The second chapter of Searching Below the Surface examines the difference between biblical inspiration and the Islamic sense of revelation. Here are a few tips on better teaching about Inspiration in the Muslim context.
- Ask how the students/disciples define the words for revelation and inspiration. How does the community define these words?
2. Notice how translations describe the inspiration process. For example, the Persian Bible is often credited to Henry Martyn but the Old Testament translator, William Glen, used a non-Christian helper M. Jaffier. The translation states the word of God came [from above] upon Jonah and upon Jeremiah, which indirectly aligns with Islamic thought. The possibility that the translation paralleled the King James Version’s use of “unto” may be the reason for this. Although, “unto” does not mean “on to” or “upon” but just “to.” The oversight on this issue at that time is understandable. However, this oversight picks up in modern Persian translations.
3. Memorize the Word for use in an oral society. Key verses which one is ready to give authority and credence honors the inspired word
4. Learn stories that emphasize the inspiration process. (Matt. 5, Jeremiah 1, and certain Psalms)
5. You need to ask the question, “Is Gabriel the Holy Spirit?” Since Islam believes Gabriel helped in their revelation, often new believers can confuse this concept.
6. Does God speak to us in heavenly language or a human language? This question directly deals with the perception that Arabic is the heavenly language. Thus, they think we must speak to him in Arabic.
7. What is the difference between the phrases “to bring down in revelation” and “inspired of God”? See chapter two in Searching Below the Surface that clarifies this difference.
8. When teaching on 2 Peter 1:19–21, include the relational connection of the Trinity found in the chapter. Verse four highlights how believers are partakers of the divine nature – God desires to connect with us. Also, in verses 16 to 18, the disciples were eyewitnesses and “with him” when the voice of God called out from heaven. The nearness and connectability of God’s words demonstrate the inspiration process.
9. Always respect the presence of the Word of God. We do not worship a book nor disrespect the Bible. In a high-context environment, the floor is not a clean place and how we place and treat the physical Bible conveys meaning to those present. See my write-up concerning not worship nor dishonoring the Bible.
Check out Tips for teaching God’s Oneness