Study the Bible with your Muslim friend

We are unlikely Bible-study partners.  Murah’s* a devout Muslim who moved to California from Sudan decades ago. And I’m a sold-out follower of Jesus, from Texas, which seems like another country when compared to California. A friend introduced us after Murah expressed interested in studying what the Bible has to say about leadership, a favorite topic of mine. This is a real-life story (names changed) to illustrate how to study the Bible with your Muslim friend.

Start the Bible Study

“Awkward” is how I’d describe our first meeting. Imagine two introverts from opposite ends of the earth, crossing cultural and religious divides, to study the Bible. After introductory niceties, we read a chapter in Psalms. It was the first time my Muslim friend, Murah, had ever read the Bible. She was quiet and I wondered what she thought. When she left early, I wondered if she would return to study the Bible with me again.

But she did return.  And so I considered her a “person of peace.”  During this next meeting, we read another Psalm and this time, a verse caught her heart. Murah opened up about an insurmountable situation that had been troubling her for years at work. I felt the Spirit nudging me to pray with her. At first, I pushed the feeling back, rationalizing – I don’t know her that well. Then I got a hot-flush-antsy-prodding from the Holy Spirit that I absolutely must pray with her and plant a Gospel seed.

A Short Gospel Presentation

And so, I took the leap and opened my mouth,

“Murah, I feel God’s leading me to pray with you about this. You know I’m a follower of Jesus, and that means that I believe what God’s Holy Book says in Romans 10:9 NLT:  ‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,’ and so I pray in Jesus’ name. Are you okay with that?”

“Sure,” she said. Then we bowed our heads and prayed together, in Jesus’ name. The moment was holy. Afterward, we hugged and she was on her way. (I hope you are starting to imagine what it might look like for you to study the Bible with your Muslim friend.)

Two days later she called, “It’s a miracle!” God had miraculously resolved the hopeless situation we had prayed over. What a joyful moment. We were filled with awe and wonder, and she was fired up to invite all her friends over for prayer in Jesus’ name. Her joyful response prompted an impromptu conversation about Jesus and prayer.

Praying Through Adversity

I continued to study the Bible with my Muslim friend, Murah, as a humanitarian crisis worsened in Sudan, her home country. Before meeting Murah, I knew very little of Sudan. Great atrocities, chaos and bloodshed were happening there, yet with media shutdowns, little was in the news.  My friend shared horrific stories that broke my heart.  The things her friends and family were enduring were unimaginable. While my heart was breaking for what she was going through, I listened, asked questions, looked for relevant Bible verses, and we fervently prayed together for Sudan.

When Ramadan came, Murah didn’t have the time or the energy to continue to study the Bible. Understandably, she was tired and stressed from fasting, working, and preparing food to break the fast during Ramadan. Since then, we have traded texts and prayers. While things in Sudan have continued to worsen, Murah and her family have felt increasingly powerless. They’ve decided to do the one thing they can control –that is to extend their fast another few weeks so as to pray for Sudan.

Engaging 5 Biblical Essentials

While I can’t control what’s happening in Sudan, and I don’t know if or when Murah will re-engage to study the Bible with me again, I trust that God is in control. He loves Murah and He’s working in her life.

Murah’s blessed me by teaching me about her country and culture, her faith, and how to handle extreme adversity with character and grace. My life is richer for knowing Murah and engaging in Bible Study with her. I’m proud to call her my friend.

And as her Christian friend, I hope to bless her by continuing to do “5 Biblical Essentials” with her – simple things that every Christian should know and do with their Muslim friends: (For more about these “5 Biblical Essentials,” get this iHOPE book.)

  1. Watch for ongoing clues that she might be a “Person of Peace
  2. Pray with her, in Jesus’ name
  3. Study God’s Holy Book together
  4. Plant Gospel seeds
  5. Love her in words, actions and deeds

Next Steps

Is God prompting you to invite your Muslim friend to study the Bible with you?  Are you wondering how to do that, practically? Here are the words my friend said to invite Murah to study the Bible:

“Murah, you mentioned struggling with (fill in the blank.) God’s Holy Book has a lot to say about this topic. Would you like to study (topic) in the Bible?”

If your friend is a “Person of Peace,” like Murah, he or she will respond “Yes,” as well. Don’t delay. Cross that cultural and religious boundary and invite your Muslim friend to study the Bible with you today.

Note: Murah’s name has been changed to protect her identify