I had never been asked anything like this before. This person is obviously looking for a very specific answer. I replied, "If I had to pick one verse from which to share the gospel, I would pick either John 3:16 or Romans 6:23." I went on to say, "But usually when I share the gospel, I use many verses."
I'm pretty sure that's not what the questioner wants to hear. I'm pretty sure my answer will be unsatisfactory. Oh, well... Personally, I believe that the gospel is bigger than one verse. It encompasses creation, fall, redemption, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, restoration. The gospel is a message that runs throughout the Bible.
But the question made me think. With just a little searching on the web, I found a one verse gospel presentation from a ministry called the Navigators. They train people to share the gospel with Romans 6:23 by teaching them to draw the following diagram." It's called "One Verse Evangelism."
I wondered what others might think about the approach. If you are interested in the approach, here's the walk-through written by Randy D. Raysbrook.
How to Share Christ's Love Conversationally & Visually
Many people feel that to be effective in evangelism they must memorize a complex illustration and a multitude of verses. But the Gospel is most powerful when shared with love, clarity, and simplicity.
One-Verse Evangelism is a simple, interactive way to share Christ's love conversationally and visually. It is based on asking questions and sharing. It's easy to learn because it uses just one verse. One-Verse Evangelism is also sensitive to peoples' busy schedules because it can be shared in just 10 or 15 minutes.
Here's a brief look at how it works. Let's say God's leading you to share the Gospel with your neighbor, Jeff. Write out Romans 6:23 on a piece of paper or a napkin: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV). Then put your Bible away. Ask Jeff if he would like to see a simple picture based on this verse that will explain God's relationship with people.
Circle the word "wages" and ask, "How would you feel if your boss refused to pay you the wages that were due to you?" Deep down, we all know that it is only right that we get what we deserve. Similarly, we earn wages from God for how we have lived our lives.
Draw a circle around "sin," asking your friend what he thinks when he hears this word. You might explain that sin is more an attitude than an action. It can be either actively fighting God or merely excluding Him from our lives. You can ask, "Has God ever seemed far away?" If he says "Yes," add that that's one of the things sin does-it makes God seem far away. Now draw two opposing cliffs with a gap in between.
Circle the word "death" and ask what thoughts come to mind. Explain that death in the Bible always means some kind of separation.
While circling the word "but", mention that it is important because it means that a sharp contrast in thought is coming. What we have just looked at is bad news; what follows is good news.
Draw a circle around the word "gift". Ask, "If wages are what a person earns, then what is a gift?" Remind your friend that someone must purchase every gift.
Circle the phrase "of God" and explain that the gift you are talking about is free. It is from God Himself. It's so special that no one else can give it. Ask, "How do you feel when someone gives you a special gift?"
Circle the two words "eternal life" next, and then ask, "How would you define these words?" Contrast one side of the cliff, death, with the other side, eternal life. Ask, "What is the opposite of separation from God?"
Draw the words "Christ Jesus" so they create a bridge between the two cliffs. Help your friend to consider that every gift has a giver, and only Jesus Christ can give the gift of eternal life.
Write the word "trust" over the bridge you just drew. Explain that friends trust each other, and tell your friend that Jesus wants a trusting friendship with him. All he has to do is admit that he is responsible for the "sin" of either fighting or excluding God from his life. That is what trust means-trusting that Jesus wants to forgive us for rejecting Him from our lives. At this point, you can ask him if he wants to start a relationship with God that will last forever. If he says "Yes," invite him to pray a short prayer in his own words, asking Jesus to forgive him.
Close by reminding him that this simple illustration shows what God is like: Someone who really cares about people, especially him. Invite him to read all about it in the Bible, perhaps beginning in the gospel of John.
Adapted with permission from One-Verse Evangelism, copyright 2000 Randy D. Raysbrook. All rights reserved.
You may order this booklet from NavPress, or call (800) 366-7788.
So, what do you think? Could this be a good tool for your toolbox as you sharing the faith? I'm pretty sure I did not answer the question correctly for our questioner. It feels like a "gotcha" test. But as long as we're thinking and talking about the gospel, it all good.