In high school our church switched from our summer VBS being taught by the adults in the church, to the teens and in backyards all throughout the city. In preparation for the VBS we all learned a gospel presentation, the Wordless Book, or Gospel Colors. This was THE gospel presentation of the 1990s, and the great thing about it is it easily defaults into about a dozen other gospel presentations. I’ve used it in so many Bible lessons.
(there are affiliate links in here)
What you’ll need for Gospel Colors:
5 colors in any form: gold (yellow), black (dark), red, white (clean), green
At some point in the 90s the colors were changed from black and white to dark and clean. Why? Because we don’t want someone to think their skin color is the same as sin or being perfect.
At first I was like, okay I can see that, it’s a little silly, but okay.
And then I had kids, and my kids spent years singing the Gospel Fuzzies at church every week. Then we started working on their colors and I pointed to the color black and my adorable little kids said “Dark,” and I thought, “Oh no! When a well-intentioned idea goes horribly wrong.”
Also, in some ways I think changing the color names seems even more racist than what they were trying to avoid.
So, I’m going to stick with black and white.
Colors gospel: Gold stands for heaven
Once upon a time we said “Gold stands for heaven because heaven has streets of gold.” The concept is taken from a single verse in Revelation, and while it’s true, it’s not the best reason.
Now we say, “Gold stands for heaven because God is there and His glory shines so bright, it’s like the sun never sets.”
The big points for Gold
- God created the world (Genesis 1:1)
- God is holy (Leviticus 11:45)
- God built us to be in a relationship with Him (John 3:16)
Colors gospel: Black stands for sin
Black reminds us of sin, and how everyone has sinned.
Sin is anything I think, say, or do that falls short of God’s standard.
Another controversial opinion
As I originally learned this, “Sin is anything I think, say, or do that makes God unhappy.”
I don’t like this because it makes God look like a capricious parent who randomly decides what He does and does not like.
God is not capricious, His standard is the same yesterday, today, and always.
The big points for black
- Everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23)
- The penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)
- Sin can only be forgiven through the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22)
But, God didn’t want to leave us on our own, so…
Colors gospel: Red
Red means Jesus died.
Y’all I have the gospel fuzzies song running in the background as I’m writing this.
The big points for red
- Jesus lived a perfect life, we could not live
- Jesus died for our sins (Romans 5:8)
- Jesus rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 14:3-4)
This means, because of what Jesus did we can be with God…
Colors gospel: White
White means I’m forgiven.
In case you’re wondering, some of this goes back to the imagery of God giving you a new white clean robe, and goes back over a thousand years with the idea of white representing purity.
The big points for white
To be with God you need to do three things (ABC)
- Admit that you’re a sinner (1 John 1:9)
- Believe God died on the cross for you
- Choose to trust God to save you (and you could get into a whole discussion of do we actually choose, or did God choose us, but that’s another discussion for later)
And if you do that, God gives you (123)
- He forgives you of ALL your sins, past, present, and future
- He will be with you forever (Hebrews 13:5)
- You’ll have a home in heaven when you die
Colors gospel: Green
This was only taught to kids who had made a profession of faith.
Green means you are growing in faith.
The big points for green
- Go to church, we learn best when we’re with other believers
- Read the Bible, we learn more about God when we read the book He wrote for us
- Pray every day, talk to God, and talk about what’s going on in your life
Adapting the Gospel colors
Okay, we know all these colors now, and know what to do, what next?
Now you can adapt it into different ideas:
- Gospel fuzzies
- Gospel archery (you would not believe how much The Artist made fun of me for this)
- Gospel bracelets
- Gospel cross
- How else would you use this?
And just because I’m extra, as the kids say, I made this into a minibook you can store in your pocket for quick reference.