Principles and Methods of Household Evangelism -- By: Ronald D. Runyon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:565 (Jan 1985)
Article: Principles and Methods of Household Evangelism
Author: Ronald D. Runyon


Principles and Methods of Household Evangelism

Ronald D. Runyon

[Ronald D. Runyon, Staff Member, Here’s Life/Adult Ministries, Campus Crusade for Christ, Littleton, Colorado]

In the early church evangelism usually took place in three settings: public evangelism, personal evangelism (one-on-one witnessing situations), and household evangelism.1 For most believers the latter two were his primary avenue of sharing his faith.

Most believers in the United States are not intensively involved in evangelism in any of these three areas. They have isolated themselves from the non-Christian world. As a result, they are not having an impact for Christ on people who are the closest to them.

This article focuses on the third type of evangelism: household evangelism. In this author’s view this is still the most important method or strategy available to laymen today.

The Biblical Basis of Household Evangelism

The term “household” comes from the Greek word οἶκος. The word οἶκοςand its related word οἰκία have several meanings. They communicate the meaning of both “house” and “family” since Greek has no word for the small social unit called the family. It can also mean a clan or larger tribal unit.2

In the New Testament οἰκία usually means a physical building (a house) as in Luke 4:38, “and He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home.” But by metonymy it can sometimes mean the people or family living in the house (e.g., Luke 19:9, “Today salvation has come to this house”). Other examples in Paul’s

writings are in 2 Timothy 4:19 (“Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus”) and 1 Timothy 3:4 (“He must be one who manages his own household well”).

In the Book of Acts, several times the word οἶκος means the members of one’s household. Many of these instances relate to a situation where evangelism is being carried out. The following are verses in Acts where οἶκος means family. “And when she [Lydia] and her household had been baptized” (16:15); “And they said, ‘Believe in the Lo...

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