Sometimes a friend will reach out to me and say that they have someone they want to study with—usually a skeptical friend or family member—but they just don’t know where to start. Often the situation is that their friend has so many ideas that they don’t know which one to take up first. In this case, I recommend the following order of study developed by Norman Geisler:
- Truth about reality is knowable.
- Opposites cannot both be true.
- The theistic God exists.
- Miracles are possible.
- Miracles performed in connection with a truth claim are acts of God to confirm the truth of God through a messenger of God.
- The New Testament documents are reliable.
- As witnessed in the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.
- Jesus’ claim to divinity was proven by a unique convergence of miracles.
- Therefore, Jesus was God in human flesh.
- What Jesus (who is God) affirmed as true, is true.
- Jesus affirmed that the Bible is the Word of God.
- Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever is opposed to any biblical truth is false.
This plan will not only help you find a way to give some order to your conversation, but it will also cover all the major bases. If you follow this course, you will have made the case for the truth of orthodox Christianity. Geisler says,
If a theistic God exists and miracles are possible and Jesus is the Son of God and the Bible is the Word of God, then it follows that orthodox Christianity is true. All other essential orthodox doctrines, such as the Trinity, Christ’s atonement for sin, the physical resurrection, and Christ’s second coming, are taught in the Bible. Since all these conditions are supported by good evidence, it follows that there is good evidence for concluding that orthodox Christianity is true.
[House, H. Wayne, and Dennis W. Jowers. Reasons for Our Hope: an Introduction to Christian Apologetics. B & H Publishing, 2011, 39-40.