Many people use the word evangelism in different ways. However, what does the Bible say about this important word? When we look to Scripture, we run into a problem: there is no direct-equivalent word for our English word evangelism in the New Testament. Its origin is rooted in three Greek words:
Euangelion – Gospel
Euangelistes/ euangelistou – Evangelist
Euangelizo/ euangelizomenōn – To proclaim the gospel
- Euangelion —“gospel”—to describe what is said (Mark 1:14–15)
Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- Euangelistes/ euangelistou —“evangelist”—to describe the person who is telling the gospel (Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11)
Acts 21:8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Ephesians 4:11-11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
- Euangelizo/ euangelizomenōn — “to proclaim the gospel”—to describe the activity of telling the gospel (Rom. 10:15).
Romans 10:14-15 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Evangelism, then, is the English term for the act of communicating the gospel, an act conveyed in the New Testament by the verb euangelizo (‘to bring good news’).
The verb evangelize is used over 50 times in the New Testament, including 25 by Luke and 21 by Paul. As stated above, its essential meaning is to announce or proclaim Good News. . The underlying picture is that of a herald or town crier who sounds the trumpet and conveys the news from the king. In that sense, the task of a herald isn’t to express his opinions or ideas, but to deliver his message in the humility of heart that must accompany such authority of speech.
After years of study concerning what it means to evangelize, this writer’s all-time favorite definition comes from Alistair Begg:
“To evangelize is to present Christ Jesus to sinful people in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to put their trust in God through Him.”(veritasdomain.wordpress)
Q. Why present the gospel or good news?
Because there is bad news.
Q. What is the bad news?
A. The wage of SIN is death. Rom 6:23
“To evangelize is to present Christ Jesus to sinful people in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to put their trust in God through Him.”
- It defines the mission of the evangelist – “to present Christ”.
While it doesn’t tell us exactly what to present about Christ, the Apostle Paul did in one of letters to the church at Corinth. He defined the gospel as being of first importance, and “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor 15:3). My friends, that is the core of the gospel message, the GOOD NEWS!
- It defines the primary audience for the GOOD NEWS – “sinful people” who have yet to trust in Christ as the solution to the problem of sin.
- It defines the power behind the proclamation of the GOOD NEWS – “the power of the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit is the power behind both the proclamation of the Gospel, and the power behind a genuine affirmative response to the message of the Gospel.
- It defines the goal of our evangelistic efforts – that “they (sinners) may come to put their trust in God through Him”. That sinners would realize their sinful condition and genuinely trust in Christ for forgiveness is the desired response to the message we proclaim. A ‘genuine’ response is one that pours forth from a God-opened heart (See Lydia in Acts 16), and one that is not the result of our ‘powers of persuasion’, whatever that might look like.
Simply Put: Our part in evangelism is to faithfully present Christ as the answer to the problem of sin.
It means that we need to talk about the BAD news (the problem of sin), followed by the GOOD NEWS!
Apologetics and Evangelism
The very reason why Christians are put in the position of giving a reasoned account of the hope that is in them is that not all men have faith. Because there is a world to be evangelized (men who are unconverted), there is the need for the believer to defend his faith: Evangelism naturally brings one into apologetics. This indicates that apologetics is no mere matter of “intellectual fight”; it is a serious matter of life and death—eternal life and death. The apologist who fails to take account of the evangelistic nature of his argumentation is both cruel and proud. Cruel because he overlooks the deepest need of his opponent and proud because he is more concerned to demonstrate that he is no academic fool than to show how all glory belongs to the gracious God of all truth. Evangelism reminds us of who we are (sinners saved by grace) and what our opponents need (conversion of heart, not simply modified propositions). I believe, therefore, that the evangelistic nature of apologetics shows us the need to follow a presuppositional defense of the faith. In contrast to this approach stand the many systems of neutral autonomous argumentation. (Answers in Genesis by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen on February 25, 2009 Featured in Presuppositional Procedure)
Apologist/ Evangelist and Local Church
Apologists and evangelists are not separated from the Body of Christ because to be an evangelist or apologist is to engage in a mission and missions only make sense in the context of a local church.
Ephesians 4:11-12 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
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