When challenged to share their faith with others, a common objection from followers of Jesus is that they don’t know enough about the Bible, theology, or Christianity to tell other people about it. This is a classic excuse that we tell ourselves (one that I’ve probably used in my own mind), and it is an obstacle to lost people learning about the salvation that they need in order to find purpose and hope.
There was someone in the Bible who thought that he couldn’t share God’s message, either:
But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”
Exodus 6:12 NASB
Despite Moses’ protests, he later led the people of Israel out of Egypt, across the sea, and into freedom from slavery. Clearly, with God’s help, Moses had the ability to do what God instructed him to do. If God could deliver His people with the words of a stammerer (not to mention a whole host of other people with major life issues), shouldn’t we expect that He can work through us, as well?
In light of God’s power and help, we can’t let fear of our own limitations keep us from sharing God’s word when we are commanded to do so. When Jesus told us to make disciples (see Matthew 28:18-20), He didn’t include any caveats for those who didn’t speak well, or weren’t educated at seminary.
So, what do we do, instead?
For one thing, we can study. That may sound a little intimidating, but this doesn’t have to be graduate-level theology (unless you want to pursue that). Read the New Testament to learn about the teachings of Jesus. Read the Old Testament to learn about the nature of God. Talk with God and ask Him for insight. Spend time reading parts of the Bible you enjoy. Take some time to think through the more challenging-to-understand parts.
Jesus’ disciples probably had some basic synagogue instruction when they were younger, but their primary education came from just being with Jesus and listening to Him. Through the Bible, and listening to the Holy Spirit, we can enjoy a similar education, even if it has a different form.
In addition, we can trust God. He always knows the right answer, and is willing to help (see Luke 12:11-12). In addition, it is God who calls people (see Acts 2:38-39), just as it is God who they reject when His message is rebuffed (see Luke 10:16). Jesus gave His followers a role in spreading the good news, but He doesn’t leave them alone when they do so. I think that sometimes my fear in telling others about Jesus is a function of my lack of confidence in God’s support, despite His demonstrated faithfulness and power.
Finally, we can just share. I’m not sure if anyone has been debated to the truth of Jesus Christ through arguments (whether scientific, logical, or philosophical), especially in isolation from other ways that God reaches out. In the same way, if you mis-state something or can’t answer a question, I find it hard to believe that an honest error on behalf of a Christian, or the inability to explain a complex topic, makes anyone responsible for another soul’s choices about whether or not to trust God.
For instance, if someone is just asking one of those “trick questions” (logical inconsistencies and other traps that unbelievers have accumulated for the purpose of not having to listen to God’s word), then not being able to answer it probably won’t change their mind. In fact, even a good answer seems unlikely to change someone’s mind, if they have already decided to barricade themselves behind their opinions about God. On the other hand, when we find that someone is struggling with an honest question, if they are serious about finding the answer, they will likely be willing to search for the answer with you (see also Matthew 7:7-8).
When the Holy Spirit prompts us to speak up, we can do so without fear (see 1 John 4:18). As near as I can tell, He wouldn’t call us to something that He doesn’t want us to act upon. If He can work through Moses, He can work through us.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.