QUOTING SCRIPTURE

While it is vital for Christians to know and understand the Bible, we must understand that it doesn't mean anything to nonbelievers. If you don't believe God exists, why would you hold His Word in such esteem? Quoting scripture isn't always an effective way to prove your point, and can actually cause non-Christians to think of your argument as even less valid. It appears more like circular thinking to try to prove there is a God or that His words should be followed simply by quoting what He said.

This is one area we need to be particularly careful in and be sensitive to the unique dynamics of the situation. Why? Because there really isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. In some cases, quoting Scripture to a nonbeliever may be effective. For example, if the person you're talking with was raised in a Christian home, but has since turned their back on God, they may still have a certain ingrained reverence for the Bible that God could use to convict them. But, as discussed above, you may find yourself in other situations where quoting from the Bible may not be your most effective approach.

I think it is instructive to notice the different approaches that the Apostles used. Although they freely quoted Scripture in some circumstances, they didn't always. When Paul was addressing the philosophers in Athens on Mars Hill, for example, he didn't once say, "as it is written," or "thus saith the Scriptures." Instead, he shared the truth in a way that would be far more compelling to the audience he was addressing.

In some cases then, it is better to use logic and words nonbelievers would relate to, rather than Scripture, leaving the convicting nature of the Bible to those who understand its value: fellow Christians.

OVERZEALOUSNESS

Many times Christians are so excited about what the Lord has done for them or what it means to have a personal relationship with Him that we dump all of that excitement all over unsuspecting souls. It's wonderful to be on fire for the Lord, but it's a little overwhelming for someone who is not sure about this whole "God thing." It can scare off someone who was interested in hearing about Jesus. What a shame to have someone walk away from an encounter with a believer less interested than they had been! It can also make them feel afraid to ask anyone else for fear they will run into someone even more "on fire" than you were! Acting this way can make us appear crazy or silly.

The best way to persuade someone to change his lifestyle or accept a belief is to appear natural. We are just normal average folk who believe the Lord is real and try to live our lives according to the Bible. The more we exaggerate or come across as overzealous, the less a nonbeliever will be able to identify with us. They need to be able to see themselves in us in order to accept that this might be something that they should or could accept for their own lives.

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JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication. Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought-after speaker. She is the author of the Say What You Mean communication curricula, and has had articles published in various homeschool magazines and Web sites. Her newest study, Say What You Mean: Defending the Faith, is now available. JoJo and her husband live in Southern California where she homeschools their two children. For more information, please visit www.ArtofEloquence.com

This article was originally published in the May/June '07 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine, a national publication dedicated to encouraging and equipping Christian homeschoolers. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com