Since, I want to make my time studying as useful as possible, my question is
this: When studying the Bible with non-Christians, what "Christian apologetic
subjects" have you found to make the greatest impact?
The subject I have found to make the most difference, by far, is prophecies;
especially prophecies about the Messiah. This material is very simple and virtually
impossible to get around, even for the most died-in-the-wool skeptics. The only
way to get around the evidence for Jesus being the Messiah is to simply ignore
the clear and obvious truth. Unfortunately, this is still a very common pathway
for people caught up in sin. The other advantage of using prophecies over, say,
science or archaeology or arguments about the accuracy of the Bible and so forth,
is that studying Messianic prophecies focus the person on the Bible, which is
where we want them to be anyway. I would say that, on the whole, the topic of
science and the Bible is at least as much a defensive measure as it is offensive
(although it can be made more of an offensive weapon by those who are well prepared).
To some extent, history, archaeology and the Bible is primarily a defensive
rather than an offensive weapon–more useful for believerss than for evangelism. If you
look at the book of Acts, you will notice immediately that the fact that Jesus
fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah was part of seemingly every sermon outline.
Check it out for yourself. I doubt that we will be able to improve a whole lot on
the apostle?s formula which was something like this:
1. Jesus was attested to you by his miracles.
2. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah, therefore he is the son of
3. It is your sin which put the Messiah–God–on the cross.
4. Therefore, you must be cut to the heart, repent and be baptized to be forgiven
of your sins.
I believe this is the bare-bones outline of every sermon to non-believers you
will find in Acts. The fulfillment of the messianic prophecies was the chief
apologetic they used (along with Jesus? miracles, which were current events
in their time).
A couple of outlines for doing studies of prophecies with non-believers or the
tentatively believing are available at this web site. One is a study of Messianic
Prophecies (just click) and one of the prophecies of Daniel (just click).