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Biblical Evangelism

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Text: 2 Timothy 4:5

I have given the title "Biblical Evangelism" to distinguish it from the evangelism of men. In other words, there are ways that men go about evangelizing and there is God's way as expressed in the Bible. It is very tempting to resort to man's ways, especially as they seem so successful. All kinds of GIMMICKS are used such as parachute jumps, magic, sports and a variety of others that could be listed. Often such efforts appeal to the fleshly interests of people and so they are drawn in numbers to the churches that use them.

On the other hand, there is God's methods of evangelism. If we use Biblical evangelism, we can consider the evangelistic efforts of Paul as a pattern for our day. In all honesty, these methods will probably be less successful in reaching the numbers. However, if a secular minded person is attracted by secular interests, what has been accomplished? But if we learn from Paul's pattern and the spiritual minded are drawn to spiritual things, aren't we much better off?

Paul's Pattern for Evangelism.

The program committee assigned the following passages for consideration. It will be helpful for you to read them and so I will give them to you so you can write them down. I will not take time to read them now, but please do so later. They are: Acts 13:2-ll, 17:1-9, 18:1-4, 26:19-20, and 2 Timothy 2:2. I have given an additional passage which I have read. Paul was inspired by God to write these words to Timothy. He told him that Jesus would judge him (not Paul). He was to preach the word, even though the time would come that people would not love the truth any more (aren't we now living in that day?). Then Paul told him to do the work of an evangelist. Not all ministers are EVANGELIST but we are all to do the work of an evangelist. But how?

Well we have the pattern of Paul to help us understand how. There were many things that marked Paul's ministry. The first one I will deal with is OPPOSITION from men. I deal with this first because, we can get it out of the way and then move on to more positive teachings. Paul met with opposition from the Jews and Romans. It was said of Paul and Barnabas, that they hazarded their lives in preaching (Acts 15:26). Later Paul declared he was willing to die for the cause of Christ (Acts 20:24). Fortunately, no one will likely kill us if we preach. Fear of bodily harm is not our problem today, rather our enemy is indifference or apathy. (That is Brother Thomas' part and I will not intrude on it.)

Having that out of the way, there are some very positive ideas to be found in the pattern of Paul. Basically, evangelism with Paul consisted of three things:

(1). Paul went into new areas to work. It began at home and went out into regions where the gospel of Jesus had not been preached. Really, the idea of evangelism is to carry the gospel and spread it beyond its present boundary. For example, my present boundary is the congregation of Grace Church at Thomaston. When I carry the gospel outside to others in the community and to other cities or states, am I not doing the work of an evangelist?

However, when Paul went out, he followed the leading of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes he was restrained by the Holy Spirit from going into an area. At one point the disciples were forbidden to preach among the Gentiles. Matthew 10: 5. Later Paul was forbidden from preaching in Asia. Acts. 16:6. No successful evangelism can be done apart from the blessings of the Holy Spirit. Paul saw the unbeliever, not as an individual to be shunned, but taught. Who knows but what the Holy Spirit will bless in such a way as to open their eyes of understanding as in Ephesians 1:18. When God sent paul to Macedonia, the Holy Spirit made it a fruitful labor. Acts 16:9. Paul's first effort was led by the Spirit (Acts 13:4) and though he was sorely opposed, God blinded the EYES and then opened the HEART of the Sorcerer. We must follow the pattern and seek divine guidance to go where He leads.

(2). Paul also preached the Word. It is true that Paul became all things to all men. 1 Corinthians 9:22. I understand that to the farmer, he talked farming. To the fisherman, he talked fishing, but always that he might get around to preaching Jesus. I have failed here, for I have talked fishing without ever getting around to becoming a fisher of men. It was Paul who said to "preach the word." 2 Timothy 4:2. This he did as frequently as he could.

In preaching, the main theme was Jesus Christ. To the Corinthians, he determined not to preach anything but Jesus. 1 Corinthains 2:2. Does that mean he neglected the great doctrines of grace? Of course not. If you look at the first chapter of Ephesians, you will see that he taught ELECTION and PREDESTINATION. But the interesting thing is that he used them to preach Jesus and glorify Him. Notice Ephesians 1:4-5. God chose us IN CHRIST and we were ADOPTED BY CHRIST. Perhaps more of our sermons need to be directed toward preaching Jesus. Regardless of the subject, we can always preach Jesus too, and we should. That was in Paul's pattern.

(3). Paul not only preached, but also took time to REASON with the people. Sometimes the sermon is not enough to help people understand the truth. It may be too much for their minds to absorb at the time and they need to soak in a little at the time. When Paul would enter a synagogue, he would reason with them about Jesus. Their word was full of prophecies about Jesus, they just did not understand them. He would no doubt take the scriptures and then tell them how Jesus fulfilled them.

Paul went to the place of gathering and REASONED with them. Acts 17:2-3. He preached the word and thereby reasoned with them. Our preaching must be such that we explain the truth and try to persuade the hearer. But all our reasoning and persuasion must not be from the pulpit. Paul went to Felix and privately reasoned with him. Acts 24:25. So then we must reason with people by preaching the word. We must take time to reason with them and preach to them privately also, as opportunities are given.


As Paul evangelized much of the then known world, churches were established. However, I am not convinced that Paul's principal objective was to start churches. It was an admirable result, but not the purpose of his evangelism. He went to preach Jesus Christ and glorify his Lord and Saviour. The result was that as people heard the word and were blessed to understand the truth, they wanted to band together and continue to worship and serve Jesus. What a wonderful by-product of evangelism, that churches may be started. Perhaps there have been times when we have put the cart before the horse. We try to start churches and the result is that we preach the word. Would it be more effective to preach Jesus and glorify Him and then hopefully see churches established? The Great Commission said to go and teach. In response to the teaching, people were baptized. No doubt churches were established, for they were to be further taught. I believe Paul followed that divine directive in setting his pattern.

We should be able to observe that three things are of vital importance for effective evangelism. First, there must be a love for Jesus as the Son of God and our Saviour. Second, there must be a love of the word of God as divinely inspired and authoritive. Third, there must also be a love for the people of God as His sheep and subjects.

(1). For Biblical evangelism, we must love Jesus Christ supremely. The first and great commandment says He is to be loved more than anything or anyone else. Matthew 22:37. How can we know whether or not we love Him that much? I believe when like Paul we love Him so much that we are willing to go out and preach Him and His word, even to the endangerment of our life; then we love Him supremely. Jesus gave us another test to which to subject our love. He said that if we love Him, we are to keep His commandments. John 14:15. Who was it that said to go into all the world and teach (Great Commission)? It was Jesus. Now are we going to obey Him?

Paul certainly did. Most of us say, Well I am a pastor, not an evangelist. That goes back to the original passage - Do the work of an evangelist. Paul is thought to have been a man not so handsome, and even his speech was ridiculed. Yet he wrote more of the New Testament than anyone one else and probably reached more people with the gospel than any of the others. What was it about him? No doubt it was God's power upon him, but it was also his deep and manifest love for Jesus Christ. I do not believe you could have been around Paul very long without having understood that. And probably if you had been around him long, he would have been preaching the Lord he loved. There it is, we are to love Jesus so much that we let it show in every sermon. Evangelism has no higher purpose than to preach Jesus.

(2). For Biblical evangelism, we must have a great love for the Bible. The word of God will be loved, if we truly love Jesus. He said the scriptures were a testimony about Him. John 5:39. How can we love Jesus and not love the words written about Him? So many ministers in our society today, speak very little about the word. Paul thought it was important for Timothy to preach the word. 2 Timothy 4:2. It is important for us to preach it too. Paul did not say tell a lot of jokes, keep people up on current events, but preach the word. How can we preach Jesus unless we preach the word? It will be virtually impossible.

Paul certainly did that in his ministry. He would take the SCRIPTURES and use them to prove Jesus was the Messiah or Christ. Preaching was not to display his logic, or to show how smart he was; it was to share his knowledge of the scriptures. To do that we must study and that takes time as we all know. Paul told Timothy to study that he might rightly divide the word. 2 Timothy 2:15. It is true that many in our society today will shy away from the word, they often ridicule those who speak it. But thank God, those who are born again can understand and have a soul to hunger for it. True we may meet many who will turn away, but all along we will find those who will rejoice in it. The effort will all be worthwhile. The Lord Jesus will be glorified and the people will rejoice.

(3). For Biblical evangelism, we must genuinely love the people of God. If God loved His people enough to give His only begotten Son to die for them, certainly we should love them too. In fact, that is the criteria that Jesus gave us for loving one another. He said love others as He has loved us. John 15:12. Therefore the dynamics of evangelism is not in masses or numbers, but in individuals. Even though God loved all the elect, He loved us as individuals (Galatians 2:20) and wrote our names in the Lamb's book of life. If we love God's children, we will recognize that we are born again, but not born grown. We all need to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord. 2 Peter 3:18. Therefore, love demands that we share our knowledge of Jesus for their spiritual growth as well as His glory.

So by evangelism, the gospel of Jesus Christ spread from the Jews to the Samaritans (half breed Jews) and finally to Gentiles. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He carried the word to God's elect among the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Acts 9:15. Paul was a part of the fufillment of Acts 1:8. You see, we are not a "dam" to hold all the flow of the gospel in our own little pond. Instead, like a stream empties into a river and the river into the ocean; so we are to receive the word of God and pass it on to others. When our "candle" has been lit, we should use our flame to light someone elses candle and thus spread the light of God's holy word. If we love others, we will want to share with them through the work of evangelism.


Evangelism is first of all the responsibility of the minister of the gospel. However, I am convinced that it does not end there. Remember the Samaritan woman to whom Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah. She went out immediately and told others about the Messiah. John 4:29. Then when Paul told Timothy to receive the word and pass it on to others, those to whom he was to share it was in turn to share it with others too. I could be wrong, but my heart says that in that progression every member of the church is included. Yes, we are to evangelize, but so is every member of the body of Christ. When Paul said "study" he meant all of us and when he said "do the work of an evangelist" I believe we are all to do so as BIBLICAL EVANGELISM.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014