You will probably usually begin with light conversation or your account of what Jesus has done for you. That’s important to help spark people’s interest in the Lord and His Word. But if they are to grow spiritually, in the long run God’s Words will be far more powerful than our own and will work more deeply in the hearts of those you’re trying to win to Him. Jesus said that the words He speaks are “spirit and life,” (John 6:63) and the apostle Paul said that faith comes by hearing the Word.(Romans 10:17) The Word is the life-giving seed of faith.
While people need to see a sample in you of what Jesus can do for them and it’s often faith in you that leads them to believe in God, ultimately their faith needs to be based on God’s Word. You could be here today and gone tomorrow-then who or what are they going to believe? You can fail them, others can fail them, the whole world can fail them, but God’s Word never fails. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”(Matthew 24:35) “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)
When it comes to leading a person to Jesus, showing him or her a few well–chosen verses is more effective than a whole slew of verses. If you use too many verses, the person probably won’t remember any of them. Some witnesses think they need to stack up a whole lot of evidence–the more verses they give the better–but that’s not necessarily so. The fewer verses you give the better, because then you can keep repeating them until the person really understands and remembers those verses. It’s better for the person to walk away knowing four verses than not knowing forty!
Whether you win them to the Lord or not, try to give those you witness to some Word to keep, to strengthen their faith-a tract, a Gospel of John, or a New Testament, for example. Or if they already have a Bible, suggest certain passages for them to read, and write them down so they’ll remember.
Some of the people you witness to may already be saved. With them, your witness will be for the purpose of encouraging them to have a deeper, more meaningful, and more rewarding relationship with the Lord, and inspiring them to do more for Him. Here is where it’s important to know more Bible than just a few good verses on salvation.
In order to use God’s Word in your witnessing, you have to first familiarize yourself with it. The more you study and absorb from the Word yourself, the more tools you’ll have to get the job done.
Also, through the printed Word you can witness to those that you don’t have time or opportunity to witness to in-depth personally. Give them each a tract, Activated magazine, or other publication with the message of God’s love for them. If they are not yet saved, point out or mark the passages that explain how to receive Jesus, so they won’t miss His most important message. The printed Word can sometimes travel greater distances and get into places that people can’t. Never underestimate the power of the written Word!
(Tracts to use in your witnessing can be found here.)
The Word of God is the foundation of faith.
How do you get faith? It is a gift of God, and it’s available to you or anyone else who wants it (Ephesians 2:8). You just have to want it and ask for it. The problem is, most people don’t want it until they need it, and then they suddenly find they don’t have the faith they need because they have no background of faith or trusting God’s Word, no foundation. After all, how can they have faith in something they know little or nothing about?
Faith comes, it grows, by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Just as no good building is without a good foundation, there is no faith without the Word, because faith in God is built on His Word. So if you [or the people you’re witnessing to] are weak in faith, there’s a simple cure: God’s Word.
When we witness, our own words are like the arguments a lawyer offers in court; the Word of God is like the hard evidence. Our words can be persuasive and effective, but even the best lawyer can’t win a case with oratory alone.
The Bible is generally respected, even by people of other faiths or no faith. Most people have a certain respect for holy books, or are at least interested in what those books have to say. Used wisely, the Bible can add considerable authority to what you say.
Fill your heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word.
The more Word you take in, the easier and more natural it will be for you to pass it on to others. You’ve got to have it in before you can give it out. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). If you’ll be faithful to read, study, and memorize His Word, then He can bring it to your remembrance whenever you need it (John 14:26).
Even witnessing the Word to others is not as important as getting the Word into yourself. You’ll never have the spiritual strength and stamina to get out the Word unless you drink in the Word and get spiritually nourished and strengthened by it yourself first. You cannot do the Master’s work without the Master’s power-and to get it, you must spend time with the Master.
If you want to see the Word really come to life, share it with others! As you see it touch and transform other lives as it has yours, as you see the Lord manifest Himself to them through His Word like He has to you, your faith will grow even more.
You may not realize how much you’re learning from the Word while you’re reading it or even when you try to apply it to your own life, but you’ll be absolutely amazed at the wisdom and insight you’ve gained from the Word once you begin to use it to help others with their problems and point them to the Answer Man–Jesus!