“You may be the only Bible some people read.”
These words have been floating around Christianity for decades; used by preachers and the average Joe in the pew.
The intentions of the phrase are well meant. The idea behind it is that Christians should live the Christian life for everyone to see. As we live out love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance out in the open people will notice the characteristics of the Saviour in us. In other words, using our lifestyle to plant a seed of the gospel in people’s hearts and minds.
Without a doubt, Christians should live a Christian testimony. The characteristics listed above are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our actions should flow from the heart, therefore, not only should the fruit of the Spirit be on display, but they should be the general heart attitude for every Christian.
A good Chrisitan testimony is invaluable in the presentation of the gospel. After all, if a person hears the Gospel from a pulpit or from across the kitchen table; who’s going to believe a hypocrite?
However, before anyone can be believed, hypocrite or not, they must say something. The keyword from the previous paragraph may be the word, “hears.”
In casual conversation with a Christian friend of mine recently, she stated this week’s phrase, “We may be the only Bible some people read.”
“When was the last time you sat down and told someone the gospel?” I asked.
“Uh, uh, well, I do my best to live Christ in front of them.” was her response. I could see she was frustrated. As our conversation continued, I could see the thought of plainly telling the wonderful news of Jesus Christ to someone seemed foreign to her. It is not just her; I have noticed this attitude in other believers as well. A phrase intended to encourage Christians to live the Christian life has morphed into the primary way to share the gospel.
Jesus told us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Paul would later write the Romans explaining that faith must come through hearing the word, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
As stated earlier, a good Christian testimony is invaluable in the presentation of the gospel, but its value lies in the hearer’s willingness to listen. It is the Word of God that is priceless in the hearer’s conversion.
Being the only Bible that some people read without ever telling the individuals the gospel is equivalent to having a Bible with all the verses about salvation cut out.
Let me give you an example. John 3:16 is the most beloved and most well known of all the verses in the Bible. It reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The verse comes from a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. The story of the chat between the two men is told in John 3:1-21.
Below is John 3:1-21 with the verses mentioning salvation cut out.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”
What we can learn from the story from the narrative above is not much. We can learn that Nicodemus thought Jesus was from God. We miss the fact that the question, “How can these things be?” is about being born again. Instead, we are led to believe it has something to do with how Jesus performs miracles.
The point I am trying to make here is – if we only live a good testimony and never actually tell people the gospel – the world only receives pieces of the salvation message.
One other point – if being the only Bible some people read is equivalent to living a good Christian testimony – can we honestly say we are doing so if we are ignoring Christ’s last commandment to us – spreading the gospel by telling others (Mark 16:15; Act 1:8)?
Be a real Bible – tell the gospel.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.preacherjohnson.com. E-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUJTV2A If you email, inform me where you have seen Preacher’s Point. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.