Surprise!

The Word “Evangelism” is not in the New Testament

 

That almost sounds heretical doesn’t it? Your first response is probably, “Are you kidding?” Your next response might be, “Then why do preachers and churches talk about it so much?”

 

Actually, it is there. But it is there in the form of a more familiar synonym. Evangel is the Greek word for “gospel”, so evangelism means to share the gospel. Therefore, the New Testament does talk about evangelism; it just uses different words.

 

For example, in I Corinthians 15:1, we read, “Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you”. The word “preached” is the verb-form of the noun gospel, so—in English—the verse is really saying, “I declare to you the gospel which I gospelized.”

 

Now, let’s go to what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission as it is found in Mark 16:15. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Once again, we are told to evangelize, this time through the use of a synonymous phrase - preach the gospel.

 

In describing evangelism, many today use the phrase “share your faith”. In essence, that would be another synonym for evangelism and is what we see taking place in John 4:39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’.” As the Samaritan woman who came to see Jesus as the promised Messiah shared what she had experienced with others, they too came to Christ. She was literally sharing her faith.

 

The same thing takes place in Acts 8:4. During a time of tremendous persecution, Christians were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. We are told, “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” As they were preaching the Good News of Christ, they were telling others what had happened to them. They were sharing their faith.

 

The New Testament uses synonyms for evangelism just as we do today. Using different words, we are encouraged to tell others the Good News that Christ died for them and rose again.