It seems as if there is a disconnect in Christianity today.
Very frequently, Bible reading is something prescribed as what I do for me–something directed inward. Evangelism is what I do for others–something directed outward.
What if there was a beautiful, God-given fusion between the two? What if we have gotten it wrong and, instead of being opposed, they are actually connected?
Here’s my goal: I want to give you a paradigm shift. My prayer is that through this article, I can show you why and how God uses Scripture to radically change our outreach.
We See God with Greater Clarity
If you’ve been a Christian for a while, my guess is that your perspective on a lot of things has changed over time. As a result of the fall, our viewpoints are imperfect. Part of growing means that those views need to be progressively conformed to reality.
If our minds are corrupted because of the fall, how do we make this happen? Thankfully, God has graciously given us objective truth in the form of the Bible. He has told us everything we need to know about his nature. We will never have a perfect understanding of God this side of heaven, but we can begin to see him more clearly.
Scripture reveals God as the source of all wisdom, the One who cannot lie, who spoke galaxies into existence, and who numbers the hairs on our heads–working all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11). He is the God who promised to bring Israel out of Egypt and fulfilled that promise as he does all his promises.
This is the just judge who must extract punishment for our sinful behavior. The righteous one who sends sinners to Hell. The merciful God who condescended to take on humanity and die in the place of all who will repent and believe. The God who saves the otherwise not savable. The God whose call for us is to be servants and reflect him by carrying the gospel to the nations.
When we see God more accurately, our ultimate response should be joy in proclaiming his message. Psalm 71 has recently become one of my favorite Psalms, and has this idea written all over it. Praise of God and his character is interspersed with a desire to tell of God and what he has done. Notice especially verses 14b-15: “[I] will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.”
As we see God and his attributes, realizing that he is intimately involved with the working of his world today, we can proclaim the good news with boldness. For instance, we know from James 1 that God allows and uses difficult things to mature us. I can trust that God is working even if someone becomes angry or argumentative when I lovingly share the truth of the gospel.
If we are going to accurately shape our understanding of God, we must go to Scripture.
Scripture is Our Best Weapon
Don’t fall prey to the myth of neutrality. When we witness to other people, they don’t simply need more information. Without Christ, all humanity is dead in their sins, unable to come to God (Colossians 2:13).
While it may sound cliché, Scripture makes it clear that we are in a spiritual battle. Ultimately, we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. Our philosophical arguments are not sufficient–this perishing world needs something more.
Fortunately, God has given us a weapon stronger than anything the world can throw at us.
God, in the Bible, is very clear about the power of his Word. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:15 that God’s Word is able to make us wise for salvation. Psalm 19:7 tells us that the law revives (or converts) the soul. The gospel is described in Romans 1:16 as the “power of God for salvation.”
If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17), we cannot afford to leave Scripture out of our evangelism efforts. The Bible is powerful (Hebrews 4:12), and the Holy Spirit uses it to save people. Apologetics is great, but the gospel saves.
Here’s the catch–if you’re going to use Scripture when you talk to people about Jesus, you have to know scripture. That means being able to rightly divide the Word–having studied it ahead of time, knowing it well enough to share with others.
If we are going to truly make an impact through our evangelism, we must go to Scripture.
So read God’s Word with a new sense of purpose. See God for who he is, and as your trust in him grows, speak the truth boldly and lovingly. Realize that your personal study has an effect not only on your own life but on the eternal destination of others. The God who keeps his promises has promised his Word will accomplish exactly what he wants it to (Isaiah 55:11).
Brothers and sisters, don’t put down your sword.