“Let’s Argue Some Bible”
By: Brian A. Yeager
What do you think of the title of this article? What would you think if someone walked up to you and challenged you to “argue some Bible” with them? Would you be a taker? Would you find it “fun” to do? When you think about the title of this article, what information do you consider in thinking about it? Are you just thinking about your personal preferences? Have you asked yourself what God thinks about the idea of arguing about the Scriptures?
Would you concur that everything we do must be authorized by the word of God (Matthew 4:4, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 5:10, and Colossians 3:17)? Would you concur that every good work is discussed in the Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17)? Where, in the word of God, do we find authority to “argue some Bible”?
The word of God authorizes us to teach people (Acts 5:42, I Timothy 1:3-7, I Timothy 4:11, and II Timothy 2:2). The word of God authorizes us to defend the Gospel (Galatians 2:1-5, Philippians 1:17, and Jude 1:3-4). Notice what that means: “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ… And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 17:1-3 and Acts 18:4-6).
I am not just suggesting, but in fact stating, when reasoning is lost in our discussions of the Scriptures with others we have ZERO authority to continue in those discussions. That is the undeniable pattern we see in the Scriptures. We do not have authority, from our Lord, to just engage in senseless arguments over the Scriptures. In fact, the Scriptures forbid us from just getting into such arguments.
More Than Just Lacking Authority
Just the fact that we do not have authority from our Lord to engage in senseless arguments over the Scriptures is enough to make it sinful (Proverbs 30:5-6, Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46, Romans 14:23, Galatians 1:6-9, I Thessalonians 5:21, II John 1:9, and Revelation 22:18-19). Furthermore, we should have a more spiritual mindset than to want to just get into arguments. Strife is a carnal trait, not a spiritual one (Romans 13:13-14, I Corinthians 3:1-3, Galatians 5:19-21, and James 3:13-18). Such a person who engages in senseless argumentation and strife is simply an ignorant person (I Timothy 6:3-6). Thus, this part of our study is merely to add emphasis to the point.
Notice what God says about engaging in senseless argumentation over spiritual things: “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 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… But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (II Timothy 2:23-26 and Titus 3:9-11).
Did you notice those commands? Were those commands not abundantly clear? Why would anyone want to engage in just “arguing some Bible” after reading those verses? The kind of person that could read those Scriptures and still want to argue about the Scriptures is the kind of person that will be in Hell. Are you such a person? On the other hand, there are people who want to defend the truth and teach it, but also want to be clear in not crossing the lines God has drawn. Thus, we shall briefly discuss some points to help us not confuse teaching and defending the truth with entering into senseless debates.
The Lines God Has Drawn
Answering questions is a part of teaching (Mark 12:13-34). Discerning honest questions, discerning beneficial times to answer those questions, and when to stop is not an easy thing to do. Someone asking to “argue some Bible” is easy to discern. Other questions are not always so obvious. First, we must always start with examining ourselves (Haggai 1:5 and II Corinthians 13:5). Be sure you are answering to teach with wisdom (Colossians 1:28). Be sure you’re not trying to beat someone at a game of sorts by being a “debater” or a contentious person (Romans 2:8 and Philippians 2:3).
Secondly, you have to examine the other person with honest judgment (John 7:24). Are they receptive? If so, teach on (Acts 13:14-44). When or if that changes, we must stop trying to teach (Acts 13:45-51). This is what is commanded by God: “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… 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” (Matthew 7:6 and Matthew 10:14).
God says: “He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee… Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (Proverbs 9:7-8 and Proverbs 23:9). The truth only works on good and honest hearts (Luke 8:4-15). We are to be teachers, not debaters. If you’ve found you just like to argue some Bible, repent before it is too late (Ezekiel 14:6 and Luke 13:1-5).
Volume 15 – Issue 12 - December 7th, 2014