Many people hate the word “argue.” What comes to mind is fighting, yelling, and screaming at each other and causing divisions that sometimes never get reconciled. We’ve all seen them; totally inappropriate emotional outbursts that hurt others. It is probably safe to say most of us have been part of this sort of disagreement at one time or another.
The media loves vicious arguments; it increases listeners. Some talk show hosts make a living inviting guests to come and argue. Jerry Springer makes millions when people come onto his show and scream at each other. Arguing couldn’t be any uglier than on his show.
I believe these poor examples are why many people think arguing is wrong. Some Christians have told me to quit using the argue word and to call all disagreements discussions. Funny they want to argue with me not to argue.
However, surprisingly this is not the Biblical view. The Bible not only supports arguing, it is loaded with arguments. To argue is to present evidence for what you believe is true. We see individuals modeling arguing in the public square and we find verses that instruct us to argue with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). In Acts 17 the Apostle Paul is entering a Jewish Synagogue to present a series of arguments, making a case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through his arguments he was trying to persuade others to believe in Jesus. Some were persuaded and believe.
Acts 17:2-4 “And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.”
It was Paul’s custom to argue with the Jews in the synagogues. Paul was a master at arguing in the synagogue, in the public square, on the road, or anywhere people congregated, continually making his case to follow Jesus. In Acts Luke uses words like he explained, gave evidence, reasoned, and persuaded; all words that define arguing. The Apostle Paul modeled how to persuade others through arguments.
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