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EVANGELISM
THE OBEDIENT SERVANT
BY: KING JESUS LUTHER KING
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
King Jesus Luther King is a young writer and entrepreneur who wish to touch many with the
word of God. He believes that the only way to reach many is through writing and this has
been his passion since the day he was introduced to Christ. He is the son of Rev. Emmanuel
Agyemang and Rev. Mrs. Janet Agyemang. Most of his writings are teachings from his
parents and his God father Prophet Edward Oteng Jackson and God mother Apostle Agnes
Atinka Jackson.
He is a motivational speaker, entrepreneurship coach and CEO of Ministers Of Christ
Foundation and International Youth Executive Forum. These two organisations have been set
to raise the standards of youth from inferior to superior and we believe that with the help of
God, we can touch many lives. Thanks to my role model and those that inspire him, it is
through their teachings and prayers that has brought him this far.
Acknowledgement
All the time I will thank Apostle Agnes Jackson, the General Overseer of God’s Purpose
Kingdom International. This woman has been helping me all the time and I say thank you
mummy. God will make you fly above all your competitors, and you shall be known and seen
by many.
I also thank my parents and siblings, I know it was very difficult for them to accept the fact
that I will not even come home due to all these and they felt I hated them. Thank you also for
not giving up on me.
Dedication
I first and foremost dedicate this book to my parents: Rev. Emmanuel Agyemang, Rev. Mrs.
Janet Agyemang. My siblings: Samuel Agyemang, Esther Agyemang and Helena Agyemang.
I also dedicate this book to all Christians especially to my readers and those who love my
writings.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION ONE
• THE WORD (GETTING IT OUT)
• OVER VIEW OF EVANGELISM
SECTION TWO
• THE METHOD OF EVANGELISM
• THE LIFE OF JESUS IN EVANGELSIM
SECTION THREE
• EVANGELISM AND THE SOUL
• REASONS AND IMPORTANCE OF EVANGELISM
SECTION FOUR
• THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFESTYLE IN EVANGELISM
• INSIDE OUT OF A CHRISTIAN
SECTION FIVE
• APPENDIX 1: DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS
• APPENDIX 2: COMMENTARY ON THE FOUR GOSPELS
SECTION ONE
THE WORD (GETTING IT OUT)
Sending out the word to the unbelievers is what makes every Christian or a believer obedient
to God. It is one step to working out our salvation. God cannot come to the earth and work
out our salvation, but He has set a procedure for one to be saved, a process which he knows
that if every believer will follow, it will make them come closer to God, they will love the
word of God so much since it is the word that they will be sending out there not miracles and
prayers. Even though prayer and miracles add up to the functions of the church; the word of
God is the basis to all that we do.
No pastor or evangelist will prayer without quoting scriptures, this will be a baseless prayer
which will yield no results at the end of your sweat. Prayer is the key, but the word is the path
way to reaching your destiny. He that has a key without a gate to open, the key becomes
useless, but all the time, whether the road it tiled or untilled, you can still pass on it. Knowing
this; at the end of the saviour’s ministry he gave the wonderful command which we are going
to talk about in our quest to know what God needs from us and how we are going to please
him.
OVER VIEW OF EVANGELISM
Evangelism can be defined in so many ways to mean strategic styles of soul winning. We will
be looking at the styles of soul winning but first let us define it:
Evangelism is the spreading of the gospel to the unbelievers with the purpose of making
Christ known to them.
Evangelism is making the ways of God know and his salvation shown all over the world.
Let’s look at Matthew 28:18-20: Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all
authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations;
baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new
disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you
always, even to the end of the age (NLT.) The word go and make disciples is a mandate that
God gave to anyone that believes in his name. He did not say that (let the disciples go and
make other disciples in all nations). He even added, and teach them to know my commands I
have given you. This means when we souls, we must let them know God’s commandment
including evangelism. They also need to go and evangelise. This also shows that every
church who hears the word in Church must go and preach to others. Now let us look at
someone’s life to explain this perfectly. We all follow a man on earth, and He is the only one
that can show us the way properly.
SECTION TWO
THE LIFE OF JESUS IN EVANGELISM
On earth, the son of man came to teach us a principle that we need to follow. He brought the
multiplication method of evangelism. Many Christians practice addition method of
evangelism.
How will you know when you do addition evangelism or multiplication evangelism? Check
this scenario:
Addition Method Of Evangelism: Today you heard your pastor teaching about evangelism
in church and you were touched to also evangelise. So the next day you went out and won
about five souls that day, you thought them and they also went out to evangelise, but on the
other day you sat in your house without going with your converts and they also stay back
after going once, it becomes an addition method of evangelism because you add up to your
number. When you were only one, then you won five. Now you are six in number and the
five went out and won one each, you will be eleven.
Multiplication Method Of Evangelism: Today you heard your pastor teaching about
evangelism in church and you were touched to also evangelise. So the next day you went out
and won about five souls that day, you thought them and the next day you went out with them
to evangelise, and you all won one person each. Now you were only one at first, you won five
and you became six and all the six went to evangelise and won one each. Now you will see
that your number has been multiplied by two. You were six, now you are twelve. And it will
increase as you continue to win souls.
This is the method that Jesus came to teach us and here is his own example
John 4:1-11: This is a story of a Samaritan woman and Jesus. He was able to win her from the
many books, including others to the one book which is the book of life.
The method
1. The Contact: (John 4:7: Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus
said to her, “Please give me a drink”(NLT) when we say contact, it is how a person
gets into or starts a conversation. So this is the same strategy that Jesus Christ used.
When we look at the Bible (John 4:9[The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to
have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a
Samaritan woman, why are you asking me for a drink]), we will know that
Samaritans and Jews had nothing in common, but Jesus did not look at religious and
cultural barriers to do his evangelism. This shows that we do not need to look at
religious barriers when evangelising, we need to speak to anybody we meet because
the word is for all and not for believers. The Samaritan was a sinner and this makes it
the more reason why Jesus approached her, and in the approach, he first established a
relationship; which is “Give me a drink”. So we need to follow this by also
establishing a relationship before starting our evangelism.
2. The Challenge: (John 4:10 [Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for
you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living
water”]. This is the part that Christians find it difficult to do. Challenge is changing
the conversation from physical life into spiritual aspects of life. Looking at the
scriptures, we will see that Jesus changed the conversation, he started with give me a
drink and continued with you do not know what God has for you, He has living water.
How many of us know how to do this. When we go out to evangelise, we begin to
condemn the sinners without following the procedures to winning souls. Forgetting
that we were once sinners before we saw the light. We always need to create an
atmosphere and be able to change the conversation from physical aspect to the
spiritual aspects of life.
3. The Confirmation: (John 4:11 [“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she
said, “and this well is deep. Where would you get this living water?] Many
evangelists or even any believer that goes out to evangelise do not know the scriptures
they need to use in evangelising. Sometimes they get confuse when the unbelievers
begins to ask them questions. For your evangelism to be concrete and on point, you
must be able to give confirmation to whatever you say. Studying the scriptures, we
see that the Samaritan woman what to be sure that Jesus knew what he was talking
about. Because if you continue reading from John 4:12: And besides, do you think
you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer
better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed? How do you defend your
God when you are evangelising? How well do you answer every question that the
unbelievers need before they get converted? From verse 13 and 14 shows how well
Jesus answered the question, and upon that, the woman was now willing to join in the
good light that Jesus had. She now requested to have that living water in verse 15.
4. The Call: Jesus did not force the woman to believe in Him or whatever He was
saying, but she believed in Jesus because He was able to give proof of whatever He
was saying. Whenever we are out there teaching, we have to know that how well we
proof that we know the word of God makes people believe in the word and before one
can give a vivid proof; you have to be closer to God. And being closer to God entails
a lot. Like praying, studying the word, fasting and working out your salvation.
Another broad word (salvation). We will deal with that later.
5. Conversion: When an unbeliever gets to be born again, he/she must not waste time to
be baptised. Because the Bible has made it clear that those who received the word and
believed in His name must be baptised. Most at times such people do not know the
essence of baptism so it is up to the church or the Christians to encourage such a
convert to be baptised as instructed in Acts 22:16 [What are you waiting for? Get up
and be baptised. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.]
Conclusion: from the whole text of John 4. We see how Jesus was able to win souls using the
multiplication method. John 4:28-29 [The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran
back to the village, telling everyone, “come and see a man who told me everything I ever
did! Could he possibly be the messiah?”] This place shows that when we hear the good
news, we must also witness to others like what the woman did and in john 4: 40-41 [When
they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed for two
days, long enough for many more people to hear His message and believe.] This is exactly
what I explained earlier on, Jesus did not reject their offer for staying, because He knew that
only the woman’s witness will not go a long way to reaching more people. So He joined and
broadcasted His name with her and finally, many more believed in the messiah, so when we
go out to evangelise, let us not stop and wait for others to also continue but let us do it with
them also.
SECTION THREE
EVANGELISM AND THE SOUL
The dwelling place of God is in the heart, and it is only a human’s heart that God can live in
so the vision of God is winning lots of souls, so that He can dwell among men and establish
the long forgetting relationship He had with us. Therefore to be a soul winner you must have
the heart of the Father. And who is our Father? God! Sometimes I look at certain Christians
who call God Father and at the same time they don’t value His work. They sin most often.
You can’t call God Father when you do not acknowledge His work and do not follow His
commands.
Evangelism is winning more souls to the kingdom of the Father. Bringing more lost souls to
His throne where He can work on them and make them better than before. All men that do
not believe God are all under the bondage of sin which is the Devil.
A soul is a ripped harvest prepared to be saved. Every man not saved has not seen God in
their life or they have not been exposed to the goodness of God, so all souls are ripped and
prepared for salvation. So we ought to seek them and bring them to God.
Proverbs 11:30 [The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise].
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. Every Christian has been given a tree that gives life
to the world, because we have the light and that light is the fruit of righteousness therefore all
Christians have to feed these fruits to the unbelievers. John 6:33-35 [The true bread of God
is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Sir, they said, “give us
that bread every day”. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will
never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty]. We have to let the
world know that it is only believing in the son that makes us rich and have a peace of mind. T
grow stronger and not get sick, to be seen with a person of honour and not to be disrespected
among your peers.
REASONS AND IMPORTANCE OF EVANGELISM
1. Mark 13:14 [“The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that
causes desecration standing where he should not be” (Reader pay attention). “Then
those in Judea must flee to the hills]. Every Christian is first a soul winner: The
gospel must be preached first and the gospel must then be published. Every day we
ought to spread the gospel for the hour is coming when we cannot do what we can
now, for all Christians will be persecuted and the world will rise against the children
of God.
2. Luke 12:42-43 [And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom
the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants
and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good
job, there will be a reward]. Harvesting souls makes you a wise person. Before God
will give you a responsibility, you must be faithful and sensible. Being faithful to the
Father is spreading His word to the gentiles and to be sensible, is the more you win
souls, the more you become wise, because it takes more wisdom to win one soul and
it is the help of God that makes as successful in our soul harvesting.
3. Psalm 91:14 [The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those
who trust in my name]. He who evangelises receives divine preservation. God keeps
protecting those who preach to the gentiles, for they trust in His name.
4. John 16:23-24 [At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the
truth, you will tell the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you
use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name and you will have
abundant joy]. A harvester will have divine assistance in his life. Most evangelists
don’t ask before they get, and even if they ask; they receive it quickly because the
promise of God are always true and it comes to pass.
5. John 9:4 [We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent
us. The night is coming, and then no man can work]. Every Christian has a short
time on earth to do the work. The time is short, our life is short, so we have to work
quickly. We do not know when our life will end or what we will become tomorrow.
James 4:14 [How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is
like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone].
6. To avoid the mistake of polishing the same coin several times. Luke 15:8-9.
HOW CAN YOU BE A SOUL WINNER
 The soul winner must be a master of the art of prayer: Philippians 4:13 [For I can do
everything through Christ who gives me strength]. God gives us strength through
prayer. You have to be a prayer warrior.
 The soul winner must have the word in Him/Her. John 1:1 [In the beginning was the
word, and the word was with God and the word was God]. The word is God, and the
Bible say in verse 14, that the word became flesh and dwelled among men, therefore
when we read His word, we have God in us and the same as the son in us.
SECTION FOUR
THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFESTYLE IN
EVANGELISM
Matthew 5:14-16 [You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be
hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on
a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds
shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father].
Lifestyle evangelism is a strategy that focuses on living a holy, winsome life among
unbelievers with the goal of attracting people to the message of Jesus Christ.
God expert all Christians to leave a life that will be pleasing to Him and the world will see a
difference between them and the Christians. Many people say. I fear the faces of people, so I
am not able to go for evangelism. But we have forgetting that we can evangelise with our life
only. When we live a winsome life, people look at us and they feel like becoming a Christian.
Jesus knew this and He instructed us to be the light of the world. There is darkness all over
the earth, but we (Christians) are the light and we have to shine bright.
 IS BEING A GOOD EXAMPLE GOOD ENOUGH?
Acts 20:20 [I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either
publicly or in your homes]. The scripture makes it clear that living a good example is
not good enough. The better example you live, it makes you different among your
peers and they love to be like you. They will never join you, when you keep on being
a good example, but they will join you the moment you approach them with the word
of God. They will now know the basis of what makes you different, and they will
eventually join you. But when you keep on being a good example, they will not know
your secret and they will still be there.
 CONFESS GOD BEFORE MEN
Matthew 10:32-33 [“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will
also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on
earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven]. Every Christian must not be
afraid to teach among men. Jesus can only make you known and confess positive
about you to His Father only when you have confessed him among men
Acts 5:28 [“Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he
demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him,
and you want to make us responsible for His death!”].
Acts 5:42 [And every day in the temple and from house to house, they continued to
teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah”.
INSIDE OUT OF A CHRISTIAN
 Matthew 23:27-28 [What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and
you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on
the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of
impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts
are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness]. You can present an outward
appearance of holiness daily and still serve as a poor Christian witness. Many
Christians have faithfully professed God before men but they are still living in
sin. Such people, God classifies them as hypocrites and the Bible makes us
understand that lukewarm Christians will be thrown out of His mouth and He
will trample on them.
 Galatians 5:24-25 [Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the
passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them
there. Since we are living by the spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in
every part of our lives]. To live as a Christian requires having the character of
Christ. A Transformation must occur as a result of the Holy Spirit’s
indwelling. We have avail ourselves for the Holy Spirit to work on us so that
we can please God and we will not be judged by the world, adding dirt to the
name of our Father in heaven.
 Galatians 2:20 [My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I
who live, but Christ lives in me. so I live in this earthly body by trusting in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave me himself for me]. Christians have
to know that the very day we accepted Christ was the very day we died
spiritually. We now have a new spirit living in a container that can be on this
earth. Because to be on earth, you must have a body to live in but we are not
of this world, the body is just a container, we are dead to our own serves when
we accepted Christ, so we must live a life holy and acceptable to God.
 Hebrews 4:15-16 [This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for
he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come
boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace to help us when we need it most]. Jesus Christ, the
High Priest that we follow was also tested but He did not sin. Christians
complain a lot by the little tests that we encounter so we do not see the glory
of God in our lives.
DID JESUS SIN TO WIN SINNERS?
Luke 19:5-10 [“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said
unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house”.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they
all murmured, saying, that he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And
Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the
poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him
fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as
he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which
was lost. (KJV)]. Jesus never sinned on this earth. Many Christians hide under the saying that
“Before you can win a sinner, you must first be a sinner”, and they keep on sinning. But Jesus
Christ came to seek sinners but he never sinned. Because the word is for sinners to repent.
And looking at the quoted scripture, after the visit of Jesus to Zacchaeus, that made him serve
God after that. He became a Christian, so let us not deceive ourselves and to keep on sinning.
We must take our attention off mandates and focus on the man. To paraphrase, “What did
Jesus do”.
WHAT DID HE DO?
 He communicated continually with God. (Mark 6:46, Matthew 11:25-26, Mark 14:32)
 He acknowledged the significance of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-17, 26)
 Obeyed the will of His heavenly Father. (Luke 22: 42, John 6:38-39).
 Resisted temptation by steadfastness to the word of God. (Luke 4:1-13)
 Reached out to those considered hopeless and sinners (Mark 2:15-16, Luke 19:5-9)
 Served others, humbling Himself before His heavenly Father (John 13:3-5, 12-15)
 Persevered in faith and love (John 4:34, John 9:4, John 17:23).
TO WHAT DEGREE DO WE SHAPE OUR CHOICES SO WE MAINTAIN A
CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE?
Romans 12:2 [ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God]
• God's mercies must move us to please God.
• No man must think too well of himself;
• But everyone attend on that calling wherein he is placed.
• Love and many other duties are required of us.
• Revenge is especially forbidden.
Conclusion
Believers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1,2) To be humble, and faithfully to use
their spiritual gifts, in their respective stations. (3-8) Exhortations to various duties. (9-16)
and to peaceable conduct towards all men, with forbearance and benevolence. (17-21)
1,2 The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves
various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel
principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to
present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive
from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we
have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is
acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for,
and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a
change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of
sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is
the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory. The great enemy to this
renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though
it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of
those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy
Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and
conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in
knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to
God.
SECTION FIVE
APPENDIX 1
DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS
EVANGELIST
1. One who proclaims good news, either by preaching or writing. There were originally
evangelists or preachers who, without being fixed to any church, preached wherever
they were led by the Holy Spirit, like some missionaries in our own day, Eph 4:11.
Such was Philip, Ac 21:8. Timothy also is exhorted to "do the work of an evangelist,"
because they were the writers of the four gospels, which bring to all men the glad
tidings of eternal salvation.
2. (Publisher of glad tidings). In the New Testament the "evangelists" appear on the one
hand after the "apostles" and "prophets;" on the other before the "pastors" and
"teachers." They probably stood between the two.
Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11
The work of the evangelist is the proclamation of the glad tidings to those who have not
known them, rather than the instruction and pastoral care of those who have believed and
been baptized. It follows also that the name denotes a work rather than an order. Its use is
nearly like our word missionary. The evangelist might or might not be a bishop-elder or a
deacon. The apostles, so far as they evangelized,
Ac 8:25; 14:7; 1Co 1:17 might claim the title, though there were many evangelists who
were not apostles. If the gospel was a written book, and the office of the evangelists was
to read or distribute it, then the writers of such books were pre-eminently THE
evangelists. In later liturgical language the word was applied to the reader of the gospel
for the day.
APPENDIX 2
COMMENTARY ON THE FOUR GOSPELS
A. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
1. The book of the generation. This is the proper title of the chapter. It is the same as to say,
"The account of the ancestry or family, or the genealogical table of Jesus Christ." The phrase
is common in Jewish writings. Compare Ge 5:1, "This is the book of the generations of
Adam," that is, the genealogical table of the family or descendants of Adam. See also Ge 6:9.
The Jews, moreover, as we do, kept such tables of their own families, and it is probable that
this was copied from the record of the family of Joseph.
Jesus. See Mt 1:21.
Christ. The word Christ is a Greek word, signifying anointed. The Hebrew word signifying
the same is Messiah. Hence, Jesus is called either the Messiah, or the Christ, meaning the
same thing. The Jews speak of the Messiah; Christians speak of him as the Christ. Anciently,
when kings and priests were set apart to their office, they were anointed with oil, Le 4:3;
6:20; Ex 28:41; 29:7; 1Sa 9:16; 15:1; 2Sa 23:1. To anoint, therefore, means often the same as
to consecrate, or set apart to any office. Thence those thus set apart are said to be anointed, or
the anointed of God. It is for this reason that the name is given to the Lord Jesus, Da 9:24. He
was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing
with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and
as God gave him the Spirit without measure, (Joh 3:34) so he is called peculiarly the
Anointed of God.
The Son of David, The word son, among the Jews, had a great variety of significations. It
means, literally, a son; then a grandson; a descendant; an adopted son; a disciple, or one who
is an object of tender affection--one who is to us as a son. In this place it means a descendant
of David; or one who was of the family of David. It was important to trace the genealogy of
Jesus up to David, because the promise had been made that the Messiah should be of his
family, and all the Jews expected it would be so. It would be impossible, therefore, to
convince a Jew that Jesus was the Messiah, unless it could be shown that he was descended
from David. See Jer 23:5 Ps 132:10,11; compared with Ac 13:23; Joh 7:42.
The Son of Abraham. The descendant of Abraham. The promise was made to Abraham
also. See Ge 12:3; 21:12; comp. Heb 11:13; Ga 3:16. The Jews expected that the Messiah
would be descended from him; and it was important, therefore, to trace the genealogy up to
him also. Though Jesus was of humble birth, yet he was descended from most illustrious
ancestors. Abraham, the father of the faithful--" the beauteous model of an eastern prince,"--
and David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the conqueror, the magnificent and victorious leader
of the people of God, were both among his ancestors. From these two persons, the most
eminent for piety, and the most renowned for their excellencies of all the men of antiquity,
sacred or profane, the Lord Jesus was descended; and though his birth and life were humble,
yet they who regard an illustrious descent as of value, may find here all that is to be admired
in piety, purity, patriotism, splendour, dignity, and renown.
{a} "generation of Jesus Christ" Lu 3:33
{b} "son of David" Ps 132:11; Mt 22:45; Ac 2:30
{c} "son of Abraham" Ge 22:18; Ga 3:16
B. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK
Of Mark, the writer of this gospel, little is certainly known. He is commonly supposed to be
the same that is several times mentioned in the New Testament. He was not an apostle, or
companion of the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, though some of the Fathers affirm that he
was one of the seventy disciples. This is improbable, as he is mentioned by Peter (1Pe 5:13)
as his son; from which it is supposed that he was converted by the instrumentality of Peter.
From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister's son to Barnabas, (Col 4:10;) and that
his mother's name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and
primitive Christians often assembled, Ac 12:12.
His Hebrew name was John, (Ac 12:12,) and it is probable that he adopted a name better
known, or more familiar, when he visited the Gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age.
He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, in their journeys to propagate
Christianity, Ac 13:5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them
in Pamphylia, and probably returned to Jerusalem, Ac 15:38. Probably at this time he was the
companion of Peter, and travelled with him to Babylon, 1Pe 5:13. Afterwards he went with
Barnabas to Cyprus, Ac 15:39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul,
in company with Timothy, 2Ti 4:11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there,
but how long is uncertain, Col 4:10; Phm 1:24. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we
hear that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died
and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.
The time when this gospel was written is not certainly known. It is supposed to have been
between the years 56 and 63. It is allowed by all that it was written at Rome; of course, it was
during the latter years of his life, after the apostles had left Judea, Mr 16:20. Mark was, for a
considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour
in his ministry, yet, from his long acquaintance with Peter, he was familiar with the events of
his life, and with his instructions. The uniform testimony of the Fathers is, that he was the
interpreter of Peter, and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his
approbation. It has come down to us, therefore, with the sanction of Peter's authority. Its right
to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned. That it was written by Mark;
that it was with Peter's approbation; that it was a record of the facts which Peter stated in his
ministry; and that it was, therefore, an inspired book has never been questioned.
MARK CHAPTER 1
Verse 1. The beginning of the Gospel. The word gospel literally signifies good tidings, and
particularly the good tidings respecting the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some
have understood the word gospel here to mean, history or life--the beginning of the history,
etc. But Mark says nothing of the early life of the Saviour. It has reference rather to the
preaching of John, an account of which immediately follows, and means the beginning of the
good news, or annunciation, respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a
title to a book.
The Son of God. This title was used here to attract attention, and secure the respect of those
who should read this gospel. It is no common history. It does not recount the deeds of man--
of a hero, or philosopher-- but the doctrines and doings of THE SON OF GOD. The history,
therefore, commands respect.
{a} "the Son of God" Heb 1:1,2
C. TO THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE.
Little is certainly known concerning the time and place of writing this Gospel, or concerning
the author. The first time we have any mention of the author is in his own history, Ac
16:10,11. He was then the companion of Paul in his travel, and it is evident that he often
attended Paul in his journeys, comp. Ac 16:11-17; 21:1-6. In each of these places the author
of "the Acts" speaks of his being in company with Paul. That the same person was the writer
of this Gospel is also clear from Ac 1:1.
From this circumstance the ancients regarded this Gospel as in fact the Gospel which Paul
had preached. They affirm that Luke recorded what the apostle preached. Thus Irenaeus says,
"Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him."
He also says, "Luke was not only a companion, but also a fellow-labourer of the apostles,
especially of Paul." Origen, speaking of the Gospels, says, "The third is that according to
Luke, the gospel commended by Paul, published for the sake of the Gentile converts."
The testimony of the fathers is uniform that it was written by Luke, the companion of Paul,
and was therefore regarded by them as really the gospel which Paul preached.
It is not known where it was written. Jerome says it was composed in Achaia. There seems to
be some probability that it was written to persons that were well acquainted with Jewish
manners, as the author does not stop to explain the peculiar customs of the Jews, as some of
the other evangelists have done. Respecting the time when it was written nothing very
definite is known. All that can with certainty be ascertained is that it was written before the
death of Paul (A.D. 65), for it was written before the Acts (Ac 1:1), and that book only brings
down the life of Paul to his imprisonment at Rome, and previous to his going into Spain.
It has been made a matter of inquiry whether Luke was a Gentile or a Jew. On this subject
there is no positive testimony. Jerome and others of the fathers say that he was a Syrian, and
born at Antioch. The most probable opinion seems to be that he was a proselyte to the Jewish
religion, though descended from Gentile parents. For this opinion two reasons may be
assigned of some weight. 1st. He was intimately acquainted, as appears by the Gospel and the
Acts, with the Jewish rites, customs, opinions, and prejudices; and he wrote in their dialect,
that is, with much of the Hebrew phraseology, in a style similar to the other evangelists, from
which it appears that he was accustomed to the Jewish religion, and was, therefore, probably
a proselyte. Yet the preface to his Gospel, as critics have remarked, is pure classic Greek,
unlike the Greek that was used by native Jews; from which it seems not improbable that he
was by birth and education a Gentile.
2nd. In Ac 21:27, it is said that the Asiatic Jews excited the multitude against Paul because he
had introduced Gentiles into the temple, thus defiling it. In Ac 21:28 it is said that the Gentile
to whom they had reference was Trophimus, an Ephesian. Yet Luke was also at that time
with Paul. If he had been regarded as a Gentile it is probable that they would have made
complaint respecting him as well as Trophimus; from which it is supposed that he was a
Jewish proselyte.
But again, in the Epistle to the Colossians, Col 4:9-11, we find Paul saying that Aristarchus,
and Marcus, and Barnabas, and Justus saluted them, "who are," he adds, "of the
circumcision," that is, Jews by birth. In Col 4:14 he says that Luke, the beloved physician,
and Demas also saluted them; from which it is inferred that they were not of the
circumcision, but were by birth Gentiles.
Most writers suppose that Luke, the writer of this Gospel, was intended in the above place in
Colossians. If so, his profession was that of a physician; and it has been remarked that his
descriptions of diseases are more accurate and circumstantial, and have more of technical
correctness than those of the other evangelists.
Luke does not profess to have been an eye-witness of what he recorded. See Lu 1:2,3. It is
clear, therefore, that he was not one of the seventy disciples, nor one of the two who went to
Emmaus, as has been sometimes supposed. Nor was he an apostle. By the fathers he is
uniformly called the companion of the apostles, and especially of Paul.
If he was not one of the apostles, and if he was not one of those expressly commissioned by
our Lord to whom the promise of the infallible teaching of the Holy Ghost was given, the
question arises by what authority his Gospel and the Acts have a place in the sacred canon, or
what evidence is there that he was divinely inspired?
In regard to this question the following considerations may give satisfaction:
1st. They were received by all the churches on the same footing as the first three Gospels.
There is not a dissenting voice in regard to their authenticity and authority. The value of this
argument is this--that if they had been spurious, or without authority, the fathers were the
proper persons to know it.
2nd. They were published during the lives of the apostles Peter, Paul, and John, and were
received during their lives as books of sacred authority. If the writings of Luke were not
inspired, and had no authority, those apostles could easily have destroyed their credit, and we
have reason to think it would have been done.
3rd. It is the united testimony of the fathers that this Gospel was submitted to Paul, and
received his express approbation. It was regarded as the substance of his preaching, and if it
received his approbation it comes to us on the authority of his name. Indeed, if this be the
case, it rests on the same authority as the epistles of Paul himself.
4th. It bears the same marks of inspiration as the other books. It is simple, pure, yet sublime;
there is nothing unworthy of God; and it is elevated far above the writings of any uninspired
man.
5th. If he was not inspired--if, as we suppose, he was a Gentile by birth--and if, as is most
clear, he was not an eyewitness witness of what he records, it is inconceivable that he did not
contradict the other evangelists. That he did not borrow from them is clear. Nor is it possible
to conceive that he could write a book varying in the order of its arrangement so much, and
adding so many new facts, and repeating so many recorded also by the others, without often
having contradicted what was written by them. Let any man compare this Gospel with the
spurious gospels of the following centuries, and he will be struck with the force of this
remark.
6th. If it be objected that, not being an apostle, he did not come within the promise of
inspiration (Joh 14:26; 16:13,14) made to the apostles, it may be replied that this was also the
case with Paul; yet no small part of the New Testament is composed of his writings. The
evidence of the inspiration of the writings of Luke and Paul is to be judged, not only by that
promise, but by the early reception of the churches; by the testimony of the fathers as to the
judgment of inspired men when living, and by the internal character of the works. Luke has
all these equally with the other evangelists.
CHAPTER 1
Verse 1. Forasmuch as many. It has been doubted who are referred to here by the word many.
It seems clear that it could not be the other evangelists, for the gospel by John was not yet
written, and the word many denotes clearly more than two. Besides, it is said that they
undertook to record what the eye-witnesses had delivered to them, so that the writers did not
pretend to be eye-witnesses themselves. It is clear, therefore, that other writings are meant
than the gospels which we now have, but what they were is a matter of conjecture. What are
now known as spurious gospels were written long after Luke wrote his. It is probable that
Luke refers to fragments of history, or to narratives of detached sayings, acts, or parables of
our Lord, which had been made and circulated among the disciples and others. His doctrines
were original, bold, pure, and authoritative. His miracles had been extraordinary, clear, and
awful. His life and death had been peculiar; and it is not improbable--indeed it is highly
probable--that such broken accounts and narratives of detached facts would be preserved.
That this is what Luke means appears farther from Lu 1:3 where he professes to give a
regular, full, and systematic account from the very beginning-- "having had perfect
understanding of all things from the very first."
The records of the others --the "many"--were broken and incomplete. His were to be regular
and full.
Taken in hand. Undertaken, attempted. To set forth in order. To compose a narrative. It does
not refer to the order or arrangement, but means simply to give a narrative. The word
rendered here in order is different from that in the third verse, which has reference to order,
or to a full and fair arrangement of the principal facts, &c., in the history of our Lord.
A declaration. A narrative -- an account of. Which are most surely believed among us.
Among Christians -- among all the Christians then living. Here we may remark -- 1st. That
Christians of that day had the best of all opportunities for knowing whether those things were
true. Many had seen them, and all others had had the account from those who had witnessed
them.
2nd. That infidels now cannot possibly be as good judges in the matter as those who lived at
the time, and who were thus competent to determine whether these things were true or false.
3rd. That all Christians do most surely believe the truth of the gospel. It is their life, their
hope, their all. Nor can they doubt that their Saviour lived, bled, died, rose, and still lives;
that he was their atoning sacrifice, and that he is God over all, blessed for ever.
D. TO THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN.
John, the writer of this Gospel, was the son of Zebedee and Salome; compare Mt 27:56 with
Mr 15:40,41. His father was a fisherman of Galilee, though it would appear that he was not
destitute of property, and was not in the lowest condition of life. He had hired men in his
employ, Mr 1:20. Salome is described as one who attended our Saviour in his travels, and
ministered to his wants, Mt 27:55; Mr 15:41. Jesus commended his own mother Mary, on the
cross, to John, and he took her to his own home (Joh 19:26,27), with whom, history informs
us, she lived until her death, about fifteen years after the crucifixion of Christ; and John was
known to Caiaphas, the high-priest, Joh 18:15. From all this it would seem not improbable
that John had some property, and was better known than any of the other apostles.
He was the youngest of the apostles when called, and lived to the greatest age, and is the only
one who is supposed to have died a peaceful death. He was called to be a follower of Jesus
while engaged with his father and his elder brother James mending their nets at the Sea of
Tiberias, Mt 4:21; Mr 1:19; Lu 5:10.
John was admitted by our Saviour to peculiar favour and friendship. One of the ancient
fathers (Theophylact) says that he was related to him.
"Joseph," he says, "had seven children by a former wife, four sons and three daughters,
Martha, Esther, and Salome, whose son John was; therefore Salome was reckoned our Lord's
sister, and John was his nephew."
If this was the case it may explain the reason why James and John sought and expected the
first places in his kingdom, Mt 20:20,21. These may also possibly be the persons who were
called our Lord's "brethren" and "sisters," Mt 13:55,56. This may also explain the reason why
our Saviour committed his mother to the care of John on the cross, Joh 19:27. The two
brothers, James and John, with Peter, were several times admitted to peculiar favours by our
Lord. They were the only disciples that were permitted to be present at the raising of the
daughter of Jairus, Mr 5:37; Lu 8:51; they only were permitted to attend the Saviour to the
mount where he was transfigured, Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2. The same three were permitted to be
present at his sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane, Mt 26:36-45; Mr 14:32-42. And it was
to these disciples, together with Andrew, to whom the Saviour specially addressed himself
when he made known the desolations that were coming upon Jerusalem and Judea; compare
Mt 24:12; Mr 13:3,4. John was also admitted to peculiar friendship with the Lord Jesus.
Hence he is mentioned as "that disciple whom Jesus loved" (Joh 19:26), and he is represented
(Joh 13:23) as leaning on his bosom at the institution of the Lord's Supper-an evidence of
peculiar friendship. See Barnes for Joh 13:23. Though the Redeemer was attached to all his
disciples, yet there is no improbability in supposing that his disposition was congenial with
that of the meek and amiable John--thus authorizing and setting the example of special
friendships among Christians.
To John was committed the care of Mary, the mother of Jesus. After the ascension of Christ
he remained some time at Jerusalem, Ac 1:14; 3:1; 4:13. John is also mentioned as having
been sent down to Samaria to preach the gospel there with Peter (Ac 8:14-25); and from Acts
chapter 15 it appears that he was present at the council at Jerusalem, A.D. 49 or 50. All this
agrees with what is said by Eusebius, that he lived at Jerusalem till the death of Mary, fifteen
years after the crucifixion of Christ. Till this time it is probable that he had not been engaged
in preaching the gospel among the Gentiles.
At what time he went first among the Gentiles to preach the gospel is not certainly known. It
has commonly been supposed that he resided in Judea and the neighbourhood until the war
broke out with the Romans, and that he came into Asia Minor about the year 69 or 70. It is
clear that he was not at Ephesus at the time that Paul visited those regions, as in all the travels
of Paul and Luke there is no mention made of John.
Ecclesiastical history informs us that he spent the latter part of his life in Asia Minor, and that
he resided chiefly at Ephesus, the chief city of that country. Of his residence there little is
certainly known. In the latter part of his life he was banished to Patmos, a small desolate
island in the AEgean Sea, about twenty miles in circumference. This is commonly supposed
to have been during the persecution of Domitian, i.n the latter part of his reign. Domitian died
A.D. 96. It is probable that he returned soon after that, in the reign of the Emperor Trajan. In
that island he wrote the book of Revelation. See Barnes for Re 1:9. After his return from
Patmos he lived peaceably at Ephesus until his death, which is supposed to have occurred not
long after. He was buried at Ephesus; and it has been commonly thought that he was the only
one of the apostles who did not suffer martyrdom. It is evident that he lived to a very
advanced period of life. We know not his age, indeed, when Christ called him to follow him,
but we cannot suppose it was less than twenty-five or thirty. If so, he must have been not far
from one hundred years old when he died.
Many anecdotes are related of him while he remained at Ephesus, but there is no sufficient
evidence of their truth. Some have said that he was taken to Rome in a time of persecution
and thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, and came out uninjured. It has been said also that,
going into a bath one day at Ephesus, he perceived Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of the
Saviour, and that he fled from him hastily, to express his disapprobation of his doctrine. It is
also said, and of this there can be no doubt, that during his latter years he was not able to
make a long discourse. He was carried to the church, and was accustomed to say nothing but
this, "Little children, love one another." At length his disciples asked him why he always
dwelt upon the same thing. He replied, "Because it is the Lord's command; and if this be
done, it is sufficient."
Learned men have been much divided about the time when this Gospel was written. Wetstein
supposed it was written just after our Saviour's ascension; Mill and Le Clerc, that it was
written in 97; Dr. Lardner, that it was about the year 68, just before the destruction of
Jerusalem. The common opinion is that it was written at Ephesus after his return from
Patmos, and of course as late as the year 97 or 98. Nothing can be determined with certainty
on the subject, and it is a matter of very little consequence.
There is no doubt that it was written by John. This is abundantly confirmed by the ancient
fathers, and was not questioned by Celsus, Porphyry, or Julian, the acutest enemies of
revelation in the early ages. It has never been extensively questioned to have been the work
of John, and is one of the books of the New Testament whose canonical authority was never
disputed. See Lardner, or Paley's Evidences.
The design of writing it John himself states, Joh 20:31. It was to show that Jesus was the
Christ, the Son of God, and that those who believed might have life through his name. This
design is kept in view through the whole Gospel, and should be remembered in our attempts
to explain it. Various attempts have been made to show that he wrote it to confute the
followers of Cerinthus and the Gnostics, but no satisfactory evidence of such a design has
been furnished.
As he wrote after the other evangelists, he has recorded many things which they omitted. He
dwells much more fully than they do on the divine character of Jesus; relates many things
pertaining to the early part of his ministry which they had omitted; records many more of his
discourses than they have done, and particularly the interesting discourse at the institution of
the Supper. See chapters 14-17.
It has been remarked that there are evidences in this Gospel that it was not written for the
Jews. The author explains words and customs which to a Jew would have needed no
explanation. See Joh 1:38,41 Joh 5:1; 7:2; 4:9. The style in the Greek indicates that he was an
unlearned man. It is simple, plain, unpolished, such as we should suppose would be used by
one in his circumstances. At the same time it is dignified, containing pure and profound
sentiments, and is on many accounts the most difficult of all the books of the New Testament
to interpret. It contains more about Christ, his person, design, and work, than any of the other
Gospels. The other evangelists were employed more in recording the miracles, and giving
external evidence of the divine mission of Jesus. John is employed chiefly in telling us what
he was, and what was his peculiar doctrine. His aim was to show,
1st. That Jesus was the Messiah.
2nd. To show, from the words of Jesus himself, what the Messiah was. The other evangelists
record his parables, his miracles, his debates with the Scribes and Pharisees; John records
chiefly his discourses about himself. If anyone wishes to learn the true doctrine respecting the
Messiah, the Son of God, expressed in simple language, but with most sublime conceptions;
to learn the true nature and character of God, and the way of approach to his mercy-seat; to
see the true nature of Christian piety, or the source and character of religious consolation; to
have perpetually before him the purest model of character the world has seen, and to
contemplate the purest precepts that have ever been delivered to man, he cannot better do it
than by a prayerful study of the Gospel by John. It may be added that this Gospel is of itself
proof that cannot be overthrown of the truth of revelation. John was a fisherman, unhonoured
and unlearned, Ac 4:13. What man in that rank of life now could compose a book like this?
Can it be conceived that any man of that rank, unless under the influence of inspiration, could
conceive so sublime notions of God, could present so pure views of morals, and could draw a
character so inimitably lovely and pure as that of Jesus Christ? To ask these questions is to
answer them. And this Gospel will stand to the end of time as an unanswerable demonstration
that the fisherman who wrote it was under a more than human guidance, and was, according
to the promise that he has recorded (Joh 16:13 comp. Joh 14:26), guided into all truth. It will
also remain as an unanswerable proof that the character which he has described--the character
of the Lord Jesus--was real. It is a perfect character. It has not a flaw. How has this
happened? The attempt has often been made to draw a perfect character--and as often, in
every other instance, failed. How is it, when Homer and Virgil, and the ancient historians,
have all failed to describe a perfect character, with the purest models before them, and with
all the aid of imagination, that in every instance they have failed? How is it that this has at
last been accomplished only by a Jewish fisherman? The difficulty is vastly increased if
another idea is borne in mind. John describes one who he believed had a divine nature, Joh
1:1. It is an attempt to describe God in human nature, or to show how the Divine Being acts
when united with man, or when appearing in human form. And the description is complete.
There is not a word expressed by the Lord Jesus, or an emotion ascribed to him, inconsistent
with such a supposition. But this same attempt was often made, and as often failed. Homer
and Virgil, and all the ancient poets, have undertaken to show what the gods would be if they
came down and conversed with man. And what were they? What were Jupiter, and Juno, and
Venus, and Mars, and Vulcan? Beings of lust, and envy, and contention, and blood. How has
it happened that the only successful account which has been given of the divine nature united
with the human, and of living and acting as became such a union, has been given by a Jewish
fisherman? How, unless the character was real, and the writer under a guidance far superior
to the genius of Homer and the imagination of Virgil--the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Verse 1. In the beginning. This expression is used also in Ge 1:1. To that place John
evidently has allusion here, and means to apply to "the Word" an expression which is there
applied to God. In both places it clearly means "before creation," "before the world was
made," "when as yet there was nothing." The meaning is, that the Word had an existence
before the world was created. This is not spoken of the man Jesus, but of that which became a
man, or was incarnate, Joh 1:14. The Hebrews, by expressions like this, commonly denoted
eternity. Thus the eternity of God is described (Ps 90:2): Before the mountains were brought
forth, &c.; and eternity is commonly expressed by the phrase, before the foundation of the
world. Whatever is meant by the term "Word," it is clear that it had an existence before
creations. It is not, then, a creature or created being, and must be, therefore, uncreated and
eternal. There is but one Being that is uncreated, and Jesus must be therefore divine. Compare
the Saviour's own declarations respecting himself in the following places: Joh 8:58; 17:5;
6:62; 3:13; 6:46; 8:14; 16:28.
Was the Word. Greek, "was the Logos." This name is given to him who afterward became
flesh, or was incarnate (Joh 1:14)--that is, to the Messiah. Whatever is meant by it, therefore,
is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ. There have been many opinions about the reason why
this name was given to the Son of God. Those opinions it is unnecessary to repeat. The
opinion which seems most plausible may be expressed as follows:
1st. A word is that by which we communicate our will; by which we convey our thoughts;
2nd. The Son of God may be called "the Word," because he is the medium by which God
promulgates his will and issues his commandments. See Heb 1:1-3.
3rd. This term was in use before the time of John.
(a) It was used in the Chaldee translation of the Old Testament, as, e.g., Isa 45:12: "I have
made the earth, and created man upon it." In the Chaldee it is, "I, by my word, have made,"
&c. Isa 48:13: "Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth." In the Chaldee, "By my
word I have founded the earth." And so in many other places.
(b) This term was used by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. In their writings he was
commonly known by the term "Mimra "--that is, "Word;" and no small part of the
interpositions of God in defence of the Jewish nation were declared to be by "the Word of
God." Thus, in their Targum on De 26:17,18, it is said, "Ye have appointed THE WORD OF
GOD a king over you this day, that he may be your God."
(c) The term was used by the Jews who were scattered among the Gentiles, and especially
those who were conversant with the Greek philosophy.
(d) The term was used by the followers of Plato among the Greeks, to denote the second
person of the Trinity. The term nous, or mind, was commonly given to this second person,
but it was said that this nous was the word or reason of the first person. The term was
therefore extensively in use among the Jews and Gentiles before John wrote his Gospel, and
it was certain that it would be applied to the second person of the Trinity by Christians,
whether converted from Judaism or Paganism. It was important, therefore, that the meaning
of the term should be settled by an inspired man, and accordingly John, in the
commencement of his Gospel, is at much pains to state clearly what is the true doctrine
respecting the Logos, or Word. It is possible, also, that the doctrines of the Gnostics had
begun to spread in the time of John. They were an Oriental sect, and held that the Logos or
Word was one of the AEons that had been created, and that this one had been united to the
man Jesus. If that doctrine had begun then to prevail, it was of the more importance for John
to settle the truth in regard to the rank of the Logos or Word. This he has done in such a way
that there need be no doubt about its meaning.
Was with God. This expression denotes friendship or intimacy. Comp. Mr 9:19. John affirms
that he was with God in the beginning-- that is, before the world was made. It implies,
therefore, that he was partaker of the divine glory; that he was blessed and happy with God. It
proves that he was intimately united with the Father, so as to partake of his glory and to be
appropriately called by the name God. He has himself explained it. See Joh 17:5: And now, O
Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the
world was. See also Joh 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son,
which IS IN THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, he hath declared him. See also Joh 3:13: The
Son of man, which is in heaven. Comp. Php 2:6,7.
Was God. In the previous phrase John had said that the Word was with God. Lest it should be
supposed that he was a different and inferior being, he here states that he was God. There is
no more unequivocal declaration in the Bible than this, and there could be no stronger proof
that the sacred writer meant to affirm that the Son of God was equal with the Father; for,
1st. There is no doubt that by the Logos is meant Jesus Christ.
2nd. This is not an attribute or quality of God, but is a real subsistence, for it is said that the
Logos was made flesh--that is, became a man.
3rd. There is no variation here in the manuscripts, and critics have observed that the Greek
will bear no other construction than what is expressed in our translation-that the Word was
God.
4th. There is no evidence that John intended to use the word God in an inferior sense. It is
not "the Word was a god," or "the Word was like God," but the Word was God. He had just
used the word God as evidently applicable to Jehovah, the true God; and it is absurd to
suppose that the would in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the
word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God.
5th. The name God is elsewhere given to him, showing that he is the supreme God. See Ro
9:5; Heb 1:8,9,10-12; 1Jo 5:20; Joh 20:28. The meaning of this important verse may then be
thus summed up:
1st. The name Logos, or Word, is given to Christ in reference to his becoming the Teacher or
Instructor of mankind; the medium of communication between God and man.
2nd. The name was in use at the time of John, and it was his design to state the correct
doctrine respecting the Logos.
3rd. The Word, or Logos, existed before creation--of course was not a creature, and must
have been, therefore, from eternity.
4th. He was with God--that is, he was united to him in a most intimate and close union before
the creation; and, as it could not be said that God was with himself, it follows that the Logos
was in some sense distinct from God, or that there was a distinction between the Father and
the Son. When we say that one is with another, we imply that there is some sort of distinction
between them.
5th. Yet, lest it should be supposed that he was a different and inferior being--a creature--he
affirms that he was God--that is, was equal with the Father. This is the foundation of the
doctrine of the Trinity:
1. That the second person is in some sense distinct from the first.
2. That he is intimately united with the first person in essence, so that there are not two or
more Gods.
3. That the second person may be called by the same name; has the same attributes; performs
the same works; and is entitled to the same honours with the first, and that therefore he is "the
same in substance, and equal in power and glory," with God.
{a} "In the beginning" Pr 8:22-31; Col 1:16,17; 1Jo 1:1
{b} "the Word" Re 19:13
{c} "with God" Joh 17:5
{d} "was God" Php 2:6 Heb 1:8-13 1Jo 5:7
THANK YOU FOR READING MY BOOK
BY: KING JESUS LUTHER KING

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Evangelism

  • 1. EVANGELISM THE OBEDIENT SERVANT BY: KING JESUS LUTHER KING
  • 2. ABOUT THE AUTHOR King Jesus Luther King is a young writer and entrepreneur who wish to touch many with the word of God. He believes that the only way to reach many is through writing and this has been his passion since the day he was introduced to Christ. He is the son of Rev. Emmanuel Agyemang and Rev. Mrs. Janet Agyemang. Most of his writings are teachings from his parents and his God father Prophet Edward Oteng Jackson and God mother Apostle Agnes Atinka Jackson. He is a motivational speaker, entrepreneurship coach and CEO of Ministers Of Christ Foundation and International Youth Executive Forum. These two organisations have been set to raise the standards of youth from inferior to superior and we believe that with the help of God, we can touch many lives. Thanks to my role model and those that inspire him, it is through their teachings and prayers that has brought him this far. Acknowledgement All the time I will thank Apostle Agnes Jackson, the General Overseer of God’s Purpose Kingdom International. This woman has been helping me all the time and I say thank you mummy. God will make you fly above all your competitors, and you shall be known and seen by many. I also thank my parents and siblings, I know it was very difficult for them to accept the fact that I will not even come home due to all these and they felt I hated them. Thank you also for not giving up on me. Dedication I first and foremost dedicate this book to my parents: Rev. Emmanuel Agyemang, Rev. Mrs. Janet Agyemang. My siblings: Samuel Agyemang, Esther Agyemang and Helena Agyemang. I also dedicate this book to all Christians especially to my readers and those who love my writings.
  • 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION ONE • THE WORD (GETTING IT OUT) • OVER VIEW OF EVANGELISM SECTION TWO • THE METHOD OF EVANGELISM • THE LIFE OF JESUS IN EVANGELSIM SECTION THREE • EVANGELISM AND THE SOUL • REASONS AND IMPORTANCE OF EVANGELISM SECTION FOUR • THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFESTYLE IN EVANGELISM • INSIDE OUT OF A CHRISTIAN SECTION FIVE • APPENDIX 1: DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS • APPENDIX 2: COMMENTARY ON THE FOUR GOSPELS
  • 4. SECTION ONE THE WORD (GETTING IT OUT) Sending out the word to the unbelievers is what makes every Christian or a believer obedient to God. It is one step to working out our salvation. God cannot come to the earth and work out our salvation, but He has set a procedure for one to be saved, a process which he knows that if every believer will follow, it will make them come closer to God, they will love the word of God so much since it is the word that they will be sending out there not miracles and prayers. Even though prayer and miracles add up to the functions of the church; the word of God is the basis to all that we do. No pastor or evangelist will prayer without quoting scriptures, this will be a baseless prayer which will yield no results at the end of your sweat. Prayer is the key, but the word is the path way to reaching your destiny. He that has a key without a gate to open, the key becomes useless, but all the time, whether the road it tiled or untilled, you can still pass on it. Knowing this; at the end of the saviour’s ministry he gave the wonderful command which we are going to talk about in our quest to know what God needs from us and how we are going to please him. OVER VIEW OF EVANGELISM Evangelism can be defined in so many ways to mean strategic styles of soul winning. We will be looking at the styles of soul winning but first let us define it: Evangelism is the spreading of the gospel to the unbelievers with the purpose of making Christ known to them. Evangelism is making the ways of God know and his salvation shown all over the world. Let’s look at Matthew 28:18-20: Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations; baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (NLT.) The word go and make disciples is a mandate that God gave to anyone that believes in his name. He did not say that (let the disciples go and make other disciples in all nations). He even added, and teach them to know my commands I have given you. This means when we souls, we must let them know God’s commandment including evangelism. They also need to go and evangelise. This also shows that every church who hears the word in Church must go and preach to others. Now let us look at someone’s life to explain this perfectly. We all follow a man on earth, and He is the only one that can show us the way properly.
  • 5. SECTION TWO THE LIFE OF JESUS IN EVANGELISM On earth, the son of man came to teach us a principle that we need to follow. He brought the multiplication method of evangelism. Many Christians practice addition method of evangelism. How will you know when you do addition evangelism or multiplication evangelism? Check this scenario: Addition Method Of Evangelism: Today you heard your pastor teaching about evangelism in church and you were touched to also evangelise. So the next day you went out and won about five souls that day, you thought them and they also went out to evangelise, but on the other day you sat in your house without going with your converts and they also stay back after going once, it becomes an addition method of evangelism because you add up to your number. When you were only one, then you won five. Now you are six in number and the five went out and won one each, you will be eleven. Multiplication Method Of Evangelism: Today you heard your pastor teaching about evangelism in church and you were touched to also evangelise. So the next day you went out and won about five souls that day, you thought them and the next day you went out with them to evangelise, and you all won one person each. Now you were only one at first, you won five and you became six and all the six went to evangelise and won one each. Now you will see that your number has been multiplied by two. You were six, now you are twelve. And it will increase as you continue to win souls. This is the method that Jesus came to teach us and here is his own example John 4:1-11: This is a story of a Samaritan woman and Jesus. He was able to win her from the many books, including others to the one book which is the book of life. The method 1. The Contact: (John 4:7: Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink”(NLT) when we say contact, it is how a person gets into or starts a conversation. So this is the same strategy that Jesus Christ used. When we look at the Bible (John 4:9[The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman, why are you asking me for a drink]), we will know that Samaritans and Jews had nothing in common, but Jesus did not look at religious and cultural barriers to do his evangelism. This shows that we do not need to look at religious barriers when evangelising, we need to speak to anybody we meet because the word is for all and not for believers. The Samaritan was a sinner and this makes it the more reason why Jesus approached her, and in the approach, he first established a
  • 6. relationship; which is “Give me a drink”. So we need to follow this by also establishing a relationship before starting our evangelism. 2. The Challenge: (John 4:10 [Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water”]. This is the part that Christians find it difficult to do. Challenge is changing the conversation from physical life into spiritual aspects of life. Looking at the scriptures, we will see that Jesus changed the conversation, he started with give me a drink and continued with you do not know what God has for you, He has living water. How many of us know how to do this. When we go out to evangelise, we begin to condemn the sinners without following the procedures to winning souls. Forgetting that we were once sinners before we saw the light. We always need to create an atmosphere and be able to change the conversation from physical aspect to the spiritual aspects of life. 3. The Confirmation: (John 4:11 [“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is deep. Where would you get this living water?] Many evangelists or even any believer that goes out to evangelise do not know the scriptures they need to use in evangelising. Sometimes they get confuse when the unbelievers begins to ask them questions. For your evangelism to be concrete and on point, you must be able to give confirmation to whatever you say. Studying the scriptures, we see that the Samaritan woman what to be sure that Jesus knew what he was talking about. Because if you continue reading from John 4:12: And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed? How do you defend your God when you are evangelising? How well do you answer every question that the unbelievers need before they get converted? From verse 13 and 14 shows how well Jesus answered the question, and upon that, the woman was now willing to join in the good light that Jesus had. She now requested to have that living water in verse 15. 4. The Call: Jesus did not force the woman to believe in Him or whatever He was saying, but she believed in Jesus because He was able to give proof of whatever He was saying. Whenever we are out there teaching, we have to know that how well we proof that we know the word of God makes people believe in the word and before one can give a vivid proof; you have to be closer to God. And being closer to God entails a lot. Like praying, studying the word, fasting and working out your salvation. Another broad word (salvation). We will deal with that later. 5. Conversion: When an unbeliever gets to be born again, he/she must not waste time to be baptised. Because the Bible has made it clear that those who received the word and believed in His name must be baptised. Most at times such people do not know the essence of baptism so it is up to the church or the Christians to encourage such a convert to be baptised as instructed in Acts 22:16 [What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptised. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.] Conclusion: from the whole text of John 4. We see how Jesus was able to win souls using the multiplication method. John 4:28-29 [The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “come and see a man who told me everything I ever
  • 7. did! Could he possibly be the messiah?”] This place shows that when we hear the good news, we must also witness to others like what the woman did and in john 4: 40-41 [When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed for two days, long enough for many more people to hear His message and believe.] This is exactly what I explained earlier on, Jesus did not reject their offer for staying, because He knew that only the woman’s witness will not go a long way to reaching more people. So He joined and broadcasted His name with her and finally, many more believed in the messiah, so when we go out to evangelise, let us not stop and wait for others to also continue but let us do it with them also. SECTION THREE EVANGELISM AND THE SOUL The dwelling place of God is in the heart, and it is only a human’s heart that God can live in so the vision of God is winning lots of souls, so that He can dwell among men and establish the long forgetting relationship He had with us. Therefore to be a soul winner you must have the heart of the Father. And who is our Father? God! Sometimes I look at certain Christians who call God Father and at the same time they don’t value His work. They sin most often. You can’t call God Father when you do not acknowledge His work and do not follow His commands. Evangelism is winning more souls to the kingdom of the Father. Bringing more lost souls to His throne where He can work on them and make them better than before. All men that do not believe God are all under the bondage of sin which is the Devil. A soul is a ripped harvest prepared to be saved. Every man not saved has not seen God in their life or they have not been exposed to the goodness of God, so all souls are ripped and prepared for salvation. So we ought to seek them and bring them to God. Proverbs 11:30 [The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise]. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. Every Christian has been given a tree that gives life to the world, because we have the light and that light is the fruit of righteousness therefore all Christians have to feed these fruits to the unbelievers. John 6:33-35 [The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Sir, they said, “give us that bread every day”. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty]. We have to let the world know that it is only believing in the son that makes us rich and have a peace of mind. T grow stronger and not get sick, to be seen with a person of honour and not to be disrespected among your peers.
  • 8. REASONS AND IMPORTANCE OF EVANGELISM 1. Mark 13:14 [“The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be” (Reader pay attention). “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills]. Every Christian is first a soul winner: The gospel must be preached first and the gospel must then be published. Every day we ought to spread the gospel for the hour is coming when we cannot do what we can now, for all Christians will be persecuted and the world will rise against the children of God. 2. Luke 12:42-43 [And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward]. Harvesting souls makes you a wise person. Before God will give you a responsibility, you must be faithful and sensible. Being faithful to the Father is spreading His word to the gentiles and to be sensible, is the more you win souls, the more you become wise, because it takes more wisdom to win one soul and it is the help of God that makes as successful in our soul harvesting. 3. Psalm 91:14 [The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name]. He who evangelises receives divine preservation. God keeps protecting those who preach to the gentiles, for they trust in His name. 4. John 16:23-24 [At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will tell the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name and you will have abundant joy]. A harvester will have divine assistance in his life. Most evangelists don’t ask before they get, and even if they ask; they receive it quickly because the promise of God are always true and it comes to pass. 5. John 9:4 [We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no man can work]. Every Christian has a short time on earth to do the work. The time is short, our life is short, so we have to work quickly. We do not know when our life will end or what we will become tomorrow. James 4:14 [How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone]. 6. To avoid the mistake of polishing the same coin several times. Luke 15:8-9. HOW CAN YOU BE A SOUL WINNER  The soul winner must be a master of the art of prayer: Philippians 4:13 [For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength]. God gives us strength through prayer. You have to be a prayer warrior.  The soul winner must have the word in Him/Her. John 1:1 [In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God]. The word is God, and the Bible say in verse 14, that the word became flesh and dwelled among men, therefore when we read His word, we have God in us and the same as the son in us.
  • 9. SECTION FOUR THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFESTYLE IN EVANGELISM Matthew 5:14-16 [You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father]. Lifestyle evangelism is a strategy that focuses on living a holy, winsome life among unbelievers with the goal of attracting people to the message of Jesus Christ. God expert all Christians to leave a life that will be pleasing to Him and the world will see a difference between them and the Christians. Many people say. I fear the faces of people, so I am not able to go for evangelism. But we have forgetting that we can evangelise with our life only. When we live a winsome life, people look at us and they feel like becoming a Christian. Jesus knew this and He instructed us to be the light of the world. There is darkness all over the earth, but we (Christians) are the light and we have to shine bright.  IS BEING A GOOD EXAMPLE GOOD ENOUGH? Acts 20:20 [I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes]. The scripture makes it clear that living a good example is not good enough. The better example you live, it makes you different among your peers and they love to be like you. They will never join you, when you keep on being a good example, but they will join you the moment you approach them with the word of God. They will now know the basis of what makes you different, and they will eventually join you. But when you keep on being a good example, they will not know your secret and they will still be there.  CONFESS GOD BEFORE MEN Matthew 10:32-33 [“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven]. Every Christian must not be afraid to teach among men. Jesus can only make you known and confess positive about you to His Father only when you have confessed him among men Acts 5:28 [“Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for His death!”]. Acts 5:42 [And every day in the temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah”.
  • 10. INSIDE OUT OF A CHRISTIAN  Matthew 23:27-28 [What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness]. You can present an outward appearance of holiness daily and still serve as a poor Christian witness. Many Christians have faithfully professed God before men but they are still living in sin. Such people, God classifies them as hypocrites and the Bible makes us understand that lukewarm Christians will be thrown out of His mouth and He will trample on them.  Galatians 5:24-25 [Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives]. To live as a Christian requires having the character of Christ. A Transformation must occur as a result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. We have avail ourselves for the Holy Spirit to work on us so that we can please God and we will not be judged by the world, adding dirt to the name of our Father in heaven.  Galatians 2:20 [My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. so I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave me himself for me]. Christians have to know that the very day we accepted Christ was the very day we died spiritually. We now have a new spirit living in a container that can be on this earth. Because to be on earth, you must have a body to live in but we are not of this world, the body is just a container, we are dead to our own serves when we accepted Christ, so we must live a life holy and acceptable to God.  Hebrews 4:15-16 [This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most]. Jesus Christ, the High Priest that we follow was also tested but He did not sin. Christians complain a lot by the little tests that we encounter so we do not see the glory of God in our lives. DID JESUS SIN TO WIN SINNERS? Luke 19:5-10 [“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house”. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, that he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as
  • 11. he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (KJV)]. Jesus never sinned on this earth. Many Christians hide under the saying that “Before you can win a sinner, you must first be a sinner”, and they keep on sinning. But Jesus Christ came to seek sinners but he never sinned. Because the word is for sinners to repent. And looking at the quoted scripture, after the visit of Jesus to Zacchaeus, that made him serve God after that. He became a Christian, so let us not deceive ourselves and to keep on sinning. We must take our attention off mandates and focus on the man. To paraphrase, “What did Jesus do”. WHAT DID HE DO?  He communicated continually with God. (Mark 6:46, Matthew 11:25-26, Mark 14:32)  He acknowledged the significance of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-17, 26)  Obeyed the will of His heavenly Father. (Luke 22: 42, John 6:38-39).  Resisted temptation by steadfastness to the word of God. (Luke 4:1-13)  Reached out to those considered hopeless and sinners (Mark 2:15-16, Luke 19:5-9)  Served others, humbling Himself before His heavenly Father (John 13:3-5, 12-15)  Persevered in faith and love (John 4:34, John 9:4, John 17:23). TO WHAT DEGREE DO WE SHAPE OUR CHOICES SO WE MAINTAIN A CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE? Romans 12:2 [ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God] • God's mercies must move us to please God. • No man must think too well of himself; • But everyone attend on that calling wherein he is placed. • Love and many other duties are required of us. • Revenge is especially forbidden. Conclusion Believers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1,2) To be humble, and faithfully to use their spiritual gifts, in their respective stations. (3-8) Exhortations to various duties. (9-16) and to peaceable conduct towards all men, with forbearance and benevolence. (17-21) 1,2 The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of
  • 12. sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God. SECTION FIVE APPENDIX 1 DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS EVANGELIST 1. One who proclaims good news, either by preaching or writing. There were originally evangelists or preachers who, without being fixed to any church, preached wherever they were led by the Holy Spirit, like some missionaries in our own day, Eph 4:11. Such was Philip, Ac 21:8. Timothy also is exhorted to "do the work of an evangelist," because they were the writers of the four gospels, which bring to all men the glad tidings of eternal salvation. 2. (Publisher of glad tidings). In the New Testament the "evangelists" appear on the one hand after the "apostles" and "prophets;" on the other before the "pastors" and "teachers." They probably stood between the two. Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11 The work of the evangelist is the proclamation of the glad tidings to those who have not known them, rather than the instruction and pastoral care of those who have believed and been baptized. It follows also that the name denotes a work rather than an order. Its use is nearly like our word missionary. The evangelist might or might not be a bishop-elder or a deacon. The apostles, so far as they evangelized, Ac 8:25; 14:7; 1Co 1:17 might claim the title, though there were many evangelists who were not apostles. If the gospel was a written book, and the office of the evangelists was to read or distribute it, then the writers of such books were pre-eminently THE evangelists. In later liturgical language the word was applied to the reader of the gospel for the day.
  • 13. APPENDIX 2 COMMENTARY ON THE FOUR GOSPELS A. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW. 1. The book of the generation. This is the proper title of the chapter. It is the same as to say, "The account of the ancestry or family, or the genealogical table of Jesus Christ." The phrase is common in Jewish writings. Compare Ge 5:1, "This is the book of the generations of Adam," that is, the genealogical table of the family or descendants of Adam. See also Ge 6:9. The Jews, moreover, as we do, kept such tables of their own families, and it is probable that this was copied from the record of the family of Joseph. Jesus. See Mt 1:21. Christ. The word Christ is a Greek word, signifying anointed. The Hebrew word signifying the same is Messiah. Hence, Jesus is called either the Messiah, or the Christ, meaning the same thing. The Jews speak of the Messiah; Christians speak of him as the Christ. Anciently, when kings and priests were set apart to their office, they were anointed with oil, Le 4:3; 6:20; Ex 28:41; 29:7; 1Sa 9:16; 15:1; 2Sa 23:1. To anoint, therefore, means often the same as to consecrate, or set apart to any office. Thence those thus set apart are said to be anointed, or the anointed of God. It is for this reason that the name is given to the Lord Jesus, Da 9:24. He was set apart by God to be the King, and High Priest, and Prophet of his people. Anointing with oil was, moreover, supposed to be emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit; and as God gave him the Spirit without measure, (Joh 3:34) so he is called peculiarly the Anointed of God. The Son of David, The word son, among the Jews, had a great variety of significations. It means, literally, a son; then a grandson; a descendant; an adopted son; a disciple, or one who is an object of tender affection--one who is to us as a son. In this place it means a descendant of David; or one who was of the family of David. It was important to trace the genealogy of Jesus up to David, because the promise had been made that the Messiah should be of his family, and all the Jews expected it would be so. It would be impossible, therefore, to convince a Jew that Jesus was the Messiah, unless it could be shown that he was descended from David. See Jer 23:5 Ps 132:10,11; compared with Ac 13:23; Joh 7:42. The Son of Abraham. The descendant of Abraham. The promise was made to Abraham also. See Ge 12:3; 21:12; comp. Heb 11:13; Ga 3:16. The Jews expected that the Messiah would be descended from him; and it was important, therefore, to trace the genealogy up to him also. Though Jesus was of humble birth, yet he was descended from most illustrious ancestors. Abraham, the father of the faithful--" the beauteous model of an eastern prince,"-- and David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the conqueror, the magnificent and victorious leader of the people of God, were both among his ancestors. From these two persons, the most eminent for piety, and the most renowned for their excellencies of all the men of antiquity, sacred or profane, the Lord Jesus was descended; and though his birth and life were humble,
  • 14. yet they who regard an illustrious descent as of value, may find here all that is to be admired in piety, purity, patriotism, splendour, dignity, and renown. {a} "generation of Jesus Christ" Lu 3:33 {b} "son of David" Ps 132:11; Mt 22:45; Ac 2:30 {c} "son of Abraham" Ge 22:18; Ga 3:16 B. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK Of Mark, the writer of this gospel, little is certainly known. He is commonly supposed to be the same that is several times mentioned in the New Testament. He was not an apostle, or companion of the Lord Jesus, during his ministry, though some of the Fathers affirm that he was one of the seventy disciples. This is improbable, as he is mentioned by Peter (1Pe 5:13) as his son; from which it is supposed that he was converted by the instrumentality of Peter. From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister's son to Barnabas, (Col 4:10;) and that his mother's name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive Christians often assembled, Ac 12:12. His Hebrew name was John, (Ac 12:12,) and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the Gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, in their journeys to propagate Christianity, Ac 13:5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them in Pamphylia, and probably returned to Jerusalem, Ac 15:38. Probably at this time he was the companion of Peter, and travelled with him to Babylon, 1Pe 5:13. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Ac 15:39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2Ti 4:11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Col 4:10; Phm 1:24. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we hear that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64. The time when this gospel was written is not certainly known. It is supposed to have been between the years 56 and 63. It is allowed by all that it was written at Rome; of course, it was during the latter years of his life, after the apostles had left Judea, Mr 16:20. Mark was, for a considerable time, the companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour in his ministry, yet, from his long acquaintance with Peter, he was familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform testimony of the Fathers is, that he was the interpreter of Peter, and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. It has come down to us, therefore, with the sanction of Peter's authority. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned. That it was written by Mark; that it was with Peter's approbation; that it was a record of the facts which Peter stated in his ministry; and that it was, therefore, an inspired book has never been questioned.
  • 15. MARK CHAPTER 1 Verse 1. The beginning of the Gospel. The word gospel literally signifies good tidings, and particularly the good tidings respecting the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some have understood the word gospel here to mean, history or life--the beginning of the history, etc. But Mark says nothing of the early life of the Saviour. It has reference rather to the preaching of John, an account of which immediately follows, and means the beginning of the good news, or annunciation, respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a title to a book. The Son of God. This title was used here to attract attention, and secure the respect of those who should read this gospel. It is no common history. It does not recount the deeds of man-- of a hero, or philosopher-- but the doctrines and doings of THE SON OF GOD. The history, therefore, commands respect. {a} "the Son of God" Heb 1:1,2 C. TO THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE. Little is certainly known concerning the time and place of writing this Gospel, or concerning the author. The first time we have any mention of the author is in his own history, Ac 16:10,11. He was then the companion of Paul in his travel, and it is evident that he often attended Paul in his journeys, comp. Ac 16:11-17; 21:1-6. In each of these places the author of "the Acts" speaks of his being in company with Paul. That the same person was the writer of this Gospel is also clear from Ac 1:1. From this circumstance the ancients regarded this Gospel as in fact the Gospel which Paul had preached. They affirm that Luke recorded what the apostle preached. Thus Irenaeus says, "Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him." He also says, "Luke was not only a companion, but also a fellow-labourer of the apostles, especially of Paul." Origen, speaking of the Gospels, says, "The third is that according to Luke, the gospel commended by Paul, published for the sake of the Gentile converts." The testimony of the fathers is uniform that it was written by Luke, the companion of Paul, and was therefore regarded by them as really the gospel which Paul preached. It is not known where it was written. Jerome says it was composed in Achaia. There seems to be some probability that it was written to persons that were well acquainted with Jewish manners, as the author does not stop to explain the peculiar customs of the Jews, as some of the other evangelists have done. Respecting the time when it was written nothing very definite is known. All that can with certainty be ascertained is that it was written before the death of Paul (A.D. 65), for it was written before the Acts (Ac 1:1), and that book only brings down the life of Paul to his imprisonment at Rome, and previous to his going into Spain. It has been made a matter of inquiry whether Luke was a Gentile or a Jew. On this subject there is no positive testimony. Jerome and others of the fathers say that he was a Syrian, and
  • 16. born at Antioch. The most probable opinion seems to be that he was a proselyte to the Jewish religion, though descended from Gentile parents. For this opinion two reasons may be assigned of some weight. 1st. He was intimately acquainted, as appears by the Gospel and the Acts, with the Jewish rites, customs, opinions, and prejudices; and he wrote in their dialect, that is, with much of the Hebrew phraseology, in a style similar to the other evangelists, from which it appears that he was accustomed to the Jewish religion, and was, therefore, probably a proselyte. Yet the preface to his Gospel, as critics have remarked, is pure classic Greek, unlike the Greek that was used by native Jews; from which it seems not improbable that he was by birth and education a Gentile. 2nd. In Ac 21:27, it is said that the Asiatic Jews excited the multitude against Paul because he had introduced Gentiles into the temple, thus defiling it. In Ac 21:28 it is said that the Gentile to whom they had reference was Trophimus, an Ephesian. Yet Luke was also at that time with Paul. If he had been regarded as a Gentile it is probable that they would have made complaint respecting him as well as Trophimus; from which it is supposed that he was a Jewish proselyte. But again, in the Epistle to the Colossians, Col 4:9-11, we find Paul saying that Aristarchus, and Marcus, and Barnabas, and Justus saluted them, "who are," he adds, "of the circumcision," that is, Jews by birth. In Col 4:14 he says that Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas also saluted them; from which it is inferred that they were not of the circumcision, but were by birth Gentiles. Most writers suppose that Luke, the writer of this Gospel, was intended in the above place in Colossians. If so, his profession was that of a physician; and it has been remarked that his descriptions of diseases are more accurate and circumstantial, and have more of technical correctness than those of the other evangelists. Luke does not profess to have been an eye-witness of what he recorded. See Lu 1:2,3. It is clear, therefore, that he was not one of the seventy disciples, nor one of the two who went to Emmaus, as has been sometimes supposed. Nor was he an apostle. By the fathers he is uniformly called the companion of the apostles, and especially of Paul. If he was not one of the apostles, and if he was not one of those expressly commissioned by our Lord to whom the promise of the infallible teaching of the Holy Ghost was given, the question arises by what authority his Gospel and the Acts have a place in the sacred canon, or what evidence is there that he was divinely inspired? In regard to this question the following considerations may give satisfaction: 1st. They were received by all the churches on the same footing as the first three Gospels. There is not a dissenting voice in regard to their authenticity and authority. The value of this argument is this--that if they had been spurious, or without authority, the fathers were the proper persons to know it. 2nd. They were published during the lives of the apostles Peter, Paul, and John, and were received during their lives as books of sacred authority. If the writings of Luke were not
  • 17. inspired, and had no authority, those apostles could easily have destroyed their credit, and we have reason to think it would have been done. 3rd. It is the united testimony of the fathers that this Gospel was submitted to Paul, and received his express approbation. It was regarded as the substance of his preaching, and if it received his approbation it comes to us on the authority of his name. Indeed, if this be the case, it rests on the same authority as the epistles of Paul himself. 4th. It bears the same marks of inspiration as the other books. It is simple, pure, yet sublime; there is nothing unworthy of God; and it is elevated far above the writings of any uninspired man. 5th. If he was not inspired--if, as we suppose, he was a Gentile by birth--and if, as is most clear, he was not an eyewitness witness of what he records, it is inconceivable that he did not contradict the other evangelists. That he did not borrow from them is clear. Nor is it possible to conceive that he could write a book varying in the order of its arrangement so much, and adding so many new facts, and repeating so many recorded also by the others, without often having contradicted what was written by them. Let any man compare this Gospel with the spurious gospels of the following centuries, and he will be struck with the force of this remark. 6th. If it be objected that, not being an apostle, he did not come within the promise of inspiration (Joh 14:26; 16:13,14) made to the apostles, it may be replied that this was also the case with Paul; yet no small part of the New Testament is composed of his writings. The evidence of the inspiration of the writings of Luke and Paul is to be judged, not only by that promise, but by the early reception of the churches; by the testimony of the fathers as to the judgment of inspired men when living, and by the internal character of the works. Luke has all these equally with the other evangelists. CHAPTER 1 Verse 1. Forasmuch as many. It has been doubted who are referred to here by the word many. It seems clear that it could not be the other evangelists, for the gospel by John was not yet written, and the word many denotes clearly more than two. Besides, it is said that they undertook to record what the eye-witnesses had delivered to them, so that the writers did not pretend to be eye-witnesses themselves. It is clear, therefore, that other writings are meant than the gospels which we now have, but what they were is a matter of conjecture. What are now known as spurious gospels were written long after Luke wrote his. It is probable that Luke refers to fragments of history, or to narratives of detached sayings, acts, or parables of our Lord, which had been made and circulated among the disciples and others. His doctrines were original, bold, pure, and authoritative. His miracles had been extraordinary, clear, and awful. His life and death had been peculiar; and it is not improbable--indeed it is highly probable--that such broken accounts and narratives of detached facts would be preserved. That this is what Luke means appears farther from Lu 1:3 where he professes to give a regular, full, and systematic account from the very beginning-- "having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first."
  • 18. The records of the others --the "many"--were broken and incomplete. His were to be regular and full. Taken in hand. Undertaken, attempted. To set forth in order. To compose a narrative. It does not refer to the order or arrangement, but means simply to give a narrative. The word rendered here in order is different from that in the third verse, which has reference to order, or to a full and fair arrangement of the principal facts, &c., in the history of our Lord. A declaration. A narrative -- an account of. Which are most surely believed among us. Among Christians -- among all the Christians then living. Here we may remark -- 1st. That Christians of that day had the best of all opportunities for knowing whether those things were true. Many had seen them, and all others had had the account from those who had witnessed them. 2nd. That infidels now cannot possibly be as good judges in the matter as those who lived at the time, and who were thus competent to determine whether these things were true or false. 3rd. That all Christians do most surely believe the truth of the gospel. It is their life, their hope, their all. Nor can they doubt that their Saviour lived, bled, died, rose, and still lives; that he was their atoning sacrifice, and that he is God over all, blessed for ever. D. TO THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN. John, the writer of this Gospel, was the son of Zebedee and Salome; compare Mt 27:56 with Mr 15:40,41. His father was a fisherman of Galilee, though it would appear that he was not destitute of property, and was not in the lowest condition of life. He had hired men in his employ, Mr 1:20. Salome is described as one who attended our Saviour in his travels, and ministered to his wants, Mt 27:55; Mr 15:41. Jesus commended his own mother Mary, on the cross, to John, and he took her to his own home (Joh 19:26,27), with whom, history informs us, she lived until her death, about fifteen years after the crucifixion of Christ; and John was known to Caiaphas, the high-priest, Joh 18:15. From all this it would seem not improbable that John had some property, and was better known than any of the other apostles. He was the youngest of the apostles when called, and lived to the greatest age, and is the only one who is supposed to have died a peaceful death. He was called to be a follower of Jesus while engaged with his father and his elder brother James mending their nets at the Sea of Tiberias, Mt 4:21; Mr 1:19; Lu 5:10. John was admitted by our Saviour to peculiar favour and friendship. One of the ancient fathers (Theophylact) says that he was related to him. "Joseph," he says, "had seven children by a former wife, four sons and three daughters, Martha, Esther, and Salome, whose son John was; therefore Salome was reckoned our Lord's sister, and John was his nephew." If this was the case it may explain the reason why James and John sought and expected the first places in his kingdom, Mt 20:20,21. These may also possibly be the persons who were
  • 19. called our Lord's "brethren" and "sisters," Mt 13:55,56. This may also explain the reason why our Saviour committed his mother to the care of John on the cross, Joh 19:27. The two brothers, James and John, with Peter, were several times admitted to peculiar favours by our Lord. They were the only disciples that were permitted to be present at the raising of the daughter of Jairus, Mr 5:37; Lu 8:51; they only were permitted to attend the Saviour to the mount where he was transfigured, Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2. The same three were permitted to be present at his sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane, Mt 26:36-45; Mr 14:32-42. And it was to these disciples, together with Andrew, to whom the Saviour specially addressed himself when he made known the desolations that were coming upon Jerusalem and Judea; compare Mt 24:12; Mr 13:3,4. John was also admitted to peculiar friendship with the Lord Jesus. Hence he is mentioned as "that disciple whom Jesus loved" (Joh 19:26), and he is represented (Joh 13:23) as leaning on his bosom at the institution of the Lord's Supper-an evidence of peculiar friendship. See Barnes for Joh 13:23. Though the Redeemer was attached to all his disciples, yet there is no improbability in supposing that his disposition was congenial with that of the meek and amiable John--thus authorizing and setting the example of special friendships among Christians. To John was committed the care of Mary, the mother of Jesus. After the ascension of Christ he remained some time at Jerusalem, Ac 1:14; 3:1; 4:13. John is also mentioned as having been sent down to Samaria to preach the gospel there with Peter (Ac 8:14-25); and from Acts chapter 15 it appears that he was present at the council at Jerusalem, A.D. 49 or 50. All this agrees with what is said by Eusebius, that he lived at Jerusalem till the death of Mary, fifteen years after the crucifixion of Christ. Till this time it is probable that he had not been engaged in preaching the gospel among the Gentiles. At what time he went first among the Gentiles to preach the gospel is not certainly known. It has commonly been supposed that he resided in Judea and the neighbourhood until the war broke out with the Romans, and that he came into Asia Minor about the year 69 or 70. It is clear that he was not at Ephesus at the time that Paul visited those regions, as in all the travels of Paul and Luke there is no mention made of John. Ecclesiastical history informs us that he spent the latter part of his life in Asia Minor, and that he resided chiefly at Ephesus, the chief city of that country. Of his residence there little is certainly known. In the latter part of his life he was banished to Patmos, a small desolate island in the AEgean Sea, about twenty miles in circumference. This is commonly supposed to have been during the persecution of Domitian, i.n the latter part of his reign. Domitian died A.D. 96. It is probable that he returned soon after that, in the reign of the Emperor Trajan. In that island he wrote the book of Revelation. See Barnes for Re 1:9. After his return from Patmos he lived peaceably at Ephesus until his death, which is supposed to have occurred not long after. He was buried at Ephesus; and it has been commonly thought that he was the only one of the apostles who did not suffer martyrdom. It is evident that he lived to a very advanced period of life. We know not his age, indeed, when Christ called him to follow him, but we cannot suppose it was less than twenty-five or thirty. If so, he must have been not far from one hundred years old when he died.
  • 20. Many anecdotes are related of him while he remained at Ephesus, but there is no sufficient evidence of their truth. Some have said that he was taken to Rome in a time of persecution and thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, and came out uninjured. It has been said also that, going into a bath one day at Ephesus, he perceived Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of the Saviour, and that he fled from him hastily, to express his disapprobation of his doctrine. It is also said, and of this there can be no doubt, that during his latter years he was not able to make a long discourse. He was carried to the church, and was accustomed to say nothing but this, "Little children, love one another." At length his disciples asked him why he always dwelt upon the same thing. He replied, "Because it is the Lord's command; and if this be done, it is sufficient." Learned men have been much divided about the time when this Gospel was written. Wetstein supposed it was written just after our Saviour's ascension; Mill and Le Clerc, that it was written in 97; Dr. Lardner, that it was about the year 68, just before the destruction of Jerusalem. The common opinion is that it was written at Ephesus after his return from Patmos, and of course as late as the year 97 or 98. Nothing can be determined with certainty on the subject, and it is a matter of very little consequence. There is no doubt that it was written by John. This is abundantly confirmed by the ancient fathers, and was not questioned by Celsus, Porphyry, or Julian, the acutest enemies of revelation in the early ages. It has never been extensively questioned to have been the work of John, and is one of the books of the New Testament whose canonical authority was never disputed. See Lardner, or Paley's Evidences. The design of writing it John himself states, Joh 20:31. It was to show that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and that those who believed might have life through his name. This design is kept in view through the whole Gospel, and should be remembered in our attempts to explain it. Various attempts have been made to show that he wrote it to confute the followers of Cerinthus and the Gnostics, but no satisfactory evidence of such a design has been furnished. As he wrote after the other evangelists, he has recorded many things which they omitted. He dwells much more fully than they do on the divine character of Jesus; relates many things pertaining to the early part of his ministry which they had omitted; records many more of his discourses than they have done, and particularly the interesting discourse at the institution of the Supper. See chapters 14-17. It has been remarked that there are evidences in this Gospel that it was not written for the Jews. The author explains words and customs which to a Jew would have needed no explanation. See Joh 1:38,41 Joh 5:1; 7:2; 4:9. The style in the Greek indicates that he was an unlearned man. It is simple, plain, unpolished, such as we should suppose would be used by one in his circumstances. At the same time it is dignified, containing pure and profound sentiments, and is on many accounts the most difficult of all the books of the New Testament to interpret. It contains more about Christ, his person, design, and work, than any of the other Gospels. The other evangelists were employed more in recording the miracles, and giving
  • 21. external evidence of the divine mission of Jesus. John is employed chiefly in telling us what he was, and what was his peculiar doctrine. His aim was to show, 1st. That Jesus was the Messiah. 2nd. To show, from the words of Jesus himself, what the Messiah was. The other evangelists record his parables, his miracles, his debates with the Scribes and Pharisees; John records chiefly his discourses about himself. If anyone wishes to learn the true doctrine respecting the Messiah, the Son of God, expressed in simple language, but with most sublime conceptions; to learn the true nature and character of God, and the way of approach to his mercy-seat; to see the true nature of Christian piety, or the source and character of religious consolation; to have perpetually before him the purest model of character the world has seen, and to contemplate the purest precepts that have ever been delivered to man, he cannot better do it than by a prayerful study of the Gospel by John. It may be added that this Gospel is of itself proof that cannot be overthrown of the truth of revelation. John was a fisherman, unhonoured and unlearned, Ac 4:13. What man in that rank of life now could compose a book like this? Can it be conceived that any man of that rank, unless under the influence of inspiration, could conceive so sublime notions of God, could present so pure views of morals, and could draw a character so inimitably lovely and pure as that of Jesus Christ? To ask these questions is to answer them. And this Gospel will stand to the end of time as an unanswerable demonstration that the fisherman who wrote it was under a more than human guidance, and was, according to the promise that he has recorded (Joh 16:13 comp. Joh 14:26), guided into all truth. It will also remain as an unanswerable proof that the character which he has described--the character of the Lord Jesus--was real. It is a perfect character. It has not a flaw. How has this happened? The attempt has often been made to draw a perfect character--and as often, in every other instance, failed. How is it, when Homer and Virgil, and the ancient historians, have all failed to describe a perfect character, with the purest models before them, and with all the aid of imagination, that in every instance they have failed? How is it that this has at last been accomplished only by a Jewish fisherman? The difficulty is vastly increased if another idea is borne in mind. John describes one who he believed had a divine nature, Joh 1:1. It is an attempt to describe God in human nature, or to show how the Divine Being acts when united with man, or when appearing in human form. And the description is complete. There is not a word expressed by the Lord Jesus, or an emotion ascribed to him, inconsistent with such a supposition. But this same attempt was often made, and as often failed. Homer and Virgil, and all the ancient poets, have undertaken to show what the gods would be if they came down and conversed with man. And what were they? What were Jupiter, and Juno, and Venus, and Mars, and Vulcan? Beings of lust, and envy, and contention, and blood. How has it happened that the only successful account which has been given of the divine nature united with the human, and of living and acting as became such a union, has been given by a Jewish fisherman? How, unless the character was real, and the writer under a guidance far superior to the genius of Homer and the imagination of Virgil--the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Verse 1. In the beginning. This expression is used also in Ge 1:1. To that place John evidently has allusion here, and means to apply to "the Word" an expression which is there applied to God. In both places it clearly means "before creation," "before the world was
  • 22. made," "when as yet there was nothing." The meaning is, that the Word had an existence before the world was created. This is not spoken of the man Jesus, but of that which became a man, or was incarnate, Joh 1:14. The Hebrews, by expressions like this, commonly denoted eternity. Thus the eternity of God is described (Ps 90:2): Before the mountains were brought forth, &c.; and eternity is commonly expressed by the phrase, before the foundation of the world. Whatever is meant by the term "Word," it is clear that it had an existence before creations. It is not, then, a creature or created being, and must be, therefore, uncreated and eternal. There is but one Being that is uncreated, and Jesus must be therefore divine. Compare the Saviour's own declarations respecting himself in the following places: Joh 8:58; 17:5; 6:62; 3:13; 6:46; 8:14; 16:28. Was the Word. Greek, "was the Logos." This name is given to him who afterward became flesh, or was incarnate (Joh 1:14)--that is, to the Messiah. Whatever is meant by it, therefore, is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ. There have been many opinions about the reason why this name was given to the Son of God. Those opinions it is unnecessary to repeat. The opinion which seems most plausible may be expressed as follows: 1st. A word is that by which we communicate our will; by which we convey our thoughts; 2nd. The Son of God may be called "the Word," because he is the medium by which God promulgates his will and issues his commandments. See Heb 1:1-3. 3rd. This term was in use before the time of John. (a) It was used in the Chaldee translation of the Old Testament, as, e.g., Isa 45:12: "I have made the earth, and created man upon it." In the Chaldee it is, "I, by my word, have made," &c. Isa 48:13: "Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth." In the Chaldee, "By my word I have founded the earth." And so in many other places. (b) This term was used by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. In their writings he was commonly known by the term "Mimra "--that is, "Word;" and no small part of the interpositions of God in defence of the Jewish nation were declared to be by "the Word of God." Thus, in their Targum on De 26:17,18, it is said, "Ye have appointed THE WORD OF GOD a king over you this day, that he may be your God." (c) The term was used by the Jews who were scattered among the Gentiles, and especially those who were conversant with the Greek philosophy. (d) The term was used by the followers of Plato among the Greeks, to denote the second person of the Trinity. The term nous, or mind, was commonly given to this second person, but it was said that this nous was the word or reason of the first person. The term was therefore extensively in use among the Jews and Gentiles before John wrote his Gospel, and it was certain that it would be applied to the second person of the Trinity by Christians, whether converted from Judaism or Paganism. It was important, therefore, that the meaning of the term should be settled by an inspired man, and accordingly John, in the commencement of his Gospel, is at much pains to state clearly what is the true doctrine respecting the Logos, or Word. It is possible, also, that the doctrines of the Gnostics had
  • 23. begun to spread in the time of John. They were an Oriental sect, and held that the Logos or Word was one of the AEons that had been created, and that this one had been united to the man Jesus. If that doctrine had begun then to prevail, it was of the more importance for John to settle the truth in regard to the rank of the Logos or Word. This he has done in such a way that there need be no doubt about its meaning. Was with God. This expression denotes friendship or intimacy. Comp. Mr 9:19. John affirms that he was with God in the beginning-- that is, before the world was made. It implies, therefore, that he was partaker of the divine glory; that he was blessed and happy with God. It proves that he was intimately united with the Father, so as to partake of his glory and to be appropriately called by the name God. He has himself explained it. See Joh 17:5: And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. See also Joh 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son, which IS IN THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, he hath declared him. See also Joh 3:13: The Son of man, which is in heaven. Comp. Php 2:6,7. Was God. In the previous phrase John had said that the Word was with God. Lest it should be supposed that he was a different and inferior being, he here states that he was God. There is no more unequivocal declaration in the Bible than this, and there could be no stronger proof that the sacred writer meant to affirm that the Son of God was equal with the Father; for, 1st. There is no doubt that by the Logos is meant Jesus Christ. 2nd. This is not an attribute or quality of God, but is a real subsistence, for it is said that the Logos was made flesh--that is, became a man. 3rd. There is no variation here in the manuscripts, and critics have observed that the Greek will bear no other construction than what is expressed in our translation-that the Word was God. 4th. There is no evidence that John intended to use the word God in an inferior sense. It is not "the Word was a god," or "the Word was like God," but the Word was God. He had just used the word God as evidently applicable to Jehovah, the true God; and it is absurd to suppose that the would in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God. 5th. The name God is elsewhere given to him, showing that he is the supreme God. See Ro 9:5; Heb 1:8,9,10-12; 1Jo 5:20; Joh 20:28. The meaning of this important verse may then be thus summed up: 1st. The name Logos, or Word, is given to Christ in reference to his becoming the Teacher or Instructor of mankind; the medium of communication between God and man. 2nd. The name was in use at the time of John, and it was his design to state the correct doctrine respecting the Logos.
  • 24. 3rd. The Word, or Logos, existed before creation--of course was not a creature, and must have been, therefore, from eternity. 4th. He was with God--that is, he was united to him in a most intimate and close union before the creation; and, as it could not be said that God was with himself, it follows that the Logos was in some sense distinct from God, or that there was a distinction between the Father and the Son. When we say that one is with another, we imply that there is some sort of distinction between them. 5th. Yet, lest it should be supposed that he was a different and inferior being--a creature--he affirms that he was God--that is, was equal with the Father. This is the foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity: 1. That the second person is in some sense distinct from the first. 2. That he is intimately united with the first person in essence, so that there are not two or more Gods. 3. That the second person may be called by the same name; has the same attributes; performs the same works; and is entitled to the same honours with the first, and that therefore he is "the same in substance, and equal in power and glory," with God. {a} "In the beginning" Pr 8:22-31; Col 1:16,17; 1Jo 1:1 {b} "the Word" Re 19:13 {c} "with God" Joh 17:5 {d} "was God" Php 2:6 Heb 1:8-13 1Jo 5:7 THANK YOU FOR READING MY BOOK BY: KING JESUS LUTHER KING