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How to Answer When You Don't Know the Answer

No one likes to be 'put on the spot.' We dread the possibility of being asked questions that we can't answer. This is especially true when the questions are about religion.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest hindrances to spreading the gospel is this fear of being asked questions. Many Christians feel uneasy about their level of Bible knowledge. Thus, to avoid potentially embarrassing situations, they do their best to sidestep any discussion that might turn to religious themes. This is sad, because it keeps us from many 'open doors' for personal evangelism.

Since no one has ALL of the answers, it is important for us to know what to do when questions arise that 'stump' us. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Realize — and be ready to explain — that there are simply some pieces of information that we do not have because God has not supplied them. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God" (Deut. 29:29). But, we have "all truth" (John 16:12, 13), and "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3). So, every piece of essential information has been supplied.
  2. When you do not know the answer, it is best to simply admit it. This is much better than trying to 'bluff' you way through. Humbly say, "I don't know." But do not fail to add: "I'll find out and get back to you on that." Following this procedure will actually provide additional opportunities to teach. It keeps the door open to further discussions.
  3. Study, study, study! You will feel less intimidated and more willing to engage in biblical discussions if you build your confidence level by increasing your Bible knowledge. Pay special attention to areas where you presently feel 'weak' in knowledge and understanding. Be well prepared to deal with popular denominational errors. Be ready to explain 'issues' that divide brethren.
  4. Never shy away from a chance to talk about God and His Word. The more you do this, the easier it will become. Every such conversation serves as an opportunity for you to 'sharpen your sword.'