Pulpit Helps Looks Back 25 Years

by Pulpit Helps Staff

Spiros Zodhiates, founding editor of Pulpit HelpsPulpit Helps was born in the heart of Dr. Spiros Zodhiates twenty-five years ago because of a burden for the preaching and ministry needs of pastors. Actually it was "under construction" in the fertile mind of Dr. Zodhiates for a long time before the first issue was printed in 1975. A lot of thought and prayer went into the development of the magazine's content. As a result today's magazine contains much the same core features. These include:

• Sermon Starters & Outlines, to help get the "sermon-writing" juices flowing for the busy preacher/pastor.

• Bulletin Inserts, to help fill church bulletins with thought-provoking (and sometimes chuckle-provoking) one-liners to edify parishioners.

• Illustrations, to help fill the never-ending need for fresh illustrations to flesh out biblical principles.

• Reviews of the best of the current crop of books for the religious market.

• Great sermons, both from pulpit heroes of the past and of the present, because every preacher needs to be exposed to the best and most godly preaching available.

• And finally (but really of first importance) instruction on the fullest and truest meaning of the Greek words used in the New Testament. Dr. Zodhiates (himself a Greek and lifelong student of his native language) recognized from his first setting foot in the United States that preachers, especially young preachers, needed help in seeing the riches embedded in the Koiné Greek.

Dr. Zodhiates came to the U.S. in 1946 to head the fledgling American Mission to Greeks (AMG) organization. Two Americans of Greek extraction, who longed to see their countrymen meet the Lord, had established AMG not long before.

From that beginning AMG has evolved into today's worldwide mission organization, ministering in 60 countries, through some fifty American missionaries and thousands of national workers. Because of its worldwide outreach the letters AMG were changed to mean "Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel."

"As I listened to preachers speak on the New Testament, I was constantly shocked at how much they missed of the meaning of it," Dr. Zodhiates recalls. He illustrates with a quick example: Two distinct Greek words are translated by the English word "new." Néos means a new something of the same kind as another; while kainós means something new of a different kind. Thus, in 2 Corinthians 5:17 ("if any man be in Christ he is a new creature") the Greek is kainós indicating a "distinct kind of people called Christians, who alone have the life of God in them."

Dr. Zodhiates has been opening the New Testament text ever since: through Pulpit Helps, through the widely-popular Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, through his daily radio program, New Testament Light, through a lengthy series of commentaries which have flowed from his pen (written in longhand, as he continues to write to this day), and most recently an exhaustive exegetical commentary of the entire New Testament, which is well underway. He also continues hands-on teaching, and is currently instructing a class composed of preachers in the nuances and distinctions of the Greek language.

Pulpit Helps has come a long way from the slim eight-page first issue, published in New Jersey-three years before AMG was transplanted to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Gone are the days of paste-up boards. Technology has enabled us to make major improvements and still keep the cost affordable. The number of pages has grown from the original eight to thirty-six. Pulpit Helps.com allows access to the latest issue via the Internet.

The focus of Pulpit Helps in the new millennium remains to help pastors do the work of the ministry.

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