Usually, the phrase “The Bible says…” is commonly used while evangelizing when mentioning that God loves you or some other statement of knowledge we hold about who God is and what He has done. The use of this phrase has been thrown around so easily and freely that it could possibly hurt your credibility when talking to someone about your faith. Pinpointing verses and being a little more specific with what the Bible says may not even be enough to have someone believe in what you’re saying. Does this make the Bible useless if it may not even help?
Evangelism has come to mind as I read on the roots of our faith and how that has evolved from the years Jesus lived to the years that the New Testament was formed and now, in our present time. It’s intriguing to think that Paul couldn’t have used 1st Corinthians or Romans from the Bible as a way to evangelize. In that era, your past experiences were what you used to preach to a stranger. You may have testified about what you were told by someone else. Someone like Paul most likely preached “The Good News” based on his lifestyle after knowing Jesus. Someone would be new to the faith and would have accepted this new path of life through some letters or word of mouth. A book was not tossed around from house to house or city to city as a way of following God through Jesus. If there were any documents on a religious ideology, it would have come from the TaNaK and only if someone was educated enough to read it. It was definitely different from what you may expect from “Western Christianity” as it is displayed everywhere and some may even consider it “overrated” (that’s for another conversation).
Rhetoric; then and now.
Someone’s speech, such as Paul’s, John’s, and so on, was very important. The rhetoric and discourse of your beliefs were important and people took each other seriously, especially if that was the only way of communication. People listened to such claims and considered them. Curiosity was enough to have someone try out what Paul and others said about Jesus.
Of course, many things are different today. The question of authority and such claims are so profound that it can be harder to do what was done in the tens and hundreds of years after Jesus walked the Earth as one of us. With the existence of the internet, anyone has the ability to throw around claims and ideologies, whether they are true or not. Just look at me; I have the accessibility to create a blog and have some influence to have you read through it. Criticism is everywhere. It’s become a lot harder to discern what someone has to say, especially if the purpose is to show someone that following Jesus is worth it.
When debating with someone of an Absolute Truth or your faith, the phrase. “The Bible says…”, can become as useless as supporting a statement with “just cause” or “well, because”. It is hard to convince someone with the Bible if they don’t believe in the power of the words in the book.
Since Paul couldn’t mention a book when referring to Jesus and what God did through Him, he had to talk to people by challenging their faith and have them ponder over the possibility that this god he brought up was different from anything else offered at that point. He had to convince them that this god was the God by referring to his relationship with Jesus and what he saw and experienced. He showed them and had them explore that there was something else worth living for.
What do you think?
Try to imagine how these conversations played out in the times of Jesus and after his resurrection. In comparison, is there a big difference with how you talk about your faith to your family, friends, or a stranger on the streets about Jesus?
Do you have enough experiences or a testimony to share your faith that could be enough for someone to have a spark of curiosity?
Do you think it is necessary to use the Bible as a reference to your faith and what God has done in your life?
Let me know what your answer to any of these questions may be or what your thought are on using the Bible while you evangelize?
P.S. I didn’t mention this earlier, but I don’t think the Bible is useless outside of this context. We use it as a guide to seeking a Holy life and have constant spiritual growth. This is possibly the best tool you could use to know more and study God’s characteristic.
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