How to answer: How can I believe the Bible when it is so full of errors?

This question is expressed in many different ways. Sometimes a person is genuinely seeking for truth and feels like the Bible we have is far removed from what was originally written. Often the person is aggressively anti-Christian and using this objection as ammunition for their skepticism.

It’s always best to ask a few questions to understand what the real issue is. Ask, “What has given you the idea that the Bible is full of errors?” Their answer gives you a lot of information about where they are coming from. Remember that your goal is not to win an argument, but to lead someone to Christ, so don’t respond argumentatively.

The reason for their doubts may be emotional, “When my husband was dying I prayed and asked God to help him get better, but he died anyway, so God is not real.” You would need to respond to this person so differently from the person who read The Da Vinci Code and answers, “The Bible is just a translation of a translation of a translation and has changed so much that you wouldn’t recognise the original version.”

Regardless of their reason for doubting the Bible, there are so many reasons to trust it. In our LifeWorks course for Christians to use with their non-Christian friends, we point out five ways that the Bible is reliable. These are simple and great to hold in your mind for conversations around the Bible.

  1. Reliable Manuscripts

The Bible is not a translation of a translation of a translation. Each of our English translations works from the original languages the Bible was written in—Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. We have more than 24,000 ancient copies of the original documents and can be very confident that what we have is what was originally written.

  1. Reliable History

The Bible claims to be made up of historical records, carefully recorded. Most of it is written by eyewitnesses of the events. For many years places referred to in the Bible were unknown to other historical records and their ruins could not be found either. But as archaeology has progressed, discovery after discovery has validated the history of the Bible. In fact, renowned Jewish archaeologist Nelson Gluek has said, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” What’s more, every major event of Jesus’ life is also referred to by non-Christian historical sources from his same time-period in history.

  1. Reliable Prophecies

About 2,500 prophecies appear in the Bible, and about 2,000 of these have already been fulfilled with amazing precision. The remaining 500 have to do with the future and will continue to unfold as the days go by.

  1. Reliable Consistency

God used 40 different human authors to write the Bible, over a period of more than a thousand years. Why should we believe that God was behind their writing? Here is one reason:

Imagine questioning 40 different people on their religious views, especially people from every socio-economic background—ranging from extreme poverty to immense wealth. These 40 people also came from all sorts of occupations: kings, fishermen, shepherds, statesmen, poets, doctors, government workers. And they came from vastly different cultural heritages—from different continents, and speaking 3 different languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic). And they came from different periods of history. And they have to write a series of articles on religious and moral issues.

You would end up with a horrible mash of conflicting opinions and views!

And yet the Bible holds together as one book with one message. Why?

Because it is God’s book, with God’s message!

  1. Reliable Spiritual Truth

The best thing I can say to you on this is, read it and see for yourself! Share how the truths of the Bible led you to Jesus and how he has changed your life. That will have a powerful impact on the person you are speaking with.

Conclusion

It’s not necessary for you to go through all five ways the Bible is reliable. Keep it a conversation back and forth with the person. Let them see that you acknowledge their doubts and don’t dismiss them. But let them see that there are good reasons why you trust the Bible. Make sure you share how it has impacted you personally.

In the end, your conversation will be used by God in their lives, even if they are not responsive to you right now. Don’t be afraid of these conversations with people who have hard questions. Ask them further questions to understand where they are coming from and trust God to work through you!

Resource: If you would like to get hold of LifeWorks to use with your non-Christian friends, you can order it at our online store. Here’s the link: http://afci.com.au/product/lifeworks-2/

Resolutions of a Witness for Jesus

The New Year is such a great time for resetting your compass, for evaluating your priorities and how you are spending your life and making some changes that will help you grow a bit more towards what God wants for your life in the coming year.

As you think of your calling from God to be his witness in the world around you, here are our ten suggested New Year Resolutions for someone growing to be an effective witness. I have taken these from the first ten of our daily Time With God devotions of the coming year. If you want to be challenged more deeply from scripture about these, head over to Time-with-god to sign up for the daily devotional emails.
10 New Year Resolutions of a Witness for Jesus:
 
Resolution #1: I will increase my sense that God has sent me into every encounter with people!
Resolution #2: I will build real friendships with non-churched people!
Resolution #3: I will help people take the next step on their journey towards Christ!
Resolution #4: I will pray regularly by name for the people in my life who don’t know Jesus!
Resolution #5: I will accept my own inadequacy and trust Jesus to reach people through me!
Resolution #6: I will find connecting points between the gospel and the person I’m trying to reach!
Resolution #7: I will draw those I am trying to reach for Christ into real Christian community!
Resolution #8: I will clearly communicate the gospel message and invite people to put their trust in Christ!
Resolution #9: I will care more about how I minister to others than I do about how they treat me!
Resolution #10: I will speak out with the confidence that people’s hearts long for God!
May God help you on your journey towards being his witness in the coming year.

 

Christmas Evangelistic Conversation Starter #2: “Why do you think Jesus has had such an impact on the world?”

Chatting with people around Christmastime is the perfect time for significant spiritual conversations to arise. Most people won’t move into this kind of conversation with you on their own, so we have come up with a few “Christmas conversation starters” to help you have these meaningful gospel conversations with people in your life.

When you bring up one of these conversation starters, relax and enjoy the conversation. Remember that it is not up to you to ‘convert’ this person. Rather, trust God to direct the conversation. It will be one step on this person’s journey to faith in Christ.

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It’s not over until the fat lady shares the gospel!

There was a famous German opera that lasted more than 12 hours whenever it was performed. As the story came to a conclusion, the character who sang the final piece was always played by a large woman wearing a helmet with horns or wings on top of it. As the long story unfolded, people would hopefully ask the person they were sitting with, “Is this the final piece?” The proverbial answer would come back, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings!”

It’s true that evangelism is not only about sharing the gospel. People journey towards Christ for some time before crossing the line to faith in him and we choose a narrow understanding of evangelism if we think evangelism only includes helping a person take the final step of faith.

Anytime you help someone in your life take a step towards Jesus, you are taking part in their salvation.

But you need to understand that just like the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings, evangelism is never complete until

1) you arrive at the gospel and the person understands what Jesus did for them on the cross and that he rose and is alive today and can change their lives, and

2) you have invited the person to receive his gift of grace!

Don’t ever force the gospel on anyone. They will only resist it. Rather than pushing them to Christ, ask God to draw them to him through you. Build a relationship with people. Let them see Christ in you. Ask them questions that can lead to spiritual conversations. Share with them about your own walk with God. Pray for them all the time.

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Do all this, but never forget your end goal if you truly love this person. Your end goal is for them to hear and understand the gospel, to know what Jesus has done for them and how they can experience his forgiveness and restoration. Never be satisfied to simply “sow seeds”. Yes, sow seeds, and water them, and let them grow. But why do farmers sow seeds and water them? So that he can reap the harvest!

At some point, you will have to swallow your self-consciousness and say, “Has anyone ever shared with you how you can start a good relationship with God?” “Could I share that with you now? It’s had such an impact on my own life.”

Last thoughts

To be ready for that conversation, you should memorize the simple points of the gospel, along with a verse that affirms it from the Bible:

1. God loves you dearly – John 3:16; Romans 5:8
2. Our need for God (our inner brokenness – Mark 7:21-23; sin – Romans 3:23 and 6:23
3. What God has done to remove the barrier – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 5:8 (because we couldn’t remove the barrier by living good lives or being religious – Ephesians 2:8-9)

Ask God to give you the opportunity and the boldness to share the gospel with someone in your life this week.

Lifestyle Priority 8: Clearly communicate the gospel and invite the person to put their trust in Christ

You are like people who don’t know Jesus

Maybe that title seems very strange to you. After all, your life has been totally changed by Jesus Christ. Doesn’t the Bible say you have been brought out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son? Haven’t you been born again into a new way of life? If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!

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