Meet People on Their Own Terms


I have become all things to all, to save at least some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657

Born a Jew, Saul was the Hebrew name given him by his parents, but because his father was a Roman citizen, Saul also had a Latin name, Paul.

As a strict Pharisee, going by the name Saul was appropriate for his calling during that time of his life. But following his conversion to a Jesus follower, Saul determined to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. So, he made the small but significant change of leaving behind “Saul” to become “Paul,” a name Gentiles were accustomed to.

Adopting his Roman name was typical of Paul’s missionary style. He first put people at their ease and then approached them with his message, using a language and style they could relate to.

He changed his name, but never his message! He changed a tactic to better serve his strategy.

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law — though I myself am not under the law — to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law. To the weak I became weak to win over the weak. (1 Corinthians 9:20)

Take a cue from Paul as you engage in day-to-day apologetics. Meet people on their own terms in order to ready them — if not now, later — to accept His message.

All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. (1 Corinthians 9:23)