Repent and Turn Ministries

Learn how to share your faith...Simply...Effectively...Biblically                                                  

The Intellectual Style

Biblical Example:  Paul in Acts 17

Theme Verse:  2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 


  • Analytical
  • Logical
  • Inquisitive
  • Likes to debate
  • More concerned with what people think than how they feel


  • Avoid getting stuck on academic points, arguments, and hair-splitting points of evidence.  These are mainly to clear the path back to the central gospel message. 
  • Remember that attitude is as important as information.  1 Peter 3:15 says to have "gentleness and respect."
  • Avoid becoming argumentative

Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Set time aside to study.  This style, more than the others, relies on preparation.  Take serious action on what it says in 1 Peter 3:15:  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect. 
  • Avoid doing all your preparation in an academic vacuum.  Get out and talk to others.  Try out your arguments and answers on real people, and make refinements as needed.
  • Develop your relational side.  Talk to people about everyday events, and what is happening in their life and yours. 
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the personality of the person you hope to reach. 

Paul's Intellectual Approach

Though Paul certainly could confront people with truth when necessary, the hallmark of his approach was his logical and reasoned presentation of the gospel message.  Read any of the letters he wrote--Romans is the best example---and you'll see that he was a master at laying out a sound explanation of the central truths about God's nature, our sin, and Christ's solution. 

When you look at his background, Paul's organized mind doesn't come as a surprise.  He was highly educated, tutored under a man who was reputed to be one of the finest teachers in the land.  In his writings, you can see his natural tendency to argue point-counterpoint with imaginary foes who might challenge his position.  Paul was an intellect to be reconded with. 

Can you think of a better person for God to send to the philosophers in Athens?  The account is in Acts 17, where you'll find Paul presenting an ingenious argument, starting from the Athenian idol to an unknown god and moving all the way to the only true God and His resurrected Messiah.  His approach was so effective that some of his skeptical listeners became believers. 

It's interesting to note the wisdom of God displays in His choice of spokesmen.  These philosophers would not have related to Peter's direct, "turn-or-burn!" approach.  They needed logic that conclusively proved its point. 

And I'll bet there are people in your circle who are just like them.  They don't want easy answers or platitudes like, "You'll just have to accept it on faith."  To their ears that sounds like, "Leap before you look. Who knows, you might get lucky."  They want to know why they should leap at all!

Perhaps you're a Paul.  Is the intellectual approach one that fits you?  Are you an inquisitive type who enjoys working with the ideas and evidence?  This style has become more and more important as our society has become increasingly secular.  So many seekers need to hear the gospel not only declared but also defined and defended.



This information is adapted from the book and Participant's Guide, "Becoming A Contagious Christian", by Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg and Bill Hybels