What Does the Bible Say About Street Preaching?
Over the years, and most recently, I have had many people, mostly Christians, ask the question; “Is street preaching Biblical?” or something similar like: “Why do you preach in public?” In this article I will answer the question by looking at four examples and then listing many other scriptures on the subject. All of this will be in the New Testament. I cannot re-write the whole Bible which is what I would have to do to give all the examples.
Example 1: Acts 8:5-6. In verse 5 it says that Philip went down to a city in Samaria and preached Christ to them. The word for preached here is Kēryssō – to be a herald, to officiate as a herald and to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed. Before the days of media and even print, a herald was used to go out and announce to people the message or news from the King. It tells us in verse 6 that Philip’s audience was the multitudes. Knowing the times and culture it is reasonable to conclude that this was outside and not in a building, and definitely not a church building. There is nothing wrong with inviting people to church, in fact I would encourage you to do so however; preaching openly in a public place to multitudes of people I see as a Biblical method and pattern.
Example 2: Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.”
The city of Jerusalem was swelling with men from all the known world to attend one of the required Jewish feasts – Pentecost. It was from an open rooftop that Peter delivered the Gospel to the crowds below. Again we can safely conclude that they were outside in the open air. 3,000 souls were saved that day. Peter raising his voice above the crowds proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ.
Example 3: Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, “Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Twice in this passage Paul uses the word Kēryssō he also uses a quote from the Old Testament which is translated good news. If we are to preach to unbelievers, we must go where they are, out in the public.
Example 4: This is from our Lord Himself in Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” The same Kēryssō is used here by Mark describing the first recorded words and ministry of our Lord – proclaiming the Gospel.
If you look in the Gospels you will see that numerous times Jesus preached and taught in public places where crowds gathered. Even in the temple He cried out with a loud voice. (John 7:37-38) This was probably the outer court where the masses of people were.
Other Scriptures on Preaching:
Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Mark 6:12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Acts 18:9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
Acts 20:20 how I (Paul) kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,
Acts 26:19-20 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.
Ephesians 6:19-20 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:3-4 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Titus 1:3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
Revelation 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.
All scripture above use the New King James Version®, ©1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved! NKJV is a ™ of Thomas Nelson Publishers