Once a month, you’re going to hear from our authors, from our team, or from a guest on how we study the Bible, what resources we use, and what questions we ask.
When I was in school, I competed in speech contests because I’ve always liked words and the energy they communicate when chosen well. Once you made it to the regional level, you also had to give an extemporaneous speech (in addition to your prepared speech to an audience) to only a panel of judges in a separate room. Since I memorized every word and diligently practiced each inflection in my prepared speech, I loved doing that portion of the contest. But for me, the extemporaneous portion was way more nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what kind of question(s) they would ask me, what I would say, and how the judges would react. It was intimidating! But I found the best way to ease my nerves was through preparation and practice ahead of time. I did this by researching common questions, preparing a generalized list of bullet points that would apply to many topics, and so forth. Even though I didn’t know what I would be sharing with the judges word-for-word, I could walk into the room a little more confidently because I felt prepared.
Sharing the gospel can be intimidating, too. We worry we won’t know the answer to someone’s question, we won’t be able to share the perfect verse with him/her, and it will overall just feel unnatural. You might also feel worried someone will judge you because of your faith. To help ease these worries, we can study Scripture, familiarize ourselves with key verses, and come up with a flexible plan for presenting the gospel message and answering questions about our faith.
First Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” It’s important to seek to build a solid foundation of our faith so we are ready to share verses that clearly and simply spell out the gospel message. Some of my favorites are:
- “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
- “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
- “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
By being prepared, it will feel more natural to share the gospel. Tell them about God’s love for each of us and His plan to save us by sending His Son (John 3:16). Explain that we all are sinners (Rom. 3:23). Since we are sinners, we need a Savior to bridge the gap of separation between us and our holy God, so Christ bore our sins and died on the cross for us (1 Pet. 2:24). Our response to this great act of mercy should be repentance. He is faithful to forgive repentant sinners and redeem us (1 John 1:9). Share that nothing we do will save us from these sins, other than receiving His gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).
There are so many more verses in Scripture that communicate God’s love and plan of salvation, but try to commit a few to memory so you can easily reference them when the time comes for you to present the gospel to someone.
A quick note—even if you do feel underprepared to share the gospel, God can still use you. Don’t feel the pressure to memorize every verse regarding salvation or know the answer to every question. Even the best scholars don’t know the answers to every theological question! Trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you and know that if someone asks a hard question you don’t know the answer to, you don’t have to provide an immediate answer. You can make it an ongoing conversation with the person by saying something like, “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll help you find it.”
Share your story.
Shortly after I was baptized, it helped me to write out my personal story of salvation. Writing things out helps you remember them verbally later on. At times, I have been hesitant to share my testimony. As I said earlier, I’ve always loved words, which means I’ve always loved stories. Growing up in the church, I felt like my story of salvation wasn’t “inspiring” or “dramatic” enough. I thought my story wasn’t worth listening to. I believed my story certainly wasn‘t like the powerful testimonies shared by visiting youth group speakers who walked through long, intense periods of darkness before coming to Christ. As I matured in my faith though, I realized that every story of transformation is a wonderful, dramatic, inspiring story because Jesus authored it. He saved me, a sinner in total despair, from eternal damnation. That alone is awe-inspiring and worth sharing.
Share your testimony honestly, humbly, and genuinely. Share how you were broken and made whole. People connect with those who are vulnerable and don’t shy away from their true stories.
It’s important to stand firm in our faith. But that doesn’t mean that when someone disagrees with us about something related to our faith we need to respond with needless debate or a harsh tone. This will likely only land us in a heated argument and push the person further away. James 1:19 says we are to be “slow to anger.” A personal relationship with God comes with salvation, so it is important to model what a healthy, loving relationship looks like as a Christian. Your life is a foundational part of your witness.
Presenting the gospel to someone is not something to check off a list and then move on. You may have the opportunity to share the gospel again with someone you know, or if it’s a stranger on a plane you may never see again, you can at least make a note to continue to pray for that person’s salvation. Pray that God will draw the person to Him so he/she can know Him personally. Pray that God will remove the evil powers fighting to keep the person away from Him. Pray that the person will repent from his/her sins and receive salvation.
Remember, it is not your job to convert someone. You can’t do the saving—the Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation. But Christ makes it clear in Matthew 28:19-20 that it is our responsibility, as His followers, to help point people to Him:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”