Romans 10:15: “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written [Isa. 52:7], ‘How Beautiful’ [or ‘timely’] [are] the feet of those [“the man in motion”] [euaggelizomenwn] gospelizing good things.”
2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
The phrase “accurately handling” is from the Greek base verb, orthotomeō, from orthos (“correct, straight”) and temnō (“to cut”)—thus, “to cut straight,” the term denotes the idea of precision.
2 Peter 3:16: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught [ἀμαθεῖς] and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
The gospel (good news) biblical defined as the substitutionary atoning work of God the Son, from His incarnation, His perfect vicarious life to His death, burial, and physical resurrection, which is the very ground of justification (apart from works; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). All those who believe in this gospel calling upon the Lord, the Son of God will be saved (Rom. 10:9). The gospel is the sole work of the Son (not the work of man) but the “result” of the gospel is man believing, repenting, obeying, etc.
Evangelism (from euaggelion, eu, “good” and aggelos, “message”) is simply proclaiming the gospel. All Christians are called to grow in doctrine (2 Pet. 3:18); defend the faith (apologetics; 1 Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3); and evangelize (proclaim the gospel, Matt, 28:19; Rom. 10:9, 15). We must ensure that our passion in evangelism is biblically accurate and consistent; since the gospel is the gospel of the Son (Rom. 1:1, 3). Proclaiming the truth is a loving and obedient act (Gal. 1:10).
Salvation & the Power of God through the Gospel
In Romans 1:6, Paul affirms that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Thus, it is God’s ordained and normal means He uses to save sinners. The gospel has the same efficacy today as it did in the first century. In spite of that, we see a noticeable difference between biblical evangelism and modern evangelism. Far too many Christians today use unbiblical methodology and concepts in evangelism, such as implying that one’s faith-act is the “cause” of regeneration.
In the same way, many replace the content of the gospel with citing Jeremiah 29:11 to unbelievers (“God has a great plan for you”) and the so-called unconditional, universal love of God, or the “Jesus is knocking at your door” concept (Rev. 3:20). Of course, in the NT, we do not find Jesus nor any apostles saying such things to unbelievers. The fact is Jeremiah 11:29 is neither addressing Israel in general, nor the church (note the starting context in v. 1).
And Revelation 3:20 was not an evangelistic statement, rather, Jesus was speaking to already saved Christians. As with all Christians, Jesus is always knocking at our door wanting more fellowship. It is an issue of sanctification in the believer’s life, and not an issue of justification nor evangelism to the lost.
The man or woman of God who proclaims the gospel has an enormous responsibility before God to be biblically accurate. Christian missionaries, whether here or abroad must be biblically sound to properly evangelize; understanding what the gospel is before they go out. An incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:8-9).
Paul’s Gospel Definition
In Romans 1:1, 3, Paul speaks of “the gospel of God. . . 3 concerning His Son” As said, it is not the “great” works of man. Paul’s definition of the gospel is also found in 1 Cor. 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you as of prōtos [‘first importance’] what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
According to these passages, Paul’s gospel account includes in detail:
- The Christ that Paul taught was truly God and truly man (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-11); forever God in the flesh (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5).
- The death of Christ is the ground of justification, which is “apart from works” (Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; Eph. 2:8-10).
- His physical resurrection “according to the Scriptures” (cf. Luke 24:37-40; esp. John 2:19, 21).
Those who deliver the gospel of the Son to nonbelievers, must be definitive and clear.
Hosea 6:6: “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (cf. Prov. 15:8). Again, an incomplete or distorted gospel is no gospel at all.
The Importance of Evangelism
The proclamation of the gospel is God’s appointed means of saving His people (Rom. 1:16)—it is the power of God.
Romans 10:9, 15: “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 ‘For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [YHWH] will be saved’ [cited from Joel 2:32]. . . . 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How timely [or ‘beautiful’] is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news’” (cited from Isa. 52:7).
Note that confessing “Jesus is Lord” in verse 9 is paralleled with calling on the name of the Lord in verse 13, which is a quotation form Joel 2:32—the same Lord. Paul identified Jesus as the YHWH of Joel 2:32—namely, confessing Jesus as YHWH.
Salvation is a matter of God’s sovereignty, which Paul calls eklogēn charitos (“election of grace”; Rom. 11:5).
Evangelism is Two-Fold
1) To the world (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:15). In Luke 10, after sending out the Twelve Apostles on a similar mission as in Matthew 28:19-20 (and Luke 9:1-6), Jesus sends out Seventy-Two “others” on a larger mission, but the same message: To proclaim the gospel. In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”—a sad thought. Is evangelism not the task of Christians and especially pastors (Rom. 1:15)?
Although the “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few: Jesus says to the Seventy-Two missionaries: “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Thus, we must pray ALWAYS to the Lord of the Harvest that He may ignite the inactive soldiers for active duty. In Luke 10:3, Jesus then said, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. . . .” In verse 16, Christ stated that “The one who listens to You listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
Rejecting their words of truth from Jesus’ messengers (now we call them “Christians”) is the same as rejecting Christ Himself and, as Jesus said, rejecting God. Paul said our gospel message is mōron (“foolish,” 1 Cor. 1:18-25) to the world. But again, the gospel of the Son and the proclamation of it is the means God chose to save sinners (Rom. 1:16).
2) Evangelism is also for the church. Paul said to the church of Rome: “I am eager to ‘preach the gospel’ [euaggelizō] to you also who are in Rome.” Is that not the task of pastors to their church in order for them to learn the gospel better and thus, be more effectual in the proclamation of it? Most likely, this is why Paul was excited to evangelize, that is, preach the gospel to the church in Rome (Rom. 1:15).
In Acts 18:24-28, although Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in spirit,” “teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,” verse 26 says that “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” As a result: “He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (v. 28). God requires accuracy when handling His word especially in the presentation of Christ and His cross work.
Evangelism is the ordained and normal means that God chose to redeem His people. The book of Acts provides a historic narrative of the first thirty years or so of the church in which we read the evangelistic content of the apostles and others. What we find is that their evangelism was simple, accurate, and focused on the substance of the gospel: The atoning work of God the Son, the resurrected Savior and salvation through faith in Christ alone. In contrast to today’s evangelism, which is generally disconnected from biblical evangelism.
“How beautiful are the feet of those gospelizing of good things” (Rom. 10:15, trans. mine).
 Cf. also Colossians 2:9; 2 Timothy 2:8. The deity of the Son was consistently taught in the NT and OT.
 Cf. Acts 1:11; 1 John 4:2-3.
 Cf. Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; Philippians 1:29.