The Relationship between Revival and the Bible

The final two pages of J. N. Morris’s study on the history of spiritual renewal (Renewed by the Word: The Bible and Christian Revival Since the Reformation) draw a clear relationship between revival and the Bible. Morris’s comments are worth the two minutes it will take you to read them:

“If it is the conviction that Jesus Christ is with them still that has inspired Christians in successive periods of renewal, what has given specific shape to these movements of renewal? It is above all the Bible. What Christians know about Jesus and his gospel of salvation they know through the Bible. The ultimate authority for Christians in all matters of dispute is the Bible. The ultimate sources of knowledge of God for Christians is the Bible. Jesus, described in John’s Gospel as the Word, meets us in the text of Scripture that is also the Word of God. Christians have drawn great insight from other sources, including the history and traditions of the Church, human reason, and human experience. The significance of these things in Christian history should never be underestimated. But they have always had to be receive in relation to the truth Christian have seen in Scripture….

The fact of conflict has to be acknowledged. Yet what is striking is the willingness of Christians again and again to re-root their faith in Scripture. The Bible lies at the very center of the great movements of church history. Through its sacred texts, Christians encountered again and again the Christ of their faith. The Bible was at once a fearfully authoritative book, and an intensely personal one. It gave a worldwide institution, the Church, the norms that became embedded in a great system of law. Yet it was a book for every person. In reading or hearing its words, and reflecting on them in their hearts, Jesus of Nazareth came to inhabit the faith of ordinary people.

The history of the Christian Church is the history of the people of the book of the Bible. The great waves of revivalism that have made the churches of our world were inspired by these ancient texts, these living witnesses to the history of the savior who walked in Palestine, and lived and died and rose again for humankind. Tracing the story of these great movements of revival, we are tracing the story of ordinary Christians’ passion for the Bible.”

For more, see my book, Bible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One Book

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