We believe that Jesus is worth sharing. But often talking about Him with a friend can feel difficult. Sometimes we just don’t know where to start. Sometimes we’ll chat about Christianity and science, or suffering, but we never quite get to Jesus Himself.

Perhaps you are wondering what the first step is when opening the bible with a friend, and whether some starting points are better than others? We have found that you don’t have to begin at the start of Genesis – you can jump straight into one of the Gospels and point your friends directly to Jesus.

I’ve been so encouraged to hear of students across the country doing just this by using Uncover Mark – a copy of Mark’s Gospel, a rapid fire, journalistic account of Jesus’ life, with accompanying bible studies. As they’ve become more and more involved in university life and built friendships, they’ve had many opportunities to introduce their friends to Jesus in the pages of His word.

Seeing Jesus clearly

One of my favourite things about Mark’s Gospel is that you can jump straight in at the start. By reading Mark 1:14 – 45, you very quickly get a picture of who Jesus is and what His message is. Snapshots of Jesus performing miracles invite the reader to consider what the Kingdom of God is about, and to ask for themselves who they believe Him to be. This approach is wonderful for Christians, as it removes any pressure to explain who Jesus is and enables their friends to consider Him for themselves.

Pointing the reader quickly to Jesus and inviting them to consider what they think of Him is the most straightforward way to help a friend engage with Christianity. One student from India read Mark’s Gospel with a Christian friend after being struck by the warm welcome he received at a CU international event. He found that he experienced a strange peace” while reading God’s Word and came to trust in Jesus. He said to his friend a few days later, I think I’d already started following Jesus at some point during our time reading the Bible together.”


Speaking to today’s issues

The words of the Gospels also speak powerfully into many contemporary issues, helping us meet our friends where they’re at. Opening a passage such as Mark 5:21 – 43, for example, can be an excellent starting point for showing how Jesus brings hope, even into situations that seem hopeless. One MA student read this passage for the first time with a Christian friend and said, I was especially struck by the account of the bleeding woman in Mark’s Gospel; Jesus deliberately took her out of the shadows and brought her back into the centre of the crowd to remove her shame.”

University life and our social media-filled world also bring the challenge of perfectionism. But as we read with our friends about the failure of the disciples in Mark 14:27 – 72, we discover that Jesus accepts us despite our imperfections. One student involved in a sports team at Portsmouth University read this study after joining the CU’s club outreach:

I learned about Jesus and the Bible in primary school but then I kind of left it. A major reason I didn’t come back to Jesus was because I thought I would be judged. But now, after going through Mark, I can’t imagine Jesus condemning me, only welcoming me back. Right now, I’m definitely leaning towards yes. I think I want Him back.”

What could you do?

There are many stories across the whole of the Bible that are great launchpads to discuss the gospel with a friend. If you are considering doing this the first time you can start anywhere, but many students have found starting with one of the four eyewitness Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life is one of the very best ways to invite them to consider Jesus for themselves.

Why not take up the challenge? Could you pray for three friends, give a gospel to three friends and read with those three friends? As we pray in faith and invite our friends to consider Jesus in His Word, we believe many will respond gladly to the person of Jesus who they meet in the Gospel.

Not sure where to start? Check out UCCF’s Uncover resources for free online Seeker Bible Studies in Mark, Luke and John, or buy a copy to give to a friend and read with them.