Friday, December 29, 2017

The 55 uses of εὐαγγελίζω in the New Testament

What if your Bible read like this? …

Translating the 25/26 uses εαγγελίζω as evangelize in Luke-Acts

Luke 1:19, “And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to evangelize this thing.”

Luke 2:10, “And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I evangelize you a great joy which shall be for all the people.’”

Luke 3:18, “So with many other exhortations also he [John the Baptist] evangelized the people.”

Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to evangelize the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden.”

Luke 4:43, “But He [Jesus] said to them, “I must evangelize the kingdom of God to other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

Luke 7:22, “And He answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor are evangelized.’

Luke 8:1, “And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and evangelizing the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him.”

Luke 9:6, “And departing, they began going about among the villages evangelizing and healing everywhere.”

Luke 16:16, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is evangelized, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

Luke 20:1, “And it came about on one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and evangelizing, that the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him.”

Acts 5:42, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and evangelizing Jesus as the Christ.”

Acts 8:4, “Therefore, those who had been scattered went about evangelizing the word.”

Acts 8:12, “But when they believed Philip evangelizing about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.”

Acts 8:25, “And so, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were evangelizing the many villages of the Samaritans.”

Acts 8:35, “And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he evangelized him about Jesus.”

Acts 8:40, “But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept evangelizing all the cities, until he came to Caesarea.”

Acts 10:36, “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, evangelizing peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).”

Acts 11:20, “But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, evangelizing the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 13:32, “And we evangelize you of the promise made to the fathers.”

Acts 14:5-7, “And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to evangelize.”

Acts 14:15, “And saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and evangelize you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.’”

Acts 14:21, “And after they had evangelized that city and had made [won] many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.”

Acts 15:35, “But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and evangelizing, with many others also, the word of the Lord.”

Acts 16:10, “And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them.”

[Acts 16:17, “Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, ‘These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are evangelizing to you the way of salvation.’” (from a variant found only in Codex Bezae)]

Acts 17:18, And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. And some were saying, ‘What would this idle babbler wish to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’— because he was evangelizing Jesus and the resurrection.’”

Or consider these 22/23 Pauline uses of εαγγελίζω

Rom 1:15, “Thus, for my part, I am eager to evangelize you also who are in Rome.”

Rom 10:15, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who evangelize peace, who evangelize good things!’”

Rom 15:20, “And thus I aspired to evangelize, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man’s foundation.”

1 Cor 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.”

1 Cor 9:16, “For if I evangelize, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not evangelize.”

1 Cor 9:18, “What then is my reward? That, when I evangelize, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

1 Cor 15:1-2, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel by which I evangelized you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word by which I evangelized you, unless you believed in vain.”

2 Cor 10:16, “So that we may evangelize regions beyond you, not boasting about what has already been done in someone else’s area of ministry.”

2 Cor 11:7, “Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I evangelized the gospel of God to you without charge?

Gal 1:8-9, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should evangelize you contrary to how we evangelized you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is evangelizing contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”

Gal 1:11, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel which I evangelize is not based on a human point of view.”

Gal 1:16, “to reveal His Son in me, that I might evangelize Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood

Gal 1:23, “they simply kept hearing: ‘He who formerly persecuted us now evangelizes the faith he once tried to destroy.’”

Gal 4:13, “but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I evangelized you the first time.

Eph 2:17, “And He came and evangelized peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near

Eph 3:8, “This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to evangelize to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah.”

1 Thess 3:6, “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has evangelized us of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you

Heb 4:2, “For indeed we were evangelized, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard

Heb 4:6, “Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly were evangelized failed to enter because of disobedience

Εαγγελίζω in other portions

Matt 11:5, “The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor are evangelized.

1 Pet 1:12, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who evangelized you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look

1 Pet 1:25, “‘but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word by which you were evangelized.”

1 Pet 4:6, “For this purpose those who are dead have been evangelized, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Rev 10:7, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He evangelized His servants the prophets

Rev 14:6, “And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to evangelize to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.

Oh the power of this one verb to mobilize God's people to action!

Fourteen Arguments Against Translating εὐαγγελίζω as “Evangelize”

In light of biblical, historical, and linguistic considerations, a perceptive student asked me why the word εὐαγγελίζω should be translated evangelize. The following seeks to explain the arguments on both sides of the fence, reasons for translating εὐαγγελίζω as “evangelize” (in prior post) and reasons against translating εὐαγγελίζω as “evangelize.”


Reasons why “evangelize” may not be a preferential English translation of the New Testament Greek εὐαγγελίζω

1.   Because it follows six centuries of historical precedent—going back to prior to the Protestant Reformation—especially with regards to English and German language Bible translation, which also includes the stated opinions in all English lexicons (many of which were translated from the German at some point), all commentaries, and all other grammatical helps.
Rx: True, up until very recently (1987+), but not a valid argument in and of itself.
2.   Because at times (1/55 in NT) the usage of εὐαγγελίζω relates merely to the telling of good news, seemingly unrelated to the proclamation of the Gospel (unless there was a methodological war in that church as in most churches), e.g. 1 Thess 3:6, “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you
Rx. One case should not decide the 54/55/56 other cases, especially when the context clearly warrants another translation. Additionally, the Thessalonian’s view of Paul had a spiritual element to it. Therefore, included in Timothy’s good news was the fact that they remained spiritually attentive, and were not “labor in vain” as may have been the case for other churches.
By way of interest, at other times in similar contexts Paul used the verb δηλόω, perhaps indicating the unusual spiritual nature of the 1 Thess 3 usage of εὐαγγελίζω, as exemplified in 1 Thess 1:9-10:
1 Cor 1:11, “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.”
Col 1:8, “and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.”
3.   Because the transliteration of Greek or Latin terms, called “borrowing,” is reproved by leading translation theorists.[1]
Rx. The theological emphases of “loan words” are so weighty, that it appears that moderating translation theorists would prefer to dilute these terms, when expedient to their cause, in the name of proper translation theory; including words like: justification, justify, election, predestination, propitiation, expiation, and evangelize!
A balanced look at loan words in English, for example, finds that there are so many loan words from Greek, Latin, and French in English that it is virtually impossible to know where to stop and draw a linguistic line.
Further, loan words play the important role of adding a new worldview concept into a culture that may not have existed in a cultural language group up to that time.
4.   Because on several occasions, Paul uses the word “evangelize” when speaking to Christians (e.g. Rom 1:15; 1 Cor 15:1-2; Gal 1:8-9), thereby proving that the word is not limited to an unsaved audience.
Rx. The only unclear passage, other than 1 Thess 3:6 as above, is Rom 1:15; the other passages are speaking of the beginning of faith, which would be at the reception of the Gospel, which would be when evangelized and won as a disciple.
5.   Because the contexts of “evangelize” in Luke are paralleled with the use of “preach” in the other Gospels, indicating that the words can and should be used interchangeably (or rather than interchangeably, “preach” should be used uniquely).
Rx. Only true in one case; 7 of Luke’s 10 uses of evangelize (1:19; 2:10; 3:18; 4:18; 7:22; 8:1; 16:16) are from contexts unique to Luke;[2] only three passages have synoptic parallels:
Luke 4:43 is parallel to Mark 1:38, in which case Luke uses εὐαγγελίζω and Mark uses κηρύσσω;
Luke 9:6 parallels Mark 6:12-13, in which case Luke uses εὐαγγελίζω and Mark uses a compound phrase, “preach that men should repent [Byz, ἐκήρυσσον ἵνα μετανοήσωσιν; NA27, ἐκήρυξαν ἵνα μετανοῶσιν]”;
Luke 20:1 is parallel to both Matt 21:23 and Mark 11:27; whereas Luke uses the verb “teach” [διδάσκω] and “evangelize” [εὐαγγελίζω], Matt uses only teach [διδάσκω], and Mark does not contain a word for the type of ministry Jesus was having, only that he was walking through the Temple.
The only conclusions from this data can be as follows:
Luke 4:43 and Mark 1:38: there is a semantic overlap between εὐαγγελίζω and κηρύσσω (which we know already from translation history);
Luke 9:6 and Mark 6:12-13: εὐαγγελίζω seems to include more than mere preaching or proclamation of a message (as κηρύσσω), but also preaching for repentance (or for a decision)
From Luke 20:1, Matt 21:23, and Mark 11:27:
We may conclude that evangelizing includes a geographic movement (as in Mark 11:27), and as exemplified in Acts 8:25, 40;
We may also conclude that evangelizing is more than mere teaching (as in Matt 21:23), which Luke wanted to emphasize
We also notice that Luke picks up these same two verbs in his next use of εὐαγγελίζω in Acts 5:42, perhaps showing that the disciples were doing the same thing that Jesus had done in Luke 20:1, and were also persecuted just as He was!
6.   Because it follows methodological precedent of limiting “preaching” to ordained clergy only, as noted above, the prohibition against lay preaching was very important to the persecution and slaughter of the so-called “Lollards,” “Albigenses,” and “Waldenses”:
This argument brings in ecclesiastical practice into Bible translation;
Its weight of authority is based on the “Sacrament of Holy Orders”—a means of imparting and giving grace;
Further, its weight was hardened into place by years of arrests, trials, and executions, for which Thomas Aquinas became defense attorney in Paris and a guide through his Summa Theologica.
Rx. This is especially true in a state church model, wherein it is not every believers’ mandate to verbally share the Gospel on the highways and byways. The “go ye” and “ye shall be” for all disciples in Christ’s Great Commission must needs be restricted to include only a particular group, i.e. clergy.
7.   Because, closely following the prohibition against lay preaching was the prohibition against sharing the Gospel outside a church building.
This concept in today’s French is called “Laïcité”—meaning secularism, ordinary, lay, civil, non-religious—a very powerful term in which French Catholics become militant to keep religion out of everyday life (which obviously includes evangelism).
With this French understanding of the role of the laity, the term “lay preaching” is a non sequetor or an oxymoron.
Rx. This is true; from the Third Lateran Council and on, the Roman Catholic Church fiercely opposed anyone who had the audacity to preach without authorization from a Bishop who was rightly aligned to the Pope and the Church of Rome.
8.   Because territorial and mainstream denominations do not endorse “proselytism,” as noted above, seeing “evangelize” in the text would encourage aggressiveness in evangelism, which has been labeled “proselytism” and “sheep-stealing” for “institutional aggrandizement.”
Rx. Territorial (Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican) and mainstream (United Methodist, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., etc.) are less comfortable with the seeming fanatical evangelism of the fundamentalist types.
9.   Because the majority of New Testament scholars are not comfortable with aggressive evangelism (note their denominations of origin), they find it more appropriate to translate εὐαγγελίζω as “preach” (thereby focusing it within the local church by the ordained) because this translation fits more closely with their methodological presuppositions, as well as their denominational theological bias.
Rx. Translators who do not affirm the importance of every believer fulfilling the Great Commission, or to be approved by a publisher or by peers in the academy, may not be willing to translate εὐαγγελίζω as evangelize for methodological, pecuniary, or status reasons.
10. Because many professors of missions and evangelism[4] are more comfortable with discipleship (or mentoring), spiritual disciplines, church growth, leadership development, and community transformation, than with a single-minded focus on the verbal proclamation of the gospel; they sound no opposition to continuing with the status quo of translating εὐαγγελίζω as “preach the gospel”.
Rx. It is strange that many who teach or write about evangelism no longer practice it themselves in an aggressive way; there seems to be a movement towards mediocrity in this area with the pressures to publish and to please academia and antagonistic students.
11. Because likely, especially to unlearned Christians, seeing “evangelize” in the English text would be the endorsement of religious fanaticism, evangelism; whereas those who currently read εὐαγγελίζω in the Greek or “evangelizare” Latin are limited to the learned and ordained.
Rx. Reaching the laity is the very reason that the word should be properly translated; it is very difficult to motivate the learned to this task, as a large part of learning moves the learned away from the fundamental truths of the Bible; hence Peter the Lombard’s Sentences moved many a young monk into philosophical theology and scholasticism and away from evangelizing!
12. Because unsophisticated Christian lay people, seeing “evangelize” in the text, would likely confuse it with the modern practice of evangelism.
Rx. Seeing the word in the text given in the contexts given to us by God would have a revolutionary impact on lay people; they would and could allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, just as they are to do in other areas of theology and practice.
13. Because Christ could not expect all of His followers to be involved in such demeaning and socially unacceptable behavior as evangelizing.
Rx. Fortunately, evangelizing is the joyful obligation and duty of every true believer in Christ; many have considered evangelizing the touchstone of true conversion, based on Matt 10:32-33; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:8-9.
14. Because socially-unacceptable fanatical behavior already exists among some Christian groups, even with the word “evangelize” translated as “preach”, and that fanaticism exists especially among certain sectarian groups (e.g. Southern Baptists), young people, and other “simplistic” readers; how much worse would that fanaticism be if these “literalistic” Christians actually saw all or most of the 54/55/56 NT uses of “evangelize,” as in Luke-Acts (25 times) and the Pauline epistles (23 times)—it might radically transform their approach to evangelism!
Rx. It is my prayer that God will transform the evangelizing of His people as they see this word rightly translated in their Bibles!
May the astute reader read the above comments in context, as they constitute the reasoning which may well have hindered the translation of the word εὐαγγελίζω as “evangelize” in the English text of the Bible for over 600 years. 

Let us now consider reasons why it would be commendable for the New Testament (and some Old Testament, e.g. Isa 52:7; 61:1) uses of εὐαγγελίζω to be translated “evangelize” (please see next blogpost).

[1]Roman Catholics and Protestants have exhibited two rather distinct tendencies in borrowing. For the most part, Roman Catholics have borrowed largely from Latin while Protestants have borrowed from Greek, Hebrew, or modern European languages, with theological terms coming from Greek and Hebrew and cultural terms from European languages.
“For major languages borrowing should be kept at a strict minimum, for all such languages have a sufficiently large vocabulary or phrasal equivalence to make borrowing relatively unnecessary. For minor languages borrowing should be made from those major living languages from which the languages in question normally appropriate such terms as may be required by expanding technology, commerce, and social intercourse” (“Guiding Principles for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translating the Bible,” in Thomas F. Stransky, C.S.P., and John B. Sheerin, C.S.B., eds. Doing the Truth in Charity: Statements of Pope Paul VI, Popes John Paul I, John Paul II, and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity 1964-1980 [New York: Paulist, 1982], 164-65).
[2]Albert Huck, A Synopsis of the First Three Gospels, 9th edition, revised by Hans Lietzmann (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1936).
[3]‘La laïcité doit s’imposer partout’, a déclaré Manuel Valls, en préambule de l’annonce des mesures pour l’Education” (“DIRECT. Manuel Valls et Najat Vallaud-Belkacem détaillent les mesures pour l'Education et la laïcité”; from: [online]; accessed: 23 Jan 2015; Internet).
3/ ‘Le seul enjeu qui importe, la laïcité, la laïcité, la laïcité. Parce que c'est le cœur de la République’” (“Terrorisme : les cinq phrases à retenir du discours d'hommage de Manuel Valls”; available at: [online]; accessed: 23 Jan 2015; Internet).
[4]For example, see David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission, 420.