Is it Biblical to Argue Over Scripture?

If someone is teaching erroneous information about the Bible, the right thing to do is to correct them. When you correct them, speak the truth in love. You should never present yourself as being argumentative, hostile, or angry.

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Arguing over Scripture is something many people do. The Bible specifically tells us arguing is not good (Proverbs 15:1). Rather than arguing, Christians should be peaceful, kind, and caring (Galatians 5:22-23). But what about arguing over Scripture? Is it biblical to argue over Scripture?

Arguing Over the Bible

Arguing is not presented as a good thing in the Bible. In fact, God’s Word tells us specifically to avoid arguments; “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:23-24).

Similarly, Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.” Even though the Bible warns us against arguing, we are still called to defend the faith. When we defend the faith, it must be done in kindness, compassion, and love.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Christians are called to defend the faith, but we should not be hostile or argumentative.

The concept of defending the faith is called apologetics. If a person is trying to deny the inerrancy of Scripture or if they are teaching others a wrong interpretation of the Bible, it is our responsibility as believers to correct them. This does not mean you are arguing with the person as you can correct someone without being argumentative, hostile, or angry.

Jesus had to correct His disciples many times during His ministry, but He was never hostile with them. In fact, during a certain instance in Luke 9:46-48, the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among the Twelve.

Jesus gently corrects them by bringing a child to His side and saying, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever is least among you all is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).

He does not argue back with them despite the Twelve arguing among themselves. Rather than being argumentative, He gently corrects them.

When Jesus is specifically questioned about His divinity by the Pharisees, He rebukes them as well; however, with more directness. The Pharisees had tried to claim Jesus was demon-possessed, but He rebukes them by telling the Pharisees that they do not really know God because if they did, they would accept Him because He is God (John 8:52-58).

The Lord was not arguing with the Pharisees, rather He was correcting them over their erroneous belief that He was demon-possessed. The Pharisees were always trying to spread falsehood about Jesus as they refused to accept His message.

Despite the many proofs of Jesus being God in the flesh, the Pharisees were adamant about denying His divinity. They refused to believe in Jesus and ultimately rejected Him. Through the work of the Jewish leaders and the Romans, Jesus was sentenced to death (Luke 23:13-15).

We all know Jesus was right as He proved His divinity by fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, the miracles He performed, and ultimately His resurrection from the grave (Acts 2:22; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Lord corrected those who opposed Him, but He never was argumentative.

Defending the Scriptures

As previously mentioned, all Christians are called to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15). If someone is teaching erroneous information about the Bible, the right thing to do is to correct them. When you correct them, speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). You should never present yourself as being argumentative, hostile, or angry.

If you are hostile when you are correcting someone about a truth from the Bible, you will automatically discredit yourself. All Christians are to be lights for Christ, but we cannot shine for Him if we are being hostile, angry, or argumentative. Rather than forcing an argument, gently correct the person on their erroneous belief of the Bible.

Even if they do not believe you, do not start an argument. Simply instruct them what the Bible says and pray for them to obtain insight into the matter. There will be people who strongly oppose the faith. They will specifically look for ways to get you to grow angry.

These people are fault finders and want to do harm rather than good. The Bible warns us against those who try to stir up strife, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him” (Proverbs 26:4). Sadly, there will be many people who will try to instigate an argument, but you must take the higher road.

Even if the person comes across as being hateful to you, do not return hate for hate. Romans 12:21 encourages us by saying, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When there are aggressive opposers to the faith, do not give in to them. What they want is to cause you to grow angry and start an argument.

Growing angry, hostile, and argumentative will not be a good testimony for Jesus. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance in these trying times. God will uphold you with His mighty hand (Isaiah 41:10). As an example, there may be a person who strongly believes in pluralism and is teaching the congregation that Jesus is not the only way to salvation.

They may be incorrectly using Scripture to “support” the falsehood they are teaching. As a believer, it is your responsibility to correct this false teaching within the church. When you correct the person about their pluralistic ideology, it is safe to expect some hostility from the individual. Instead of being argumentative, point them to the truth of the Bible.

Gently instruct them by highlighting John 14:6. In this passage of Scripture, Jesus specifically says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There are no other ways of salvation except by placing faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Your pluralistic friend may be taken back by this correction; however, it is important you are kind when you present the truth. Do not be arrogant or act superior to the other person. Simply speak the truth in love.

This is just an example; however, you can use this whenever someone tries to start an argument with you or when you see false teachings being taught in the church or outside the church. The Lord does not want His children to have anything to do with pointless quarreling.

When Paul wrote to Titus in Crete, there were many people who were having arguments over the law. Paul does not tell Titus to engage in the argument, but rather, Paul tells Titus, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law because these are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9).

What Does This Mean?

In the same way, we should avoid arguments and quarrels. We are called to defend the faith if someone is teaching and/or believing an erroneous belief in the Bible; however, we should never be argumentative, hostile, or angry.

For further reading:

Why Are We Told to Never Argue with a Fool?

Can We Argue with God’s Promises?

What Is Spiritual Warfare?

Why Does the Bible Have to Tell Us to Be Kind to One Another?

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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.