Can an Iglesia Ni Cristo layman share the scriptures?

The organization known as the "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that all members should share their faith. Usually, that means inviting people to Bible studies. However, sometimes it means sharing scriptures with others, especially when in an apologetic context. When an INC member wants to defend their faith, they will often appeal to scripture.

Given that the INC teaches that the Bible cannot be sufficiently understood without the help of a minister, there is an inherent hypocrisy when an INC layman appeals to the scriptures. In the INC world view, how can someone who is not a minister of the gospel provide illumination through the scriptures?

It is hypocritical, even if the application of the scripture is stating what a minister said in the layman's own words.

One may argue that their presentation of scripture is in line with what a minister has said. This does not matter, because they are using their own words and not the ministers, who - according to the INC - alone have the special authority to explain scripture. How can the words of one who is not a minister enlighten someone?

It is hypocritical, even if the words spoken are a direct quotation from a minister.

Even if the layman is directly quoting a minister, he or she is still contradicting the INC's position on how scripture is illuminated. For example, we are told by the INC that without special help, we cannot understand the words of the apostle Paul (a great messenger), even though we have them quoted directly. If this is true, then how could any other messengers words, quoted directly, help at all?

It is hypocritical, even if some of scripture can be understood without a minister.

The INC does not teach that every single statement in scripture needs a minister, but that much of it does. However, the INC provides no way of knowing which scriptures can and cannot be understood without the help of a minister. At best, the layman must acknowledge they may be trying to explain a point they are entirely unable (and unauthorized) to explain. At worst, they are replacing the minister as the one who can explain scripture and give license to all to preach freely on the same topic/verse since they implicitly admit that a minister may not be needed to understand this concept.


If an INC layman does convince someone of their position through the means of scripture presentation, they have defeated their own stated belief in regards to the use of scripture. They have supplanted the role of an INC minister and in practice act as though one can be illuminated without a minister. This is clearly against their own principles and in doing such a thing expose their own unbelief in the INC doctrine.

The solution to this problem is not to stop quoting scriptures. The solution to this problem is to recognize that claiming that the ability to explain scripture is restricted to ministers is a foolish position. The Bible commands all to share the words of God, and so we must do.

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) - 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.