“He really makes the Bible come alive!”
Have you ever heard that about a preacher, speaker, teacher, or writer?
People could mean several different things by that statement. Perhaps they mean the teacher is exciting. They have a dynamic presentation. Or maybe they make the Scriptures seem particularly relevant. Maybe they help us understand things from the Scripture that we hadn’t before. They use a lot of eye-opening illustrations.
Those are all good traits. Years ago, at a former location, a Christian radio station ran a program from a local pastor who spoke in a monotone. I used to turn off the radio when his program came on. I actually got angry at him and thought, “Doesn’t the Bible deserve better treatment than that?” Then I got convicted of a wrong attitude. The man had been a pastor and had this program for years, so he obviously had listeners. Maybe some people like monotones, who knows.
But here’s the thing: we don’t make the Bible come alive. It IS alive.
Jesus said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63, ESV).
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, ESV).
We’re the ones that need to be made alive. And what enlivens us? I like the King James word “Quicken,” which sometimes means to make alive, sometimes revive. God quickens us with His Word:
My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Psalm 119:25)
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalm 119:50)
I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. (Psalm 119:93)
God making us alive through His Word is not surprising, really. He created the universe and everything in it with His Word.
God’s Word can enliven us even if it’s read in a monotone.
That doesn’t mean we should be careless when we read, explain, or teach from it. There’s no virtue in reading the Bible in a monotone or presenting it in a dull way if we know better and can help it. We should try to present it in as understandable and winsome a way as possible.
Each of the Bible writers has a style about them: the Holy Spirit gave them the words, yet worked through each of their personalities to express truth.
But we should be careful of our tendencies to follow “exciting” teachers. If they can be exciting and Scripturally accurate, great. But too often, people gravitate towards excitement rather than truth.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV).
The Bible is so full of good truth that convicts, comforts, enlightens, teaches, rejoices our hearts, builds us up. We don’t need to dress it up or manipulate it to make it “interesting.” We just need to show people what it says. And we need to know it well enough to seek teachers who do the same.
Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV)
(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Literary Musing Monday,
Hearth and Soul, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Tea and Word,
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Recharge Wednesday, Wise Woman, Share a Link Wednesday,
Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Faith ‘n Friends.
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