Thursday, February 9, 2012

Build a Bridge and Get Over it Part 2: Hinduism and Jesus - Building a Bridge for the Gospel

This article is for Christians who want advice on how to share the Gospel with their Hindu friends, and also for Hindus who may be curious about who Jesus Christ is. For the second group, don't let me be a stumbling block, but rather a stepping stone. I mean no offense, but want to share the hope of obtaining freedom from sin which God has provided us in His Son Jesus Christ.

I am no expert on Hinduism and have never led a Hindu to Christ that I know of, but I know and have encountered a few Hindus. They haven't expressed interest in Christianity really, and I've tried sharing Jesus in a respectful way, but as far as i know, it's gone nowhere. So, it got me thinking.

Since i am no expert in ministering to people, i'm sort of ripping off Fouad Masri's strategy for the Crescent Project and applying it to Hinduism. He uses commonalities between Islam and Christianity to build a bridge to Jesus.

While there are many differences between Hinduism and Christianity, there are also some similarities that can maybe make it easier for Hindus to find what they're looking for in Jesus. I am not saying all roads go to God, but rather seek a "Mars Hill Moment" so that Hindus can find a jumping on point in a faith that seems so different.

First, there are a couple things, right out of the Bible that we can readily use to share Jesus with Hindus. To the best of my knowledge, which is limited, these seem to resonate strongly to the Hindu's heart.

Before i share those, always be ready to listen to what your Hindu friend believes, and respect them and what they believe. Be ready to ask questions, and be ready to share Jesus and your hope and why you believe.

If you have the chance to share, one popular part of the Bible with Hindus is the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

I read recently that Ghandi had read the beatitudes, and loved them. I have also read that the beatitudes of Jesus speak exceptionally strongly to the Hindu heart, so strongly that some Hindus have accepted Christ merely after reading them!

Matthew 5:3-12 (some also found in Luke 6:20-22) i have put the entire sermon on the mount here just because.

Matthew 5:3-48 Jesus said:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. 33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The second biggest thing i've picked up on is the sense of divine justice. That is, God will take care of punishing those who do evil in the world.

My Hindu friend had been in a traffic accident, and the other driver had given him fake insurance information! Although he wasn't happy about it, he realized he could do nothing about it, and pointed up and told me that he didn't worry about it, because God would take care of them and their punishment.
What form Hindu divine justice might take, i am not 100% sure. Perhaps something like karma, something that would be dealt with in this life, or through reincarnation. At any rate, they believe God will punish and we have a lot of Biblical options here that we can share.

Galatians 6:7-8

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And Jesus promises to repay to everyone the deeds they have done. My presumption is that good deeds will be rewarded, while wicked ones are punished and dealt with. At any rate, it's a good one to share.

Revelation 2:23

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

In addition to these two more obvious options, there are other passages in the Bible that may resonate with Hindus. Please feel free to comment on what follows and if it's helpful, or will only mislead people.

Hinduism has many texts that they hold sacred (though this may vary), but the one most universally accepted is the Bhagavad Gita. I haven't read it all the way through, but like with the Quran, there are actually some passages that we can use to bridge the gap to the Bible and to Jesus with slightly similar ones in the Bible. I am not placing them on equal footing, rather just trying to use a similar idea to share Jesus and God's Word with Hindus.

Here is one BG verse about how a man who has faith will achieve his spiritual goals. The Bible too tells us that faith is the most important thing to please God.


Bhagavad Gita (BG)

BG 4:39-40 (

A faithful man who is dedicated to transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.

The Bible

Hebrews 11:6 (all of Hebrews 11 would be good)

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

All of the great people in the Bible pleased God because of their faith in Him and what He could do.

Self Denial

Denying oneself, and self control also have a high place in Hinduism. My guess is many Hindus feel this self denial is something to be desired. I have been told by several Hindus that they do not eat meat.

This is not meant as a slight, but they are sort of proud about it. And in a way, it is admirable to deny the desires of the flesh. The Bible too teaches that we are to deny ourself as well. Loving God and neighbor, truly loving them, will always require some level of self denial. And following Jesus in general will require this too.

BG 5:7 (

One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.

Jesus said in Mark 8:34-35

"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it."

By denying ourselves to follow Jesus, He frees us from the sinful desires of our body.

Relying on God

We also can share with Hindus that committing our actions to God will bring us peace, and success. Here's what the BG says.

BG 5:12 (

The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.

And the Bible

Proverbs 3:5-7

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 16:2-3

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

The Innate Goodness of God

Hindus rightly believe that in God there is no sin.

BG 5:15 (

Nor does the Supreme Lord assume anyone's sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.

Which is very easy to prove all throughout the Bible, but here's one to start with.

1 John 1:5-9

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Universal Equalizer-Death

Then there is the matter of what happens when we die. Where do we go? As far as i know, Hindus believe in reincarnation (thats early in the BG) but here is an interesting passage. This may be what they believe happens once reincarnation no longer applies.

BG 8:5 (

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

This can be a great way to tell a Hindu of our hope in Jesus Christ, that if we turn to Him, and accept Him as savior and Lord, when we die, we will be with Him forever. He alone will bring us to paradise.

2 Corinthians 5:8-10

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

The Problem of Sin

Hindu scripture also tells Hindus that only God can deal with their sin.

BG 10:3 (

He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds — he only, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.

The Bible tells us how God has taken care of our sin and reconciled us to Himself. There is only one way that God has established.

John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 14:6-8

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Romans 3:23-25

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Romans 10:9

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Although there may be other passages we can use, these are the most obvious parallels between the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. Again, I'm not placing them on the same level, but rather trying to find familiar concepts to make it easir share the Bible. We have a couple loose ends though.

Yoga(s) and reincarnation

Throughout the Bhagavad Gita, the word Yoga pops up A LOT. Now I'm certain that this applies to what we westerners naively call exercise, that is but one of many Yogas and is part of the "eightfold mysticism yoga".

(See the poses "asan" and breathing "pranayama"

The word Yoga simply means "to yoke". Perhaps each yoga means that a Hindu becomes yoked to another aspect of Hinduism. I don't know the signifigance of all the various yogas, and my ignorance on the matter leads me to believe it sounds like a lot of work.

By following Jesus, one can be freed from all yokes and burdens. He did all of the work for us. Jesus gives us only one yoke, and it is light:

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Many believe, and i also like to think this, that the yoke Jesus has us bear is His arm on our shoulder as He walks alongside us through our trials and this life. The yoke of Jesus is freedom, not endless rules and regulations. By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He will free you from each and every yoke that you bear, giving you complete assurance of freedom. Would it be out of place to say that in believing in Christ, you have take up the "yoga of Jesus"? In doing so, He has freed you from any other yoga.


Hindus believe in reincarnation for the most part, that is life, death, and rebirth into a new body. We won't get into the particulars here.

The goal of Hinduism, so far as i can tell, is to get free from sin and this cycle of suffering and reincarnation and attain to the Hindu concept of God through works. This "freedom" is called Moksha, and has a similar counterpart in Buddhism and Jainism.

The desire to end suffering is a human constant, and i think it is pretty universal that this suffering is linked to sin and life on earth, and that humans know the only answer is a spiritual one. Because it is a spiritual problem.

The best thing that Jesus Christ can offer anyone, Hindus and reincarnation believers especially, is that we only have to die once. The determining factor after death is whether or not we have believe and have accepted Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. The other thing the Jesus can offer is that He did all the work needed to remove our sins when He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

When i started to believe in reincarnation, i became burdened and wanted a release from the cycle. Luckily the Lord showed me His truth and I repented and gained freedom. The Bible tells us that believing in Jesus Christ will free us from our sins and bring us into paradise with Him. This faith will end all suffering! All we must do is believe and accept.

Hebrews 9:27-28

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

John 3-16-18; 14:6-8; and Romans 10:9 also can elaborate this hope.

The Idea of God

I've learned from my Hindu friend, and online. Hindus espouse a belief in a one "God" above all others. This seems confusing when we see other Hindu gods, but we'll get to that.

In my experience, i was told by a Hindu that other faiths are equally valid ways to worship this "one God." Whether we Christians agree or not, this seems to be what Hindus believe. Hindus also believe that this "one God" lives in each of us (and needs to be awakened) and in everything. Sort of Pantheism, sort of not. This article calls it henotheism.

"life shining out of the eyes of humans and all creatures. This view of God as existing in and giving life to all things is called panentheism."

I don't know how to bridge that gap, but wanted to bring that up, because it is a HUGE difference. But God can still work with this somehow.

From the same link:

"One of the unique understandings in Hinduism is that God is not far away, living in a remote heaven, but is inside each and every soul, in the heart and consciousness, waiting to be discovered. This knowing that God is always with us gives us hope and courage. Knowing the One Great God in this intimate and experiential way is the goal of Hindu spirituality."

The Bible has a similar thought or two, perhaps these can help bridge the gap. Basically, we cannot hide from God, he can see us anywhere. Although we don't agree that God is in each soul or "one with" the creation, we CAN say the creation gives testimony to His glory. We also know that God created the world in a very special way.

Psalm 139

1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 19:1

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

And Romans 1:19-20, where Paul tells us that the men are without excuse because that the things God has made, proves the existence of God:

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

In basic english:

19 Because the knowledge of God may be seen in them, God having made it clear to them. 20 For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing:

What about God being in us already? God wants to dwell within us, but He has no sin in Him, so how could He dwell within a defiled, sinful body? Before we are cleansed from sin through Christ, He cannot or will not. But, once we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and repent, our sin is dealt with, and God will dwell in us.

1 Corinthians 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

What else do we know about the God above all gods, the creator of everything? He has revealed more to us in His Word. He created everything through His Word, which is Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Read all of John here:

Further expounded in

Colossians 1:12-20

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

What about the other gods we see in Hinduism? The afore-linked Himalaya academy mentions that the Supreme Being created lesser gods, much like the angels.

The Colossians passage i referenced tells us about those angels, and the Bible is full of passages with angels that perform various duties. This includes even Mike Heiser's "divine council", and any other angels. The Bible does address disobedient angels, but we want to focus on the Gospel here. The main point is we can agree that God created other spiritual beings, and they may present themselves as gods, but that God alone is to be worshipped.

Exodus 20:3-4

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Other resources that might be helpful:

Testimony of a former Hindu. Hearing from another Hindu might be effective.

Witnessing to Hindus

Similarities between the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. Many of these are not Christian sources, but can be your resource to find other common points for Hindus if they mention something:


  1. Nice Article. It really got me thinking on how I should approach my Hindu friends.
    A little background : I was a Hindu before I was saved by Jesus (although I did study in a missionary school). I was saved and healed from a debilitating disease, Schizophrenia. Well Jesus healed me from that too.

    There are somethings in this article that I would like to point out. Hinduism cannot be classified as one religion. It has many schools of thought. Also each family has an ancestral deity to which the sacrifices/worship are offered. A lot of Hindus also do not know what the Bhagvad Gita contains. And in my opinion it is best not to broach that book as it might lead them to read it and believe in it.

    A lot of Hindus do not have a problem with Jesus. They view him as a teacher or one of the other 330 million gods. They fail to see that He is the God.

    I am currently in the process of witnessing to my family and I will use some parts of this article to modify my approach.

    Also Indian/ Sanskrit terms can be used to witness. Instead of saying Our Eternal Father, the word Param Pitha could be used. It just feels closer to home (At the same time you are not altering the gospel)

    Thanks in Jesus' Name,
    May God Bless you


    1. Thank you Sri, I'm glad you learned from the article and enjoyed it. I also appreciate your suggestions as well. I sort of agree with you on using the BG but at the same time it was the only way for me to find a common ground. Still, I am open to other methods, please pray the Lord give me wisdom on this.

      Also, would you mind sharing your testimony for others to read? I think it would be great if you could. A former Hindu's voice would carry more weight than mine. I could let you guest-post it here.

      Let me know.