Because the Bible says so! (Is not a great answer)

30 Jan
Lightning will totally strike you if you disagree - ITS THE BIBLE!

Lightning will totally strike you if you disagree – ITS THE BIBLE!

People really don’t like hearing “Because the Bible says so!” Granted, if you are a follower of Jesus it is still a compelling reason to do (or not do) something; but if you are not it tends to grate. This response is happening less and less as our culture becomes less and less familiar with the materiel presented in the Bible, but it still happens. I think it’s a bad answer; in fact I think you should tell people you don’t care whether or not they think the Bible is true. If you want, you can go so far as to tell them to assume that it’s not true. One thing they must grant you however, is that the original authors and audience believed it to be true.

This matters immensely and can help your evangelism. Be honest for a second about how effective it would be to answer “because the Bible says so” to someone who has serious questions about a moral issue like premarital sex or abortion if that person doesn’t already believe that the Bible is a reliable source of information. How much more so are they unlikely to be swayed by this answer when their question is “why should I believe in Jesus?” (If I don’t trust your book and the book tells about your Man then I won’t trust your Man).

There are two ways to convince someone the Bible is not only historically reliable (meaning it is an accurate representation of what the original authors wrote) but historically factual (the things it says are true).

The first way is to invite your friend to study the Gospels not as pure truth about the life of Jesus but as accurate descriptions of what Jesus’ earliest followers believed. You can explain that you believe they are true, but remind your friend that he needn’t adopt this position to read them and glean some truth. Now the ball is in the court of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully as your friend studies the life of Christ he will be convicted that He is the Son of God and put his faith in Him. At this point, he will accept the truth of the book which led him to this conclusion.

Our second approach is the more traditional apologetic route. Find out all the answers to your friend’s objections and respond one by one until there are no objections left and they are forced to admit that the Bible is an accurate and true source of information about both the physical (kings, geography, etc.) and non-physical (angels, miracles, etc.) world. This approach rarely (never?) works. It can often (and must) take us as far as convincing our friends that the Bible does accurately represent what early Christians taught and believed, but has little power to go further. Once you’ve made it that far, go to approach one and invite them to investigate what the earliest Christians found so compelling about Jesus.

So, if you’re tempted to point to the Bible and say “see, the answer is right here in black and white” check to see if your friend actually believes the Bible has anything worthwhile to say. If they don’t, suggest that you investigate Jesus before you go any further and let them read it as an interesting bit of ancient history. It’s hard to earnestly study Jesus for long without being captivated and acknowledging that he’s not only a historical reality but a present and future one as well.

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2 Responses to “Because the Bible says so! (Is not a great answer)”

  1. kstedman January 30, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    This is a very common approach students take when writing essays for class. I’ll ask them to write an essay that argues a point, and they’ll, say, argue that people should change their opinion on abortion because this collection of verses in the Bible supports the idea that life is sacred even before birth. Then I have to have the awkward conversation about who exactly they think will be convinced–in that case, people who already agree that the Bible has authority over our lives AND are pro-choice. But often, the arguer hasn’t thought much about who the audience is, they’ve been thinking so much about the argument (in a vacuum). Thanks for reminding us that arguments happen in a real world, with real people!

    • stevewimmer January 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Sure! And thanks for teaching the kids how to think (better…).

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