How to deal gently with people asking about 'The Bible Code' or similar?

(Matt Western) #1

We had a gentleman visit our church, who was a guest of another long time attendee of the church. Very encouraged to see new people coming to church seeking for answers!

I was not actively participating in the conversation in a one-on-one way, but rather as a group of guys just chatting. The visitor was looking at a pamphlet of a recent movie , and he mentioned in passing about the ‘Bible Code’, and that he had seen The Passion of the Christ movie. My understanding of the ‘Bible Code’ is it’s a conspiracy-theory type thing, and so I did a quick search of Google and read briefly on Wikipedia and, but no further.

I know nothing about it, and have no real wish to pursue learning this direction at all - my question would be ‘How do I deal gently with people who’ve not read the Bible at all, and bring up this type of thing?’. The conversation didn’t go in that direction, but I was wondering how to have wisdom to steer the conversation away from conspiracy-theory pop culture type view of the Bible, and towards a more helpful discussion.?

(SeanO) #2

@matthew.western In terms of handling the conversation, I think it depends on the type of person with whom you are talking. If you are just talking with someone who is trying to fit in within a Church context by mentioning Bible related things they know about, there may be no need to comment. If it is someone asking you directly if you think Bible codes are valid, then you can either offer to get back to them on that or give them an answer if you know it off the top of your head. But I think the most interesting case is someone interested in if these claims point to the truth of Scripture, because then I think you can pivot and talk about evidence that does legitimately point to the validity of Scripture - like fulfilled prophecy.

Pivot: “Well, I don’t necessarily think that there are codes in the Bible. In fact, some research has shown these claims to be statistically insignificant. However, did you know that Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple forty years before it happened and that Daniel predicted the rise and fall of three world empires?”

Below are some additional thoughts on Bible codes and a few articles pointing out their statistical insignificance:

(Matt Western) #3

Thanks that’s really good advice. After thinking about it, In this case it was clear this person was trying to fit it.

In the same way one might try to fit in with a new group such as a gathering at a sporting club, or some other social function.

I do like your Pivot - to acknowledge the point made and talk breifly about very obvious passages. In Isiah 53, the coming of the Messaih was foretold is one I might try to use as well.

The other thing I sometimes struggle with is balancing a discussion with a new comer to be welcoming and friendly but not too ‘full on’ and scare them away - generally they will already be pondering a message spoken by the preacher I guess, and that will probably be enough for them to think about.

As opposed to when you are conversing with someone in a nuetral setting (not at church), where the person might not feel the need to fit into the ‘club’ with lots of church people.

I visited another church just this holidays - and it made me realize actually now intimidating it feels to be the newbie, even having been around church my whole life. It’s a good wake up call to even do something as simple as smile at a new person, if nothing else.

Anyway thanks again for your advice - appreciated. I want to learn to take opportunities when they are there, but not force the issue and scare people away.

Happy new year (soon!)… :smile:

(SeanO) #4

@matthew.western Happy New Year! :slight_smile: I agree Isaiah 53 would also be a good one for the pivot. And I agree being new at Church can definitely be intimidating, so I’m glad you’re taking the time to think through how to welcome people.