Mar 31

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How many times have you read or heard the words, “house to house,” as it related to evangelism? Before going any further, let it be known that it is my opinion that the best way to do evangelism is in someone’s house, “sitting at the kitchen table!” We generally call this action, “personal evangelism.” It is face to face, the teacher can look the student in the eye, read the expressions on the face. Then, it may be that the lost person(s) is more comfortable in their own home. It is best for the one being taught to be at ease while studying the Bible. So, there is nothing wrong and it is even desirable, to take the gospel from, “house to house,” as the words relate to evangelism!
However, as we are studying “hermeneutics” and as we are calling it, “hermeneutics 101,” for we are looking at the simplest efforts in understanding the Bible. One of the most often failures in studying the Bible, or as in our case, a study of the New Testament, is a misunderstanding and miss use of pronouns! This is true, for if we apply a pronoun, which referred to others, such as the apostles, to ourselves, then, it may not require any action on our part at all! The apostles were given commandments which we are not required to obey! In fact, we do not have the ability to obey! They were given powers not given to us. For instance, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit; thus, they received what no others received; this gave them the ability to lay hands on others and impart the ability to speak in tongues: languages which they used in teaching/preaching the gospel to the lost. Here, allow me to use one word which includes all spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:9-11); this one word is “miraculous.” A non-biblical word which is used to describe what one does not learn or acquire through natural means. Read the following to help in understanding this very important point; “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14 – 17). Please notice that Luke uses the words “Holy Spirit” to refer to the miraculous gifts which were received by the apostles laying their hands on some of those who had obeyed the gospel (Acts 8:12). Only the apostles had the ability to impart these miraculous gifts; thus, the necessity for the two apostles, Peter and John, to come to the city of Samaria. The apostles could do what Philip was not able to do: impart miraculous gifts! May I point out, we have used “hermeneutics” in gaining this truth! To the best of my knowledge, the New Testament does not say, or you cannot read in it; that only the apostles could impart “spiritual gifts,” but it does teach it! This may not be “hermeneutics 101,” but it is near it!
Surely you are wondering what happened to the point made in the opening paragraph! Just where does the New Testament use the words “house to house” as they refer to evangelism? The first time the three words are found is in Act 2:46 – “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart;” however, the words “from house to house” do not refer to evangelism, but refers to members of the church as they were “breaking bread” which appears to be a common meal, as they “did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” The second time the words appear: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE” (Acts 20:20). Here Paul is talking to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17). It is not a context of evangelism, but one of warning these elders! The third time the words appear: “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from HOUSE TO HOUSE; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (I Tim. 5:13). With little effort, it is easy to see that this verse is not about evangelism!
So, what is the point? This article is not written to teach that we should not go “from house to house” in teaching the gospel to the lost: evangelism! But, to use “hermeneutics” is seeing the context; to use “hermeneutics” to arrive at the truth, to answer the questions: who is speaking and to whom!
Therefore, go “from house to house,” but do not use these verses as your authority which do not have anything to with evangelism! However, if one continues to read, starting at Acts 2:46 reading through verse 47; it would be learned that evangelism is in the overall context: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” If there is: “added to the church daily,” there is evangelism in the overall context; however, it is not related to the words: “FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE!”

Frank R. Williams

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