Bible Verses: Should Christians Debate?

I had someone write an email to me about why we Christians should have no reason to debate the word of God. The irony of it is it’s ok, to debate about whether we should debate?

Here are a few bible verses that i picked up on a small study on whether Christians should debate. I could use more bible verses, so if you wish, post more verses on debating in the comments, and i will add them here.

Acts 18:28
For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

1 Peter3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:21
Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Philippians 1:17
But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.

Proverbs 25:9
Debate your case with your neighbor, And do not disclose the secret to another;

Acts 19:8-10
And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.
But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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17 comments on “Bible Verses: Should Christians Debate?
  1. Khaleef says:

    I think that it is clear that Christians should be ready to challenge any belief that goes against the gospel.

    However, we can also become guilty of “casting our pearls before swine”, so there must be a balance.

    I constantly pray to know the difference in every situation.

    Thanks for bringing out all of these verses!

  2. Bible Study says:

    I am a Christian and I don’t care to debate the bible when I feel someone is mistaken about the Gospel. Their soul is in the balance, I feel great joy in helping someone see Jesus through the scripture.

    • Jane De Vries says:

      That doesn’t make sense. If you feel their soul is in the balance, then why on earth would you not encourage them in love, correction is just as important, if not vital than always being fluffy. If you feel great joy in helping someone see Jesus through the scriptures, then you need to set them straight in love. Proverbs has a lot to say about our words in love, sometimes it may seem harsh, but the truth sets us free, not candy coated, like cotton candy, it’s only full of air. and the sweetness of it lasts for a second, if that.
      Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Prov. 27:5

  3. contention is of the devil, so as long as its a civil conversation, then I think its appropriate.

  4. Clement says:

    Debating isn’t the issue, it’s the spirit in which the subject is debated. In the quote (above) from Peter, he adds “with meekness and fear” (fear being, in this case — respect?) I would think that he added this phrase because of the tendency of many debate participants to want to dominate the opponent with harsh and demeaning words. I would hope that any debate in which I would participate would appear to be more of a rational discussion and be very disappointing to those hearers who would come to the debate anticipating fireworks.

    • Amen In Sunday school, many were confused about God’s compassion for all sinners and could not understand that a confessed sinner with no desire to repent of the sin should not hold office in the congregation. So what then would we do? Close our mouths instead of making the Word of God clear to those who need growth in Knowledge and understanding? Should we allow people to continue in sin to teach Sunday school for example stating that grace has him/her covered and that that’s why Christ died?God forbid!!!I won’t help a soul to go to hell or takes others with him/her without using the Word of God to correct them.

  5. Brian says:

    Galatians 5:20 and on teaches…..those who Debate will not enter the kingdom

    • corey says:

      20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.. Where does it say that?

  6. Hugo says:

    The contentions this scripture is referring to are of the flesh. It is meaning arguing for rivalry, or for profit such as to feel holier than thou. The Bible says that we are to admonish one another Eccles. 12:12, Acts 27:9, Rom. 15:14, Col. 3:16,2 Thess. 3:15 in love.

    • Brian says:

      Great post Hugo. Thank you for the provided scripture. After seeking wisdom on YouTube back in June when I posted my comment, I realized that most of the “debates” out there are only bashing other believers, and edifying ones own self and not The Lord. The enemy likes to come between believers to kill & destroy. How easy it is to forget the greatest commandment. Blessings to all who read this page and may The Lord guide us all thru this time of chaos and confusion. Let us all examine ourselves before we debate! Amen

  7. Brian says:

    Remember brethren, we have more in common thru Christ than we have differences. May the Spirit of Truth sort out our differences in Grace! Shalom

  8. Hugo says:

    I am touched with that prayer, and agree with you on the prayer. Thank You for demonstrating love as Jesus commanded so that others will know we are his disciples. Great Peace, and Many
    Continued Blessings spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. In the Holy Name of Jesus !!!!

  9. Amy Green says:

    There is certainly a place for debating, and of course with the goal of conversion, but in a gentle and respectful way. There is also the kind of “debate” which too often happens which is really actually just quarreling, which MANY scriptures speak against.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. -Matthew 5:9 KJV

    If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18

    Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. …Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. -2 Timothy 2:14, 23-25

    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace. -James 3:17-18

    Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

    Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – Romans 15:2

    Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out. – Proverbs 17:14

    Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. …As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. – Titus 3:2, 10-11

    For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. – 2 Corinthians 12:20

    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. – Romans 14:1

    Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. -Proverbs 26:21

    Do everything without complaining and arguing -Philippians 2:14

    It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. -Proverbs 20:3

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1

  10. David says:

    What do you do if there are differences in what is required for salvation? Some believe, as Paul teaches, that salvation is by grace through faith alone. Others believe that water baptism is required. Yet others believe that salvation can be lost.
    Are we to not challenge some of these beliefs by scripture or just let it go for fear of offending?

    • Mark says:

      Who is the debate with? Between Christians or between a Christian and non-Christian? Salvation issues with a non-Christian should not (in my opinion) be debated. The Scripture plainly gives all we need for salvation, just look at the salvation occurrences in scripture and follow what they did. Baptism, by the way, is in each occurrence of salvation whether one believes salvation is essential or not, baptism in scripture is not left out of the salvation narrative. When it comes to baptism, why argue with scripture? Why not just do it and be obedient? The debate between Christians concerning baptism is most always about the point of salvation, which is really something of no need to debate. Again, just look at scripture, see the salvation occurrences in scripture and do what they did. Why debate the point of salvation, just be obedient, just do it. The problem with debates as I see it is there are too many debates and not enough obedience.

  11. Louis Dennis M. Reguera says:

    I believe it will be best for all Christians to first diligently learn the Word of GOD. Most Christian to my belief wants to answer every arguments raised against the Gospel but the problem is that a lot of them don’t know how and what to say because most Christians don’t really know and understand what they believe. (1Peter 3:15-16)
    This is also the reason why a lot of Christians just keep silent when attacked by cults and false prophets though they should not.(Galatians 2:4-5)

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