An interview with Larry Moyer on the making of the Evangelism Study Bible. To learn more or to order your own copy visit evantell.org/Bible.
1. With all the Bibles on the market, why is there a need for an Evangelism Study Bible?
We are two thousand years on this side of Christ and there is every other study Bible available but no Evangelism Study Bible. That is particularly remarkable when Jesus placed such a high priority on evangelism and “fishing for men.”
2. What other factors motivated you to create/develop the Evangelism Study Bible?
As believers are taught to evangelize, they need to be taught how to share the gospel clearly and how to do so with an accurate and careful handling of Scripture. Sometimes, well-meaning Christians use the Scriptures in evangelism to put believers on guilt trips and teach things that can be detrimental to their evangelism efforts. The Evangelism Study Bible is our way to give clear and biblical teaching about sharing the gospel and encourage people to do so out of grace, not guilt.
3. How long have you been working on this?
Nearly 6 years.
4. You have more than 40 years experience in evangelism. Did you learn anything new about evangelism during this process?
I was reminded in a fresh way as we worked through the 66 books of the Bible how much God's heart is for people who don’t know Him. God’s love for unbelievers is seen throughout the entire Canon of Scripture. I learned just how much the whole Bible revealed that a loving and sovereign God enjoys populating His kingdom.
5. Who is this Bible designed for and who could benefit the most from this study Bible?
The Evangelism Study Bible is for any believer who wants to enhance his skills in outreach and wants to be sure that what he is communicating is both clear and biblical. It is designed for everyone from the new believer to the mature Christian who wants to enhance his skills in evangelism and grow in his love for those who don’t know the Savior.
6. Describe the features of the Evangelism Study Bible.
There are predominately four. First, there are study notes that accompany the Biblical text and highlight how they relate to evangelism as well as the love and grace of God. Second, there are tips— ideas given in one or two sentences—to enhance your own evangelism efforts and encourage your focus on reaching out to unbelievers. Third, we have included devotions that help you grow spiritually in both your concern for unbelievers and your burden to reach them with the gospel. There are also many “how to” trainings that provide practical instruction in personal evangelism. Finally, there are in-depth articles that provide more extensive training on subjects like apologetics and discipleship as well as well as how to overcome discouragement, fear, and other roadblocks to outreach.
7. How did you decide what content to put in the Study Bible? Were there some things you had to omit for space?
First and foremost, our concern was that it would be a Study Bible for believers to teach them the “how to.” We wanted to help them overcome the two common problems of fear and not knowing how. The amount of content of particular books was determined by the space available since we did not want our notes and features to occupy more space than that given to the Bible itself. We addressed what issues, comments, and questions would be the most help to believers and could be used in that particular book of Scripture. Yes, there were some things that were omitted, but we all felt most of those items were already expressed in other articles in the Bible.
8. Did you change your thinking about anything in the ESB based on others, personal conviction, or prayers as a team?
Originally, we were going to do just the New Testament but decided it was important to focus on the entire Bible. This is because God’s heart for those who don’t know Him is seen in the Old Testament as well as the New.
10. How is the Old Testament useful in evangelism?
Throughout the New Testament you hear of the Christ who has come. Throughout the Old Testament you hear of the Christ to come. Therefore, the entire Old Testament speaks of a Messiah who is coming to redeem the world. As God instructs the prophets and people of the Old Testament, you not only see His heart for people but you see a God who keeps His promises. All of those things are helpful to you in your personal evangelism and in communicating the evidence behind the fact that Christ was the One He said He was.
11. How have you found that working on the ESB project impacted your own personal evangelism?
If anything, this made me even more determined to take advantage of every opportunity I had to share Christ. That might be a personal conversation, handing out a tract, or preaching an evangelistic message. I could not get away from how much an awesome God wants to be involved in the lives of people today if they will only come to Him as sinners and allow Him to give them what cannot be earned—the free gift of eternal life.
12. What are your goals for the Bible?
Our goals are twofold. One is a goal of getting this Bible into the hands of every believer worldwide who wants his or her skills enhanced in evangelism and wants to evangelize from a biblical perspective. The second goal is that, as they read and study, they will find their fervency for sharing Christ increased and come away with a greater love than ever for those who have never met the Savior and have no idea who they are missing. If these skills are enhanced and believers consistently talk to the lost and not simply about the lost, the purpose of this Study Bible will have been achieved. In all this we want One person to be glorified and that is the author of the Scriptures—Jesus Christ.