Saturday, February 15, 2014

Six Tremendous Truths in Evangelism

When we are involved in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, it can sometimes be discouraging. During difficult times, we must arm ourselves with the promises of God.
Here are six tremendous truths in evangelism from the Word of God that have been a special blessing to me.
1. God desires the salvation of all men:
If your desire is the salvation of all men in general or a person in particular, know that this is also the heart of God.
2 Pet 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
2. God is always present:
You are not alone when you are seeking to share the gospel with someone else. God is with you. And in fact, as in this next verse, Christ is with you!
Matt 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make [win] disciples of all nations ... and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
3. God’s Word is always effective:
If we sometimes feel that our sharing is to no avail, God reminds us of the efficacy of His Word—it is always effective to accomplish His will!
Isa 55:11, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
4. The harvest is always white:
Even before we have begun our labor, God has been at work preparing the harvest. Jesus said that the harvest is “already white” for harvest!
John 4:35, 38 (NKJ), “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! … I sent you to reap for that which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
5. There is always a need for workers:
If you have a burden to win souls, know that this is the Holy Spirit prompting you into this necessary work. Jesus was very clear sharing a timeless truth that the laborers are few!
Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
6. Victory is sure:
When Christ leads you in evangelism, He always leads you into His victory. Don’t be discouraged. Stay the course.
2 Cor 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”

So next time you are tempted to be discouraged after seeking to share the gospel with someone, remember these six tremendous truths—tender promises from the Word of God!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nine great questions to start spiritual conversations

Sometimes starting spiritual conversations can be a daunting task. Because the first words used in transitioning a conversation to a spiritual topic can be complicated, here are some ideas for questions that help you with that transition:
  1. “Are you a praying man (or woman)?”
  2. “Has the Lord given you a church to attend?”
  3. “How would you say your life is going spiritually?”

If the person shows little or no interest at this point, another question can be used to probe their receptivity to further conversation. It is usually best not to push too hard if you get clear resistance. The Bible says that although there were other women gathered at the place of prayer, Lydia was apparently the only one listening. Ears that are willing to listen are a necessity if we want to share the gospel with someone.
In some contexts a comment about a person’s name (on a badge), a piece of jewelry, or a tattoo can provide an interesting start to a conversation. For example:
  1.  “Joshua. That’s a great name. Did you know that it’s from the Bible? Do you know what Joshua means?” [The Lord saves]
  2. “That’s a massive cross you have around your neck. Do you know what happened on the cross?”
  3. “Hey, that’s a really cool Tattoo. What does it mean to you?”

Once a conversation is started, you may then get the opportunity to transition into the gospel message. Here are some more in depth questions:
  1.  “What do you think of Jesus?”
  2. “Does your pastor/priest ever speak about being born again?”
  3. “At what point are you in your spiritual pilgrimage?”

Any of these questions can allow you to seamlessly transition into a gospel presentation.

Starting spiritual conversations can be threatening. But having some questions in your mind before you start the conversation can be very helpful. I trust that you will be able to use some of these ideas!


[for notes and further discussion on starting conversations, see http://www.evangelismunlimited.com/documents/evangelizology/evangelizology-2014-chapter-14.pdf ]

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Five Paradigm Shifts in Bible Translation, Part One

Several weeks ago, as I was considering the history of Bible translation into English, a new chart came to mind. It seems like viewing history in this way allows for a revised viewpoint.
Could not this approach be called “Viewing History as a Game of Chess”?
In seeking to look at the history of English Bible translation chronologically, several major paradigm shifts became evident. Some of the older shifts may appear obvious. However, several of the more recent shifts may be less obvious.
This chart that there are five distinct paradigm shifts that have occurred and are occurring in eight centuries of English Bible translation. In this, my first blog on this subject, I will cover the first two paradigm shifts.
(1) A Bible in English: Wycliffe 1st and 2nd editions (1382, 1388)
The first major shift in English Bible translation was the transition from no available English Bibles to the translation of the entire Bible into English. All approved Bibles in England prior to that time were in Latin, a language the common people did not understand.
(2) The New Testament from the Greek: Tyndale and Geneva Bible (1534-1560)
The next major paradigm shift in English Bible translation took place when William Tyndale translated the New Testament from the Greek text, rather than from the Latin text. He published his work in 1534. Tyndale’s translation removed a lot of the Catholic biases found in the Latin Vulgate. He was publicly burned alive for his audacity in setting out to translate the Bible in 1536.
It must be remembered that Martin Luther had published his German New Testament in 1522, also published from Erasmus’ Greek text. Pierre Robert Oliv├ętan published a French version of the Bible in 1534, a version funded by the Alpine Waldenses—only to die mysteriously on a trip to Rome in 1538. Oliv├ętan’s version that became the basis for the French Geneva of 1560, also influencing the 1560 English Geneva translation.
Each of the aforementioned translations yielded a radical impact within the language group where these Bibles were disseminated. In each society people came to believe in Christ as a result of the Bible translations. Furthermore, because these Bibles led towns and cities to distance themselves from Catholicism, the revivals that took place were considered “Peasant Revolts” and led to military crusades to squelch their impact.
What can be learned from these first two stages?
A first and foremost lesson relates to the power of Word of God put into print in the common language of the people. God’s Word is living and active, and does its supernatural work through the language known to its recipients. A second lesson regards the need for a good original from which to translate. While the Wycliffe English Bible was definitely better than having no Bible in English. It was through the use of a Greek original during the Protestant Reformation that the Bible brought about dynamic societal change in many countries in Europe.