Most believers in Yeshua today have either never truly learned how to properly handle the Scriptures, or they fail to apply what they know—either consistently, or at all. So whether you’re listening to a sermon, having a Bible study, or discussing the Scriptures with a friend or online, here are five simple strategies that will help you stand up for the truth of God’s word and answer any unbiblical beliefs you might hear from your fellow believers.
#1—Only use the Bible. It should go without saying, but whenever you want to settle a biblical question, only the Bible has the biblically correct answer. This is the standard that Yeshua Himself set for us, as we see Him repeatedly holding up the Scriptures as the arbiter of truth, often saying, “Did you never read in the Scriptures…?” (Matthew 21:42), or “You go astray, not knowing the Scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29). Paul also held exactly the same standard (cf. Galatians 4:30, cf. Romans 4:3, 11:2). If anyone is actually serious about getting to the truth, then they should have no trouble agreeing that what the Scriptures say is not only correct, but the final word.
#2—Try the “Where’s that in the Bible?” approach. For example, someone may say, “Christians have replaced Israel,” or “the Sabbath was changed to Sunday.” If this doesn’t sound quite biblical to you, just kindly ask the person, “Where’s that in the Bible?”—either in the hopes of affirming or challenging them, depending upon what was said. When you ask this question, it forces the person to defend his beliefs by the only defensible standard there is: the Scriptures. So if it can’t be found in God’s word—not contrived or cobbled together with human reasoning or supposed spiritual insight—then the belief must be abandoned, because it simply isn’t biblical.
#3—Ask, “Show me one Scripture at a time.” When you’re in a Scriptural debate, the goal should be to come to agreement and understanding. But if your opponent blasts you with a fire hose of statements mixed with Scripture, just slow everything down by requesting he discuss one Scripture at a time. As you agree on and progress through each point, when he finally comes to a Scripture that doesn’t mean what he thinks it means, doesn’t support the point he’s trying to make, or doesn’t reasonably connect to the other Scriptures he’s cited, this approach will help you identify—and hopefully help repair—your friend’s incorrect thinking.
#4—Stay on topic. Don’t veer off from the main point of the conversation, or allow yourself to be misled by something introduced into the discussion that seems relevant, but is not. For example, if you’re talking about the importance of not living in sin, don’t let the subject be changed to how we’re saved by grace. While this may seem like it’s part of the original topic, it’s actually not. If you get drawn into discussing something irrelevant to the current conversation, then not only will the original point of the discussion go unaddressed and unresolved, but the biblical truth you were pursuing will remain undiscovered.
#5—Know how and when to answer a fool. Proverbs 26:4-5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his foolishness, So that you will not be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his foolishness, So that he will not be wise in his own eyes.” In other words, if you engage with a fool at his level, then that also makes you a fool. But sometimes even fools can be made to see their folly, so if you think you can show him the error of his ways, do it. Often, instead of answering a fool’s argument, we need to answer the fool himself by addressing the motives behind his unbiblical attitudes and beliefs. Be wise and discerning.
So when you’re answering believers’ unbiblical beliefs, be strong and confident in the truth of God’s word. But also be willing to admit that you’re wrong when the Scriptures conflict with your beliefs. Standing up for the truth of God’s word is one of the most important things you can ever do. Being familiar with the Scriptures—and prepared with strategies to defend them—will make you ready to fulfill your purpose in Yeshua.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!