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The English words ‘evangelist’ and ‘gospel’ come from the same word in the Greek. An evangelist is one who declares, preaches, brings, announces or proclaims the gospel (or good news). The noun ‘evangelist’ occurs only occasionally in the New Testament (Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5), but the verb forms occur frequently (Matthew 4:23; Luke 20:1; Acts 8:25; Acts 14:7; Romans 10:15; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1; Galatians 4:13; cf. Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 61:1; see GOSPEL).

Although all Christians should make known the good news of Jesus Christ to others (Acts 4:20; Acts 8:4; Acts 11:20), evangelists are particularly gifted by God for this task. They are one of God’s gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11). In the early church they were mainly concerned with proclaiming the gospel to those who had not heard it, and establishing churches in places where previously there were none (Acts 8:5; Acts 8:40; Acts 14:21; Acts 16:10; Romans 10:14-15; Romans 15:19-20; 2 Corinthians 10:16; see MISSION). Even established churches had need for someone to do the work of an evangelist among them (2 Timothy 4:5), for there was a constant necessity to make known the facts of the gospel.

Men such as Peter, John, Philip, Barnabas, Paul, Silas and Timothy were evangelists. Some of them were at the same time apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers. This indicates, firstly, that there was considerable overlap between the gifts and, secondly, that several gifts could be combined within one person (cf. Acts 2:42; Acts 14:14; Acts 15:32; 1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:13-16; see APOSTLE; PASTOR; PREACHING; TEACHER).

No matter how the servants of the gospel may be classified or what era they may live in, the motivating force in their life and ministry is the love of God that they have experienced through Christ. They are thankful to God for the privilege of engaging in Christian service, and this makes them want to please their Master (2 Corinthians 5:14; Ephesians 3:7; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; see SERVANT).

Evangelists knows that their work may involve risks, disappointments and hardships (Acts 15:26; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:10-11). But they have an obligation to carry out the task God has entrusted to them, regardless of the personal cost (Matthew 28:19; Romans 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:16-17). They have a concern for those who have not yet heard or believed the gospel, and this drives them on to make it known; for only the gospel can save people from Satan’s power and give them eternal life (Romans 10:14; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Acts 20:19-26; cf. Ezekiel 3:17-21).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Evangelist'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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