Use the Art of Persuasion When Sharing Biblical truths

BIBLE DIFFICULTIES

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

In the book of Acts, Luke uses the Greek terms for persuasion repeatedly in association with Paul. What meaning does this have as far as our making disciples is concerned?

In the original language of the Greek New Testament, “persuade” (peitho) means “‘to apply persuasion, to prevail upon or win over, to persuade,” bringing about a change of mind by the influence of reason or moral considerations, e.g., in Matt. 27:20; 28:14; Acts 13:43; 19:8.’”[1]  When we look at the root meaning, we discover further information that will help us in our mission to make disciples. Peitho conveys the idea of trust, i.e., “to have confidence, trust.”[2] Therefore, one way to persuade a person to accept the Word of God as true, you have to win his or her trust, so that he or she put faith in the truthfulness of the Bible. Of course, simply saying, “you can trust the Bible as the inspired, fully inerrant, authoritative Word of God” is not enough to help the unbeliever to accept it as such. The unbeliever must be convinced or persuaded to accept it as true. Yet, if they have a measure of trust in your objectivity, it will help them to have a receptive heart.

Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

How can you convince a person that you are proclaiming God’s Word and not man’s word, so that they accept as this truth? You are going to do so by means of clear, sound logical reasoning, persuading them with rational arguments, expressing sincere and intense conviction, which is voiced in an earnest or humble way. Like Paul, you will endeavor to bring about a change of mind in individuals to whom you proclaim the Word of God. You do not simply declare that something is true. You also offer them evidence that supports our truth claim. A truth claim is a proposition or statement that a particular person or belief system holds to be true. Here are some examples of the kinds of truth claims Christians will make: The Bible is the inspired, fully inerrant, authoritative Word of God that was penned by forty men as they were moved along by the Holy Spirit.  The Almighty God designed and brought into existence the universe, including other spirit persons and all the basic kinds of life upon the earth.

How do you offer evidence to support your truth claims? Be sure that your statement is based squarely on evidence and facts and not influenced by personal feelings or opinions. In addition, make sure that your statement is based directly on God’s Word and not on your personal opinion. Moreover, use corroborative evidence to back up your heartfelt Scriptural statements. (Prov. 16:23) What is corroborating evidence? Corroborating evidence is evidence that supports a truth claim already supported by initial evidence, therefore confirming the original truth claim.

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

A truth claim might be that the New Testament that you have is the Word of God and you know that it is what was in the original manuscripts penned by the original authors. You back that statement up with the fact that we have 28,000 original language manuscripts, many of which that date within a few decades of the originals. You can share its historical, geographical, and geological accuracy. You can mention the Bible’s time-test practicality that has no need to change, with its righteous principles and moral standards being timeless. Even though the Bible is not a science textbook, where it touches on scientific matters, it is accurate and in harmony with scientific discovery and knowledge. The whole-hearted candor of its authors is strong evidence of its reliability. The authors expose their own sins and shortcomings. The Bible was penned over a period of more than 1,600 years by about forty authors and is in complete harmony.

When you are trying to persuade a person to accept a truth claim about God, Christianity or the Bible, be watchful that your eagerness does not cause you to sound unreasonable, thus closing your listener’s mind and heart, causing them to be unreceptive. For example, being too blunt and direct can close minds. Yes, your truth claim is true but if it shatters a person’s cherished belief, even a very long list of evidence is not going to be well received. When you come across in a reasoning manner, this helps the person to objectively seek answers later when you are not there and come back for further discussion. It can be powerfully persuasive.

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 469.

IBID, 646.

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