And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Genesis 6:6 KJV
Today i was talking to a fellow Christian who believes the books of the Bible were written by Romans and it has been corrupted.He argues that saying that it repented the Lord it is blasphemous to whom did God repent to yet he’s perfect. He believes salvation is by works and denies Paul’s teaching about grace. How do i witness to him when we meet again tomorrow.
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Hi @Joshua_Musau! Welcome to the community! I’m really glad you’re engaging with someone who thinks differently than you do
I think in any conversation where there will be deeper subjects and meaning discussed we should always ask two questions. 1) What do you mean by that? 2) Why do you think that?
This first question is meant to clarify the position the other person is taking. I’ve noticed quite a few times people will talk past each other because they’ll use the same words but have different meanings. It’s really important that you have your friend spell out what he means, that way you’ll have the right content to engage with.
The second question will give you an appropriate entry point to begin the discussion. When someone tells you why they believe something, it will begin to show the underlying motives or objections. Once you know what’s driving the question, you’ll be in a much better position to, as Ravi says, “Answer the questioner, not just the question.”
Speaking specifically to Genesis 6:6 in your post, I noticed that the KJV is used. As you’re well aware, we don’t speak like it’s 1611 anymore. And, it’s not just the thees, thous, and thus sayeth the Lord, but many words have different meanings and uses today versus 400 years ago. I think this might be one of those instances because if you look at some more contemporary translations you’ll find that the word translated as “repented” in the KJV is translated as “regretted, was sorry, was grieved, etc” So, the idea that God sinned or repented to another being isn’t what’s being communicated here, rather it’s more of an ‘I wish I didn’t do that.’ type of thought. From here I would ask your friend questions 1 and 2 regarding salvation through works. If you listen with an intent to really understand what he mean and why he thinks so, you’ll end up seeing exactly how to respond and point him towards Jesus.
I hope this helps and would love to hear how this ongoing conversation goes!
Wow! That’s a quick turn around, Joshua @Joshua_Musau! But welcome to Connect. I’m glad you turned here for help. How long have you been a Christian because these are some tough questions?
I have a concern for the moment: Connect might be able to help you with some immediate answers, but then you would just be repeating what we tell you. It’s important that you are confident in those answers, yourself, because if he challenges you on them, you may be stuck for an answer. Do you see my point, here? If you are a new Christian and/or not feeling confident, you might suggest that you both look into the questions that he raising more thoroughly. Then come back to discuss them.
There are several books that can help you get a handle on the authority of Scripture. One is by Jeffrey L. Sheler that is available on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Bible-True-Jeffery-L-Sheler/dp/0060675411/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=Jeffrey+L.+Sheler&qid=1572469012&sr=8-4
Another very good book also available on Amazon is by the late Nabeel Qureshi: https://smile.amazon.com/God-but-One-Investigates-Christianity/dp/0310522552/ref=sr_1_1?crid=EQ01XT3403KE&keywords=no+god+but+one&qid=1572469172&sprefix=No+God+%2Caps%2C134&sr=8-1 Nabeel was a Muslim who was convinced Christianity is true, then later became an apologist for RZIM. In this book, he gives excellent background for the veracity of Scripture.
Is there a reason you need the answer so quickly? Will you not be talking with him again any time soon? I think Bo’s @boabbott advice is a great place to start.
Some questions you might start asking your friend: What evidence or proof does he have that the Romans wrote the Bible? How was the Bible corrupted? Ask for specific examples. Ask him what the Roman word for “repent” means in Gen.6:6. As Bo pointed out, the Hebrew word for “repent” has a totally different meaning. It involves having compassion on God’s part for the people He had created. By turning the questions back to your friend, he is faced with coming up with answers that may just open his eyes to the fact that he “might be mistaken???”
On at least one occasion, Jesus did this Himself when he suspected the motives of his questioners. In Matt. 21:27, Jesus’s authority was challenged. Instead of answering them directly, He asked them a question which they realized couldn’t be answered in their favor.
It’s an example of getting to your questioners motives. Is your friend trying to challenge your faith by putting you on the defensive? Or does he genuinely believe what he is telling you?
You might also question why he calls himself a Christian because what he is stating is not in line with Christian doctrine that we are saved by grace, not works (Eph.2:8-9).
There’s so much more to this than can be answered with quick responses.
You need to be gentle with your friend, not confrontational. The questions I’m suggesting should not be asked argumentatively, but come from a soft response of genuinely wanting to know why he believes the way he does.
I hope these suggestions help you to think about the best way to approach your friend. Please let us know how your conversation went. Maybe then, we will have a better handle on your friend, as well.
@sgewehr, thanks for your kind words. However, I do want to clarify my point. It’s not that the Hebrew word for ‘repent’ has changed, rather the English vernacular has changed.
So, just like we no longer use the old pronouns thee/thou/hast, we no longer use the word ‘repent’ in the way it was used at the time of the King James translation. What I’m suggesting that circa 1611 the English word ‘repent’ meant something more like the words regret/was sorry/was grieved/etc do today.
I’m not an etymologist so I could be mistaken, but I’m fairly certain this is correct. Would love if someone with more knowledge in the area could comment here?
Thanks, Bo @boabbott. I actually looked up the Hebrew word used there. It’s nacham, which has as its root “compassion”, or to be moved with compassion. There were other uses, but the English form, as you said, did not mean being sorry for a wrong committed, as Joshua’s friend indicated.
Thanks for your response.
Thank you, @boabbott i will raise the questions the questions you have told me as am seeking to answer the questioner not the question,I will keep you posted, also pray for me as at the same time as am witnessing to another friend who’s is of Islamic faith about Trinity and where in the Bible say am God and authenticity of the Bible that it has has not been corrupted. I need prayers.
Thank you @sgewehr I have been a Christian for around 18 years. I have never done apologetics before this my first time am in such a situation. In the recent past I have been listening to RZIM speakers Ravi Zacharias, Micheal Ramsden, Abdu Murray, John Lennox and the late Nabeel Qureshi. I know God is calling me and every one of us to be always prepared to give reason why we believe with love this after we have set Christ apart in our hearts. Pray for me to be able to stand in the years i have been saved i have not been consistent in terms of reading the Bible prayer and fellowship. But there was a turn around in my life in the year 2017 after God broke a relationship i was holding on to and hiding from him in it like Jonah, am seeing God transforming my life through the Him renewing my mind as a day cannot pass without me connecting to God through his Word it has become my daily need.
@Joshua_Musau, you are a sharing machine! That’s fantastic! I don’t know where your comfort level is handling Muslim objections, but Andy Bannister spoke at a church in Houston a while back and did a fantastic job. The video is on YouTube and THIS LINK will take you right to it.
One thing Andy mentions in his lecture that you may find helpful is not to begin by defending Christianity but by questioning the assumptions within the objection. For example, “the Bible is corrupted and Allah had to correct it through Mohammed” is a very common objection from our Muslim friends. Rather than trying to show that the Bible hasn’t been corrupted, Andy suggests replying with something like, “I didn’t realize Allah couldn’t keep his word from being corrupted.” The reply usually is that Allah could have prevented it, but that raises the question of why didn’t he? Through the conversation, you’ll essentially end up with Allah who cannot prevent his word from being corrupted or being the one who corrupted it, and both scenarios are not reconcilable in the Islamic framework. This tends to, Andy says, lead to more openness about discussing Jesus rather than lecturing why Christianity is true.
Again, I’m so glad that you are regularly in conversations about Jesus with non-Christians. Remember to always lead with questions that open up the conversation (What do you mean by that? Why do you think that?) before giving reasons to support Christianity.
Joshua @Joshua_Musau, this is good news that you are seeking the Lord more regularly and feeling His call on your life.
The Bible never comes out and says the word “Trinity”. That was a term the early Christians developed. However, in Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word “Elohim” is used for God. While that word is singular in usage, it carries a plural connotation, So, that is our first hint that God is more than one. Then, skip over to Gen.1: 26 and you see God says, “Let US make man in OUR” image. Again, more indication that there is more than one involved in “God”.
In the NT, Jesus gave the Great Commission to the apostles to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All through the four gospels there is a clear delineation of Jesus as the Son refering to the Father -e.g.(John 12:14). Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, He tells the apostles that He will send a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide them into all truth (John 14:15-17). Also, check out 2 Cor. 13:14. These are just a few scriptures to get you started on showing the existence of a triune God. It’s in embedded throughout the Bible.
You might enjoy and benefit from taking the RZIM Academy Core Module class that gives an overview of Christian doctrine and a comparison with other religions. Follow that up with the course on Christian doctrine in the “Faith Seeking Understanding” module. I think these two courses would give you a good grounding for witnessing and knowing the Bible more thoroughly. Connect is here to support you as well.
You have a good heart that cares about unbelievers. Seek ways to learn more so that you can be an effective witness. Of course, the way you live your life will speak even more volumes.
I’d love to know how you are progressing.