Biblical Apologetics: everything you need to discuss with your Muslim friend
One of the most powerful tools a Christian can use when witnessing is the Bible. This is probably no surprise to you! What better way to share who God is than through His Word?
Well, when it comes to sharing the Bible with your Muslim friend, you’ll encounter a problem: Islam teaches that the Bible has been corrupted or changed.
We’re going to look at what exactly Muslims believe about the Bible, but more importantly, how you can counter these beliefs so you can share God’s word with them and they’ll be open to receiving it!
Islam’s teachings about the Bible
According to Islam, Allah gave books to certain prophets called messengers: The Torah (Moses), the Psalms (David), and the Gospel(Isa/Jesus). In addition to those three, there are supposedly books that were revealed to Noah and Abraham from Allah but there are no records of them. The last book Allah gave was the Quran through his messenger Muhammad.
Muslims are taught the Quran is the purest scripture on earth, without any tampering. Allah promises in the Quran:
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an, and indeed, We will be its Guardian” Surah 15:9
They claim the Quran is preserved in the Arabic language– the language of Muhammad– and technically any version of the Quran in a different language is called “the meaning of the Quran'' because it lacks the infallibility of the Arabic Quran. You can learn more about the way that this language barrier affects Muslims in this blog, because not all Muslims speak Arabic. If you want to learn more about the texts of Islam, check out this guide.
Muslims hear that the Bible is the Christian’s book, and they claim that it is corrupted. When you ask them about this, they say that there were parts which foretold of Muhammad’s coming that were omitted, but they cannot prove any of these existed.
In addition, Islam teaches of a progressive revelation from Allah throughout the ages. It teaches Muslims that the Torah was given to the Jews and the Injil (Arabic word for the Gospel) to the Christians, but then when the Quran arrived all other texts were canceled and even Christians and Jews should believe in and follow the teachings of the Quran, the final message from Allah to humanity.
How would the Bible have been corrupted?
This question is actually an excellent one to ask your Muslim friend! In order to open up their heart to receive the Word of God, they must trust it. You might get the chance to do some apologetics work and encourage them to examine their beliefs closely.
When was the Bible corrupted?
Start the discussion by finding out what your Muslim friend believes: “When do you think the Bible was corrupted, before or after the Quran?” Their answer will show you how to proceed.
If your Muslim friend says that the Bible was corrupted before the Quran, then you can bring up a few Quranic verses that actually tell Muslims to acknowledge the Torah and Gospel! For example, Quran 5:44 and 5:46 state that these books were revealed by Allah as a confirmation of the Law, and it was entrusted to the protection of the keepers of the Law!
So even the Quran affirms that the Torah and Gospel were given by Allah and were still authoritative when the Quran was written. This can make your Muslim friend examine their beliefs and decide if they are listening to the Quran or the voices of Muslim leaders who might say otherwise.
If your Muslim friend believes that the Bible was corrupted after the Quran’s existence, then there is a lot of historical evidence to prove otherwise. By the time of the sixth century, the Bible had been translated into Latin, Armenian, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Aramaic, and Greek. These copies were circulated across three different continents! Not only was the New Testament being shared, but the Old Testament was also being shared in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
There is no way that anyone could have corrupted all of these translations (and have them all say the same thing), as numerous and widespread as they were. The Gospel has been compared to original manuscripts many times, and they are identical!
Who corrupted the Bible?
You can continue to ask your Muslim friend, “Who would have corrupted the Bible? The Jews or the Christians?”
Your Muslim friend will try to reflect on this and reason with their beliefs. It does not make sense for so many unflattering stories of Israel’s history, their sins and idolatry, to be included in a text that they supposedly had the chance to change.
We can apply this same train of thought to the possibility that Christians would have corrupted the Bible. There is no reason for Christians to corrupt the Old Testament, because it has hundreds of prophecies about Jesus and his life that were perfectly fulfilled! And when you look at the history of the early church, it is filled with thousands of martyrs in the first century, who declared that Jesus was Lord and refused to abandon the Gospel until their last breaths. No one would do that for a story that they had corrupted.
As a final point, you can ask your Muslim friend, “Why wouldn’t Allah have protected the original revelations, since you believe he is all-powerful and you claim he protected the Quran?”
Tips for entering an apologetics-centered conversation
Many Christians have mixed perspectives on apologetics; some love to sit down and debate the details of any topic available to them with nonbelievers, while others shy away from this topic, because it feels too argumentative.
Regardless of where you land on the spectrum, there are key things every Christian can benefit from reflecting on:
- Is my focus on “being right” or is it on sharing the love of Christ?
- Does my friend feel respected throughout the conversation?
- How can I present the truth to my Muslim friend in a loving way?
These points are all wonderful things to bring before God in prayer. Prepare your heart to be a light of Christ to your Muslim friend by reading scripture, praying, and listening for His guidance.
Dear Lord, thank you for giving us Your Word, so that we can know You intimately. Please help me share this with my Muslim friend so that they can experience your love as well! Give me the right, loving, and truthful words to say. Amen.