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What to tell people, when they do not know anything?

25-06-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet

index_2 Where do you start with sharing the Evangel, when someone is, actually, completely ignorant about the Bible or Jesus? This question is becoming more real, each year. Until recently, we lived in a culture stamped by Christianity, but that is rapidly changing… Presently, there is a generation growing up for whom the Bible means next to nothing. More and more, people have, for example, no idea of the meaning of Christian feest days. Referring to biblical stories is like talking to deaf ears, because they simply do not know about these historical events. How do we introduce Scriptural truth to such Biblical illiterates? The answer to that question, we need not to  think of, on our own. Again, we can consult Paul, “the apostle and teacher of the nations”. In the book of  “Acts”’, we find two events recorded in which he came into contact with people who knew nothing of Scripture. And in both cases it is significant how he introduced them to Scriptural truth. In Acts 14, we read that Paul and Barnabas, in Lystra, are mistakenly regarded as being gods in human form (14:11). Indignantly, they react to this and right away start speaking about…

THE LIVING GOD, Who makes heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, Who, in bygone generations, leaves all the nations to go their ways, although He leaves Himself not without the testimony of good acts, giving showers from heaven and fruitbearing seasons, filling our hearts with nourishment and gladness.” -Acts 14:15-17-

This is all Paul had time to say. About Jesus Christ, he could not speak. But, in any case, he was able to tell them: the one GOD, Creator of heaven and earth, has not failed to leave a clear-cut witness about Himself to all the nations. In Acts 17, we read that Paul, in Athens, is invited to speak at the Areopagus. The city teemed with idols and people had heard Paul speak about Jesus and Anastasia (= resurrection). It was assumed that these, for them, were strange gods (lit. demons) (17:18). This aroused their interest. What does Paul do, then? Does he explain Scripture? No. Does he start talking about Jesus and the resurrection? No. He begins, as in Lystra, about …

THE GOD Who makes the world and all that is in it, He, the Lord inherent of heaven and earth, is not dwelling in temples made by hands, neither is He attended by human hands, as if requiring anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and ALL. -Acts 17:24,25-

As in Lystra, so in Athens, Paul began to speak about their “unknown God” (17:23). THE GOD, Who created everything, and regulates all, as well as Who “gives to all life, breath and everything.” That is what people needed to know first. What is the point to talk about the Son of God, if one does not first know who GOD is? Knowing the one GOD is the first truth of the entire Scripture (Mar.12:30). Indeed, the ABC of the Evangel (1Cor.15:1-3) is Christ Jesus, Who has died, was buried and was resurrected (1Cor.15:14). But this Evangel has, as her foundation, acknowledging and knowing THE GOD. Moreover, anyone with sense, understands that a creation presupposes a Creator (Rom.1:20), so that people only have to be reminded of God, and then, consequently, learn to know Him, “as GOD” (Rom.1:21). That is the seedbed in which the Evangel can germinate.