Posts by: Staff Writer

Confusing Muslim Marriages | Livestream | Part One

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Christian from Muslim Livestream Event with DCCI Ministries

DCCI Ministries seek to preach the Gospel to Muslims using apologetics and polemics. Like the Apostle Paul, “we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God” (2 Cor 4:2). Rather “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Our motivation is love for Muslims to bring them to repentance and faith in Christ for eternal life.

Video Time Stamps

00:00:00 Song
00:04:32 Intro.
00:06:30 Favourite bible verse.
00:07:30 Intro to Dr Cynthia.
00:13:08 Start of discussion.
00:15:58 The topics discussed.
00:17:08 Married or not.
00:19:56 Sacrament vs contract.
00:26:25 Breach of contract.
00:29:30 Questions from the chat.
00:33:56 Marriage vows and the ceremony.
00:41:46 Muslim Christian ceremony. Love jihad – forced marriage.
00:52:18 Marriage validity.
00:59:00 Arranged marriages, child marriages, incestuous marriages.
01:21:25 Why get married.
01:28:38 Questions.

Confusing Muslim Marriages | Livestream | Part Two

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Christian from Muslim Livestream Event with DCCI Ministries

DCCI Ministries seek to preach the Gospel to Muslims using apologetics and polemics. Like the Apostle Paul, “we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God” (2 Cor 4:2). Rather “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Our motivation is love for Muslims to bring them to repentance and faith in Christ for eternal life.

Time Stamps

00:00:00 Song.
00:04:30 Intro.
00:07:26 Hello Dr Cynthia.
00:10:16 Dr Cynthia explains her ministry.
00:21:05 Temporary Marriage/secret marriage – prostitution.
00:49:10 Polygamy.
01:11:46 Financial reasons. Putting a value on people – 1000 camels.
01:19:13 We have to keep our marriage secret.
01:25:04 Divorce muslim style.
01:46:43 till death do us part.
01:51:32 Questions.

Felicity’s Testimony of Becoming Christian from Muslim

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I was born as a Muslim in a Muslim country. All I ever knew about Christianity is that Christianity was a corrupted religion. So I didn’t bother learning about Christianity.

At age 14, in school they taught me about women’s rights in Islam. As I read I found out that we don’t have rights in Islam. I was really sad. I stopped believing in Islam because I didn’t think that was right. But I didn’t tell anybody.

After I graduated from college in the Middle East I worked with some Christians. From them I learned some good things about Christianity. I wanted to learn more.

Later I had the opportunity to come to the United States to continue my studies. Besides continuing my studies in college, I thought it would also be a good thing to learn more about Christianity.

Only 10 days after I moved here I met Bible teacher Dr. Cynthia. It was then I heard the gospel from her for the first time. For nearly a year I studied the Bible with her, and I asked very many questions. After this I was convinced that Christianity was the true religion. But before I would take the big step of becoming a Christian I thought I need a miracle or a sign before doing anything.

Two years later a man in white came into my dream. He said, “Look up these words, ‘I put my trust in you.’” In the morning when I woke up I googled these words. It was a verse from Psalm 143:8. Then I decided to put my trust in Jesus. On May 1, 2016, I became a Christian.

It’s not really easy for a Muslim to change their religion, but I did it. It’s worth it to be loved by Jesus and walk with him.

CFM 2021

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Path of the Prophets Bracelet Instructions

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Path of the Prophets Bracelet

Developed by Dr. C of American Ethnic Ministries



   “It’s beautiful!  It’s beautiful!  I believe it is the way to God,” said a Muslim woman wanting to receive Christ after an evangelist shared the “Path of the Prophets” bracelet with her.  Because of her enthusiasm she was given a bracelet of her own which she promised to use to share the story with her Muslim friends.

   This bracelet is being used on four continents to express the beauty of the gospel in a clear way.  Although originally made for use with Muslim women, it has been used successfully with many ethnic groups and faiths, and with both sexes, adults and children.

   The charms and/or colorful beads in this special bracelet each represent an important fact in the true story of the Bible we call, “The Path of the Prophets”.   (Not every bracelet may have all of these beads or colors, but the story is the same, and in this order.)  In settings where charms are not appropriate or available, the colors alone will serve to tell the story.

   If you are using the bracelet to share this life-giving story, be sure to do so with expression, conviction, and passion, so those listening will see that you believe it is true, and that it is important to you!  Especially emphasize God’s justice in needing to send Jesus for us – since Muslims believe we can all pay for our own sins and do not need a Savior, and his love for us in being willing to make a world that would go wrong and cost him so high a price to redeem!

(Note 1: We suggest you make your own bracelet according to your desire and wrist size. A limited number of custom made bracelets are occasionally available.  Note 2: Christians differ on whether or not to use the term “Allah” or “God” with Muslims. We accept either, in that we know and explain in this method how his character differs from the way Muslims see it, and why it matters.) 

The beads/charms and their meaning

CRYSTAL BEAD ( or SILVER triangular bead) – represents GOD.  He is pure, perfect and holy; the all-powerful Creator God who is present everywhere and knows everything.  He is merciful, compassionate and just.

HEART  – God is love.  He loves you wants a relationship with you!  And he gave you a heart so you could love him and others too. 

GIFT – all good things in your life, and everything you love are gifts from God!  They are a taste of God’s goodness and love for you.  He also gave us all the gift of choice.   

LESSON of God’s character: he wants us to choose to love him, learn about him, and follow his way, because of his goodness to us.

GREEN beads –  because God is love, he made people to have a relationship with. He made ADAM & EVE and put them in the GARDEN of EDEN.

TREE, LEAF or FLOWER    Adam and Eve chose not to obey God and were sent out of the garden.  This was the beginning of the miseries in the world.  We can not be perfectly happy on earth, because we were made for paradise and life in the presence of God.  

LESSON of Prophet Adam: if God judged and punished his first humans, he will judge and punish us.

BLUE Bead –  By the time of PROPHET NOAH people had chosen wrong so often that the world became violent and evil. God judged the world and punished it with a flood.

ARK, Raindrop or Dove charm –  Prophet Noah and his family and some animals were saved on a boat called an ark, because Noah listened to God’s voice and went his way.  

LESSON of Prophet Noah:  God punished evil, but saves those who follow his way.  WE must all  find his way!

WHITE  bead or  1st LAMB (with or without rocks like an altar)  – represents PROPHET ABRAHAM, who was the friend of God, and was so submitted to the will of God that he was willing to sacrifice his son.  

But God sent a substitute – a perfect sheep, called el Korbany (by the Muslims), and celebrated at Eid el Adha.  

LESSON of Prophet Abraham:  God asks for a sacrifice, but accepts a substitute.

BLACK beads – these represent sins.  COMMANDMENT, SCROLL, or BOOK charm – represents the law brought by PROPHET MOSES to the Israelites.  No one could perfectly keep this law, so God told Prophet Moses to have them offer blood sacrifices as payment for their sins.

The beads are different shapes and sizes because although some people sin more than others, in God’s eyes we are all sinners.  

Prophet Moses and others prophesied that if Israel was unfaithful to God and worshipped idols, it would be attacked by other nations and its people taken captive.  The Israelites did worship idols, and so the prophecy came true.  

LESSON of Prophet Moses: we are all sinners and need sacrifice to cover our sins.

PURPLE or PINK  bead – represents the Prophets of Promiser that came between Moses and Jesus, like Isaiah.  They prophesied that one day the final sacrifice would come, which would cover all sin (for example, Isaiah 53).  LESSON of the Later Prophets: we should look for the final sacrifice.

RED BEADS and 2nd LAMB charm – these represent Jesus and his blood.  Known as Isa in Islam, Jesus was the promised LAMB of GOD, as Prophet John the Baptist (Prophet Yahia) testified of him.  

Back at the beginning of creation God knew when he gave us a choice that it would cost him deeply.  His perfect character would be hurt by the evil done on earth in the midst of his lovely universe, and he would have to do something to make it right.  His perfect character and need for justice demanded it!  

SCALES charm – reminds us of God’s justice. In God’s eyes, good deeds and sins are separate things, like apples and oranges, and do NOT balance each other out.  Just as if you stole a million dollars from one neighbor, but built a hospital which saved the life of another.  The fact that you did something good for one does not change the fact that you owe money to the other. A just judge would still make you pay back or go to prison.

God knows that we are all sinners because he made us; we can’t fool him!  We do not meet his standard.  Since only God is perfect, only he can pay for sins.  As the Creator, and our heavenly Father, he takes that responsibility, in a way similar to the way your father took responsibility for you and paid for something you broke when you were little.  

Because of his great love he came to earth once to die as a sacrifice in our place and rise again.   Jesus satisfied the demands of perfect character of God, which is both just and merciful.  Only in him does God’s justice balance his mercy.  

LESSON of Jesus:  He is the expected lamb of God.  He is the only one who covers sin and saves!

GOLD bead (or sky blue) – Jesus is the only way to God in heaven where the streets are gold!     

PRAYING HANDS – if we pray to God, confess our sins, and choose to accept Jesus as the sacrifice in our place; he will forgive us and send his Holy Spirit to live in us. Then we live daily to please him: praying, worshipping, reading the Bible, fellowshipping with other believers, and sharing the good news of forgiveness through him.

LESSON of the praying hands:  we must all personally decide what we believe, and if we will accept Jesus sacrifice in our place and be saved.

May the Lord bless and anoint you as you proclaim his Good News through the Path of the Prophets bracelet!

Edition of 2021

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Sahar’s Testimony, No Fear in Love

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I was born and raised in a Muslim home in Saudi Arabia and speak both English and Arabic. The Arabic language is very fascinating, and Arab people are very proud of the tongue of the Arabs. Muslims also believe it’s a heavenly language, for Allah speaks in Arabic, that’s why it’s sacred to them. Also, it’s written from right to left. There is a famous Arabic saying: “The beauty of man lies in the eloquence of his tongue.”

I have three sisters and two brothers. I am the youngest among my sisters, and I was daddy’s little girl. We used to spend a lot of time together as a family, playing games, going to the beach, reading books. Being privileged to grow up in a loving family, I had a wonderful childhood until my father passed away when I was seven. The death of my dad was so hard on me; I didn’t understand what “death” meant. When I asked my mom, “Where did my father go?” she replied, “He went on a long journey to God.”

I was angry with God not just because he took my dad away, but I believed he destroyed our loving family and took my joy away. After my father’s death, we moved to my maternal grandfather’s house. I thought a lot about God and wondered why God would take my dad away? I remember doubting whether God really existed, and one night I asked him, “If you are there somewhere, help me wake up at 9:00 AM”. And I did! For the first time I though God might truly be real.

My mom’s family are very strict Muslims, while my father wasn’t at all. Let me give you a few examples: I was fully covered at the age of seven, I had a curfew to leave the house, I couldn’t even order food by phone. My father was a sweet loving man, who valued women. It was very hard to adjust to this new environment, the loss of my father and the harsh teachings of Islam were also very hard to tolerate.

I worked so hard in school and when I was nine, I came home excited that I got very good grades. My mom was so happy and proud of me. I went to one of my uncles to show him my certificate, how great my grades were, and he told me, “That’s not what matters, you will get married someday and you will stay home at your husband’s house. Being a good woman to your husband is what matters”. He, too, broke my heart and shattered my joy! I took it as a confrontational situation and became angry and aggressive.

I worked hard to prove myself and be someone. My dream was to leave Saudi and find the freedom I deserved as a woman, I wanted a better education, the educational system in Saudi is so bad for women. Men has better teachers and better schools. I even wished if that I weren’t a woman.

Finally, that day came in 2006. I took the opportunity to come to the United States as a part of a Saudi Government scholarship program to leave behind the obvious challenges and narrow perspectives that women face in Saudi, and to obtain a higher quality of education.

Leaving Saudi, was like a dream to me. I felt like a prisoner leaving a jail and life had just begun. I was desperate for freedom from depression and the hopeless life I had! Culturally, I struggled to find Halal meat (which is similar to kosher where animals are killed the Islamic way) . But the most moving cultural transformation I underwent was finally deciding to take off my headscarf in 2009 and to dress in the American style. The transformation was very tough. In Islam, the point of wearing the headscarf is to be “modest”, and the way I dressed after I took my headscarf off was considered very modest in American culture.

I still didn’t feel free though. I knew there was something missing in my life; but I didn’t know what it was and how to fulfill that need, I was afraid of God, afraid of death, afraid of hell. I read many books: “self- improvement” books, books about wisdom and famous sayings about successful and powerful people.

I also dated all kinds of crazy controlling Muslim men. Well, that didn’t last for a long time! I knew they didn’t value me as a woman, and they would never let me be the successful woman I wanted to be. I was longing for a wise man who knew my worth and would encourage me to accomplish something in life.

A few years earlier I had met a Christian lady named Cynthia on campus. She was like a glimmer of light in my life, pointing me to the truth. We became very close friends. We tutored each other in Arabic and English. Soon she started sharing her faith in Christ with me. I went to church with her many times, but I didn’t really understand the idea of salvation since in Islam, Jesus is a prophet not God.

I graduated in 2011 from CSU, Chico with my degree in (MIS), Management and Information systems. and I began looking for a job in the US. After tasting the freedom in America, I didn’t want to go back to my old life in Saudi. Cynthia offered me an internship at her father’s company in Boulder, CO. She also arranged for me to live at Horizons International, an international student center, which is also a ministry to Muslims. I moved there in October of 2011, where I met Christian believers from a Muslim background, and they actually believed Jesus is God.

It was shocking for me to see people from different Arab countries leaving Islam and becoming Christians. They shared their testimonies with me, and I was amazed about God’s work in their lives. This made me more openminded to ask questions and learn more about Christianity. One time I was invited to a Bible study at one of the Muslim convert‘s homes, and I loved that day. It was like heaven to me. They started their meeting with prayer requests, and then they prayed for each other genuinely. The love I experienced there touched my heart. We don’t have love like that in Islam.

Out of curiosity I opened a Bible, and I began reading about the resurrection. The Bible said: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:23-33). This description of heaven was lovely and holy to me.

The Islamic concept of heaven was totally different. It is totally unholy. Heaven in Islam is basically just for men; supposedly there will be 72 virgin women that the men can enjoy, and rivers of wine. If a woman made it to heaven, she will be one of the 72 virgins he has, and Islam teaches most women are going to hell because women are evil and make men sin!

The heaven I wanted to go to, is the one TRUE heaven. My spirit was happy with the eternity Christians looked forward to; but even so, my mind was telling me “You are Muslim, and it is better to die a Muslim.” The three months I spent at Horizons International passed by very fast, and I moved back to California. I realized I missed my time with those “crazy” Christians, they were very nice people, but I believed they were worshiping a man.

Everything they shared with me started coming back in my mind. I started questioning my faith in Islam and I watched a lot of testimonies of people leaving Islam and becoming Christians through dreams, visions, and from reading the Bible. I was thinking to myself, “This God is really alive, the God I worship is far, distant and never talked to me!”

I left Islam and started looking for the One and Only living God. I felt empty and purposeless; life was meaningless, I didn’t know God and why I was here on this Earth. I remember Christians kept telling me “Jesus loves you”, I didn’t know what that meant and why would He love me? I decided to figure out more about this Jesus who loves me. I started going to two services, Arabic and English churches every week. I started reading the Bible to see who Jesus really is, and what he said about himself. Then I came to a conclusion that Jesus was just a human like me, he wasn’t God!

However, soon after, I called my friend Cynthia to share with her that I left Islam and I was reading the Bible to learn more about Christianity. She introduced me to one of her friends, and I asked him; “Why do you worship Jesus as God?”

It appeared to me at the time, that Jesus was just a human being like you and me. If you tell me he is only a prophet, I will be a Christian right now, because I loved Jesus’ teaching. He explained to me that Jesus has two natures, a Godly nature and a human nature. If Jesus wasn’t God, there is no point in Christianity. No man can save us, only God. We are all sinners and need a Savior, Jesus saves us from our sin by dying on the cross and raising again. Sin is something we are born with, because sin entered the world through one man, Adam. Sin leads to death; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned and fall short of a perfect and Holy God.

I told him, “OK! If God wants to save you he can saves us just like that! Why would God be a baby? And then people killed God? That makes no sense to me!”

Then he, Nabeel Qureshi, gave me an example. He said: “Just imagine yourself dressing up to go to a very important meeting, and you see your kid is falling in a hole. Would you go help him?” I replied, “Of course!” He asked me, “Why?” I said, “Because I love the child!” He asked me, “Would you send somebody to help him since you are already dressed up?” I said, “No, I would go myself.” He told me, “That’s what Jesus did!”

I loved his analogy; I couldn’t say anything after that. He also told me, If you are a sinner and you are willing to do that for your child, how much more God will do for you?

I went home, and started reading the Bible again. This time I was looking for God’s love. I was desperate for His love for me. I lifted my eyes up and prayed to Jesus for the first time. I said, “Jesus, if you are God, please show me something.”

I went back to my Bible and I read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18. As soon as I read this verse, all the fear I had melted away. The Presence of God was so powerful in the room, I even though he was there with me. I thought he was behind me. I turned back , I didn’t see Him physically, but I knew He answered me. After a six-year journey, I gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus in July of 2012.

I finally realized that Jesus is God. The love of the Lord Jesus captivates my heart, and I am no longer who I was. In Islam, God was distant, but in Christianity, He is loving, always with me and His spirit now lives in me. Jesus’ love came to me, and I felt His power, which gave me joy and peace. I had never experienced this before! Jesus died in my place for my sin, was buried, and rose again the 3rd day! He conquered the grave and gave me a new life through The Holy Spirit who dwells in me and gives me a new heart and a new Identity. The Bible says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

I didn’t know that the God I was angry with (for a long time ) was my Heavenly Father and every good gift I have comes from His hand. It was Jesus I was searching for. The Lord Jesus is everything I need. He gives me HOPE in life and continues to transform me. I no longer need to work hard to prove myself. Jesus already died in my place to redeem me. He paid it all!

I know now I am a daughter of God the most high! I have more joy than I have ever thought possible, and I know my future is safe in His hands. Even though I had strong Islamic values, and Islam was deeply ingrained in me and my thinking, now by the grace of God, I am set free from my past.

I am no longer afraid of, God, dying or hell. I know I am going to go to heaven. I am not one of the women Islam said are going to hell. I am a “new creation” in Christ. The Bible says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is (or she is) a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. I am entering a new dimension of experience and understanding, with new horizons to explore. The Lord is leading in a totally new direction. I AM FREE!

Sahar, 2014

Note: For security, some names and some images have been changed.

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Encouragement from Glass Beach

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Glass beach in Northern California used to be a dump. For about a hundred years, trash from the neighboring city was dropped over the cliff into the sea at this spot. Unwanted. But decades of waves beat the broken glass here. Slowly, slowly, it became smooth and beautiful. Now there is no sand there because the shore is covered with multicolored glass pieces which shine in the water and in the light.

Many people feel that because of wrong they have done or abuses they have suffered, they are of little value. They feel like trash thrown over a cliff. But God can change that. He loves all of us. If we let him, he will turn our hurts and mistakes into something beautiful. We will sparkle and shine!

Lesson on Confusing Muslim Marriages

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People from Western culture tend to think of marriage in a binary way: either you are married or not. But in Islam it is not always so clear. In this video lesson, Dr. C and George S discuss the varieties of Muslim marriages which are unexpected, and so are confusing to people from the West. They also give examples to show that all these forms of marriage are still going on today.

Slavery in Islam

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Is Islam really the religion of racial equality? What is its teaching on slavery? George from Sudan has studied the Islamic documents in Arabic, his native language. In this video he shares with us the principles of Islam on slavery and race, with examples of practices extending into the present day.

Former Muslim Learns Christmas Symbols

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Christian from Muslim creates videos for Muslims learning about the Christian faith, and Christians who love them: short answers, testimonies, full lessons with study guides, and reality scenes from the life of a formerly Muslim new Christian.

The Meaning of Christmas Lights and Trees

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Christian from Muslim creates videos for Muslims learning about the Christian faith, and Christians who love them: short answers, testimonies, full lessons with study guides, and reality scenes from the life of a formerly Muslim new Christian.

Lesson on Should Christians Marry Muslims?

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Summary and Notes: 

Quick Summary: This program shares thoughts on the intermarriage of Christians and Muslims. It draws on the experience of Christians from Muslim countries, former Muslims, and Christians who have married Muslims. Some of the segments were filmed live at a wedding, so you will hear joyous outbursts in the background.

Rather than a teaching session, the video lesson is comprised of several interviews. Because material covered this way is usually not complete or organized, the study guide provides additional information. Besides reviewing the speakers’ content, it includes more examples and testimonies from Christians who married Muslims, a list of questions for Western women considering marrying Muslim men, and a printable testimony tract that you can give to a woman considering marrying a Muslim. 


  1. The people in the examples are known to us personally. Most names have been changed.
  2. See also study guides and Lessons on Confusing Muslim Marriages, and Islam and Women.

Why Christians Should Not Marry Muslims with George Saieg

In our training we like to emphasize the relationship between Principles and Practices of Islam and Christianity.

George Saieg is an expert in Islam from a Muslim country. He has studied the Islamic documents in Arabic and so knows the principles. And from living in an Islamic society he has seen the practices that fit with them. In this video segment he shares with us some of his ideas of why a Christian shouldn’t marry a Muslim. 

Islam does not allow Muslim women to marry Christian men, if they do, Islamic law is harsh with them unless the man converts (more on this in our Lesson on Confusing Muslim Marriages). The main justification for this is the consideration that a Muslim women should not be under the power of an infidel. Also, there is the concern that the children are not as clearly on track to be Muslim. And financially, this means that the dowry, or maher, would pass out of the Muslim community.

Islam allows for Muslim men to marry Christian, Jewish or Muslim women. Because of this, usually the situation that arises is that of a Christian woman being tempted to marry a Muslim man. In the West, this is usually a willing conversion. 

George tells us that the Bible says Christians should not be united to unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). Marriage is certainly a form of being bound, or “yoked.” 

Saieg also draws our attention to the status of women in Islam as a practical reason that a Christian woman should not act upon the temptation to marry a Muslim. He gives us are two of the many examples:

  1. the way women are described as a possession in Islam
  2. and the fact that according to the Prophet Mohammed, most of the people in hell are women 

On a side note, Saieg says English translations of the Quran are soft, and that Western women would never marry a Muslim if they could read the Quran in Arabic.

Example of a Christian who Married a Muslim, Saieg’s cousin: 

As a practical example, Saieg cites the case of his own cousin who married a Muslim man. At first the man assured her that she would be able to practice her Christian faith freely; however as time went on he continued to pressure her more and more to become a Muslim. (This is a situation commonly reported by Christian women marrying Muslims to him and Dr. Cynthia.)

Example of American woman held in Iran: 

For a way to make the risks of a Western woman marrying a Muslim man real, Saieg suggests that any woman considering marrying a Muslim watch the film Not Without My Daughter. This film tells the true story of the escape of Betty Mahmoody and her daughter Mahtob from a situation of oppression in Iran. Although it is the story of one woman and her daughter, this film starring Academy Award winner Sally Field, captures the situation of many women in Islam, especially those from the West. 

Betty’s situation is an example of how the human rights principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations 1948), are often violated against women, even when agreed on by their government.

Why Ada Resisted Marrying a Muslim

The video introduces us to Ada. Ada was stationed in the Middle East while in the American military. There, she met Muslim men who were attractive and as she says, “tall, dark, and handsome.” They were also very friendly and flattering to her. She understands why American women might want to marry one. 

However, she shares with us in this video segment why she wouldn’t marry a Muslim. Her concerns are based on the difference in the religions’ teachings, following what is true, and potential problems. 

Ada draws attention to the loving approach to others that Christians are taught to have and how this teaching is lacking in Islam. Islam, she says, is false teaching. 

Ada knows that in divorce in Islam, the father retains ultimate control of the children. She reflects on how sad it would be to lose one’s children, especially to someone who would teach them a different basis for life than we have in Christianity. She also reminds us that the Bible teaches we should not be unequally joined to unbelievers, which would be the case if a Christian marries a Muslim. (I Corinthians 13:4-8,13; Matthew 7:15, 16; II Corinthians 6:14)

Christian and Muslim Marriages with Dr. Cynthia and Pastor Ayman Armanious 

Dr. Ayman Armanious is a PhD from Egypt who immigrated to America a few years ago and now leads an Arabic-speaking church here. His background puts him in the position to know what the Arabic sources say about Islam and marriage. He has counseled people from Muslim and Christian backgrounds in marriage and other issues, both in Egypt and America. He has experience with Christians marrying Muslims. In his experience this has not turned out well. He explains this and gives several examples to support his points. Dr. C adds cases she has seen.

Dr. C asks Ayman if he has seen differences between Muslim and Christian marriages.

Christian marriage is entirely different from Muslim marriage,” says Ayman.

Ayman tells us that for example, Muslim men can marry four women at once. Yet the Bible shows us that when God created people, he made only one man and woman for each other – Adam and Eve. 

“She’s not equal to a man,” Ayman says with feeling. “She’s not equal at all.”

He tells us that the Muslim wife must obey her husband. She is his servant and mainly to provide for his pleasure of one sort or another. In fact, you can see in the video how uncomfortable he is in telling us about the kinds of rights the husband has over his wife.

In Christianity, he tells us, men and women are equal. The Bible tells men to care for themselves as they do their own bodies. They should love their wives as Jesus loves the church and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

If a man wants another wife, Ayman says, the Muslim does not need to tell or get permission from the first wife. For example, if a woman does not get pregnant after a year, this is a common excuse for divorce or getting another wife. Dr. Cynthia gives an example of a man who did not disclose his marriage.

Example of an Egyptian man in America who Hid that he was Married to commit Bigamy: 

Dr. C knew Abdul, an Egyptian man, and had met some of his children. Brother E had shared the gospel with him, without success. Subsequently, Mary, who was in ministry with Dr. C, told her that Abdul had proposed marriage to her Christian friend Cathy – but he didn’t tell her that he was already married! In other words, he planned to commit the American crime of bigamy.

Mary’s first conversation with Cathy went like this,

Mary: Doesn’t it bother you that his faith is so different than yours?

Cathy: No. He promises to respect my faith.

Mary: Does it bother you that he is already married?

Cathy: dead silence

Before the second conversation, Cathy confronted Abdul about his secret marriage and proposed bigamy. She then explained to Mary,

Cathy: Yes, Abdul is already married. He explained to me that his wife is the mother of his children, and he does not want to disgrace her by divorcing her. He will marry me in the mosque, where it is legal under Islamic law. I will be his “real wife.” 

Mary was appalled that even when Cathy knew the situation she would be willing to go ahead with it. She would be complicit in bigamy, or adultery, depending on how you look at it. And she will have no legal rights as a wife in America. 

Advice not followed: Follow-up adds more to Cathy’s story. Despite Mary’s council, Cathy went ahead with the marriage. The decision did not go well for her. Cathy stayed married to Abdul for about 6 years, the last two of which they were separated. Abdul became abusive to her. Much afraid of him, Cathy fled the state to escape. Finally she got a “divorce.”

Ayman says that it is common for Muslim men immigrating to the West to build a relationship with a woman from that country, hiding their previous family. They see nothing wrong with this because they are authorized by Islam to do this – they can have several wives. 

Often a Muslim man will assure a potential Christian bride that he will respect her religion.

Example of a Danish Woman who Married a Muslim Man: 

Ayman gives an example of a nominal Christian from Denmark. She was told by a Muslim that he honored her religion and would allow her to practice it. However, things happened in the relationship which did not fit with his promise: married in the mosque, she was tricked into saying the shahada, the Muslim creed of faith. She was also requested to pray in Arabic.

Later the Danish woman became a true Christian and wanted to be baptized. Her husband was not true to his word to respect her faith. He would not allow it. 

Ayman says this happens many times. 

Another Example of Being Tricked into saying Shahada: 

In the video lesson, Dr. C tells Ayman that once (on outreach in Europe) her son was surrounded by Muslims. They asked to repeat some words in Arabic. Unbeknown to him, it was the shahada. He was simply trying to say a few Arabic words; but the Muslims started rejoicing that he was converted.

(Note: Ayman and Dr. C are not saying that someone truly converts by repeating words they do not understand. Probably most Muslim authorities would agree. However, these are two instances where this did happen with average Muslims. It has also happened in history with mass conversions to Islam.)

Example of a Convert to Christianity who Married a Muslim Man: 

Also in the video, Dr. C gives the example of River, a Muslim woman she knows who became a Christian. During her university years as an immigrant to America, River started talking to Christians. As a result she began comparing Christianity and Islam. She then became convinced that Christianity was right and became a Christian. 

However, before she understood that Christians should not be unequally bound to unbelievers, her parents approached her with a marriage offer from a Muslim. He was nice and said that he would respect her Christian beliefs. River found this acceptable and married him. 

Over time, her husband became more and more religious. He became less and less tolerant of her faith and more and more imposing of Islam on her. It came to the point where he told her that she must return to Islam or he would divorce her. River chose Jesus. She became divorced and rejected rather than forsake her Lord.

Ayman concludes the video segment by explaining that if someone asks him if he would sacrifice himself for his wife he would – because Jesus sacrificed himself for us. 

This is the idea of Christian marriage,” he says.

Why a Christian Shouldn’t Marry a Muslim with Georges Houssney and Elias

Rev. Georges Houssney and Elias, who were raised in Muslim countries different from those of Saieg and Ayman, discuss why they believe a Christian shouldn’t marry a Muslim. They present for us their concerns, but advise that any Christian considering this step spend much time in consultation with a mature Christian advisor. 

Houssney and Elias admit that not everything they share applies to every case, and some intermarriages may be happy. But only if the couple are not devoutly religious. They give us spiritual and practical reasons against intermarriage – especially for Christian women.

Spiritual Reasons Against Intermarriage: 

Elias shares that a Christian shouldn’t marry a Muslim because of the lack of spiritual common ground they would have. This actually would apply in every case of true Christians and unbelievers of any background. In II Corinthians 6:14, they both remind us that the Bible says light and darkness do not have fellowship, and should not join together. 

A marriage relationship will be strained with such different backgrounds as Christianity and Islam. George agrees with Elias. He adds that they will not have the basis for problem-solving, because their outlooks are different. And they cannot pray together about their challenges. He has counselled many couples in this situation.

Elias says that without spiritual common ground life will be harder, and the soul thirstier.

Practical Reasons Against Intermarriage:

Christian women should be aware that they will face challenges they might not be expecting: 

First, a woman should be aware of is that in Islam, the father has priority in custody of the children. If separation or divorce happens, you would very likely lose your children to the Muslim family of your husband. Houssney says he knows of more than 10,000 cases where this happens. Often the husband takes the children out of the country, and the Christian wife never sees them again.

Even though before marriage he promises freedom, the Muslim husband may forbid the children going to church and may insist on the mosque.

Since the Quran gives a man the right to have 4 wives, whom he can divorce rather easily, it tends to put a man in the mindset of always checking out other women as possibilities. Why not? It is their right in Islam. Houssney has heard this from many women. For example, they find that their husband is going out with another woman. He may then divorce her, or simply marry the new one in addition to her.

Why would a Christian woman ever marry a Muslim man? George asks.

Elias says it could be simply attraction, without thinking about it and doing adequate research. 

Houssney recognizes that Muslim men can be attractive because compared to American men they are very romantic, and give generous gifts. It seems like they will do anything to gain the hand of their loved one in marriage. But in his large experience counseling around the Muslim world, this changes after marriage. 

Houssney strongly encourages that before taking such a significant step as marrying a Muslim, that a Christian get counseling from an experienced leader, and look deeply into what they might be facing.

Six More Examples of Christian-Muslim Intermarriage

Religious differences are the most important ones that couples of mixed Muslim/Christian background face. But whether or not one converts to the other’s faith, there are still substantial worldview and cultural differences to be faced. There are so many that they are beyond the scope of this program. 

However, we want you to be aware that issues like family structure, the place of women, finances, truthfulness, customs, and expectations need to be discussed in detail before any intercultural marriage is approached, whether or not the religion is the same.

Example of an American Christian Marrying a Muslim Overseas: 

As a 21 year old nominal Christian, Hope visited North Africa with her boyfriend. While there she was forced to marry him. In fact, she even had to say the shahada to be able to leave the country. Her husband was at first kind and loving, however, in the following years, she and her children suffered abuse at his hand. 

Now A strong Christian, Hope’s heart is burdened to warn Christians against marrying Muslims – or any other unbeliever. 

(For more of Mary’s story, see Appendix 1, after the study questions for this lesson.)

Example of an American Christian Man Marrying a Muslim Student:

William met a very beautiful woman who had recently converted from Islam to Christianity. Everywhere she went men chased her. She had started to be discipled as a Christian, but since they met soon after her conversion, her focus changed to romance. William had thought that since she was willing to go to church and conferences, he would be able to continue her discipleship on his own. 

However, after their marriage she soon dropped her interest in Christ. Instead, she focused on finances and differences in their cultures. After only a few weeks together she returned to her country and cut off communication with William. At one point she said she reverted to Islam.

When William was asked what he would say to a Christian man considering marrying a Muslim or recently converted Muslim woman, he said, “Under no circumstances!” and “Her family will not accept you.”

Example of an American Marrying a Muslim and living Overseas:

Rita is an American who married a Saudi she met in college and moved to his country. She has found it very difficult to transition between cultures and expectation. Through much effort she has managed to stay married. She hopes that her husband is a closet Christian, without his family knowing, but she is not convinced.

A few years ago she moved back to America because of problems in Saudi, and to assure an American education for her children. She has taught her children about the Bible, and some are following Jesus.

Example of a Nominal Christian who Married a Muslim and Converted: 

Wanda told us her story – of how she converted to Islam out of a nominal Catholic background when she married a Muslim man. Wanda moved with him to Turkey. Her father-in-law kept pressuring her deeper and deeper into Islam. But as she got into Islam, she had less and less peace in her life. 

Passing through life stress and panic attacks she came to the point she was willing to talk to a pastor. He told her that she could receive Jesus as her personal Savior. Although she was reluctant to do so because of her marriage to a Muslim, the Lord’s love and peace irresistibly drew her to him. His peace has sustained her through the distress she subsequently faced, as she has managed to stay married to her husband.

Example of a Christian who Married a Muslim that she Thought was a Christian:

Erika, a strong Christian from the Midwest says,

“We’ve been married 7 years. I was saved beforehand. He said he was a believer before we got married; but it was evident shortly after that though he believed in Jesus, he was not genuinely saved.  

But as we continued to pray and fast God did a work in his heart all on his own. My husband became a Christian. He was saved and baptized in the beginning of 2017(4 years after marriage). We got pregnant with our first baby the end of that year.

There is a lot of difficulty with his mother. We do not speak. She did not accept me because I was a Christian. I’ve tried 4 times to give grace and create a relationship; but it had become dangerous to the point of her threatening and trying to physically attack me for absolutely no reason. 

So at the moment my husband sees her on occasion alone. It is very hard as his mother has a great influence over him and it creates friction in the marriage. My father in law is very kind and they are separated, so we see him occasionally.”

Example of the Child of American who Married and Moved to a Muslim Country:

Several years ago, Dr. C met Rabab at Mary’s house and shared the gospel with her. Here is Rabab’s story:

While working in his country, Rabab’s mother met a wealthy Moroccan and married him. She moved to Morocco and accepted many of their values. Although Rabab was born in Morocco spoke English and looked and sounded American. 

She was beautiful and privileged. Yet Rabab did not have the privileges of an American girl. She was not granted a full education. She had imposed upon her and also absorbed Muslim concepts, including marriage.

Rabab’s father, as she says, “sold” her as a child bride to a Muslim man when she was age 14. The man was abusive. Rabab managed to come to America where she remarried twice and had three children. The third husband was also abusive so they divorced. Without much education, Rabab was then unable to get a decent job to support her children.

Still relatively young, Rabab married a fourth time – to a prosperous Arab Muslim physician. At the time of this writing, they are still married, but their marriage has been tumultuous. He alternates between abusing her both physically and mentally, then buying her very expensive gifts. In Islam he has the right to keep her from leaving house. Even in America he uses it. Rabab is now a prisoner in her home. 

Mary continues to share the gospel with Rabab. However, because of Rabab’s upbringing and difficult experiences she seems incapable of accepting God’s love. Rabab says that she has experienced many religions. She believes all of them and believes none of them.

May the Lord touch her heart and open her mind to the truth.

Additional Considerations about Intermarriage

Islamic Laws Apply

Divorce: Legally in Islam a woman can be divorced by pronouncement. This quick and easy way supports impulsive behavior, and results in confusion and a lack of paper documentation. 

Custody: Children in Islam belong to the husband.  He can take them from the wife entirely after they have reached an age of about 8 years old.  Some of our friends have lost their children this way, and because of it others live in fear of marital break-up.

It is against Muslim law for a woman to take her children out of the country without the father’s permission. If he is unavailable, she must obtain consent from another man in his family. Wafa Sultan describes this in her book, “A God Who Hates.” She had to obtain the permission of a drunk in Syria because her husband was already in America.

Polygamy: Multiple marriages are being certified through mosques. It is not always clearly explained if other wives exist, that these marriages are not legal, and that these wives have no legal rights of marriage.  They are considered single, and even encouraged to apply to the state for aid when they become mothers, as “single mothers.”

Secrets: Middle Eastern men often come to America alone to study or to earn money to send home. Home – where unknown to anyone in America, they may already have a wife and children. Since Islam allows men four wives at once, in their mind they do nothing wrong by marrying an American in addition to another wife.

Rights: The Quran and hadith grant husbands other rights which could be unacceptable to Western wives. For example, the Muslim marriage contract entitles the man to not only exclusive, but also on-call sexual services from his wife, regardless of her activity or mood at the time. 

Likewise, we read and have observed, that a wife may not leave the house or allow anyone into it without her husband’s permission. In a rape case in the Middle East from several years ago a cleric condemned the victim saying, “Maybe she did not have a good reason for leaving the house.” 

Culture, Culture, Culture

Besides religion, we have seen many other inbred differences challenge Christian-Muslim marriage. To reduce these, experts advise thorough pre-nuptial discussion on every aspect of marriage.  Don’t assume they’re thinking what you’re thinking about anything. Learn the risks and the questions to ask.

Erika, from the example above says even if your spouse has converted from Islam, 

“There is difficulty shedding the culture of Islam. The men were raised to see women as second class citizens, and the woman were raised to believe as a Muslim woman they somehow are above a non-Islamic man. These can cause difficulties in marriage.”

Remember that not all Muslim cultures are the same. Some are very poor and with limited opportunities. In this case, they may be quieter and less confident than Americans. Others, for example from a wealthy family, or country like Kuwait, may be used to spending lavish amounts of money on portable goods like jewelry, purses, and perfume in a showy way that seems unnatural even to wealthy Americans. They may find it normal to run up debt.

Hospitality, hygiene, food, family, modesty, friendliness, socializing, work ethic, expectations and treatment of women, and many, many more cultural differences may emerge to challenge a marriage between a Christian and a Muslim.

Questionable Motives: 

For Green Card: As with other nationals, Muslim immigrants have been motivated to marry Western women to gain favorable immigration status.

Prosperity: Compared to most people in the world, Americans are well-educated and wealthy.

Example of Encouraging Marriage for Immigration: 

Brother E, is a Palestinian Christian man came to America to share the gospel with Muslims. He had a protracted immigration case. During this time Muslims repeatedly suggested to him brief marriage to an American woman, followed by divorce – solely as a solution to his immigration problem. 

For example, once he was playing basketball in a recreation area of a mosque with Muslim young men. When they heard that he was not yet a permanent resident, he was told,

“Marry an American woman. Then it’s easy to get a green card. You can divorce her after, no problem.”

Romance Differences:

Romantic practices of cultures differ, especially during the courting phases. These can present big challenges to Christian-Muslim relationships. As you can see in the above true stories, the greater romantic sentiments expressed by Muslim men tend to attract Christian women. 

Conversely, since American men are usually not so romantic, Muslim and former Muslim women who marry them can be strongly disappointed. They may see them as unromantic and dispassionate, when actually they are being sensible by Western standards. 

Second Class:

The Christian may feel “second class” when around the Muslim family. Part of this could be limited language and awkwardness in the culture; but part of it because Muslims are told in the Quran that,

“You are the best of all peoples ever raised up for mankind.” Quran 3:110

The verse goes on to contrast Muslims with Christians, saying it would have been better if they had been Muslims.


Rita from the example above says, 

“Muslim men feel fine about basic dishonesty. It’s part of the culture and Mohammed was the perfect example. Also it is spelled out in the Quran. Secondarily, non-M women can be treated in any manner (thought of as lower status, it’s okay to lie to them, use them etc.), so for him to wine and dine her, make her feel special, lie to her about beliefs (“our religions are almost the same”), is acceptable. 

Once they are married life usually changes and the truth comes out, whether it is intentional or unintentional. Some men think they are open, but when children are born then their ideology, fears for the children, desire to have the family that brings them honor rather than shame all come flowing out.”


Marrying a Western man is said be a sign of success for a Muslim woman in the Arab Gulf – IF he converts to Islam.

Exotic Love: 

As you heard, Western women might be attracted to Muslim men because of their exotic appeal, but the reverse also applies. It has been said that Muslim men want the experience of a “white woman.” In fact blonde women have been one of the promises used to spur Muslim men on to conquest in the past and present. 

PAST: Islamic commentaries on Quran 9:49 explain that Mohammed was enticing men to jihad by offering blonde women captives. This was causing men to lust. One man objected to this tactic and was cursed.

Mohammed said, “Are you ready to attack the children of the blondes and make them mistresses and maids?” (An-Naisiburi 505; also Ibn Kathir & at-Tabari).

PRESENT: Yazidi women captured by ISIS and being sold as slaves, were valued higher for their blonde hair and blue eyes, because their bloodlines had not intermarried with Arabs.

Love Jihad: 

This is a recent term coined to express the underhanded and often violent way which non-Muslim women are forced into Islam through involuntary marriage in some countries.

KIDNAPPING EPIDEMIC: In Muslim countries with a Christian population, like Egypt and Pakistan there has been an epidemic of kidnappings of Christian young women for brides to spread Islam. These women are snatched from the streets, forced to convert, raped and forced to marry. Then their parents are sent notice that this has happened. It’s over, done deal. 

The Christian communities from these countries cry in woe at how they are losing their young women. The young women lose their families, their education, their freedom, and their virginity by almost unimaginable treachery. The parents lose their daughters and grandchildren, who are forced to be Muslims and into their culture. The young men are defrauded of potential Christian mates. We need to pray against this abuse of our Christian sisters overseas.

Example of Oppressive Coerced Marriages of Christian Women: 

In October, 2020, Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan, was kidnapped. She was forced to marry her 44 year old Muslim kidnapper and convert to Islam. In spite of widespread protests, Islamic courts upheld the marriage, saying that she had willing converted – despite the fact that she tried to run to her mother in court, but was restrained by her husband. Subsequently the parents lost their jobs and have been threatened.

Islam does not allow Muslim men to marry women that are considered polytheists, like Hindus. This causes interesting complications for Muslims and Hindus living in a country where they are mixed, like India.

(Note: Not directly related to the topic of Christian-Muslim marriage, but connected to Islam and interfaith marriage are forms of love jihad reported between Muslims and Hindus. They can be just as diabolical as love jihad against Christians.

In one type, the young woman is gradually drawn into a web of deceit which “accidentally” becomes physical. Videos are made of inappropriate behavior and used to blackmail the girl. Marriage is promised. Rape by other men is used to keep her compliant at various stages along the way. Once married she is trapped inside the house, as in Muslim law, and raped by family members if she rebels. She has no legal recourse because they claim she converted AFTER the marriage. This means she does not get the dowry Muslim girls do. Moreover, the Muslim husbands claim rights to the wife’s family property under Hindu law. Meanwhile, the husband repeats the trick with another woman.

Example of Love Jihad of a Muslim against a Hindu: 

In October of 2020, in Faridabad, India, 20 year-old Nikita Tomar was shot in the head and killed in front of her college, after a failed attempt to abduct her. The Muslim man who killed her had been her classmate since childhood. He had been repeatedly calling and harassing her to convert to Islam and marry him. Her assailant had even previously abducted her and been legally charged; but her family dropped the charges under pressure from his family, and a promise that he would stop harassing her. Sadly, he did not.)

Questions about Muslim-Christian Romance

QUESTION 1: Gary, a mature American Christian man asked us this question: “What do Christian women see in Muslim men that they don’t see in Christian men?”

ANSWERS from Christian women who married Muslim Men:

Besides those given in the video and discussion, we received these responses to our question: 

Hope says, “For me, at that time in my life as a college student, I think there was something mysterious that was intriguing about the attraction, including the dark and handsome aspect. There was that attention that I received that, looking back now was more representative of a controlling personality that appeared likeable at first, but not so later on with jealousy and control playing itself out.” 

Earica who married a Muslim friend of her brother says, “One of the things that attract a woman to an Arabic man, is not so much that he’s Muslim but that their culture is very hospitable and respectful toward strangers, And usually initially they’re respectful to non-Muslim woman. It’s something different than we’re used to because it’s showered and lavished upon us. So it draws you in. They’re very generous and open.”

Shaheen, leader of a ministry to Muslims, believes that one of the things attracting Christian women to marry Muslim men is the beautiful and colorful, yet modest clothing of countries like Pakistan. She now stages annual fashion shows for Christians to show them how they can dress with Asian flare without converting to Islam. 

QUESTION 2: Christian leaders often ask, “How do we keep Christians, especially young women, from getting romantically involved with Muslims?”

ANSWERS:  In schools, neighborhoods, and work: Christians are to be salt and light wherever they are. They are to share the gospel. Friendships between children of the same sex but different faiths could result in opportunities to love and share the good news with them. 

If your children are in friendships with those of other faiths, it is a great opportunity to discuss with your children the differences in the faiths, and why Christianity is true. This puts more obligation on parents than in past generations when most children in schools and neighborhoods were at least nominally Christian, or Jewish. A degree of “apologetics,” knowing why you believe what you believe, is now essential for all Christians.

As children mature into adolescence, churches and families should share information about other religions, and the risks of intermarriage. They should emphasize the importance of not being unequally yoked with unbelievers, and discourage any serious relationships of a romantic nature between Christians and unbelievers of any kind. Using what you learned from this lesson, and possibly discussing the study questions would be a good idea.

On outreaches and missions and other Christian activities: There are cases reported that Christian women on outreach are getting into relationships with Muslim men while sharing the gospel with them. Some have even married them and converted to Islam. 

This is a definite risk. Muslim men have pretended an interest in Christianity as a way of starting a relationship with an American woman. Christian men, on the other hand can get into trouble for talking to Muslim women and be confronted by angry Muslim men who misunderstand their intentions.

How can leaders prevent this:

Confront the risks in advance by training the team in what to expect and the risks of getting into relationships with Muslims and other unbelievers. (Perhaps using this lesson and study guide.)

Some leaders forbid any speaking to someone of the opposite sex on outreach or missions. We however realize that when distributing literature one will need to give it to people of both sexes. Brief conversations may then start. If brief and on topic, this could be OK.

If someone gets flirty with your team member, wants to get into deep conversation, or meet again to discuss Christianity, we advise that the team member passes the connection on to someone of that sex. They can tell the Muslim that it is their policy not to get involved beyond a few words.

One exception may be mature, older Christian women if they can speak to men as a mother.     Dr. C has found that this works with her and is of little risk. The status of elder woman allows her to share with women, and men – including imams. However, once again if the men get flirty or want to continue meeting, it is advisable to pass the connection on to a man.

When overseas, leaders should train the team on appropriate behavior for that country. They will need to decide where and when it is appropriate to push cultural boundaries to forward the gospel, including situations where men and women might connect. 

Learn to weigh risks vs. benefits of any Christian work (in fact it is a good idea for everything you do). Sharing the gospel carries a variety of risks. We must face them or we can’t obey the Great Commission. Yet we can reduce them as reasonably possible while still sharing the gospel.

Summary of Why Christian Women are Attracted to Muslim Men

Let’s summarize the answers presented by our experts and testimonies above, plus more from our experience with in this situation:

  • Physical attraction to their “tall, dark, and handsome” appearance
  • The strong factor of romance, and costly gifts, especially compared to Western men
  • The appeal of the exotic culture, food, faraway places, and intricate or colorful clothing
  • Simply the situation of the time and place of meeting
  • Forceful personality seen as pursuing
  • Affirmation: women considered overweight in Western culture are told that their curves are appreciated in Muslim cultures
  • Easy life: being told that they are honored and respected, not expected to balance home and work 
  • Motivation of immigration, prosperity, or spreading Islam making men persuasive

Can Talking About it Prevent Christians Marrying Muslims?

YES, It can! We shared with you the example of Cathy, who did not listen to warnings about marrying a Muslim man. But GOOD NEWS, sometimes advance warning does make a difference!

Example of an American Dissuaded from Marrying a Muslim: 

One day our team got a call from a devout Christian woman who had heard them speak at a church. She was very worried because her daughter Shelly. Shelly had met a Turkish man, planned to go to Turkey with him, and marry him. Shelly was not a believer, so she could not appeal to her on that basis. She asked us to meet with Shelly and discourage her decision.

Shelly, an attractive college student, kindly agreed to meet with Dr. C and Brother E. While sharing dinner, Shelly heard the gospel, as well as details about Islam and what happens to women married to Muslims. She told them that she would consider what they had said.

A few months later the mother reported the good news that her daughter had decided not to go to Turkey. Shelly was still not a believer, however. 

Fast forward over ten years. Dr. C was at a coffee house when an attractive woman with long and silky, golden brown hair came up to her. 

She said excitedly, “Do you remember me? I am Shelly! You met with me long ago when I was thinking of going to Turkey. Guess what? I didn’t! And a year ago I became a Christian! I am so excited about Jesus. I am studying the Bible, and tell everyone I meet about him!”

Praise God for that happy ending. May the Lord continue to strengthen her.

We hope that you too will try to discourage Christian-Muslim intermarriage.

Summary of Why Christians Should Not Marry Muslims

Here is a summary of the reasons from our speakers and study guide notes for why Christians, nominal or sincere, should not marry Muslims:

For Christian Women:

  1. Christians should not be tied, or “yoked” to unbelievers. You will have different worldviews and not have spiritual fellowship. If you knowingly do this, you will be disobeying the Bible. You will be asking for trouble in your life. (II Corinthians 6:14)
  2. Muslims are encouraged to marry Christians to spread Islam, and might not be sincere
    • for immigration status
    • for security and prosperity of life in the West
    • desire for a “white” woman
  3. Flattery often changes to battery after marriage (Quran 4:34)
  4. The children belong to Islam and the father. This means that:
    • As the head of the household, he can make them Muslims
    • In the case of divorce, Islamic law grants them to him
    • The mother-in-law or other wife will have charge of the children of the divorced woman and might not care for them
    • He may take them and leave the country
  5. Promises of religious tolerance often changes after marriage
    • Husbands frequently become more religious as they age
    • They start pressuring the Christian woman to convert
  6. You might become Muslim
    • Surrounded by Muslim culture, you might forget the blessings and reasons for believing in Jesus as your savior
    • You might be tricked into repeating words which would make you Muslim
  7. Polygamy 
    • Because it is his right in Islam, your husband can practice this whether or not he promises you otherwise
    • Since in Islam he can do this with or without your knowledge, you will never be sure if he has another family
    • This creates the tendency for the man to always be looking for another or “better” woman, even if he can only have one
  8. Easy divorce, since marriage is a contract, not a sacrament, as it is in Christianity
    • Can be done verbally or in mosque, which is not legal in America
    • He can marry someone else overseas even before your divorce is final
  9. Whether or not you believe in Islam, you may be subjected to living according to Islam’s rules. These are not easy for women:
    • You are considered property
    • You can be beaten, forbidden to leave the house, forbidden to have anyone in the house, forced to cover your body, not celebrate birthdays of your children, not keep family photos, fast when the culture does, drop everything when your husband calls for sexual attention, etc.
    • Religious rights must be performed in Arabic, which you do not understand
  10. Cultural differences may make it difficult for his family to accept you, and you might feel excluded or disliked. 
    • You and your children may be treated as “second class
    • Eventually these feelings may be transferred to your husband, making him look down on you.
  11. You may end up living in fear that someone may be coming to kill you or your spouse.

For Christian Men:

  1. Christians should not be tied, or “yoked” to unbelievers. You will have different worldviews and not have spiritual fellowship. If you knowingly do this, you will be disobeying the Bible. You will be asking for trouble in your life. (II Corinthians 6:14)
  2. According to Muslim law, it is not legal for you to marry a Muslim woman. This means that either:
    • Your marriage must be kept secret from her family
    • You must convert
  3. Realize that if you do convert to Islam, if you leave Islam, you must be killed and your wife punished. At least one fatwa states this.
  4. If the woman that you marry converts to marry you, she might revert to Islam and leave you. If she does, 
    • She can declare that her marriage to you is invalid. She can return to her country where she is considered single, but you are married according to America.
    • Islamic law gives her and the Muslims custody of your children.
  5. Cultural differences may make it difficult for his family to accept you, and you might feel excluded or disliked. Eventually these negative feelings may be transferred to your wife, and she may despise you as well.
  6. Whether or not you believe in Islam, you may be subjected to living according to its rules:
    • These lifestyle will seem foreign to you and is not easy
    • Performing all the required religious rites required will likely be a drain on your strength and time, and make it more difficult for you to work in Western style to provide for your family
    • Religious rights must be performed in Arabic, which you do not understand
  7. You might become Muslim
    • Surrounded by Muslim culture, you might forget the blessings and reasons for believing in Jesus as your Savior
    • You might be tricked into repeating words which would make you Muslim
  8. If she remains Muslim, not only are you unequally yoked, but your marriage is considered invalid in Islam. 
    • At any time she can leave you with the children. The ummah, the community of Islam, will encourage her to do this all along and will support her when she does. 
    • If you are in a Muslim country, or if she returns to one, she may consider herself unmarried and free to remarry, while you are still bound in marriage to her under American law. In that way, Islam allows polygamy for women.
  9. You may end up living in fear that someone may be coming to kill you or your spouse.

Five Questions for Women Considering Marrying Muslim Men

We’ve seen serious problems with Christian or Western-Muslim marriage. Here are five questions which could protect a hopeful bride from hellish situations.

1. Are you already married?  

It seems almost too crazy to be true, but you must ask.  In the past, most people in America were from there or assimilated.  They knew that marrying when you already had a wife was bigamy – a serious crime, and wrong. There was no need to ask. 

For bigamy our federal government used to hunt men from state to state. But bigamy is happening in America now with increased frequency and decreased government intervention, and with the approval and at times promotion of mosques.

2. Do you accept American laws and customs when they conflict with Islamic Law?

This is especially important regarding child custody and women’s rights. In America a woman still has hope of this, but not overseas.

3. Can I practice my non-Islamic faith, and to what extent?  

No doubt the answer will be “yes” if you are of Christian or Jewish background.  Other faiths are usually considered idolaters and totally unacceptable to Muslims.  

You may think that your fiancé is open, yet be aware that although agreeable before marriage, but experiences have shown us that things change. Muslim men tend to get more religious as they get older. 

4. What is your immigration status? 

It is not uncommon to hear marriage being used as a solution to immigration problems. When marriage is seen as primarily as a contract, why not use it as a stepping stone into America… or for other benefits?

5. Do you believe in temporary marriage? and Will this be a temporary marriage?

Officially, temporary marriage has mutually agreed upon length and pre-set payment determined in advance.  The time can range from an hour to years.  A man’s other wife/wives need not be informed of the arrangement. 

Marriage may also be used as a temporary stepping stone by the Muslim man without the woman being aware that it is temporary.

(Note: Find more about Temporary Marriage, and other types of marriage, not had in Christianity in our video and study guide on Confusing Muslim Marriages.)

Scripture References for this Lesson:

Bible References:

  • II Corinthians 5:17 & 6:14-16
  • I Corinthians 13:4-8,13
  • Matthew 7:15,16 
  • Ephesians 5:28,29

Islamic References:

  • Women are possessions – Quran 2:223 & 3:14 
  • Polygamy – Quran 4:3    
  • Ok to marry Christian women – Quran 5:5 
  • Wife beating – Quran 4:34
  • Muslims are the best of all peoples – Quran 3:110
  • Fighting for blondes – Quran 9:49 commentary An-Naisiburi 505, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, Lebanon, p. 140; also At-Tabari and Ibn Kathir
  • Most in hell are women – Sahih Al Bukhari 7:124; 1052

(Note: More extensive Islamic references, including those regarding marriage are given at the end of the study guide for the Lesson on Islam and Women.)

Study Questions:

  1. What are the main scriptural references that were used by the speakers in this video lesson?
    • Review what they say and how it applies to Christians marrying Muslims.
    • Can you think of other Bible references that would apply?
  2. According to Muslim law, 
    • women of which religions are Muslim men allowed to marry?
    • men of which religion are Muslim women permitted to marry?
    • what religions are neither Muslim men nor women to marry with?
  3. What are some of the things that attract Christian women to marry Muslim men. 
    • Try to name at least 5.
    • What can be done to resist these?
  4. What unexpected consequences might Christian women face after marrying Muslim or recently converted Muslim men?
  5. What unexpected consequences might Christian men face after marrying Muslim, or recently converted Muslim women?
  6. True or False:
    • If a Muslim man wants to marry more than one wife, he must first get permission of the prior wife or wives.
    • A Muslim man must inform his fiancé if the has another wife before he marries her.
    • A Muslim man can keep marriages secret.
    • Men and women in Islam have equal rights in marriage.
  7. What kinds of questions should a Western person (Christian or not) ask or investigate before marrying a Muslim?
    • Do you think similar questions might apply to some degree before marrying anyone from a very different background? 
  8. Do you feel that Christians should confront other Christians who are considering marrying a Muslim?
    • What example did the study guide give of where confrontation did NOT help?
    • What example did the study guide give of where confrontation DID help?
    • Considering those, what might you say to a Christian or Western
      • woman who was considering marrying a Muslim man?
      • man wanting to marry a Muslim woman?
  9. If you are a Christian, would you consider marrying a Muslim? Why or Why not?
    • If you are a Muslim, would you consider marrying a Christian? Why or why not?
  10. Has watching this program affected the way you feel about marrying someone not of your faith background? Why or why not?
  11. If you are leading an outreach or mission trip to Muslims, 
    • What risks do you foresee with the sort of work you are planning?
    • What policies might you consider which would accomplish both the goals of your project, yet protect your team from romantic relationships with Muslims?

Appendix 1 Hope’s Testimony of Marrying a Muslim

Hope is a Christian who married a Muslim man. She gives her testimony in brief here, hoping that you might read it, and print it out to share with any woman you know who might be making a similar mistake.

Are you or someone you know in love with a Muslim man?  As a Christian American woman, I have been in your place. So, please open your eyes, mind and heart to what I have learned.

Just because he looks good, doesn’t mean he is. And just because he speaks sweet, kind and loving words to you, doesn’t mean he believes it. 

Just because he says it doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian and that you both really believe in the same God, don’t believe it! In fact, investigate whether it is true or not. (It’s not!)

Just because he brushes off questions about his faith, marriage and raising children, doesn’t mean ‘it will all work out’. While he may have accepted western life, he is still very much connected to his cultural and religious background. You cannot erase these things from your relationship and believe that they don’t really matter that much.

Even if he says that he admires your faith in God, he will dismantle what you believe and may attempt to bring you into his belief if you continue in this relationship. Later on, he may mock your Bible and discredit what it says.

But, you say, he loves me and treats me well. He cooks for me and is always a gentleman. You might even tell yourself that you never met an American man who treated you so well. And I would agree that the beginning seems like a great adventure dating a foreigner. However, the ending may not be what you imagined would happen. 

You might think, but all relationships have their problems. Yes, but a Christian will always be unequally yoked with a Muslim or non-believer. That’s why the Bible says,

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness. And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

My romantic relationship with a man from North Africa led me to his country where I went to jail, was forced to marry him after being pressured to say the Shahada (Muslim prayer of acceptance), and live in a marriage filled with mental and emotional abuse that later affected my children. I was finally released from this marriage as he said he divorced me 3 times, which is part of the Islamic Sharia Law. 

There is much more to my story, but my burden now is to warn those who might find themselves in a similar situation.  Seek God’s plan for your relationship. He will show you the right one in His perfect timing!

Copyright by by, 2021.
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Lesson on Comparing God’s Character in Christianity and Islam

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Program Summary and Notes:

Quick Summary: Christianity and Islam are based on their understandings of the character of God or Allah. To understand how the faiths are the same and different, it is very important to know how they see God’s character.

In the video lesson, guests Bob Siegel and James Anderson join Dr. Cynthia to compare God’s character versus Allah’s, and God in the Old and New Testaments. It includes two reality segments from everyday life that connect with the topic.

This study guide gives more details, yet focuses on only a few important characteristics and differences between God and Allah. More on their names and characteristics is in the Appendices after the Study Questions.

Reality – a quick Visit to Boston and a Graveyard

The video lesson starts with a visit to Boston, Massachusetts, USA with Dr. Cynthia and some friends. 

This region of the United States was active in bringing freedom to America. Freedoms to worship, to express ourselves, and work as we choose are tremendous blessings. Because of its great freedoms, for centuries people have been coming to all over the world to America. In the last 30 years many of these have been from Muslim countries. 

Even greater than the freedom a country can give is our freedom in Christ. Through him, we can be free from sin and its destructive forces in our lives. (Romans 8:2)

Today, we visit the Old Burying Ground on the edge of Boston. Look at the old tombstones, with dates from long ago. Right next to this old graveyard we hear the busy noise of traffic driving past, within feet of the graves. Someday not many years in the future, those in a hurry now will also be asleep in the dust. 

Visiting a graveyard reminds us that no matter how good we may feel at the moment, there will come a day when we do not walk upon the earth but lie beneath it. Jesus told us that he will come again for those who believe in him and take us to our heavenly home. 

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  John 14:2, 3

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.  I Thessalonians 4:16-18

We can count on this because our God is faithful to his promises!

The Character of God in Christianity vs. Islam

God and Allah are both seen as all-powerful beings, but they are not identical. There are areas of both agreement and disagreement in the ways God and Allah are described in their respective holy books. 

AGREEMENT: Muslims and Christians agree on some of the characteristics of God/Allah. We agree that there is a single Creator God. We agree that God is all powerful, merciful, compassionate, and that he sent prophets to warn people not to sin, and to worship God only. 

We agree that God is over all, including humans and angels. He will hold us accountable for what we do on earth and has ordained a Day of Judgement. We agree that Jesus is the Messiah and the Word of God, although we disagree about what these terms mean.

DISAGREEMENT: Muslims and Christians have strong differences in our views of the character of God. 

The Name of God Controversy

The differences are so many and so strong that some Christians say God and Allah are totally different gods. True though this may be, telling it to Muslims directly burns a potential bridge. 

In Arabic, Allah is the word for Creator God, so even Arabic Christians pray to Allah. Similarly, English-speaking Christians use the pagan word God for Jehovah, the one true Creator. Other religions also use this English word for false ideas of God.

Some Christians have been taught by non-Arabic speaking Christians that it is wrong to use the word “Allah” in talking about God.  In our opinion, a rose by any other name is as sweet. THE MAIN THING IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING. We want to preach the gospel to Muslims, not waste time arguing.

We prefer to take a positive approach. Our goal is to bring Muslims to Christ. We start with small truths that we agree on about God, such as that he is the Creator, and gradually reveal more truth until they come to understand the full gospel. 

An essential difference in the characteristics of God in Christianity and Islam is in the balance of Justice and Mercy. In Islam, God’s mercy can overcome his anger at our sins. When he wants to Allah can forgive with no penalty. In Christianity, God’s justice is equal in strength in his character to his mercy. The two must balance, as they do when he came to earth as Jesus and died in our place on the cross.

The Character of God in the Bible

Because understanding the character of God is so essential, in our presentation of the gospel to Muslims we dedicate the first page of our gospel booklet The Path of the Prophets to that topic. Here is what it says,

  • God is one. He is the Creator of everything. 
  • God reveals himself to us through creation, and the words and lives of his prophets.    
  • Through creation, we see that he is powerful, creative, and wise.  
  • The Prophets told us more about God and his way.  They told us that God is good!  
  • He is merciful and compassionate, perfect and just, loving and giving.  Every good thing in your life is a gift from God.  

Since there is one God, and he is good, we must find and follow his way.

Throughout the content of this gospel booklet, we come back to the character of God. Each of the characteristics we mention in the booklet are used to explain why the gospel is the gospel. 

GOD’S GOODNESS: The Path of the Prophets booklet begins with telling us that God is good. It is so very important to believe that God is good. When we clearly see that he is good we will be willing to trust him with our salvation and follow him every day.

The Bible tells us, 

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.  Psalm 118:1

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

So many adjectives of wondrous characteristics apply to God, as well as a few special names.


God is Jehovah. The name of the independent, self-complete being. “I AM WHO I AM” is how God introduced himself to Moses. Our proper response to Him is fear and awe of the One who possesses all authority. (Exodus 3:13,14)

One discussion we constantly run into with Muslim apologists is whether or not Jesus claimed to be God. They like to say that Jesus did not claim to be God or the only Son of God. That is not true.

It is very important to understand the culture of the people that Jesus was speaking to in the New Testament. One way that Jesus presented himself to the Jews of his day was as the “I AM.” They clearly understood that he was claiming to be God. He used many other ways as well.

Jesus was not condemned to death for healing people and telling stories. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that at his trial Jesus admitted under oath to be the Son of God. Blasphemy was the charge against him for which the religious leaders turned Jesus in to Rome for crucifixion. 

It is important to bring this to attention of people who say that Jesus did not claim to be God.

The Character of God in Islam

The character of God in Islam shares some characteristics with the God of the Bible; yet is very different. 

Characteristics of Allah that Muslims emphasize are: 

  • Oneness or “Tawhid” with absolutely no partners (no Son of God or trinity)
  • Merciful and Compassionate – is mentioned at the opening of nearly every surah, or chapter of the Quran.
  • Sovereign will over all
  • High and Distant
  • Judge of the Day of Judgement

Remember, our main goal at Christian from Muslim is to make mature Christians out of Muslims. We do not want to get caught in non-productive arguments. We could spend all day arguing with Muslims about their description of God, and still not get close to sharing the gospel. So we need to be strategic in our discussions with them, focusing on what is essential for them to understand and accept the gospel.

Nevertheless, we think you will find it an interesting exercise to examine the list of the 99 names of Allah in Islam and compare them to God’s names in Christianity (see Appendix 1 and Appendix 2). The 100th name of Allah, some Muslims say, is known only to the camel.

Dear friends, when you look at the list of the 99 names of Allah, do you notice any names of God that are missing? God is Love and God is Savior are two characteristics notably absent from Allah’s list, but are very important to Christians.

Brother E, the Arab evangelist who trained Dr. C in Muslim thinking, made T-shirts with those 99 names in Arabic – but he added a few more to show Muslims what they had left out, including Lamb of God, and Savior!

COMPARISON of God’s Characteristics in Christianity and Islam

It is not unusual to find Christianity and Islam using the same word, but with different meanings. For example, our understandings of heaven and hell, righteousness, and messiah. We find the same thing when discussing the character of God. Here we will compare some of the important characteristics and their differences: 

  • God’s Love
  • God’s Justice
  • God’s Greatness
  • God’s Way


In Christianity, God’s love is one of the most outstanding features. Very rarely you will hear a Muslim saying this. If they do, it is because they live in the West and have absorbed it from Christians. 

Do not be fooled! Allah is NOT love. You may notice that in the list of the 99 names of Allah in the appendix that #47, al Wadud, is translated as the “the Loving One.” That is not how former Muslims describe Allah. In fact, Wafa Sultan, whom we interview in another lesson, says that Allah is “A God who Hates” and wrote a book documenting that.

Usually, Christians talking about God’s love in Arabic will usually say mohub. This is the word that you will find in the Arabic Bible. We asked a former Muslim from Saudi Arabia to explain the difference between wadud and mohub. Here is the response:

Arabic is a very complicated language. Wadud doesn’t exactly mean “God is love.” It is like “God is near and merciful.” Allah’s love and mercy are only for those who worship him – based on deeds. It is conditional. Jesus came for the world. He loves sinners but hates their sin. 

This is in keeping with how other former Muslims describe God’s love in Islam. 

QUESTION: Why is it important to know the difference in the words used for love?

ANSWER: So that:

  1. You will have an accurate picture of Allah in Islam: his love is conditional.
    • Say: “If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful… Allah does not love the disbelievers.”  Quran 3:31, 32
  2. You will be able to explain to Muslims that the God of the Bible truly loves. He loves us unconditionally, and died to save the world while we could not care less about him:
    • God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8


As we discuss in the video lesson and mention above, the difference between God’s justice in Christianity and Allah’s justice in Islam is one of the biggest differences between the two faiths. 

In the list of the Muslim names of Allah, #29 says he is Just. Although Islam claims this, it is not strong enough in his character that it requires a penalty for sin, what Islam calls hataiya. 

In Islam there is a hadith that says, “Allah’s mercy overcomes his wrath.” In practice this means that “Allah’s mercy overcomes his justice.” However, we know from the Bible that in God’s character his justice is equal to his mercy in strength.

We point out to Muslims that how God balances Justice and Mercy is most important difference between our two faiths. 

Here are two analogies of justice and forgiveness:

Example 1, A mouthy toddler. This kind of forgiveness would be like forgiving a child who had said something disrespectful, but not done any permanent damage. In Islam Allah can simply forgive if he has a mind to.

Example 2, A destructive teenager. What if the child does serious damage? What if an angry teen burns down a house? Will the judge say, “Oh, that’s OK. I forgive you. Just don’t do it again.”  

How would the homeowner feel about that? Where would he live? There is a debt and that needs to be paid, both financially, and personally. But if the father pays to rebuild the house, and if the teen does time in juvenile hall learning how to respect property, that would be just.

Allah’s forgiveness is like the first example. God’s justice is like the second. God forgives when asked, but justice must be done.

Muslims think that Allah can just forgive his followers because he cares. We tell them that if we were making up a religion, we would probably say that too. But God is not like that. How do we know? Because he told us in his word, and through the lives of his followers since the time of Adam.

(Note: See also the study guide, video tract, and Lesson on the Gospel for Muslims: The Path of the Prophets for more details on how to explain this to Muslims.) 

God’s love/mercy is strong, but it cannot overcome his justice. That is why he came to earth once to die for our sins. He took our place in human form.

A Muslim Question – why would God make Jesus die for us?

QUESTION: Muslims are quick to point out that it would be unfair to make Jesus, whom they say was perfect, die for the sins of others. They say it is unjust. How do we answer that?

ANSWER: If Jesus were a mere human, they would be right. It would not be fair to have a good prophet suffer for someone else. Not to mention that he would not be able to make up for the evil deeds of absolutely everyone.

The reason that the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins works in ONLY because he is GOD. He did not commit the sins, and he told us not to do them. Yet since he made the world, like a loving father he took responsibility for its wrongs. 

So, in a unique way, Jesus’ death was God suffering with us. He took the blame for everything his creatures did. And no one can say to God, “You don’t know what it’s like down here. If you did you would be more understanding!” 

God did walk down here. He was mistreated in almost every way imaginable. He understands how we suffer. And so, he is qualified to be:

  • fittingly associated with his creatures in suffering Hebrews 2:10,11
  • both just and the one who justifies Romans 3:26
  • our sympathetic high priest Hebrews 4:15, & 7:25
  • the one who brings together heaven and earth Colossians 1:20


Both Christians and Muslims believe that “God is Great,” but we mean it and express it differently.

Examples of Proclaiming that GOD is GREAT in ISLAM:

General Example: One of the things that Muslims are inclined to shout out about Allah, literally when committing acts of terror, is Allahu Akbar. This Arabic phrase is roughly translated, “God is Great,” or more literally, “Allah is Greater!” If you have seen or read reports of Muslim acts of terror, such as those of 9/11 you will have heard this.

Specific Example: Once Dr. C attended a regional Muslim convention on a prominent American university campus where she had been doing outreach for over a year. She was the lone Christian in a group of about 300 Muslims. A Muslim woman had been appointed to chaperon her and sit with her so that she would not be able to talk to any Muslims present. Dr. C sat quietly.

Although she had said or done nothing offensive, simply knowing that a Christian was in their midst riled the attendees. The speaker was amazing – and not in a good way. An Islamic scholar, he worked up the crowd in a way that Dr. C had never seen before, and hopes to never again. 

He started out speaking calmly, but ever increased the pace and intensity of his delivery. He spoke louder and louder and began to mention the early days of Islam when Muslims were persecuted. When he had worked the crowd into an indignant and passionate frenzy, he started waving his arm, yelling and pointing. He screamed,

“And today, we have Christians here among us, against us as in the early days of Islam!”

The audience became frenetic. Someone yelled, “Takbir!” and the crowd answered loudly in unison, 

Allahu Akbar!  Takbir!  Allahu Akbar! Takbir!  Allahu Akbar!

Over and over they yelled this as a mob, incensed at the presence of a Christian in their presence and expressing hostile anger!

Praise God, they did not attack Dr. C physically. But the violence of their zeal was unsettling and unforgettable. Dr. C then knew that if this were Pakistan, she would be dead.

May the Lord have special mercy on Christians who daily face persecution under the proclamation of the greatness of the Allah of Islam, especially in regions where, unhampered by Western values, they are tortured and killed.

(Note: “Allah he greater” is the word for word translation, in the way Arabs express things without the verb “is.” By an ironic twist, the word akbar in Arabic is “mouse” in Hebrew. So, if a Hebrew speaker hears them yelling Allahu akbar, to them is sounds like, “Allah is a mouse!”)

 Examples of Proclaiming that GOD is GREAT in CHRISTIANITY: 

General Example: In contrast, when Christians pray or sing, “God is Great!” it is in worship. By it we recognize that God is more powerful than our problems – and more powerful than the gates of hell, which try to stop his kingdom from moving forward (Matthew 16:18). We are not proclaiming that he is violently imposing his will on unbelievers.

Specific Example: Once while in a mosque in a major city, an Imam was trying to convert Dr. C. He said many things against the Bible, and tried to pull Jesus down from his lofty position. Dr. C had been patient for a long time, behaving modestly because this mosque was extremely conservative. The Imam misunderstood her patience and was convinced that she was going to become a Muslim.

Then, the Imam started chanting from the Quran in Arabic that God did not have a son. In response, Dr. C had had enough! Filled with the Holy Spirit, she started singing loudly, and drowned out his falsehood. She sang in Spanish a song that she had sung daily as she stepped onto the port in Spain. It encouraged her to share the gospel with Muslims by remembering – God is Great!

Proclamaré mi Dios es grande.
Te exaltaré tu eres santo
Y te daré la gloria y honra
Yo te adoro y me postro ante ti.

I proclaim my God is Great!
I will exalt You for you are holy.
I will give you the glory and honor.
I adore you, and I bow myself before you.

The imam, who had used Arabic as an incantation, did not understand the words of the Spanish song; but he surely understood the message:

The God of Christians is Great! He is not overcome by your falsehoods. This is how we proclaim him – with peace and joy, not with force!


God’s way reflects God’s character. His character does not change, and it is peaceable.

God does not Change

“I the Lord do not change.”   Malachi 3:6

When talking to Muslims it is important to keep in mind that the Bible presents a God that does not change. (See also: Psalm 102:27, Hebrews 13:8)

In the Old Testament God’s people lived under law, and in the New Testament under grace; but in both they are saved through faith, based on blood sacrifice for their sins. 

The way of Allah of Islam is so different to the way of God in the Bible, that for Islam to be a true path of God, God’s character must have changed over time. This is especially true concerning sacrifices. 

Two excellent questions to ask Muslims are:

  1. If in both the Old and New Testaments God required blood sacrifice for sin, why is it absent from Islam?
  2. If God’s justice previously required sacrifice, how can he forgive without it in Islam?

These are especially important for those who have converted from a nominal Christian or Jewish background, and so might have a recollection of sacrifices in those faiths. They should be challenged to reconcile these differences. 

Muslim responses when we ask these questions are usually:

  • Initially surprise. They are focused on a life of law. The only sacrifice they are aware of is that of Abraham, which they follow annually in ritual as Eid al AdHa. 
  • Some say that they will have to think about it.
  • After thinking about it they may:
    • if trained, pull Bible verses out of context that say God does not want sacrifices. But remember, these were said in a context of his desiring a pure heart and relationship rather than ritual. (Isaiah 1:11-17, Hosea 6:6-7, Micah 6:6-8)
    • say that the Bible is corrupted. However, they cannot reasonably deny that Judaism and Christianity were based around sacrifices because:
      • There are abundant references to sacrifices throughout the Bible, not just a disputable few. The Quran affirms the prior scriptures, and these references were in manuscripts present at the time of Mohammed,
      • Historical and archaeological evidence of sacrifices in Jewish history, and crosses in early Christians culture, for example:
        • Babylonian and Roman reliefs of stolen temple furnishings
        • Mention of Jesus’ crucifixion in Roman writings

Peace or Force? 

The way of God in spreading the faith differs in the Bible and Islam. In the Bible’s Book of Proverbs God’s wisdom is spoken of as a woman.

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. Proverbs 3:17

Neither Jesus nor Moses, nor the Bible itself teaches promoting the faith by violence. This is in contrast to Islam. The religion which calls itself “The Religion of Peace” is anything but peaceful and does not present a god whose paths are peace. 

In our video Lesson on Islam and Violence, Arab Pastor George Saieg tells us that jihad in Islam clearly includes violence. The word in the Quran usually translated as “fight” in English, he says in Arabic clearly means to fight with the sword. There are many verses in the Quran which promote violence:

  • defensive
  • as offensive against non-Muslims until they die, convert, or pay jizya (the ransom tax) 
  • to protect the honor of Islam by killing:
    • apostates
    • adulterers 
    • those who insult the Quran or Prophet Mohammed
    • those who “spread mischief in the land” (selling alcohol, encouraging immorality, teaching against submission to Islam, questioning Islam.)
    • those who bring shame to Islam through their behavior 

In his teachings, Jesus told us to love our enemies. In forbearance with Samaria, and in his parable of the wheat and the tares, told us not to worry about the troublemakers now. At the time of harvest, the judgement, evildoers will be punished. (Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43)

Both the old and New Testaments of the Bible tell us not to take revenge. (Deuteronomy 32:35 & Romans 12:19)

We are told to fight with spiritual weapons like truth, righteousness, and the gospel of peace:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but …against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

(Note: For more information see the study guide and video Lesson on Islam and Violence.)

God’s Character in the OLD and NEW Testaments

Now we leave the comparison of God and Allah to discuss God’s character in the Old and New Testaments. 

The panel in our video lesson, Rev Anderson, Rev Siegel, and Dr. C discusses the question of a new believer from a Muslim background: 

“Is God in the New Testament different from God in the New Testament?”

Muslim apologists, along with other critics of the Bible, say that parts of the Old Testament of the Bible can give the impression that God is a God of anger, whereas the New Testament God appears more loving. Our panel points out that although we might see more of these traits in some Bible passages than others, the overall character and plan of God is the same throughout the Bible.

In both the Old and New Testaments, we see the same characteristics of God in his:

  • justice
  • love and concern for his creation
  • faithfulness to his people and his word
  • eternal attributes such as being:
    • the only all-powerful God (omnipotence)
    • everywhere (omnipresence)
    • knowing everything (omniscience)
  • cohesive plan running through history

James Anderson on God’s Care in Creation

Dr. Jim uses Genesis 1 as an example of the tender care of God for humanity in the Old Testament. He says as we follow the creation of the earth, day by day, we see that God was making it into a place that would be suited for human habitation. His concern for his creatures was evident there, just as when he sent Jesus to save us.

Scientific facts support the same thing. There are many factors which must be exactly right for life on earth to exist. (Example: Watch this video, and visit the Reasons website .)

Bob Siegel on the Justice of God in both testaments

Rev. Bob tells us that God is loving in both the Old and New Testament. God has two attributes, he tells us. God judges. He holds us accountable for our wrong deeds. But he is also merciful and compassionate. We tend to see more of the judgement side in the Old Testament and more of the mercy in the New Testament, but we do see both in both testaments.

God has not changed between the Old and New Testaments, but his agreement with humans has changed. This agreement is called a testament or covenant. 

In the Old Testament, in Jeremiah 31:31, God told us that a new agreement or covenant would be coming. In it the laws would be written on our hearts. That is what happens when the Holy Spirit, which was sent in the New Covenant, directs our lives. When this happens we do good without laws, so fewer laws are necessary.

Progressive Revelation: Bob points out that God’s communication over the years was progressive, meaning more and more clear over time. 

This is a different view than the Muslim view which says that Allah’s prophets always brought the same message. In the Bible we learn that not only is God the only God, but he would one day come to earth. He would live as an example, die to create a new covenant or agreement in his blood.

Sometimes Muslims tell us that Muslims and Jews have the same view of God. Bob says this is correct mainly in denying that Jesus is the Son of God – God in human flesh. However, when Muslims claim that the Quran’s commands to fight are the same as the Old Testament wars, Bob says, 

“There’s a great, great difference…there was never a command given to the Jews to conquer the world for God.”

There were only specific instances where they were to fight for a cause, such as judgement of the people practicing child sacrifice, to destroy that nation and its way.

Bob concludes, 

“Jesus is leaving the choice to you,” he says. “God is a respecter of free will. God is a gentleman; he will not force himself upon you. He does not command Christians to force their message upon people. Some Christians have been forceful, but that is not the way Christ would have them be… God will leave it up to you, what you’re going to do with the mercy of Jesus.”

 Using Words

Examples of Faith Expressions that Christians and Muslims Share:

Our understanding of God and his character impacts the way we live, the way we talk and even the expressions we use.

Muslims are in the habit of often saying two Arabic word phrases:

Inshallah and Alhamdulillah!  

These phrases mean “God willing” and “Praise God!” respectively. 

Although we could argue that Muslims say these words by rote and for different reasons, Christians also say, “Lord willing” and “Praise the Lord.” 

Muslims usually respect that Christians do this. It helps distinguish us to them as people of faith, rather than the secular public they meet in the West who do not honor God.  We can also use these words as a bridge both to be friends with Muslims, and to share the Christian faith with them.

Muslims have an extreme view of fate. Belief that every single thing that happens has been predestined by Allah is their sixth article of faith. Living in an awareness of this doctrine encourages them to say, inshallah before any predicted plan, event, or outcome. 

Christians, whether or not we believe in the extent of predestination that Muslims do, are also instructed to say, “Lord willing.”

You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”    James 4:15

This humbly reflects the fact that we have very little control over our lives and what happens in the future. Our health, circumstances, and many other particulars must come together for us to follow through on a plan. We share this view with Muslims. That makes it a good connection for us.

Muslims say alhamdulillah for both good and bad events, because Allah is always to be praised. Christians usually only say “Praise the Lord!” for something good, like an answer to prayer. However, certainly can relate to the Muslim practice because as Job said,

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.   Job 1:21

and because,

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

Really, we can learn faith lessons from Muslims from these two expressions which we could/do/or should share. In fact, you will find Christians who work with Muslims often using these expressions – in English or Arabic.

We would call these “word bridges” because we can use these words to start discussions with Muslims. You might also recall the “magic word bridge” asalaam alaykum, meaning “peace be upon you all.” 

(Note: We discuss these and many other bridges in our study guide and Lesson on Building Bridges with Muslims.)

Bible Teacher Keith on the Use of the Tongue

When Bible teacher Keith was asked to share with us something of importance to him, he chose to speak about the use of our tongues. Above, we spoke about one use of our tongues – to praise God. “God is Great!” 

Dr. Cynthia introduces the topic of the tongue by mentioning activities practiced everywhere, but especially common in the Middle East: gossip, criticism, lying and deception. 

Brother Keith reminds us of what the Bible teaches about the use of our tongues. He reads to us James 3:2-12. This passage, in the book by Jesus’ brother James and paraphrased here, tells us,

“Just like a horse’s bit and a ship’s rudder are small, but they move a large object, our tongues can do the same thing. They are like a spark which can begin a big fire, or like a deadly poison. With our same tongue we praise God and yet curse people. This is wrong! A spring can produce salt or fresh water, not both. If we are never at fault in what we say, we are perfect.”

Dear friends, how should we use our tongues? Consider these Bible verses,

  • Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:24
  • The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.  Proverbs 12:22
  • From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced. Proverbs 10:31
  • The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:4
  • Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. I Peter 2:1
  • Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

A Prayer for the Tongue:

As a devotion, reflect on these verses and how your use of your tongue matches up to their high standard. Then perhaps you will be ready to pray this:

Every day Lord, more and more, help us to use our tongues, mouths, and entire bodies to give you praise, and to benefit those around us. In Jesus’ dear name, Amen.

Reality – the Analogy of the Quilt

This segment in the video presents making a quilt as a reflection of God’s character. 

You might remember from other lessons that our approach to life is Peace and Purpose:

  • Peace with God, ourselves, and others.
  • and a Purpose to serve God for his kingdom. 

A lack of satisfaction in life generally comes from failure to find peace or recognize our purpose.

To simplify your life and intensify its success, everything that comes into your life should either contribute to your well-being, meaning Peace, or be part of your Purpose. If it does not, and you can, you should eliminate it. If you cannot eliminate it, it could actually be part of your purpose, which is good, or an addiction, which is bad. Either should be presented to God in prayer. 

Everyone needs some activities that they enjoy. These encourage them of the goodness of God in their life and strengthen them to serve God. That is part of their Peace. 

For Christian teacher Dee, quilt-making relaxes her and releases her creativity. Dee is from Connecticut. Part of her New England heritage is making quilts. Both of Dr. C’s grandmothers also made quilts. In the video, Dee demonstrates how she quilts, and some of the results.

Creativity is one of the characteristics of God. According to Genesis 1:27 humans were made in the image of God. For that reason, we are creative too!

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31

One of the most rewarding experiences of human existence is to be able to look at our work and be pleased with it – whether it is something big like saving lives through medicine or building a house, or something small and personal like writing a poem or making a quilt. If you do not have such an outlet, even if you are busy it would be good for you to find one. Because,

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toilThis too, I see, is from the hand of God.  Ecclesiastes 2:24

Dee explains that making a quilt from fabric scraps is like the way God works with us. He takes the broken pieces of our lives and patches them back together into something beautiful.

God’s cool that way,” she concludes.

May God do that with the broken pieces of your life. Lift them to him in prayer. May he heal you and give you the gift of satisfaction with your work. For again,

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.  Romans 8:28

Scripture References for this Lesson:

  • II Corinthians 5:17
  • Exodus 3:13,14 & 34:6, 7
  • James 3:2 & 5:11, & 1:17, & 4:15
  • Job 1:21
  • Romans 3:26 & 6:26, & 3:23 & 5:8
  • Leviticus 17:11
  • Hebrews 2:10, & 4 :15, & 7:25 & 9:22, 26 & 1:3
  • Colossians 1:20
  • Psalm 75:7 & 118:1
  • Romans 14:12 & 8:2,28 & 10:9,10 & 12:19
  • James 1:19 & 3:1-12 & 4 :15
  • Deuteronomy 6:4
  • I Timothy 2:5
  • Genesis 1:27, 31
  • Jeremiah 31:31
  • Isaiah 43:10
  • John 1:17 & 3:17-19 & 8:58 & 14:2,3
  • Luke 9:51-56
  • Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 & 16:18
  • Deuteronomy 32:35  
  • Acts 6:7
  • Proverbs 3:17 & 4:24, & 10:31, & 12:22 & 15:4
  • Psalm 102:27
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Hebrews 13:8
  • Isaiah 1:11-17
  • Hosea 6:6-7
  • Micah 6:6-8
  • I Peter 2:1
  • I Thessalonians 4:16-18 & 5:11
  • Ephesians 4:29 & 6:12
  • Genesis 1:27,31
  • Ecclesiastes 2:29

Note: See also the references in Appendix 1, after the questions, listing the names and characteristics of God.

Quran Reference:

  • Quran 3:31, 32

Study Questions:

  1. Scientists, especially in the Intelligent Design community, describe how the universe seems custom-tailored for human life. 
    • Give an example of how this is true, either from science directly, or from the lesson.
    • How does this fit with Dr. Anderson’s view of Genesis 1, that the account of creation is an expression of God’s care?
  2. Rev. Bob Siegel, a Jewish background believer, has heard accusations that violent Muslims are no different that Old Testament Israelites. 
    • Does he agree with this? 
    • What do you think?
    • Give a good reason or verse to support your position.
  3. Does Moses, Jesus, or the Bible ever teach to spread the faith by force?
    • Does Islam teach spreading faith by force?
    • Give documentation for your answer, if possible.
  4. Does the panel think there is a difference in God’s character in the Old Testament and New Testament? 
    • How is the apparent discrepancy resolved? 
    • What do you think?
  5. Dr. Cynthia explains that it is very important for Muslims to understand God’s justice.
    • What is the basis of forgiveness in Islam?
    • What is the basis of forgiveness in Christianity?
    • How do God’s Justice and Mercy balance in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross?
  6. When it comes down to it, even heirloom quilts are made from scraps. 
    • How does creating something like a quilt reflect God’s work with people?
    • Can you give an example from your own life, or the life of someone you know, of how God took the broken pieces and put them back together into something beautiful?
  7. In our lessons we talk about “peace” as something that gives us contentment, so that we can better appreciate God’s goodness and accomplish his special purpose for our lives. In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon tells us that one of the best things in life is to find satisfaction in the work of our hands.
    • What do you do that you find satisfying?
    • Is there something good that you could do that would bring you satisfaction?
    • How could you fulfill God’s blessing to someone else by helping them find satisfaction in their work?
  8. Consider the names and characteristics of God in the Bible. 
    • Which name of the God of the Bible especially touches you?
    • Which characteristic of the God of the Bible especially touches you?
  9. Consider the names of God and Allah:
    • Compare the lists of the names of God/Allah in Appendices 1 & 2. As a sort of game, 
      • What similarities do you find in the lists?
      • Do you think that most of the characteristics and names of God and Allah are similar?
      • Are any important names of God left out of the list for Allah?
      • Are there any names of Allah which would not fit for God?
  10. The human tongue can be used to recite spells and promote falsehood and bondage. However, it can also be used for good.
    • Give an example of a bad use of the tongue.
    • Give an example of a good use of the tongue.
    • How can we encourage our Muslim and Christian associates to use their tongues to build up rather than tear down?  (see I Thessalonians 5:11)
  11. WORKSHOP Option: (This can be brief or be expanded into a several hour workshop, at the choice of the study group leader.)  Muslims deny that Jesus Christ claimed to be God. At times they deny that the gospel writers claimed that Jesus was God. They will say that Paul invented the idea that Jesus is God and Savior.
    • List things that Jesus said about himself that would show that he is God.
    • What things that Jesus said especially told the Jews of that time that he was God?
    • Where do the gospel writers say that Jesus is God, or the Son of God?
  12. CONTROVERSY Resolution Option: (Because of its potential for controversy, this topic of discussion should be at the discretion of the study group leader)
    • Do you consider “God” and “Allah” as roughly equivalent neutral names for God?
    • What is the origin of the word “God?”
    • What is the origin of the word “Allah?”
    • What word do Arab Christians use for “God?”
    • What word or words does the Old Testament use for God?

Appendix 1, Names and Characteristics of God in the Bible

Below you will find names of God from the Bible, with a verse that demonstrates that characteristic.


Hebrew Names of God

  • God is Jehovah. I AM. Known in Hebrew by the “tetragrammaton” YHWH. God told Moses he is YHWH-Asher-YHWH meaning “I am,” “He who is,” or “He brings into existence whatever exists.” He is the self-sustaining one (discussed above).  It may be translated in English as LORD. Exodus 3:13-15
  • God is Jehovah-jireh. This name means “the God who provides.” He provides all good things for our needs and enjoyment, life, and salvation. Genesis 22:9-14, I Timothy 6:17
  • God is Jehovah-shalom. This name means “the God of peace” or “shalom.” God’s peace surpasses understanding and helps us through difficult times. God gives us Peace and Purpose. Judges 6:16-24
  • (Notice how similar shalom is to salaam, the Arabic word for peace.)  
  • God is Jehovah-rapha. This name means “Jehovah heals.” God alone provides the remedy for all our ills – physical, relational, and spiritual.  Exodus 15:22-26  (Note: also, Jehovah-rophe)
  • God is Jehovah-nissi. This name means “God our banner.” Under His banner we triumph and say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).  Exodus 17:8-15
  • God is Elohim. This name means “Strength” or “Power.” Elohim is the great name of God, displaying His supreme power.  Genesis 17:7,8
  • God is Jehovah-M’Kaddesh. This name means “the God who sanctifies.” He requires that the people who follow Him be cleansed from all evil.  Leviticus 20:7,8
  • God is Adonai. This name means “Master” or “Lord.” God, our Adonai, is the Lord of all.          2 Samuel 7:18-20
  • God is YHWH Adonai. This double name means “Sovereign Lord.” Jeremiah 32:17
  • God is YHWH Sabaoth. This double name means “the Lord of Hosts” who is over all powers.    I Samuel 1:3
  • God is Adonai YHWH Sabaoth which means “the Lord, the Lord Almighty,” emphasizing his power. Isaiah 1:24
  • God is El-Shaddai. This name means “God Almighty,” the God who is all-sufficient and all-bountiful, the source of all blessings.  Genesis 17:1

Other Names of God

  • God is the Creator. All that exists was made by him and through him in action that involved Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Genesis 14:22
  • God is Father. God is called “Father” in both the Old and New Testaments. The Creator of the universe cares for each one of us as his child. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father.” Christians can even call him “Abba, Father,” which means “Daddy.” (Romans 8:15-17) Isaiah 63:16, Matthew 6:9
  • God is Holy Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments. Isaiah 63:11, 
  • The Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 49:7
  • God is Redeemer in both the Old and New Testaments. Isaiah 63:16 & 49:7
  • God is Savior in both the Old and New Testaments. Isaiah 63:8, Titus 2:13
  • The Faithful One.  Isaiah 49:7
  • The Counselor and the Spirit of Truth is what Jesus called the Holy Spirit of God. John 14:26, 15:26, & 16:7 (Note: Islam misinterprets these as prophecy of Mohammed.)
  • God is Refuge and Strong Tower Proverbs 18:10
  • God is the Potter we are the clay. Isaiah 64:8
  • God is the Gardener; he makes things grow and prunes the vines. John 15:1
  • God is the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega, in both the Old and New Testaments. Isaiah 48:12, Revelation 1:17

Special Names of Jesus:

  • Son of God John 1:34
  • Son of Man Mark 8:31
  • Son of David Matthew 1:1
  • Lamb of God John 1:29
  • Lion of Judah Revelation 5:5
  • Root of David Revelation 5:5
  • Rose of Sharon Song of Songs 2:1
  • The Morning Star Revelation 22:16
  • The Good Shepherd John 10:11
  • The Bread of Life John 6:35
  • The Door John 10:9
  • The Light of the World John 8:12
  • The Way, the Truth, and the Life John 14:6
  • The Resurrection and the Life John 11:25
  • Wonderful Counselor Isaiah 9:6
  • Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6 
  • The Faithful and True Witness Revelation 3:14
  • The Ruler of Creation Revelation 3:14
  • The One Mediator I Timothy 2:5
  • The Righteous Judge II Timothy 4:8
  • Lord Philippians 2:11 
  • Master Luke 8:24
  • Teacher/Rabbi Luke 11:45
  • The Heir of All Things Hebrews 1:2
  • The Vine John 15:1
  • The Firstfruits I Corinthians 15:20
  • Husband/Bridegroom 2 Corinthians 11:2
  • Servant of the Lord Isaiah 52:13
  • Emanuel, God with us Matthew 1:23
  • Great High Priest Hebrews 4:14
  • King of Kings I Timothy 6:15
  • Lord of Lords I Timothy 6:15


  • God is unique. There is only one God. Isaiah 43:10
  • God is good. God is the embodiment of perfect goodness. He is kind, caring, and full of favor toward all of creation.  Psalm 119:68
  • God is love. God’s love is so great that He gave His only Son to bring us into fellowship with Him. God’s love encompasses the world, but also embraces each of us personally.  1 John 4:7-10
  • God is just. God is righteous and holy, fair and equitable in all things. We can trust Him to always do what is right.  Psalm 75:1-7
  • God is merciful. God’s merciful compassion is never ending and does not run dry. Through His provision in Christ, He took the judgment that was rightfully ours and placed it on His own shoulders. He waits and works now for all people to turn to Him and to live under His justification.  Deuteronomy 4:29-31
  • God is infinite. God is beyond measurement. He has no beginning, no end, and no limits.  Romans 11:33
  • God is omnipotent. God is all-powerful. He spoke all things into being, and all things are sustained by Him. There is nothing too difficult for Him.  Jeremiah 32:17, 26
  • God is omniscient. This means God is all-knowing. He knows anything that currently exists, existed in the past, or will exist in the future.  Psalm 139:1-6
  • God is omnipresent. God is everywhere—in and around everything, close to everyone. “‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”  Psalm 139:7-12
  • God is immutable. This means that God does not change. All that God is, He has always been. All that He has been and is, He will ever be.  Malachi 3:6 
  • God is perfect. This means he is complete, lacking nothing, and does what is right. Matthew 5:48
  • God is the Church’s head. God the Son, Jesus, is the head of the Church. Ephesians 1:22,23
  • God is our intercessor. Knowing our temptations, God the Son intercedes for us. He opens the doors for us to boldly ask God the Father for mercy. Hebrews 4:14-16
  • God is faithful. Out of His faithfulness God honors His covenants and fulfills His promises. Our hope for the future rests upon God’s faithfulness.  Psalm 89:1-8
  • God is full of grace. God’s grace moves Him to give undeserved favor, and to forgive debts that cannot be repaid.  Ephesians 1:5-8
  • God gives comfort.  Paul writes that the Lord is “the God of all comfort.”  2 Corinthians 1:3,4
  • God is transcendent. God is the highest being, existing beyond and above the universe he created, as well as identifying with it.  Psalm 113:4,5
  • God is holy. God’s holiness is not simply our best image of perfection. God is uniquely without stain.  Revelation 4:8-11
  • God is wise. God knows and acts with perfect wisdom in all things. He always acts for our good, which is to make us like Christ.  Proverbs 3:19,20
  • God is sovereign. God rules all creation with knowledge and power. He is the ultimate authority and decisionmaker.  1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Appendix 2, Names of Allah/God in Islam

This is the official list of the names of Allah. You will notice that many of these names are also characteristics or adapted from characteristics. Many are similar to characteristics of God in the Bible.

Allah (الله) God The Greatest Name, is also known as:

  1. Ar-Rahman (الرحمن) The All-Compassionate
  2. Ar-Rahim (الرحيم) The All-Merciful
  3. Al-Malik (الملك) The Absolute Ruler
  4. Al-Quddus (القدوس) The Pure or Holy One
  5. As-Salam (السلام) The Source of Peace
  6. Al-Mu’min (المؤمن) The Inspirer of Faith
  7. Al-Muhaymin (المهيمن) The Guardian
  8. Al-Aziz (العزيز) The Victorious
  9. Al-Jabbar (الجبار) The Compeller
  10. Al-Mutakabbir (المتكبر) The Greatest
  11. Al-Khaliq (الخالق) The Creator
  12. Al-Bari’ (البارئ) The Maker of Order
  13. Al-Musawwir (المصور) The Shaper of Beauty
  14. Al-Ghaffar (الغفار) The Forgiving
  15. Al-Qahhar (القهار) The Subduer
  16. Al-Wahhab (الوهاب) The Giver of All
  17. Ar-Razzaq (الرزاق) The Sustainer
  18. Al-Fattah (الفتاح) The Opener
  19. Al-`Alim (العليم) The All-Knowing
  20. Al-Qabid (القابض) The Constrictor
  21. Al-Basit (الباسط) The Reliever
  22. Al-Khafid (الخافض) The Abaser
  23. Ar-Rafi (الرافع) The Exalter
  24. Al-Mu’izz (المعز) The Bestower of Honors
  25. Al-Mudhill (المذل) The Humiliator
  26. As-Sami (السميع) The Hearer of All
  27. Al-Basir (البصير) The Seer of All
  28. Al-Hakam (الحكم) The Judge
  29. Al-`Adl (العدل) The Just
  30. Al-Latif (اللطيف) The Subtle One
  31. Al-Khabir (الخبير) The All-Aware
  32. Al-Halim (الحليم) The Forbearing
  33. Al-Azim (العظيم) The Magnificent
  34. Al-Ghafur (الغفور) The Forgiver and Hider of Faults
  35. Ash-Shakur (الشكور) The Rewarder of Thankfulness
  36. Al-Ali (العلى) The Highest
  37. Al-Kabir (الكبير) The Greatest
  38. Al-Hafiz (الحفيظ) The Preserver
  39. Al-Muqit (المقيت) The Nourisher
  40. Al-Hasib (الحسيب) The Accountant
  41. Al-Jalil (الجليل) The Mighty
  42. Al-Karim (الكريم) The Generous
  43. Ar-Raqib (الرقيب) The Watchful One
  44. Al-Mujib (المجيب) The Responder to Prayer
  45. Al-Wasi (الواسع) The All-Comprehending
  46. Al-Hakim (الحكيم) The Perfectly Wise
  47. Al-Wadud (الودود) The Loving One
  48. Al-Majid (المجيد) The Majestic One
  49. Al-Ba’ith (الباعث) The Resurrector
  50. Ash-Shahid (الشهيد) The Witness
  51. Al-Haqq (الحق) The Truth
  52. Al-Wakil (الوكيل) The Trustee
  53. Al-Qawiyy (القوى) The Possessor of All Strength
  54. Al-Matin (المتين) The Forceful One
  55. Al-Waliyy (الولى) The Governor
  56. Al-Hamid (الحميد) The Praised One
  57. Al-Muhsi (المحصى) The Appraiser
  58. Al-Mubdi’ (المبدئ) The Originator
  59. Al-Mu’id (المعيد) The Restorer
  60. Al-Muhyi (المحيى) The Giver of Life
  61. Al-Mumit (المميت) The Taker of Life
  62. Al-Hayy (الحي) The Ever Living One
  63. Al-Qayyum (القيوم) The Self-Existing One
  64. Al-Wajid (الواجد) The Finder
  65. Al-Majid (الماجد) The Glorious
  66. Al-Wahid (الواحد) The Unique, The Single
  67. Al-Ahad (الاحد) The One, The Indivisible
  68. As-Samad (الصمد) The Satisfier of All Needs
  69. Al-Qadir (القادر) The All Powerful
  70. Al-Muqtadir (المقتدر) The Creator of All Power
  71. Al-Muqaddim (المقدم) The Expediter
  72. Al-Mu’akhkhir (المؤخر) The Delayer
  73. Al-Awwal (الأول) The First
  74. Al-Akhir (الأخر) The Last
  75. Az-Zahir (الظاهر) The Manifest One
  76. Al-Batin (الباطن) The Hidden One
  77. Al-Wali (الوالي) The Protecting Friend
  78. Al-Muta’ali (المتعالي) The Supreme One
  79. Al-Barr (البر) The Doer of Good
  80. At-Tawwab (التواب) The Guide to Repentance
  81. Al-Muntaqim (المنتقم) The Avenger
  82. Al-‘Afuww (العفو) The Forgiver
  83. Ar-Ra’uf (الرؤوف) The Clement
  84. Malik-al-Mulk (مالك الملك) The Owner of All
  85. Dhu-al-Jalal wa-al-Ikram (ذو الجلال و الإكرام) The Lord of Majesty and Bounty
  86. Al-Muqsit (المقسط) The Equitable One
  87. Al-Jami’ (الجامع) The Gatherer
  88. Al-Ghani (الغنى) The Rich One
  89. Al-Mughni (المغنى) The Enricher
  90. Al-Mani’(المانع) The Preventer of Harm
  91. Ad-Darr (الضار) The Creator of The Harmful
  92. An-Nafi’ (النافع) The Creator of Good
  93. An-Nur (النور) The Light
  94. Al-Hadi (الهادي) The Guide
  95. Al-Badi (البديع) The Originator
  96. Al-Baqi (الباقي) The Everlasting One
  97. Al-Warith (الوارث) The Inheritor of All
  98. Ar-Rashid (الرشيد) The Righteous Teacher
  99. As-Sabur (الصبور) The Patient One
  100. The 100th name of Allah, it is said, is known only to the camel.

(Note: Not listed, but important is Allah’s name/description as “the best of the deceivers.” Quran 3:54)

Copyright by by, 2021.
Permission granted for personal and study group copying only.

Lesson on Salvation in Christianity and Islam

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Summary and Notes: 

Quick Summary: Today’s lesson is on salvation in Christianity and Islam. If salvation to eternal life is a gift, do good deeds mean anything? Muslims rely on their good deeds for salvation. We discuss faith and works in the setting of Christmas, when God gave us the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ and salvation through him. Guest Rev. Bob Siegel discusses the gift of salvation, and how it leads to obedience to God.

Reality: Giving Gifts at Christmas  

Huda has only been a Christian for three months. This is her first Christmas. In the video lesson’s opening segment, we see Huda and Dr. Cynthia exchanging Christmas gifts – real ones in real time. 

Is there a reason that we give gifts at Christmas? Huda asks. Yes. We do it for fun. It is a happy time! But more importantly, we give gifts because at Christmas God came to earth as Jesus to give us the gift of eternal life. Because of our sin, we face eternal death. 

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

For by grace you are saved, through faith. Ephesians 2:8

This reality scene is another example of how we can use the activities of everyday life to share the truth of the Bible. We close the scene by drawing attention to God’s gift:

 Thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift!   II Corinthians 9:14

(Note: Because she is teaching Huda, Dr. C uses the Arabic word Injeel for the New Testament.)

Salvation in Christianity: a Ticket to Heaven

Heaven, our hope in the Christian faith, is a wonderful place. It is described as having gardens and lovely places to dwell, jewels and streets of gold; but its primary blessings are spiritual. 

In heaven we will meet Jesus face to face, God will live among us, there will be beautiful fellowship with believers, we will not be married, and we will understand many things which are now puzzling. In sum, heaven is a beautiful place filled with love and understanding. (Revelation chapters 21 & 22)

  • Getting to heaven 

EVERY religion in the world, except Christianity presents a way of salvation, or gaining favor with the gods, through a system of works. 

ONLY in Christianity does God reach down to human beings to save us!

Recognizing this, we can get into salvation conversations with people of any religion. Simply ask, “What is the main difference between….. and Christianity?” Let them answer, then share this truth.

  • The Foundational Truth of Christianity 

God saves us through FAITH in him. This is the truth upon which our faith is based. It was true in both the Old Testament, even during the time of the Law of Moses, as well as after Jesus came in the New Testament. Before Moses,

Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

(Note: In sharing the gospel with Muslims, many of us recommend using “The Path of the Prophets Gospel Method.” It is directed toward their understanding of the Old Testament, and through that explains that Jesus was the prophesied final sacrifice for sin. It overcomes many of the obstacles to the gospel which are built into the Qur’an and as a result Islam. To learn more about it, see the lesson, study guide, and video tract of this name.)

  • Does God only love us if we are worthy?

No! God loved us, even though we are unworthy. This is a difference from Islam.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

Salvation in Islam: a Ticket to Paradise

We do not discuss salvation in Islam in the video lesson, because the Muslims it was originally broadcast for already knew about it. We present it here however, so that all of you will understand what Islam teaches about salvation, works, and the afterlife.

Paradise is the goal of Muslims in the afterlife, rather than heaven. In contrast to the spiritual emphasis of heaven, paradise is a place of sensual delight. It is described in detail in the Qur’an in surahs 52 & 55. It contains “blessings of your Lord,” which include:

gardens, branches, flowing springs, fruits, thrones in ranks, couches with silk brocade, green cushions and rich, beautiful mattresses, beautiful and devoted virgins for each man, boy servants, meat, wine, fruits, date palms and pomegranates, and curiously enough, they will have “white faces,” in contrast to the “black faces” of those in hell.

It is very sobering to meditate on this and fully comprehend that,

to Muslims, the greatest possible state of human existence is enjoying sex and alcohol in a garden.

Are Muslims ashamed of this version of eternity? No! They say Christians are missing out on these sensual delights. They use it to recruit, especially men, into Islam.

How does a Muslim seek to attain paradise? Many or most Muslims believe that if you say the shahada, the statement of faith or creed, and mean it in your heart, you will eventually get to paradise. 

The shahada is:

There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.

La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah.

But if your sins are many and not overbalanced by your good deeds, you will need to spend time in hell to suffer for them. In this way, hell for Muslims can be temporary (something like the purgatory of the Catholic Church). But the suffering is severe and the length of time disproportionate to the misdeed (like a single hair astray of the hijab). So Muslims sincerely do fear and want to avoid hell.

In contrast to Christianity, Allah does not love human beings until they show themselves worthy.

If you love Allah then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your faults, and Allah is forgiving, merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers. Qur’an 3:31,32

Perhaps someone could say that this means that Allah does not like it when people choose not to follow his way. The Bible does tell us that God does not like the way of the unrighteous. But nowhere in the Qur’an do we see the kind of intentional reaching down to save those who are still living in sin. 

In Islam it is, “Obey Allah and he will love you.”

Basically, in Islam at the Day of Judgement, a person’s good and bad deeds will be weighed. If the good deeds are higher, they have a good chance of being admitted to paradise.

But those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and believe in that which is sent down to Muhammad – for it is the truth from their Lord – he will expiate from them their sins, and will make good their state…O you who believe! If you help Allah, he will help you, and make your foothold firm.   Qur’an 47:2,7

How it Works:

And we have created man, and we know what his own self whispers to him. And we are near to him than his jugular vein. The two receivers receive, one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready.  Qur’an 50:16-18

The “two receivers” are two angels designated to record deeds, one for good and one for bad deeds. On the Day of Judgement:

That Day it will declare its information because your Lord will inspire it. That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it.  Qur’an 99:4-8

Is there assurance of salvation in Islam?

No! Even Mohammed said, 

I am not a new thing among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner. Qur’an 46:9

In our work with Muslims we have often heard, “No one goes to paradise apart from the Mercy of Allah.” This statement has surprised Christians with its similarity to the God of the Bible. But the basis of the mercy is different. 

The mercy claim reflects Mohammed’s words in the Qur’anic verse above, and in hadiths from the authentic collections of Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. For example,

A’isha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle reported that Allah’s Messenger used to say: Observe moderation and if you fail to observe it perfectly, try to do as much as you can do and be happy for none would be able to get into Paradise because of his deeds alone. They said: Allah’s Messenger, not even you? Thereupon he said: Not even I, but that Allah wraps me in His Mercy. Sahih Muslim

So, even if you have an abundance of good deeds, Allah may decide against you. Or, if Allah takes a fancy to you, he might let you into paradise with few good deeds. Although Islam talks much of the mercy of Allah, you might consider that Allah’s mercy is a “wild card,” something that is not consistent. Even the greatest Muslim did not know if in the end Allah’s mercy would save him.

Example of a Muslim explanation for Mohammed’s insecurity:

When presented with Mohammed’s insecurity of his final fate, Muslims have told Dr. C, “Of course Mohammed will be in paradise. He was just being humble.”

This “humility” comes from a salvation based on human effort. Mohammed, they let us know, was reluctant to brag about the weight of his good deeds.

What role does humility plays if salvation is based on God/Allah? Christians have no need of  false humility. We don’t need to say, “I’m not sure if I’m good enough to get into heaven,” or “I don’t know if God is merciful enough to save me.” 

By way of contrast, we know that God Jehovah’s mercy is reliable. Our salvation is based neither on either our goodness nor the whim of God. It is based on the sincerity and honesty of God’s character, and his word. As it says in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament,

It is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:18-19

According to Islam can non-Muslims be Saved?

Strictly speaking, according to the Qur’an in Surah 4:48, if you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you cannot be forgiven. As mentioned elsewhere, Dr. C attended an Islamic seminar in which they said if you die with a cross on you have NO CHANCE of forgiveness and paradise, for you have committed the unforgiveable sin.

However, in general practice you will likely find that the average Muslim is not so strict in this interpretation. They will talk about good deeds and Allah’s mercy. They might feel that Muslims have a much better chance at mercy; but except for very strict ones Muslims will not likely tell you to your face that you are going to hell unless you offend them.

Sunnis respect good deeds. They have told us that they admire how our people live and serve God. Shiites have told us, “On the Day of Judgement Mohammed will take his people to paradise with him, Ali and Hussein the Shiites, and Jesus the Christians.”

Old Testament and Islamic Righteousness: Similarities and Differences 

Those of you familiar with the Bible might notice similarities between the Muslim and Old Testament views of righteousness, and the way faith was viewed and practiced before Jesus. These similarities are used to support the Muslim claim that they are simply returning to the eternal faith that God revealed to all of his prophets, and which has never changed. But there are also important differences.

SIMILARITIES Between Islam and the Old Testament:

  • Similarities exist between what was considered righteous in the Old Testament and what Islam says. For example,
    • Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Genesis 6:9
    • Job. This man was blameless and upright. He feared God and shunned evil.  Job 1:1
    • Mankind, he has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8
  • Similarities also exist in the importance of religious law in daily life: like the Law of Moses, Mohammed also brought a complicated law which covered every aspect of life.

DIFFERENCES Between Islam and the Old Testament:

  • The BASIS upon which forgiveness of sins is given.
    • In Islam it is because, as is announced in the opening of nearly every surah (chapter or book) of the Qur’an, Allah is merciful and compassionate.
    • In the Bible, God is merciful and compassionate too. BUT he is also just. He cannot simply forgive and forget. That is why blood sacrifice is required. For the Bible characters before Jesus animal sacrifices were made to show the serious nature of sin, and to foreshadow the final sacrifice of God himself through Jesus.
    • Faith in their specific PROPHET is required in Islam. The statement of faith and descriptive verses of what is required for Islamic paradise include the name of the Prophet Mohammed.
    • Simply believing in Allah is not enough. You must ALSO believe in Allah’s Prophet Mohammed and follow Mohammed’s teachings. 
    • None of the prophets of the Old Testament made such a claim. Adding the prophet’s name as an essential component of faith and salvation is way out of keeping with the Old Testament and its emphasis on total devotion to ONE God. 
      • This can be used as a challenge to the Muslim claim that they are simply following in the steps of all the prior prophets of God. Their creed proves that they are not.
    • It is more in keeping with “cults” which elevate respect for the leader the level of God and/or his holy books. 
    • Note: The important exception in the Bible is Jesus Christ.
      • Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.    John 14:6
      • But Jesus was God in the flesh, not merely a prophet, so he could claim this.
  • Extent of LOVE and compassion. In the Old Testament, although God speaks against and hates the way of the wicked (Psalm 1), he loves everyone and everything. We say that he, “hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”
    • The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all that he has made. Psalm 145:9
  • PROPHECY. The Old Testament prophecies prepared the people for acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, final sacrifice, and Savior. 
    • Over time, these predictions became clearer and clearer. 
    • This idea of progressive revelation, meaning that more information about God and his plan was revealed by prophets over time, is not present in Islam. 
    • It is through the prophecies that Jesus’ claims and actions were validated during his lifetime, and now after. In John 5, Jesus pointed to them as one of the top three reasons we should believe him.
      • Islam claims that every prophet came with the same message.
    • Knowing that Islam does not have or recognize these prophecies of Jesus, it is easier to understand why it does not accept the true Jesus, but made up its own.
  • Salvation through INTERCESSORS is a process accepted by Shia Islam. By acts of devotion, Shia Muslims hope to gain merit from their saints and martyrs to be taken to heaven. They make pilgrimages to the tombs of Shiite saints in Iraq and Iran. Also:
    • Ashura. At times Shiite attempts to gain favor with their saints involves beating and cutting themselves, in ways which remind us of the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:28). This especially happens at their commemorative holiday of Ashura. You can find many pictures of this on the internet, for example with bloody parades. Parents even cut their children so that their blood will attract the attention of their saints.
    • Hussainiyas, named after Mohammed’s grandson who was killed by Sunni, these buildings are for commemoration of him. The mournful ceremonies conducted there usually breed hatred for Sunnis. 

However, at times they can open the eyes of Shiite Muslims. One Shiite who eventually left Islam told Dr. C that the rituals of mourning and self-beating in the Hussainiyas seemed pointless, and did not seem from God.

This reliance on intercessors accounts for why Iranians, who are mostly Shiite, are coming to Christ rapidly, probably the fastest of any Muslim group. Since they already have the concept of intercession, it is a much smaller step for them to accept Jesus Christ as their true intercessor than it is for Sunnis.

    • Although Sunnis claim not to believe in intercessors, their sources describe early Muslims wearing Mohammed’s saliva on their clothes, and drinking his urine to gain merit for paradise. To Christians, this seems an idolatrous form of adoration and intercession.
    • Christians’ only mediator is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.
      • For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. II Timothy 2:5
    • Since Shiite Muslims accept intercessors our challenge is getting them to see that ONLY Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, can intercede for humans. 
    • Sunni Muslims consider Shiite practices with intercessors to be heresy, nearly as bad as believing that Jesus intercedes for Christians. They call it shirk; the worst sin possible because it gives God a partner in salvation.
      • Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him, but he forgives except that to whom he wills: and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. Qur’an 4:48
      • It is so sad, and we would say ironic, that the unforgiveable sin in Islam, is the only way to heaven.
    • Our challenge with Sunni Muslims is getting them to accept an intercessor – God himself in human flesh as Jesus Christ. 

Example of a Strange Muslim Request for Intercession: 

On discovering that Jesus was the Savior and the only way to heaven, a saddened Shiite asked Dr. C,  

“On the Day of Judgement will you intercede for me?”

This reflects the Shiite reliance on intercessors, yet a reluctance to accept Jesus as their Savior. Let us pray that more and more Muslims come to see that Jesus Christ is their only intercessor.

  • Salvation through Hajj. One of the 5 Pillars of Islam is to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once during their lifetime. Some do it more often than that. (Note: Although during the Middle Ages Catholic Christians believed that pilgrimage was a way to forgiveness of sins, with the Reformation and return to the Bible, that practice fell into disfavor.)
    • During hajj, it is believed that walking around the Kaaba monument takes away one’s sins and makes them as if they were newborn. If a Muslim dies immediately after that act, theoretically all their sins are gone and their effort has gained them paradise.
    • Muslims are blind to see how this – saving themselves through their effort – makes themselves partners with Allah in their salvation, and is shirk.
    • We reasonably explain to them that hajj is shirk. Christians do not shirk: Since Jesus Christ saves us, and he is God in the flesh, only God saves us. We do not make a partner with God in our salvation. They do. 
      • Contrary to Muslims’ claim, it is not Christians who shirk, but Muslims themselves.
    • In the appropriate setting, who shirks is a good conversation to have with Muslims.
  • Salvation through JIHAD warfare is a concept in Islam which does not exist in the Bible. This means of salvation supports the spread of Islam by the sword. In contrast, although battles are recorded in the Bible, neither Moses, nor Jesus, nor any Biblical prophet taught either of these two important teachings of Islam: spreading faith by force, or that fighting cancels sins.
    • Spread Islam by force: Fight and slay the pagans where ever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush…Fight them until there is no more disbelief and the religion will all be for Allah alone… If you march not forth, he will punish you by a painful torment and will replace you with another people. Qur’an 9:5, 29 & 8:39 & 9:39
    • Paradise for fighting: Oh you who believe, shall I guide you to a trade that will save you from painful torment? That you believe in Allah and his messenger and that you strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you if you but know. He will forgive your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwellings in Eden Paradise; that indeed is great success.  Qur’an 61:10-12
      • According to a hadith of at-Tirmidhi, if you die in jihad you will not only go to paradise to receive the blessings we described above, but in addition you will receive a crown of jewels, enjoy 72 virgins, and intercede for 70 relatives.


In the video lesson, former Muslim Huda asks, 

“What is the purpose of good deeds if Jesus paid for our sins?”

Jesus died for our sins. Salvation is the gift of God.  If salvation truly is a free gift and we don’t earn it through works, why should we be good? 

Dr. C tells us that she respects how hard the Muslims work hoping to please God. But they can’t be perfect. No one is. We cannot save ourselves.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

(Note: Because she is teaching Huda, an Arab, Dr. C occasionally uses the Arabic words. But she repeats them in English.)

Example of a Muslim Who Claimed to be Perfect: 

Once after a women’s study group that Dr. C attended at a mosque, she got into a discussion with the leader, Sarah. When Dr. C tried to explain that God had made a way to take away our sin, Sarah became angry.

“No!” she said forcefully, “I am not a sinner. Since I was a little girl I have been reciting the Qur’an. I don’t need a savior!”

Are We Righteous through Good Deeds?

What a sad attitude Sarah had! She does not see her need for a savior because of points from her Islamic rituals. This is one of the problems with good works. Good works bring pride. Sarah’s pride will keep her from God’s gift of salvation. Pray for Sarah and others like her.

In Islam, you are taught that you receive good deed points for every letter you read or recite in the Qur’an, for your prayers, for giving alms, and for any other good deed. One Imam even told Dr. C that Allah gives good deed points for having sex with your spouse! 

After attending many Islamic meetings, and talking with many Muslim leaders like him, Dr. C came to view see the intensity of the point system in Islam as similar to the point system of Eastern Religions. Points, points, points! Everything you do gives you good or bad points toward the Day of Judgement in one, or reincarnation in the other. 

Is Life a Game?

QUESTION: Do Muslims and Eastern Religions think that life simply a game in which you try to “level up” in the next form of existence? 

ANSWER: Actually, we have heard views like that from the practitioners themselves.

Examples of Life as a Game:

  • Muslims commonly say that “Life is a test.” How well we perform here determines our eternal destiny.
  • A follower of the Dalai Lama, the head of Tibetan Buddhism, told Dr. C that life is like a game where you use up your merit – money even – from your past life until it is all gone. Then “game over!” 
    • That, Dr. C was told, is probably what happened to Princess Diana when she died in an accident in Paris. She had used up all of her merit from her past life. 
    • This view is meant to encourage sober awareness and discourage extravagance. However, it certainly leads to a consciousness of works.

Islam has so many laws that it keeps Muslims busy trying to fulfil them all. You can see how they might get the impression that all the rituals and works they do will make up for their bad deeds.

But that is not what the Bible says,

There is not one righteous, not even one.   Romans 3:10 (and Ecclesiastes 7:20)

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.    Isaiah 53:6

God’s Standard is Perfection 

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.     Matthew 5:48

If we go to court for breaking a law, the fact that we kept most of the other laws will not take away our guilt for the one broken. If we say, “Well, I may be here for drunk driving; but I haven’t driven drunk since then, and I didn’t even run a stop sign on the way here!” will the judge be impressed?

God’s standard is perfection. Does this mean that God does not care if we are good? No! He is happy when we are good. But we can never be good enough to deserve eternal life. By explaining it this way, we do not insult Muslims’ attempts to do good deeds. 

  • We do not deny that the existence of their deeds. We simply point out that they are not enough. We fall short of God’s standard. (In fact, falling short of the target is the origin of the word sin.)
  • Saying this prevents the presentation of the gospel from being sidetracked into what deeds are best, and whether Christians of Muslims have more good deeds.

Be aware that the Muslim concept of sin, hateya, is different than that in the Bible. Under certain situations murder, adultery, sexual immorality, pedophilia, theft, violence, destruction, harassment, rape, cursing and hatred are all not only acceptable, but promoted. So sin in Islam is less a matter of true moral guilt, than of not playing by the rules of the game.

Armed with these insights now, you see how it can be difficult for a Muslim to accept salvation through faith Christ. 

  • You can understand how, after years or decades of hard work, it would be very, very hard to believe that it is all in vain, and to accept God’s grace through Jesus. 
  • This loss might be considered an “opportunity cost” of this change, meaning that they may be reluctant to trade their handful of hope for the limitless blessings of Christ.

Message from Rev. Bob Siegel on Faith and Works

Bob explains that works and religious rituals, will not save us.

Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking the whole law. James 2:10

Bob says that the essence of our relationship with God is that he is going to rule in our hearts and we are going to obey him.

Bob’s Example of the Unwanted Gift: 

Bob asks, what if he wants to give you a watch, but he can tell by the look on your face that you don’t want it? Then he does not want to give it. Likewise, if we do not want the special relationship that God offers us, he will not give it to us. We must choose to accept it.

The Gift of God is: a relationship with him that begins in this life, but continues through all of eternity. Heaven and hell are consequences of our decision. But we must decide if we will turn from our sins and let him make us into the kind of the person God wants to be.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” not just heaven.  Christians should want to live godly lives.

Rev. Bob says we can show our desire to be saved and follow Jesus by praying, 

Lord, I turn from my sin. I need salvation through the cross of Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit in my life to give me the desire and power to obey you. 

It is our decision to accept in faith the process which will help us become obedient to what God wants us to be.

Muslims Ask: So Why Do Christians Have to Be Good?

QUESTION: In the video, Dr. C asks Rev. Bob how he answers this Muslim criticism, 

“Since Jesus saves you, Christians don’t have to be good. Christians can do anything because God forgives them. So God isn’t really just.”

ANSWER: How does Bob answer that? Actually, Bob has written a book on it. He shares the fact that the Greek language has different (fewer) words. So one word has more than one meaning. For example, in John 3:16,

… that whoever believes in him should not perish…

The word translated as “believe” in English, in Greek does not only mean intellectual belief. Believe also means trust, cling to, rely upon, adhere to, essentially to obey. That does not mean that we are saved by works. We will never be worthy. And we need the Holy Spirit to help us obey.

What is the Purpose of Christian Good Deeds?

QUESTION: You may ask, “So, if our good deeds do not save us, do they have a PURPOSE or are they just worthless exercises?”

ANSWER: Yes! They have several purposes – 

1. They bring salvation to other people:

God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. I Corinthians 1:21

2. They bring glory to God:

Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I Peter 2:12

3. They show that God is with us:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35

Whoever lives by truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done through God.    John 3:20

4. They will gain eternal rewards for the believer, making heaven a richer experience:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work. Hebrews 6:10a

The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43

Those who are wise will shine like the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.   Daniel 12:3

Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.    Luke 16:9

Balancing Faith and Works

How do we live our lives balancing faith and works, and grace and deeds?

How do we avoid the extremes of living:

  • any way we want 
  • or in fear that we must be perfect? 

We need to recognize that We are not saved BY good works, but FOR good works. 

Right after Paul tells the Ephesians that they are saved by God’s grace, not works and have no reason to boast, he says,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good workswhich God prepared in advance for us to do.   Ephesians 2:10

And to Titus he said,

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.  Titus 2:14 NLT

If someone truly is saved, you will see an eagerness to do good works.

Living by Grace versus Living by Works

Hannah Whitall Smith was married to Robert Pearsall Smith, a famous evangelist of the 19th century. He was very dramatic and popular, and a faith healer. By contrast, Hannah was down to earth and sensible. Eventually, when the miracles became less her husband started to lose faith. This however had no impact on Hannah, because her faith was based on God and his promises, not miracles.

In the long run, because of Hannah’s sound reliance on God’s promises, and her clear and simple way of explaining theological concepts, it was her faith that left the greater Christian legacy to the world. Several of her books are Christian classics, and highly recommended as reading for serious Christians. 

Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.

Is one of her simple proverbs. She pointed out how few people really live out what they claim to believe. We should step out in faith upon what we say we believe. That is the way to see God work. 

Hannah was part of the Keswick movement in England which was influenced by John Wesley. It encourages Christians not to stop at salvation, but to go on to holiness and the Higher Life of sanctification. Many great Christian workers like Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael and Billy Graham were part of the movement. Hannah emphasized along with the movement that,

“You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:3

Her teaching emphasized trusting and doing, without relying on our works and self-righteousness.

This chart, which contrasts the difference between living by works and living by grace, is adapted from Hannah’s most popular book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, published in 1870.

  Living by WORKS Living by GRACE

     Do and you will live

     Pay what you owe

     The wages of sin is death

     Demands holiness

     Demands the service of a slave

     Blessings a result of obedience

     Live and then you will do

     I forgive you all

     The free gift of God is eternal life

     Gives holiness

     Wins the loving service of a child

     Obedience a result of blessings


Or, as another wise Christian said about GRACE, 

Most of the problems with Christians are the result of not fully accepting God’s grace, or not giving it to others.

We agree. We need to live in the freedom of not needing to earn God’s grace, and we need to give it to our fellow beings.

Back to Huda’s Bible Lesson on Faith and Works

The Bible tells us,

Whoever claims to live in Jesus must walk as Jesus walked. I John 2:6

Jesus told us that not everyone who claims to be his really is, only those who follow his teachings (Matthew 7:21).

In Genesis (Taqueen in Arabic), Abraham believed God and his faith was counted as righteousness. His faith was so strong, that he was even willing to sacrifice his son. Muslims celebrate this day as the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al Adha. (Genesis 15:6 & 22:12, James 2:18-24).

The book of James in the New Testament talks a lot about the relationship of faith and works. The author, James the brother of Jesus bluntly says,

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead... As the body is dead without the spirit, so faith without works is dead.    James 2:17, 26

James points out that people may say that they have faith, but without works, how can they prove it? On the other hand, someone who says, “I have faith, and here are my works,” can prove it. 

Belief alone is not enough, says James, 

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder! James 2:19

Paul’s Parable of the Building and the Fire

In I Corinthians 3:10-13, the Apostle Paul tells us that the foundation of the Christian life is Christ. We can build on that perishable things like wood, stubble, or hay. Or we can choose to build on it gold, silver, or precious stones. He says our works will be tried as with fire. If Christ is our foundation we may be saved, but as if escaping a fire with virtually nothing. 

In the video lesson we illustrate this using a rock with a central hole, called a geode, as a foundation. Huda illustrates building upon this by putting sticks and gold inside of the geode.

This is the meaning:

Foundation – Christ

Building with wood, stubble, and hay – Worldly and selfish deeds

Gold, silver, and precious stones –  Good deeds

Fire – Day of Judgement

Example of Applying the Parable of the Burning Building:

For years, Dr. C had felt burdened with guilt for all the religious deeds she could not accomplish because she was so busy with her work as a doctor and her family. She knew that she was saved by faith in Jesus, but she felt she was not keeping up with Christian works.

At an important moment in her life, Dr. C came to see the positive side of this passage. It became a blessing! Works turned from a guilty negative to a happy positive. They became the carrot rather than the stick. 

WHY? The mistakes and bad deeds are not held against us. Upon judgement they will burn up and be forgotten. But whatever good we do, however little or however much, will be will be preserved. Does that encourage you also to do good deeds?

So, what are the kind of good deeds that would be gold, silver, and precious stones?  In the video lesson, Dr. C and Huda read Galatians 5:13-14,

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Another way of looking at is expressed by Paul in I Corinthians 6:12,

“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything.

Dr. C says this is the way we balance our gift of freedom with works: 

We should use our freedom to love and serve others.

Since our salvation is secure, we don’t need to spend our lives focused on ourselves and our good works list. No! Since we don’t need to worry about that, we can focus on living for God.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.    II Corinthians 5:14-15

HOW? As we discuss elsewhere, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave us primarily two commands:

1. Love one another 

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

2. Share the gospel

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.   Matthew 28:19, 20

Jesus said, Freely you have received, freely give.        Matthew 10:8

In many countries, Christians are in trouble for sharing the gospel. They are in jail or killed for it. Yet they do it to obey Jesus and live a life of love.

Many of us are tempted to live a Small Story – only for ourselves and our families – rather than as part of Jesus’ Big Story. The secret of how we can live for him was given to us by Jesus after the Last Supper. The Parable of the Vine. 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in youyou will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.   John 15:5

Dr. C says she is surprised by the power of abiding in Christ. Sometimes people ask her how she does what she does. She answers that it is not so much that she is trying, but that Jesus does it when we let the Holy Spirit live in us.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in meThe life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Dr. C summarizes:

  • The old way was to obey the law
  • The new way is to live a life of love through the Holy Spirit

Guaranteed Salvation

The video lesson did not get around to explaining this, but there is another great benefit of being a Christian: assurance of our salvation. In Islam, Muslims never know for certain if their works are enough to get them to paradise.

Praise God! Our salvation does not depend on us. Our salvation depends on God’s work, his truth, and his character. That takes a lot of pressure off of us. 

As with all theology, there is a variety of opinion in the church about how secure eternal security is. Most Christians believe that once and if you truly believe, you are forever saved. Jesus said, 

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.   John 10:28

His disciple John said it this way,

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.  I John 5:13

The Apostle Paul tells us that we are sealed,

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.    Ephesians 1:13,14

Some churches believe that if you really turn your back on Jesus, if you seriously no longer want him, he will not force himself on you. You are not snatched, you leave. He will let you leave. Most say that if you do this, you were never truly a believer in the first place.

As a neutral stance, one famous preacher said,

“I believe in eternal security, but I live like I don’t.”

That meant that he was not going to live just anyway, in the flesh. No. He would to stay close enough to the Lord that he could point to his works as evidence of his faith.

Christmas Celebration

Neither Jesus nor the Bible says we must celebrate Christmas. The tradition was set by Christians long after Jesus returned to heaven. 

Sometimes Muslims will criticize Christians for celebrating Christmas and Easter, and point out that we do not even know for certain when those events occurred. We do not need to get defensive over this. We can agree with them. We do not need to celebrate these holidays. A few branches of Christianity even avoid it. 

Jesus did not command that we commemorate these important events in his life. He only asked us to remember him with the Communion Service, or Eucharist. 

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.  Romans 14:5

This verse gives us freedom as to whether or not we celebrate these – and other – holidays. Most Christians want to celebrate special days like Christmas and Easter, so we do. The exact day that we do it on does not matter. Those in liturgical denominations celebrate more holy days, as a way to remember and teach events in the Bible and church history. 

(Note: Liturgical churches follow set readings and events through the calendar year. These include: Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and some others.)

Christian Childhood Christmas

To close the video lesson, Dr. Cynthia stands in front of the Christmas tree that she and Huda decorated. She tells us about her experience of Christmases growing up, explaining especially to any Muslims watching, that Christmas for Christian children is magical. They love the scent of Christmas trees and cookies, the bright lights and receiving presents. (Eid al Fitr, the feast which ends Ramadan brings excitement something like this for Muslim children.)

But through all of this celebration, she says, the truth of Christmas starts to come through: Jesus Christ came from God into the world. He came to save us and to teach us how to live! 

This indeed is the Greatest possible Gift and is worthy of celebrating – at Christmas, and every day!

(Note: We discuss more about Christmas, its significance, and its symbols in our study guide and Lesson on Christmas: God Becomes Man and is Three in One.)

Scripture References for this Lesson: 

Unless otherwise stated, New International Version is used. Some are New Living Translation.

  • II Corinthians 5:17 & 9:14
  • Romans 3:23 & 6:23 & 5:8 & 3:10
  • Ephesians 2:8-10 & 1:13-14
  • Revelation 21, 22
  • Genesis 15:6 & 6:9
  • Hebrews 6:18-19
  • Job 1:1
  • Micah 6:8
  • John 3:16, 20 & 13:35 & 14:6
  • Psalms 1 & 145:9
  • I Kings 18:28
  • II Timothy 2:5
  • I Corinthians 6:12
  • Isaiah 53:6
  • Matthew 5:48
  • James 2:10, 17, 26, 29
  • I Corinthians 1:21
  • Matthew 5:16 & 13:43
  • I Peter 2:2
  • John 13:35
  • Hebrews 6:10a
  • Daniel 12:3
  • Luke 16:9
  • Titus 2:14
  • Colossians 3:3
  • Matthew 28:19,20 & 10:8
  • John 15:5 & 10:28 & 5:16-47
  • Galatians 2:20
  • I John 5:13
  • Matthew 7:21
  • Genesis 22:12
  • James 2:18-24
  • II Corinthians 5:14,15
  • Romans 14:5

Islamic References:

  • Descriptions of Paradise: Qur’an 52:17-25 & 55:38-76
  • Allah only loves those who obey: Qur’an 3:31,32
  • Saved by works and faith in Mohammed: Qur’an 47:2,7
  • Angels record good and bad deeds: Qur’an 50:16-18
  • Good and bad deeds weighed at the Day of Judgement: Qur’an 99:4-8\
  • Giving Allah a partner in salvation is the unforgiveable sin in Islam: Qur’an 4:48
  • Fighting in battle for forgiveness of sins: Qur’an 61:10-12
  • Rewards for martyr: Jami at-Tirmidhi (Book on the Virtues of Jihad, Regarding Rewards for the Martyr online at
  • Mohammed unsure of his eternal destiny: Qur’an 46:9 and hadiths
  • Sahih Muslim 2818 (also vol 4 p 318, no 78 in Sahih Muslim’s “Book of Description of the Day of Judgement” by Dar al-Kotob Al-illmiyah, Beiruit Levanon)

Note: as in other lessons, although our examples are true, for safety we change the names of the people involved.

Study Questions:

  1. In the opening reality segment of the video we see gifts being exchanged. Former Muslim Huda asks why we exchange gifts at Christmas?
    • What did Dr. C answer?
    • How would you answer that question?
    • Can you think of a way that you could use Christmas gifts or another holiday activity to share the gospel with:
      • Muslims that you know
      • Someone else that you know who does not know or accept the gospel?
  2. Regarding salvation, what is the main difference between Christianity and every other religion, including Islam?
    • Give a Bible verse to support salvation through faith.
    • Give an example of the way to salvation in any other religion that you know.
  3. In Islam,
    • What is paradise like?
    • How does it differ from heaven?
    • How does one get to paradise?
  4. What is the gift of God?
    • How do we receive the gift?
    • What is the basis of the gift?
    • What does Bob Siegel say about salvation?
  5. Regarding good works, which religion tends to say,
    • We are saved BY good works – Christianity or Islam?
    • We are saved FOR good works – Christianity or Islam?
  6. The next time a Muslim challenges you that Christians can sin all they want because Jesus died for their sin, how will you answer?
  7. If we are saved by God’s grace, what are the purposes of good works?
    • Name at least 2 purposes, and 
    • give scripture references
  8. Do Christians have assurance that they are going to heaven?
    • Give a Bible verse to support your position.
    • Can Muslims be sure that Islam will get them to paradise?
    • If you were saved as an adult, was this assurance part of what appealed to you?
  9. Hannah Whitall Smith wrote classic books on Christian living.
    • Her life experiences helped her relate to others. What experiences of yours might help you explain some concept of today’s lesson?
    • What from her chart on living through grace versus living by works particularly struck you.
    • Hannah’s circle desired and worked towards holy living. 
      • What do you think might be good about seeing life this way?
      • Can you see any disadvantages?
  10. This study guide gave you several examples of Muslim thinking about faith and works.
    • Which example(s) especially struck you and why?
  11. The lesson ends with a description of how Christmas feels for Christian children.
    • What holiday excited you the most when you were a child?
    • Dr. C says although most of the Christmas festivities are secular, the meaning of Christmas starts coming through. What do you think this means?
    • What might you say to a Muslim, or other critic of Christianity the next time they point out that:
      • It is pagan to celebrate Christmas?
      • We don’t know when Jesus was born so it is fake to celebrate it?


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Lesson on The Christian Life

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Summary and Notes:

Quick Summary: Today’s lesson is on the Christian life – what it is about and how to live it. What a big topic for a single lesson! Although the content is not new for Christians, what is different is that we explain it for Muslim thinking. We hope that Muslims will see how Christian living is similar to and different from the Muslim way of living (sunnah). 

Muslims tend to think that everything they see from countries which have been called “Christian” is Christian – including the bad and immoral. So we clarify what Christian living is NOT. Muslims get confused by Christian denominations, so we briefly discuss those too.


  1. We try to keep our content non-denominational.
  2. We like to be as complete as necessary yet concise. But since this topic is broad and the study guide long, your group leader might want select what to focus on and discuss. 
  3. More details on some of today’s topics are presented in other video lessons and study guides.

Reality: Discussing Jesus in the Airport

In the West, we can discuss Jesus anywhere freely without fear, even public places like an airport. It is good for people to hear us discussing Jesus and how wonderful he is. Jesus gives us joy! Even though life is full of hardships, he wants us to be filled with his Spirit and delight in the blessings he gives us. (Galatians 5:22)

In this reality video Huda, a new Christian from a Muslim background, comfortably shares with us in a public place some of the things she finds amazing about Jesus. She mentions prophecy about his birth. Dr. Cynthia adds that the Bible tells us it was just the right time when Jesus appeared (Micah 5:2, Galatians 4:4). 

Huda tells us that she already shares these things about Jesus with her Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish friends, and they are surprised to hear them. That is why Jesus told us to tell his good news all over – people don’t know it. As the old Christian song goes, “Everybody ought to know who Jesus is!”

New Testament ADVICE on living the Christian life

The letters of the apostles in the New Testament contain theology and warnings of false teachers, but mostly focus on how to live the Christian life. Good summary passages include all of Romans 12, and Colossians 3:12-17.

It is important to recognize that Jesus promised us the abundant life – not the easy life. He did not want us following him under the false impression that everything would go well. Several places he clearly states that we will have problems and suffer in life, even if we follow him closely. The blessing is that he will be with us through it all, and bring good from it. (John 10:10, Matthew 10:17-39 & 28:20, Romans 8:28)

We do teach that the Christian life is not easy. Nevertheless we have seen Muslims, and others, become discouraged as new believers when they find that things are not working out as smoothly as they expected. 

A clue mentioned in the Bible is to keep our eyes on Jesus and things above. With his life and love in our sights, we are more likely to become like him, (Hebrews 3:1 & 12:2,3, Colossians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18).


Ask Christians to summarize the Christian life and you are likely to get many answers. You may hear:

  • a walk with God 
  • the abundant life 
  • a servant’s life 
  • being the child of the King
  • discipleship
  • a spiritual journey

Let’s start with a question: Why do we exist?

A popular Christian response is the first in the Westminster Catechism,

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.

Notice the two parts of this purpose statement: what we do for God, and what God does for us. 


  1. The Bible verses the catechism gives to support human purpose are: 
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 11:36, Psalm 73:24-26, John 17:22-24
  2. The word “man” is used in the old fashioned sense, meaning “humanity.” 
  3. A catechism is a summary of the principles of the Christian faith in the form of questions and answers. It is used for the instructions of Christians, primarily in traditional denominations. The benefit of the catechism form is assurance that the teaching covers all the important basics. Many churches favor a more relaxed approach to teaching.) 

Our way of putting the philosophy of the Christian life is similar to the Westminster Catechism’s, but more specific: 


We go into more detail on this in the study guide and Lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit, and other lessons. To summarize it here, we remind you that Christians can have:

Peace – with God, ourselves, and others

Purpose – something God has specifically called and gifted each of us to do

The Christian life is about balancing the two. The closer we follow God, the clearer and stronger our Peace and Purpose. Now let’s look at some of the disciplines that can help further our Peace and Purpose.

The DISCIPLINES of the Christian Life

This one lesson cannot cover in depth everything it takes to become a mature Christian. However, if as a Muslim, now Christian, you make it through our entire Christian from Muslim program, you will be well on your way to understanding Christian principles. It is up to you to put them into productive practice. We hope the study questions help you reflect on ways to do it.

OUR GOAL as Christians is to become like Jesus, our Savior and Lord:

For God knew his people in advance, and so he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.   Romans 8:29 NLT

Dr. Mike Licona shares with that there are disciplines of the Christian life. This is not the same as working for salvation. Disciplines are things we do to please God and have a richer experience in the Christian life. They help us to become mature believers. 

The 6 Disciplines of Christian Living include: 

  • Prayer
  • Bible study
  • Meeting with other believers
  • Worship
  • Serving others
  • Evangelism – Sharing the gospel

Let’s look at these six disciplines in greater detail.


The Importance of Prayer with Kevin and Dee

Prayer is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. Bible teachers Kevin and Dee share with us the importance of prayer in their lives. They have seen God miraculously answer many prayers. At times when things are not going well in their family life, they have stopped to remember that they have been praying less. 

Kevin and Dee also explain the importance of prayer in helping adjust our attitudes to be godlier and in line with what he wills, not simply seeking our own way.

Muslim prayer

Muslims pray at certain set times of the day. During these times specific prayers are to be made in Arabic. The exact number and time of the prayers, and the prayers themselves are specified by the sects of Islam. You might be surprised to learn that these details are not specified by the Qur’an, but by the hadiths, or traditions of each sect. 

(Note: We also discuss Muslim prayer in our study guide and video Lesson on Introduction to Islam for Christians.) 

Usually, we think of Muslims as praying 5 times a day, since this is for the Sunni, the primary sect of Islam. The prayers are scattered at times from before dawn, until bedtime. The exact times vary throughout the year depending on sunrise and sunset. 

It is sad for Christians to think of what Muslims pray every day. Several times they pray the first chapter of the Qur’an, which is known as The Fatiha. In it they pray that Allah will guide them in the right path, not that of those that turned away (the Christians) or those who earned God’s anger (the Jews). Since they pray often not to be led to the gospel, Christians must pray even harder that they will be!

Group prayer in the mosque (masjid) is favored, especially on Fridays. Prayer is done is certain positions, which change during the prayer session. When done in unison, Muslim prayers can make a spectacular impression, like a form of choreography. At times these prayers are done publicly to make a statement. The attention they attract is known to assist in converting people to Islam.

Women are not allowed to pray at all during menses because they are considered “unclean” then. They also cannot then touch the Qur’an. They need to make up for these later. We do not have this in Christianity.

Probably the most striking difference between Christian and Muslim prayer is that in Islam, one must pray in Arabic. This requirement has been so difficult for non-Arabic speakers that some have questioned why it must be so. 

Example of Muslim praying in Arabic: Ali, an African Muslim, wondered why Allah, who is much higher than people, required prayers to him be made in Arabic? Ali himself could speak three languages. Could he possibly be smarter than Allah? This quest eventually led him to become Christian.

Can Muslims make personal prayers? Some Muslims say no, that personal prayer was something that attracted them to Christianity. Other Muslims say that du’a’ is the type of personal prayer in Islam, which can be inserted after the memorized prayers are recited. 

Example of Muslim feeling distant in prayer: A Turkish university student asked Jay, a missionary in Turkey, if he could really pour out his heart to God in prayer? In Islam, he said could not. Jay said, “Yes, he could and did pour out his heart to God!” That difference opened up a line of ongoing spiritual discussions between the two men. Some months later the student became a Christian

A distant feeling of prayer in Islam might be part of what accounts for the prevalence of “folk Islam,” and other occultic practices in the Muslim world. These provide a way to direct powers to answer their needs. The distance can also make Muslims hungry to know the personal God of love that the Bible reveals to us.

Note: We go into greater detail in the study guide and Lesson on Islam and the Occult.

Example of Christian influence on Islamic prayer: Christianity seems to be influencing Islamic prayer in the West. In America there are now Islamic prayer seminars in English for how to feel closer to God through prayer. Previously only the small Sufi sect would claim this kind of closeness to through prayer.

Types of Christian Prayer

Personal – prayers from the individual to God. Usually when we pray alone we pray silently. But there are times that praying aloud can help us focus on our prayer, keeping out distraction. 

You can pray silently wherever you are at almost any time that you do not need to be focused on something else. It can develop into an ongoing conversation with God.

Collective – prayers are read or recited by believers together at the same time. Some denominations do this every time they meet, especially those with a liturgy. Praying together can give us a sense of unity, and that our prayers are magnified.

(Note: The liturgy establishes set prayers and Bible reading and messages throughout the year. Catholics, Lutherans, and Orthodox are noted for this.)

Group – prayer is when Christians pray in a group but not saying the same words at the same time. This is a common form that prayer meetings take, and so is good for new Christians to learn about. In fact, any time that a few Christians are together is a wonderful opportunity to pray. Jesus said,

“Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”  Matthew 18:20

In group prayer usually one person starts out with prayer and another closes with prayer. In between usually anyone in the group is free to pray. But there are times when everyone is quiet, praying silently together in their hearts.

Sometimes group prayers are for a specific purpose, for example: an event, an outreach, church needs, ministry, Muslims, or sick people. And sometimes prayer meetings are for any need on the participants’ hearts.

Written – prayers that were thought through and set down in advance of being prayed. They could be from the Bible, a prayer book, devotional, liturgy, or one written for a special occasion or personal use.

Recited – Jesus told us not to “babel” in prayer by simply repeat phrases over and over. However, sometimes we find it valuable to memorize certain prayers. This can help guide our prayer life when we feel blank, or inspire us to remember specific requests. When done right, reciting prayers is not simply a ritual, but reminds us of what our prayers should be, and makes them deeper.

For example, many Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer daily,

Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come. May what you want to happen be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, just as we have also forgiven those who sin against us. Keep us from sinning when we are tempted. Save us from the evil one. Matthew 6:7, 9-13 NIrV

Others memorize the prayers of Paul in the New Testament. (Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-13)

With recited prayers, we might be encouraged by the feeling that we are sharing in prayers with others who have come before us and prayed the same words.

(Note: when recited in a group in English, the old King James Version of the Lord’s Prayer is usually spoken.)

Spontaneous – many people yell “Oh God!” when they are trouble, whether or not they believe. Spontaneous prayer is something like that: it comes out of a believer’s spirit as a result of the situation that they are in at the moment. It might be a problem, challenge, or temptation that we need strength to face (“Lord please help me!”). Certainly there are many times during our week, even day, when we should remember to say, “Thank you Lord!”

Meditative – These are prayers made in a relaxed state, usually alone, when we focus on a meaningful Bible verse or phrase, and let its divine truth seep into our soul. In some ways this is like Eastern Meditation: it releases the same relaxing hormones through what is scientifically known as “the relaxation response.” But it is not identical to Eastern meditation. Eastern empties the mind, Christian meditation gently fills it.

(Note: we say more about meditation in our study guides and video on Lessons on Looking for Truth in World Religions.)

Conversational – this very personal form of prayer is a lifestyle which senses the presence of God with the believer in every action of life. And so, the Christian communicates with God on a moment by moment basis, as if a friend were present. 

(Note: There is a good example of this with our ministry sister Joanna and former Muslim Huda in our study guide and Lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit.)

Components of Christian Prayer

How do we pray?

If we only pray about our problems without praise and thankfulness, we do a disservice to both God and ourselves. Dr. C discovered this when she would pray in the morning about everything that could go wrong at the hospital that day. Finally she realized that with this practice she started the day already exhausted – worried about problems that hadn’t even happened! So, although we pour out our hearts in prayer it is good to think positively, trusting that God knows our needs. 

What do we say in prayer? Well, that partly depends on which of the above 8 types of prayer we are doing at the time. But in general, these are what most Christian teachers would suggest for our prayers:

Praise – honoring God for who he is: his majesty as shown in nature, his faithfulness, and his plan of salvation for us through the cross. This could be a time of silence and “centering” in who God is and the wonder of his glory. Centering washes away our earthly thoughts and distractions.

Thanksgiving – thankfulness should be part of the daily life of Christians. Although there is no set rule, it is good to thank the Lord for 5 things he has done for us every day. This practice not only honors him, but lifts our spirits as well. It helps us realize God’s ongoing care for us. Thankfulness releases hormones which help us feel that care and be contented.

Confession – we need to recognize our imperfections and sins and confess them to God. It is only reality to recognize that we are neither perfect nor worthy.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. James 1:9

Confession assists us in being humble.

God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble. James 4:6

Intercession – is where we petition God on behalf of other people, nations, causes, religions – things outside of ourselves. 

What should we pray for the world? For peace, for relief in disasters, persecution, or famine, for honest governments that uphold human rights, and for missions. 

Example of Prayer for National Peace: During times of distress and wars, individual prayers and group prayers have made a difference. For example, a Silent Minute of prayer was established during World War II. The chiming of the Big Ben clock in London was broadcast by radio at 9 pm nightly. People across the country, in battle zones, and even America would pray then for the end of the war and peace. After the war, a high-ranking Nazi official credited their loss of the war to this collective prayer movement. He said it was a secret weapon which they could not counter.

What should we pray for people? We pray that God will work in their lives, for comfort of their sorrows, for their earthly needs, and that the Lord will open doors for us to bless, encourage, and share with them the gospel. (Romans 13:1, Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 4:3)

Petition – is where we lay our own needs and desires before Jesus. Some leaders have said that we should not pray for ourselves, to expect God to act on behalf of something as unimportant as our needs. We don’t agree. We believe that God cares about everything in our lives. 

You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2

What should we pray for ourselves? The Bible tells us to pour out our hearts to God, and to cast our cares upon him because he cares for us. (Psalm 62:8, I Peter 5:7) 

There is one prayer that God has guaranteed to answer positively, and we should take advantage of this every day:

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”   James 1:5 NLT

Note that in context the advice to pray for wisdom comes right after James telling us that we will have trials. So we should especially remember to ask for wisdom when we are going through trials.

Holy Spirit intercession – the Bible tells us that we don’t always know what to pray, or how best to phrase it. This should be comforting to us, because we don’t know all the details of the situations and people that we lift in prayer. 

So, it is a good idea in every prayer of length to pause and let the Holy Spirit pray for you. In this pause you might simply remain silent, or you might say something like, 

“Lord, I don’t know all that’s going on in this situation, so I ask your Holy Spirit to pray for me that your will be done.”

At a time that you simply have a burden to pray, but you don’t know why or what for, you can pray, “Holy Spirit, wherever there is a need in the world, with believers or unbelievers, I ask you now to intercede.”

Perhaps you will find this amusing, but some have prayed, “…and anything else I should have prayed, Holy Spirit pray for me now.

(Note: Some denominations put much weight on “prayer in the Spirit,” especially if it is done in tongues, meaning in a different language. Many Christians believe in and practice tongues fully. Others deny that it is valid in the present age. Still others recognize that it might exist, but to avoid controversy pray in tongues privately only, or not at all. Since this denominational issue has led to much conflict in the church, we will not take a position here either way. We encourage you to seek unity with your family in Christ, recognizing that we will not be in agreement in everything. As was said by Christians in the Reformation:

Unity in essentials, liberty in particulars,

meaning we stand united in the basic doctrines of Christianity, but allow each other freedom to believe as we will on other issues and doctrines.)

Committing in Faith – is closing our prayers with recognition that God is in control. We trust him to answer our prayers according to his power and grace, and in wisdom of what is best for us and others. a popular example is, “…for yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” 

(Note: Amen might be a new word to you. It is an affirmative word, meaning, So let it be.)

Does God ANSWER our prayers?

Prayer does make a difference!

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 (NLT)

James tells us that because of wickedness, by prayer Elijah stopped the rain and caused drought, and by prayer he started it again.

Everyone has a tendency to think that if God is real he will answer prayers according to our desires. That is not true. Many factors are involved in whether or not God will answer our prayers: the reason we are asking, the spiritual condition of our heart, what is actually best for us, what is best for others, etc. 

If we truly have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into the family of God and he will hear our prayers. God answers every Christians’ prayers in one of these 3 ways:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait

We should believe when we pray, and not waiver – meaning flipping back and forth in our faith. We believe that God hears and will answer according to his wisdom and power. That does not mean that we need to have faith that God will do exactly what we ask in every situation. The Bible is clear that our motives must be unselfish, and we must want God’s will more than ours. (James 1:7,8)

Will God save others if we pray? There are various theologies on this. Some say that God has predestined people and so prayer makes no difference to them, it mainly changes us. Others say that God will work harder to influence someone to come to him if we pray for them. Both groups encourage prayer for others.

What about prayer for healing? This is certainly one of the most common prayers. Many people have become discouraged and even left the faith because they prayed for a healing that did not happen. On the other hand, many people have become Christians because God miraculously healed someone in their family. How can we view these opposite situations? 

Here are 3 important Things to Remember Regarding Healing:

  1. Ultimately it is God’s decision who gets healed and who does not. His ways are not our ways. Many wonderful things have come through not only healing, but the testimony of someone who is not healed.
  2. We will all die sooner or later. We will not always be healed. It is good to accept that there is a time for us to go to the home of our Heavenly Father.
  3. All Christians will be fully healed eventually – if not on earth, in heaven. That is a great encouragement to us when we or those we love suffer.

We must pray believing that God will act through our prayers for good. If it is not according to our will, we must accept his decision and way – whether it is Yes, No, or Wait.

(Note: see also our study guide and Lesson on the Place of Miracles.)

Can anything Block our Prayers?


  1. Intentionally sinning can,
    • If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.  Psalm 66:18
  2. Mistreating others can. You must treat people with kindness and respect, 
    • … so that nothing will hinder your prayers.   I Peter 3:7
  3. Selfish motives can,
    • You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  James 4:3
  4. Not being in relationship with God can block your prayers. Sometimes he does hear and answer the prayers of unbelievers, especially if it is something that will help them recognize who he is and assist them in going the right way. But just as an earthly father is not obligated to help a stranger, so God does not need to respond to unbelievers.

Prayer as a Weapon

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that we are in a spiritual battle and should pray constantly. 

Prayer and Fasting is often paired together in the Bible. The main benefit to this is that our hunger pangs can serve as a reminder to pray. Some leaders feel that our prayers are actually more powerful if we are fasting.

Turnabout prayer – one unusual way to turn a trial into good is by praying this way: when we suffer pain, heartache or other trial, besides praying for ourselves, we can immediately turn it into a prayer for others who are suffering the same thing. For example:

Problem: Physical Pain

Lord help those who are suffering pain. I pray for my friends with cancer. Strengthen and deliver those being tortured for you.

Problem: Unmet Needs

Lord, provide for those who are suffering hunger, or need shelter. Help me Lord, as I study for this exam. And help others who do not feel up to what life is throwing at them today. I lift to you others who need what I need.

Problem: Family Stresses 

I pray for my brothers and sisters who are also having marital problems. Give wisdom to other parents with wayward children.

Problem: Grief

Lord comfort others who have lost a loved one, like I have. Comfort refugees and provide for their needs.


Learning the Muslim holy book

Muslim schools, called madrasas, emphasize learning the Qur’an, especially through rote memorization. Devout Muslims start their children memorize the Qur’an at a very young age. Children of about 5 years old have recited Qur’anic surahs for Dr. C.

Muslims love to say that the Qur’an has never changed, and that it is the same on earth as it is on a tablet in heaven. This belief encourages them to honor their holy book. If you are Muslim you probably believed that, and if you are Christian working with Muslims you will have heard this insisted. 

But don’t let their insistence shake you. The Bible is much better preserved, and deserves a high place of honor in our lives.

Actually, there are many printed variant Qur’ans in existence today, with the two most commonly used being the Hafs and Warsh. They have over 5,000 differences between them. Plus, the handwritten manuscripts which have survived show variations and changes. 

(Note: we discuss this more in other lessons. If you are interested, new evidence is constantly coming out on the Qur’anic variants and can be researched on the internet and YouTube.)

Learning the Bible

Considering the dedication that Muslims have for the Qur’an, it should not be difficult for them to recognize the importance that the Bible has in the life of Christians.

 2 Timothy 2:15 & 3:15-17 tell us,

Do your best to present yourselves to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth…the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  

To be a mature Christian it is essential to know and follow what the Bible teaches. In many places the Bible tells us this, like: Deuteronomy, the Psalms, and the letters of Paul to the Colossians, and Timothy and Peter’s first letter. 

Throughout his ministry Jesus sets us an example of applying Scripture to his life, for example, by quoting it when he was tempted. He told us that to bear fruit we must let his words live in us. (Matthew 4:1-11, John 15:5)

Daily Bible Reading, with Kevin and Dee

Bible teachers Kevin and Dee share with us the importance of daily Bible reading in their lives. It is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. Through daily Bible reading we stay in touch with God’s way, our minds renewed and receptive to what God would show us.

(Note: We have several other lessons about the Bible, its composition, its inspiration, how to study it, and meditating on it. For more on the topic please see those videos and study guides.)


“Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT

Muslim Gatherings

Muslims are to gather collectively in the mosque every Friday for prayers and a message. It is their weekly holy day. Participation, like everything is Islam, is based on law and provides benefit to the participant. In addition, Muslims gather throughout the lunar year for various holy days.

Men and women gather separately in the mosque. Larger mosques have a separate prayer room for women. In smaller mosques, women pray behind the men. This is for convenience, since women may have children with them, and modesty since praying involves deep bowing which exposes one’s bottom to those behind.

Women are excused from gathering if they are: menstruating, have small children, or otherwise are kept home. However, they must make up the prayers and devotion that they miss during these absences. Being unable to keep up with these obligations is one of the main reasons that according to Islam, there are more women in hell than men.

Christian Gatherings

As Mike shares with us, gathering together with other believers is a discipline of the Christian faith. It helps make us all stronger. Usually Christians gather on Sunday*, as they have since the days of the early church. We sing together, pray, share scripture, and usually have a message from a pastor or special speaker.

(*Note: Seventh Day Adventists agree with other Christians on most doctrines except which day to rest and worship on: Saturday not Sunday.)

God made people needing a weekly day of rest. In the Old Testament he also told us to honor that day for the Lord. But Christians are not under that law. 

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  Colossians 2:16 NLT

In most Muslim countries Sunday is a work day, which makes it difficult or impossible for Christians there to join services. Even in America many of us need to work on weekends. If we must work on Sunday, we need not feel excluded from fellowship.

Now multiple weekend worship services are common in city churches. Many offer online services, and zoom meetings where the sick and elderly can participate from a distance in the safety of their own home. These offerings blossomed into popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing a silver lining for many stuck-at-home Christians. 

Some American churches have always been very active, offering different activities nearly every day. Dr. C grew up in a church like that. 

If we cannot gather together, we should recognize that it is going to have an impact on our faith. We should seriously try to schedule time together with strong believers.

Example: overseas working Christian. Jordan, one of our volunteer overseas national workers has a very responsible position which requires working on Sunday. She watches services online and fellowships with Christians when she can. She realizes this is not ideal, and it is difficult for her to get the encouragement she needs. But living in a Muslim country it is the only option available if she is to work.

Isolation of Christians from Muslim background

Being a Christian by yourself, makes the Christian life more difficult. You have no one to encourage you, share a positive word, pray for you, or provide an encouraging testimony. This is the unfortunate reality for many Christians of Muslim background. 

In America when Muslims become believers they often have more opportunity to find a church. Some choose an ethnic church from their background. But many do not feel comfortable in them because of the different cultures of Muslims and Christians within the same country overseas. Each side suspects the other. This attitude can carry over to America.

In Muslim countries, if churches are allowed at all, they are forbidden to convert or welcome Muslims into their midst. If a Muslim shows up at church the Christians fear he is a spy. They could get turned in to the authorities and lose their church or even their freedom.

Frequently the new believer is not allowed into the church. Can you imagine how discouraging that would be? You finally find that Jesus is the way, but your new Christian family rejects you! You might end up wondering if what that the Bible says about Christian love and fellowship is real at all.

If they persist, these new believers can often find someone to baptize them or fellowship within their country. But not always. We have seen believers grow weaker in faith when they return home to Muslim countries. We must always lift them in prayer.

Example of overseas contact seeking fellowship: Raffy of Saudi Arabia contacted us after watching our video lessons. He had studied in America and was hoping to visit again for baptism and discipleship training. But the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled that. He still lives in Saudi, without fellowship and in fear. Raffy needs our prayers.

Although we communicate with other believers we know in Saudi, due to fears we cannot ask them openly about their faith and fellowship.

Good news however! There are now online churches for Muslim background Christians. In the safety of their homes, if the signals allow, overseas Muslims who have become Christians can now connect. They can sing together and fellowship with other Christians who like them are stuck in Muslim countries or families.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

Even in America, some Christians from Muslim background cannot freely gather with other Christians because they are in Muslim families. 

Example of formerly Muslim woman in America: Nelly’s parents and husband’s family are strict Muslims from North Africa. Because of this, although now a Christian, she still wears her hijab, and does not go regularly to church. She fears that her relatives will discover she is no longer Muslim and take the children from her. This is their right in Islam. 

However, Nelly has more freedom since her adulterous husband left her. She has been able to arrange a week off for discipleship training conference for former Muslims. Occasionally she meets with Dr. C or other Christians in person or online. 

Please pray for Nelly and believers like her to find more fellowship.


Muslim Worship

Muslim worship involves reciting portions of the Qur’an, praying in a ritual manner with changing positions – both alone or in unison with others, and on holy days like Fridays, listening to a khutbah, or sermon. 

You might be surprised that music is not traditionally part of Muslim worship. In fact, strict Muslims avoid music entirely, as something that is evil because it touches the emotions. This is why you may have heard of the Taliban shooting people at weddings which have music.

Example of Muslim response to Christian Music: The first time Dr. C heard that music was wrong for Muslims, was at an outreach many years ago at one of America’s biggest mosques. 

Dr C and Joanna were visiting from out of state, investigating Muslim neighborhoods for outreach potential. They had brought Jesus DVDs and tracts to distribute somewhere that God directed. Having investigated and prayed, they were determined to go to this particular mosque. A local missionary called shortly before they left and warned them not to go there, that it was too dangerous. They were afraid enough already, and this call did not help! But in faith, they decided not to look to the right or to the left, as the Bible says, but to stay to the path God had called them to.

During the outreach, white-haired imam came out to speak to Dr. C, either to distract her from distribution or to try to convert her. One of the several challenges he gave to her was why Christians had music in church? That seemed wickedly sensual to him! 

While Dr. C answered this and other challenges, Joanna finished distributing the remaining items to the eagerly receptive cars. Hallelujah! Over 200 went DVDs and tracts went out that day, despite the attempts of the missionary and the imam to stop them!

(Note: After a Christian life well spent, Joanna has now joined Jesus in heaven. You can see her enthusiastic advice to Huda on how to practice the presence of God in our video Lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit.)

Christian Worship

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Psalm 105:2

Worship services

Usually when we speak of Christian worship, we are referring to services where Christians join together. Most often these are weekly.

Christian Worship Styles

What we are used to largely determines how we react to the worship styles of others. Dr. C received another challenge over the internet from a Muslim who was shocked at the music and variety of Christian worship. He said, 

“Christians do all kinds of things is their worship services, like singing, clapping, shouting, lifting their hands, and dancing. How can you justify this? Where did Jesus teach this?”

Dr C answered, defending, “All of those forms of worship are mentioned in the Zabur – the Psalms of David and others. They were already accepted at the time of Jesus. He did not need to teach them.”

Differences in worship styles, especially musical styles, are some of the most obvious ways in which Christian churches differ. Some more traditional churches sing old hymns from traditional hymnals accompanied by traditional instruments, like the organ and piano. Some are even in ancient languages.

Nowadays, more and more churches opt for modern songs with lyrics projected on a screen, accompanied by guitars, keyboards, and drums. Rather than a choir they have a worship team of 3-5 people performing, without an official director leading the congregation to keep in time. A few denominations refuse all instruments.

Since the Bible’s Psalms talk about a wide variety of worship styles and body worship positions, they should all be valid for today as well. But the Psalms do not include musical notes. This is actually good because it leaves every generation and culture free to develop their own musical style, rather than relying on what was fashionable 3,000 years ago in the Middle East.

You might prefer a church with a solemn worship style, one which emphasizes quiet contemplation of the awesome majesty of God. On the other hand, perhaps you enjoy shouting out to the Lord in joy, clapping or raising your hands in praise, or at times even jumping a bit for joy. There are excellent churches which engage all of these worship styles. 

There is a debate now about how much music in churches should entertain, versus be simple. Dr. Cynthia tells us in the video that she actually enjoys nearly every style of worship. But she realizes not everyone does. She suggests that you find a church with sound doctrine and a worship style that blesses you. 

Personal worship

This may occur in an individual Christian’s quiet devotional time with God, reading and meditating on his word. For your personal worship, besides reading the Bible you could also listen to worship music on the radio, internet, CDs or downloads. 

Each of us in unique in our experience in life and music, so it should not be surprising that some music touches us more than others. To increase your sense of worship, try to find music that encourages your heart and Christian growth. 

There may also be times throughout the day that your heart adores or rejoices in the Lord. Both of these become more natural when we become fully aware of God’s goodness and presence. Memorizing some meaningful Christian songs and Bible verses that you can take with you everywhere is a worthwhile contribution to your personal worship and encouragement.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.   Ephesians 5:19 (NIrV)

Worship experiences

The act of worship can involve a person’s entire being. When we sing a song of worship to God, or meditate on a meaningful Bible verse our focus shifts. Our everyday existence with its problems and cares can fade away as we renew our mind with thoughts of God and his power. 

Worship experiences encourage us that we are not on our own. They confirm in our spirit that God is in control of the universe and yet cares about us. Washing our brains with these positive thoughts has the beneficial result of releasing positive chemicals that strengthen and cheer us.

Singing together with others adds another component to the experience. Even secular music groups often feel fulfilled or unified when making music together with others. Likewise and beyond, when Christians sing together there is the opportunity for group bonding. In group worship, there can be an experience of being alone with God at the same time as we are united with others. This is especially true with music that touches our hearts.

Mystical experiences can also happen during private or individual worship. Believers may report unique feelings or visions. These mostly bring individual encouragement. But as with human relationships, we need to remember that the person is more important than the pleasurable feeling they give us. We must not elevate the experience above our devotion to God. And we must not allow it to make us proud.

Everyday worship

You might look at worship as something that people do to honor God when they are gathered together. But on a deeper level, how an individual lives their life overall is also considered their worship. For example, mosque outreach like the one in the example above is a form of worship, if we do it unto God with love in our hearts for him and others. It is a sacrifice to God. Romans 12:1 tells us to,

…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

The verse following that gives us an idea of how to live as a sacrifice,

Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2 NLT


Jesus told us that he came as a servant. We should imitate that. The greatest of his followers is the servant of all. (Mark 9:35)

Every Christian has been given spiritual gifts to serve and strengthen the church, or bring others into it. Mike Licona shares with us types of Christian spiritual gifts.

There are three good New Testament passages on spiritual gifts. They list a variety of gifts, with no one list being complete. 

So we know that there may be unusual spiritual gifts not mentioned, perhaps because they fit with a later culture. For example, people with strong computer skills are now much needed for Christian work. (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-31,  Ephesians 4:4-13).

Some of the gifts we will look at are: hospitality, serving, counsel, giving, mercy, teaching, and a variety of practical gifts.

The Body of Christ

Every believing Christian is a member of the body of Christ. The Bible passages tell us that different people have different gifts, just as a body has different parts. But all the parts work together in a body to benefit the whole. Ephesians tells us that the purpose of the gifts is to,

…equip God’s people to do his work and build up his church, the body of Christ … so that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:12,13 NLT

The Bible warns us against being proud about how we have been gifted. At the end of 1 Corinthians 12, it tells us to seek spiritual gifts, but to know that love is more important than all the gifts. We can all have love from God as a fruit of his Spirit. 


In Islamic cultures, hospitality is extremely important. Western Christians cannot, and possibly should not match the hospitality of Muslims and the Middle East. With much of the region engulfed by deserts, hospitality became a survival necessity for everyone. It also became an art form and source of pride. 

Example of Middle Eastern hospitality: a Palestinian in America became notable for hospitality. He entertained many Arab visitors – even ones that he scarcely knew or even disliked. They would not consult him on what was a good time for him, as Westerners usually do. They would simply announce that they were coming. In order to be a good host he would take off work for days, even risking his employment and financial stability. 

Dr. C would advise him, “Just tell them that you have to work! That’s what I do. They can’t expect you to drop everything for them.” But he could not violate his ingrained hospitality standards.

Hospitality advice. We encourage Western Christians to keep in mind the hospitality expectations of Muslim culture. In our relationships with Muslims we must be hospitable and not stingy. We don’t advise that you risk your job or finances to be hospitable. But you will probably be expected to give and receive more hospitality than you are used to. 

And former Muslims especially in the West, please accept that lesser hospitality from Christians here reflects their culture. Also, know that the Lord can deliver you from burden of excessive hospitality. (Luke 10:41,42)

Serving meals is nevertheless a longstanding tradition in the Christian church, going all the way back to its beginning. Licona’s discussion about hospitality and serving meals includes reality footage of Dr. Cynthia and other volunteers preparing a ministry event. Other places Christians serve food is for the homeless and poor, for fundraisers, for group meetings and social gatherings.


Muslim counsel. Imams, who serve like pastors for local mosques, are often consulted for interpretation of Islam and advice. On the whole however, you might recall that everything is Islam has already been thought out and turned into a law. In the modern world there are times where Muslims struggle to apply Islamic Law to new situations. So fatawa (pleural of fatwa), official Islamic decisions are still being made.

Examples of Muslim counsel: Dr. C has books of fatawa for women which apply Muslim Law to contemporary life. For example, they tell women that because Islam is against the depictions of living things, they cannot collect family photos. Neither can they have birthday parties, because there is no record that Mohammed did.

Christian counsel. Being human, Christians have problems. Like Barnabas with Paul and later John Mark, this gift of Christian service encourages others. It helps coach them to find where God really wants them.

Wise and experienced Christians routinely give counsel to those in trouble. Often pastors do. It is important for anyone giving advice to know when the situation requires professional psychological or medical help.

The Gift of MERCY

Some people are compassionate and are gifted at showing mercy. They help those who have gotten themselves into trouble, often by not following God’s ways. This is also considered a spiritual gift.

The Gift of GIVING

Finally, Mike mentions the gift of giving. Although some are financially blessed, all Christians should give money to church and charity. 

Muslim giving. As with other aspects of Muslim life, giving to charity is an obligation. The exact amount varies by sect. With the tremendous wealth now within the Muslim world, this practice is  funding mosques, madrasas, and university departments of Islamic Studies worldwide.

Christian giving is not under obligation. In general though, teachers, especially pastors, point to 10% of our income to be given to the Lord’s work, since that is what was specified under the Law of Moses (Leviticus 27:30).

Rather than as obligation, the Lord wants to give out of thankful appreciation.

…whoever sows generously will reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:6-8

As is common knowledge, families and individuals have become busier over the last two generations. Previously most households had one income, and there were fewer entertainments to distract us. Now many, if not most American households have two or more incomes. 

The result of increasing employment is that volunteering has greatly fallen. Charitable organizations have suffered and some have closed. With donated time decreasing and productive work increasing, sincere Christians should consider giving more money to make up for it.

Example of working and giving balance: Although very active in ministry now, there were years in Dr. Cynthia’s life when between her medical work and family duties, she had very little time for Christian service. During these times she was reduced to serving through giving money and intercessory prayer. These are ways of contributing that busy working people can do with limited time. 


In the mosque. Through mosque and madrasas Muslims are taught Islam; however much of the Muslim lifestyle they learn is through living in a Muslim community.

In the church. Licona mentions that some people have learned much about the Bible, and are gifted in teaching it. Mature and older Christians are encouraged to teach the newer and younger Christians. Christian teaching is through sermons, Sunday School, Bible studies, Christian schools, seminaries, and discipleship programs.

Several guests we have on our series, like Mark Vyka and Kevin, although not famous as others of our guests, are gifted Bible teachers and serve in their local churches.

In seminaries pastors and other clergy are taught not only the Bible, but its original languages, cultures of the time, commentaries, and ways to understand and analyze the Bible.

At Home. Muslims are told that “Paradise is at the feet of your mother.” This means Muslim mothers should raise their children to be devout Muslims.

Christians are encouraged to bring up our children as believers. We cannot leave them to secular school teachers, thinking that they will grow up neutral. Yes, we believe that everyone needs to choose for themselves what they believe personally; but it is the duty of parents to teach children what Christians believe, and train them in Christian behavior. (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6)

Teaching important Life Skills:

Finally, teaching skills that will benefit others and the church is important. An emphasis on teaching reading has been part of Western Christianity for about 500 years, since the Reformation. The priority was for Christians to learn to read the Bible themselves. Sunday Schools were started to give the working children a chance to learn to read. As a result of more people reading, all education flourished in these countries. 

A wonderful gift that Americans and some others have is being able to speak English. Most of us did not need to go to a foreign language school to learn it – it was just part of growing up in an English-speaking country. That gift alone opens doors for Christians to serve – maybe even you!

Examples teaching English overseas:

Dr. C’s first overseas trip was as an English language coach in Christ College, Taipei, Taiwan when she was 19 years old. Taiwanese students, most of whom were Buddhist, would eagerly come to the college to practice English. They would also have the chance to live and eat with Christians from America. And they heard the gospel in groups meetings twice a day. For decades after, the students kept in touch with Dr. C, often having spiritual discussions.

Sometimes teaching English is the only door for getting into countries closed to the gospel. Our contacts serve within mainland China, Arabia, and Central Asia teaching American culture and language. 

Example of immigrant preference: With so many immigrants in America now, many churches and Christian-run friendship centers are offering English as a Second Language courses (ESL). A North African Muslim in Colorado told Dr. C that of all the ESL classes she had attended, she preferred the one at the church.


Example of Muslim Practical skills promotion: At a Muslim student meeting that Dr. C attended, the Muslim leader told the young people that they should choose careers not for their own sake, but those that would benefit the ummah, or people and influence of Islam.

Christian Practical Gifts: Teaching is a practical gift. In a way all gifts are practical if they help with the goal of building up the Body of Christ. 

Skills like that acquired with training, that are useful in secular life, can also be considered spiritual gifts as well when used in Christian service. Practical gifts have been part of service since the beginning. For example, Dorcas making clothes for the poor.

Other examples of practical gifts: are administration, accounting, and helping. Without these the church would be disorganized, and without organization we would lack the tremendous worldwide impact that Christians have to this day. Teaching practical skills is also a part of church ministry: reading and writing, sewing and farm skills, and healthcare.

Because music is part of Christian worship, singing and playing instruments are gifts that can be developed for Christian service.

Example of Christian immigrant centers teaching practical skills: Shaheen directs International Friendship Centers throughout America that not only teach ESL, but skills like sewing, and provide support groups. These assist immigrants accommodate to life in America and provide some support for their families. Gathered together, the classes occasionally hear the gospel as part of devotionals and special events. 

New Christian mission emphasis on practical skills: Mission organizations for the past 50 years have changed from the “mission station” model to one more grounded in local participation. For this to work, outsiders help or teach them practical things on a temporary basis, like: developing computer systems, digging wells, and organizing schools.

Medical Ministry

Healing the sick through medicine and prayer have been functions of the church since it began, developing into the early hospitals. Many hospitals in America originated from Christian outreaches of compassion.

Overseas missions often got their start by bringing medicine to areas where there was none – or only a witch doctor or shaman. Even today mission hospitals are the best in some corners of the world. 

Short term medical mission trips deliver healing to isolated areas in Jesus’ name. Often while the patient and their family are awaiting treatment, someone shares with them how God can heal their hearts as well as their bodies.

Example of mission teaching practical medical skills: Volunteer Eithne and her friend Sister Frieda shared the dream of a nursing school in a remote area of Kenya. That dream came true, and Eithne became the dean of Nzoia School of Nursing.  

Eithne, while still living in America, visited this remote region of Kenya several times, to set up a nursing curriculum tailored to their needs in Africa. Within a few years they received the award for the best nursing school in the country. Praise God for fulfilling this beautiful dream in a powerful way!


One serving area America does lead the world in is volunteerism. Christians are encouraged to give back by serving alone and with groups. 

Examples of how/where our associates volunteer: outreaches, ministry boards, church boards, mission committees, drama teams, translators, medical teams, charities, community committees, driving, babysitting and teaching.


Everyone can pray for healing, but some people seem supernaturally gifted in this. Sadly, there are also fakes. Again, those with flashy gifts need to guard against pride and showmanship.

Miraculous gifts are abilities not natural in people. They include:

  • Healing
  • Special “word of knowledge” 
  • Speaking languages or “tongues” that one has not studied
  • Prophecy, which includes:
    • speaking or preaching about God through his Spirit
    • at times future prophecy 
    • dreams and visions are especially common with Muslims coming to Christ

Even without special gifting in miracles, most Christians can recount where God has intervened in their lives in ways that they consider miraculous.

(Note: See also study guide and video Lesson on The Place of Miracles.)

EVANGELISM: Sharing the Gospel, and the Gift of Evangelism

Do Muslims “Evangelize” for Islam?

Yes, they do! This is called da’wa, or the invitation to Islam. In America it is practiced on essentially all sizeable university campuses where they have weekly informational tables, and open events. Fastathons for Ramadan, and wear-a-hijab days are ways that they gain interest of students. 

Other ways Islam reaches out are open mosques events. In almost every walk of life in the West now, we can see how Islam is spreading its message and gaining acceptability. 

According to Islam, Muslims should not live under the authority of a non-Muslim country. Muslims in the West, if sincere, need to justify being here. It is acceptable if they are gaining knowledge, or doing something that benefits Muslim people or spreads Islam. 

Most Muslims consider peaceful voluntary conversion to Islam preferable. However, both the principles and historical practices of Islam testify that violent and involuntary imposition of Islam is acceptable. It is also required to offer conversion and submission to their enemies before attacking them.

Examples of Muslim evangelists: include imams, international students, taxi/shuttle drivers, YouTube testimonials and pleasant presentations of Islam. 

  • Muslim students have told Dr. C that they had planned spread Islam here.
  • After a few long discussions with a shuttle driver, Dr. C connected him with Arab evangelist Brother E. The two spoke about the gospel for two hours, during which time the driver admitted he had come to America as a missionary, and so far had converted several to Islam.
  • Not surprisingly, Arabic speaking Muslim leaders have told Brother E that they came here to evangelize.

CHRISTIAN EVANGELISM – Sharing the Christian Gospel, with Kevin

There is a gift of evangelism, in Christians who seem especially gifted and sharing the gospel and bringing others to Christ. But there is a general sense in which all Christians are to be involved in sharing the gospel.

Bible teacher Kevin, in this video shares with us that being a Christian involves walking as Jesus walked, doing the things Jesus did. We call this sharing the gospel in word and deed. (1 John 2:6)

We share the gospel by showing love to believers and unbelievers, both friends and enemies. The other thing we need to do is share the gospel story in word – God’s way of salvation through forgiveness of our sins by Jesus’ blood. 

We can share the gospel by several means, including: 

  • making sure that all of our family and friends and work or school connections know the hope we have found in Jesus
  • wide scale distribution of tracts, DVDs, and Bibles 
  • purposely making new friends with whom we will share the gospel (which we call small scale outreach)
  • using the internet and television (which can be personal or ultra-large scale outreach)
  • meeting and talking to people in public places 

Our associates do all of these. Above we gave an example of wide scale distribution at a mosque. For additional illustrations, the video includes photographs of ministry volunteers active in outreach, including campus and various ethnic events, and Dr. C sharing the gospel with Muslims in Hyde Park in London.

All Christians are called to spread the gospel with love and words. We encourage you to find a way that you are comfortable with and pursue it!

(Note: See also the study guide and Lesson on Baptism and the Great Commission)


Think about what we wrote above about spiritual gifts, and how you might fit into it. If you haven’t already found your spiritual gift or gifts, why not pray now and ask the Lord to reveal them to you?

Christian HOLINESS

The word Christian means “little Christ.” So, Jesus Christ should be seen in us more and more as we seek to be like him. What do Muslims see when they look at Christians? Christians have freedom, but we are told not to use our freedom as a stumbling block. (1 Corinthians 8:9)

(Note: we discuss more about this in the study guide and Lesson in Liberty or Laws)

Holy Living

The Bible says, 

Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. 1 Peter 1:15

No one is or can be perfect, but Christians are to try to please God. To be a holy person is to be Godlike – as perfect as possible. 

Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.   Colossians 1:10

In this lesson we emphasize the disciplines, or positive goals of living a Christian life. But there are also things we should avoid. Several places in the Old and New Testament there are lists of behaviors that displease God, like, sexual immorality, drunkenness, gossip, lies, theft, violence, rage, unclean language, disobedience, unkindness, selfishness, greed and refusing to work. Sometimes these negative deeds are called the works of the flesh. 

One thing that Muslims are especially attuned to is the way Westerners dress. We do not suggest that Christians in the West dress like Muslims. But we should remember that although we have liberty, the Bible does instruct us to dress modestly and to avoid being a stumbling block. Modestly is a relative term, we realize that. For this reason we suggest that Christians dress as the most modest people of their own culture. (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3:3,4)

(Note: We go into more detail on this in the study guide and Lesson on Liberty or Laws?)

In contrast to the works of the flesh, we are encouraged to abide in Jesus and let the Holy Spirit bring forth the works of the Spirit in our lives. (Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-8, Colossians 3:5-8, 2 Timothy 3:2-4)


Many Muslims and others are confused about why there are different Christian denominations. 

First, Dr. C explains that it is not only Christians who have many denominations – every large religion has branches with different beliefs, for example Islam and Buddhism. It is human nature to want to do things in a variety of ways.

REASONS for Christian Denominations 

It is not in the human character to agree on everything – just as preferences vary on everything from food to favorite colors – people vary in their understanding and practice of the Christian faith.

Doctrinal Differences: In general, those considered “Christian” agree on certain beliefs as set forth in “creeds.” Beyond these, some of the reasons for Christian denominations are on other beliefs, or doctrinal differences.

Although there are numerous smaller doctrinal differences between Christian denominations, some important or noticeable differences are: 

  • size, organization and authority structure
  • beliefs regarding the communion service, or eucharist:
    • if it is symbolic or the actual body and blood of Jesus
    • how frequently the service is performed
    • if it is required to keep us connected to Christ
  • whether a priest is needed to intercede between Christians and God, or if rather, there is a priesthood of all believers with Jesus as the high priest
  • whether or not the head of their church holds the authority of Christ on earth
  • prayer only to God, or to God and saints who intercede with him
  • the degree of devotion given to saints
  • the understanding and practices of baptism:
    • infant, without understanding
    • adult, with understanding and voluntary commitment to Christ
  • formal or informal styles of worship service 
  • the spiritual gifts emphasized

Non-doctrinal Differences: With few exceptions, worship services in all denominations include music, prayer, scripture reading, and a message from a pastor or other trained leader. Some reasons for denominations besides doctrine are:

  • language or culture based, reflecting the region in which they arose. 
  • emphasis on certain aspects of the Christian life, like missions, service, or social justice
  • personality and education 
  • diversity in styles of worship and music.

Categories of Denominations: Individual churches fall into these broad categories:

  • Liturgical
    • Traditional – having historic roots, such as: Catholic, Coptic and other Orthodox churches
    • Early Protestant – examples: Lutheran, Anglican (Episcopal/Church of England)
  • Evangelical – Protestant traditions emphasizing personal commitment to God through Jesus Christ
    • Examples: Baptist, Evangelical Free, Christian Missionary Alliance, independents
    • Note: some liturgical churches are evangelical in teaching and outlook
  • Charismatic – a form of Protestant, usually evangelical church, which 
    • Emphasizes spiritual gifts, especially miraculous
    • Examples: Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Church of God, Foursquare, independents
  • Cultic – churches developed around a leader who emphasized their own teachings over those of the Bible, 
    • usually have a new holy book
    • usually have a different view of the deity of Christ than that of the creeds (for example, that he is not God). 
    • because of these extreme differences, many do not consider them Christian
    • their thinking and lifestyles are usually closer to Christian than Buddhist, Hindu, or pagan, and usually see and present themselves as Christian.
    • examples: Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Science, Moonies

Christian ministries also tend to fall into these same four categories. 

We feel that all who believe in and follow Jesus Christ as their Savior are part of the Body of Christ, the church, regardless of their denomination. Some denominations strongly state that only they have the truth, or exclusive way to heaven. We disagree. 

God saves us, not our perfect theology.

No Christian or denomination has perfect understanding. Only God is perfect and has full understanding. Having come from a tradition where perfect theology seemed to be part of salvation, it took Dr. C decades to realize that. 

If it were important that each detail be fully understood, the Bible would have clarified them. But many details are not clear. So, although the Bible emphasizes that we should endeavor to know God well, we are to walk humbly with him, in recognition that we do not have full understanding. (Jeremiah 9:24, 2 Timothy 2:15, Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 29:29, Ephesians 2:8)

Under persecution denominations become of little importance. Richard Wurmbrand, a pastor arrested by Romanian communists said, “In prison there are no denominations.” Himself a Lutheran, he shared in fellowship and communion with all the believers there, including Catholic, Romanian Orthodox, and Protestant.

In some ways having a variety of Christian denominations could be a good thing. It allows freedom and diversity of understanding and style of worship. For example, some people are distracted by congregational shouting or speaking in tongues in church, while others are encouraged by it. It is good to have a choice so everyone can find a church where they feel comfortable. 


  1. Be sure that the church you attend truly does teach the Word of God, the Bible. Many no longer do. 
  2. Also, beware of any church that places a different holy book or the teachings of another “prophet” above the Bible – even if they do lip service to accepting the Bible. This is what Islam and the cults do. Indeed, there are experts who consider Islam a cult of Christianity because they, like Mormonism, claim to accept the Bible, but put the teachings of their prophet and his book above it.


What is a Real Christian?

In Islam, religion and culture and the political systems are closely intertwined. Although a few Muslim nations claim to be secular, there is really none that has successfully separated the three. Commonly their countries are called “Islamic Republics.” Therefore, it is natural for Muslims to assume that this is the relationship between every: 

religion political system and culture.

In the West however, this close relationship is not the case. Yes, Christianity has influenced Western culture, for the better, but it lacks the kind of strong association of Islam with politics and culture. The West allows personal freedom in choice of religion and behavior. Islam provides a system of Sharia Law which creates the culture and limits personal choice.

For those coming from a Muslim culture, where everyone is considered to be Muslim, it is an easy jump to consider everyone in the West to be Christian. This leads to significant misunderstandings. For example, Christians frequently find themselves blamed for the sins promoted by Hollywood. They often need to employ apologetics to defend mistakes of some American and European civilizations of the past.

And so, we have found that new Christians from Muslim background often do not use the best discernment in deciding:

  • what Christian to use as an example
  • or take as a good friend

Sometimes, merely wearing a cross confirms to a Muslim that someone is a true Christian. That this is because, as the Bible tells us, people look at the outside, but the Lord looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7). 

So What does make a Real Christian?

Dr Cynthia explains to us in the video lesson what it takes to become a Christian: 

  • We must decide personally.
  • We are all sinners. We must admit that we are not perfect.
  • No one is perfect and deep down we know it, so this shouldn’t be difficult, but somehow it is.
  • We must understand that God our Creator is just and punishes wrongdoing. 
  • But as a father takes responsibility for his child’s errors, in his compassion our heavenly Father became human and took that punishment himself. 
  • Believing this saves us and makes us part of God’s family! 
  • Why not pray now, and tell God that you believe it   this is for you!

Then, once we believe we start on our journey of the Christian life. We should find out God’s way and live it day by day. Perhaps by following the guidelines in this study guide.

Come near to God, and he will come near to you. James 4:8

We are praying that this lesson is a blessing to you, and helps you grow in the faith and grace of the Lord. Following the Christian disciplines we discuss here would go a long way toward making God’s presence more real in your life.

Scripture References for this Lesson:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Galatians 5:19-22 & 4:4
  • Micah 5:2
  • I Corinthians 10:31
  • Romans 11:36 & 8:28
  • John 17:22-24
  • Matthew 4:1-11 & 10:17-39 & 28:20
  • I John 2:6
  • Psalm 62:8 & 73:24-26, & 119:11
  • Colossians 1:9-13 & 3:5-8,12-17
  • Philippians 1:9-11 I Peter 1:15, 2:2, 5:7
  • James 1:5,7-9 & 4:2,3,6,8 & 5:16
  • Deuteronomy 6:6
  • Jeremiah 9:24
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 & 3:2-4,15-17
  • John 15:5 & 10:10
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
  • Psalm 105:2
  • Leviticus 27:30
  • Romans 12:1-21
  • 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 
  • Ephesians 2:8 & 3:14-21 & 4:4-13 
  • Ephesians 5:3-8,19 & 6:4
  • 1 Timothy 2:9
  • 1 Peter 3:3,4
  • Mark 9:35
  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Micah 6:8
  • Deuteronomy 29:29
  • I Samuel 16:7
  • Hebrews 2:10
  • John 3:16
  • Luke 10:41,42


  1. New International Version is used unless stated otherwise. Additional translations used in this lesson are: the New International Reader’s Version, and the New Living Translation
  2. For their safety, names have been changed.

Islamic References

Paradise under mother’s feet: Hadith Sunan al Nisai 3104 

Prohibited prayer during menses contributing to women in hell: Sahih al Bukhari DuS # 304 & 5197 (and 8 other places in this source)

Study Questions:

  1. This lesson is designed primarily to explain to Muslims what it is like to live as a Christian.
    • What is a Christian discipline?
    • Review the disciplines we discuss in the video and/or study guide.
    • What that we covered do you think is of essential importance?
    • Did we leave out anything you consider important?
  2. Dr. C mentions the close link between religion, politics, and culture in Islamic countries.
    • Review how Islam sees this connection.
    • How does this affect the Muslim understanding of America and Christians?
    • Discuss examples of this relationship you have seen in cultures that you are familiar with:
    • Christianity’s impact on America?
    • Any others?
  3. Hospitality is important in Muslim cultures.
    • What are examples of how you could be hospital to Muslims?
    • To others?  
    • How might what they appreciate be different from you?
  4. Evangelism is extremely important to us, especially Muslim evangelism. That is why we do these videos. 
    • What are several forms of evangelism that our associates are involved in? 
    • How do you feel about evangelism? 
    • What might you be able to do yourself to help bring the gospel to others?
  5. Most dedicated Christians consider Bible reading to be of essential importance. How do you think it should be practiced? How often?
  6. Prayer is powerful. It is a topic so important that many books have been written about prayer. The study guide covered what we felt were the most important aspects for you to know.
    • What types of prayer did we mention? Do you think you understood them?
    • What are the parts that should be included in prayer?
    • In your previous life did you pray? If so, how did the kinds of prayers and what they included differ from what you learned today?
    • Do you believe that prayer changes things, or us, or both?
  7. Regarding Denominations: 
    • Have you heard Christians being criticized for having many denominations?
    • Before this lesson, had you heard that other religions also have denominations?
    • If you are a member of a denomination, do you consider yourself first a member of that denomination, or first a Christian?
    • How do you feel about Christians in other denominations?
    • If you are a Muslim, consider what denomination you are and how it differs from others in Islam.
  8. As you saw in the video, Dr. C thinks that having a variety of denominations and worship styles is acceptable within the Christian faith. 
    • Do you agree?
    • If there is time, and the group leader thinks it is beneficial, discuss your feelings on denominations and worship styles.
  9. We talk about spiritual gifts in this study guide:
    • Had you heard of this before?
    • What are some practical spiritual gifts?
    • What are miraculous gifts?
    • What gifts that might be useful now were not around 2,000 years ago when the New Testament was written?
    • If you are a Christian, you have or will have spiritual gifts. What might yours be?
  10. Jesus served us. As Christians we should find a way to serve others, not only ourselves.
    • In what ways are you currently serving others?
    • Who do you know that you consider a true servant?
    • Are there any other ways that you are now inspired to serve?
  11. Regarding being a “real Christian”:
    • Have you ever struggled with or known someone who struggled with understanding what makes a real Christian?
    • In your own words, how would you define a real Christian?
    • How would you explain “real Christianity” to someone who comes from a very different culture like Islam, or maybe Buddhism, which sees everything in Western culture as “Christian?”
  12. Has watching this lesson, reading the study guide and answering these questions, inspired you in new ways of how you could live? 
    • How might that be?
    • If so, knowing that our enemy will try to discourage you from any improvement in how you serve God, what measures will you take to be sure that you follow through on your plans?
  13. Peace and Purpose is a view of the Christian life.
    • How is that?
    • How could seeing life that way help: 
      • simplify life?
      • change what you allow into your life?


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Lesson on Introducing the Bible to Muslims

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Download FREE PDF Version: Lesson on the Introducing the Bible to Muslims

Summary and Notes

Quick summary: The Bible is a large book which can be intimidating to those who don’t know it. In this video lesson and study guide, we explain to Muslims, and Christians teaching Muslims: the purposes of the Bible, how it is organized, and good places to start reading.

(Note: for a fuller understanding, we recommend that you also view these video lessons and study guides:

Reality – Washington D.C. and MAPS in Life

This reality clip takes you to Washington D.C. with Dr. Cynthia and Huda. Besides seeing a few sights of the area, you are encouraged to think about the importance of a map, cell phone, or GPS in helping you find your way around a strange place.

In a way, earth is also a strange place. It is a planet we are attached to for “our life on earth.” Growing up, we learn how to live within the expectations of our families and cultures, to succeed or simply to stay out of trouble.

We should also all think about where we came from, what we are doing on earth, and where we are going when we die. What “map” guides our lives? Is it the Qur’an? The Bible? Or simply our impulse of the moment?

Read the Bible to Nourish Your Soul, not for Points

With Bible Teacher Mark

As we discuss in another lesson, Muslims believe they get points toward paradise by reading the Qur’an – that is if they read or recite it in Arabic. The number of points they expect to accrue depend on factors such as the number of times they read/recite it, the time of the Islamic calendar in which they do it, and even the quality of their accent in Arabic.

Because each letter of the Qur’an is thus believed to counteract 10-40 bad deeds, you can see why a Qur’anic teacher once strongly insisted to Dr. C,

“No! I don’t need a savior! I have been reciting the Qur’an since I was little!”

Understanding this, you can see that those reading the Bible who come from a Muslim background would likely have different expectations than those from a Christian or other background.

Bible Teacher Mark explains to Dr. C and our viewers that Christians do not read the Bible for points. He calls the blessing of reading the Bible, “Nourishment for the soul.”

Salvation and eternal life in heaven are gifts we receive by humble faith, not by effort. The benefit of reading the Bible is to let it purify our minds, and let hope, faith, and truth enter it. We then attempt to live out the Word of God, not for points toward salvation or heaven, but for our own encouragement and to please the Lord.

Introduction to the Bible

The Qur’an says that the holy writings that came before them contain guidance and light. It says that Christians should judge by what is in the Injeel, or New Testament. We agree with that! We want to share that guidance and light, so that others will find eternal life.

As we discuss in another lesson, although Muslims know some about the Bible, they have different terms for portions of it, and those terms don’t neatly fit with how the Bible is put together. So, they are usually clueless about the Bible’s structure, and much of what it contains.

What is the Bible and how is it put together?

Watch us explain it in the video lesson to former Muslim Huda, who wants to know about the Bible. Huda already knows that the Bible is the Word of God. Dr. C tells her that is true!

In learning about the Bible, Muslims are usually interested to find books written before Jesus, called the Old Testament, as well as books written after him, called the New Testament.

Both the words “testament” and “covenant” mean “agreement.” So, the Bible contains the writings under the old and new agreements of God with people. The Old Testament is generally considered the agreement of Law, and the New Testament the agreement of Grace.

The Bible is Also

  • God’s message to us
  • The story of God and us
  • God’s love letter to us, and
  • The book which explains the way of salvation

Like a News Article, the Bible Answers the Big Questions of Life

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Who? God and us
What happened? Bible stories
What does God expect of us? Walking with God
When did salvation come? With Jesus the Messiah
Where did we come from and Where are we going? Creation, heaven and hell
Why are we on earth? God’s plan for us
How should we live and get to know God? New Testament letters

You should know that Bibles include a table of contents before Genesis, the first book. This shows you the names of the various books within the Bible, and what pages they begin on. Until you learn the order of the books, you will probably want to refer to the table of contents often. That way you will gain familiarity with the books, and find what you want to read, such as the verses we refer to in our lessons.

There are a total of 66 books in the Bible: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Most books of the Bible are much longer than surahs of the Qur’an.

Introducing the Old Testament to Muslims

What’s in the Old Testament?

If you are Muslim, you already know the names of some of the Old Testament characters, and call them “prophets.” You have heard that they received holy books from God. But not a lot is written about them in the Qur’an, and the Qur’an itself refers to the Bible for more details. So, it is a real blessing for Christians to be able to share with you Muslims that we actually have the preserved writings by and about characters you know!

The Old Testament contains the Torah, which includes the first five books of the Bible, and is known to Muslims as the Taurat. These five books of the Torah include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Sometimes the Torah is called the Law, or the Books of Moses, since he is most closely associated with them. Since Muslims know of the Torah, it is relatively easy to explain to them that part of the Old Testament.

Genesis, called Taqueen in Arabic, means “Beginnings” in both languages. It tells us how people were created and the beginnings of society groups and practices. For example, here we meet Muslim “prophets” Adam, Noah (Nuh in the Qur’an), Abraham (Ibrahim), and Ishmael (Ismael). In Exodus we find Moses (Musa in the Qur’an), Miriam, and Amran (Imram), whom Muslims know of.

Muslims are also aware of Sarah, Joseph, David, Solomon, and a few others in the Bible. Both the Qur’an and the Bible have a book called Jonah (Yunus).

Several Old Testament characters are actually common personal names for Muslims. Dr. C has found that a good way to spark interest in Muslims to read the Bible, is to present to them a passage discussing their namesake. We can also interest Middle Easterners by sharing positive Bible stories set in their country – like the repentance of Nineveh for Iraqis, Darius and Esther for Persians, and the Wise Men of the East in the Christmas story.

Muslims also know the Psalms of the Old Testament, which they call the Zabur. But the Old Testament has many other books that Muslims don’t have and haven’t heard of. These include books of history, wisdom books, and the prophets.

Although Muslims in general know that there were many prophets, in our experience they are not familiar with the Old Testament books of the prophets or history, so these will be new material for them. It is wonderful that the Bible preserves the words of so many previous prophets.

The books of the prophets are divided into the “major,” and the “minor” prophets. This distinction is based on the length of their writings, not their importance. These books give messages to people like kings, warnings to the people in general, and prophecies of things we see come to pass, such as the destruction of wicked civilizations.

Especially important are the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. We discuss the prophecies of Jesus in more detail elsewhere, but here are a few of the best ones: Isaiah 9:6,7 & 11:1-5 & 53, Psalm 22, Micah 5:2, and Jeremiah 31:31.

Now let’s look at an important passage from the Old Testament.

Psalm 23 with Rev. Bob Siegel

The video lesson presents to you a well-loved psalm. Psalm 23 is one of the all-time favorite Bible passages of Bible-believers, both Jews and Christians, who are known together in Islam as People of the Book.

This poem, or “psalm,” is from what Islam calls the Zabur. Psalms are a type of poetry which does not depend on rhyme – that way the poems work in any language. Among other techniques, psalmists used are word pictures. That is what prophet and king David (Daoud) did in Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 is one of the many poems and songs to God which were written by David while he was still a shepherd boy, watching his father’s sheep in the hills above Bethlehem.

In the days of David and beyond, in Bible times many of the population were familiar with raising sheep and could easily identify with this psalm. Our culture is out of touch with the life of a shepherd; yet modern day shepherds have pointed out that every detail of the psalm relates to the real-life experiences of sheep and shepherds.

Psalm 23 draws a simple, yet profound word picture. David, as he writes under the power of the Holy Spirit, describes himself as a sheep, and God as his good shepherd. When we read or recite it, we also visualize ourselves as a helpless sheep, cared for by its master.

It is interesting that prophecies of the Messiah spoke of him as a shepherd (Isaiah 40:11, Ezekiel 37:24-28). Jesus called himself The Good Shepherd. He taught that the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. That is exactly what he did for us! (Read what Jesus said about this shepherd in John 10:1-18.)

The message of Psalm 23 is that God cares deeply for those who follow him. He actively provides for and protects us throughout all the seasons of our lives. When we die, it will not be the end, for our shepherd will take us to live with him in his heavenly home.

Because its words are comforting, this psalm is commonly read at Christian funerals, or recited in times of trial. For example, Dr. C recites it in her mind while in the dentist chair!

Apologist Bob Siegel, of Jewish background now a Christian pastor, shares with us that Psalm 23 is one of his favorite Bible passages. During his journey from Judaism to Christianity, Siegel has faced many challenges. The words of this psalm have comforted him. He is especially glad to know that surely goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life and he will live with the Lord forever.

Siegel recites for us from memory Psalm 23 in an old-fashioned translation of English. If you are new to English, you might find it difficult to understand. Here it is in the simple, New International Reader’s Version:

The Lord is my shepherd; he gives me everything I need.
He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me besides quiet waters.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Now that you know more about Psalm 23, perhaps you also would like to memorize, in a translation that speaks to your heart?

Introducing the New Testament to Muslims

Why the New Testament?

The Qur’an tells us that Jesus brought a book. Actually, the Injeel, as Muslims call the New Testament, was written not by Jesus, but by his followers in the decades after his death and resurrection.

We learn in the New Testament how the Old Testament’s teachings and predictions were fulfilled. The New Testament does not cancel or “abrogate” the Old Testament, rather it fulfills it.
(We discuss the Muslim Doctrine of Abrogation elsewhere.)

Jesus told his followers that having his new teachings alongside the Old Testament was like adding new treasures to old,

“Every Teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven
is like the owner of a house. He brings new treasures out of his storeroom as well as old ones.”
Matthew 13:52 (NIRV)

Some Muslims and other unbelievers say that it is bad that Jesus did not write the New Testament himself. Muslims believe that the book that Jesus wrote, the true Injeel, has been corrupted and basically lost.

If Christians don’t know better, this criticism can worry them that somehow a mistake was made. They might think that Jesus should have written it himself, or that the New Testament is not accurate because it was written after Jesus went to heaven. They might develop unnecessary doubts. (See also Why Believe the Bible?)

Actually, it is good that Jesus did not write the New Testament himself. Here’s why:

In the Old Testament, the prophecies about Jesus the Messiah as God, and his sacrifice for our sins were so strongly stated, that the church began with Jesus’ followers teaching from the Old Testament. By teaching from the Old Testament, the disciples were referring to existing scripture that people respected, rather than simply giving their own opinion.

Before his death, Jesus referred to the Old Testament prophecies as one of the three greatest witnesses confirming who he was and what he was doing (see John 5). After his resurrection, Jesus instructed his followers in how these prophecies applied to him in detail.

“Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the scriptures. He began with Moses and all the prophets.” Luke 24:27 (NIRV)

So, the disciples were trained, and prepared to use the prophecies correctly once the Holy Spirit had empowered them. There was no need to wait to write new material. New material would not then have had the same authority that the Old Testament scriptures did.

People in Jerusalem and Israel already knew that Jesus did amazing miracles and then died on the cross. Building upon this, the disciples explained that it had happened in fulfillment of Old Testament promises. The entire city witnessed the fulfillment of those prophecies. The disciples’ task was simply to remind them of all that had happened, and explain how it fit with the scriptures they knew. Then they testified that Jesus rose from the dead to prove who he was and what he said.

On the Day of Pentecost, when the church began, the Apostle Peter preached a sermon quoting Old Testament prophecies. He ended by saying,

“God has raised this same Jesus back to life. We are all witnesses of this.” Acts 2:32

Another original disciple of Jesus, the Apostle John also emphasized that they were witnesses of the fulfilled prophecies. (1 John 1:1-3).

The prophecy of Jeremiah 31:31 that there would be a New Covenant or Testament explains why Jesus teaching of a new way of living was accepted by his disciples, and later by those who joined the church. It makes way for Christianity and the New Testament. Without the old prophecies, there would be no sound basis for Jesus to introduce a new agreement with God.

By the time the New Testament actually was written, the church had grown. People believed the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled. Many miracles had happened through church leaders. By then, Christians honored the words of the disciples and apostles of Jesus. They wanted to read about their lives with Jesus – the gospels. And for its health and future, the church needed the specific instructions and theology originally written in the letters of Jesus disciples, now saved in the New Testament.

What a unique and wonderful beginning! There is no other religion that began with such power and proof as the Christian faith. That includes Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Sikhism, the Moonies and atheism, (which functions like a religion).

What is in the New Testament?

The New Testament contains the holy writings that came after Jesus Christ. It is much smaller than the Old Testament. The New Testament is similar in size to the entire Qur’an.

The New Testament contains 27 books:

  • Four gospels, those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which tell of the life and teachings of Jesus by his early followers.
  • The Acts of the Apostles is the story of the early church.
  • There are, 21 Letters to the churches, also known as “Epistles,” that were written by apostles like Peter and Paul. They talk about theology – God and his grace and salvation through Jesus – and how to live a Christian life.
  • Simple summaries of some of the New Testament letters: If you are looking for-
    • the theological basics of Christianity, you might want to read Romans or Hebrews
    • the relationship of law and grace, Galatians
    • a positive outlook on faith, Philippians
    • an eternal perspective, Ephesians
    • a view of Christ in us, Colossians
  • The final book, Revelation, is composed of prophecies from visions given to the Apostle John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. Besides messages to 7 specific churches in Asia Minor, it touches on the end of the world, Christ’s return, the final judgment, and what heaven will be like.

Example from the New Testament, Romans 8

For those unfamiliar with the Bible, here is a lovely sample of encouragement from the New Testament. It is a favorite of Dr. C and others, who memorize it to help them in times of trials.

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…What shall we say then? Since God is on our side, who can be against us? God did not spare his own son. He gave him up for us all. Then won’t he also freely give us everything else?

Who can bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? God makes us right with himself. Then who can sentence us to death? No one. Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us. He died. More than that, he was raised to life.

Who can separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or hard times or harm or hunger? Can nakedness or danger or war? … No! in all these things we are more than winners! We owe it all to Christ, who has loved us.

I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God’s love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can separate us. Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can separate us. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.” Romans 8:28-39 (NIRV)

Where to start reading the Bible?

Huda, like most new believers, asks in the video, “Where do I start reading the Bible?” This is an important question. The Bible is a very large book, and although every part is important, some places are definitely better for a new believer to start reading than others.

Old Testament. For many Muslims a good place to start reading the Bible is the first book, Genesis, because its characters are already familiar to Muslims.

New Testament. It is also important for seekers and new believers to learn about Jesus, and how to live a Christian life.

In the New Testament, the Gospel of John is great favorite among Christians for its beautiful and spiritual analogies of Jesus. But the refreshingly powerful Sermon on the Mount is in the Gospel of Matthew, where it fills chapters 5-7. Muslims should not miss it, so that would also be an excellent place to start. And Matthew also points out how Jesus fulfilled prophecies.

Or you could start reading the Bible with the Gospel of Mark, which being the shortest gospel is very fast-paced and gives a quick view of the life of Jesus. Since it is thought to be the earliest gospel, it is one that Muslim critics of Christianity are most likely to accept: yet even it shows the remarkable and unique person of Jesus Christ and portrays his god-like attributes.

And finally, as Dr. C points out in the video, you can start reading the Bible based on what is being studied at your church or in your Bible study group, or with the person that is discipling you. Or you can look up passages which encourage you for whatever you are going through in life at the time.

You might have noticed that at the end of each of our study guides there is a list of the scripture references used in the video lesson and study guide. Reading through this list would also be a good way to start studying the Bible. It would also have the added benefits of reinforcing and helping you remember what you learned in the lessons, and give you experience in finding your way around the Bible.

Scripture References:

  • II Corinthians 5:17
  • The Bible’s Table of Contents
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Jonah
  • Isaiah 9:6,7 & 11:1-5 & 53
  • Psalm 22
  • Micah 5:2
  • Jeremiah 31:31
  • Psalm 23
  • Isaiah 40:11
  • Ezekiel 37:24-28
  • John 10:1-18
  • Matthew 13:52
  • John 5:31-40
  • Luke 24:27
  • Acts 2:32
  • I John 1:1-3
  • Revelation
  • John
  • Matthew, especially 5-7
  • Mark
  • Romans 8:28-39


  • The Bible has Guidance and light – Surah 5:46
  • Christians should judge by what is revealed in the New Testament (Injeel) – Surah 5:47

Study Questions:

  1. Do you see the Bible as a map for life?
    • What guides for life might people use who either don’t believe the Bible, or don’t bother to read and follow it?
  2. Reflect on the concepts presented above, of the benefits of reading the Bible versus reading the
    Qur’an. What thoughts do you have?
  3. Are you surprised to know that Muslims are familiar with Biblical characters?
    • Do you know any Muslims with names of Bible characters?
    • Think about them now and pray for them.
    • You might want to write down their names and come back to the list often to pray.
  4. What parts of the Bible do Muslims know exist and have names for? (review if necessary)
    • What books are essentially unknown to them?
  5. Bob Siegel recounts the blessing Psalm 23 has been in his life.
    • Is there a special Old Testament passage that has been meaningful to you?
    • Can you think of a way that you might some time share it with a Muslim?
  6. What New Testament passage might you use to introduce a Muslim to the Bible?
  7. Brainstorm: what ways can you think of to use Muslims’ knowledge of Biblical characters and
    books to interest them in the Bible?
  8. How would you explain to a Muslim, or a new believer in Jesus, the importance of the Bible
    in a Christian’s life?
  9. Would you be able to explain to someone a relationship between the Old and New Testaments?
    • If not, consider how you understand it yourself, and what you might need to learn to
      comfortably explain it.
  10. Are you surprised that the Qur’an says that the Bible contains “guidance and light?”
    • We go into the reasons for this in other lessons,
    • but for today’s lesson, can you think of any way that you could use that claim of the Qur’an to help introduce the Bible to Muslims?

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