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Christian Life

How to Explain Difficult Bible Stories to Non-Believers

There are some things in the Bible that can be difficult to explain to non-Christians. Some of the more obvious ones are the following:

  • Noah’s Ark
  • The walls of Jericho
  • Jonah in the belly of the giant fish
  • People living for eight hundred years

There are many others. So how do we explain “difficult to believe” Bible stories to others?

There isn’t an easy answer to this question. The truth is that we believe in a God who works miracles. God is the creator. God designed the laws of time and space. God designed the laws of physics and He understands those things better than we do. An important thing to remember is this: God created science, so God can explain science completely but science can’t completely explain God.

From my own experience, the best way to explain these things is to start with humility. Be honest. If you don’t know the answers, admit that you don’t know. I’ll admit, I have no idea how Noah fit all the animals on the ark or how Jonah survived inside a fish for three days. Just because I can’t explain something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t true and it doesn’t stop me from believing it. Offer to ask your pastor to explain these things to you so that you can give your friends an explanation.

Tell them from the beginning that some things in the Bible require at least a little bit of faith. That doesn’t mean that the explanations of hard-to-believe Bible stories aren’t ever logical. It means that there may be a combination of logic and faith in the explanation.

Be kind and patient. If you become angry when people ask you to explain things that you can’t explain, they may assume that there is no good explanation. If they don’t believe your explanations, don’t get mad. Lashing out and telling them that they’re going to Hell or deciding not to be their friend anymore won’t help. It’s okay if they don’t believe what you believe. The important thing is that they are asking questions. A little patience and kindness can go a long way in persuading people to share your point of view.

Here are some points to help when you are in a conversation about a difficult Bible topic:

  • As Christians, we believe in one God who created everything; not just things we can see and touch but science and thought, too.
  • We believe that God has always existed; no one created Him.
  • We also believe that it goes against the nature of God to lie; God is truth so He can only speak truth.
  • We believe that the Bible is the literal word of God spoken to men through the Holy Spirit and then written down by those men.
  • Because we believe that God is truth and the Bible is His word; we believe that the things written in the Bible are true.

These points can help people understand where you are coming from when discussing those hard-to-believe Bible passages.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16

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18 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by Lilliterra on July 11, 2012 at 17:49

    I must remember to use that, when someone says science can’t explain God. “No, but God can explain science!” 😀

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by 1_artist on December 10, 2011 at 21:17

    I like this article.

  3. Posted by on November 22, 2011 at 17:55

    “The world has been estimated to be created about 14 billion years ago. But God waited a long time to create people!”

    I love this website and know you’re a sincere Christian, Nicole, but that statement goes directly against the Bible.

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. – Genesis 1:1

    If you add up all the dates in the Bible, you find that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. Evolution teaches that the Earth is 14 billion years old.

    God created Adam on THE SIXTH DAY OF CREATION (Genesis 1:26-31). He did not wait a long time to create people. You might have been taught about the Gap Theory or Evolution, but both of those do not line up with the Bible.

    I posted an earlier comment sharing two websites that you should check out. Both of them can really help with this post on tough questions Christians think they can’t answer.

  4. Posted by on November 22, 2011 at 17:44

    I recommend that you check out Creation Science Evangelism (http://www.drdino.com/) or Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/). Both websites are full of super smart people who can answer questions like Noah’s Ark scientifically. I believe that science CAN explain God, but most Christians don’t realize it and most scientists deny it. You can always find the Creator in his creation.

  5. Posted by on October 27, 2011 at 16:11

    random question. I was reading my chemistry book with my mom and all of a sudden it said something about something happening in 4000 B.C. which we both new was wrong cause the the world didn’t exist that long ago. But that got me to thinking, when exactly did the world get made? I guess this kind of went along the same lines of answereing tricky questions from non believers….:) just wondering though.

    • Posted by Nicole on October 28, 2011 at 00:29

      no the world was made before Jesus was here…. 4,000 BC is correct. All the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and many other cultures were living on this earth thousands of years before Jesus showed up. I promise! The world has been estimated to be created about 14 billion years ago. But God waited a long time to create people! 🙂

  6. Posted by on October 24, 2011 at 14:58

    Honestly, in my perspective, if one can believe in evolution and the dinosaurs, one can believe in a man surviving in a fish. Just because somethings in the Bible are not clear does not mean they did not happen. Many things are possible since God created everything and anything.

  7. Posted by on October 13, 2011 at 17:45

    This article is so helpful. I seize every oppurtunity I can to share my faith with my Non-Christian friends, but they sometimes just don’t try to even understand, and it annoys me, so I really try to be patient… It’s hard. I also have a friend who is Christian just like me, but doesn’t believe the Trinity… How do I deal with that?

    • Posted by on October 15, 2011 at 03:08

      Jenna – My best advice on that is to pray for wisdom. Ask the Lord to give you the words to speak to that particular friend.

      The Trinity is a core belief in the Christian faith so I am at a loss to see how this friend could not believe that and still profess Christianity.

      I would also suggest that you spend some time reading and meditating on John 1:1-14. That may give you some answers and insight on how to answer this issue.

      Good luck, I’ll be praying!

      • Posted by on October 16, 2011 at 14:59

        Thank you- this is really helpful to me!!!! 🙂

  8. Posted by on October 11, 2011 at 18:30

    Did you know someone created Noah’s ark to the exact measurements God gave Noah but in smaller proportions and it was the fastest ship around? hmmm 😉

    • Posted by Nicole on October 12, 2011 at 10:33

      that is so cool! do you have a news article where I can see that and post to the site?

  9. Posted by on October 10, 2011 at 19:20

    Good article. I am actually learning about scriptures in my Hebrew Scriptures class and we learned that stories like that aren’t to be taken literally. So there was not big flood or Jonah didn’t really live in a fish. All these stories are in the bible to give us a message about how powerful God is and they help give us an insight as to why we have certain things like original sin.

    • Posted by on October 11, 2011 at 15:21

      Actually Devon those Bible stories actually did happen.

  10. Posted by on October 10, 2011 at 19:19

    Love it! It hurts my heart when people don’t believe in God or the bible,but we aren’t supposed to force religion down their throats.There is only so much we can do to lead a person to God. I know this sounds mean,but it is their fault if they choose not to accept God.

  11. Posted by on October 9, 2011 at 15:41

    Actually, Ive never thought the Bible was 100 percent. I always thought God wanted us to take the moral of the story. I love the Bible though. There is so much wisdom.

  12. Posted by on October 8, 2011 at 22:06

    Thanks This article is very helpful. 🙂

  13. Posted by on October 8, 2011 at 15:23

    What if we tell them, “I don’t know I wasn’t there. Ask God?” He he 😛 Umm I myself am Catholic (Christian) and I usually always wonder about the Bible stories because they seem so complicated! I don’t like that I question too much… Then again God does use many metaphors in the Bible. 🙂