When God breathes, He gives life. He gave life to Adam as He breathed into his nostrils. He gave life to dry bones during Ezekiel’s vision. Jesus gave new life through the Spirit as He breathed over His disciples. God’s breath is the Breath of Life and gives life to all those who receive it. The same is true of God-breathed scripture; all scripture, according to Paul, gives life.
I have seen time and again how Bible verses, stories, characters and concepts have brought about radical transformation and new life in people. Even the simplicity of the gift of a Bible has resulted in a friend of mine meeting Jesus personally for the first time. He read the gospel of Mark in one evening and give his life to Jesus in the privacy of his own bedroom.
I have seen time and again how Bible verses, stories, characters and concepts have brought about radical transformation and new life in people.
The Bible has always been God’s primary tool of communication with me. Whilst He has spoken to me in visions, dreams and thoughts, through conversations with others and even with an audible voice, it is far more common for God to speak to me through verses or biblical stories that provoke conviction, confession and change.
When God speaks to me about other people, the Bible is again often the gateway into a conversation. However, my most powerful story about scripture and evangelism is one about my failure. I was once traveling in a relatively empty carriage on a train. There was a distressed and dishevelled woman sat a few seats away from me, quietly sobbing. As l looked at her I thought of the verse in Isaiah 54: “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.
But as soon as I thought it, I dismissed it. A crying woman in her 20s, it’s too easy to think man troubles or children worries. That is probably just my own head. But the thought persisted, as did the thought that God knew her anguish and wanted to offer her comfort and hope. But I did not want to say anything. I didn’t want to look silly to a stranger. I didn’t want to get it wrong. I just wanted to get on with my day. “Fine Lord,” I said, “I will speak to her if we get off at the same station”, while simultaneously hoping that we wouldn’t.
My most powerful story about scripture and evangelism is one about my failure.
The train pulled into the station. I stood up to leave. As did she. I turned to look at her and she caught my eye. With a weak smile she said, “He left me. He found out I can’t have children and he left me.” The doors of the train opened and before I could open my mouth she ran off down the platform. Dumbfounded and stricken, I realised what I had done. I had heard God speak and in my disobedience I had failed to offer a woman new life and the hope she needed and instead left her bereft and alone.
That event was a turning point in my discipleship. It taught me to speak when I heard God’s voice, even if I’m afraid I might get it wrong. It taught me that the Bible does have relevance to people’s lives. Using scripture in evangelism doesn’t have to involve Bible study notes or a 6-week introduction to the New Testament. You might not even have a Bible to hand when you’re having a conversation with someone. But this I do know – God can and does bring life to those who don’t know Him through the scriptures.
So here are my top tips in using the Bible in your evangelism…
Evangelism is a partnership between you and the Holy Spirit.
- Spend time in the Scriptures: It’s easier to recall Bible stories, verses and characters if you are familiar with them. The Bible gives us life, so spend time with God reading it and talk to Him about what it says.
- You don’t need a theology degree to share Bible stories with someone: It’s ok to paraphrase, draw principles and help to make the story make sense to the person you are talking to. Keep it simple and try not to use Christian jargon.
- Trust the work of the Spirit: Isaiah 55:11 says; “So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Evangelism is a partnership between you and the Holy Spirit. Be confident that what you share will have an effect, that it can be used powerfully by God and bring new life in Jesus
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