by Shawn Brasseaux
When you share God’s Word with others, be mindful that you will run into opposition. Religious people can easily grow angry, throw tantrums, scream, and consequently, they may even curse you out or do you physical harm! What should you do when someone challenges you to a debate or argument? Does God want you to argue with them, or should you decline the invitation? The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12), but does that mean we should argue and debate with everyone who disagrees with the King James Bible rightly divided?
Let me begin by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with a curious person asking Bible questions. Lost people will have questions before they come to salvation in Jesus Christ. This is a far cry from someone wanting to argue, which is what we will discuss here. In the ministry, I have come across multitudes of people who just wanted to argue for the sake of arguing. They were not seeking sound Bible answers; they were purely interested in mocking the Bible and wasting my time.
If ever you come across individuals (whether saved or lost) who persist in asking foolish Bible questions, or who continue to discuss the same useless information over and over, keep these verses handy and obey them. God wrote the following verses regarding dealing with people who have anti-Bible attitudes.
In 2 Timothy 2:23 KJV, Paul writes: “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” God says we are under no obligation to answer silly Bible questions. If someone is asking ridiculous or captious questions (it seems like an attempt to confuse you), the Lord says to avoid the conversation. Why? The word “gender” in this verse means “to generate.” Fighting and bickering (“strifes”) will result over something minor, and you might say something or do something that would dishonor the Lord. Remember, as servants of the Lord, we should not be quarreling/fighting with people: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive” (2 Timothy 2:24).
Let us look at Paul’s warning to Titus (3:9), which is similar the admonition he gave to Timothy: “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” What are “genealogies?”
Compare to 1 Timothy 1:4 KJV: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” Now look at Titus 1:14 KJV: “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” According to these two verses, “genealogies” are “Jewish fables,” myths/legends that the Jews would pass down from generation to generation. Today, this would be equivalent to religious tradition that refutes the Bible—the writings of the church fathers, for instance. Today’s “genealogies” are simply teaching that has been passed down through a denominational hierarchy, ideas that generate doubt (questions), confusion, and deception. Avoid these tools of the devil, beloved!
Consider what 1 Corinthians 14:38 KJV says: “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” If someone is confused (ignorant, unlearned), and shows no interest in learning the truth of the King James Bible, leave him or her alone! The person cannot be forced against his or her will, so God says “let him be ignorant.” Do not address questions that come from those who have no desire to learn anything from the Bible. Here are the instructions Jesus Christ gave to His disciples in Matthew 7:6 KJV: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” The “pearls” here are God’s Word; do not cast the precious Word of God to those who will not appreciate it or accept it with readiness of mind. It would be a waste of time and energy, time and energy that could be spent dealing with those who do want to learn the truth.
Jesus Christ told His followers in Matthew 10:14 KJV: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” (cf. Luke 9:5; Acts 13:51). Do not be discouraged when someone does not want to hear your testimony regarding God’s Word (the King James Bible). Just go on your way and speak to those who do want to hear what the Bible says! (Those who reject you as a Christian are not rejecting you per-say, they are rejecting God, and God will deal with them.)
If you come across someone who is interested in learning, then share the Holy Scriptures with him or her, in a loving and polite way. (Yet, I have learned that even when I was very polite, some people accused me of being “too pushy!”
Religious people are opposed to God’s Word because God’s Word rightly divided is opposed to them and their religion. The battle exists between Satan and God, and so a spiritual battle is being fought between us Christians and lost people. The Bible will offend people, it will convict hearts, and it will contradict what people are accustomed to hearing in most churches. Unless they hear it come out of their pastor’s lips or their denomination headquarters, most church members will object to you sharing Bible verses with them. You will have people get upset and some people may get a little violent and curse you. But, be not discouraged!!
Proverbs 26:4,5 KJV is wisdom in this regard: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Sometimes it is appropriate to respond to the scoffers; other times, you will decide to say nothing, and go on your way to those who will listen. Determine what action the situation requires by listening to the person’s tone, and comments, and observing their facial expressions, demeanor, and so on.
Why does God warn us not to engage in debates over minor matters? See what the Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:14 KJV: “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” One of the last things Paul tells Timothy is to “charge [believers] before the Lord that they strive [fight, argue] not about words to no profit.” Arguments that arise over small matters can divide believers and ruin Christian fellowship. The Bible says the argument will profit nothing spiritually!
For example, local churches have divided over issues as ridiculous as the color of the curtains, pew covers, or carpeting! Striving (fighting) about minor matters will not edify (strengthen, build up) the Christian brethren. Rather it will subvert (destroy, demolish) those who overhear the conversation. By the way, that Greek word translated “subverting” is katastrophe, which literally means “to overthrow” (like, “overthrow the faith of some;” 2 Timothy 2:18). Those types of discussions will literally make a catastrophe of the Church the Body of Christ, and ruin Christian fellowship with a division/schism!
Intelligent Bible conversations with inquisitive people are totally fine. But, when it comes to dealing with people who debate over things that are not of major doctrinal importance, we must step back and consider pursuing any further discussion.
God’s Word tells us that we should avoid topics/questions that generate more questions than they do answers. God’s Word does not answer every question, so if the answer is not clearly stated in God’s Word, then this is a topic that God does not consider important. If we fail to adhere to these instructions in God’s Word, we run the risk of overthrowing the faith of fellow Christians and/or further confusing the lost world!
Let us Christians remember to always “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and let us “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us] with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15), but when the scoffer rejects that truth, the Lord tells us “let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).