Is It Possible to Preach the Gospel Without Words? | G3 Ministries (2023)

Gone are the days when we simply received little clichés and pithy statements on bumper stickers alone. Now, with the highways of the internet and social media, we have access to a wealth of information which can be profitable and dangerous at the same time.

Every so often you will see this common phrase circulating around social media: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” The statement is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but in all reality, there’s little evidence that he actually spoke those words.

The real issue is with the meaning of the phrase itself rather than the origin. Is it possible to preach the gospel without words? Is it possible to be faithful to God by proclaiming the good news with your life alone?

The Danger of Cliché Christianity

I love a good quote from a good author, but those quotes are not enough. We need the Scriptures. One of the great tragedies of modern evangelicalism is the shallow approach that is popularized through social media. We are bombarded with messages, quotes, and man’s opinion on many levels on a daily basis, and oftentimes these messages drive us in the direction of superficiality rather than robust faithfulness.

We are bombarded with messages, quotes, and man’s opinion on many levels on a daily basis, and oftentimes these messages drive us in the direction of superficiality rather than robust faithfulness.

(Video) Does the Bible Say Preach the Gospel, If Necessary Use Words?

Some common clichés circulating today might include statements such as:

  • God never gives you more than you can handle.
  • When God closes a door, he opens a window.
  • God helps those who help themselves.

The fact is, God often gives us far more than we can handle for the sanctifying purpose of revealing our weakness and our need for God. Sometimes when God closes a door, he simply closes a door. It should also be pointed out that God helps those who learn that they cannot help themselves without the power and strength of God. The sappy cliché approach to following Jesus does not work.

When genuine Christians study the Scriptures, they soon learn that the worldly clichés that are so commonplace in our day are at odds with the very Word of God. It’s at this juncture that Christians are moved from a steady diet of sloppy cultural phraseology to the rich streams of God’s holy Word where an abundant supply of wisdom and knowledge flow into the hearts and minds of God’s children.

When genuine Christians study the Scriptures, they soon learn that the worldly clichés that are so commonplace in our day are at odds with the very Word of God.

Preaching Is Far Superior to a Personal Testimony

When we hear people who press a personal testimony above the actual gospel itself—that’s confirmation that there’s a massive misunderstanding regarding the gospel. To be clear, people are not saved by listening to a personal testimony. People do not need more stories. Unbelievers need the gospel and it’s through the power of the gospel that unbelievers are saved (Rom 1:16). We must note that Paul never commissioned Timothy to go and share his story. He directed him to preach the Word.

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We live in a world that is constantly attempting to become less preachy and more winsome. Preaching is viewed as offensive and living a winsome life before the eyes of other people is viewed as less offensive and more inclusive and acceptable. The less-preachy approach to life often muzzles the gospel in a lost world. We are told to be nice to people and to be less preachy which is viewed as obtuse in our inclusive culture. In many ways, certain Christians believe that it’s possible to sneak the gospel into the world by living the gospel as opposed to preaching the gospel. That is simply impossible.

In many ways, certain Christians believe that it’s possible to sneak the gospel into the world by living the gospel as opposed to preaching the gospel. That is simply impossible.

The blueprint of Christian evangelism is focused on God’s Word. In fact, we find these words in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Prior to that statement, Paul has laid down a foundation that reveals the need for someone to go and preach the good news in order for sinners to be saved, for without a preacher—nobody can hear and without hearing nobody can come to the knowledge of the truth.

God did not plan for people to be saved by merely evaluating the fruit of the Spirit in a person’s life. Just as it’s impossible for sinners to be saved by observing the handiwork of God in creation. General revelation screams that there is a God and he’s eternal, but only through special revelation of the gospel can a person know this God personally and be united to him by faith.

God has chosen to reveal himself to us in word. It is through the sixty-six books of the biblical canon that our Triune God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind. These books were penned down over a period of 1,500 years on three different continents by forty different human authors in three different languages. God the Spirit has worked through these different men over a lengthy period of time and then preserved his Word in order that we will know who we are and how we can be reconciled to our sovereign God by faith in the sufficient work of Christ.

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While we can certainly use a personal testimony or something as simple as a statement on a t-shirt to spark conversation—it’s the gospel as revealed in words, sentences, and paragraphs that the lost world must hear in order to be saved. The world must hear faithful preaching.

Preaching is far superior to a personal testimony. To preach is to declare or to announce the good news. The reason that preaching is unattractive is because it likewise involves the announcement of the bad news of sin, damnation, holy justice, and the eternal wrath of God. It’s with this dark backdrop that the light of the gospel is announced to the desperate souls of sinners. That’s God’s plan.

While we can certainly use a personal testimony or something as simple as a statement on a t-shirt to spark conversation—it’s the gospel as revealed in words, sentences, and paragraphs that the lost world must hear in order to be saved.

Anytime our culture attempts to reinvent, rethink, or redefine something that God has already established—it will prove to be a disaster. We see this with the attempt to redefine marriage. We can see the disaster of inventing new alternative approaches to the established biological sexes (male and female) by accepting a multiplicity of genders within human sexuality. The same thing can be said of preaching the gospel. It’s impossible to preach the gospel with a person’s life. A person’s testimony and lifestyle is certainly important, but nobody will ever be saved by merely watching how people live. They must come to know the law of God which confronts sinners with their guilt and shame. It’s then that they come to hear the good news announced which points them in the direction of the Savior of the world—Jesus Christ.

So, as we journey onward in the faith, let us remember to preach the gospel, and use words because they’re necessary.

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Author
PastorPray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.

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FAQs

Can you preach the Gospel without words? ›

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary. It is always attributed to St. Francis of Assisi—founder of the Franciscan Order—and is intended to say that proclaiming the Gospel by example is more virtuous than actually proclaiming with voice.

Who said preach the gospel if necessary use words? ›

“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.” The original quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

Can everyone preach the gospel? ›

Proper authority to administer and preach the gospel is in the Lord's hands; no one self-appointed can legally represent Him. Order in preaching the gospel. The Lord is no respecter of persons and as such promises the blessings of the gospel to all who will come unto Him.

How do you spread the gospel without forcing? ›

Here are 11 ways to show and tell the gospel.
  1. Walk your dog. Walk when your neighbors are outside. ...
  2. Fix broken things. ...
  3. Build short fences. ...
  4. Try a new hobby. ...
  5. Display imperfection. ...
  6. Pray before conversations. ...
  7. Tip well . . . even if they do a horrible job. ...
  8. Ask good questions.
Dec 10, 2014

How can we preach without using words? ›

Ways to Share the Gospel Without Saying a Word
  1. Wear Your Faith: One of the simplest ways to share your faith is to wear in on your clothes. ...
  2. Decorate Your Home, Dorm, and Car: Similar to preaching the word through your clothes, you can also decorate your space to reflect your Christian faith.
Dec 18, 2019

What does it mean to preach the gospel and if necessary use words? ›

Use words if necessary." -Francis of Assisi? This very popular Christian quote has been attributed over the years to theologian Francis of Assisi but he never said it. As the linked article states, “it is intended to say that proclaiming the Gospel by example is more virtuous than actually proclaiming with voice.”

Where in the Bible does it say you have to be called to preach? ›

Mark 16:15. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Does the Bible command us to preach the gospel? ›

The Bible says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). Just before Jesus returned to Heaven, He commanded His followers to go throughout the world preaching to the lost.

What did Jesus say about preaching the gospel? ›

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells his followers, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

What are the qualifications to preach? ›

Paul reflects this idea in the following qualifications, “respectable, hospitable, able to teach…, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome…” and “have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil's trap.” These traits reveal a man who cares first about others.

How do you become a preacher of the gospel? ›

Steps to Become a Pastor
  1. Volunteer For Service in Your Church.
  2. Get a Complete Education in Religion and Pastoral Studies.
  3. Meet Your Denomination's Qualifications for Becoming Ordained.
  4. Take and Pass Your Ordination Examinations.
  5. Become Ordained or Licensed as a Pastor in Your Faith.
Jan 26, 2022

How many ways can you preach the gospel? ›

6 Preaching Methods Jesus Used That You Should Too
  • Jesus Told Stories. Jesus told countless parables (Mark 4:34). ...
  • Jesus Shocked People. Jesus often used hyperbole. ...
  • Jesus Crafted Memorable Sayings. Jesus spoke poetically. ...
  • Jesus Asked Questions. ...
  • Jesus Used Object Lessons. ...
  • Jesus Used Repetition.
Mar 10, 2014

What is the most effective way to share the gospel? ›

5 Ways to Share the Gospel
  1. Fill Your Heart with Love for Others. Strive to emulate the love of Christ and have compassion for others. ...
  2. Strive to Walk the Path of Discipleship. As your love for God and His children deepens, so does your commitment to follow Jesus Christ. ...
  3. Trust the Lord to Work His Miracles.
Jun 14, 2021

How do you preach effectively without notes? ›

7 Best Practices to Preach Without Notes
  1. Focus on the Connection. The primary reason to preach without notes is to build a better connection with your audience. ...
  2. Put Time into Preparation. ...
  3. Organize an Outline. ...
  4. Review and Practice. ...
  5. Develop a Strong Start and Finish. ...
  6. Take Your Mistakes in Stride. ...
  7. Trust the Lord (and Yourself)
Feb 8, 2022

What are the three types of preaching? ›

The four most common are: verse-by-verse, thematic, narrative, and topical.
  • Verse-by-verse preaching. Verse-by-verse preaching is the systematic reading and explanation of a biblical text. ...
  • Thematic expository (or doctrinal) preaching. ...
  • Narrative expository preaching. ...
  • Topical expository preaching.
Jan 1, 2014

What are the four elements of preaching? ›

A theory of preaching has to integrate at least four basic elements: preacher, congregation, text, and sermon.

What is the most important argument for believing that the Gospels are true? ›

The resurrection makes the most sense of history. This is one of the greatest reasons to believe the Gospel writings. Their central claim is that Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical event that explains the history around this time better than anything else.

What happens if we don't preach the gospel? ›

If the church continues to ignore evangelism, then it is highly likely that the future of the church will include fewer people being discipled, a lack of cultural effectiveness in the community, the judgment and wrath of God, a lack of freedom in worship, and lost generations who will live without knowing Jesus.

Why is the preaching of the Word important? ›

The preaching of the Word of God is so critically essential for the spiritual vitality of every church because it is the primary ordinary means of grace. You take that away and you have removed from the church God's primary means by which He is pouring His grace into the lives of the congregation.

How do I know I'm called to ministry? ›

Someone who is called to “the ministry” senses that God wishes for him or her to devote their life to serving in the local church or ministry fulltime. They often become pastors, missionaries, nonprofit organization directors, and parachurch leaders.

Can anybody be a pastor? ›

There are no government certification or licensure requirements for pastors, but some denominations refer to to pastor or minister ordination as certification or licensure. To become certified or licensed by a church, one must meet that church's education and experience requirements.

What does God say about preaching his word? ›

2 Timothy 4:1-2 [ Preach the Word ] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

How do you explain the gospel simply? ›

A Message from God

Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they're simply telling the good news about Jesus! It's a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That's an announcement you can't afford to ignore.

What does God say about preaching? ›

1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” We can see this today. Many people think preaching is foolish. They will say things like, “I don't like a preacher telling me what to do and not do.”

What is the main message of the gospel? ›

The short answer is: The word “gospel” means“good news.” It's the good news message that mankind can be saved from the penalty of their sin and receive eternal life in Heaven with God through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the reason why we need to preach the gospel? ›

We need gospel-centered preaching because it is the only hope for lost people to hear, believe, and be saved (Romans 10:14-15).

What is preaching straight from the Bible called? ›

Expository preaching is a term and technique that refers to the proclamation of the content of the Bible as it appears in the text, as opposed to an emphasis on application to the hearers.

What does God require of a pastor? ›

A pastor must be upright (Titus 1:8). He has integrity in his relationships and in how he treats others. A pastor must be holy (Titus 1:8). His life is devoted wholeheartedly to Jesus externally and internally.

What qualifies a minister of God? ›

He is truthful, fair, open and transparent. A PASTOR MUST BE HOLY (Titus 1:8) — His life is devoted wholeheartedly to Jesus externally and internally. Christlikeness in everything. A PASTOR MUST BE ABLE TO TEACH (Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:2) — All of the other qualificat-ions are character qualities.

What makes a person a minister? ›

In Christianity, a minister is a person authorised by a church or other religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community.

What makes a powerful preacher? ›

Great preachers make Scripture come alive for their listeners. They bring out the wisdom and life changing truth in God's Word. They make the Bible relatable and easy to understand. Great preachers motivate listeners to go home and read their Bible!

Can a female be a pastor? ›

All Christian women are called to ministry, and God grants some Christian women the unique ability to teach, but that doesn't mean God is calling them to violate His Word. When a woman discerns a desire to serve the church with her teaching abilities, she should do so within the boundaries created by God's Word.

Can you be a pastor without a degree? ›

A degree does not make you a pastor but a pastor with a degree can be very effective in making disciples for Jesus Christ. You will not be able to reap where you have not sown. A degree in Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry will allow you to be used in ways that would not have been possible without it.

What are the 5 principles of the gospel? ›

Five Principles of Gospel Learning
  • Vital instruction is not hidden, but repeated. “Instruction vital to our salvation is not hidden in an obscure verse or phrase in the scriptures. ...
  • Knowledge should be balanced. ...
  • The Lord is consistent. ...
  • The scriptures sustain each other. ...
  • The Holy Ghost can make things plain.

How do you preach God effectively? ›

5 Tips for Effective Preaching During Difficult Seasons
  1. Preach a biblically positive series. ...
  2. Preach without an ax to grind. ...
  3. Remind them of the promises of God. ...
  4. Assure them of God's character. ...
  5. Tell your church frequently of your love for them.
Jul 13, 2020

What methods did Jesus use to teach? ›

Jesus demonstrated a variety of methods in His teaching. He used stories and illustrations, parables, questions, discussion, lecture, object lessons, and debates to communicate His message in a way that connected to His learners.

How do you start talking about the gospel? ›

Shift the conversation gently

Great ways to begin a spiritual topic are to ask what the person believes about God or if they have a faith. After they respond, you can ask if you can share what you believe and then share the gospel.

What to say before starting the gospel? ›

In our church, we usually say This is the Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God. In a Communion service, it will be: Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, followed by Glory to You, O Lord. At the end of the reading, it is This is the Gospel of the Lord, then Praise to You, O Christ.

What does gospel mean literally? ›

The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon term god-spell, meaning “good story,” a rendering of the Latin evangelium and the Greek euangelion, meaning “good news” or “good telling.” Since the late 18th century the first three have been called the Synoptic Gospels, because the texts, set side by side, show a ...

How can I share the gospel without words? ›

11 Practical Ways to Share the Gospel without Words
  1. Feed My Sheep. After His resurrection, Jesus taught His disciples one key way they can follow Him and show their love for Him: by feeding His sheep (John 21:17). ...
  2. Tend the Sick. ...
  3. Provide Shelter. ...
  4. Proclaim Jesus on Your Car or Home.
Sep 14, 2022

What are the three important things to consider when sharing the gospel? ›

4 Crucial Tips for Sharing the Gospel
  • Don't look to “defend” your faith.
  • Look for conversations, not confrontations.
  • Look to the Interests of Others.
  • Look to God to Change Hearts.
  • How to Share the Gospel.

What should you not do when preaching? ›

Four Preaching Don'ts to Avoid
  1. Don't tackle too much information or cover too many topics. ...
  2. Don't stand up to preach until your heart is captivated by the truth you're proclaiming. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to call people to action and commitment. ...
  4. Don't preach to people who are not there.
Mar 19, 2018

How do you preach without notes? ›

7 Best Practices to Preach Without Notes
  1. Focus on the Connection. The primary reason to preach without notes is to build a better connection with your audience. ...
  2. Put Time into Preparation. ...
  3. Organize an Outline. ...
  4. Review and Practice. ...
  5. Develop a Strong Start and Finish. ...
  6. Take Your Mistakes in Stride. ...
  7. Trust the Lord (and Yourself)
Feb 8, 2022

What is the best preaching style? ›

One of the most effective styles of preaching is the expository sermon. These are sermons that are grounded in the biblical text and allow the biblical text to provide the theme and structure of the sermon.

What makes a good preaching? ›

In brief, a good sermon engages the biblical text, proclaims the gospel, connects God's word to the lives of God's people, is well organized and easy to understand, captures the imagination of the hearers, is delivered well, and orients people toward life in God's world.

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