What is Bible evangelism

What does “evangelize” mean?

In times when marketing plays a major role, we have learned to be careful of people who promise all kinds of beautiful things. In this context, the word "evangelize" in the New Testament can be frightening. It is embarrassing to sell someone else's faith like a commodity. Our sense of respect for the other has become finer; we don't want to impose or convince our ideas on anyone. Especially when it comes to things as personal as trusting God.

But do we actually know what the New Testament means by “evangelizing”? In Greek, this verb is used to translate the phrase “to proclaim good news”: one who has been “evangelized” is in the know. The verb can be used to announce a birth, an armistice or a seizure of power; so it initially has no religious significance. But it is precisely this almost banal word that Christians have chosen to describe the most valuable part of their faith: the proclamation of the resurrection of Christ. Interestingly, this word appeared more and more often without its addition. They stopped saying “teach someone about the resurrection of Christ” but simply “evangelize someone”. At first this is simply shorter, but has a deeper meaning.

For Christians, proclaiming the good news of the resurrection does not mean prescribing a doctrine to be memorized or a wisdom to be internalized. Evangelizing means first of all to give testimony of a transformation within the human being: through the resurrection of Christ our own resurrection has already begun. Through his boundless respect for all people he met (as expressed in the healing accounts of the Gospels), through his descent so that no one should be lower than him (which is the meaning of his baptism), Jesus has value and value for every person Would reproduce. Even more: Jesus was with us in death so that we could be with him in his fellowship with the Father. Through this “wonderful exchange” (Easter liturgy) we discover that we are fully accepted by God, that he is just as we are. The Christians of the first centuries summarized this with the words: "God became man so that man may be made God!"

Evangelizing does not mean first and foremost talking to another about Jesus, but rather, much more deeply, drawing his attention to the value that he has in the eyes of God. Evangelizing means telling him the words of God that were spoken five centuries before Christ: "You are precious in my eyes and I love you" (Isaiah 53: 4). We have known since Easter morning that God did not hesitate to give everything so that we never forget what we are worth.

Is it possible to “evangelize” while respecting the freedom of others?

It is not at our discretion to make people aware of the worth they have in the eyes of God, or to fail to do so. Paul even writes: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16 b). For him evangelizing is the result of his deep bond with Christ. Through his resurrection, Christ unites us inalienably with God. Nobody can feel excluded from this unity. And at the same time, humanity is no longer dismembered: since the resurrection we have belonged to one another.

Yet the question remains: How can we pass this news on to people who know nothing about God and seem to expect nothing from him?

First of all, through our deep personal relationship with Christ. Paul writes: "You have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). Evangelization requires starting with yourself. It is through our lives and not through words that we first testify to the reality of the resurrection: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and communion with his sufferings; his death should shape me. So I hope to come to the resurrection from the dead too ”(Philippians 3: 10-11). Through our certainty, our simple joy in knowing we have been loved from eternity, Christ becomes believable in the eyes of people who do not know him.

And yet there are moments when words are needed. Peter said it splendidly: “Always be ready to answer anyone who asks about the hope that fills you” (1 Peter 3:15 b). Of course, one can only speak of such an intimate love with deep sensitivity. And sometimes the words are missing, especially when the faith is vehemently challenged. Jesus knew this and said to the disciples: “If you are dragged in front of the (...) rulers and rulers, then do not worry about how to defend yourself or what to say. For in the same hour the Holy Spirit will give you what you have to say ”(Luke 12: 11-12).

After Christ has put on our humanity and we are clothed in Christ, we no longer need to fear how to speak properly. In the calling of Christians not to choose the people they love, but to accept each one without preselection, there is a lack of intent that touches others and, more than that, leads them into the life of Christ. Through our willingness to serve, we share our garments with the people we serve, a little like Jesus who “took off his clothes” while washing his feet (John 13: 4). What speaks for us most is the lack of intent in our gestures, it gives credibility to our words.

Last updated: June 22, 2007