vs. Contentiousness
Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks

Key Verse

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.”
II Timothy 2:24

The operational definition of persuasiveness is “guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks.” Vital truths are those facts of life that we all need to know for our good. Sometimes, however, people can have false, deep-rooted ideas that keep them from accepting or acting on those important truths. Such ideas are called “mental roadblocks.” Ignorance, fear, misunderstandings, and false beliefs can keep a person from seeing clearly what is true and right. To guide others around these obstacles, you must first understand the truth for yourself, identify the specific barrier, and discern how best to talk with them. Sometimes rewording the truth in a simpler way is helpful. Other times more explanation, wise questions, or examples are needed. You can also point out either the good results of right actions or the consequences of wrong actions. Agree where you can, maybe saying, “That seems to make sense, doesn’t it?” before speaking the truth. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you lovingly guide others toward Godly conclusions.

By using God’s Word to give light, a persuasive person helps others to see and avoid obstacles along life’s way.
A contentious person seeks to force his opinion on others or “runs over” people in order to prove his point.

The opposite of persuasiveness is contentiousness. A contentious person is quick to argue in his attempt to persuade. He insists on debate, sometimes even elevating his opinions over the very truth he is trying to prove! Contention turns people away instead of drawing them to the truth. Proverbs 13:10 states that contention only comes by pride. In contrast, Galatians 5:22 says that walking in the Spirit brings the pleasant fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and gentleness. Instead of trying to force the truth on people, “salt the oats” by making others curious about what you have to say. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). As you learn to reason graciously with people, they will more readily accept the truth you share with them.

Evaluation Questions

  • Am I able to influence my Christian friends to join me in helping those who are in need?
  • Do I present clear, accurate facts, or do I exaggerate the truth to make my case seem more convincing?
  • Do I communicate that I care more about the other person than about my own opinion?
  • As I apply God’s principles, do I keep a written record of His work in my life so I am prepared to give testimony when opportunities come?
  • Have I learned how to appeal to the conscience?
  • Do I caution those who misuse Scripture to justify their wrong activities?
  • Do I encourage others to do right by praising the positive qualities I see in them?
  • Do I know how to persuade others toward trusting Christ as their Savior?
  • Am I sensitive to right timing in sharing my perspective with others?

More About Persuasiveness

“We are all missionaries . . . Wherever we go, we either bring people nearer to Christ, or we repel them from Christ.”
Eric Liddell
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Persuasiveness with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Prepare for the message.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” I Peter 3:15

Present the evidence.

“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” JOHN 20:27 “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. . . . For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” Acts 18:24, 28

Illustrate my point.

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

Not bend the truth.

“Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Psalm 120:2

Point others in the right direction.

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:19–20

Motivate to action.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25

Make application.

“Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” Proverbs 24:32–34

Appeal to a person’s conscience.

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” II Corinthians 5:11

Wait for the best time.

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Proverbs 15:23

Not argue.

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” Proverbs 17:14

Persuasiveness in Scripture

Philip Guides a Traveler to Jesus

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”
Acts 8:35
Stephen and Philip were two of the seven deacons appointed by the church in Jerusalem. These men fulfilled the responsibility of serving tables and ministering to widows. The deacons were men of hospitality, patience, and self-control. God empowered Stephen to preach and perform miracles. When certain men of the synagogue heard his words, they were convicted. Yet, unwilling to repent of their sin, they stirred up the people, brought Stephen before the council, and accused him of blasphemy. Refusing to hear or consider Stephen’s powerful testimony, they cast him out of the city and stoned him. After Stephen became the first Christian martyr, the Church encountered great persecution. The believers were scattered beyond Jerusalem and went everywhere, preaching the Gospel. Philip traveled to the city of Samaria. As the Samaritans heard Philip speak and saw the miracles he performed, they believed on Christ. The city was filled with joy! After Peter and John visited the new believers, Philip moved on to preach in other Samaritan villages. Suddenly, he was directed to travel to a remote, desert location. Why was Philip sent there? Whom would he meet? Would Philip be sensitive to the traveler’s spiritual needs and point him in the right direction?

Revealed in Nature


A male peacock has as many as 150 tail feathers that each measure approximately 5 feet long. It uses the fullest measure of its iridescent fan of feathers in an enthusiastic display to attract the attention of a mate.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children learn how to appeal in a convincing way so that others can better understand and accept the truth.

View the Persuasiveness booklet sample:

Get the complete Persuasiveness booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Persuasiveness

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
Persuasion is helping people find out what they need and then showing them the best way to get it.