In 2009 I began my seminary studies, and have been richly blessed by them. I have studied deeper than I had ever before, and have looked into subjects that I may never have looked to under my own direction. This period of my life has been priceless.
One truth has stood out amongst the rest during this time that completely shocked me, and has impacted how I look at Scripture. While sitting under the teaching of Dr. Thomas Johnston I learned that the word evangelize was used in the original Greek of the New Testament 55 times. As I opened by New King James (or most other translations) I found that it was not used a single time. The word has been buried by translators for one reason or another.
With this knowledge many of these texts take on new meaning and I believe if widely known they would significantly impact the way the church operates.
Beginning today I am going to post a verse each Tuesday for the next 55 weeks showing the word evangelize where it has been used in Scripture.
Today our text is Matthew 11:5
“The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel evangelized to them.”
At first glance this may seem to be a minor change, but its implications are quite massive in the modern church. In the NKJV and most other modern translations the word used here is “preached”, in the HCSV the poor are “told the good news”. One need only ask the question “Who preaches in the church today?” to see that the modern reader will not see this verse as an evangelistic verse, but instead as a pastoral verse.
When a congregation sees the pastor preaching and the community hearing the gospel they believe that the church is currently doing what Matthew 11:5 points to. With the original word evangelize being used it becomes clear the task is much greater than the preacher. The Gospel must be sent out. People must evangelize.
This week, work to apply Matthew 11:5 to your life. Look to have people have the Gospel evangelized to them, and allow yourself to be the tool.
J. W. Willard