Print This Bible Study



Bible Facts Little Understood by Christians[1]




The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

(Proverbs 11:30)


Soul-winning in the New Testament is largely misunderstood in Christian circles today.  The common terminology, which is not at all correct, is to equate soul-winning with carrying the message of salvation by grace to the unsaved.  In fact, equating soul-winning with the message of salvation by grace serves only to obscure both issues, leaving one hopelessly mired in a sea of misinterpretation.  Soul-winning is one thing, and proclaiming the message of salvation by grace is another.  The former has to do with the saved, and the latter has to do with the unsaved.  The messages involved in both issues MUST be kept separate and distinct, which necessitates Christians understanding proper distinctions in these two realms.


Salvation by grace, carried to the unsaved, is the presentation of the simple gospel message.  The unsaved are to be told “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2; 15:3).  Christ has paid the penalty for sin.  The work of redemption has been accomplished on man’s behalf, and God is satisfied.  Provision has been made for unredeemed man to be saved through receiving that which Christ has done on his behalf.  And he does this through simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).


Redeemed man, on the other hand, is to hear an entirely different message.  He is to be taught the reason for his salvation.  He is to be told that Christ has gone awayto receive for Himself a kingdom”; he is to be told that during the time of his Lords absence he is to be busy with the talents and pounds that the Lord delivered to and left in charge of His servants (Christians); he is to be told that a day of reckoning is coming; he is to be told that the Lord will return to judge His servants on the basis of their faithfulness in carrying out His business during His time of absence; and he is to be told that the outcome of this judgment will determine every Christians’ position in the coming kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27).  It is within this overall message to the saved that one finds the salvation of the soul taught in Scripture, not within the message of salvation by grace, proclaimed to the unsaved.


“Soul-winning” has to do with winning those who are already saved to a life of faithfulness to the Lord.  “Soul-winning” is winning ones life.  This involves winning Christians to be occupied with the Lord’s business during His time of absence, anticipating His return.  And more specifically, this involves winning Christians to be occupied in this manner with that portion of the Lord’s business delivered to them personally.


Illustrated in the parables of the talents and the pounds, one servant was responsible only for bringing forth an increase in the talents or the pounds that had been placed in his possession, not in those that had been placed in another servant’s possession.  Issues and determinations resulting from the judgment seat will be based strictly on the evaluation of works performed by Christians in complete keeping with that set forth in these two parables.


 Direct references to the salvation of the soul are found in New Testament passages such as Matthew 16:24-27; Hebrews 10:38, 39; James 1:21; 5:19, 20; 1 Peter 1:9-11 and are always spoken of in a future sense within a context dealing with those who are already saved.  Soul-winning is associated with the righteous acts of the saints, with overcoming, and with one day being extended the privilege of eating of the tree of life.  This is the reason that soul-winning is found within a context of this nature in Proverbs 11:30.  It is the wise who win souls (lives).


Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)


[1] Taken from Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ, The Lamp Broadcast, Inc., pp. 83, 84