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4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

This article is not so much about traditional theological terms (such as justification, sanctification, and redemption), but suffice it to say, they should be retained since such terms have no translation equivalent that adequately communicates their exact meaning.


Our primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place.—Truth Matters!


Our primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator.—Translating Truth!

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Mark 1:1-22 English Standard Version (ESV)

 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

   “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, 
   who will prepare your way, 
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 
   ‘Prepare the way of the Lord
   make his paths straight,’”

 4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. …

 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. …

  21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

An important necessity of good communication is that it be understood without difficulty. If the words that we use are not immediately understood by the one we are communicating with, it will be like they were attempting to carry on a conversation with a foreigner, in the foreigner’s language. All of this is vitally important if we intend to have effective communication. However, does this apply to the Bible as well? When we look at verses 1-4 in the above, will an unbeliever understand the significance, or even the fundamentals of such terms as, (1) gospel, (2) Christ, (3) prophet, (4), or (5) proclaim? The same would hold true for verses 9-13, such as (1) heaven, (2) Spirit, (3) Satan, or (4) angel. Equally so verses 21-22, would also pose great difficulty with (1) Sabbath, (2) synagogue, or (3) scribe.

The Bible is full of words that have special meaning within Christianity and Judaism. These terms are used among Christians in everyday speech. However, if a Christian were at work, in the lunchroom, in deep conversation with workmates, who were predominately unbelievers, it would hinder his communication to use such terms so freely. Moreover, these special terms may be used within everyday words that the listener can grasp, but it will not be long before he or she is bogged down in trying to determine what is meant, they may eventually tune him out. Is this why so many today find the Bible to be too difficult to understand?

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

No. The Bible has no alternative but to be a technical or specialized journal. To attempt to change it into anything else, will only damage its message. The dynamic equivalent translator will argue for the replacement of such terms, with something that the non-Christian can immediately understand. They argue just as I have that effective communication means using words that are readily understood. However, if you were to read one of their books written to a general audience, they are flooded with specialized terms. Do you know what they expect their readers to do? They expect them to use a dictionary and look the terms up, or to pause in their reading, to drop down and read the footnote that defines the specialized term. Some even add a glossary of technical or specialized terms at the end of their book.

Again, the Bible is a specialized book, with a special message, and unfamiliar words are going to be apart of its pages as well. The first 3-years of Christianity saw only persons from the Jewish religion coming into the new faith. Jewish authors write all 27 books of the New Testament. Were the writers of the Greek New Testament moved to alter their books to be more compatible to the Gentile Christians that were coming into the predominately Jewish Christian congregation? No. They took that unfamiliar terminology, and in verbal conversation, they communicated, in a way, which made the meaning clear.

The above terms, as well as many others,  are a special kind of unknown that we dealt with in our previous chapter. These terms are enormously significant if the Christian is to fulfill his commission that Jesus gave to all Christians. To alter those words that have come to possess a specialized meaning would result in confusion itself, and an alteration of the gospel message. There are only three reasons why the gospel message is being misunderstood.

  • those who have taken the position to teach the flock are not teaching (low expectations),
  • those taking the lead in Christianity have stripped their flock of the fact that all Christians are evangelizers (failing to train them as teachers and communicators), and
  • the Great Commission that the disciples of Christ were given is not being done (practice makes perfect).

Teachers failing to Teach

Guthrie, George (2010-12-19). Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word (Kindle Locations 207-211). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I have been struck by this fact as I have worked with bright young college students at my university where the average score on the ACT for incoming freshmen is over twenty-five. We just had 120 prospective students on our campus last weekend, all of whom had scored over thirty-one on the ACT. (For those of you not connected to the academic world, that’s very good.) My students are exceptionally bright, and the vast majority, though not all, come out of the church.

For several years, I have been conducting brief biblical literacy exams at the beginning of my New Testament Survey course. The questions on the exam are straightforward, multiple-choice queries such as: Which of these books is from the New Testament? Whom did Pontius Pilate release during Jesus’ trial? How many temptations did Jesus experience in the wilderness? Where would you look in the Bible to find the Sermon on the Mount?

Last fall the average score on the exam was 57 percent. The averages from classes over the past few years have ranged between 50 percent and 70 percent, but most of the time the average is closer to 50 percent. This is not unique to my students but is consistent with what other professors are finding at top Christian universities all over the United States. Our students, even those coming out of the church, simply are no longer grounded in the basics of the Bible’s story. In just a moment, I will suggest why I think this is, but let me paint the picture of our current situation a bit more broadly for you.

My students mirror a striking cultural phenomenon that pervades the English-speaking world. At least for the past half century biblical literacy has been in a whirlpool-like spiral downward, sucking a basic understanding of the Bible’s stories and once-familiar phrases into a blank space in the culture’s collective mind. It used to be that a public speaker could make allusions to key stories of the Bible and assume that most of his or her audience would catch them. No more. For instance, in 2001 Dick Meyer, a CBS News commentator, had a puzzled response to such an allusion in President Bush’s inaugural address. Meyer confessed, “There were a few phrases in the speech I just didn’t get. One was, ‘When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.’” Meyer concluded, “I hope there’s not a quiz.”

Speaking of growing biblical illiteracy in the broader culture, George Lindbeck comments,

“The decline of biblical literacy has been abrupt and pervasive. . . . The decline affects intellectuals and non-intellectuals, the religious and the non-religious, those inside the churches and those outside, clergy and laity.”[1] In his recent book Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t, Stephen Prothero writes, “The Gospel of John instructs Christians to ‘search the scriptures’ . . . , but little searching, and even less finding is being done.”[2] Prothero reports that more than 10 percent of Americans believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Only 50 percent can name one of the four Gospels and less than half can name the first book of the Bible.

Literary critic George Steiner adds: “As any high-school or college teacher will testify, allusions to even the most celebrated biblical texts now draw a blank. . . . The King James Bible and the Luther Bible provided much of our civilization with its alphabet or referential immediacy, not only in the spheres of personal and public piety but in those of politics, social institutions, and the life of the literary and aesthetic imagination.”[3]

In other words, the Bible is in a slow fade from our collective conversation, not only in the realm of spiritual and church life but also in the realms of politics, social institutions, literature, and the arts.

If you are a practicing Christian, you may be thinking, surely those of us who attend church regularly do much better than the average person on the street! I’m afraid not. As indicated by my students’ performance on biblical literacy quizzes, we aren’t getting it either. Ask one hundred church members if they have read the Bible today, and eighty-four of them will say no. Ask them if they have read the Bible at least once in the past week, and sixty-eight of them will say no. Even more disconcerting, ask those one hundred church members if reading or studying the Bible has made any significant difference in the way they live their lives. Only thirty-seven out of one hundred will say yes.

Since we as Christians should be “people of the Book,” something is wrong with this picture. We should know the Bible well, but we really don’t. All of the polls show that those who claim to be evangelical Christians only do marginally better than their nonbelieving neighbors when asked questions about the content of the Bible, and a biblical view of the world is not making inroads into how we think about and live our lives. Hymn writer William Cowper’s words come to mind: “While thousands, careless of the damning sin, Kiss the Book’s outside who ne’er look within.” Brothers and sisters, we simply must do better. Our biblical illiteracy hurts us personally, hurts our churches, hurts our witness, and, thus, hurts the advancement of the gospel in the world. …

On the other hand, neither have most people been trained to read the parts of Scripture well. Since about 1995 I have asked every “Introduction to Bible Study” class I have taught at Union University, “How many of you have ever attended a church that has offered a class or seminar on how to read, study, or interpret the Bible well?” Normally, I have about twenty-five students in that course, and I have never had more than seven hands go up. The normal count is three or four. Most people have never received training in how to read the various literatures found in the Bible and, having understood what they have read, how to bring the truths of Scripture to bear on modern life.


All Christians are Evangelizers

On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., all of Jesus’ disciples present, men and women, joined in telling forth “the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:1-11) Further, the apostle Paul wrote, “with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:10) Paul addressed those words, not to a restricted clergy class, but “all those in Rome who are loved by God.” (Romans 1:1, 7) Similarly, Paul spoke of all ‘the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus … having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 1:1; 6:15) In addition, there is the letter addressed to the Hebrews, which is applicable to all Christians, to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23. Moreover, the apostle Peter wrote, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) This is the assignment that all Christians are obligated to be a part of, to the best of their abilities, based on their gifts and talents. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) All true Christians[4] have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing of the Good News with others.

Within the heart of each true Christian, is the desire that he ‘love the Lord his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind.’ (Matt. 22:37) If this is the case, we to would be patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ (2 Pet 3:9) For the true Christian, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) The apostle Paul helps see the importance of the work that lies ahead,

Romans 10:14 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Every Christian should realize that effective communication would be one of the determining factors in whether the unbeliever will accept the truth. Some may feel that the message will get through to the unbeliever if he is receptive to the Good News regardless of communication skills. While that may be true on occasion, it is not the rule it is the exception. Moreover, it needs to be realized that our communicating skills are to be used to affect the hearts and minds of both the receptive and unreceptive. With the unreceptive, our skills must be stronger as we are reasoning from the Scriptures, to overturn whatever has made this one unreceptive to the truth. It might be best if I were to put it this way, effective communication skills do not guarantee that one will accept the truth of God’s Word, but a lack of communication skills means that it is far less likely that they will accept the truth of God’s word.


Like a firefighter and a police officer, a Christian evangelist is on the job 24/7, as the opportunity to share a biblical message may occur at any time. Moreover, our conduct is always on display, and it is a form of witnessing to others. (1 Pet. 2:12) Whether we realize it or not we are always sending and receiving messages consciously and subconsciously with others by our tone, our demeanor, our body language, and so on. Again, our ability to communicate with clearness and precision, resolution and assurance is usually the difference between being successful and unsuccessful in our efforts to reach the hearts and minds of prospective (i.e., future) Christian disciples.

All Christians are Expected to Carry Out the Work of An Evangelist

Before delving into our book on Evangelism, let us take a moment to listen to one of the world’s leading authorities on Spiritual disciplines for our Christian life by Donald S. Whitney, who covers our obligation to evangelize very well,

Most of those reading this book will not need convincing that evangelism is expected of every Christian. All Christians are not expected to use the same methods of evangelism, but all Christians are expected to evangelize.

Before we go further, let us define our terms. What is evangelism? If we want to define it thoroughly, we could say that evangelism is to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to sinful people, in order that they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church.[5] If we want to define it simply, we could say that New Testament evangelism is communicating the gospel. Anyone who faithfully relates the essential elements of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is evangelizing. This is true whether your words are spoken, written, or recorded, and whether they are delivered to one person or to a crowd.

Why is evangelism expected of us? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has commanded us to witness. Consider His authority in the following:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28: 19-20).

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’” (Mark 16: 15).

“And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 47).

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’” (John 20: 21).

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8).

These commands weren’t given to the apostles only. For example, the apostles never came to this nation. For the command of Jesus to be fulfilled and for America to hear about Christ, the gospel had to come here by other Christians. And the apostles will never come to your home, your neighborhood, or to the place where you work. For the Great Commission to be fulfilled there, for Christ to have a witness in that “remote part” of the earth, a Christian like you must discipline yourself to do it.

Some Christians believe that evangelism is a gift and the responsibility of only those with that gift. They appeal to Ephesians 4:11 for support: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” While it is true that God gifts some for ministry as evangelists, He calls all believers to be His witnesses and provides them with both the power to witness and a powerful message. Every evangelist is called to be a witness, but only a few witnesses are called to the vocational ministry of an evangelist. Just as each Christian, regardless of spiritual gift or ministry, is to love others, so each believer is to evangelize whether or not his or her gift is that of evangelist.

Think of our responsibility for personal evangelism from the perspective of 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” Many Christians who are familiar with this part of the verse don’t have a clue how the rest of it goes. It goes on to say that these privileges are yours, Christian, “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We normally think of this verse as establishing the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. But it is equally appropriate to say that it also exhorts us to a kind of prophet hood of all believers. God expects each of us to “declare the praises” of Jesus Christ.[6]


While this author agrees with Whitney’s every word in the above, I would emphasize that we are to evangelize, so as to make disciples, which is more involved that simply sharing the Gospel. Paul summarizes the most basic elements of the gospel message, that is, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. (1 Cor. 18:1-8) Therefore, the Gospel explained in detail or simply stated as Paul has put it, will not be enough to convert many unbelievers to the faith. Therefore, it is best to understand our responsibility as evangelist, in the sense of being able to proclaim or explain our Christian teachings both offensively and defensively: to (1) defend God’s Word, (2) defend the faith, (3) pull some who doubt back from the fire, and (4) most importantly, to help the lost find salvation.

The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

All Christians are to be Evangelizers

Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they are able to grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics.

Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia , “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith , defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. It can also be earnestly contending for the faith and saving one from losing their faith, as they have begun to doubt. Moreover, it can involve rebuking those who contradict the truth. It is being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks the Christian evangelist for a reason for the hope that is in him or her. – Jude 1.3, 21-23; 1 Pet 3.15; Acts 17:2-3; Titus 1:9.

What do we mean by obligated and what we mean by evangelism are at the heart of the matter and are indeed related to each other?

EVANGELISM: An evangelist is a proclaimer of the gospel or good news, as well as all biblical truths. There are levels of evangelism, which is pictured in first-century Christianity. All Christians evangelized in the first century, but a select few fit the role of a full-time evangelist (Ephesians 4:8, 11-12), like Philip and Timothy.

Both Philip and Timothy are specifically mentioned as evangelizers. (Ac 21:8; 2 Tim. 4:5) Philip was a full-time evangelist after Pentecost, who was sent to the city of Samaria, having great success. An angel even directed Philip to an Ethiopian Eunuch, to share the good news about Christ with him. Because of the Eunuch’s already having knowledge of God by way of the Old Testament, Philip was able to help him understand that the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. In the end, Philip baptized the Eunuch. Thereafter, the Spirit again sent Philip on a mission, this time to Azotus and all the cities on the way to Caesarea. (Ac 8:5, 12, 14, 26-40) Paul evangelized in many lands, setting up one congregation after another. (2 Cor. 10:13-16) Timothy was an evangelizer or missionary, and Paul placed distinct importance on evangelizing when he gave his parting encouragement to Timothy. – 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Timothy 1:3.

The office of apostle and evangelist seem to overlap in some areas, but could be distinguished in that apostles traveled and set up congregations, which took evangelizing skills, but also developed the congregations after they were established. The evangelists were more of a missionary, being stationed in certain areas to grow and develop congregations. In addition, if we look at all of the apostles and the evangelists, plus Paul’s more than one hundred traveling companions, it seems very unlikely that they could have had Christianity at over one million by 125 C.E. This was accomplished because all Christians were obligated to carry out some level of evangelism.


OBLIGATED: In the broadest sense of the term for evangelizer, all Christians are obligated to play some role as an evangelist.

  • Basic Evangelism is planting seeds of truth and watering any seeds that have been planted. [In the basic sense of this word (euaggelistes), this would involve all Christians.] In some cases, it may be that one Christian planted the seed, which was initially rejected, so he was left in a good way because the planter did not try to force the truth down his throat. However, later he faces something in life that moves him to reconsider those seeds and another Christian waters what had already been planted by the first Christian. This evangelism can be carried out in all of the methods that are available: informal, house-to-house, street, phone, the internet, and the like. What amount of time is invested in the evangelism work is up to each Christian to decide for themselves?
  • Making Disciples is having any role in the process of getting an unbeliever from his unbelief state to the point of accepting Christ as his Savior and being baptized. Once the unbeliever has become a believer, he is still developed until he has become strong. Any Christian could potentially carry this one person through all of the developmental stages. On the other hand, it may be that several have some part. It is like a person who specializes in a certain aspect of a job, but all are aware of the other aspects, in case they are called on to carry out that phase. Again, each Christian must decide for themselves what role they are to have, and how much of a role, but should be prepared to fill any role if needed.
  • Part-Time or Full-Time Evangelist is one who sees this as their calling and chooses to be very involved as an evangelist in their local church and community. They may work part-time to supplement their work as an evangelist. They may be married with children, but they realize their gift is in the field of evangelism. If it were the wife, the husband would work toward supporting her work as an evangelist and vice-versa. If it were a single person, he or she would supplement their work by being employed part-time, but also the church would help as well. This person is well trained in every aspect of bringing one to Christ.
  • Congregation Evangelists should be very involved in evangelizing their communities and helping the church members play their role at the basic levels of evangelism. There is nothing to say that one church could not have many within, who take on part-time or full-time evangelism within the congregation, which would and should be cultivated.

We live in a world today where Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 is magnified a thousand fold.


Genesis 6:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 8:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 And when Jehovah smelled the pleasing aroma, and Jehovah said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living thing as I have done.

Matthew 24:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 And this gospel [good news] of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth[7] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

With much of what people see today, one wonders what the Goods News could be.

Isaiah 52:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who proclaims  salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God has become king!”[8]

Nahum 1:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
    who brings good news,
    who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
    fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless[9] pass through you;
   he is cut off completely.

Romans 10:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”[10]

Christianity today, has sadly, fallen away from the evangelism that they had been assigned, the preaching and teaching of the good news, the making of disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20) The first-century Christians were very zealous when it came to sharing the good news and biblical truths with others. In fact, the new believers were taught the basics of the faith, before they were baptized. Once they were baptized, they were immediately involved in spreading these same biblical truths to others. This is why just seventy years after the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ; there were more than a million Christians spread all throughout the then known world of the Roman Empire. Christians today, should have this same zeal because Jesus gave only one command that was to be carried out after his departure, the making of disciples.

The good news is that this current evil age that we live in is not all that we have to look forward to, as all have the opportunity of gaining eternal life. Yes, the path of salvation is open to all. Therefore, Christians today should be in the work of being used by God to help as many as possible to find the path of salvation, before Christ’s second coming.

John 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone trusting[11] in him will not be destroyed but have eternal life.

John 3:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

36 The one trusting[12] in the Son has eternal life, but the one who disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Revelation 21:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he will dwell[13] among them, and they shall be his people,[14] and God himself will be among them,[15] and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Jesus Set the Example

Christians today should be seeking to walk in the steps of their exemplar, Jesus Christ. Yes, we have been called, so that we might follow in Jesus’ steps.

1 Peter 2:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his footsteps,

Luke 4:16-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll[16] of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. And he unrolled the scroll[17] and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news[18] to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll[19] and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

A survey of the Gospels indicates that Jesus’ publishing program–via his traveling throughout Galilee and Judea and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom—was extensive and effective. Thousands and thousands of people heard the word from Jesus himself. In ancient times, the method of oral publication was far more effective than written publication. Books were expensive to make, and many people did not read. Most relied on oral proclamation and aural reception to receive messages. Indeed, most education was based upon oral delivery and aural reception/memorization to transmit texts. Thus, Jesus taught his disciples orally, and they committed his teachings to memory. When it came time, several years later, for the disciples to put these teachings into writing, they were aided by the Holy Spirit, who would remind the disciples of all that Jesus had taught them (John 14:26). Jesus’ disciples, commissioned by him, continued the same publishing work after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This publishing is known as the kerygma (Greek for “proclamation”). The word kerygma is taken straight from a well-known practice in ancient times. A king publicized his decrees throughout his empire by means of a kerux (a town crier or herald). This person, who often served as a close confidant of the king, would travel throughout the realm, announcing to the people whatever the king wished to make known. In English, we known him as a herald. Each New Testament disciple considered himself or herself to be like the kerux–a herald and publisher of the Good News.[20]

Yes, Jesus was an evangelizer, and he trained hundreds of evangelizers throughout his three and half years of ministry. “He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 4:23) Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37-38) The apostles set up Christian congregations, with every Christian following the footsteps of Christ, to be an evangelizer.

While there is nothing, wrong with helping our neighbor deal with the social ills of the world, or taking some time to support a political candidate that we hope will implement laws that will allow for the greater work of evangelizing. Yes, Christianity has become a social institution, working night and day to save the world of humankind that is alienated from God, which has diverted them from the lifesaving work of being an evangelist. In the days of the Cold War between the United State and the former Soviet Union, a citizen of the United States would consider it treason if another citizen spent time promoting communism from the former Soviet Bloc. While we are citizens of this world, and of the country that we live in, our true Kingdom is the Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Below we will quote the Holman Illustrate Bible Dictionary at length, to understand and appreciate what the Kingdom of God is.

The Kingdom of God

In the NT the fullest revelation of God’s divine rule is in the person of Jesus Christ. His birth was heralded as the birth of a king (Luke 1:32–33). The ministry of John the Baptist prepared for the coming of God’s kingdom (Matt. 3:2). The crucifixion was perceived as the death of a king (Mark 15:26–32).

Jesus preached that God’s kingdom was at hand (Matt. 11:12). His miracles, preaching, forgiving sins, and resurrection are an in-breaking of God’s sovereign rule in this dark, evil age.

God’s kingdom was manifested in the church. Jesus commissioned the making of disciples on the basis of His kingly authority (Matt. 28:18–20). Peter’s sermon at Pentecost underscored that a descendent of David would occupy David’s throne forever, a promise fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:30–32). Believers are transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God (Col. 1:13).

God’s kingdom may be understood in terms of “reign” or “realm.” Reign conveys the fact that God exerts His divine authority over His subjects/kingdom. Realm suggests location, and God’s realm is universal. God’s reign extends over all things. He is universally sovereign over the nations, humankind, the angels, the dominion of darkness and its inhabitants, and even the cosmos, individual believers, and the church.

In the OT the kingdom of God encompasses the past, present, and future. The kingdom of God had implications in the theocratic state. The kingdom of God is “already” present but “not yet” fully completed, both a present and future reality. The kingdom was inaugurated in the incarnation, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God’s kingdom blessings are in some measure possessed now. People presently find and enter God’s kingdom. God is now manifesting His authoritative rule in the lives of His people. God’s kingdom, however, awaits its complete realization. His people still endure sufferings and tribulations. When fully consummated, hardships will cease. Kingdom citizens currently dwell alongside inhabitants of the kingdom of darkness. God will eventually dispel all darkness. The final inheritance of the citizens of God’s kingdom is yet to be fully realized. The resurrection body for life in the eschatological kingdom is a blessing awaiting culmination.

God’s kingdom is soteriological in nature, expressed in the redemption of fallen persons. The reign of Christ instituted the destruction of all evil powers hostile to the will of God. Satan, the “god of this age,” along with his demonic horde, seeks to hold the hearts of people captive in darkness. Christ has defeated Satan and the powers of darkness and delivers believers. Although Satan still is active in this present darkness, his ultimate conquest and destruction are assured through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. Sinners enter Christ’s kingdom through regeneration.

Many of Jesus’ parables emphasize the mysterious nature of God’s kingdom. For example, an insignificant mustard seed will grow a tree, as God’s kingdom will grow far beyond its inception (Matt. 13:31–32). The kingdom of God is like seed scattered on the ground. Some seed will fall on good soil, take root, and grow. Other seed, however, will fall on hard, rocky ground and will not grow. Likewise, the kingdom will take root in the hearts of some but will be rejected and unfruitful in others (Matt. 13:3–8). As wheat and tares grow side by side, indistinguishable from each other, so also the sons of the kingdom of God and the sons of the kingdom of darkness grow together in the world until ultimately separated by God (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43).

Although closely related, the kingdom and the church are distinct. George Eldon Ladd identified four elements in the relationship of the kingdom of God to the church. The kingdom of God creates the church. God’s redemptive rule is manifested over and through the church. The church is a “custodian” of the kingdom. The church also witnesses to God’s divine rule.

The kingdom of God is the work of God, not produced by human ingenuity. God brought it into the world through Jesus Christ, and it presently works through the church. The church preaches the kingdom of God and anticipates the eventual consummation.[21]

The last sentence of our quote says in part, “the church preaches the kingdom of God.” This has not been the case for almost 2,000 years. Today, the church preaches from the pulpit to those that are already Christian, as well as those, who happen into the church. Let us look at Paul’s words in the book of Romans again,

Romans 10:13-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord[22] will be saved.””

14  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”[23]

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord,[24] who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

10:14b. Faith requires hearing. And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? More than anything else, this question is the crux of all missiological activity since the first century. God has ordained that people must hear (or read, or otherwise understand the content of) the word of God in order to be saved. One who knows the gospel must communicate it to one who does not know it.[25]

Yes, missionaries have been sent out throughout the last few centuries, but this is not the first-century way, it is the way of the last few centuries. However, over the last few decades, many trained in missions have come to realize the error of their ways. They have tried to grow the church by going outside of their community, to grow it back to their community. This was mistake number one. The other alternative was to grow from your community out to the rest of the world. Their second mistake was to use just a select few (missionaries), believing they were going to get the Great Commission accomplished. Of late, we hear much about having missionary churches that evangelize their own community, with their own members. While this belief is best and correct, I am unaware of any that are doing it as it should be done, and most are not doing it at all.

10:14c. Hearing requires preaching. And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Since no other media except the human voice was of practical value in spreading the gospel in the first century, preaching is Paul’s method of choice. And yet, in the media-rich day in which we minister, has anything replaced preaching as the most effective way to communicate the gospel? We thank God for the printed page, and even for cutting-edge presentations of the gospel circling the globe on the internet. But it is still the human voice that cracks with passion, the human eye that wells with tears of gratitude, and the human frame that shuffles to the podium, bent from a lifetime of service to the gospel, which reaches the needy human heart most readily. Hearing may not require preaching in person today, but it always benefits from it.[26]

I agree with the Holman commentary that modern technology is great, but there is but one-way to reach “the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). Yes, it is the human voice, but not as the Holman Commentary suggests with one man walking to a podium to preach, but for hundreds of millions to take to their communities, trained to preach (herald, proclaim) the message, and to teach what they had been taught “to one who does not know it.”

First-Century Christians Evangelized

[Jesus] reminded them in John 20:20 of his crucifixion: “He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” Then he reminded them again about his peace in verse 21. Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” Jesus proclaimed peace, reminded them of his crucifixion, pronounced peace again, and then told them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20: 21). With that one command, Jesus announced two thousand years of direction for the church, still in effect for the churches of today, even your church. He proclaimed that we are sent. The church is, and you are individually, God’s missionary to the world. Your church is God’s instrument to reach the world, and it includes reaching your community. We are sent on mission by God. We are to be a missions-centered church by calling, nature, and choice. We are called to be on mission in our community. We have been sent to be on mission in our context, and we must accept that call, that directive to be on mission where God has placed us, not five, not fifty, not five hundred years ago and not thirty miles away, not three hundred miles away, not three thousand miles away. We are exhorted to be on mission where God has placed us now, and our job is to [evangelize] wherever we are.[27]

Yes, the Great Commission was an assignment given to all Christians, which starts right in your own backyard. You can effectively evangelize the world, if you do it one community at a time, starting with your community.

Matthew 28:19-20 English Standard Version (ESV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, … teaching them … I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In the Greek, the words for “all nations” are panta ta ethnē. We get our English word ethnic from the Greek word ethnē. When we hear (or read) Jesus’ command to “go to all nations,” we think countries. But when Jesus spoke those words, there were no countries as we understand them today. The nation-state is an invention of the modern era. In Jesus’ day there were groups of people, and there were empires. Jesus’ instructions mean that we must go to all the people groups in the world. The Jewish disciples of that day knew that Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles. The gospel was to go beyond the Jewish nation. But they also thought of Phoenicians, Macedonians, Greeks, Romans, and others Jesus did not use the word for empires like the Roman Empire, the Persian, or the Greek. Jesus used the word for peoples, and the Jews knew this meant all the different kinds of Gentiles. It meant to go to all the different kinds of people that existed. This is still God’s plan today. In today’s world, we have to remember that we are still sent … to all different kinds of peoples. The word peoples represents every ethno-linguistic people group around the world, all the different ethnicities present in our cities, and even the different generations that live in our communities.[28]

Who all were involved in the evangelism work of the first-century? The evidence is all too clear that all Christians were evangelizing their communities, with a select few, taking the message everywhere.

 Acts 1:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 All these with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Acts 2:1, 4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 When the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues,[29] as the Spirit was giving them utterance.[30]

Acts 2:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 “‘And it shall be in the last days, God says,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams; (See Joel 2:28-29)

* The Greek behind the word “prophecy” here does not carry the meaning of “prediction,” or “foretelling,” (Gr., propheteuo), but literally means “a speaker out [Gr., pro, “before” or “in front of,” and phemi, “say”]” and thus describes a proclaimer, one who proclaims messages of God. That is, namely “to proclaim an inspired revelation, prophesyActs 2:17f; John 3:1; 19:6; 21:9; 1 Cor, 11:4f …; 13:9; 14:1, 3–5, 24, 31, 39; Rev. 11:3[31]

Matthew 24:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth[32] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Acts 1:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in both Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the extremity of the earth.”

The prophecy of Jesus that the Good News would be “proclaimed throughout the [then known] whole world to all the nations [peoples], and then the end will come,” was applicable to them, and was carried out. The “nations” (Gr., ethnē), means the same as it does at Matthew 28:19, where we are commanded to “make disciples of all nations.” The first-century Christians made disciples of all nations (the peoples), in all of the then known world,[33] before the end came for the natural nation of Israel, as the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 C.E.,[34] killing over a million Jews, and taking hundreds of thousands captive. The apostle Paul wrote the Christians in Colossae about ten years earlier, 60 C.E, commenting on the spread of Christianity

Colossians 1:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Christianity started with a mere 120 disciples on Pentecost 33 C.E., but by 125 – 150 C.E., there were over one million Christians throughout the inhabited earth.

First-Century Christian Worship and the Truth

The early Christians met in congregations, which for many of them, were private homes, to take in the truth. (Rom. 16:3-5) The book of Hebrews tells us some of what took place at these meetings. They were there, in part, to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25) Tertullian of the late second, early third century (c.155–after 220 C.E.), wrote, “We meet to read the books of God … In any case, with those holy words we feed our faith, we lift up our hope, we confirm our confidence.”[35] In order to become a Christian, certain requirements had to be met, as we can see from the Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity,

As before, people who converted to Christianity were baptized. First, however, the new believer would be properly instructed in the beliefs and practices of Christianity. These ‘beginner’ Christians were the ‘catechumens’ (from the Greek meaning ‘oral handing down’, that is, teaching by word of mouth) and the way in which they were instructed developed as time went on. In the First apology, published in the middle of the second century, the Christian writer Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) gives us a valuable insight into how people were admitted into the church in Rome:[36]

As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.[37]

Thus, there were clear requirements before someone could be baptized: education of basic doctrinal beliefs, praying, fasting, and a commitment to live a moral life and an understanding of Christian beliefs. These new believers were discovered by taking the message into the community. Then, they were taught to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. They were then organized into Christian congregations. These same disciples (learners) were trained to make more disciples, in the same way, preaching the Good News, and sharing the basic doctrinal beliefs.

Acts 5:42 English Standard Version (ESV)

42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

Acts 14:21-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 20:20 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,




4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2
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[1] George A. Lindbeck, “The Church’s Mission to a Postmodern Culture” in Postmodern Theology: Christian Faith in a Pluralist World, ed., Frederic B. Burnham (Harper & Row, 1989), 44.

[2] Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 38.

[3] George Steiner, “The Good Books,” The New Yorker (January 11, 1988), 94.

[4] As of the early 21st century, Christianity has around 2.2 billion adherents, out of about 7 billion people. Of these 2.2 billion, there are true Christians and there are false Christians. We are going to use one doctrine herein (inerrancy of Scripture), in establishing who is a true Christian, as opposed to who is a false Christian. You are not a true Christian if you do not accept full inerrancy of Scripture. This means that a true Christian would agree with the entire short statement below.


  1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.


  1. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.


  1. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.


  1. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.


  1. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.―

[5] See J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), pages 37-57.

[6] Whitney, Donald S. (2012-01-05). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life with Bonus Content (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) (p. 100-101). Navpress.

[7] Or in the whole world

[8] Or “Your God Reigns!”

[9] Or wicked

[10] Quotation from Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15

[11] The grammatical construction of pisteuo “believe” followed by eis “into” plus the accusative causing a different shade of meaning, having faith into Jesus.

[12] The grammatical construction of pisteuo “believe” followed by eis “into” plus the accusative causing a different shade of meaning, having faith into Jesus.

[13] Lit he will tabernacle

[14] Some mss peoples

[15] One early ms and be their God

[16] Or a roll

[17] Or roll

[18] Or the gospel

[19] Or roll

[20] Philip Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 2.

[21] Stan Norman with Gentry Peter, “Kingdom of God,” ed. Chad Brand, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 988–989.

[22] Quotation from Joel 2:32, which reads, “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah shall be saved.” In other words, Paul was referring to the Father not the Son.

[23] Quotation from Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15

[24] Quotation from Isaiah 53:1, which reads, “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of Jehovah been revealed?”

[25] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 314.

[26] Ibid., 314.

[27] Putman, David; Ed Stetzer (2006-05-01). Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community (pp. 30-31). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[28] Putman, David; Ed Stetzer (2006-05-01). Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community (p. 34). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition

[29] Or languages

[30] Or enable them to speak

[31] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 890.

[32] Or in the whole world

[33] Christianity had spread from Jerusalem to Rome, Macedonia, Greece, Asia, Bithynia, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pamphylia, Syria, Cyprus, Crete, Babylon, Persian Gulf, Spain, Italy, Malta, Illyricum, Media, Parthia, Elam Arabia, Cyrene, Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

[34] Dates of events before the Common Era (Also known as AD) are marked by the abbreviation B.C.E. Dates of events during the Common Era are marked by the abbreviation C.E.

[35] Thomas C. Oden, Ministry Through Word and Sacrament, Classic Pastoral Care, 59 (New York: Crossroad, 1989).

[36] Jonathan Hill, Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity, 46 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006).

[37] Justin Martyr, “The First Apology of Justin”, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleveland Coxe, 183 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885).

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