What is the most effective way to share the gospel with/study the Bible with someone who is Jewish — grew up going to synagogue etc. in the United States? Would it be best to start with looking at Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and then show how Jesus fulfilled them or should one simply start at the beginning of a Guard the Gospel/First Principles type of series and proceed from there? — Deena Gift (Washington DC)
While I have some experience in helping Jews to become Christians, I am not sure I am the best person to answer this question. Yet I do not think beginning with a standard study series or even beginning with Messianic prophecies is the best strategy in the United States. Here are a few suggestions; hope they are helpful:
* Many Jews in the United States do not believe in the Bible (Old Testament). Don’t assume they do. In addition, many do not believe in God. It is essential to establish faith and this takes time.
* Seeing a church of disciples — and their love (John 13:34) — is key. This will go a long way towards dispelling historical Jewish-Christian mistrust so common in our society.
* Be a friend. Through the power of friendship and that of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:8), a number of Jews have become disciples in the kingdom of God.
* If historical issues come up — e.g. how poorly Christians treated Jews in the Middle Ages — be humble. Atrocious things have been done in the name of Christ. Emphasize that Christians were not following their Master when they persecuted Jews. And antisemitism was strong from the 4th to 20th centuries!
* Make sure your own life is a light. Many Jews highly value family priorities, financial responsibility, and a disciplined life.
This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.