Two young women talking and encouraging one another

How to Share Encouraging Verses Without Sounding “Preachy”

Most Christians want to share their faith, but struggle to work Scriptural ideas into casual conversations. Even when the moment feels appropriate, bringing up the Bible can make people feel defensive. Either it comes across like you’re trying to sell them something, or it leaves them feeling like you’re looking down your nose at them.

But the fact that it can be risky to share Scripture doesn’t mean we should shy away from it. We just need to be wise about how we do it. Here are some tips for sharing the Bible in a way that feels natural and leaves the door open for future discussions:

1. Carefully consider how you use the Bible

As a follower of Christ, the Bible has authority in your life. And there was a time when it had a little more influence in our culture. But it’s easy to forget that other people don’t necessarily feel the same way today. They’re going to resist you dropping Bible passages into a conversation as if it’s the final word on a topic. The typical response to a non-Christian being corrected by what the Bible says is, “Yeah . . . so?”

But people don’t have to believe the Bible is authoritative to receive encouragement from it. In fact, people are not only open to scriptural comfort and encouragement, but they’re also caught off guard by it. Hearing an inspirational passage at the right moment can overcome someone’s defenses and open them up to future faith-oriented discussions.

It’s also incredibly effective to share Scripture that agrees with someone who wouldn’t normally welcome a biblical discussion. For instance, if someone was telling you about an incident they’d recently experienced of a parent screaming at their child in public, it can be incredibly effective to simply respond, “I hear what you’re saying. Even the Bible says, ‘Do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.’”

For people expecting to hear the Bible used to correct, silence, or shame others, this can have a profound effect and arouse their curiosity.

2. Regularly memorize Scripture

Sharing Scripture is a lot more comfortable when it’s conversational, and memorizing Scripture allows you to share it in a way that feels completely natural. It’s a lot less intimidating than someone reaching into their pocket to pull out a New Testament.

You don’t have to worry so much about memorizing chapters and verses. Your main goal is to be able to express the gist of a passage. It’s a lot more compelling and interesting for someone to hear, “That’s interesting; the Bible says . . .” instead of, “As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:2. . . “

3. Familiarize yourself with topical verses

As you read your Bible, keep track of verses and stories that speak to specific topics and situations. If you’ve recognized and memorized verses that deal with mourning or sadness, it will be easier to recall them when the time is right.

You might even want to keep a list in your Bible and/or your phone with the verse reference and a prompt:

Psalm 118:6: The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid . . .
Proverbs 29:25: Fear of man will prove to be a snare . . .
1 John 4:18: There is no fear in love. But perfect love . . .

Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace those whose . . .
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Colossians 3:15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . .

These not only help remind you of important verses later, but they can be used to help you brush up on your Scripture memorization.

Other topics could include things like:
● Faith
● Forgiveness
● Love
● Responding to challenges

If you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve put together a list of inspirational verses from every book of the Bible.

4. Pray when you’re reading the Bible

Every time you open your Bible to read, you should pray. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming and involved—it can be as simple as, “Lord, help your Word to not only have an impact on me, but also on the people in my life.”

As you’re struck by the passages you’re reading, spend time praying about them. Ask God to bring these truths to life in you, and to help you remember when it could be an encouragement to someone else. Prayerfully reading the Bible is a way to embed that passage in your heart and make it available for the Spirit to recall at an appropriate time later.

Getting Scripture inside of you

If maintaining a regimented Bible reading schedule is a challenge for you, consider committing to a regular quiet time. If you struggle with staying focused and engaged when you’re reading the Bible, try Bible journaling. It can really make a difference for creative or easily distracted personalities.

As you become more comfortable with Scripture, it will become a natural part of your life and speech. As we steep ourselves in God’s Word, the more it comes out without feeling forced and awkward. The key to sharing Scripture in a non-confrontational, organic way is to respect your listeners and spend regular time in God’s Word. Begin to work on your list of verses so you are ready, and say a short prayer asking God to help you identify those times when it would be appropriate to share an encouraging verse. You will be glad you did!

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