Richard Borgonon had been a Christian for 36 years.
He enjoyed sharing the message of Jesus by giving away books to non-Christian friends, extending invitations to events, and starting spiritual conversations. But one day, the way he saw evangelism changed forever.
Richard had introduced an unbelieving friend to Dr. John Lennox, a Christian apologist and Oxford professor. The unbelieving friend peppered Lennox with questions about the faith, but did not have the framework to understand or engage with Dr. Lennox’s biblical answers. Borgonon suggested opening the first chapter of John’s gospel together.
“I watched my friend’s intellectual questions die in four verses flat,” reflects Borgonon. “He had never seen it before, and he had understood it. That changed me on the spot.”
That experience led to the creation of The Word One to One, the Gospel of John verse by verse, presented alongside helpful notes which act as a framework for your conversation. This provides a perfect tool for introducing people to Jesus by simply reading God’s Word together and discussing what it says. Using this resource with an unbeliever means you don’t need to be a great evangelist or reader of the Bible to become a “loving page turner.”
A Helpful Approach
The Word One to One is a powerful resource for at least three reasons:
The Theological Angle: God speaks through His Word, and when we open His Word with others, He speaks to us. This cuts out the distractions, misunderstandings, arguments, and rabbit trails that many spiritual conversations have. As Dr. John Lennox explains,
Throughout my lifetime, I’ve become utterly convinced that as a Christian, speaking the Christian message into the world, my only offensive weapon is the Word of God. And the Lord Jesus made it very clear, ‘apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). And I believe, therefore, He has given us the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit, and we need to use it!
The Cultural Angle: According to a recent Talking Jesus survey, one in three non-Christians in the UK who had a conversation with a practicing Christian about their faith wanted to know more about Jesus. Opening the Bible together and discussing it not only introduces readers to Jesus, it levels the playing field for evangelistic conversations. There is no “guru” or “teacher”, but a “guide” and a “guest” that together hear the claims of Christ and examine the evidence.
The relational element of The Word One to One resource is an added strength: Bible reading happens in the context of a safe relationship where asking questions and contemplating faith is encouraged. Le Fras Strydom, the CEO of The Word One to One, comments, “The vast majority of people who look at episode 1 of The Word One to One (the glorious John 1:1-18) want to see what happens next! Don’t underestimate how much our non-Christian friends will enjoy the experience once they get into it.”
The Practical Angle: Many believers would confess the lack of confidence they have in evangelism. “I don’t know how to get started” or “I don’t know what to say” are common refrains. The Word One to One cuts through these challenges and instills confidence. Le Fras Strydom remarks on the wide use of the resource, “We’ve seen teenagers and 90-year-olds use it, and everyone in between. City professionals, retirees, empty-nester moms, students, migrants seeking community – so many different people have found it helpful in sharing the gospel with those they know.”
The Word One to One ministry is passionate about equipping Bible sharers for evangelism. All a believer needs to use The Word One to One is a relationship with an unbeliever and enough courage to extend the invitation to read a chapter together.
“Most unbelievers don’t believe in Christ on day one,” shared Le Fras Strydom, “but so many are compelled to keep reading, and many end up saying, ‘Why has no one ever shown me this before!’ It’s good to have off-the-cuff conversations about Jesus, but nothing beats helping our friends get into the Scriptures to get a full view of the glorious Lord Jesus for themselves.”
When asked for common responses to using The Word One to One, Le Fras said the overwhelming response from first-time Bible sharers is joy: “Brother and sisters feel liberated by the fact that they don’t need to have all the answers, or the most persuasive testimony, but can simply offer to have a look with their friends and trust God’s Word to do the work. A dear 70-something year old sister from California recently commented, ‘This is what I should have been doing all my life.'”
How to Get Started
We at Open the Bible want to help you open the Bible with others, and for that reason we are grateful for The Word One to One.
Visit theword121.com to find out where to buy the books, download the app or access the notes as pdfs to share online. You will also find training resources and other ideas for mobilizing your church in evangelism.