If you’re like me, you’ve grown up in the church and probably started hearing Bible stories when you were a small child.
Do you remember going to Sunday school and coloring sheets with Bible characters on them? Joseph and his colorful robe, David with his sheep, Jonah in the whale…and the snack break when we ate goldfish was always the best part.
Sunday school taught us the basics of many Bible stories when we were little. Even if you don’t have the same childhood experiences, you might still be familiar with many of the same stories.
As Christians, we know the basics of the Bible really well. Many of us even know the tiny details of Bible stories, and we also know what biblical truth is. But do we know the truth well enough to explain why we believe what we do?
Core Beliefs of Christianity
Here are a few basic things we as Christians believe:
- Jesus is the Son of God, but is also part of the Trinity and is equal with God (John 10)
- Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave (Luke 23-24)
- Faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved and go to Heaven (John 14:6)
Here are a few more controversial (but still true) things many Christians believe:
- Human life is precious and should be valued (Psalm 18, Psalm 139:13)
- God designed man and woman distinctly and uniquely (Genesis 2)
- Following Jesus takes sacrifice and choosing to follow His will (Luke 9:23)
I’m going to assume that you already believe all of these things. These principles (especially the first three beliefs) are the basis of our faith. However, they are also beliefs that could be challenged by nonbelievers.
Are we prepared to defend our beliefs if asked? Will we stand firm in our beliefs if they are challenged? Do we know why we believe what we do, where the Bible addresses these topics, and why they are important?
I feel convicted on this point. You might think that as the person writing this article, I should be perfect in this area–but I’m not. And that’s okay.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect (that’s what Jesus’ sacrifice was for), but He does create in Christians a desire to learn more about Him. Almost all of us, however familiar with the Bible we may be, need to work a little bit on knowing the reasons we believe what we do.
When someone asks us why we believe a certain truth, we want to be able to say more than “Because that’s what my pastor says.” or “The Bible says so… somewhere.” We should desire to be able to clearly explain why we hold certain beliefs and what the Bible says about different topics.
Benefits of Knowing the Truth Well
“Yeah, I should probably know more about my beliefs,” you might admit, even if you’re in a place where you already know a lot about your faith. But is it really worth your time to learn exactly what you believe and why? What should motivate you to take action?
It’s not just because you “should”; there is benefit to knowing these things. Two of the most important benefits are these:
#1 – Knowing our beliefs protects us from being swayed by the world.
We hear things pretty often that may be contrary to our faith and make us doubt. The world tells us lies like, “To be loving, you have to be accepting of every part of someone—even their sin.”
We may hear unbiblical things and be around a non-Christian worldview often, especially at school where we are surrounded by nonbelievers and “casual” Christians.
The statement above about being loving might sound convincing to someone who doesn’t know what they believe and why they believe it. Christians are called to be loving, but it isn’t loving to accept and encourage someone in their sin.
In fact, it’s the opposite because sin is destructive. To love someone well, we must want to help them overcome their sin and point them to Jesus.
If we not only know what we believe, but why we believe it, we can discern lies from the truth. A statement like the one above will probably be immediately recognizable as false to someone who knows the truth well.
Knowing what and why we believe will also help us to address challenges to our faith and doubts we have. Weighty doubts like “Why does God allow suffering?” or “How can a loving God send people to hell?” can be answered, at least in part, by study of the Bible and learning the truth.
Most Christians encounter doubt at some point, but the lies that doubt stems from can be combatted by God’s word. Knowing what God says helps us to stand confidently in our faith.
#2 – Knowing our beliefs helps us defend the faith and share it with others.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” If someone asks us a question about Scripture, Jesus, or our beliefs, we want to be prepared to answer.
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say in these situations (Luke 12:8-12), but we still want to know Scripture well both for our own good and in case we have a chance to explain it to someone else.
For example, if someone asks us “Why do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?”, we don’t want to be thinking, “Yeah, why do I believe that? I know the Bible says so somewhere, but what exactly does it say about that?”
Knowing the reason why you believe things can help us defend the faith and evangelize. Most people, when they hear the gospel, don’t accept Jesus all at once. They usually have more questions about Christianity, which we can help give them more clarity on if we know Scripture well.
We’ve established why we need to know the truth well, but what are some resources to help us learn it better?
Some helpful resources are…
- The Faults of Evolution: Why (Macro) Evolution Isn’t Logical
- Witnessing to Our LGTBQ Classmates
- The Reason For God by Tim Keller
- Stand Up, Stand Strong by Sara Barrat
God has also given us everything we need in His word. Here are just a few topics…
LGBTQ – 1 Corinthians 6, Romans 1
Creation – Genesis 1
Preciousness of life – Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13-15
Jesus is God – John 10:30-33, John 5:18, John 1:1-18, John 8:57-58
Jesus died for our sins and rose again – John 19-20, Luke 23-24 (see Luke 24:45-47)
Jesus was sinless – 1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5
I hope you feel motivated to learn more of what you believe (even if you know a lot about it already). Hopefully you feel better equipped to dive deeper into your beliefs. Tell me, what are your favorite Bible resources?
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