Being saved – What does it mean? / How can I be saved?

What does being saved mean?

To understand what a Christian means when they say “being saved”, you must first know what sin is.

Sin is defined by Miriam-Webster as an offense against religious or moral law, transgression of the law of God, or a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the last two definitions.

Transgression of the law of God

So what is a transgression of the law of God? Put quite simply, it means disobedience of the commands God sent. In this sense, sin can be broken down into two categories.

There is the sin of comission and the sin of omission. Comission is doing something God has commanded we shouldn’t do. This would be something like murder or theft.

Sinning by omission, however, is not doing something that should be done. This would include failing to give to the needy or even helping a friend in need.

These are transgressions of the laws God has given to man.

Vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Huh? What does that mean? Definitions can sure get confusing, so let’s break it down.

In Genesis 3, The Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, who are thought to be Earth’s first inhabitants. God created Adam, then seeing that he needed a helper, created Eve. They lived in a place called Eden, a paradise garden with plenty to eat and nothing to worry about.

God told Adam and Eve they could eat anything in the entire garden, except the fruit of one tree. God had created them with something called “free will”, or the ability to make their own decisions about what they do with no intervention from God.

One day, a serpent asked Eve about the one tree God said not to eat from. She told the serpent that God said if they eat from that tree they would die. The serpent then told Eve that God only said that to ensure she and Adam do not become like God.

Long story short, Eve eats the fruit then tells Adam to eat it. Having disobeyed God, both of them were banned from Eden, having been cursed with a “sinful nature”, or an inclination to disobeying God.

God and sin

God cannot be in the presence of sin. It goes against his character. It’s like an asthmatic being around cigarette smoke, but worse. God loves his creation though. He does not want anyone to miss out on a relationship with Him.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

So God sent His son, Jesus, to the world to command the world to once again obey God. Knowing that man could not obey God without help, Jesus also had another mission, one that would not be revealed to the world until it was complete. Jesus was to die to pay the price of death for all sin of all time.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8 (Holman Christian Standard)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

What must I do to be saved?

Growing up, I was taught in church that all that was required to be saved was to say a short prayer and I would go to Heaven and not Hell. While the people who taught this were well-meaning, they were oversimplifying a process that requires guidance and constant attention.

The people who taught me this pulled from Romans 10:9.

if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9 (Holman Christian Standard)

Being saved is not simply saying a little prayer. It is looking to and remembering the action Jesus took in sacrificing himself for all of mankind. It involves relying on God to transform you rather than anything you can do to earn salvation.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:23-26 (Holman Christian Standard)

The sinner’s prayer

Some of the most prominent preachers and evangelists boil salvation down to a pre-written prayer. It simplified the process by adding acknowledgement of our sinful nature, recognizing the need for Jesus to atone for that sin, and committing your life to the mission Christ left His followers.

The problem with this simple prayer is that without following up and disciplining (mentoring) the person who prays it is people treat it like fire insurance. Too often, it’s treated as a “get out of hell free” card or a license to sin.

Following Christ requires a daily commitment to live according to His teachings and to love other people enough to continue a lifelong mission to introduce others to God.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Matthew 16:24-26 (Holman Christian Standard)


Trey Joseph Murray

Trey Murray is a talented writer with a passion for helping other believers defend their belief in the Christian faith. He connects with his life group through personal stories while utilizing evidence and logical support to view all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Trey is a life group leader at Bar Cross Cowboy Church in Alvarado, TX.

Trey graduated high school at Burleson, TX. He then studied at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, TX before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Trey finished his college career with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Broadcast Communication from the University of Texas at Arlington.

While at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, he became active with the Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship (MBSF). This campus ministry was focused on bringing God’s word to all students on campus. There he was lead by Rob Leonard, campus minister and music minister for Pauline Baptist Church in Monticello, Arkansas.

Trey received training in Evangelism Explosion, a tool used to help minister to people and introduce them to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Field practice consisted of door to door evangelism and reaching out to church visitors. It was during this training that Trey learned many techniques for reaching the lost.

Trey has written several poems and short stories, but now focuses his writing talents on lessons for his life group. He utilizes his life experience and draws from years of experience both in and out of Faith in God. Follow Trey’s journey as he blogs regularly at

In June 1999, Trey married his wife, Brandy. They have one child and live in Alvarado. Trey earned his black belt in Judo in July 2016.

Statement Of Faith

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;

I believe he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

Truth About (In) Tolerance

What is tolerance?

Tolerance was once “putting up with” something even though it may not be preferred. defines tolerance as: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”

Today, society has a much different opinion of what tolerance is. If someone is not in agreement with something, it is okay for them to personally choose not to do it, but it is not okay to tell anyone else not to.

Truth About Tolerance

A cornerstone of the faith for a Christian is the Holy Bible. We believe this book as a pillar of our faith, held up as objective truth and the final authority for all issues.

This often runs in direct conflict with what society says about various issues covered in the Holy Bible. When Christians stand up for these beliefs, they often face criticism.

The fact that groups who call themselves “christians” and take on traditional Christian labels while spreading hate filled messages does not help. Especially when they call for and receive media attention for their efforts.

What is love?

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Love endures all things, it does not say it promotes all things. It does not say it endorses all things. It endures all things.

Cultural (In) Tolerance

One of the biggest issues today revolves around sexual preferences, and specifically homosexuality. Where Christianity calls this lifestyle a sin, cultural tolerance calls for more than a tolerant attitude toward those who practice this “lifestyle”.

Cultural tolerance asks everyone to vacate their beliefs when it comes to others and accept a relative view of truth. It promotes the idea that people should decide for themselves what is right and wrong.

We are called to love and forgive while being kind and gentle. The book of Ephesians continually calls for this positions from followers of Christ.

Kindness and gentleness

I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds [us].

Ephesians 4:1-3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:32 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Anger and Grace

It is easy to feel anger towards a group of people who seemingly flaunt their sin in the face of God and Christianity. We must at all times remember who we are and the grace Christ gave us as he sacrificed himself on the cross.

Just as Christ forgave us our sins, so we should to extend that grace to others. Jesus was a friend of sinners, hanging out with some of the most despised people of his day.

The Hebrew nation hated prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus had these groups in his inner circle. He forgave a Samaritan woman and healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter. These were two groups that were enemies of God’s people (Hebrews).

Love and Respect

We must learn to love and respect those who differ from us. Even more so, we must be kind and gentle to those who willingly sin and flaunt their discretion in front of God.

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must [forgive].

Colossians 3:12-13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

If we fail to do this, we not only willingly disobey God’s word, but we create another layer to the barrier put up between the modern culture and Christianity.

In The World, Not Of The World

While called to be set apart from the world, Jesus also commanded we carry His message to the world. We must exhibit the true definition of tolerance through love, patience, and understanding.

It’s All Relativism, Or Is It?

What is relativism?

Relativism is defined as the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

Let’s break that down into easier terms. If one person were to say a car were heavy, most people would agree because they are comparing the car to something of considerably less weight.

If, however the scale changed and the car were compared to say a truck and trailer (18-wheeler), then a car isn’t nearly as heavy in comparison. Now this is not necessarily relativism, but it does display how changing viewpoints changes the answer of whether the car is heavy.

Now, move this viewpoint to any number of hot topic issues today, and we can more accurately describe relativism. Homosexuality, premarital sex, co-habitation, abortion, you name the issue and it usually boils down to a relative view of truth.

The idea that truth is relative based on how a person feels or believes on a subject is the root of the relativism movement. It is a movement which has invaded churches and communities of believers. It is pervasive among young believers everywhere, and it is a most dangerous belief.

Jesus Confronts Relativism

“When He entered the temple complex, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?’

Jesus answered them, ‘I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for Me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from men?’

They began to argue among themselves, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say to us, “Then why didn’t you believe him?” But if we say, “From men,” we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought John was a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’

And He said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'”

Matthew 21:23-27

Now, the chief priests and elders did not use full relativism here, but rather sowed the seeds of relativism. Essentially, they chose not to answer Jesus because they did not want the consequence of answering either way. If they said John’s baptism came from Heaven, they would lose face. If they answered that it wasn’t from Heaven, they were afraid of the mob who did believe, so they chose not to answer.

Jesus answers them by not giving them the satisfaction of a discussion. He basically says if you don’t want to get serious with me, I am not going to entertain your questions.

The Standard of Truth

To say that truth is relative to each person is arrogant. It denies that God is the creator of all and that he alone declares truth. Relativism removes God from the world and puts each person in His place. It gives the authority of discerning truth to the individual.

But those who claim belief in relativism are themselves hypocritical. If they truly believed in it, they would not believe in contracts. What would be true to one party would not necessarily hold true for the other. Why get married, purchase property, or even take an employment position?

It’s not about truth, but convenience. People who claim relativism want a convenient answer, not a truthful answer. Whatever allows the person to think or do something they want without consequence is “truth” to them.

Holding Truth Against Relativism

John Piper proposes that there are 7 evil and destructive effects of relativism. They are: it commits treason, creates duplicity, conceals doctrinal defection, cloaks greed with flattery, cloaks pride with the guise of humility, enslaves people, and leads to brutal totalitarianism.

I strongly suggest you read the article linked above about each of these evils. It will help those you wish to reach about relativism with the Truth of God. Ultimately our calling and our mission is to reach the lost no matter what they are lost in.

We are to trust in Christ no matter the consequence of the truthful answer. He will provide for us when we answer relativism with Truth in a kind, loving, and patient manner. It is my hope and prayer that you are emboldened to face relativism with Truth and grace which flows from God.

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Ask Questions

One of the best ways to engage with others is to ask questions.

Asking questions forces you to listen to answers. It also allows you to invest in someone as urged in the previous lesson – Engaging with others.

Why should I ask questions?

When we start stating our opinions or firming up our position, it puts our audience in a defensive position. They may start to formulate an answer to what you are saying, closing themselves off to your responses.

Asking questions on the other hand, tends to disarm people. It allows them to lay out their beliefs in a non-confrontational manner and shows them that you care not only about what they believe, but why.

It also has the added benefit of providing openings to ask more questions. Through asking questions you can lead someone to a conclusion instead of telling them how to get there.

Does asking questions make me a student or teacher?

A good teacher realizes they will always be a student. Just as you look to teach others about your faith, you should also look to learn from others what they believe. This will help you in future interactions with others who may have similar beliefs.

Hopefully the line of questioning rewards you with a deeper interaction with the person. In an ideal situation, they in turn will ask you questions which will deepen their understanding of your faith and how rooted it is in Christ.

Even if it doesn’t, don’t be dissuaded! You either succeed, or you learn. To succeed, you must learn.

When should I ask questions?

As soon as the opportunity presents itself. It can come as quick as after a greeting, or after an introduction. It may also come after a long discussion over another topic, such as politics or the weather.

One question that usually breaks the ice and turns the subject is “Do you go to church?” Answering ‘Yes’ does not necessarily mean that they believe in Christianity or that they are a Christian. In the same vein, answering ‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are lost.

Their answers do clue you in to what your next few questions should be. The questions you ask following the ‘Yes’ answer could be “What do you believe about Jesus?” or “Do you believe in Heaven/Hell?” These can clue you in to whether they truly are followers of Christ.

The ‘No’ answer can elicit questions like “Have you ever been to church?” or “Is there any particular reason why?” Most people I have encountered are glad to share their negative reasons for not attending church.

Maintain your focus

Keeping your focus will help you guide the person to the discussion you want, which should be the topic of their salvation. Of course, jumping right into that conversation can put people off and keep you from ever getting past their rejection.

Remember that if you are rejected, it isn’t you they are rejecting, but Jesus. Just because they reject Him today, doesn’t mean they will always reject Him. Just a crop has to be cultivated after it is planted, so people sometimes must be tended by many before taking root and growing in faith.

You should also be growing as well. Discipleship starts with putting prayer and lessons learned through reading scripture into practice. Asking questions when engaging with others starts you on a path to discipleship by spreading the gospel as Jesus has commanded us all to do.

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Engage With Others

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” Colossians 4:5-6 – HCSB

Just as faith without works is dead, sharing a message with no one is useless. What good is it to proclaim good news when no one is listening? We need to engage with others.

Why should anyone listen if all you do is talk? Engagement is not one sided. It is not preaching, lecturing, or talking down to someone.

Engagement involves listening and talking. It is truly hearing what someone else says, allowing yourself to process it, and then responding in a kind and thoughtful manner.

How do I engage with others?

While I have never been formally diagnosed with social anxiety, I am almost sure I suffer at least a mild form. Even at family events, when things get too loud or too many people are moving, I withdraw to a quiet place.

The more I noticed this in myself, the more I see those around me battling with the same symptoms. I have seen this in my daughter, my boss, and many others I have observed, which leads me to believe this is a bigger epidemic than I want to admit.

This anxiety makes it even harder to engage with others. The ability to approach a stranger and start a conversation is a daunting task for the most outgoing person. Add to that task the obstacle of social anxiety, and it feels almost impossible at times to share God’s message.

Engage with others – don’t dominate the conversation

“My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” James 1:19 – HCSB

When I do engage with others, I tend to make the conversation one sided. I feel that if I can talk without interruption, I can get through what I have to say and not have to deal with anxiety.

“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 – HCSB

Doing this keeps me from a relationship with that person, though. If I don’t take the time to listen, they know I am not invested in them. If I don’t invest anything in them, why should they invest in what I have to say? Even if I have irrefutable proof that what I say is true and would benefit them, they are not inclined to listen because I haven’t invested in them.

“An offended brother is [harder to reach] than a fortified city, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress.” Proverbs 18:19 – HCSB

Paying attention only costs time

So if there is an investment opportunity, what would the investment cost you? Time is probably the most valuable asset we have in life. Money, possessions, relationships, you can amass as much of these as you want given enough time.

If time is the most valuable asset, what are you investing yours in? I’ll be honest. I love video games. I have invested a great deal of time and money into them. In return, I have gained a small measure of personal gratification and escape from life’s day to day issues.

If I had been investing the same resources into relationships, I may have found some more friends, but ultimately I should have cultivated relationships between people and God. If I truly believe Jesus meant what he said when he gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), then I should be investing in God’s creation.

Start to engage with others

“[I pray] that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for [the glory of] Christ.” Philemon 1:6 – HCSB

Invest in others by engaging with them. You just may find that you are also investing with yourself. Using prayer, reading scripture, and doing good works will draw you closer to God. Introducing people to God also increases your circle.

This begins the next phase in Christianity in general. Discipleship is more than teaching others about God. It is a training that you undertook when you made the decision to follow Christ. There comes a time where you should both be mentored and be a mentor.

While teaching others about Christ and His ministry, you should also be teaching them how to defend that faith, how to introduce others to Christ, and ultimately how to teach others to defend their newfound faith. Christianity is a relational belief system, and without the relationship, you cannot find success in sharing your faith with others.

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Faith and Works

Faith and works, which is more important? When it comes to salvation, the Bible is pretty clear. So why are we still confused?

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?

“If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.

Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.” James 2:14-22

What is more important, faith or works?

It is a long held assertion that faith is more important than works Taking the verses Ephesians 2:8-9 at face value, this appears to be true. Indeed, through faith we are saved by grace. The verses go on to say that salvation is not from ourselves, that it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

James clarifies this in chapter 2 where he states that faith without works is useless. Works are a natural manifestation of faith. That is to say that when you have true, genuine faith, you will naturally want to do good works.

Do I have to do works to be saved?

Well, no. Faith in Jesus as your eternal salvation is all that is required to be saved. If works are a natural manifestation of faith, however, not desiring to do works could be a sign that your faith isn’t as strong as you think it is.

Look at the life Christ lived. His faith was on display through the lessons he taught, the miracles he performed, and the people he loved. He didn’t just give lip service to the Father. He lived out his lessons, and led by example.

This was the point James was making when he said that Abraham’s works when he was willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice displayed his faith.

Do works prove I am saved?

Sorry, but no. While works are one sign to look for in a person claiming to be saved, it is not the only sign. Many “good people” do good works and are outspoken about their unbelief.

A great number of world faiths also teach doing good works. Buddhism, for example, teaches karma. Karma is the belief that whatever good or bad a person does comes back to them.

The message of Christianity is that we all deserve eternal death for the sin we commit, therefore God’s grace is required to escape eternal death. We don’t have to do good works to earn salvation because God has already given this to us freely. We are free to do good works because of God’s gift of grace.

How can I start doing good works?

Often, Christians get hung up at the beginning. With stories throughout the Bible of godly men like Moses, Joshua, David, and Peter, Christians tend to think big. We really don’t need to deliver the world to God. It already belongs to Him.

Start small. Ask your preacher how you can help at your church. Many churches have so many needs and so few people to help. Jobs like kitchen duty, help with children’s ministry, technical services, janitorial services, lawn care, and more are neglected because church staff can only do so much.

Contact a local charity. Don’t do this instead of helping at your church. Do this in addition to helping at church. Outreach needs to be all of our mission. Don’t leave this to church staff or those involved in “outreach ministry”. All kinds of opportunities exist from feeding the homeless to staffing a women’s shelter or joining a prison ministry.

What’s next?

After you start doing good works, now it is time to engage with others. Don’t do this with an argumentative heart, however. In love, you must learn to listen and address the concerns and issues others have. We don’t win people to Christ. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to spread His word and allow Him to work in the lives of those we share our lives with.

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Reading Scripture Reveals God’s Will

After prayer, reading scripture is the next line of defense any follower of Christ should build. Many people wish and ask for a manual for life. The Bible is that manual. But God’s word is more than a manual, it is a love story to His creation, humans.

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. ” – Romans 10:17 HCSB

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB

God’s Word: The Ultimate Love Story

When we think of love stories, we think of romance novels and sappy stories of puppy love turned “true love’ within 300 pages of a writer’s imagination.

God’s love story to humans is the definition of true love. His love is unconditional, it doesn’t matter what we do, or say, or think. God loves us enough to chase us and give us direction and purpose.

Why Do I Need To Pray Before Reading Scripture?

Many non-believers I have spoken with or discussed my faith with have seemingly enjoyed bringing up “inconsistencies” in the Bible. These bits of “knowledge” they hit unprepared believers with tend to trip us up, and keep us from effectively defending our faith.

The truth is, if read separately and apart from the context around it, any verse can be twisted to say almost anything. In truth, any literary work can be twisted when taken out of context.

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. ” – Hebrews 4:12 HCSB

This is where the Holy Spirit supplements our knowledge. He guides and protects us, keeping our mind clear and our spirit open for His message. When we begin to research what others question us about, prayer gets us in tune with the Holy Spirit.

What about the contradictions in the Bible?

To someone who is new to reading scripture, it seems like God in the old testament is way more vengeful and angry than God in the new testament.

The truth is that God supplied a way to learn what sin was through the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus 20). He also provided a path to redemption when people did sin through the sacrifice of animals. He knew there would never be a way to reconcile people who did not seek His will.

So a plan was in place to save all those willing through the eternal sacrifice of his son Jesus. Before the time that was given for this sacrifice, God sent His people to warn and sometimes plead with people to turn from their sin.

Some people did not heed this warning, so he destroyed entire cities, and even the whole Earth. Eventually, the time came and His son was sent to the world, marking the beginning of the New Testament.

Eternal Atonement

While these same events did not happen in the New Testament, Jesus held fast that the commandments were God’s will for man, and that sacrifice was necessary to atone for that sin.

With an ambassador on Earth, God revealed his ultimate plan through the life of his son. Jesus clarified His father’s will, and revealed that He was leaving a legacy for the world to carry on His father’s message. That legacy is the church.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for the world’s sin when he returned to Jerusalem, His earthly birthplace. Betrayed by one of His followers, he is arrested, accused of crimes, given little more than a posse trial, then executed.

His resurrection proved His message was true and that He was indeed the Son of God. Returning to His followers, He left a plan and a mission for all those who would follow after Him.

A Boring Book

I used to think of the Bible as a boring book with little to no application to my life. This assertion couldn’t be further than the truth.

Besides being a guide to a more fulfilling life, it is a book dealing with rape, divorce, murder, greed, power struggle, and politics. It has angels, demons, corrupt people, and innocent children for characters. It turns outcasts into heroes, people like prostitutes, tax collectors, murderers, liars, and thieves.

The best thing about reading scripture though, is that it reveals our creator to us. His love, His wrath, His joy, and His pain are laid out over 66 books, reminding us all we are created in His image.

Reading the Bible prepares you for the next step in studying apologetics. It is not enough to merely read scripture. It must be put into action.

“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. ” – Joshua 1:8 HCSB

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Prayer Most Effective Christian Tool

Studying apologetics takes a lost of concentration and preparation. The first step when dealing with God, and especially learning more about who He is and why you believe in Him is to pray to Him.

It all starts with Prayer

Quite literally, prayer to God is the first thing a Christian does acknowledging that they are a sinner, and in need of a savior to bridge the gap to Heaven.

Too often, “Christians” stop their prayer life there. We must think it is okay to declare that Christ is Lord once, and be done with it. Like we just sign an eternal fire insurance policy and never bother to check what premiums we need to pay to keep the policy up to date.

I’ve heard my whole life, “Once saved, always saved.” I still believe this is true, but James 2:17 says “Faith without works is dead”. Faith is an active thing, not a passive creed.

Communication with God

Christians have a unique ability. We can actually communicate with the creator of the universe, and he wants to have a relationship with us! The first line of communication is prayer.

I’ll admit, at first it is strange to pour your heart out to a seemingly invisible God who you aren’t sure is listening and doesn’t seem to respond. The more you practice though, the easier it becomes to share your hopes and fears, loves and hates, and all your innermost secrets through prayer.

Eventually, you will learn to listen to God. He rarely speaks audibly, but I have heard his words through reading scripture, being silent in meditation, and through friends and family who unknowingly carry his message to me.

I don’t know how to pray

That’s ok! Rest assured I didn’t either. Prayer seemed foreign to me. I remember the first time I prayed in a group as a teenager.

I had gone to church camp with my aunt’s church. After arriving and unloading all our stuff, we met in the common room. After some skits they had prepared, and a quick message, the leaders asked who would pray for the group.

I wish the story was that I volunteered and said the most glorious prayer. The fact is that I was not only new to prayer, but the whole group thing was foreign to me. As I shrank behind the group, I heard one person say “Let the new kid do it.” Then they all said my name and I felt trapped. I had to say something.

I remember stammering out a quick prayer and everyone telling me how good I did. I didn’t believe them, but I did appreciate it. Over time, I learned to let go of my apprehension and just talk to God. Now, I pray once a week in public for the small group I lead.

Just start

There’s no magic to it. Jesus does give us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6, but remember that it is an example and not to become your every prayer. The longer you do it and the more comfortable you become, it will get easier. 1 Thessalonians 5:7 commands us to pray without ceasing. I would guess that would give anyone plenty of practice.

I have yet to pray without ceasing, but I will continue to work toward it. To be effective at Christian apologetics, I must have an active prayer life.

For more resources on prayer, I recommend visiting They have a number of articles about all aspects of prayer.

prayer to understand the bible

Prayer also helps us to understand the next step of preparation to begin studying apologetics. Asking the Holy Spirit for understanding and clarity in the verses you study will help immensely.

According to, there are four things we should pray for before we study the Bible.

The four items to pray for

First, we should pray for open eyes. It is possible to read the same verse repeatedly and get something different from it each time. We should ask God to guide us to the knowledge he wants us to have from his word.

Next, we should pray for mercy. Staying humble and acknowledging that you are in need of God’s mercy allows you to approach the Word with a clear mind and heart for God’s people and his message.

Then, pray to be a doer of His Word. Jesus didn’t call people to merely study God’s Word. He called for them to live His Message out through their own lives. The Bible is a living document, and it is the Holy Spirit that moves the readers to find the message He wants them to have. Those lessons must be put to use to be of any benefit.

Finally, pray that He open your eyes to Jesus. The story of the Bible is a story of Jesus, and He is woven throughout all of the books of the Bible. As being a Christian is to be like Christ, you should be looking for Jesus in all scripture.

The Next Step to preparing for apologetics

Join me for the next lesson which will be reading the Bible. The scriptures are God’s living document to us. It is a love story for humans, explaining God’s love for His creation.

We should not look at is as a chore to slog through, but as a letter we’ve been waiting a long time for from a trusted and valued friend.

Will you read this letter, or will you toss it aside?

Apologetics Series

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