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Ask Dr. Stanley: Defending God’s Word

What do we say when someone tries to diminish the Bible’s relevance and power?

Charles F. Stanley November 21, 2022

The Bible is a tremendous gift from God. It’s the record and promise of His love. And in God’s Word, we find His heart and His will for us, regarding the kind of life we were made to enjoy. But not everyone sees the Bible this way. Many will acknowledge its historical relevance or admire the poetic narrative within its pages, even as they ignore God’s eternal and infallible truth. Today’s e-mail asks:

How are Christians supposed to share what the Bible teaches when the response we get is usually, “Well, that’s just your interpretation”? I’ve encountered this objection with Christians and with non-believers alike.

Illustration by Studio Muti

Don’t react. Listen quietly before speaking, and avoid going on the defensive. It can be helpful to start with the question, “Do you believe the Bible is inspired?” If they agree with you about the inspiration of Scripture, then try following up with, “Where in the Bible does it state what you believe?”

And seek to discover their motivation: Are they trying to avoid something God has convicted them of? What are they defending? Or do they genuinely want to know the truth? Often people try to defend some sin in their life in order to eliminate the guilt they’re feeling. Your godly life is likely a testimony to them—but it could also be making them uncomfortable. Carefully state your belief and maybe a personal example from your experience or someone else’s life. 

It’s perfectly okay to simply to state your belief and then just leave the matter in God’s hands. 

When the issue is a doctrinal question, open the Scriptures and say, “Here’s what the Word of God says …” You can silently pray for their eyes to be opened, or, if praying together is an option, do so sensitively, asking the Holy Spirit to help everyone understand the issue the way He does. If you genuinely do not understand why they believe as they do, don’t argue. It’s perfectly okay to simply to state your belief and then just leave the matter in God’s hands. 

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