How to Share the Gospel With a Jew
The Jewish worldview, or Judaism, is over 3,500 years old and has approximately 15 million followers worldwide. It is one of the oldest religions on earth and was started when the people of Israel (Jews) received the law of God that He had revealed to the Biblical character Moses. Jews believe that the God who created the world decided to establish a covenant (a binding agreement – sort of like a contract) with the Jewish people. They believe God revealed his laws and commandments to the Jews in what they call the Torah, which is the same as the first five books of the Christian Bible (Genesis-Deuteronomy). Jews are devoted to studying and obeying the laws and commandments written in these books.
Questions You Can Ask
- What’s your spiritual background?
- What is it like to be a part of your religion? The traditions I’ve heard about sound pretty interesting!
- Do you follow Judaism because of your own choice, or because it is your family tradition?
- What do you believe about Jesus Christ?
- Have you ever considered the possibility that Jesus really is the Messiah? Why or why not?
- Would you be interested in talking about Old Testament passages that seem to point to Jesus as the Messiah?
- Do you think there’s a difference between a “religion” and the “relationship” with God that Jesus talked about?
- Do you believe that entrance into heaven is dependent on keeping the law? If so, how well have you obeyed the Ten Commandments?
- How would your friends and family in Judaism react if you converted to Christianity? How does that make you feel? Would you be willing to pay the price of being rejected if you were convinced that what I shared with you was true?
- Has anyone ever explained the gospel to you?
Areas You Can Admire
- Their belief in one God.
- Their belief that Jesus Christ existed.
- Their respect for the Old Testament.
- Their long, rich religious heritage that’s been passed down generation to generation for thousands of years.
What A Jew Believes
Jews believes that Judaism is the one true religion because God personally spoke to Moses and gave him the law and commandments that people in Judaism follow. Although there are differences of opinions about the exact way Judaism should be followed, a leader in Judaism known as “Rambam” (who lived over 1,000 years ago) summed up Judaism in 13 beliefs:
- God exists.
- God is one and unique.
- God doesn’t have a body.
- God is eternal.
- Prayer is to be directed to God alone.
- The words of the prophets are true.
- Moses was the greatest prophet, and his prophecies are true.
- The Torah was given to Moses.
- There will be no other Torah.
- God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
- God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
- The Messiah will come.
- The dead will be resurrected.
A Jew believes in the same God of the universe that Christians do – the One revealed in the Bible as Yahweh.
About the Trinity:
Jews do not believe in the Trinity as revealed in the Bible.
They believe Jesus was a teacher, but no more than that.
About the Bible:
Jews believe that only the Old Testament is the inspired word of God, so they rejects the New Testament as God’s word.
About the Afterlife:
A Jew believes that there is an afterlife where God rewards the good people and punishes the evil people, but beyond that they are not sure how it all plays out. There is definitely a heaven, but they do not view hell as a place of eternal torment.
A Jew believes salvation is achieved by keeping the Law of the Torah.
What the Bible Teaches
God identified Himself as “I Am” (Exodus 20:2) – meaning He is the self-existent (never had a beginning or end) eternal Creator of the universe.
About the Trinity:
There is one God and yet three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19).
Jesus is fully God and fully man, He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58 ; 10:30. Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and He is equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
About the Bible:
The Bible alone is the word of God. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20). All 66 books of the Bible are inspired, not just the first five.
About the Afterlife:
Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15).
Salvation is by faith in Christ on the basis of His death on the cross. Good works or keeping the law have nothing to do with being saved (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29,47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Things to Remember
- Your Jewish friend does not like to be stereotyped with others from their religion, so ask a ton of questions to learn where they’re coming from, questions like:
- Do you attend synagogue?
- What happens at Passover?
- Why don’t you offer sacrifices today?
- How do you find forgiveness since the destruction of the temple?
- What do you believe about the coming of Messiah?
- How will you recognize the Messiah when he comes?
- Jews are usually raised with little knowledge about Jesus Christ, so when you feel it could be appropriate, talk about how Jesus literally and perfectly fulfilled over 300 prophecies made about the coming Messiah. Ask them to read Isaiah 53 and ask who they believe that passage is describing. Here is a link that goes through all the prophecies:
- Whenever possible, use Scripture to answer your friend’s questions. If you get asked something you don’t know the answer to, ask them for some time and then do some research.
- Your main goal initially should not be to persuade your Jewish friend that Jesus is the Messiah. Your conversation is a means to an end, and that end is that they must see that they cannot ever keep God’s Law perfectly. It is not good enough for them to do their best; God requires perfection. Because of this fact, your goal is to get your friend to the point where they know that God will not overlook their failures or forgive them on the basis of their mitzvot (good deeds). Show them that God requires the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 17:11; cf. 16:15-17, 27, 30), which was why the Messiah (Jesus) came to earth 2,000 years ago.
- Remember that Christianity as we know it is built on Judaism as revealed in the Old Testament. It is, in many ways, the foundation of the Christian faith. Speak respectfully about Judaism because many of its practices are based on Old Testament customs that pointed to the coming of Jesus as Messiah.
For Further Research
- Pick up a copy of Greg Stier’s book Dare 2 Share Field Guide
- Check out Christian Answers website