How To Share The Gospel Clearly -- By: Charles C. Bing
JOTGES 7:1 (Spring 94) p. 51
How To Share The Gospel Clearly
Pastor, Burleson Bible Church
Once, when I was invited to preach at an evangelistic rally in Dallas, the organizing pastor introduced me to a dear woman before the meeting. He had talked with her previously, but remained unsure whether she was saved or not. He left me alone with her, so I asked some “diagnostic” questions to find out for myself. I concluded that she did not really understand the Gospel, so I explained it to her as clearly as I could, then led her to place her faith in Christ.
When we returned to the pastor to tell him the good news, she instead pointed her finger in his face and in an accusing voice rebuked him, “Why didn’t you explain it clearly to me? You never made it clear!” (No evidential fruit of the Spirit at this point!) It is hard to say who was embarrassed more—I or the pastor who had just graduated from seminary as a “Master of Theology!”
Academic credentials are no guarantee of clarity in communication. Sometimes it seems seminary degrees uniquely qualify a person to make a simple message confusing or complicated—anything but clear. One could even say that seminary grads become more obscure by degrees! Telling the Gospel clearly can be an exercise in art as much as in academics. Preachers and speakers of any kind are word artisans. A speaker shapes a message by the language and methods he uses.
In Col 4:4 Paul asked for prayer to make his Gospel telling “manifest, as I ought to speak.” The NASB and NIV translations prefer the word clear or clearly. F. F. Bruce translates it this way: “that I may publish it openly in the words which I ought to speak.”1 Paul understood that it was easy to garble the Gospel. He wanted to word
JOTGES 7:1 (Spring 94) p. 52
it clearly. The word he used, phaneroō, has the idea of “to make visible” and is from phainō which means “to manifest” or “to light up.”2 The job of the Gospel-teller is to shed light on the message, to make it clear, not to obscure it.
How important is it to tell the Gospel clearly? Well, we only need to think about what is at stake. Only in the Gospel is there the “power of God to salvation” (Rom 1:16). No wonder Paul had an “anathema” for those who misstate the message!
The main assumption behind this article is this: God...
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