Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is an Evangelist?

Here is a short excerpt from a new book I am working on called "The Work of the Evangelist." This book project will be used to train and release hundreds of new evangelists into the mission field. 

The word “evangelist” comes from the Greek word euangelistes which comes from the root word euangelion which is translated as “gospel.” These words are both derived from the word angelos which means angel or messenger. This type of messenger is one who brings tidings of a great victory or good news. When a battle was won, a messenger (evangelist) would be sent to all the surrounding cities to announce the victory. The word “gospel” means good news, and the evangelist is one who preaches the good news.

            The word “evangelist” is used three times in the New Testament. Philip is called an evangelist (Acts 21:8), Paul mentions evangelists in his list of ministry offices; along with apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11), and Paul tells Timothy to do the “work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5).

            However, the root word of “evangelist” which is the Greek word for “gospel” is used ninety-five times in the New Testament. Jesus is the first evangelist of the New Testament since he went about “preaching the good news of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). Throughout the writings of Paul, the heart of the Gospel message is that God provided for the salvation of humankind through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus.