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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., uses Peter’s example on Pentecost to explain how to witness to those who have foundational knowledge of the Scriptures.
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:41)
Today’s big question: how do we witness to someone with biblical knowledge?
In Acts, the apostles preached the good news to many people. You may have realized that there is not just one approach to use when sharing the gospel. In this devotional, we are going to briefly study Peter’s approach and how thousands came to receive Jesus as their Savior.
On the Day of Pentecost Peter spoke about the Holy Spirit to the large gathering of Israelites. He said, “It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” which was accomplished through “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:21–22).
The Jews already had a foundational understanding of God and the teachings from the Old Testament, such as the Law. So Peter did not need to start from the beginning. Peter even recognized that the Israelites had knowledge of Jesus and the miracles He performed. So why had the Jews not received Jesus as their Savior?
In 1 Corinthians 1:22, Paul said that the “Jews request a sign.” Ironically, Jesus showed the Jews many signs—as Peter pointed out. Furthermore, Paul told the Corinthians that the preaching of Christ’s Crucifixion was a stumbling block to the Jews because they expected Jesus to bring an earthly kingdom at that time. The Israelites were looking for the wrong signs and misunderstood Christ’s work on earth. Peter addressed the heart of the issue:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:36–37)
When witnessing to someone with knowledge of Scripture, it is essential to determine what their stumbling block is in relation to God’s Word. This is what Peter did. Since he preached to Jews, His message was catered specifically for them.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached about Christ’s Crucifixion and thousands of people converted. You will be the most effective when, empowered by the Holy Spirit, you understand your audience and deal with the aspects of the gospel they struggle to grasp.
Today’s big idea: as we spread the good news, we should first get to know the people, if possible, and find out where they struggle regarding salvation.
What to pray: ask God for guidance and wisdom as you share the gospel with those you meet.