There is no barrier to saving faith whether one is Jew or Gentile, slave or free—one need only repent and believe in Christ’s finished work. Opportunities to have such gospel-focused discussions abound today. The only question is whether Christians will seize these opportunities even when the societal cost comes with potentially harsh retribution.
How can you turn an everyday conversation with your unbelieving friends into a gospel-centered discussion? Christians know that evangelism is an important part of following Jesus, despite many not feeling like “called evangelists” (Eph. 4:11). Some have created lists of “bridge questions” to direct such conversations toward the gospel. Yet, I personally struggle to use such bridge questions without it appearing forced and unnatural. If a bridge question seems unnatural to me, it will probably seem unnatural to my unbelieving friend or acquaintance.
Enter the early chapters of Genesis.
Since Genesis 1–11 provides so much of the foundation for why everyday life is the way it is, this material is uniquely suited to reach the unbeliever. When truly presented as God’s revealed Word, the explanations contained in those chapters help unbelievers begin to understand why the Bible and its claims have any impact on their lives.
In that light, here are five simple examples that use material from the early chapters of Genesis to generate evangelistic opportunities in your everyday life. Not every one of these examples leads immediately to a full gospel presentation, but at the very least they expose people to humanity’s greatest problem. The hope is for these conversations to serve as starting points for future, fuller conversations.
1. The Origin and Purpose of Work
Do you work with unbelievers? If so, you know that people routinely complain about their work. Work has become such a hated concept in western culture that we are bombarded by tantalizing prospects of “early retirement” and delusions of making a living by methods that require little to no work.
Here’s one highly practical conversation starter: the next time you hear a co-worker complain about his job, you can ask him: “Do you know why we have to work?” followed up with, “Can I share with you what the Bible says about work?” If he doesn’t shut you down right away, you can explain:
Work is something God gave the first human, Adam, to do. Adam worked even while the world was still in its perfect state, with no sin, no effects of sin, and with his daily needs provided for (Gen. 2:15–16). But after Adam and Eve sinned, one consequence was that God cursed the ground, after which work became painful toil necessary to have enough food to survive (Gen. 3:17–19).
Work is actually a gift from God, and because of the curse, which will not be lifted until Christ restores all things (Rev. 22:3), most people will have to work to obtain food by the sweat of their face for most of their lives.
2. Clothing and Nudity
Clothing is another area where you can turn a normal conversation into an evangelistic one. Whenever the topic turns to clothing, you can ask your friend if he understands why we wear clothing. Now, if you live in North Dakota as I do, most of the year we wear clothing so we don’t freeze to death! But even in northern climates the weather can get hot during part of the year, and so from a purely evolutionary perspective, clothing should be seen as optional.
But Genesis 2:25 and all of chapter 3 explain why people went from originally walking around naked to eventually wearing clothing: to hide their shame before God and each other because of their sin (vv. 7–12). And their own contrived fig-leaf garments weren’t enough. God had to kill an animal and clothe them with its hide to demonstrate that their own efforts to deal with their shame were not good enough; God had to solve the problem himself (Gen. 3:21). This information can propel you directly into a discussion of the bad news: the requirement of shed blood for the forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22), and from there into a discussion of the good news that Jesus shed His own blood for the forgiveness of sins and the covering of shame for people like you and me (Heb. 9:14).
One outstanding way to reach especially children in our still somewhat Christianized culture is to ask them if they’ve ever celebrated Christmas or Easter.