“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).
First, I believe that many, many Muslims are hungry to know about the hope that we have in Jesus. Yet unless Christians and Muslims get to know one another on a personal level – life on life – how will a Muslim be able to ask about your hope in Christ? Sadly, most of us will never get to know a Muslim personally, if we aren’t intentional about developing these relationships.
Second, in order to make our hope comprehensible, we must offer an answer that “speaks the language” of those who ask. This isn’t about changing the content of our response; it’s about making the content of our response understandable to the one asking. Your Muslim friend will most likely come from a different culture than your own, with a different way of looking at the world and a different vocabulary for describing and explaining it. Giving the reason for our hope in Christ means doing so in a way that this Muslim friend (with a different culture, worldview, and vocabulary) can comprehend. We can call this contextualization. Tim Keller puts it well: “Contextualization is not about giving people what they want. It is giving God’s answers (which they probably do not want) to the questions they are asking and in forms they can comprehend.”
In light of the above, I appreciated this video – featuring J.D. Greear. Very helpful.