Favorite Quotes on Bible Study


“Body parts make sense only in relation to a whole human; and every Bible text is understood only in relation to the whole Bible.” ~ F.F. Bruce

“The analogy of faith is the rule that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.”  ~ R.C. Sproul

“Isn’t is amazing that almost everyone has an opinion to offer about the Bible, and yet so few have studied it?” ~ R.C. Sproul

“When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God, it’s with me.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“One of the great realities of the Bible is the way its story connects with our story at our point of deepest need.” ~ Anonymous

“The shortest road to an understanding of the Bible is the acceptance of the fact that God is speaking in every line.” ~ Donald G. Barnhouse

“We do not worship the Bible, but in the Word of God written, in a sense we have God in a book. In Jesus, we have God in a body. In the Bible, God is on a page. In Jesus God is a person. In the Bible, God is on a leaf; in Jesus, God is in a life. The living and the printed word, then are twin records of God in this world.” ~ John Bisagno

“If you reject the Bible, you will reject Jesus Christ. If you believe the Bible, you will accept Him. He is the subject of it.” ~ James Montgomery Boice

“Don’t say God is silent when your Bible is closed.” ~ Matt Brown

“Rebellion against the Word of God is rebellion against the God whose word it is.” ~ Kevin DeYoung

“If I can twist the Bible to make it say anything I want it to then it is no longer God speaking to me, it’s just me talking to myself.” ~ Joshua Harris

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” ~ Jerome

“The fact that God’s Word is alive can be seen in the life it produces in all who take it up and act on its instructions.” ~ Walter Kaiser

“The Bible tells us foolishness is a proud willfulness that keeps us from learning, form seeing the evidence.” ~ Tim Keller

“Unless you have an authoritative view of the Bible, you’ve got a God you created and you’re going to be lonely.” ~ Tim Keller

“The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.”  ~ Tim Keller

“If we believe he is who he said he was, then we must accept the entire Bible as God’s word.” ~ Tim Keller

“So Jesus’ authority & the absolute authority of the Bible stand or fall together.” Tim Keller

“If you only obey God’s Word when it seems reasonable or profitable to you – well, that isn’t really obedience at all.” ~ Tim Keller

“When you’re interpreting the Scriptures, the clear parts should inform the murkier parts.” ~ Tim Keller

“We need to remember to rely not only the Word of the Lord, but also on the Lord of the Word.” ~ Tim Keller

“We need to see the Bible as a Story with principles sprinkled throughout, as opposed to a book of doctrines sprinkled with stories.” ~ Tim Keller

“There are, in the end, only two ways to read the Bible: Is it basically about me or basically about Jesus?” ~ Tim Keller

“If Jesus didn’t think he could handle life without knowing the Scripture inside and out, what makes you think you can?” ~ Tim Keller

“It can, and perhaps ought to be, read cover to cover—as you might read any other book. In fact, the Bible can be read, at a speaking speed, in approximately eighty hours. This means it takes no more than thirteen minutes per day to read through the Bible from start to finish in a year; this is less time than is given over to commercials in one hour of television.” ~ Jerry Root , Introduction in the C.S. Lewis Study Bible, p. xxii.

“Ignorance of Scripture is the root of every error in religion, and the source of every heresy.” ~ J.C. Ryle

“Scripture is not man-centered as though salvation were the main theme, but it is God-centered because His glory is the center.” ~ C. Ryrie

“The Bible teaches that salvation is not an end in itself but is rather a means to the end of glorifying God.” ~ C.C. Ryrie

“We come to Scripture each day to discover where we are not listening, not assure ourselves we are right.” ~ Pete Scazzero

“Only a strong view of Scripture can withstand the pressure of relativistic thinking.” ~ Francis Schaeffer

“If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, it’s natural not to want to miss a word of it.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“Take away the Scriptures and you take away Jesus, take away Jesus and you take away life.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“The more I expose myself to the Word of God, the greater my faith will be.” ~ R. C. Sproul

“The word of God can be in the mind without being in the heart, but it cannot be in the heart without first being in the mind.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“There is an inseparable relationship between your affection for Christ and your affection for the Scriptures.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“The greatest weakness in the church today is no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything but that in which God has placed it—His Word.” ~ R.C. Sproul

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”  ~ R.C. Sproul

“The Word of God, whether it is preached and heard or read and memorized, is more than simply true. It is effectual.” ~ Sam Storms

“The Bible isn’t about people trying to discover God, but about God reaching out to find us.” ~ John R.W. Stott

“The Word of God comes to us most effectively in the context of community.” ~ Steve Timmis

“The Bible is a narrative, it tells us everything we need to know about mid-life concerns. The Bible is the great story of redemption that encompasses the stories of every human life. It is the overarching ‘everything’ story. It is comprehensive in scope without being exhaustive in content. It gives us wisdom for everything without directly discussing every particular thing.” (Paul Tripp, Lost In the Middle, Loc. 74)

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. — Moses, in Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. — R.C. Sproul

To get the full flavor of an herb, it must be pressed between the fingers, so it is the same with the Scriptures; the more familiar they become, the more they reveal their hidden treasures and yield their indescribable riches. — John Chrysostom, A.D. 347-407

The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.— Augustine, A.D. 354-430

Though our covetous clerics are altogether carried away by bribery, heresy, and many other sins, and though they despise and oppose the scripture, as much as they can, yet the common people cry out for the scripture, to know it, and obey it, with great cost and peril to their lives — Prologue to the Wyclif Bible, c. 1395.

Mark the plain and manifest places of the Scriptures, and in doubtful places see thou add no interpretation contrary to them; but (as Paul saith) let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith. — William Tyndale, Preface to the New Testament, 1526.

Our malicious and wily hypocrites … with wresting the scripture unto their own purpose clean contrary unto the process, order, and meaning of the text … so delude [the laymen] in descanting upon it with allegories, and amaze them expounding it in many senses before the unlearned lay people (when it hath but one simple literal sense whose light the owls cannot abide), that though thou feel in thine heart and art sure how that all is false that they say, yet couldest thou not solve their subtle riddles. Which thing only moved me to translate the New Testament. Because I had perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to stablish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text. — William Tyndale, Preface to the Pentateuch, 1530.

Again, it shall greatly help thee to understand scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and unto whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstance, considering what goeth before, and what followeth after. For there be some things which are done and written, to the intent that we should do likewise: as when Abraham believeth God, is obedient unto his word, and defendeth Lot his kinsman from violent wrong. There be some things also which are written, to the intent that we should eschew such like. As when David lieth with Urias’ wife, and causeth him to be slain. Therefore (I say) when thou readest scripture, be wise and circumspect: and when thou commest to such strange manners of speaking and dark sentences, to such parables and similitudes, to such dreams or visions as are hid from thy understanding, commit them unto God or to the gift of his holy spirit in them that are better learned than thou. — Miles Coverdale, Preface to the Bible, 1535.

But still ye will say I can not understand it. What marvel? How shouldest thou understand, if thou wilt not read, nor look upon it? Take the books into thine hands, read the whole story, and that thou understandest, keep it well in memory; that thou understandest not, read it again, and again. If thou can neither so come by it, counsel with some other that is better learned. Go to thy curate and preacher; show thyself to be desirous to know and learn, and I doubt not but God – seeing thy diligence and readiness (if no man else teach thee) – will himself vouchsafe with his holy spirit to illuminate thee, and to open unto thee that which was locked from thee. — Thomas Cranmer, Preface to the Great Bible, 1540.

And considering how hard a thing it is to understand the holy Scriptures, and what errors, sects, and heresies grow daily for lack of the true knowledge thereof, and how many are discouraged (as they pretend) because they cannot attain to the true and simple meaning of the same, we have also endeavored both by the diligent reading of the best commentaries, and also by the conference with the godly and learned brethren, to gather brief annotations upon all the hard places, as well for the understanding of such words as are obscure, and for the declaration of the text, as for the application of the same as may most appertain to God’s glory and the edification of his Church. — Geneva Bible Preface, 1560.

For though, whatsoever things are necessary are manifest, as S. Chrysostom saith, and as S. Augustine, In those things that are plainly set down in the Scriptures, all such matters are found that concern Faith, Hope, and Charity. Yet for all that it cannot be dissembled, that partly to exercise and whet our wits, partly to wean the curious from loathing of them for their every-where plainness, partly also to stir up our devotion to crave the assistance of God’s spirit by prayer, and lastly, that we might be forward to seek aid of our brethren by conference, and never scorn those that be not in all respects so complete as they should be, being to seek in many things ourselves, it hath pleased God in his divine providence, here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness … — King James Version Preface, 1611.

I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri. Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does any thing appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights. “Lord, is it not thy word, If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God? Thou givest liberally and upbraidest not. Thou hast said, if any be willing to do thy will, he shall know. I am willing to do. Let me know thy will.” I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remain, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God: And then, the writings whereby being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach. —John Wesley, Preface to Sermons on Several Occasions, 1746.

In the language of the sacred writings, we may observe the utmost depth, together with the utmost ease. All the elegancies of human composures sink into nothing before it: God speaks not as man, but as God. His thoughts are very deep; and thence his words are of inexhaustible virtue. And the language of his messengers also, is exact in the highest degree: for the words which were given them accurately answered the impression made upon their minds: and hence Luther says, “divinity is nothing but a grammar of the language of the Holy Ghost.” To understand this throughly, we should observe the emphasis which lies on every word; the holy affections expressed thereby, and the tempers shewn by every writer. — John Wesley, Preface to the New Testament, 1754.

THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgement, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. — Anonymous

Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet, and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. It comes into the palace to tell the monarch that he is a servant of the Most High, and into the cottage to assure the peasant that he is a son of God. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life. It has a word of peace for the time of peril, a word of comfort for the time of calamity, a word of light for the hour of darkness. Its oracles are repeated in the assembly of the people, and its counsels whispered in the ear of the lonely. The wicked and the proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and the penitent it has a mother’s voice. The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad by it, and the fire on the hearth has lit the reading of its well-worn pages. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, friendship, sympathy and devotion, memory and hope put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech, breathing of frankincense and myrrh. — Henry van Dyke

The Bible is a corridor between two eternities down which walks the Christ of God; His invisible steps echo through the Old Testament, but we meet Him face to face in the throne room of the New; and it is through that Christ alone, crucified for me, that I have found forgiveness for sins and life eternal. The Old Testament is summed up in the word Christ; the New Testament is summed up in the word Jesus; and the summary of the whole Bible is that Jesus is the Christ. — Bishop Pollock

All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them … The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. — Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647.

In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility. It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. — C.H. Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries, 1890.

Men must interpret to the best of their ability each particular part of Scripture separately, and then combine all that the Scriptures teach upon every subject into a consistent whole, and then adjust their teachings upon different subjects in mutual consistency as parts of a harmonious system. Every student of the Bible must do this, and all make it obvious that they do it by the terms they use in their prayers and religious discourse, whether they admit or deny the propriety of human creeds and confessions. If they refuse the assistance afforded by the statements of doctrine slowly elaborated and defined by the Church, they must make out their own creed by their own unaided wisdom. The real question is not, as often pretended, between the word of God and the creed of man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective body of God’s people, and the private judgment and the unassisted wisdom of the repudiator of creeds.— A. A. Hodge, A Short History of Creeds and Confessions, 1869.

Every one who knows what it is to give a lesson or an address occasionaly on Scripture is aware how the verse or paragraph on which he has had to prepare himself to speak stands out in his Bible afterwards from the rest of the text, as if its letters were embossed on the page. Something thus to awaken the mind and concentrate the attention should be devised by every one; because it is not mere reading, but meditation — “meditation all the day,” as the Psalmist says — which extracts the sweetness and the power out of Scripture. — Dr. James Stalker, How to Study the Bible, 1895.

I had then, and at other times, the greatest delight in the holy Scriptures, of any book whatsoever. Oftentimes in reading it, every word seemed to touch my heart. I felt a harmony between something in my heart, and those sweet powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light, exhibited by every sentence, and such a refreshing ravishing food communicated, that I could not get along in reading. Used oftentimes to dwell long on one sentence, to see the wonders contained in it; and yet almost every sentence seemed to be full of wonders. — Jonathan Edwards, quoted in Jonathan Edwards and the Bible by Robert E. Brown (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), p.3.

Again, we are taught by this passage [John 5:39-40], that if we wish to obtain the knowledge of Christ, we must seek it from the Scriptures; for they who imagine whatever they choose concerning Christ will ultimately have nothing of him but a shadowy phantom. First, then, we ought to believe that Christ cannot be properly known in any other way than from the Scriptures; and if it be so, it follows that we ought to read the Scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them. Whoever shall turn aside from this object, though he may weary himself throughout his whole life in learning, will never attain the knowledge of the truth; for what wisdom can we have without the wisdom of God? Next, as we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, so he declares in this passage that our labors shall not be fruitless; for the Father testifies in them concerning his Son in such a manner that He will manifest him to us beyond all doubt. But what hinders the greater part of men from profiting is, that they give to the subject nothing more than a superficial and cursory glance. Yet it requires the utmost attention, and, therefore, Christ enjoins us to search diligently for this hidden treasure. Consequently, the deep abhorrence of Christ which is entertained by the Jews, who have the Law constantly in their hands, must be imputed to their indolence. For the lustre of the glory of God shines brightly in Moses, but they choose to have a vail to obscure that lustre. — John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel of John (1563).

So then, from this we must gather that to profit much in the holy Scripture we must always resort to our Lord Jesus Christ and cast our eyes upon him, without turning away from him at any time. You will see a number of people who labor very hard indeed at reading the holy Scriptures — they do nothing else but turn over the leaves of it, and yet after ten years they have as much knowledge of it as if they had never read a single line. And why? Because they do not have any particular aim in view, they only wander about. And even in worldly learning you will see a great number who take pains enough, and yet all to no purpose, because they kept neither order nor proportion, nor do anything else but gather material from this quarter and from that, by means of which they are always confused and can never bring anything worthwhile. And although they have gathered together a number of sentences of all sorts, yet nothing of value results from them. Even so it is with them that labor in reading the holy Scriptures and do not know which is the point they ought to rest on, namely, the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.— John Calvin, Sermon on Ephesians 2:19-22 (1559).

Heresy is not so much rejecting as selecting. The heretic simply selects the parts of the Scripture he wants to emphasize and lets the rest go. This is shown by the etymology of the word heresy and by the practice of the heretic. “Beware,” an editorial scribe of the fourteenth century warned his readers in the preface to a book. “Beware thou take not one thing after thy affection and liking, and leave another: for that is the condition of an heretique. But take everything with other.” The old scribe knew well how prone we are to take to ourselves those parts of the truth that please us and ignore the other parts. And that is heresy. —A. W. Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way.

One does not hear God’s word of grace in the Scriptures unless he has decided that this is the word he really needs and wants to hear. He must decide that as he hears he is prepared to submit to the voice of God, to be judged by it and to have it challenge all that he knows and intends. He must understand that what he hears the Bible say can change his very life. Therefore, he cannot come to the New Testament as the disputer, the wise man, the judge over the word of God. He can come only as the child who needs to be made wise by the Wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:18-31). —Glenn W. Barker, The New Testament Speaks (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 18.

It is strange how powerful is the tradition of the pulpit; how often able and thoughtful men will go all their lives taking for granted that an important passage has that meaning which in youth they heard ascribed to it, when the slightest examination would show them that it is far otherwise. —John A. Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons

When I Read the Bible Through

by Amos R. Wells

I supposed I knew my Bible
Reading piecemeal, hit and miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third);
Twelfth of Romans, First of Proverbs
Yes, I thought I knew the Word;
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.

Oh, the massive, mighty volume!
Oh, the treasures manifold!
Oh, the beauty of the wisdom
And the grace it proved to hold!
As the story of the Hebrews
Swept in majesty along,
As it leaped in waves prophetic,
As it burst to sacred song,
As it gleamed with Christly omens,
The Old Testament was new,
Strong with cumulative power,
When I read the Bible through.

Ah! Imperial Jeremiah,
With his keen, coruscant mind;
And the blunt old Nehemiah,
And Ezekiel refined!
Newly came the song idyllic,
And the tragedy of Job;
Deuteronomy, the regal,
To a towering mountain grew,
With its comrade peaks around it
When I read the Bible through.

What a radiant procession
As the pages rise and fall,
James the sturdy, John the tender
Oh, the myriad-minded Paul!
Vast apocalyptic glories
Wheel and thunder, flash and flame,
While the church triumphant raises
One incomparable name.
Ah, the story of the Saviour
Never glows supremely true
Till you read it whole and swiftly,
Till you read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, aweary,
And yawn thro’ a hurried prayer;
You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.

Tolle lege

A man was looking for some guidance from God so he asked God to make his Bible open at the page He wanted him to read. So the man opened his bible randomly and the first verse that his eyes met was 2 Corinthians 13:12, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” A little discouraged he tried again and this time he found himself at 1 Corinthians 14:39 “Do not forbid the use of tongues.”

He tried again the next day, and the first verse he found was Matthew 27:5, “he went and hanged himself.” The next verse was Luke 10:37, “… go and do likewise!”

“Revival on God’s Terms” By Dr. Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

An Exposition of 2 Chronicles 7:14 by Dr. Walter Kaiser*

The verb to revive in our English Bibles is almost exclusively an Old Testament word. It occurs in the NIV only five times in the Old Testament (Pss. 80:18; 85:6; Isa. 57:15; and Hos. 6:2). The sole New Testament occurrences were found in the King James Version of Romans 7:9; 14:9. Thus we are mainly limited to the five passages mentioned in the Old Testament where the Hebrew verb hayah to live,” to recover,” or to revive appears.

The major reference to being revived, of course, is Psalm 85:6. But we must not think that all the references to revival in the Bible will mention this word, for, as we have found out, the Scriptures will refer to the concept of revival without using this word more frequently than it does with it.

Each of the sixteen revivals in the Bible had very distinctive characteristics. Most of them began as one or two individuals saw the need for a heavenly visitation. All of them were addressed in the first place to the body of believers. In fact, five out of seven churches addressed in the Book of Revelation were told to repent and return to God. Therefore, revivals are definitely aimed at the believing church and not at the unsaved. The purpose of these revivals is to call the church back to a new hearing of and responding to the Word of God. It must involve a forsaking of sin, a confession of that sin, and a deep desire to reverse the pattern of spiritual declension and apostasy that has begun to typify that ministry, either locally, regionally, or nationally.

Most will agree that the divine response given to Solomon, when he prayed that great dedicatory prayer, after the completion of the temple of God, forms one of the great hallmarks in Scripture for expecting revival in any period of history. Solomon prayed that God would forgive the sins of Israel when they would confess their guilt, after being visited by some future drought, famine, or pestilence as a result of their sin (2 Chronicles 6:26-31).

God’s reply to Solomon’s petition in 2 Chronicles 7:12-16 was put in such formulaic terms that this response would serve forever after as the basis for true revival and renewal to any people in any nation at any time. The heart of this central text, in the gallery of revival texts, was verse 14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Note that “my people” are identified by the appositional clause “who are called by my name.” Since this clause is used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament for all believers, the scope of this promise goes far beyond Israel to include any and all believers in all times.

The Promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14

Philip R. Newell noted three great facts about this remarkable promise, we will describe here:

(1) The promise is for us today;

(2) The promise is descriptive of current times; and

(3) The promise of deliverance is conditional

(1)  This Promise Is Intended for Us Today

This promise was originally given to the nation of Israel. However, the qualifying clause that immediately follows the references to my people is one that opens up this promise to more than the Jewish people—it was the clause that read, “who are called by my name.” That phraseology is used to describe everyone who has become part of the family of God and over whom God had put his protective name.

We also have assurance from Romans 15:4 that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of Scriptures [which up to this point, was only the Old Testament] we might have hope.” Likewise, 1 Corinthians 10:11 exhorts, “These things happened to them [i.e.’ to the Old Testament saints] as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.”

It is incumbent on us to apply these same words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to our own times, nation, churches, and families, as did the ancient Israelites. The principles by which God operates his kingdom remain the same; we dare not assume less.

(2) The Promise Is Descriptive of Current Times

The conditions of 2 Chronicles 7:13 imply that when national disasters begin to afflict a nation, people, or group of believers, it is time to ask what it is that God is trying to say to them or to us. Naturally, one emergency or disaster cannot automatically be converted into the voice of God, for there are more factors at work in this world than reducing them all to a single factor; there is, however, that which is sinful and wicked. Ask Job about his experiences along this line. But when those tragedies start coming in a series, such as Amos 4:6-12 illustrated, then it is high time for the believer to sit up and take notice. Be sure that God is calling a nation away from unrighteousness and back to himself. In Amos’s case, God sent first famine (Amos 4:6), then drought (v.7-8), then locusts, blight, and mildew (v. 9), then plagues similar to the ones that hit Egypt (v. 10), and finally the defeat of some of their cities (v. 11); but in each case the sad refrain was, “yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD” (vv. 6b, 8b, 9b, 10b, 11b). Not one of the calamities of that day forced any of the people of God to turn back to Him.

And because the people had not returned to the Lord, there would not only be no revival; the nation would exist no longer as well: “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (v. 12). Many have taken this verse to be a salvation text, for one used to see it out in the countryside printed on large oval discs as one drove along: “Prepare to Meet Your God!” Unfortunately, that is not what the prophet of God meant here; he meant that since there was not repentance, or heeding to the national signs of disaster that were lovingly sent to those who had ignored the Word of God written and announced by his messengers, God would be obligated to send his wrath and judgment on that nation.

Likewise, God warned Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:13, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,” then it was time that Israel met the four conditions of the famous verse 14 in 2 Chronicles 7.

The question needs to be asked by every generation and culture: Have we yet reached the point described in verse 13? Only the Lord knows for sure, but one would hardly need the skills of a prophet to conclude that the current pace of evil in America has accelerated to such a rate that it is almost a foregone conclusion that God must intervene with unusual punishment soon, if an immediate repentance to God and a revival from God is to prevent such a judgment from falling on any one of the modern nations of our day.

It is not necessary to spiritualize the drought, famine, or pestilence of verse 13 in order to make the principle of this text applicable to our times, as Newell apparently decided to do. Those spiritual declensions follow the other forms of ethical, moral, and legislative deteriorations already mentioned: both are just as real and of equal importance to our Lord.

(3) The Promise of Deliverance Is Conditional

 It is all too easy in these days of stressing the love and grace of our Lord (which is correct and legitimate in and of itself, of course) to ignore the stipulated conditions attached to our participating in the blessings of God. The four conditions mentioned in this text were not of human origin, but divine. This was God’s word to Solomon but it is nonetheless his word to us as well.

Some will object: “But this is yet another form of legalism.” However, that would be wrong, for legalism is the attempt to earn our salvation by working for it—a form that is totally antithetical to Scripture. Salvation is God’s free gift; it cannot be earned in any shape or form.

But if we are talking about fellowship and communion with our Lord, then let it be noted that God cannot be present or work where sin is present. That is why revival is called for under such circumstances.

The conditionality of “If my people…will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” is no more offensive than John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me”: or John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” The conditions, then, were not for entrance into heaven or possessing eternal life, but for the maintenance of fellowship and communion, and for the enjoyment of life to its fullness in these mortal bodies.

The old hymn writer said it best: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” And if that is true of an individual, it is also true for a nation and church denominations as well.

The Four Conditions of 2 Chronicles 7:14

(1) “If My People Humble Themselves”

So large is the topic of humbling ourselves in the Old Testament that there are more than a dozen Hebrew words translating this single word humble, with over eighty references. The one used in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is ‘kana’, meaning to subdue,” as Gideon subdued Midian (Judges 8:28). The picture is one of bending the knee or bending the neck in deference to another.

God calls for his people to render to him complete and voluntary subjection. The precedent for doing this is to be found in the example of our Lord in Philippians 2:8, where Jesus humbled himself.” Those who follow our Lord must be willing to deny themselves and take up his or her cross and follow Christ (Matt. 16:24).

Humbling ourselves, then, is a voluntary denial of every impulse we have to exalt ourselves instead of following the pattern set by the world. We must go into spiritual bankruptcy (“Blessed are the poor in spirit”) if we are to have the mind-set and frame of thinking that was in our Lord Jesus (Phil. 2:5).

The two revivals in 2 Chronicles indicate that more is intended by this condition of humbling ourselves.” Both Rehoboam and Josiah had to come to the point of saying that if God did not extricate them from the trouble they were in, then no one or nothing else would be able to help them.

That is the point to which the modern church must also come. God dwells with those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, reviving their spirits and reviving the hearts of those who are contrite (Isaiah 57:15).

(2) “If My People Will Pray

There are ten different words for payer in the Hebrew text, but the one used here focuses on intercession. It is well illustrated by Samuel, who assures God’s people, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23).

S.D. Gordon, in his Quiet Talks on Prayer, combines the various forms of prayer into three groups: petition, communion, and intercession. Most Christians know how to petition God in prayer, for that is what we do best. Like little children, we are always asking—and the Lord does not rebuke us for doing so. Fewer believers have learned about staying in God’s presence in order to commune with him and to meditate on the things of God. The joy of worshipful adoration of the Most High God and Lord of lords often goes unclaimed by many who stay in prayer only for a passing minute or two.

But the work of entering into prayer as a ministry of intercession, praying for the world and its problems and needs, is a task that is rarely entered into by believers. In intercession we participate with God in the great conflict between God and our archenemy, the devil. True intercession takes the persons and places in the world where evil is assaulting the kingdom of God and pleads that the strong hand of God might defeat evil. It prays that the lost might see the glorious offer of grace given by our Lord Jesus and that they might come to trust him personally.

Just as Jehoshaphat was taught to stand still and pray for the defeat of the enemy, so too we need to prepare for the work we attempt to do in God’s name by means of intercessory prayer. When Moses’ hands were held high in prayer by Aaron and Hur, Amalek was vanquished, and forces fell back in defeat. But when Moses dropped his hands out of exhaustion, thereby relaxing in his prayer for Joshua and the troops engaged in the conflict on the valley floor, the enemy surged forward against the forces of good (Exod. 17:8-15). This is the lesson the church needs to learn in all our current skirmishes with evil. This does not mean that this is all we must do, for that could be an easy excuse to exempt us from getting our hands dirty in the various services for Christ. But if this is not the very atmosphere in which God’s work goes forward, then we must count on being soundly thrashed by the present world system in our families, our churches, our courts, and our nations. Mark it well: where intercession goes thin or ceases altogether, there the saints and the churches drift into spiritual lethargy, and the forces of evil have a field day in the culture.

The weapons our Lord gave for our warfare are only two: (1) “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” and (2) “all kinds of prayer and requests…praying for all the saints…” (Eph. 6:17-18). No other provisions are needed for us to successfully thwart the devil’s attacks.

Newell quoted from both Alexander Whyte and Andrew Murray on this matter of prayer. Cried Whyte,

My brethren, will nothing teach you to pray? Will all His examples, and all His promises, and all your needs, and cares, and distresses, not teach you to pray? Will you not tell your Savior what a dislike, even to downright antipathy, you have at secret prayer; how little you attempt it, and how soon you are weary of it? Only pray, O you prayerless people of His, and Heaven will soon open to you also, and you will hear your Father’s voice, and the Holy Ghost will descend like a dove upon you” (cited in Philip R. Newell, Revival on God’s Terms: A Consideration of Scriptural Conditions Which God Waits for His People to Fulfill. Chicago: Moody Press, 1959).

Andrew Murray, in the introduction to his book The Ministry of Intercession, urged us to consider the fact that our Lord attempted, in this connection, to get two main truths across to us:

[First] that Christ actually meant prayer to be the great power by which His Church should do its work, and that the neglect of prayer is the great reason the Church has not greater power over the masses in Christian and in heathen countries; [and second] that we have far too little conception of the place that intercession, as distinguished from prayer for ourselves, ought to have the Church and the Christian life (cited in Newell).

Murray continued to express amazement that in Israel’s day, God

Often had to wonder and complain that there was no intercessor, none to stir himself up to take hold of His strength. And He still waits and wonders in our day, that there are not more intercessors, that all His children do not give themselves to this highest and holiest work…Ministers of His gospel complain…that their duties do not allow them to find time for this, which He counts their first, their highest, their most delightful, their alone effective work…His sons and daughters, who have forsaken home and friends for His sake and the gospel’s, come…so short in what He meant to e their abiding strength—receiving day by day all they needed to impart to the…heathen. He wonders to find multitudes of His children who have hardly any conception of what intercession is. He wonders to find multitudes who have learned that it is their duty, and seek to obey it, but confess that they know but little of taking hold upon God or prevailing with Him (Cited in Newell).

Is it not clear that we ought to pray, and to pray in an intercessory way? What a wonderful discovery it would be if we should suddenly come to the end of all of our attempts to bypass this most inexorable condition, and if we concluded that the condition of praying was what we needed to meet for God to act in our day on our behalf! The world would be changed like it had never been changed in our lifetime.

(3) “If My People Will Seek My Face”

Some things we long for so much that we can almost taste them. But what of our desire to seek God’s face?

The “face” of God signifies not his literal face, for, as Scripture often reminds us, no one can see God’s face and still live (e.g., Exod. 33:20). What the “face” of God signifies is the joy and the benefits that come from experiencing his presence, his approval, and his communion with the likes of humanity.

So how can we go about seeking his presence, communion, and approval? By drawing near to him, advises James 4:8. That is how God is able to draw near to us.

But how can we draw near to God if we have unclean hands and an impure heart (Ps. 24:3-4)? We must forsake our wicked ways and our unrighteous thought (Isa. 55:7) and ask for the cleansing work of God’s forgiveness to take place (2 John 1:9).

Only as we abide in Christ are we able to bear fruit (John 15). So, if we are raised with Christ, we must seek those things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3:1). That is where we will find fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11), for when we seek our Lord with all our heart, then he will be found, promised Jeremiah (29:13).

(4) “If My People Will Turn from Their Wicked Ways”

The fourth and final condition that would allow revival to take place, in the sovereign plan of God, is if God’s people would turn from their sin by repenting of the evil they have done. If there is no turning from evil, the genuineness of the confession of sin must be doubted. Newell quotes a bit of quaint verse from another century that admonished us about this very need for being authentic and genuine in our request for forgiveness.

‘Tis not to cry God mercy, or to sit

And droop, or to confess that thou hast failed;

‘Tis to bewail the sins thou didst commit –

And not commit those sins thou has bewailed.

He that bewails, and not forsakes them too,

Confesses rather what he means to do.

Jacob was told that he had to put away the idols that were in his household and to be clean if he wished to experience the blessing of God and his reviving power (Gen. 35:1-4). Likewise, Joshua commanded the nation of Israel that they also had to “throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:14). No less insistent was the prophet Isaiah when he also rebuked Israel by saying, “Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!” (Isa. 1:16b-17a). And in the very same train of thought came John the Baptist declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near…Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:2a, 8). The whole case built by all of those we have mentioned can be summarized by the apostle Paul’s injunction, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Tim. 2:19c).

God wants us to be clean persons, channels through which his blessings, witness, and interventions in this sinful world can flow. But if we are to be clean, we must renounce all bitterness, wrath, malice, harshness, unforgiving spirits, filthiness, and immorality; in short, anything that would “give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:27) in our lives, in our churches, in our families, and in our nation.

If the constant and key cry of the prophets of the Old Testament was for the people to “turn,” and “return to the Lord,” can the constant cry of our hearts be any less than that in our day?


There is only one conclusion that we can draw from all these matters. We all agree that our nations and we are in desperate need of revival. We also agree that if God does not intervene we are headed for a time of divine judgment; probably, such as we have never seen before. So what is this one logical conclusion to which we believers must all come? It is the one found in John 13:17- “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

About the Author: Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is the distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; A History of Israel; The Messiah in the Old Testament; Recovering the Unity of the Bible; The Promise-Plan of God; Preaching and Teaching The Last Things; and coauthored (with Moises Silva) An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser’s website is www.walterckaiserjr.com. This article is adapted from the Epilogue is his outstanding book Revive Us Again, Nashville, B&H, 1999.

Book Review: Preaching and Teaching the Last Things by Walter Kaiser

Walter Kaiser is a gifted Old Testament scholar who has the keen ability to be able to communicate well among lay people and scholars alike. In this new offering Dr. Kaiser does not disappoint. This book is especially geared toward pastors, but is also extremely helpful for all those who teach and desire to understand the Old Testament and it’s connections to the New Testament and the ultimate promise plan of God.

Dr. Kaiser lands somewhere between a “covenant” and “dispensational” theologian – in my opinion he is very balanced and makes an excellent case for each passage he exegetes. He definitely leans dispensational – taking passages and promises to Israel literally unless there is a textual indicator deeming otherwise.

The book is composed of six parts – covering different aspects of the end times. Each of these parts contains two or three passages of Scripture, and is broken down in this way:

1)   A discussion of the topic.

2)   Specific exegetical and sermonic helps for the specific passage being taught including: the text; title; focal point; homiletical key word; interrogative question; and teaching aim.

3)   A teaching outline for the passage.

4)   An exegetical discussion of the passage.

5)   Practical conclusions based on a thorough exegesis of the passage.

Here are the topics that Kaiser addresses in the book with thorough exegetical and insightful precision:

Part 1: The Individual and General Eschatology of the Old Testament

  1. Life and Death in the Old Testament (Psalm 49:1-20)
  2. The resurrection of Mortals in the Old Testament (Job 19:21-27)

Part 2: The Nation of Israel in Old Testament Eschatology

  1. The Everlasting Promises made to Israel (Jeremiah 32:27-44)
  2. The Future Resurrection and Reunification of the Nation (Ezekiel 37:1-28)
  3. The Future Return of Israel to the Land of Promise (Zechariah 10:2-12)

Part 3: The New Davidic King and the City of the great King in the Old Testament

  1. The Branch of the Lord and the New Zion (Isaiah 2:2-5; 4:2-6)
  2. The Extent of Messiah’s Rule and Reign (Psalm 72:1-17)

Part 4: The Day of the Lord and the Beginning of the Nations’ Struggle with Israel

  1. The Arrival of the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:28-3:21)
  2. God and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39)

Part 5: The Events of the Last Seven Years and the Arrival of the Western Confederacy

10. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27)

11. The New Coming Third Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:1-41:26; 43:1-11)

12. The Coming Antichrist (Daniel 11:36-45)

13. The Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 14:1-21)

Part 6: The Coming Millennial Rule of Christ and the Arrival of the Eternal State

14. The Millennial Rule and Reign of God (Isaiah 24:1-23)

15. The New Creation (Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:18-24)

I think this book is a welcome addition to any Bible student’s collection – especially due to the neglect of roughly 20-25% of the Bible being of a prophetic nature. Those of us who teach and preach God’s Word are required to teach the “whole counsel of God.” My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen him draw more parallels in the passages to Christ and how the gospel applies to believers in the here and now – and not solely in the past or future (read Tim Keller or Paul Tripp for excellence in this matter). Overall, I think it’s an excellent resource with wise insights into God’s Word and how His promise plan will ultimately be fulfilled.

*Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is the distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; A History of Israel; The Messiah in the Old Testament; Recovering the Unity of the Bible; The Promise-Plan of God; Preaching and Teaching The Last Things; and coauthored (with Moises Silva) An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser’s website: www.walterckaiserjr.com

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