By Georges Houssney
Here is an approach which has proved useful in showing the value of the Bible to a Muslim.
This activity takes between 15 and 30 minutes. I typically open the Bible to Genesis chapter one and begin by showing the story of the Creation. I take a few moments to point out the wisdom of God in the process of creation and the progression from day to day. I continue by giving them glimpses of the whole book of Genesis. “Look, here is the story of Cain and Abel … Here’s the story of Noah. Did you know that the genealogy of Noah is here in full? Were you aware that all the peoples of the earth today can be traced back to Noah’s three sons? Do you know the details of the events of the flood? Oh, I know that the Qur’an makes a brief reference to it, but here in the Torah is the full story.” (It is good to use the term “Torah” because it is also mentioned in the Qur’an). I go on to Abraham, pointing out the geography and history (use the maps at the back if your Bible has them).
Moving through the Old Testament
As I flip the pages somewhat more quickly through the rest of Genesis, I stop at the story of Joseph and point out a synopsis of his life and journey to Egypt, and how God gave him the strength to stay faithful to Him even in difficult circumstances. “We go now to Moses …” and there I show how God gave Moses the Law and briefly look over the Exodus story. From there I begin to flip through book by book and call out the names of key prophets of God. Psalm 19 is a good choice. I point out that this is the “Zabur” (Psalms) mentioned in the Qur’an. The Bible has the full text of all 150 songs of praise, worship, prophecy, and teaching. Then I jump to Jonah, pointing out that the Qur’an mentions him as the Prophet Younus. Daniel is also mentioned as a prophet in the Qur’an. Then I go on to the New Testament.
I show them the genealogy of Jesus and how it covers many centuries and includes several major prophets and kings. “The entire life of Jesus is recorded right here for us.” I then read several texts from the Sermon on the Mount. I go on to describe how Christianity spread in the early years (Acts and the Letters). I point out in Acts 2 how Arabs, Kurds, Egyptians, Libyans, Turks and other peoples from the Middle East were converted. I read a few verses from the Epistles, especially 1 John, emphasising the love of God. Finally, I move on to the book of Revelation and point out that the Bible has prophecies which are yet to be fulfilled. “Here are some of them.” In conclusion, I show how the Bible begins at the beginning and ends with the end.
Finally, here are a couple of practical points. Almost always, the listener attempts to take the Bible out of my hands, but I hang on to it until I have finished my presentation. Muslims need to know that there are treasures within the Bible, but I do not recommend that we only talk about the Bible. Also I do not recommend asking people if they want a Bible: ideally they should ask for it. When they do, it shows that they are serious. I do not want to give a Bible to someone who does not value it as a present, hoping that somehow they will come to value it later. I like to make them hungry and thirsty for God’s word.
Our personal sharing with Muslims are dynamic events involving interaction. It is certainly probable that one might not totally finish this presentation or that it might be wise to spend more time on some aspects of it than others.