In today’s movement of non-denominational Christianity, we often hear the term “witness” coming to the forefront. This term is used in reference with evangelizing and spreading the word of Jesus. The idea itself may be of a noble heart and good intentions; however, it is not being used consistently with the Biblical text.
When we don’t use Biblical words by their correct meaning, we will start to move away from pure and sound doctrine. The questions that come forth are: Can a Christian be a witness as the Bible describes? Does the Bible define witness for Christ? What shall a Christian that shares the truth of Christ be called?
- Can a Christian be a witness as the Bible describes?
a. The short answer is NO, a Christian today does not meet the requirements to be a Biblical witness of Christ.
- Does the Bible define witness for Christ? YES, the Bible does describe a witness for Christ.
a. Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
b. Acts 1:21 – ‘Let another take his office.’
“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
- What shall a Christian that shares the truth of Christ be called?
a. Matthew 28:19 – Disciples
b. 1 Timothy 4:13 – Preacher, Teacher
c. 2 Timothy 4:5 – Evangelist
d. 2 Timothy 2:15 – Worker
e. Acts 21:8 – Evangelist
f. Romans 12:7 – Minister, Teacher
g. Mark 15:15 – Preacher
h. Romans 10:14 – Preacher
i. Colossians 1:7 – Minister
j. Acts 11:26 – Christian
Here is what the book of Acts records:
The ones (Apostles) who would be witnesses were going to receive a miraculous dose of the Holy Spirit that would “come upon” the individual. The one that was to be witness was to be physically there with them while Jesus was coming in and out of the group. The witness had to be present from the time Jesus was baptized by John the immerser.
This one had to be accounted for from the time of the baptism of Jesus to His ascension “taken up from us” into the heavens. The witness was also present to see the resurrection of the Christ. These are the qualifications the Bible gives to be a witness for Christ, of which we do not possess in this dispensation of time.
To be fair, the word witness is seen one hundred seventy-five times in the Bible (NKJV). Witness is seen in numerous ways and in various situations. This short study is by no means a comprehensive endeavor; rather, it is concise to show Bible truths. While I understand the premise of the current use of the word witness, I lovingly call all not to go with the flow before studying the Word of God.
We as Christians should understand the basic principle of calling Bible things by Bible names. I am a host of things in Christ. I serve in many areas and can lay claim to many Biblical names and titles. One title, however, that I can not claim is witness. I will teach everyone about the Christ from the knowledge that I received from the scriptures, but I was not with Him (Jesus) from the time of the baptism of John. I am not an Apostle, nor do I meet the other Biblical requirements to be called a Biblical witness. I am happy and content to just be called Christian. Let us consider the words of the Apostle Peter:
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11
Allow me to challenge and question you. If you are calling yourself a witness for Christ and the Bible doesn’t support that claim, will you change? Does His word not merit that we call Bible things by Bible names?