Witnessing about our faith in Christ is an important responsibility for all believers. The Bible has a lot to say about how and why we should witness to others. Here are some key takeaways about what the Bible teaches regarding witnessing:
- Witnessing is commanded by Jesus. He instructs us to be his witnesses and make disciples of all nations.
- The Holy Spirit empowers us and gives us boldness to witness effectively.
- We are all called to witness in our everyday lives through our words, actions, and lifestyle.
- Witnessing demonstrates our love for others by sharing the gospel that can save them.
- There are many effective forms of witnessing, such as personal evangelism, street preaching, and using media.
- Witnessing will often require us to leave our comfort zones.
- We may face resistance and persecution for witnessing, but God promises to be with us.
- The results of witnessing belong to God – we are simply called to be faithful.
Witnessing is Commanded by Jesus
One of Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples before ascending to heaven was to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Jesus said:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)
He commanded them to carry the gospel worldwide. This was not presented as something optional, but rather as an expectation and directive from the Lord.
After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
These words are known as the Great Commission – Jesus sending out his followers to make more disciples and spread the message of salvation. Sharing the gospel through witnessing is expected of those who choose to follow Christ.
The Apostle Paul confirms this call on all believers when he states:
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15 NKJV)
Witnessing is necessary in order for people to hear the gospel and have a chance to respond in faith. Every believer has a role to play in the Great Commission.
The Holy Spirit Empowers Witnessing
While being a witness for Jesus is required of believers, it does not happen in our own strength. Jesus promised power and help from the Holy Spirit to enable our witnessing efforts:
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit empowers us with spiritual gifts, courage, wisdom, and divine appointments to witness effectively. At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early Church, one of the main results was boldness in witnessing:
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33 NKJV)
Relying on the Spirit’s help allows our witnessing to have greater impact as we point others towards Jesus.
We Are All Called to Witness in Everyday Life
While some believers are called to be evangelists and vocational ministers, witnessing is not limited to those with leadership roles. The Bible emphasizes that all Christians have a responsibility to share their faith wherever they are:
Witnessing should be a natural part of our lives as we interact with others – at work, school, home, the store, and social events. Taking advantage of everyday opportunities to witness doesn’t require specialized training – just a willingness to share Christ’s love as the Spirit leads.
Paul encouraged believers to make the most of all situations for the cause of the gospel:
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:5-6 NKJV)
Witnessing Demonstrates Love for Others
God’s motivation for sending Jesus and having us share the gospel is love for humanity:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)
Witnessing allows us to participate in God’s redemption by helping rescue people from eternal separation from God. We share the gospel because we genuinely care about others knowing the salvation and new life available in Christ.
The Apostle Paul was compelled to preach the gospel because of Christ’s love:
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV)
When we witness out of love, we speak truth with compassion. Love causes us to plead with others to be reconciled to God.
Various Forms of Effective Witnessing
The Bible presents many forms of witnessing so that believers with various gifts and positions can participate in sharing the gospel. Some examples of Biblical witnessing methods include:
- Personal evangelism – Philip witnessed one-on-one to the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot (Acts 8:26-40). Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and explained the gospel to him more accurately (Acts 18:24-28). We can witness personally to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
- Open-air preaching – Jesus, Peter, and Paul all preached openly in public places where crowds gathered so many could hear the gospel. Public proclamation of the gospel can still be effective today.
- House churches – Churches that met in homes were a common setting for teaching and spreading the gospel in the early Church. Both formal and informal gatherings in homes can facilitate witnessing.
- Media ministry – Letters, books, and epistles were used to share the gospel with distant communities in Biblical times. Today radio, TV, social media, websites, and publications can resourcefully communicate the message of Christ.
- Lifestyle witness – The changed lives and love between believers served as a witness for the gospel. Our integrity, character, and love for one another can create opportunities to explain the reason for our hope.
There are many creative and thoughtful ways we can witness beyond just striking up conversations with strangers. Pray for wisdom to know which approaches will work best in your unique sphere of influence.
Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone
Sadly, many Christians shy away from opportunities to share the gospel out of fear or complacency. Witnessing often requires us to step out of our comfort zone. We may fear rejection or offending someone we care about with the message of salvation only being in Christ.
But Jesus assures us:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NKJV)
Our fear of people’s disapproval must be overcome by the fear of their eternal destiny without Christ. Stepping out in faith to witness demonstrates that we trust God even when facing reactions like rejection, ridicule, or loss of reputation.
In the Book of Acts, after the apostles were persecuted for their witness they prayed:
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word (Acts 4:29 NKJV)
We should pray for boldness to venture out of our safe bubbles and take risks to share the gospel when the Spirit prompts us. Witnessing will require courage but God promises to be with us.
Facing Resistance and Persecution
There is significant spiritual opposition to the spread of the gospel. Jesus warned his followers:
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19 NKJV)
Because witnessing seeks to rescue people from Satan’s kingdom of darkness, we can expect resistance and persecution. In Acts, the apostles were often beaten and imprisoned for preaching the gospel, yet they rejoiced to suffer for Christ.
Paul confirmed that all who desire to live a godly life will be persecuted:
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV)
This opposition should not deter us from witnessing but remind us that the message of the cross will be foolishness and offensive to many (1 Corinthians 1:18). We must pray for boldness and follow the Spirit’s leading even in the face of resistance and persecution.
Results Belong to God
While witnessing is our responsibility, only the Holy Spirit can open people’s hearts to receive the gospel and repent. We should avoid pressuring or manipulating people to make decisions just to notch our belts. Rather, we should faithfully tell the good news and let God produce genuine conversion:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NKJV)
Our role is simply to be Christ’s representatives through witnessing – the results belong to God. Occasional rejection or lack of immediate response should not discourage us from ongoing witness. We walk by faith, trusting the Lord to work in His perfect way and time.
The Bible reminds us:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18 NKJV)
Witnessing with purity, gentleness, and without hypocrisy allows the Holy Spirit to work most effectively in people’s lives. Our consistency and patience in witnessing can plant gospel seeds that may bear fruit long after we are gone.
Witnessing is the privilege and calling of every Christian. The Bible clearly teaches how and why we should share our faith. Relying on the Spirit’s power, we all have opportunities to witness in our daily lives when we live with gospel intentionality. Stepping out in boldness, continuing in patience, and trusting God with the results enables us to effectively participate in advancing the Great Commission. As we faithfully witness out of Christ’s love, we can leave the ultimate results up to God who saves people according to His wisdom and timing.