Have you ever heard of the Wordless Book? When I asked this to the middle school group at my church, the answer I got was, “...It’s a book...without words?...” After several tries, it was clear that none of them had ever heard of the Wordless Book as I was intending. So as I handed out “wordless book” bracelets to them, I told them, “Well, this isn’t a book, and it does have words on it, but it carries the same meaning.” (Bracelets available on Amazon here).
Growing up, I encountered the Wordless Book as a small book created from 5-6 colors of construction paper, each with a specific meaning. It was intended to be used as a simple way to explain the gospel to nonbelievers. If you search for images of wordless book on Google, you can see all kinds of ideas: construction paper or felt books, bracelets, caterpillars, shirts, bookmarks, and so much more.
Here’s what each of the colors mean, along with some verses to support them.
In the Wordless Book, sin is represented by the color black because of verses like John 3:19-20:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
The Bible clearly states that evil deeds (sin) like the darkness. And, of course, darkness is black. It is the absence of light, similar to evil being the absence of God’s light in our life.
So we have all sinned, and the price we have to pay for that is death. That sounds pretty harsh. But the Bible has some good news for us.
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We often describe Jesus’ death as Jesus “shedding his blood” for us. Because red is the color of blood, Jesus’ death on the cross is represented by the color red.
But what does Jesus’ death have to do with sin? In John 3:16, it says,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The wages of sin is death – but if we believe in Jesus, we will not perish. We will not have to pay that ultimate price for our sin. Instead, we get the gift of eternal life.
What does John 3:16 say is the key to eternal life? We must believe in God’s only Son – we must have faith.
The blue page of the Wordless Book represents faith (or repentance, if you go by the bracelet). Romans 10:9 states,
If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
So we are saved just by believing that Jesus died for us on the cross and that his death paid the penalty for our sin. When we receive this gift, we should be prompted to make an inner change. This comes from repentance.
Repentance involves confessing our sins and turning away from them. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Once we repent of our sins, God wipes them away and purifies us. 1 John 1:9 says,
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
This purity is represented by the color white based on verses such as Psalm 51:7: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Is this a one-time thing? Does this mean we will never sin again? No. We are human. We will still fail. We will still sin. But the more we confess our sins, the more we will become aware of them, and awareness is the first step to change.
In addition to confessing our sins, we should also want to continue to grow in our relationship with God. The goal of the Christian life should be to continually become more like Christ. And what is the best way to do this? 2 Peter 3:18 says,
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We grow by spending time with God, and when we spend time with him, we learn more about him. Just as plants grow when they gain nutrients from the soil, we grow as Christians when we gain nutrients from God’s word, from prayer, and from fellowship with other believers.
And what is your reward for believing in God? For repenting of your sins and growing in him? As we saw in John 3:16, our reward is eternal life. This is reiterated in the last half of Romans 6:23. The verse starts out with the bad news and ends with the good news:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This eternal life means spending eternity in heaven with Jesus.
Why is heaven represented by the color gold? In the book of Revelation, when describing heaven, it says, “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass” (Revelation 21:18) and “The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21). But the streets of gold aren’t the best part of heaven. The best part is that God is there, and we can spend eternity in his presence.
If you do this study with a group, consider discussing these questions after the main lesson. Or answer these questions on your own.
Why is it important to understand that we are sinners and need a Savior?
If someone asked you how to be saved, what would you say?
Have 2-3 people (or more, depending on time) volunteer to explain what the different colors of the wordless book mean.
Read these verses and discuss which colors are supported by each one.