The creation of the Wordless Book is credited to the famous London Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. On January 11, 1866, he was giving a message to several hundred orphans based on the verse, Psalm 51:7: “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
On that day the Wordless Book consisted of three pieces of paper colored black, red and white. Spurgeon used the book to share God’s plan for salvation. Black symbolized sin; the red represented the blood of Christ shed on the cross; and the white page stood for the cleansing of sins received through the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ.
The Wordless Book and the Salvation Colors bracelet have proven to be a very easy and effective way to share the Gospel message. They are especially helpful in teaching the basic Gospel story to children, those who cannot read, or to people of different cultures. The book consists of pages of different colors, and the bracelets are made with colored beads. The colors can also be presented on a single page or as a banner.
In 1875 another pastor, D.L. Moody, began regularly using the Wordless Book in Liverpool, England. He added a gold page to represent heaven. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), the beloved blind writer of hymns, used the Wordless Book with children. She always carried one in her purse. The children would beg her to read the Gospel story over and over again.
In 1895, missionary Amy Carmichael used the Wordless Book to share the Good News in India. She made a satin flag with the colors of gold, black, red and white. The flag was attached to an ox-cart that she used for traveling from village to village. She would tell the gospel story using the colors of the flag to the villagers and children.
A green page was added by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) to represent growth in the Christian faith that is realized through reading and studying the Scriptures.
Here is a recap of the Colors of Faith, along with some appropriate Bible verses.
Gold reminds us of Heaven Revelation 21:21
Black reminds us of sin Romans 3:23
Red reminds us of Jesus’ blood Romans 5:8, John 3:16
White reminds us of a clean heart Psalm 51:7, Romans 10:9
Green growing to know Jesus 2 Peter 3:18
Wordless books have evolved into many forms and everyday situations. The colors are displayed on wristbands, various sports gear and especially on soccer balls, basketballs, and volleyballs. Sports gear and balls have proven to be very effective for use in evangelism. Sports can be an international language. Even in countries where television, radio, newspapers, and other modern communication means are rare, or where people cannot even read, soccer is played and there is an interest in sports.
Sports breaks down cultural and language barriers. When a player using a colored soccer ball is asked what the colors mean, a door is opened to talk about Jesus and the Gospel. The colors help to evangelize by starting conversations between people who don’t know one another personally.
Teams of evangelists who play soccer have opened doors to the Gospel message in China. They are not allowed to openly evangelize, but they can answer questions. They often go to college campuses, where they gather a group to play a soccer game and use the multi-colored soccer ball. Often they are asked about the colors on the ball, and this presents an opportunity to explain their meaning. When the game is over, the team leaves the soccer ball together with a pump, needle and tracts explaining the Gospel message in the language spoken and read in the country. Many East Asian cultures use color symbolism, making the use of the colors on the balls easily understood.
Many countries and cultures in the world ban religion, and their people suffer religious persecution. It is amazing that Christianity is still alive and growing. With all of the historical and ongoing criticism of Christianity through politics, censorship and persecution, one would think belief would be dying. But one-to-one contact to tell the Gospel is all that is needed. Sports evangelism accomplishes this and is another way that God continues to work in today’s world.
The wordless bracelets have become so effective in evangelism efforts, that churches have Christian fellowship parties to make them for distribution. They are wonderful mission projects for youth and teens. All that is needed are the colored beads and leather strips which can be purchased at most handicraft stores. There are also web sites that give step by step directions.
Image from Jeff Goss Ministries. Please visit: http://www.jeffgossministries.org