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 God.

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).

John Oakes

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