In my last article, I dealt more with how we use apologetics rather than focusing on apologetic arguments themselves. In this article, I want to continue with some thoughts about the way in which we engage others. If we have all of the right arguments but don’t understand how to use them, we risk pushing people further away from the truth rather than drawing them closer to God. The apostle Paul was a master of knowing his audience and framing the teaching of the gospel in a way that was most palatable for the audience he was speaking to. For instance, in Acts 17, when in the city of Athens, Paul provides one of the most amazing arguments for the existence and attributes of God, and he does not quote one single Old Testament Scripture. Instead, he quotes one of their own pagan-believing poets. We have to better understand who we are talking to so the evidence we give as a defense for our beliefs can be most effective.

One of the most common questions among non-believers today is, “How do you know that the Bible is from God?” As Christians and apologists, we then love to jump right into our reasons and arguments that provide evidence for the divinely inspired Word. However, I am noticing more and more that I lose people’s interest almost immediately in these conversations. This has caused me to approach my “making a defense” tactics a little differently. In times past, people were still familiar with and comfortable enough with the Bible for me to make my arguments, and if they were open-minded, they would accept the logical points that were made. But the majority of the modern world around us is not familiar with the Scriptures at all, including most who profess to be Christians. There are so many more avenues for people to hear the critics of Scripture, and a lot more doubt has been poured into their minds than ever before. So, how can we change our tactics without changing the truth of the message?

It might surprise some who are reading this that I do not, initially, try to make the case with non-Christians that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Obviously, I believe that it is, and I trust in it as such. We have to start with much more fundamental, basic points to help people see the Bible for the amazing book that it is. The first place to start is by asking them some questions.

  • “Who do you believe the primary author of the Bible is?”

  • “Do you believe that the Bible is a fully human book, or do you believe that God had at least some part to play in it?”

  • “Since the Bible claims to be supernaturally created, what reasons do you see that would prove that it is not?”

These questions help you to know exactly where you need to start and can even turn the burden of proof back on them.

Remember, if they make a claim, they are the ones who have the responsibility to provide legitimate reasons for their belief.

Once I have learned more about where their doubts come from, it gives me the ability to adjust what I want to lay out to them, providing the evidence that the Bible cannot possibly be the product of men. I have multiple points that I am ready to use, but asking them some questions first helps me to know which of those will make the greatest impact on the individual I am speaking with. Again, I am subtly changing my method of presenting my evidence by proposing one question at a time for them to answer. For example…

Could man have created such an incredibly unified story?

If you were to take the top five professors of religion in the United States and give them one controversial topic to write about, we would probably discover that there were some things that they agreed on, but it is highly likely that we would also see many conflicting views. Differences in opinion and thought would happen even though all five are in the same profession, speak the same language, are from the same country, and live during the same time period.

Compare that with the Bible, where about forty men, over a 1,600-year period of time, who spoke different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek) who wrote from different places in the world (Israel, Babylon, Egypt, Asia, Europe), being raised in different cultures, and coming from different occupations (shepherd, king, fisherman, tax collector, doctor, etc.). Yet within the Bible, where they wrote about numerous controversial topics (one God, marriage, sin, salvation, creation, etc.), they always agreed 100% with one another. If five men with many things in common wouldn’t be able to accomplish such a task, can you explain how the forty ancient writers were able to pull it off? Could this point to there being one supernatural source from where all of these men received their information?

Can man provide detailed prophecies that are accurately fulfilled?

Bible prophecy may be the most powerful evidence we have to show the supernatural influences of God’s word. For a detailed list of several fulfilled prophecies, see the Excel Still More article I wrote at the end of last year. The great thing is that the more we find through scientific and archaeological discoveries, the more credible the Bible becomes. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered, they provided the greatest validation of prophetic accuracy. Many critics claimed that the prophecies of the Old Testament weren’t actually written until much later dates. And then, in the Dead Sea Scrolls were copies of writings like Daniel, dated to have been written hundreds of years before the time of Christ, which contain many prophecies that were fulfilled just before and during the time of Christ. So, even if a critic says, “Well, I don’t believe that Daniel wrote that in the sixth century BC,” it doesn’t matter because someone wrote about these things hundreds of years before they happened, and we have the physical evidence to prove it.

Should historic facts impact the validity of the Bible?

If there were other historic, non-biblical, non-Jewish, or non-Christian writers describing the miraculous events the Bible records, would that make it more valid? Again, for a detailed description of the historicity of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, see the previous articles written at the end of 2021. A great question to ask is, “If there were other witnesses to these miraculous events, would that have any impact on how you view the Bible?” Having others who were not followers of Jesus and even enemies of Jesus, writing about these events provides strong credibility to the Bible’s claim.

Other questions that can be asked are:

  • Over time, many books have been completely erased from existence because man has destroyed them. How is it that the Bible still exists when, even in its early years, the entire Roman Empire had set out to eradicate it? Doesn’t it make sense that if God provided His word to mankind, God would have made sure that it was preserved?

  • Among all the self-help books that have ever been written, there has never been one that has completely and dramatically transformed the lives of men and women like the Bible has. Could it be that there is something supernatural about the life-changing message that it contains?

  • If God were to pass on an important message to man, does it not make sense that God would use men to deliver this message? Instead of a message from men, could it not be a message from God through men? So, if God is involved, His use of fallible men is not a problem.

As much as I love to dive into the many facets of Christian apologetics and throw out argument after argument to anyone who doubts, I have learned that I have to, sometimes, slow myself down and try to understand why the individuals I am speaking to believe the way they do. Understanding how they came to their assumptions provides you with a much better foundation on which to lay your evidence. Dealing with their questions and not just giving them memorized answers helps to address their specific uncertainties. If they have reservations about believing in God or His word, try asking them more questions about why they believe what they do and how they came to those conclusions. If nothing else, they will see that you are sincerely interested in what they believe, and maybe, just maybe, it will open a door for the truth to be heard.

Steve Schinnerer
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Steve Schinnerer was raised in the church in Scott City, KS where his father served as an elder for 25 years.  Steve attended Oklahoma Christian for one year where he met his wife, Jennifer, of Yukon, OK.  Steve and Jenni have four children: Ajay, Jagger, Liberty, and Jase, they also have 4 grandchildren. Jenni is a stay-at-home mom where she homeschools and is focused on raising her children in the Lord.

Steve and Jenni both attended Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver where they graduated: Steve with a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Theology, and Jenni with and Associates degree in Bible. 

Following Bear Valley, Steve and his family moved to Porter, OK where he served as their pulpit minister for six years, and then another six years as the pulpit minister for the Cherokee Hills church of Christ in Oklahoma City before coming to Cave Springs in the fall of 2013.

Steve and Jenni have a passion to teach the saving message of Jesus Christ and do so whether it be in their home congregation, at summer camps, gospel meetings, lectureships, or in the foreign mission field.  Steve has been able to preach in eight different countries around the world with most of his time abroad spent in Africa and Australia.  Steve and Jenni have recently been focusing on young families, trying to help strengthen marriages, encouraging parents to utilize Biblical discipline and training with their children and especially in helping men in their battle to become the husbands and fathers that God desires for them to be.