In recent decades, Muslims have begun using the Bible against Christians. In my view, this is an unwise move. It’ll only work providing the Christian does not know their own Bible, especially the NT. Christians and Muslims do share theology in common such as Jesus being the Messiah and born of a virgin. Muslims will see this in the Bible and take it as confirmation. However, on the points that we disagree, some Muslims will take quotes out of the context of the book they’re quoting from and try to prove Islam.
Traditionally Muslims just used to say that the Bible is corrupted. This belief is not found in the Quran. The Hadith and Sira Literature have contradictory views on this topic. However, the belief that the Bible is corrupted eventually prevailed amongst the Islamic community. My view is this, if the Bible is a corrupted text, why quote it? Especially since it supposedly has so many errors in it. If I knew a book had many errors, I wouldn’t quote to support my positions. However, whether this is a smart thing to do to not, many apologists are doing it.
To easily refute their misuse of the Bible, it requires one to know the NT well. As Christians, reading the Bible is not a necessity of our faith but it is encouraged. I would certainly recommend it. Not for refuting Islamic apologists but for spiritual growth. However, to refute the Muslim apologists, one needs to know chapter and verse and be ready to quote.
Muslims often quote a verse in the Bible to refute a teaching that Christians hold and Muslims don’t. Since the Bible doesn’t teach against Christianity, knowing the Bible and contextualizing the verse they quoted is key. However, before you do this, it is smart to quote the nearest verse that they would disagree with. Here are some examples:
The Muslim brings up Acts 2:22 to try to refute the deity of Christ. The verse reads:
You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
According to the Muslim, this supposedly refutes the deity of Christ. At this point, you show them the closest verse that is against Islamic theology. In this case, it is the next verse, Acts 2:23-24. It reads:
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
At this point, the Muslim will feel embarrassed. Either he knew this verse was there and hoped you didn’t, or he’s never read the Bible and found it on an Islamic apologetics website. The latter is the more probably one. At this point you explain the proper meaning of the verse.
I wrote a very detailed response to the misuse of Acts 2:22 on this blog. Here is the link:
Another favorite that they like to use are the Paraclete/Advocate sayings in the Gospel of John. This one is really juicy since most Muslim apologists will criticize Christians for quoting John to support Christian Christology or Soteriology. They’ll say it’s late and unreliable. However, when they need to find a prophecy of Muhammad, all of a sudden they pass over the synoptic Gospels and go for the Gospel of John. It suddenly becomes their best friend. The verse they quote is John 14:16 which reads:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
At this point, you show them John 14:26 and their argument is shot down. It reads:
The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
Once the second verse is quoted, you can explain the context of the verse. Obviously they won’t like the context, but they can no longer use the verse because they can’t explain the context. Usually they’ll abandon the verses at this point. They might come to think that this verse can be corrupted after all. Most Muslim apologists who quote the Bible don’t know it well. The only ones who do are Paul Williams and Shabir Ally, and even they won’t be able to stand against this tactic. They’ll have to shift ground because although they know the Bible better than most Muslims, it’s still pretty selective. If you’re a Christian who knows the Bible, you need to be ready to pounce on their errors with this tactic. After all, the Bible shows us the Christian Jesus, not the Muslim one.
As I’ve often said, the Quran is a polemic against history. Muslims would do better to simply say that the Bible is corrupted and unreliable. However, by doing this they would give themselves a huge task in vindicating that claim. I wouldn’t want to be in their position in trying to refute firmly established history. Oh well, it’s not my problem.