Written by Paul Chapman

“Soul winning is reminding people who are dead in their sins that there is a God to Whom they must give an account. ”

Bringing people to Jesus is a priority for every serious Christian. Learn three Bible truths that will help you implement the doctrine of personal soul winning.

We should use every opportunity available to us to spread the Gospel. When I was young, I went fishing with my Dad. I had the habit of constantly reeling in the line to look at my bait. He used to say, “If you don’t keep your hook in the water, you won’t catch any fish.” How true!

The same is true when it comes to fishing for men. You can only win souls when you have your soul-winning hook in the water. Do you have your spiritual hook in the water of souls? Is winning the lost a priority in your life?

My Dad would fish with poles, but he also used trot-lines for fishing in the river. In this method of fishing, you fasten hooks on a rope every few feet. You tie the rope to the bank of the river and pull it into the water across the current. The other end of the rope has a heavy weight to keep the line in place under the water. With this method of fishing, we had many hooks in the water at the same time, allowing us to catch multiplied more fish.

We must have a “trot-line” mentality when fishing for men. The more hooks you use, the more souls you will catch. We should use every method of winning souls within Bible parameters.

Consider the popular methods used to spread the Gospel today.

  • Preaching in Churches
  • Marketplace Evangelism
  • Personal Soul Winning
  • Street Preaching
  • Drama or Musical Programs
  • Cantatas
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Social Media
  • Books
  • Gospel Tracts
  • Websites
  • Counseling
  • Vacation Bible School

There is one method of winning souls that reigns supreme. Use other methods as the Lord leads and gives you opportunities. However, there is one method of winning souls that every church and Christian must employ.

The primary method of winning souls in the Bible is personal soul winning. The first hook on the “trot-line of evangelism” must be personal soul winning.

In a later chapter, we will discuss the differences between evangelism and soul winning. A healthy church is both evangelistic and soul winning. The Bible presents the first-century churches as evangelistic assemblies full of soul winners.

If we hope to follow their example today, individual church members must embrace the doctrine of personal soul winning.

Before we define the doctrine of personal soul winning, we must learn what personal soul winning is not.

Personal soul winning is not a gift to be given.

Some excuse their lack of personal work for souls by saying, “I don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism.” Soul winning is not listed in the Bible as a spiritual gift. It is a command to be obeyed, not a gift to be given.


Personal soul winning is not a suggestion to be considered.

It seems that many believers live as though The Great Commission is “The Great Suggestion.” What a tragedy! No command in Scripture is more straightforward than Christ’s instruction for His people to take the Gospel to the world.

Personal soul winning is not only the job of the pastor, staff, and missionaries.

I was a soul winner before God called me into the ministry. Too many Christians soothe their conscience with the idea that winning souls is the preacher’s job. While the pastor should lead the way, The Great Commission applies to each individual believer. Preachers and missionaries are not hired guns that relieve you of your responsibility to preach Christ in your corner of the world.

Salvation is personal.

Observe three essential facts about the doctrine of personal soul winning that will encourage us to fulfill our responsibility to warn the lost and win souls.

1. It is Personal.

Personal soul winning is a saved sinner telling a lost sinner how they can be saved. It’s just that simple. Any believer can win souls. Personal evangelism is the personal work of every born-again believer.

Jesus took reaching the lost personally.

Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1 in His first public sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth where He had been brought up. That amazing message set the tone for His entire earthly ministry.

Luke 4:18–19
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

That day the Old Testament Scripture was fulfilled. Our Lord Jesus began His ministry preaching the Gospel.

In Matthew chapter eighteen, our Lord told the crowd that they could not be converted unless they came as little children.

Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

After warning the listeners about the danger of offences against God and little children, Christ told them why He came.

Matthew 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

The Saviour shared the same message to Zacchaeus on the day Christ went to his home.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

No one can deny that the heartbeat of the Lord Jesus Christ was to save sinners! Jesus took it personally. He came to earth personally. He reached sinners personally. He died for sin personally. He was personally buried and personally rose again.

Today, Christ personally rejoices over redeemed sinners.

Luke 15:10
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Sinners get saved by trusting Christ personally.

Salvation is personal.

Each sinner without the Saviour must pay for their own sin.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Jesus died for individual sinners.

Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a
 little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Each individual must personally accept Christ as their Saviour.

John 1:12–13
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

No one will go to Heaven because they were born into a Christian family. Every individual must make a personal decision regarding the person and work of Christ.

In Matthew 22:42, Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?” Every person must answer that question for themselves.

Every believer should win souls personally.

Christ commissioned every believer to take the Gospel to the world. We find a form of this commandment in each Gospel and the Book of Acts.

Matthew 28:19–20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Luke 24:47–48
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
John 20:21
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Some Christians believe that the Great Commission was given to churches. Yet, what are churches but assemblies of born again and baptized believers? Any way you look at it, Christ gave the command to spread the Gospel to individual Christians.

Every Christian should win souls. The search for souls must be our utmost concern.

1 Thessalonians 2:4
But as we were allowed of God to be
 put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

Christ entrusted His people with the truth of the Gospel. We have the truth. If we don’t share it, it will not be shared. What a privilege to be trusted with the greatest story ever told!

The angels would proclaim the Gospel if allowed. Every rock on earth and every star in the sky would shout the way of salvation if released. Yet, it is our great privilege to be the bearers of this eternal light. Why don’t we take the responsibility seriously? Why should we be silent?

We cannot fail our Saviour with such a sacred trust! God trusted you with the Gospel. Will you be faithful?

We see the effects of personal soul winning in the first chapter of John. John the Baptist preached Christ by the River Jordan.

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Two young men followed Christ home that day and trusted in Him as the Messiah. One of them was Andrew. Andrew brought His brother Peter to Christ.

John 1:40–42
One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

The same chapter tells us how Christ won Philip to Himself. Then Philip brought Nathanael to Christ.

John 1:43–45
The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Long before these men were mighty apostles, they were personal soul winners!

Church members in the Book of Acts were busy taking the Gospel to every person who would listen and every home in their community. Personal soul winning is person to person and door to door.

Personal soul winning is obedience to God’s great commission. The only alternative to soul winning is disobedience.

2. Personal Soul Winning Is Pointed.

Many modern evangelism techniques wait for the sinner to come to the Christian asking how to be saved. This fallacy creates a massive flaw in philosophy and practice.

Lifestyle evangelism teaches that believers should live like Christians in front of people so that sinners eventually ask about salvation. Part of that philosophy is biblical. Of course, we must live righteously in an unrighteous world. Our witness will have no power unless there is visible evidence of salvation’s power.

However, lifestyle evangelism goes on to teach that you should not confront anyone about their soul lest you “push them away.” How ungodly! This is one of the biggest lies of Satan in modern Christianity.

I have had several “What must I do to be saved?” moments in my life when sinners approached me. However, I have had multitudes more accept Christ when I confronted them with the truth of the Gospel.

Paul confronted Agrippa with the Gospel.

Acts 26:27–28
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Personal soul winning is confrontational. We must confront people about the condition of their souls. They are already going to Hell. How much more can you offend them? Will they be even more lost? Will they go to Hell #2? Of course, not.

Confrontational does not mean unkind or offensive. It is speaking the truth in love. Sinners may be offended by our position, but they should not be offended by our disposition.

Confrontational does not mean argumentative. It is not about winning a debate or convincing someone to pray a faithless prayer. We go soul winning to find people under conviction. If there is no conviction, there is no conversion.

The Holy Spirit is working on hearts in your community right now. Personal soul winners make it a priority to speak to people about their souls, looking for those who are ready to be saved. We warn sinners, plant seeds, and water hearts along the way. It is God Who gives the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:6–7
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Soul winning is an intervention. It is reminding people who are dead in their sins that there is a God to Whom they must give an account. It is an interruption of their temporal lives to remind them of eternity.

Sinners will not always appreciate the intrusion into the fairytale they have concocted. Does a drunkard appreciate being confronted about his booze? Does every drug addict thank you for trying to help them? Of course, not. Nevertheless, intervention is necessary if you genuinely care about them.

We cannot wait for sinners to come to us. Christ commanded us to go into all the world and confront every creature with the Gospel. It is our duty. It is the only logical response of a loving Christian who cares about lost souls.

3. Personal Soul Winning Is Profitable.

There are many good reasons to win souls. Here are several:

  • Our love for Christ.
  • Our hatred for sin.
  • Our awareness of Hell.
  • Our obedience to God.

One of the most compelling reasons to be a personal soul winner is God’s incredible reward system to those who are obedient. Consider the following benefits of being a personal soul winner.

A. The Reward of Wisdom

Proverbs 11:30
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise.

Wise people win souls. Also, God gives wisdom to those who win souls. When we do wise things, God provides more wisdom!

Daniel 2:21
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, And knowledge to them that know understanding:

Do you want more wisdom? Be a personal soul winner!

B. The Reward of Joy

Psalm 126:5–6
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

All of us need more joy. God promises joy to those who are willing to bear the burden of lost souls. When was the last time you wept over a soul? Feel the burden. Let it move you.

Go forth with tears sharing the Gospel. God promises joy and a harvest.

C. The Reward of Answered Prayer

John 15:16
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

God makes our prayers His priority when we make His Great Commission ours. Be a faithful soul winner and watch the answers to your prayers come abundantly.

D. The Reward of Beauty

Romans 10:13–15
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

God loves those who carry the Gospel so much that He describes their feet as beautiful. Obedience to the Great Commission makes you beautiful in the sight of God. It beautifies your life and your soul as you become more like Christ.

E. The Reward of Glory

Daniel 12:3
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

One of the least mentioned rewards is the brightness of our glorified bodies mentioned in First Corinthians 15:40- 49. Daniel tells us that our brightness, or glory, in eternity will be determined by how many we turn to righteousness.

F. The Reward Of Hope & Crown Of Rejoicing

1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

A soul winner knows that there are people in Heaven because God used him. He is filled with hope and joy, knowing that he will see those won to Jesus in eternity. They are part of his Heavenly reward. Will anyone be in Heaven because of you? By the grace of God, there will be if you commit to being a personal soul winner!

One glorious day we will cast the crowns we earn through service at the feet of Jesus in the supreme act of worship. Will you have crowns to offer to the Saviour?

Revelation 4:10–11
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

The rewards of personal soul winning far outweigh the sacrifices it requires.

Soul winning is personal, pointed, and profitable. Personal soul winning is the necessary work of every committed believer.

Surrender to God’s command to be a fisher of men. Commit to becoming a personal soul winner by God’s grace. Make speaking to people about salvation a life-long habit. Invite sinners to trust your faithful Saviour. Beg God for boldness and power as you seek to honor Him.

Jesus Christ will use you beyond your wildest dreams as you bear His burden for souls and fulfill His Great Commission.

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