One temptation we face is always chasing the newest thing. Commercials seek to convince us that the newest car or phone is so much better than the one we already have. We are plagued by what C. S. Lewis called “Chronological Snobbery.” This is the belief (and it happens in the academy and in everyday life) that when something new comes on the scene, the old thing is no longer helpful or it no longer works. We face a similar temptation when it comes to evangelism, particularly when we are looking for the “best” method for sharing the gospel.
It is true that there are a whole host of new, more modern methods of evangelism. Creative people develop new images, designs, and outlines. We write new training material and books. We are a fan of any helpful technique and teaching about evangelism. However, we make a mistake when we allow the new to cast shade on the old. In our search for the newest methods, we can be tempted to ignore the Bible itself as an evangelism tool. Tracts, pictures, outlines, and alliterated presentation are good, but let’s consider going back to the source and using the Bible to share the gospel.
THE OVERARCHING STORYLINE OF THE BIBLE
Following the storyline of Scripture is one of the more helpful ways of using the Bible in evangelism. This is something we see throughout the Bible. Take a few minutes and look at these passages:
Each of these passages shows early Christians sharing the gospel in different settings, but all of the presentations are simply following the basic storyline of the Bible:
- There is a God who created the world.
- God is good and has good plans for His creation.
- Humans disobeyed God and have fallen away from His original plan.
- God, because of His great love, made a way for this broken relationship to be mended; He sent His Son, Jesus.
- The proper response is to repent and believe. This makes us right with God.
Notice that each encounter ends with an opportunity for the listener to accept Jesus. Some say yes, and some say no. But in each, the evangelist has faithfully accomplished his role. We don’t measure success based on the completion of a prescription outline. Rather, we are successful when we meet a person where they are and show how their life fits into the story of the Bible.
HOW THIS WORKS
Imagine you are talking with a friend who is concerned about the political situation in our country. She believes things are out of control. You want to share the hope you have found in Jesus as the source of your peace in this moment. The good news is that her fear fits nicely into the gospel. You could use Psalm 2 as a guide:
- God created a good world.
- But Psalm 2 describes a world in which “the nations rage… (v.1) and the “kings of the earth … conspire against the Lord” (v.2). Human disobedience causes great pain and is a sign that this world has fallen from God’s original plan.
- Verses 7-8 remind us God sent His Son to bring peace to this broken world.
- There is a call to “kiss the Son” (v.12)—anyone who places their faith in Him can have peace, even in a world that seems to be falling apart.
How about this scenario? A friend is ashamed of their past sins or they are suffering the consequences of poor choices. Or a parent is afraid for their child who is making bad choices. Again, these concerns fit perfectly into Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
- There is a father who created a perfect home and safe place for his kids.
- The pain and brokenness took place because the son rebelled and left his father.
- The father knows the shameful behavior, but doesn’t turn his back. Because of his great love, the father is always ready for the son to come back home. The father made a way to come back home.
- Sin can be forgiven and shame covered when we respond and repent.
This story follows the storyline of the Bible, and it shows that God receives repentant sinners with joy and welcomes them into His family.
Can you see how this works? More importantly, can you imagine yourself in a similar conversation? The Bible is indeed a big book, but each of us already knows enough to use it as an important evangelism tool.
This post is adapted from Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out 2nd edition. D. Scott Hildreth and Steven A. McKinion