TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  Instructions

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Chapter 35  Part I

Instructions

The theme of spreading the gospel, or message about Jesus Christ, pervades the New Testament and should be also one of the main focuses of our lives. This section largely looks at what we need to say and do, in advancing the spread of the gospel.

Tell People the Gospel

Tell others the gospel message . . .

Acts 5:20  [An angel, to the apostles:] “Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new life.”  GNT

Luke 3:18  In many different ways John preached the good news to the people.  CEV

. . . Tell them the gospel about Jesus Christ

Acts 8:35  So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him [an Ethiopian official].  NET

1Thes 3:2b  [Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] Timothy, our brother, works with us for God and helps us tell people the Good News about Christ. We sent him to strengthen and encourage you in your faith …  NCV™

Tell all people, everywhere

Mark 16:15, 20  Then he [Jesus] told them: Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.20Then the disciples left and preached everywhere. The Lord was with them, and the miracles they worked proved that their message was true.  CEV

Continue to tell others the gospel despite suffering for doing so

Acts 5:40, 42  They [the Jewish council] called the apostles in, beat them, and told them not to speak in the name of Jesus again. Then they let them go free. … 42Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they [the apostles] continued teaching the people and telling the Good News—that Jesus is the Christ.  NCV™

Do not be ashamed of the gospel, even despite suffering for it

Rom 1:16  [Paul:] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  NET

2Tim 1:8  [Paul, to Timothy:] So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel.  NET

Try to persuade people to believe and respond to the gospel

Acts 17:2-4  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.  ESV

2Cor 5:11a  [Paul:] As people who know what it means to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.  GW

Paul’s healthy fear of Christ (cf. vv. 9-10) motivated him to please Christ by trying to persuade people to respond to the gospel.

 Questions for Section A

What Things to Explain

The following subsections are largely composed of verses that contain references to believers having witnessed and/or testifying to particular components of the gospel message. As such they illustrate what things believers today should explain as they spread the gospel message.

Who Jesus Christ is

Acts 9:20  Soon he [Paul] went to the Jewish meeting places and started telling people that Jesus is the Son of God.  CEV

Acts 18:5  Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.  NET

Acts 2:36  [Peter, to a crowd of largely Jews:] Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.  NET

Jesus Christ’s life and deeds

Acts 2:22  [Peter:] Listen to these words, fellow-Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you.  GNT

Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection

1Cor 15:1, 3-5  [Paul, to the Corinthian believers:] Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, … 3For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  NET

The outcomes of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection

2Cor 5:19  [Paul:] What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.  CEV

Acts 26:22-23  [Paul:] I have experienced help from God to this day, and so I stand testifying to both small and great, saying nothing except what the prophets and Moses said was going to happen: 23that the Christ was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, to proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.  NET

As a result of Jesus’ resurrection, people have been given the “light of salvation” (GNT). This involves the promise of their own resurrection, as alluded to in v. 23 by the reference to Jesus Christ being “the first” to rise from the dead.

The kingdom of God

Acts 28:23b  From morning until evening he [Paul] explained things to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.  NET

What God is like and what he has done . . .

Ps 96:2-3  Sing to the Lord! Bless his name! Proclaim his deliverance every day! 3Declare his glory among the nations and his awesome deeds among all the peoples!  ISV

Acts 17:23-27  [Paul, to the people of Athens:] For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. 26From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  NET

. . . including what God has done for you

Ps 118:14, 17  [A psalmist:] The Lord gives me strength and protects me; he has become my deliverer.”17I will not die, but live, and I will proclaim what the Lord has done.  NET

Luke 8:39  [Jesus, to a man he had healed:] “Return to your home, and declare what God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole town what Jesus had done for him.  NET

What else you have seen and heard (of God and Jesus Christ)

Acts 22:15  [Ananias, to Saul/Paul:] You will be his witness to all people, telling them about what you have seen and heard.  NCV™

How people should respond

Acts 20:21  [Paul:] To Jews and Gentiles alike I gave solemn warning that they should turn from their sins to God and believe in our Lord Jesus.  GNT

 Questions for Section B

How to Spread the Message

Present the gospel accurately and plainly

Acts 18:25  He [Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.  NET

2Cor 4:2b  [Paul:] We use no trickery, and we do not change the teaching of God. We teach the truth plainly, showing everyone who we are. Then they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are in God’s sight.  NCV™

The manner in which to present the gospel message

1Pet 3:15b-16a  Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16but do it with gentleness and respect.  GNT

Col 4:6  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.  NET

Defending or speaking of the gospel message is probably primarily in view here. The expression “seasoned with salt” most likely means either interesting (CEV, GNT) or pure.

Spread the gospel by the Holy Spirit

1Pet 1:12  They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things angels long to catch a glimpse of.  NET

Spreading the gospel by the Holy Spirit involves relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power.

Spread the gospel boldly . . .

Acts 9:28  So he [Saul] was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.  NET

. . . Spread the gospel boldly with God’s help

1Thes 2:2  [Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] As you remember, we had been mistreated and insulted at Philippi. But God gave us the courage to tell you the good news about him, even though many people caused us trouble.  CEV

Work hard at spreading the gospel message

Col 1:28-29  [Paul:] So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me.  GNT

Note that here Paul is probably referring to his evangelistic work in spreading the gospel as well as to his pastoral work amongst Christians.

Note: Spreading the gospel is not to be done for profit . . .

2Cor 2:17  [Paul:] For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God.  NET

. . . Take measures not to be a financial burden

1Thes 2:9  [Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] You remember, brothers, our labor and toil. We worked night and day so that we would not become a burden to any of you while we proclaimed the gospel of God to you.  ISV

 Questions for Section C

Supplementary Actions

Pray for your proclamation of the gospel . . .

Acts 4:29-31  [The early believers:] And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, 30while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously.  NET

. . . and pray for others who proclaim the gospel

Col 4:3-4  [Paul, to believers:] Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this. 4Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible.  CEV

Pray for the salvation of unbelievers

Rom 10:1  [Paul:] Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation.  NET

Rather than insist on your own rights, act in the interests of others for the sake of the gospel

1Cor 9:12  [Paul, to the Corinthian believers:] If others have the right to expect this from you, don’t we deserve even more? But we haven’t used our rights. Instead, we would put up with anything in order not to hinder the Good News of Christ in any way.  GW

1Cor 10:33  [Paul, to believers:] Just do as I do; I try to please everyone in all that I do, not thinking of my own good, but of the good of all, so that they might be saved.  GNT

Live and act in a way that is consistent with the gospel

Phil 1:27  [Paul, to believers:] Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that – whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent – I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, …  NET

Conducting oneself “in a manner worthy of the gospel” – a manner consistent with its message – is an important aspect of “contending… for the faith of the gospel”.

In acting consistently with the gospel, you will not be discredited . . .

2Cor 6:3  [Paul:] We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, …  ESV

Paul asserts that he and companions did nothing that would discredit their ministry and so be an obstacle to anyone’s response.

. . . You will have credibility, attracting others to the gospel

2Cor 6:4  [Paul:] But in everything and in every way we show that we truly are God’s servants.  CEV

Titus 2:9-10  [Paul, instructing Titus what to teach believing slaves:] Slaves are to submit themselves to their masters in everything, aiming to please them and not argue with them 10or steal from them. Instead, they are to show complete and perfect loyalty, so that in every way they may make the teaching about God our Savior more attractive.  ISV

Support others spreading the gospel

2Cor 11:7-8  [Paul, to the Corinthian believers:] Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you could be exalted, because I proclaimed the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you!  NET

Various churches supported Paul in his work of preaching the gospel, allowing him to preach it free of charge.

Note: Guard the gospel message

1Tim 6:20  [Paul:] Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the pointless discussions and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.  ISV

Gal 2:4-5  [Paul:] However, false brothers were secretly brought in. They slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in the Messiah Jesus so that they might enslave us. 5But we did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you.  ISV

We are to guard the gospel message from being distorted. As such we need to guard: our own understanding and version of the gospel (1Tim 6:20 ); and the gospel message from being distorted by others (cf. Gal 2:4-5 ).

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians