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Why You Should Read the Bible with Unbelievers

Lost people become obedient disciples of Jesus as they read Scripture

Michael began a Discovery Bible Study with his unbelieving friend Pierson by reading his Bible on his lunch breaks at work. Don't miss part 1 and part 2 of their story. Pierson keeps discovering amazing truths from the Word, and is growing in obedience. Read their continuing story below!

God Reveals Profound Truth to Unbelievers

Pierson, about whom I've shared before, is on his final Bible study with me in the Creation to Christ Scripture list. I'm excited to see how God will use John 3 to speak to him as He has with the preceding stories. Also, Pierson has been sharing the stories every week with his sister, brothers, and dad.

God uncovered powerful truths for Pierson as we read the stories of the Bible. For example, we read about how Jesus appeared to His disciples on the road to Emmaus and in the upper room, and the disciples said, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" (Luke 24:32).

In response, Pierson reflected, "There's something missing in us that only God can provide. I think that you aren't a fully realized person until you've felt the fire that the disciples felt with Jesus." Only the Holy Spirit could have revealed a truth that profound to Pierson, an unbeliever. I believe God is setting up Pierson for the John 3 passage where he can choose to follow Jesus!

Later, when we went through the crucifixion and resurrection stories, Pierson pondered, "Jesus' death and resurrection are like a reset for the world like Noah's flood was. In the flood, God wiped out everyone because they were evil, but spared one man—Noah—and his family. But through the crucifixion, God saved the whole world from sin, but one man had to die—Jesus. It's like a cosmic reversal!"

As we read about Pharisees doubt of Jesus's resurrection, Pierson said, "I could blow off this story and just assume the disciples stole Jesus' body from the grave. There's margin for doubt here. However, God is offering me a second chance through Jesus death and resurrection. All I have to do is have faith. God gives us a choice!" I thought Pierson's insights were profound, especially because he's not even a believer yet.

Obedience Becomes a Habit

Pierson isn't just getting deep spiritual insights from the Word—he's obeying too! In the beginning of our DBS, Pierson struggled at times to come up with practical ways to obey what God showed him in the passage. However, throughout the past few weeks, Pierson's practical obedience has grown.

As we read a passage, Pierson already formulates how he will obey. After sharing his thoughts, he self-corrects without prompting: "Actually, that's too vague!" he admitted one time, "I need to narrow it down to something actionable!"

In a recent story we read—the resurrection of Christ from the dead—he saw how Jesus gave his life up for so many people who are lost and hurting. "At my work," Pierson explained, "I think a lot of my co-workers are stressed out and lonely."

He led into his obedience statement: "I will reach out to at least one person to make plans to do something together this week. I want to give up my time to make someone else's life better." Pierson is learning to tangibly obey God's Word. I'm excited to see how God will touch Pierson's co-workers through Pierson's obedience!


Lessons Learned from Pierson's story:

First, God reveals crucial truths to unbelievers through His Word. It is always astounding what kind of insights unbelievers glean from the Bible. Although Pierson isn't a believer, God reveals truths to him of through reading the Bible every week with Michael. Second, obedience is a habit that grows over time. Don't give up hope if the members of your DBS struggle with coming up with "I Will" statements. Keep faithfully and lovingly asking the DBS questions. And lead by example. Eventually, they, like Pierson, will start formulating actionable steps in response to Scripture on their own! You may doubt whether unbelievers would ever want to read the Bible with you. The truth is, many will! All it takes is building meaningful friendships with unbelievers and following the Holy Spirit's lead as you seek casual, meaningful, spiritual, and discovery conversations. Michael initially found Pierson by reading his Bible out in the open during his lunch breaks at work. You could do something similar!


Podcast: What Kind of Conversations Lead to Disciple-making?

Disciple-making conversations are about inviting unbelievers to discover God in the Bible, not inviting them to church. It's about listening to people so you don't give them a cookie-cutter pitch. It's about long-term relationships, not one-time interactions.

Listen to the podcast here.

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