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Subject: Giving an answer
Should a Christian always be ready to give an answers concerning the complied Scriptures that we know today as the bible?
Thanks for asking your question. It is my understanding that the Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament are meant to be the basis of truth by which a believer grows and matures with respect to his or her individual relationship with both God and with man. A newborn Christian obviously has less knowledge of Scripture than one who has walked in the truth for many years, which is why elders as overseers in the church are admonished not be ‘new converts.’
1 Timothy 3:1,6-7 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do…. 6 he must not be a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. New American Standard Bible
The reason for new converts not being overseers ties directly to your question because it illustrates the differences between one mature believer who is knowledgeable in Scriptures and able to teach others, and contrasts him with the novice who has yet to learn thru study the Scripture and make application of the truthful precepts of Scripture in his or her life.
I do not think you will find any direct commandments that require a Christian to always be ready to respond to answers directly from the Bible, even though I personally wished that were the case. For one thing, prior to the writing of the New Testament Scriptures, there was not a completed canon, and the ‘compiled’ the books that embody today’s Old and New Testament took considerable number of years, leaving a gap of undetermined period in which the Christians living in that age would not be privy to the same canon as do you and myself.
In the New Testament, all references to the ‘Scriptures’ in a plural sense are done so by the writer as dialogue concerning those contained in the Law and the Prophets. This is the case beginning with John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ, and carried on thru the apostles/disciple’s inspired writing. Below are some examples:
Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?” NASB
Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. NASB
Matthew 26:54 "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?" NASB
Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, or the power of God? NASB
Matthew 26:56 "But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left Him and fled. NASB
Mark 14:49 "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has happened that the Scriptures might be fulfilled." NASB
Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. NASB
Luke 24:32 And they said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" NASB
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, NASB
Acts 17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, NASB
Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. NASB
Acts 18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. NASB
Acts 18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. NASB
Romans 1:2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, NASB
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. NASB
Romans 16:26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; NASB
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, NASB
1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, NASB
2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. New American Standard Bible
Jesus rebuked the legalistic Jewish leaders, the Pharisee, because though they were knowledgeable in Scriptures, they refused to come to him as their Messiah, of whom the Scriptures testify!
John 5:37-40 "And the Father who sent me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. 39 You search the Scriptures , because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” New American Standard Bible
Hearing the voice of the Father thru His expressions of love, truth, justice, and mercy is much more salient to building the kingdom of heaven than having on hand a ready answer from the Scriptures. As a believer in God thru Jesus Christ you are admonished to study the Scriptures to show yourself approved as an unashamed workman before God (2 Timothy 2:15), and as a consequence, base all that you do in word and deed on truth-based precepts that align with Scripture.
At the same time, remember, knowledge puffs up, but love edifies, and though a man have all knowledge, and does not have love, his knowledge of Scripture makes him nothing (Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4).
In fact, not everyone in the church is called to ‘give an answer’ from Scriptures to any/all unbelievers, because doing so in such manner makes a person able to teach, and we know from the epistle of James that not all are called to be ‘teachers.’
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers; self-constituted censors and reprovers of others, my brethren, for you know that we teachers will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation. Amplified Bible
In Paul’s letters to young Timothy, he exhorts him to continue his studies in Scripture, because all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and profitable for reproof, teaching, etc.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. New American Standard Bible
1 Timothy 4:13, 15-16 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture , to exhortation and teaching. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. New American Standard Bible
Assuming that an individual Christian must always be ready to give, an answer to the unbeliever from the Scriptures presupposes that every time an unbeliever asks for said answers, he or she is willingly receptive to hear and respond affirmatively or obediently. This simply goes against the grain of all tenor of Scripture because it presupposes the motive on either side as being “always…ready” to hearken and obey, which is not usually the case. Narrow is the way, and few it be that find it.
In closing, what is most important and fulfills the intent for all Scripture given is summed up once again in the Book of James:
James 2:8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. New American Standard Bible
God bless you Warren, and may He use you to reach those in need of God love and truth~
1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you, but do it considerately and courteously.