the person is receptive, offer a couple more Bible principles that deal with spouses that seem to be growing apart (Phil 1:10), mates that fail to fulfill their responsibilities (Rom 14:12), the husband that seems to not care where the family is heading (Pro. 14:1) habits that annoy one another (Col. 3:13), and so on.

We need to reason from the Scripture where we leave our listeners with no doubt whatsoever that what they are hearing is the truth. Therefore, we need to use genuine, warm, earnest, profound and honest entreaty, with sound logic. As Jesus and Paul, our objective is to reach the heart of those to whom we witness. This is realized in the words of wise King Solomon, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Pro. 20:5) Yes, we need to draw out what is in the heart of our listener, by using kind, loving and respectful questions that evidence we are personally interested in them. We must avoid being too direct and frank. In other words, we do not want to have a cutting edge to our questions, nor do we want to be too frank or straightforward and showing no delicacy or consideration when using questions. When we are making arguments to substantiate a point, make them clear and logical. We want to offer evidence that will satisfy the listener. Moreover, we want to share what the Bible author meant by the use of his words, not what we think he meant. Time is critical and should be used judiciously. Rather than rush through reading three or four verses that make our point, we should choose the clearest one, use it well by explain, reasoning and illustrating. When we think of using corroborative evidence, again, we turn to Solomon, “From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive.” (Pro. 16:23, NLT) If there is a need for more research on our part, say so, by stating that we will look into this further and get back to them another time.

Carry on Using God’s Word Skillfully

The world is ever changing toward being more wicked each and every day. In fact, Paul told Timothy, “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13) Thus, 2,000 years later this is even truer. Therefore, it is highly significant that “we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We do this by using “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”–(Eph. 6:17) As the author of Hebrews tells us, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12, ESV) Jesus words ring true, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:26, NASB.

Exercise

Someone just said to you, “I don’t believe the Bible, as it is just a book by men, not the Word of God.” How would you persuade him that this is not the case?

Review Questions

  • How powerful is the Word of God?
  • How is the Word of Godliving and active?
  • How can we handle the Word of trutharight when we evangelize?
  • How can we use the Word of Godwith persuasion?
  • How can we carry on in our skillful use of the Bible?

[1] Brephos is “the period of time when one is very young–‘childhood (probably implying a time when a child is still nursing), infancy.” – GELNTBSD

[2] Pisteuo is “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance—‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust, faith, and trust.’ – GELNTBSD

[3] 9:37-38 LAC: All Christians are to request prayerfully that the Father “send out workers into his harvest.” Therefore, all Christians must act on behalf of their prayers by zealously participating in proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, and making disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Act 1:8)

[4] Some mss read seventy-two

[5] Or old person

[6] Or new person

[7] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[8] (Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary: vol. 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 1999, p. 192)

[9] Louw, Johannes P.; Nida, Eugene A. (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains)

[10] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/context

[11] (Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary: vol. 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 1999, p. 37)

[12] An outstanding study tool in getting background information about the New Testament is:

 BIBLE BACKGROUNDS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Parables, Metaphors, Similes, Gestures and Attitudes

http://www.christianpublishers.org/apps/webstore/products/show/5904404

[13] http://what-when-how.com/molecular-biology/chromosomes-molecular-biology/

[14] http://www.dnarefutesevolution.com/human_celli.html

[15] Keep in mind that when Geisler, Craig and Evans are debating to on stage against a atheist scientist or the like; they are talking past him, if he is unreceptive to any in the audience that may be receptive. It is evidence that we have answers in the conversation, whether they want to hear them or not, so that unbelievers can see that we do have reasonable, logical answers to the deep questions that plague humanity.