How to Share Biblical Truth
COPYRIGHT ©2017 - James M. Frye
All scripture quotations are taken from the Authorized King James Bible. Any deviations are not intentional. All underlines, bold and words within brackets are the author's.
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The Bible tells us how we are to go about sharing Biblical truth with those who are in false doctrine. I have at times, in my own personal life, fallen short of doing these things perfectly as they ought to be done. May this serve as a reminder to both myself, and to others, how God would have us to do these things.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
This passage lists a number of things that we need to know and do when reaching out to those in false doctrine. Let's look at them one at a time.
1. Do not strive (get into a fight).
If we are not careful when we are trying to reach out to others with the truth, it can degenerate into a outright argument. We must be careful to speak the truth "in love" (Eph. 4:15). Speaking the truth in love involves two things. 1. Speaking the truth and, 2. doing it in love. If we know someone who is into false doctrine, it is "unloving" to sit by and not tell them. But we must also communicate that truth in a loving fashion. Put yourself in the place of the other person and share the truth with them as you would want someone to share it with you. If someone is going to reject the truth, you want to make sure that it is the truth they are rejecting and not the way you are communicating it.
2. Be Gentle Unto All Men.
We are to be gentle unto all men. This, as I stated in our last point, requires speaking the truth in love. Notice that it says "All Men". There will undoubtedly be people who just rub us the wrong way, or who's personality seems to clash with ours. It is in these situations that we must be careful to "Be gentle unto all men".
It is easy to be gentle unto those who are gentle unto us, but to be gentle unto "all" men is a different matter entirely. Have you found yourself becoming stern, hateful, or otherwise harsh to those whom you are trying to reach with the truth? When this happens, you may need to ask that personís forgiveness before you will have any chance of winning them to the truth.
3. We Must Be Apt to Teach.
We must make sure that we have studied an issue ourselves and understand it thoroughly before trying to reach out to others. There are two implications in this.
A. We must understand the truth ourselves. The Bible only teaches "one" truth, yet Christians hold to many differing beliefs. Surely this means that we cannot "all" be correct on each of the various beliefs that we hold. Two contradictory beliefs cannot both be right at the same time.
Given the above statement, we should earnestly seek to examine our beliefs one-by-one with an open Bible and an open mind. We should allow others to "test" what we believe to see if it is in fact biblical. After all, if a belief that we hold to can be proven wrong by the Bible, why would we want to keep it? Perhaps we may turn out to be the one who needs to be reached out to.
B. We must be able to properly communicate the truth to others. I once had someone tell me that they were trying to reach a friend who was in a cult. They said that they were trying to show them that the doctrine of the Trinity was Biblical. After speaking with this person further I came to realize that they did not understand the doctrine themselves, nor were they able to explain it. How can we possibly reach someone with the truth, if we cannot even explain that truth?
4. Be Patient.
We must also be patiently persistent. Some people have been taught things that are wrong repeatedly over a number of years. If it took them a long time to become indoctrinated into false doctrine, it may also take them some time to come out.
I have personally dealt with people who have been into false doctrine for a long time. In some of these cases it has taken months before the person was totally free. People are taught to view scripture through the "rose colored glasses" of a particular false teaching. It is then hard for them to see what scripture is actually saying. We, therefore, need to be patiently persistent. As long as they are willing to listen we should continue to share the truth with them.
5. We must instruct, in meekness, those that oppose themselves.
There are two parts to this admonition.
A. We must instruct in meekness. The term meekness carries with it the idea of a mild, gentle humility - which is very much needed in dealing with those in false doctrine. We must not place ourselves above the one to whom we are speaking, but beneath them.
B. We must realize that those in false doctrine actually oppose themselves. People who believe false doctrine are in fact only opposing (hurting) themselves. We must keep this in mind as we reach out to them with the truth.
6. We must understand that only God can change a persons heart.
Our text says "if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth". The word peradventure means perhaps. After we have done all that we can do, we must wait and see if God will grant the person repentance. We cannot change a persons heart, only God can.
There are two errors that people make in respect to this. They either: 1. Think that they can bring everyone to the truth if they can just explain it convincingly enough, or 2. Say that if God wants someone to know the truth he will show them, and do nothing.
Although only God can change the heart, we still have a responsibility to tell people the truth. The same Paul (the apostle) who wrote this we are studying passage also said:
Acts 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
7. We must understand that it is the devil who takes people captive through false doctrine.
Our text says "that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will". We must keep in mind that it is Satan who misleads people. Jesus said (speaking of the devil):
John 8:44 ... He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Was it not Satan who denied the truth of God's Word in Genesis chapter 3? Was it not he who twisted the Word of God in tempting Jesus in Matthew chapter 4? Is it not the devil and his fallen angels who mislead people into departing from "the faith" in the latter times (1 Tim. 4:1)?
Through-out scripture it is the devil with his host of fallen angels who continually seek to mislead people. When we seek to reach out to those who are in false doctrine we must keep this in mind. Scripture says:
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We need to look back at this passage from time to time in order to make sure that we are sharing Biblical truth Godís way and not our own.