The following is a “five questions” game plan for responding and getting things on track!
Get these five questions put to memory in your own words so that it becomes an immediate reflex that triggers when anyone asks/challenges whether or not the Bible is the Word of God. Not only will you be armed with an organized and instant reply; the pressure will come off of you for a while as you put the ball back in the questioner’s court a handful of times before you come through with your official response.
(1) “I appreciate your question and so that I could better address you, would it be OK to ask you a few questions to kind of gauge where you are at on this and I can find a good place to dive in?”
(2) “Do you believe it is possible or impossible for God to exist?”
(3) “Do you believe it is possible or impossible for God to communicate through man?”
(4) “Do you believe it is possible or impossible that the Bible is the result of God communicating through man?”
(5) “Finally, what kind of sincere research have you done on the Bible…More specifically what did you discover?”
Noteworthy explanation of the five questions
The first question gets the questioner prepared to open up some of their potential assumptions.
The next three questions will help to steer things and narrow the scope of possible escape routes that the questioner might flee to later. Also, just imagine if they respond with “impossible” to any of the three. You can reply, “Wow, that is quite a hard stance to hold that it would be ‘impossible.’ Can you please demonstrate why it would be impossible?” I have rarely ever had anyone reply with “impossible” and the times that it has happened they immediately retract and reverse their answer after they are asked to demonstrate such a hard stance.
The final question (99/100 times) will politely expose the questioner’s cards of ignorance. So what? Well, tactically speaking you have disarmed them pretty early on. It really takes the impact out of some of their anticipated retorts such as: “Well we all know the Bible has been changed throughout time!” You can reply something like: “Wait a minute…A moment ago you admitted you haven’t done much research on the Bible. So I need to ask this now, have you really done your homework on how the Bible was transmitted or are you just repeating something you have heard?”
Bottom line is, anyone that has ever done any genuine research on the transmission of the Bible would not make such a claim because it is quite false. But hey, if they want to stick to their guns with no ammo let em’ and you can go into probe mode. Ask them questions requesting specific examples. I will tell you now, they are just going to reveal more ignorance and unfortunately a lot of times wind up resorting to some childish behavior like spewing some lame straw-man remarks such as, “The Bible is a bronze aged myth!” “The Bible is a book of fairy-tales and magic!” Blah, blah, blah…Right?
So what we need to do in order to keep the conversation from digressing to this is check our motives! Are we being kind, calm, and sincere? Don’t I really care about this person, their soul? Can they see it in my eyes? Can they hear it in my voice? If so, you should be in a pretty could position to bring things back on track. It never hurts to ask the person if you could just pause the conversation for a moment to let them know, “Hey, I care about you, I really don’t want to argue with you…That is not my desire. I really wanna listen to what you have to say and I hope you feel the same way. Can we please pick things up again?”
At some point you are going to want to present why you believe the Bible is the Word of God. There are plenty of approaches you could take in presenting your case, here are a couple of relevant posts: Proof the Bible is the Word of God & How do you KNOW the Bible is God’s Word?
The above is simply a game plan approach I have developed and refined over time to disarm the questioner and set things up for a positive case as to why I believe the Bible is the Word of God. If you don’t take the time to “disarm and set up” but, instead immediately jump into some explanation of things… you are going to find yourself getting interrupted, open to smoke diversions and attack. So before you get started, clear the air, disarm the questioner and prepare the way for God’s Word and the Gospel!