From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

‘Evangelist’ comes from εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, ‘to evangelize’ or ‘publish good tidings,’ a verb which is fairly common in the Septuagint, and is very frequent in the writings of St. Luke and in the Epistles, especially the four great Epistles of St. Paul. This verb is derived from εὐαγγέλιον, ‘good tidings,’ especially the good tidings of the evangel or gospel. ‘Evangelist’ is found in only three passages in the Bible. Philip, one of the Seven, is so called in one of the ‘we’ sections of Acts ( Acts 21:8), which may mean that he was the evangelist out of the Seven, i.e. the only one, or far the best. Again, St. Paul, in his list of five kinds of ministers which have been given by Christ to His Church ( Ephesians 4:11), places ‘evangelists’ after ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’ and before ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’; and ‘evangelists’ may be classed with the two groups which precede, ‘Apostles, prophets, and evangelists’ were itinerant ministers, preaching wherever they found a door opened to them, while ‘pastors and teachers’ were attached to some congregation or locality. Philip was a travelling missionary. He went from Jerusalem to preach in Samaria, was on the road to Gaza when he converted the eunuch, was afterwards at Azotus (Ashdod), ‘and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea’ ( Acts 8:5;  Acts 8:26;  Acts 8:40). Possibly prophets commonly preached to believers, evangelists to unbelievers, while apostles addressed either. This would agree with the frequently quoted dictum, that ‘every apostle is an evangelist, but not every evangelist is an apostle.’ There is at any rate some evidence that those who acted as missionaries to the heathen were called evangelists. The word itself points to this-‘publishers of good tidings.’ It is when the first Christians were ‘scattered abroad, and went about preaching the word’ after the martyrdom of Stephen, that the verb ‘to publish the good tidings’ is often used by St. Luke ( Acts 8:4;  Acts 8:12;  Acts 8:25;  Acts 8:35;  Acts 8:40). and Philip ‘the evangelist’ is one of these preachers. An evangelist would know the gospel narrative thoroughly, and would be capable of explaining it, as Philip did to the eunuch. But we need not suppose that  Ephesians 4:11 gives us five orders of ministers specially appointed to discharge live different kinds of duties. No such organization existed. The distinction of ministry lay in the work that was done by individual workers, and that depended on their personal gifts, which often overlapped (Westcott, Ephesians , 1906, pp. 169-171). Philip was called ‘the evangelist’ because of his good work in preaching to the heathen. The third passage is  2 Timothy 4:5, where Timothy is charged to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ in addition to his other duties. He is in charge of the Church at Ephesus in place of St. Paul; but he is not to omit the work of endeavouring to convert unbelievers.

‘Evangelist,’ rare in the NT, is not found in the Apostolic Fathers or in the Didache . The use of the word for a writer of a Gospel is later, and the use for one who read the gospel in public worship is perhaps later still. When the reader (ἀναγνώστης or lector ), an official first mentioned by Tertullian ( de Prœscr . 41), expounded what he read, he resembled the evangelists of apostolic times; but the latter had no written gospel to expound; they expounded the oral gospel, which they knew by heart. The description of them given by Eusebius ( HE [Note: E Historia Ecclesiastica (Eusebius, etc.).]iii. 37), though somewhat rhetorical, is worthy of quotation.

‘They preached the gospel more and more widely and scattered the saving seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven broadly throughout the whole world. For, indeed, very many of the disciples of that time ( i.e. disciples of the apostles), whose soul had been stricken by the Divine Word with a more ardent love for philosophy ( i.e. the ascetic life), had previously fulfilled the Saviour’s injunction by distributing their possessions to the needy. Then setting out on long Journeys they performed the duty of evangelists, being eager to preach Christ to those who had never yet heard anything of the word of faith, and to pass on to them the Scripture of the Divine, Gospels. These men were content with simply laying foundations of the faith in various foreign places, and then appointed others as pastors, entrusting them with the husbandry of those newly reclaimed, while they themselves went on again to Other countries and nations with the grace and co-operation of God.

Harnack ( Mission and Expansion of Christianity 2, 1908, i. 321 n.[Note: . note.]) thinks that ‘evangelists’ has been inserted in  Ephesians 4:11 into the usual list of ‘apostles, prophets, and teachers’ because this circular Epistle is addressed to churches which had been founded by missionaries who were not apostles; also (p. 338) that ‘evangelists’ were not placed next to the ‘apostles,’ because the combination ‘apostles and prophets’ was too well established to be disturbed. There was no such close connexion between ‘prophets’ and ‘teachers.’ The shortness of the list of gifted and given persons in  Ephesians 4:11 as compared with the three lists in 1 Corinthians 12 may be taken as evidence that the regular exercise of extraordinary gifts was already dying out. Yet in the short list in  Ephesians 4:11 there are two items which are not found in any of the oilier lists, viz. ‘evangelists’ and ‘pastors.’

Literature.-In addition to the works quoted, see J. H. Bernard on  2 Timothy 4:5 ( The Pastoral Epistles [Camb. Gr. Test. 1899]); R. J. Knowling on  Acts 21:8 in Expositor’s Greek Testament , 1900; P. Batiffol, Primitive Catholicism , Eng. translation, 1911, p. 51; articles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , and Encyclopaedia Biblica .

A. Plummer.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

The English words ‘evangelist’ and ‘gospel’ come from the same word in the Greek. An evangelist is one who declares, preaches, brings, announces or proclaims the gospel (or good news). The noun ‘evangelist’ occurs only occasionally in the New Testament ( Acts 21:8;  Ephesians 4:11;  2 Timothy 4:5), but the verb forms occur frequently ( Matthew 4:23;  Luke 20:1;  Acts 8:25;  Acts 14:7;  Romans 10:15;  1 Corinthians 9:16;  1 Corinthians 15:1;  Galatians 4:13; cf.  Isaiah 52:7;  Isaiah 61:1; see Gospel ).

Although all Christians should make known the good news of Jesus Christ to others ( Acts 4:20;  Acts 8:4;  Acts 11:20), evangelists are particularly gifted by God for this task. They are one of God’s gifts to the church ( Ephesians 4:11). In the early church they were mainly concerned with proclaiming the gospel to those who had not heard it, and establishing churches in places where previously there were none ( Acts 8:5;  Acts 8:40;  Acts 14:21;  Acts 16:10;  Romans 10:14-15;  Romans 15:19-20;  2 Corinthians 10:16; see Mission ). Even established churches had need for someone to do the work of an evangelist among them ( 2 Timothy 4:5), for there was a constant necessity to make known the facts of the gospel.

Men such as Peter, John, Philip, Barnabas, Paul, Silas and Timothy were evangelists. Some of them were at the same time apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers. This indicates, firstly, that there was considerable overlap between the gifts and, secondly, that several gifts could be combined within one person (cf.  Acts 2:42;  Acts 14:14;  Acts 15:32;  1 Timothy 2:7;  1 Timothy 4:13-16; see Apostle ; Pastor ; Preaching ; TEACHER).

No matter how the servants of the gospel may be classified or what era they may live in, the motivating force in their life and ministry is the love of God that they have experienced through Christ. They are thankful to God for the privilege of engaging in Christian service, and this makes them want to please their Master ( 2 Corinthians 5:14;  Ephesians 3:7;  1 Timothy 1:12-16; see Servant ).

Evangelists knows that their work may involve risks, disappointments and hardships ( Acts 15:26;  2 Corinthians 11:23-28;  2 Timothy 2:10;  2 Timothy 3:10-11). But they have an obligation to carry out the task God has entrusted to them, regardless of the personal cost ( Matthew 28:19;  Romans 1:14;  1 Corinthians 9:16-17). They have a concern for those who have not yet heard or believed the gospel, and this drives them on to make it known; for only the gospel can save people from Satan’s power and give them eternal life ( Romans 10:14;  2 Corinthians 4:1-6;  2 Corinthians 5:11;  Acts 20:19-26; cf.  Ezekiel 3:17-21).

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

An order of ministers, "given" among other church officers by Christ, as one of the fruits of His ascension, to His church on and after Pentecost. Not only the office, but the men, were a divine gift: "He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets (inspired forth-tellers, not fore-tellers), and some to be evangelists," i.e. itinerant missionary preachers, whereas "pastors and teachers" were stationary (Ephesians 4). The evangelist founded the church; the teacher built it up in the faith. The ministry of gifts preceded the ministry of orders. The irregular "evangelist" prepared the way for the regular "pastor." Apostles ( Acts 8:25;  Acts 14:7;  1 Corinthians 1:17) or vicars apostolic, as Timothy ( 2 Timothy 4:2-5), might "Preach ("herald", Keerussein ) the word," and so "do the work of an evangelist." Philip had been set apart as one of the seven (Acts 7; 8; 21) by the laying on of the apostles' hands.

Christ gave him to the church, additionally, in the capacity of an "evangelist" now in one city, now in another. So others scattered by persecution ( Acts 8:4) "went everywhere Evangelistically Preaching ( Euangelizomenoi ) the word." The "pastors" taught and exhorted; the "evangelists" preached the glad news which prepared the way for the pastorate. It was therefore a work rather than an order. The evangelist was not necessarily an apostle, bishop-elder, or deacon, but might be any of these.

Evangelist, in the sense "inspired writer of one of the four Gospels," was a later usage. Eusebius (H. E., 3:37) in the third century says: "men do the work of evangelists, leaving their homes to preach Christ, and deliver the written Gospels to those who were ignorant of the faith." The transition step appears in  2 Corinthians 8:18-19, "the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches," probably Luke, well known throughout the churches as Paul's companion in evangelistic work, and at that time with Paul ( Acts 20:6). Of all Paul's "companions in travel" ( Acts 19:29), Luke was the most prominent, having been his companion in preaching at his first entrance into Europe ( Acts 16:10). Paul probably helped Luke in writing his Gospel, as Peter helped Mark. This accounts for the remarkable similarity between Paul's account of the institution of the Lord's supper ( 1 Corinthians 11:23) and Luke's account, an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. So in  1 Timothy 5:18

Paul says, "the Scripture saith, The laborer is worthy of his reward," quoted from  Luke 10:7; but  Matthew 10:10 has "his meat;" whereby he recognizes the Gospel according to Luke as inspired "Scripture," and naturally quotes that one of the Gospels which was written by his own evangelistic helper. Luke's Gospel had then been about eight or nine years in circulation. Our home and foreign missionaries correspond to the primary "evangelists"; they traveled about freely where their services were needed, either to propagate the gospel or to inspect and strengthen congregations already formed. Timothy was such a missionary bishop or vicar apostolic at Ephesus ( 1 Timothy 1:3;  2 Timothy 4:5).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Evangelist (‘one who proclaims good tidings’ [‘evangel,’ ‘gospel’]). The word occurs 3 times in NT (  Acts 21:8 ,   Ephesians 4:11 ,   2 Timothy 4:5 ), and in each case with reference to the proclamation of the Christian gospel.

 Acts 21:8 gives what appears to be the primary Christian use of the word. Philip, one of the Seven (cf.   Acts 6:1-6 ), is there called ‘the evangelist.’ And how he obtained this title is suggested when we find that immediately after Stephen’s martyrdom he went forth from Jerusalem and ‘preached the gospel’ (literally evangelized ) in Samaria, in the desert, and in all the cities of the coast-land between Azotus and Cæsarea (  Acts 8:4-5;   Acts 8:12;   Acts 8:25;   Acts 8:35;   Acts 8:40 ). In the first place, then, the evangelist was a travelling Christian missionary, one who preached the good news of Christ to those who had never heard it before.

In  Ephesians 4:11 Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are all named as gifts bestowed on the Church by the ascended Christ. It is impossible to distinguish these 5 terms as referring to so many fixed ecclesiastical offices. There is no ground, e.g ., for thinking that there was an order of pastors and another of teachers in the early Church. St. Paul, again, while discharging the exceptional functions of the Apostolate, was himself the prince of evangelists and the greatest of Christian teachers. We conclude, therefore, that the evangelist as such was not an official, but one who, without having the higher powers of Apostleship or prophecy, or any special talent for teaching or pastoral work, had a gift for proclaiming the gospel as a message of saving love a gift which was chiefly exercised, no doubt, by moving as Philip had done from place to place.

That ‘evangelist’ denotes function and not special office is confirmed by   2 Timothy 4:5 . Timothy is exhorted to ‘do the work of an evangelist,’ but also to engage in tasks of moral supervision and patient doctrinal instruction (  2 Timothy 4:2-3 ) which suggest the settled pastor and stated teacher rather than the travelling missionary. In his earlier life, Timothy, as St Paul’s travel-companion (  Acts 16:1 ff;   Acts 19:22;   Acts 20:4 ,   Romans 16:21 etc.), had been an evangelist of the journeying type. But this passage seems to show that there is room for the evangelist at home as well as abroad, and that the faithful minister of Christ, in order to ‘make full proof of his ministry,’ will not only watch over the morals of his flock and attend to their upbuilding in sound doctrine, but seek to win outsiders to Christ by proclaiming the gospel of His grace.

The special use of ‘evangelist’ in the sense of an author of a written ‘Gospel’ or narrative of Christ’s life, and specifically the author of one of the four canonical Gospels, is much later than the NT, no instance being found till the 3rd century.

J. C. Lambert.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Evangelist. One who brings good tidings. One who travels as a missionary everywhere and from house to house to teach and preach Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 4:11;  Acts 21:8;  2 Timothy 4:5;  Acts 5:42;  Acts 8:4;  Acts 8:35;  Acts 8:40, etc. The "work of an evangelist,"  2 Timothy 4:5, seems to have been specially the carrying of the gospel-message to persons and places previously unacquainted with it. Hence, one bearing another office might be an evangelist. Thus Philip, "one of the seven," is called an "evangelist."  Acts 21:8. Evangelists are distinguished from "pastors and teachers," and placed before them in  Ephesians 4:11, as being itinerant; whereas pastors and teachers belonged more to a settled church; they are omitted in the list of  1 Corinthians 12:28; because no reference was there made to missionary extension of the church, but rather to its internal organization. Eusebius speaks of evangelists as both preaching Christ and circulating the record of the holy gospels. Hence, probably, the ordinary usage of the word evangelists to denote the writers of the four Gospels.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Evangelist. (Publisher Of Glad Tidings). In the New Testament, the "evangelists" appear on the one hand, after the "apostles" and "prophets;" on the other hand, before the "pastors" and "teachers." They probably stood between the two.  Acts 21:8;  Ephesians 4:11.

The work of the evangelist is the proclamation of the glad tidings to those who have not known them, rather than the instruction and pastoral care of those who have believed and been baptized. It follows also that the name denotes a Work rather than an Order . Its use is nearly like our word Missionary .

The evangelist might or might not be a bishop-elder or a deacon. The apostles, so far as they evangelized,  Acts 8:25;  Acts 14:7;  1 Corinthians 1:17, might claim the title, though there were many evangelists who were not apostles.

If the gospel were a written book, and the office of the evangelists was to read or distribute it, then the writers of such books were pre-eminently THE evangelists. In later liturgical language, the word was applied to the reader of the gospel for the day.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

εὐαγγελιστής. One who evangelises, or preaches the glad tidings of the grace of God unto salvation. Such are included among the gifts from the ascended Lord.  Ephesians 4:11 . Philip is the only one so called in the N.T.,  Acts 21:8 , though doubtless there were many others who were true evangelists. Paul said, "Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel." He was the apostle to whom an especial administration was entrusted, to evangelise Jesus as the Son of God among the Gentiles. Timothy was exhorted to do the work of an evangelist though he had other gifts.  2 Timothy 4:5 . Though there was and is an especial gift to some to proclaim the gospel, we read of others who helped to spread the good news, as when there was persecution at Jerusalem, all were scattered abroad except the apostles, and they went everywhere 'announcing' the glad tidings of, or evangelising, the word,   Acts 8:4; and Paul speaks of some women who 'laboured with him in the gospel,'  Philippians 4:3; this they could have done in various ways without preaching publicly.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [8]

1: Εὐαγγελιστής (Strong'S #2099 — Noun Masculine — euangelistes — yoo-ang-ghel-is-tace' )

lit., "a messenger of good" (eu, "well," angelos, "a messenger"), denotes a "preacher of the Gospel,"  Acts 21:8;  Ephesians 4:11 , which makes clear the distinctiveness of the function in the churches;  2—Timothy 4:5 . Cp. euangelizo, "to proclaim glad tidings," and euangelion, "good news, gospel." Missionaries are "evangelists," as being essentially preachers of the Gospel.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [9]

One who publishes glad tidings; a messenger, or preacher of good news. The persons denominated evangelists were next in order to the apostles, and were sent by them not to settle in an particular place, but to travel among the infant churches, and travel among the infant churches, and ordain ordinary officers, and finish what the apostles had begun. Of this kind were Philip the deacon, Mark, Silas, &c.  Acts 21:8 . The title of evangelist is more particularly given to the four inspired writers of our Saviour's life.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [10]

One who proclaims good news, either by preaching or writing. There were originally evangelists or preachers who, without being fixed to any church, preached wherever they were led by the Holy Spirit, like some missionaries in our own day,  Ephesians 4:11 . Such was Philip,  Acts 21:8 . Timothy also is exhorted to "do the work of an evangelist," because they were the writers of the four gospels, which bring to all men the glad tidings of eternal salvation.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(n.) A bringer of the glad tidings of Church and his doctrines. Specially: (a) A missionary preacher sent forth to prepare the way for a resident pastor; an itinerant missionary preacher. (b) A writer of one of the four Gospels (With the definite article); as, the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. (c) A traveling preacher whose efforts are chiefly directed to arouse to immediate repentance.

King James Dictionary [12]

EVAN'GELIST, n. A writer of the history, or doctrines, precepts, actions, life and death of our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ as the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

1. A preacher or publisher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, licensed to preach, but not having charge of a particular church.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Ephesians 4:11 Acts 21:8

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

( Εὐαγγελιστής ), the name of an order or body of men included in the constitution of the Apostolical Church (q.v.). The term is applied in the New Testament to a certain class of Christian teachers who were not fixed to any particular spot, but traveled either independently, or under the direction of one or other of the apostles, for the purpose of propagating the Gospel. The absence of any detailed account of the organization and practical working of the Church of the first century leaves us in some uncertainty as to their functions and position. The meaning of the name, "The publishers of glad tidings," seems common to the work of the Christian ministry generally, yet in  Ephesians 4:11 the "evangelists" appear, on the one hand, after the "apostles" and "prophets;" on the other, before the "pastors" and "teachers" (thus: Αὐτὸς Ἔδωκε Τοὺς Μὲν Αποστόλους , Τοὺς Δὲ Προφήτας , Τοὺς Δὲ Εὐαγγελιστάς , Τοὺς Δὲ Ποιμένας Καὶ Διδασκάλους ). Assuming that the apostles here, whether limited to the twelve or not, are those who were looked upon as the special delegates and representatives of Christ, and therefore higher than all others in their authority, and that the prophets were men speaking under the immediate impulse of the Spirit words that were mighty in their effects on men's hearts and consciences, it would follow that the evangelists had a function subordinate to theirs, yet more conspicuous; and so far higher than that, of the pastors who watched over a church that had been founded, and of the teachers who carried on the work of systematic instruction. This passage, accordingly, would lead us to think of them as standing between the two other groups sent forth as missionary preachers of the Gospel by the first, and as such preparing the way for the labors of the second.

The same inference would seem to follow the occurrence of the word as applied to Philip in  Acts 21:18. He had been one of those who had gone everywhere "preaching" ( Εὐαγγελιζόμενοι ) the word ( Acts 8:4), now in one city, now in another ( Acts 8:40); but he has not the power or authority of an apostle, does not speak as a prophet himself, though the gift of prophecy belongs to his four daughters ( Acts 21:9), and he exercises apparently no pastoral superintendence over any portion of the flock. The omission of evangelists in the list of 1 Corinthians 12 may be explained on the hypothesis that the nature of Paul's argument led him there to speak of the settled organization of a given local Church, which of course presupposed the work of the missionary preacher as already accomplished, while the train of thought in  Ephesians 4:11 brought before his mind all who were in any way instrumental in building up the Church universal. It follows, from what has been said, that the calling of the evangelist is expressed by the word Κηρύσσειν , "preach," rather than Διδάσκειν , "teach," or Παρακαλεῖν , "exhort;" it is the proclamation of the glad tidings to those who have not known them, rather than the instruction and pastoral care of those who have believed and been baptized. This is also what we gather from  2 Timothy 4:2;  2 Timothy 4:5. Timotheus is "to preach the word;" in doing this he is to fulfill " the work of an evangelist." It follows, also, that the name denotes a work rather than an Order. The evangelist might or might not be a bishop-elder or a deacon.

The apostles, so far as they evangelized ( Acts 8:25;  Acts 14:7;  1 Corinthians 1:17), might claim the title, though there were many evangelists who were not apostles. The brother "whose praise was in the Gospel", ( 2 Corinthians 8:18) may be looked upon as one of Paul's companions in this work, and probably known by the same name, in short, the itinerant and temporary character of their calling chiefly serves to distinguish them from the other classes of Christian laborers. In this, as in other points connected with the organization of the. Church in the apostolic age, but little information is to be gained from later writers. The name was no longer explained by the presence of those to whom it had been specially applied, and it came to be variously interpreted. Theodoret (on  Ephesians 4:11) describes the evangelists (as they have been described above) as traveling missionaries. Chrysostom, as men who preached the Gospel; but without going everywhere ( Μὴ Περιϊ v Οντες Πανταχοῦ ); by which he probably denotes a restricted sphere to their labors, in contrast with the world-wide commission of the apostles. The account given by Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:37), though somewhat rhetorical and vague, gives prominence to the idea of itinerant missionary preaching. Referring to the state of the Church in the time of Trajan, he says, "Many of the disciples of that time, whose souls the divine word had inspired with an ardent love of philosophy, first fulfilled our Savior's precept by distributing their substance among the poor. Then traveling abroad, they performed the work of evangelists ( Ἔργον Ἐπετέλουν Εὐαγγελιστῶν ), being ambitious to preach Christ, and deliver the Scripture of the divine Gospels. Having laid the foundations of the faith in foreign nations, they appointed other pastors ( Ποιμἑνας Το Καθιστάντες Ἑτέρους ), to whom they entrusted the cultivation of the parts they had recently occupied, while they proceeded to other countries and nations." One clause of this description indicates a change in the work, which before long affected the meaning of the name.

If the Gospel was a written book, and the office of the evangelists was to read .or distribute it, then the writers of such books were Κατ᾿ Ἐξοχήν The evangelists. It is thus, accordingly, that Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:39) speaks of them, though the old meaning of the word (as in Hist.  Ecclesiastes 5:10, where he applies it to Pantaenus) is not forgotten by him. Soon this meaning so overshadowed the old that OEcumenius (Estius on  Ephesians 4:11) has no other notion of the evangelists than as those who have written a Gospel (compare Harless on  Ephesians 4:11). Augustine, though commonly using the word in this sense, at times remembers its earlier signification (Sermoni 99 and 246). Ambrosianus (Estius, 1.C.) identifies them with deacons. In later liturgical language the work was applied to the reader of the Gospel for the day (comp. Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, book 78:7, 9). In modern phraseology the term is almost exclusively applied to the writers of the canonical Gospels (q.v.). See Campbell's Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, 1:148150; Neander's History of the Planting of the Christian Church, 1:173; Middelboc, De evangelistis ecclesice apostolica (Hafn. 1779); Schaff, Apostolical Church, § 131.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

ē̇ - van´jel - ist  : This is a form of the word ordinarily translated "gospel" (εὐαγγέλιον , euaggélion ), except that here it designates one who announces that gospel to others ( εὐαγγελιστής , euaggelistḗs , "a bringer of good tidings"), literally, God Himself is an evangelist, for He "preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham" ( Galatians 3:8 ); Jesus Christ was an evangelist, for He also "preached the gospel" ( Luke 20:1 ); Paul was an evangelist as well as an apostle ( Romans 1:15 ); Philip the deacon was an evangelist ( Acts 21:8 ); and Timothy, the pastor ( 2 Timothy 4:5 ); and indeed all the early disciples who, on being driven out of Jerusalem, "went everywhere preaching the word" ( Acts 8:4 the King James Version).

But  Ephesians 4:11 teaches that one particular order of the ministry, distinguished from every other, is singled out by the Head of the church for this work in a distinctive sense. All may possess the gift of an evangelist in a measure, and be obligated to exercise its privilege and duty, but some are specially endued with it. "He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."

It will be seen that as an order in the ministry, the evangelist precedes that of the pastor and teacher, a fact which harmonizes with the character of the work each is still recognized as doing. The evangelist has no fixed place of residence, but moves about in different localities, preaching the gospel to those ignorant of it before. As these are converted and united to Jesus Christ by faith, the work of the pastor and teacher begins, to instruct them further in the things of Christ and build them up in the faith.

At a later time, the name of "evangelist" was given the writers of the four Gospels because they tell the story of the gospel and because the effect of their promulgation at the beginning was very much like the work of the preaching evangelist. In character, the Gospels bear something of the same relation to the Epistles as evangelists bear to pastors and teachers.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [16]

A name given in the early Church to one whose office it was to persuade the ignorant and unbelieving into the fold of the Church.