As Christians we are clearly commanded to train ourselves in apologetics so we can answer the skeptical questions and misconceptions that the world has about the Christian faith. As 1 Peter 3:15 puts it, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Equipping ourselves to answer objections to the faith is a vital part of fulfilling 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
However, we cannot just stop at learning apologetics. Filling our minds with evidence and answers might serve as an encouragement to us in our faith but it does little good to others if we don’t share it with the world! We need to equip ourselves but then we need to actually get out to where people have questions and answer them so that we can guide people toward the Way, the Truth, and the Life who died and rose again for them—Jesus Christ.
As a Christian and an apologist I have often struggled with how to take what I have learned and share it with others. Then I stumbled upon a short little book called Share Jesus Without Fear by evangelist William Fay. In this book he presented a simple method of easily sharing the gospel with everyone we come in contact with. The method involves five sharing questions that can be used in any conversation, whether with a good friend or the person stuck next to you, taking up all your leg room, on the plane. These questions can be asked in order or out-of-order, depending on the circumstances surrounding the conversation. Here they are:
1) Do you have any kind of spiritual belief?
People love talking about themselves and what they think about things. This question provides a non-offensive way to introduce spiritual topics into an ordinary conversation.
2) To you, who is Jesus?
This is an easy way of directing the conversation away from just spiritual topics to the main reason why we are conversing—to share Jesus! Again, this is just asking someone for their opinion and people love giving their opinions.
3) Do you believe in a heaven or a hell?
Again, we are getting even more focused with this question but we are still just discussing the unbeliever’s opinion.
4) If you died tonight, where would you go? If heaven, why?
With this question you are getting an idea of what they believe about how to obtain eternal life. This will help you to tailor your gospel message to their specific beliefs (i.e. I’m good enough to get to heaven, I go to church, etc).
5) By the way, if what you are believing is not true, would you want to know?
This opens the door for you to present the gospel with their permission. If they say no, then that’s fine, just be quiet. The Holy Spirit will open or close the doors.
In his book, Fay suggests just nodding and “hmmmmm”ing while people are answering the first four questions. Wait until the final question to address their false beliefs in a gentle, loving fashion. This will keep you from getting drawn into a useless argument.
Once you have their permission to share the truth with them, William Fay then suggests seven Scripture verses that can be used to show them the gospel. Since Scripture is powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), Fay argues that it’s best to let Scripture speak for itself by getting the unbeliever to read the verses you show him/her aloud. After they finish reading each verse you can ask a strategic question. The verses are:
1) Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” Ask: What does this say to you?
2) Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Ask: What does this say to you?
3) John 3:3, “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” Ask: Why did Jesus come to die?
4) John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Ask: What does this say to you?
5) “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’” Ask: What does this say to you?
6) 2 Corinthians 5:5, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Ask: What does this say to you?
7) Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Ask: What does this say to you?
After this you can gauge whether or not the person is ready to receive Christ by dialoguing with them. If they are ready you can lead them through a prayer of repentance, trust, and faith in Christ—just like the one you prayed! If you worry that you can’t remember this many Scripture verses in order then simply write the reference of the next verse in the margins of your Bible beside the verse you are on (i.e. write “Romans 6:23” beside “Romans 3:23”). This way you won’t forget what comes next!
During your conversation with someone, questions will inevitably come up about the Bible or God. That’s where apologetics training comes in handy so that we can effectively answer those questions and get the conversation focused back on Christ, our Creator and Savior.
Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
Fay, William. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 1999.