Top Ten Verses to Defend Your Faith

For the past few days I have been trying to think of the top ten verses that would be most helpful to apologists and evangelists. I have reflected on my own experience and also gotten feedback from many of you on Facebook and Twitter. So, here are my top ten verses to defend your faith (in no particular order):

1. 1 Peter 3:15: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

As an apologist you may find yourself having to defend the purpose of apologetics. This is the classic verse indicating that everyone is to be prepared to give an answer with gentleness and respect.

2. John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

This is one of the most compelling and clear articulations of the deity of Christ. It shows that Christ is the eternal creator and is one with (although distinct from) the Father.

3. Acts 5:3-4: But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

There is much confusion among Christians as well as groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses about the identity of the Holy Spirit. This passage shows the deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit.

4. Isaiah 43:10: “ ‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.’ ”

This passage clearly lays out that there is only one God and there has always only been one God. Mormons have to get very creative to avoid the clear meaning of this passage.

5. Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

This verse helps with the question, “What about those who have never heard?” It establishes that people do have knowledge of God through creation.

6. Romans 2:14-15: “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”

This passage demonstrates that the moral conscience is written on our hearts. The moral law is universal, even among those who do not have the written law.

7. John 6:29: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ ”

Many pseudo-Christian religions base salvation on works. In this passage Jesus clearly lays out the requirement of salvation—belief.

8. John 20:30-31: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Skeptics often believe that faith is blind. John clearly states that the miracles of Jesus were recorded as proof so we would believe.

9. 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

This passage clearly shows that God desires all to turn to repentance and be saved. This can be helpful when talking about Hell.

10. Luke 1:1-4: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”

Some claim that the disciples were inventing myths and legends. This passage shows the clear concern with historical accuracy and eyewitness accounts.

This list is certainly not exhaustive. I’m sure there are many more verses that could be included. I would love to know of any other key verses that should be added.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

For more articles like Top Ten Verses to Defend Your Faith visit Sean’s website at SeanMcdowell.org

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19 replies
  1. Kalmaro says:

    Pretty good list. I find that a lot of people, when they hear that you have to believe to be saved they think just believing Jesus is the son of God is enough. However, is not just believing but what you do with that belief.

    James 2:19
    You believe that  God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

    Reply
  2. Martin Rules says:

    Romans 3:23?? Lest we present as self-righteous. Judges 21:25??? Proving relativism is neither new nor right. Luke 24 ??? Showing how Jesus re-appeared and explained everything AFTER He rose from the dead. We can go on, yes?

    Reply
  3. Kenny Strawn says:

    Might also want to add Ephesians 2:8-10 to the mix regarding belief as the main requirement for salvation, and also a combination (emphasis on combination) of Exodus 16:35, Numbers 14:33, and 1 Kings 6:1 to debunk skeptics’ use of flawed chronology as an excuse to deny the existence of archaeological evidence corroborating Biblical accounts.

    In addition, I for one find John 14:8-10 as an especially useful tool for disarming unitarianism: Jesus is specifically claiming to be God in that passage. Used it on a pair of Mormons that I ran into back in 2013, and they haven’t bugged me since.

    Reply
  4. James Archbold says:

    It isn’t actually what is written in the collection of manuscripts that we call the bible that makes me not believe but the fact that it is so devoid of cohesive Ideas and and full of contradictions .Plus the lack of physical evidence for nearly every supposed historical event that took place.The arbitrary, chaotic,morally and intellectually dubious way in which all the books were compiled. Plus the ease by which and the lack of curiosity and interest by its followers regarding its less than precice origins which suggests to me that people are happy to not ask awkward questions in the fear that they may be marginalised and ostracised.

    Reply
    • Dustin Tower says:

      What exactly do you mean when you say it is devoid of cohesive ideas? Also, what exactly do you mean by lack of physical evidence? Have you examined the text and been to the Levant or Greece to investigate this yourself, or are you trusting what someone has told you?

      Reply
    • Kalmaro says:

      Wait, you are on a site all about examining the Bible and you are accusing people of not being curious?

      That aside, what contradictions are you talking about?

      Reply
      • James Archbold says:

        On the subject of contradictions. Take the death of Judas of example and compare these two passages .One from Acts and the other from Mathew

        So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
        The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.

        With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

        Now clearly there are not one but two contradictions here.
        I know there is an apologetic argument that is made to discount these as contradictions but to me the explanation they give is so contrived and so completly unlikely.
        But that is only one example of many I could give.
        Having said that I do find it interesting why people believe what they do and how they express those beliefs with each other and I guess thats why I am here….Its not to poke fun…honest ….

        Reply
        • Joseph says:

          This is really the beginnings of a debate tactic known as ‘elephant hurling.’ This occurs when the critic throws summary arguments about complex issues to give the impression of weighty evidence, but with an unstated presumption that a large complex of underlying ideas is true, and failing to consider opposing data, usually because they have uncritically accepted the arguments from their own side.

          Since it has been acknowledged in the comment that an explanation of this alleged contradiction with Judas has been given. It’s strange to use it as conclusive evidence. The normal approach I take to ‘elephant hurling’ is as follows.

          1. Ask the person to provide a list of every biblical contradiction
          2. Ask the person to choose the number one contradiction that is irrefutable from the list. This will mean all the other contradictions will be weaker.
          3. Ask the person if an answer to the supposed irrefutable contradiction is given then “will the person accept and follow God immediately?”

          Obviously, if it’s answered the believer will continue to follow God. If the sceptic answer is yes then a productive dialogue will ensue. If the answer is no, then it’s pointless giving an answer to the contradiction, because the contradictions were irrelevant to the person.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Ask the person to choose the number one contradiction that is irrefutable from the list. This will mean all the other contradictions will be weaker.”

            I don’t think this is a good tactic. For some the sheer number of contradictions might in itself count as evidence. The contradiction about how Judas died and why how the field he died in got the word ‘blood’ attached to his name is pretty glaring though. I’ve argued with a holocaust denier who asked me to provide evidence of a person being gassed in a concentration camp. He seemed to think that if he could then refute THAT then I would have to accept his contention that no gassing took place. But for me part of the evidence is the sheer WEIGHT of evidence – it doesn’t just rely on individual accounts.

            “Ask the person if an answer to the supposed irrefutable contradiction is given then “will the person accept and follow God immediately?””

            That works both ways – though it’s not whether you’ll reject God immediately if a contradiction can’t be answered. After all it’s always possible to come up with SOME answer, it’s just that as James points out, at a certain point the answers become absurdly contrived. That’s certainly the case with the attempts to answer the Judas contradictions given on this site.

    • Joseph says:

      The comment reads

      “it isn’t actually what is written … that makes me not believe”

      then almost immediately reads

      “… and full of contradictions”!

      Well, it must be what is written in order to say it’s full of contradictions! The start of statements is totally inconsistent with the rest of the statements.

      The subsequent statements really boils down to a number of fallacies such as straw man — refuting misrepresentations of followers positions, genetic fallacy — objecting to the source of the belief, appeal to emotion fallacy — using emotional words rather than making a logical case. and other fallacies

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        It makes sense to me. He’s saying it’s not that the bible makes specific claims that he thinks must be false, it’s that it contradicts itself. And what’s your objection to him saying he doesn’t think the bible was put together in an intelligent or moral way? You can say you disagree with him, but it’s not a straw man or a an appeal to emotion.

        And you’ve provided no explanation for the Judas inconsistencies.

        Reply
        • Louie says:

          He does not have to since it’s not an inconsistency. It is certainly possible to hang oneself in a tree, and fall out of the tree head long and burst open. Especially if the “falling head long” happened a day or two after the actual hanging. You’d have a real inconsistency if in one verse it said he hanged himself dead, and in another it said he drowned.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            Oh come on Louie:

            Field of Blood:

            Tradition associates Judas with a “Field of Blood,” but the New Testament has varying accounts on why.

            Matthew 27:6-8 – The priests buy the field and it gets its name because they used Judas’ blood money
            Acts 1:18 – Judas buys the field and it gets the name because his guts burst open there (though how and why this happened isn’t explained)

            And it’s grasping at straws to read a verse saying Judas falls to the ground, bursts open, and his guts spill out, and say ‘they could just be deciding not mention that he hung himself first and perhaps had been dead for a day or two before he fell to the ground’. That’s pretty desperate stuff.

            “You’d have a real inconsistency if in one verse it said he hanged himself dead, and in another it said he drowned.”

            You’d just say he drowned after hanging. Perhaps he died hanging, then was revived (which is possible) and then drowned. That would be no more ridiculous that what you suggest.

          • Louie says:

            Sorry Andy, you are the one grasping here, not me. And that is why the debate continues and will continue until the end.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            I accept your apology, Louie!

            Seriously though, what debate? You’ve answered none of my points and haven’t even attempted to answer the discrepancy on the ‘Field of Blood’ name.

          • toby says:

            Louie, you must realize that once you start filling in gaps of information in biblical text you’re basically playing god. You certainly didn’t come up with the response to how judas died, but you’ve latched onto it, perhaps because you heard it from someone you revere as an authority. Had you not done this you might feel differently coming to the text, thinking about it yourself, and seeing that one version clearly says he tripped and his guts fell out and the other says he died from hanging. Filling in the gap with “he did both” is ridiculous. How does a hanging body trip on anything? If body falls to the ground and pops open, that’s falling, not tripping. When you go down this road you run into the bloody field of interpretation. If this can be interpreted without needed information, then all of the bible can and there is no limit on what you can add and subtract from it.

          • Louie says:

            What you are missing is a study session in the latin and greek original text. What you are also missing is real inconsistency. I really hate to see you guys majoring in the minors here, since in the big picture of the new testament message it does not change anything one way or the other.

    • Mitch says:

      These verses have been reviewed and discussed ad nauseam, by Theologians with far greater skills and knowledge than I see on this blog. The discussion is not worth further analysis. We will continue to disagree and it does not add value to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. This discussion implies there is value in a private interpretation, the Bible clearly says that is not so.

      If it had any impact on the doctrine of the Christian religion, it may have some value, but it does not. So for the gentleman that wants to tear down the Word of God based on a lack of understanding of these verses, get a life. An eternal life is worth pursuing and to be in the presence of God has no comparison to life on this earth. Search for God and not for Satan.

      Reply

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