Chapter One - Meaning and Mention
The author, an evangelist, was conversing on the phone with a national pastor from another country. The evangelist called to express his vision in raising up and training more evangelists around the world. Throughout the discussion, the national pastor gave his consent for such a vision. The pastor concluded that the evangelist should come and instruct his people concerning this much-needed gift. The pastor, though, wanted to know something. He asked, “What is an evangelist?”
Over the years, this evangelist has come across a myriad of views and opinions as to what an evangelist is. Most think that the evangelist is simply a traveling preacher. Others believe that the evangelist is only a church planter. But considering that the term “evangelist” is found in Scripture, every believer is obligated to know what God’s Word means by this term. In order to be “approved unto God” and rightly divide God’s Word of truth (II Tim. 2:15), every believer must study. We must “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21) And our Guide must be God through His Word. (John 16:13; 17:17) God’s “word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) We must all be as the noble Bereans in Acts 17:11 who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” even though it was the great Apostle Paul who was preaching. In other words, we must ask God and search His Word to find out what an evangelist is, what he does, and if he is to even exist today.
So, what is an evangelist anyway? The word “evangelist” is a noun. The noun is found only three times in Scripture.
- 1. Acts 21:8 “…and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.”
- 2. Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, …evangelists…”
- 3. II Timothy 4:5 “…do the work of an evangelist…”
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines evangelist as “a preacher of the gospel.” As we progress in these articles, we will learn much from this definition as to what an evangelist is.
Some have thought that since the word “evangelist” is used only three times in Scripture, then there isn’t much we can learn about this gift or that maybe evangelists should not even exist today. However, the word “Christian” is also only found three times in Scripture, and yet they still exist. If one studies God’s Word you can find many verses that further clarify what a Christian is and should be. The same goes for the evangelist. If you study God’s Word you will also find many verses that further clarify what an evangelist is and what he does. For instance, along with the noun “evangelist” there are two other words throughout the New Testament which help define the evangelist and his work. One word is “gospel,” which is what an evangelist is to preach. We just noted from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance that “evangelist” means “preacher of the gospel”. Gospel is the word “evangel” hence the person, “evangelist.” When one understands what the gospel is, one can understand what the evangelist is supposed to preach. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines the word for gospel as “a good message.” As we will see in articles four and five, there is much more than would first appear concerning Christ’s gospel.
The other word which can help define the evangelist and his work is the verb “evangelize”. When Evangelist Philip “preached the gospel” in Acts 8:25 and “preached unto him Jesus” in Acts 8:35, both those phrases come from the word “evangelize.” Strong’s Concordance defines evangelize as “to announce good news.” The following is taken from Romans 1:15-16, which uses both gospel and evangelize.
- “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel [evangelize] to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel [evangel] of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:15-16
Simply put, an evangelist evangelizes with the evangel. Between those three words, one will find in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance over 120 references. So, there is definitely a plethora of biblical verses to help clarify who an evangelist is, what he preaches, and what he does.
The meaning of evangelist is “preacher of the gospel” and this noun is found three times in Scripture. The verb we know as “evangelize” is found over 50 times in the New Testament in phrases such as “preach the gospel”. It means “to announce good news.” The word “gospel” in the New Testament is found over 70 times. These three words clarify what an evangelist is, what he preaches, and what he does. In short, an evangelist evangelizes with the evangel.