Daily Cross Series: Be Ready To Give An Answer (Part Two)

Be Ready To Give An Answer

Study To Show Thyself Approved

Part Two

By Curt Wildy

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets
(
Luke 6:26).

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
(
2 Timothy 3:12).

And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
(
Galatians 5:11).

And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father’s, and of the holy angels
(
Luke 9:23-26).

Memorising And Meditating Upon Verses

I trust that every Christian has, or will have, an increasingly strong desire to live more uprightly. Yet, I know that I cannot tell anyone how to grow in this fashion. If the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do (Romans 7:19), how can I presume to advise anyone on how to more quickly conform to the image of our Lord? It is no more in man to make themselves grow spiritually than it is in children to make themselves grow physically. It is God who must cause us to prosper; our steps are ordered by Him (Psalm 37:23); “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

However, knowing that God works through means, I am thoroughly convinced that an upright walk and the knowledge and pondering of truth go hand-in-hand. If you are a child of God, then the more you read and carefully consider His word, the more you will want to walk in the light thereof.  That desire, that hungering and thirsting, is of God and He will cause you to walk increasingly in the Light as you grow in grace. The old (or outer) man will never be cleaned up, but through the influence of the Word on your heart, your thoughts and ways will change over time.

Having verses already stored in our hearts makes this process easier; we can more quickly call them to mind when we are in need of encouragement, comfort, admonishment, and exhortation. Consider:

Proverbs 7:1-5My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart [leb לב H3820 (labe); 1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding]. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou [art] my sister; and call understanding [thy] kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger [which] flattereth with her words.

The strange woman, the harlot or whore, represents all sin. It represents physical sin (adultery, idolatry, lust, etc.) but it ultimately points to spiritual sin, namely whoring after the will of self rather than bowing to the will of God. As Christians, our prayer should be that God turns us, grants us continual repentance, and gives us that daily heart of the Psalmist to say “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law [is] within my heart (Psalm 40:8);” “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee (Psalm 119:11).”

Memorising verses also helps us to proclaim the truth and refute the lies that others may bring. Having these verses in our head will enable us to give a precise, biblical answer — especially if we do not have our Bibles with us. It is one thing to use non-biblical terminology to describe biblical truths; however, quoting verses from memory makes our testimony more accurate, safer (in that we lessen the likelihood of mixing human philosophy with biblical precepts), and more powerful (because it is the word of God, and whether the hearer believes or not, our message will generate God’s intended effect).

Moreover, accurately quoting the Bible gives us authority because the Bible itself is finally authoritative. Most people know little about the Bible; fewer still have verses memorised beyond John 3:16, Matthew 7:1, Romans 10:9 and a handful of other similarly misused passages. Unbelievers are far less likely to nay-say if we season our discourse with biblical verses; it will become clear to them that our arguments are well-founded, being based on something more than mere emotion and opinion. Those who are not initially silenced will soon be when Scripture conquers their foolish arguments. Only the more hardened will continue to argue in the face of biblical truth. Since we are called not to argue, but to witness, we move on when the discussion turns combative. We do not cast our pearls before swine; we are commanded to “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words (Proverbs 23:9).”

Proverbs 15:28 declares that “The heart of the righteous studieth [hagah; הגה H1897; (daw-gaw’); meditates, muses, moans / growls / mutters / devises (in the mind)] to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” Scriptural meditation is not an option; it is the God-ordained result of a new, spiritual heart. It is about as optional as water for fish and food for the living body. Think in terms of physical digestion; if you never eat, you will soon die. If you eat, but never chew, your ability to digest will be significantly hampered and your system will suffer significantly for it. It is the same with spiritual food; you may benefit by reading the Bible, learning key words, etc., but unless you really take time to ponder what you learn, mulling it over in your mind, you will never reap the benefits that you otherwise would. None of us meditate upon God’s word as we ought, but the more we do, the better off we will be (of that, I am sure).

When you meditate upon Scripture, you began to see all manner of connections; seemingly unrelated passages begin to merge into a unified whole. You begin to see, as God enables, tie-in after tie-in until the Bible overflows with such blessings. Passages that you may have read many times over begin to have new meaning and power. I liken it to tidal waves; sometimes God will bring a passage home with such might that you are “knocked over by it” metaphorically speaking.  Exodus 32:9-14, Exodus 14:17-18, 2 Kings 5:18, are a few examples of verses that really changed the way I understood things, even though I had read them all before. This is why I consider it a blessing and an honour, and not just a duty, to carefully chew the spiritual food that God has provided for us.

Finally, think of life in general. When you begin to meditate upon those passages that directly affect some aspect of your current experience, or the experiences of those around you, the word comes alive. It ceases to be mere theory or academics, but becomes a living, life altering, word of instruction. To have your cares, your fears, your stumblings, addressed via scripture is edifying enough; but to really think about how God’s word applies to you hour by hour, to really let it grow and blossom in your mind, O what a great mercy. The more you ponder the depths of His word, the less appealing the things of this world will be. You will not become perfect; you will fall far, far short of that. This body of death will never let you do all the good that you would; but (in due time) you will come to increasingly hate sinful self, especially when you fail to walk as you ought in light of your joyful meditations. You will hunger and thirst after Righteousness all the more as your ponderings cause you to feel (as God wills), the deep love, mercy, and compassion He has for you. In light of such divine benevolence, I urge you to think mightily upon God’s word. Strive to empty the mind of self and fill it with Scripture (not just Scripture read, but Scripture contemplated and savoured). Study to be like the scribes of God, those instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, who bring forth out of (the scriptural) treasure things new and old (Matthew 13:52). Once you have such treasures brought forth, labour to put it to good use.

Memorising And Meditating Upon Key Word Definitions

Many are opposed to even mentioning the biblical Greek and Hebrew words, let alone attempting to learn and memorise them. There is this notion that the AV/KJV is so inerrant, so beyond reproach, that to even question the accuracy of some of its wording is tantamount to heresy. As I have stated in the past, the Textus Receptus (the underlying Greek New Testament text) and the Masoretic Text (the underlying Hebrew Old Testament text) are inerrant. The AV/KJV is by no means so; it is a very good translation, but it is not without its flaws. Digging deeper and checking the fuller, sometimes more accurate, meaning of the original words can go a long way in helping you to broaden your understanding and application of Scripture. For one thing, doing so helps to provide a big picture effect. When you began to see where and how God uses words, it greatly opens up the Bible. You begin to see that the Bible is not many words, or many concepts, but one perfectly cohesive word; the more God brings you to see this, the more in awe you will be.

There are numerous words (words like Saviour, love, world, confess, repent) that people misuse; studying them will give you the upper hand when it comes to dispelling false notions. This will boost your knowledge and confidence when witnessing. Take krinō [κρινω 2919 (kree’-no)]; it is one of the words commonly translated as judge. However, it is closely related to anakrinō, katakrinō, diakrinō, diakrisis, dokimazō, and katadikazō. Remembering krinō serves as a springboard towards remembering the others; it is often easier to learn words that share the same root(s) given the inherent similarities in spelling between them. By taking the time to review these words, seeing their different uses, interrelations, etc., you can get a bigger and better picture of what God means. In light of our example, given how often people misuse “judge not, that ye be not judged,” and given how little understanding people have when it comes to words like judge, try, and discern (and the variations thereof), having a deeper understanding than your hearers can go a long way in helping you to answer their questions and refute their errors.  

Note also that root words shed greater light on the derived words (which gives us a deeper understanding of the doctrine at issue).  Consider John 1:12 as an example; it states “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name.”  Power is the Greek word exousia [ἐξουσία – G1849; (ex-oo-see’-ah); power, authority] which stems from the word exesti [ ἔξεστι – G1832; (ex’-es-tee)].  Exesti means it is lawful/allowed and it stems from two Greek words: ek [ἐκ – G1537; (ek or ex); of, out of, from, by] and eimi [εἰμί – G1510; (i-mee’); to be, to exist, to happen, to be present, am]. Eimi, when used in conjunction with the Greek word for I [ego; εγω G1473; the primary pronoun of the first person “I” which is only expressed when emphatic], forms I am [as in “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58)]. Thus, when God gives elect sinners power to become the sons of God:

  • He gives them spiritual life out of (by, and from) the great I AM, Jehovah the Anointed Savour (The Lord Jesus Christ);

    •  Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

    • Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

  • He gives them the legal authority, the lawful standing, to come into existence as His sons based upon the Righteousness of Christ.

    • Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the LORD? and [there is] no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside Me.

    • Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22  Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, [I say,] at this time His righteousness: that he might be Just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

      • God is a just God and a Saviour, both Just and the Justifier; He cannot save anyone and cause them to exist as sons in contradiction to His holy law and justice. We must be lawfully (or justly) made sons and that can only be done in the light of the righteousness that the Lord Jesus Christ has established for His elect. All who receive Him (by grace) receive His righteousness and that is what gives us the legal standing before the Father to come into (spiritual) existence the as sons of the Thrice Holy God. God gives us The Life and He gives us The Righteousness that justifies the giving of that Life before the law (even the Lord our Righteousness).

We can also get a better understanding of Scripture when we memorise and carefully consider words in light of their noun/verb relationships. Studying noun forms along with their verb forms [like agape / agapaō (love), pistis / pisteuō (faith / believe); eklogē / eklegomai (elect / choose), etc.] not only makes it easier to remember them, but it also makes it easier to tie together verses that may not have previously appeared to be related. When we consider a word, and then consider the word in action/practice (i.e. in the verb form), it can greatly expand our understanding of the overall principle God has in view. This allows us to tie-in more verses to give our hearers a wider view of God’s commandments and precepts.

Another benefit to learning and memorising key words is the advantage it gives us in understanding and discussing controversial passages. John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We can accurately translate this verse as “For God, in this manner, loved [as defined by His nature, law, and decrees as King] the orderly arrangement of mankind, that He gave his only begotten Son, that the believing into him all should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

That word whosoever has caused so much chaos and confusion in the world of professing Christianity. Contrary to what the will-worshippers maintain, this word has nothing to do with an offer or invitation. Whosoever is literally the Greek “pas ‘o” which means the all. The, as a definite article, limits the all to one body, one all. It is the same all as “all that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” spoken of in John 6:37. The word believeth that follows the whosoever is the Greek word pisteuo in its participle form. The Greek participle generally corresponds to the English participle (which usually ends in “-ing” or “-ed”) and is deemed a “verbal noun.” It serves as an adjective modifying the words “the all” (like flowing in “the flowing river,” it appears to be a verb but it is really an adjective modifying the noun); thus, together it can be written as “the believing all.” Yet the “into Him” is a prepositional phrase; such phrases acts as adjectives or adverbs. In this case “into Him” ties-in with the believing to denote one body of people known as “the all believing into Him” or “The believing into him all.” The all believing into the Son, the all whom the Father has given Him, equates to all of the elect, the ones chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). They are the called out ones who were predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28-29), the ones made willing in the day of His power. So rather than being an invitational word, it is a word describing a specific, predefined, set of people. This is but one of numerous examples wherein a closer look at the underlying Greek and Hebrew will help you to dispel the baseless arguments of false professors. Being able to give a clear, reasonable explanation as to why a previously misunderstood verse actually upholds your position, the biblical position, will greatly enhance your confidence and credibility when witnessing.

Memorising And Meditating Upon Key Arguments

In Luke 12:11-12 we read “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Many use this passage and the parallel passages in Matthew 10:17-20 and Mark 13:9-11 to argue that we should never think ahead about what we should say to people on biblical matters. I disagree; I think that we should memorise the gist of key arguments and counter-arguments to help us become more familiar with (a) the subject matter itself; (b) how to put forth the matter; (c) how to respond to questions that may arise about it, and (d) how to refute the counter-arguments our enemies put forth.

Many will consider this too dry, too carnal, or too dependant upon the letter or flesh. I have a strong suspicion that those who make such arguments are those who do the least amount of witnessing to others. Yet, the passage does declare “take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say;” which raises the question: am I encouraging people to disregard God’s commands? No, not at all. My position is that it is a mistake to take this verse that the Lord spoke to the Apostles (before the Bible was completed) and to to try and make it applicable to those of us living in the period after the Bible was completed. When I witness to people, I can rightly assert that every word that I speak is ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. I know that He causes me to say precisely what He would have me say to accomplish His purpose. However, I can by no means state that when I proclaim the Gospel before men, that “it is not [I] that speaks, but the Spirit of [my] Father which speaketh in [me].” My words are not God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16); I am not being borne along to bring forth wholly inerrant words of Truth (2 Peter 1:21). I think it too much of a stretch to use these three passages as an excuse to not study and prepare.

Note also that memorising key arguments does not mean that we think we have enough control over the discussion to state whatever we want, whenever we want, and precisely how we want. Our intention to discuss one thing may be overridden by God and we may be brought to discuss something altogether different. Or we may be brought to discuss what we intended, but in a completely different manner than how we planned. The goal is to memorise and otherwise prepare so that we can have the underlying knowledge (arguments) in our mind — while recognising that the sovereignty of God will make us flexible in such things. He will cause us to say what He will have us to say; nothing more and nothing less. Therefore, we should never fret (be anxious) about how we should word things.

Consider the following verses:

  • Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him.

  • John 7:51 Doth our law judge [any] man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

  • Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it.

    • [Note: Spiritually speaking, we are to bring our hard matters to the Lord and leave them with Him].

Rehearsing scriptural arguments and counter-arguments in our mind is actually a form of meditating upon God’s word. When we do so, we are obeying the command of God to hear and contemplate all matters before we judge them.When we meditate upon the truth, and think of it in relation to the arguments that others put forth, we are fulfilling the essence of the Scriptural references above. We are acting like the Bereans, striving to hear and understand things before coming to a conclusion. This form of meditation is Godly and, Lord willing, it will help us to (a) repent of our own erroneous beliefs; (b) give an answer to those who ask us the reason for our hope; and to (c) gain some insight into the incoherent nature of the will-worshipping belief system.

Remember, the more we understand, ponder, and do (in the light thereof), the more eager we will be to share the truth with others; especially as we grow in grace. We will feel like bottles about to burst if we hold these things in for too long. True Christians cannot bury their talent forever.

Write It Out

Another good way to help you memorise and meditate upon these things is to write about them. We are instructed to keep God’s words and to lay up His commandments with us. We are directed to bind His law (His word) upon our fingers and to write them upon the table of our hearts (Proverbs 7:1). One of the best ways to do this is to routinely write down on paper the words, passages, and precepts that God puts on our hearts.

Write to yourself, write to family and acquaintances, write on a  blog, write your own tracts, just put it all down on paper as much as possible. When you write the key word definitions, passages, and arguments, it helps to burn them into your mind. If you write about anything clearly enough, and often enough, you will most likely be able to speak about it clearly and often enough as well. It all goes back to being passionate about the subject, knowledgable about it, confidant in your ability to discuss it (or even better, in God’s ability to see you through discussing it), and being prepared to discuss it. I have no doubt that the more you write on spiritual things the more you will be ready and able to proclaim it. In fact, people will probably start wishing you would speak about it less.

Ice Breakers / Segues

One of the easiest ways to start a biblical conversation is to tie-in biblical precepts with the comments of others. Using their own words to launch into a biblical discussion helps to take away the initial hesitancy and awkwardness (especially for us introverts). We should be willing and able to initiate the conversation without relying on the words of others; however, I know that for me, listening out for key phrases and topics definitely helps. Consider these segue examples:

The Sinful Acts of Others

In America, the news is filled with reports of criminal activity. In light of such reports, we often hear people talk about how this person deserves to die, this person deserves to go to jail, how disgusting or depraved this person is, etc. Yet when people make such statements, we should view it as an opportunity to witness. We can liken these criminals to mirrors in that they reflect our own natural hearts. We can quote (or read) verses that show that each and every one of us is just as depraved as that criminal and that we are all capable of such vile activity unless God restrains us. When witnessing on such matters bring up verses like:

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Read, study, and meditate upon as many other such passages as possible. Link them to other key doctrines and be sure to bring it back to the Gospel (i.e. our need for a Saviour, the law’s condemnation of all fallen men by nature, and the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Kingdom, His work, and His righteousness).

Sin in Self

Recently, I was witnessing to a man who brought up sin, after sin, after sin of his. I proceeded to explain that the issue is not our individual acts of “egregious” sin, so much as it is our inherently sinful nature that cannot help but to produce such sins. I explained that people get caught up on specific acts but fail to realise that we are all intrinsically carnal, sold under sin by nature (Romans 7:14) and that we are all abominable and filthy to the core of our beingS (Job 15:16). I explained to him that we have this sin-sickness that has invaded every aspect of our person, and that without a remedy, we are lost. I stated that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Remedy for sin-sick souls. Unless God makes a person experimentally aware of (a) their sinful state; (b) their utter inability to alter that state; (c) the justice of God in sending them to hell because of their sins; and (d) their need for the Lord Jesus Christ as their only Hope for salvation, that man person will die in their sin under the eternal wrath of God. By laying these truths out methodically, we can feel a lot more confidant and comfortable with the flow of the conversation. By keeping it simple and taking it in logical steps, it makes it easier to remember key points and lay out key arguments. 

Life & Death, War and Peace, Safety & Destruction

Also in our news today is talk of war with Iran, war with Syria, our current activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, civil uprisings (the Arab Spring), etc. Reports continue to trickle in concerning the Fukushima reactors (damaged during this year’s Japanese earthquake and Tsunami) and the sicknesses and deaths associated with it. We have near daily reports of storms, earthquakes, famine, currency crises etc., in one region of the world or another.  All of these things are segues into biblical discussions. We can discuss how God forms the light, and creates darkness; how He makes peace and creates evil [literally, wickedness, calamity, evil] (Isaiah 45:7). We can point them to the verses wherein God states that he sends the sword, the famine, the pestilence, and the beast upon the various lands (Ezekiel 14:21; 28:23-24). If we really wanted to drive the point home, we could point them to verses like Isaiah 13:15-18 and  Jeremiah 19:7-9 wherein God declares that He causes people to fall by the sword; He makes cities desolate; He causes people to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters; He stirreth up the violators and pillagers; etc. It all goes back to a favourite passage of mine:

Isaiah 46:9, Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.

By showing that war and natural disasters are actually the predetermined works of a sovereign God, judgments and chastisements upon a sin-cursed world, we can segue into such topics as the righteous wrath and hatred of God; the love of God (for His elect); the sovereign purpose of God in reprobation, etc. Secular discussions on life and death can be turned into discussions on how God gives life (opening the womb as per Genesis 29:31; 30:22; and Psalm 113:9) and how ‘our days are determined, the number of our months [are] with God, and how He has appointed our bounds that we cannot pass (or go beyond – Job 14:5).’ We read in Job 7:1 “[Is there] not an appointed time to man upon earth? [are not] his days also like the days of an hireling?” The Lord declares in Deuteronomy 32:39See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” All of these topics can be used to transition into a discussion on the eternal importance of the atoning and redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Other Topics

Wealth and prosperity; sickness and health; science and nature; philosophy and religion; child-rearing and education; all of these topics, and many more, can be used to enter into biblical discussions that lead to Gospel witnessing opportunities. By reading your Bible, memorising and meditating upon Scripture, listening to edifying sermons, etc., you will be able to introduce verses into a wide variety of secular conversations.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is an excellent means of starting biblical discussions; it gives the other person the opportunity to make known their degree of knowledge, understanding, and interest. If they seem clearly annoyed or disinterested, do not force the issue, just move on. If they are interested, proceed calmly and slowly. Do not try to be as deep or controversial as possible; odds are, they will not understand.

The following are some sample questions, I trust that there are many more that we can use:

    1. Do you believe in Predestination?
  • Do you believe man has a free will?
  • Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?
  • Do you believe that God loves everyone?
  • What is the ground (or basis) of salvation?
  • Who do you believe will end up in Heaven?
  • How would you characterise the Christian walk?
  • How do you think the universe came into being?
  • Why do you think bad things happen in this world?
  • Do you think people are inherently good or inherently evil?
  • What does your church teach about bearing your cross daily?
  • Do you believe that God ordains war, natural disasters, and calamity?

Conclusion

To aid in our ability to witness to others, we need to read the Bible as often as possible, memorise and meditate upon it, listen to sermons that are truly edifying, and think about the questions we can ask and the arguments that we can make that will facilitate a biblical discussion. Write down your arguments, send letters to family and acquaintances regarding Gospel issues. Ordering your understanding on paper helps to order it in your words as you speak with others.

Also, develop a big picture approach; push yourself to see how wide you can go with your understanding. Make every effort to think of how every precept and commandment ties-in with every other precept and commandment.  When you read scripture, ask yourself “how does this tie-in with the Gospel; how does it tie-in with my daily walk?” The more you strive to look for connections and applications, the more readily you will be able to incorporate such things into everyday discussions. Labour to see how key words and passages apply to every aspect of your life and to every aspect of the lives of those around you.

Finally, as much as is in you, do not let the Bible become some academic thing. We are not dealing with collegiate science or philosophy (though the Bible is rich in both science and the love of true Wisdom). We are dealing with a life altering, life saving book when applied to the heart by the Spirit of God; we need to take it seriously and make the delving into it our biggest priority. Remember, it isn’t about head-knowledge, mental assent, and intellectual stimulation; it’s about doing. Study, memorise, and meditate with the intent to do. In this life, we will not and cannot obey God perfectly, but we can strive to both know His will and to walk in accordance with it as much as is in us by His grace. Part of doing that will is proclaiming the Gospel to others as He opens the door. May it be that we are constantly on the look-out for opened doors and that we refrain, as best we can, from trying to close them out of fear and timidity. I trust that as we apply these principles, our witness will continually increase. Nonetheless, it is all in God’s hand; may He give us the grace to be bold in His name. 

To God be the glory.

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