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Bring Back the Word of God

January 29, 2018 McGee with reels_small

Everybody relates to the need to get back on track—to renew our commitment to what we once knew was important, whether that is an exercise routine or a way of eating, or spending, or—especially—to our commitment to spend time with God in His Word. Dr. McGee once said, “Oh, that you and I might put our whole focus and effort on the Word of God. God never promised to bless our programs or methods or activities, but He has promised to bless His Word.”

On the Bible Bus this month, we’re studying 2 Chronicles—a survey of a time in Israel’s history when they were perched on utter extinction. After generations of evil kings, God’s Word was literally buried—absent from the land. But God used the boy-king Josiah to bring the Word of God back to Israel. It’s a beautiful, sobering account of what happens when God’s people take His Word seriously.

Dr. McGee tells us more about it:

When Josiah took the throne, the sun came up again, shining once more in the land. Josiah turns the nation’s attention back to God’s Word and it resulted in the greatest revival these people ever had after David and Solomon. And for a time, it saved the nation (2 Chronicles 34). It is my firm conviction today that the only thing that can save any nation is a turning back to God and His Word. It begins with individuals. Josiah, the man at the top of Israel’s leadership, was confronted with the Word of God and decided to do what was right in God’s sight. The revival began with him.

This is how it happened. When Josiah came to the throne, the temple had not been in use for decades. It had become a sort of warehouse, a storage area for odds and ends. And one day, underneath a pile of rubble, the high priest Hilkiah found the Word of God and it was read to Josiah. Josiah heard the Word of God for the first time! And when he heard the Word of God, he tore his clothes as an expression of deep emotion. Why? Because the Word of God revealed their sin. Without the Word of God they had not realized how far they had strayed from God’s Law.

They had lost the Bible but when they found it, they put it back into their lives and it started a spiritual revival.

Josiah’s heart was tender and humble towards God. “…The king … made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and their soul …. And all the people stood to the covenant” (2 Kings 23:3). The people said that not only would they read the Word of God, they would also walk it—they would live in the manner it prescribed.

We could have revival in many of our churches, but there must be a conviction of sin that only the Word of God can bring. When the Bible brings conviction to the heart, repentance must follow. To repent means to make things right, my friend. Repentance means to turn around and go in the opposite direction. If you are going the wrong way, turn around and go the right way.

The Word of God will show you the way. God promises to guide you (Psalm 32:8). It is the Word of God that is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). There is no shortcut, no easy route, no new method to revival. Don’t turn to the latest book on the Christian experience; most are dead as a doornail. What is the problem? They present a method instead of presenting the Word of God. Get back to the Word of God. We don’t need So-and-so’s book; we need the Bible. We don’t need the book of the month; we need the Book of the ages.

Most people seem to think that if they apply their strategies to the Christian life that things will change. But what we need is some real deep conviction on the inside. We need to recognize our indifference to what God says. Have you told Him today that you love Him? Have you spent time listening to His Word? He is your Savior, my friend, and I am convinced that even in this dark hour, as has happened in the past, we can have a revival. The story of Josiah encourages me. It was in the darkest hour in the life of his nation that people turned back to God and His Word.

Dr. McGee on the Bible

Why should you read the Bible? One reason is that it’s the only way God “guides and instructs” us today. Stay close to the Word of God; let Him guide you with His eye (Psalm 32:8). Read it to discover Jesus.

Do not read the Bible as a novel for entertainment—though it is entertaining.

Do not read the Bible as a calendar to see what’s coming up—though it contains a great deal about what is in the future.

Do not read it like mathematics in order to improve your ability to think—though it has a great deal that will challenge your mind.

Do not read it as history to understand the past—though it is the only book that will take you from the origin of man down to the present.

Do not read it as devotions so you can feel pious all day.

Read the Bible as a roadmap to follow and obey it. Read it to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17, 18). You can never know Christ except through His Word.

My Turn

Take Scripture for what it is, God’s actual words, intended for your good. Let Him do His intended work with His sharp and active Word, penetrating deeper than any deception of sin has ever gone.

  • Pray Hebrews 4:12 and 2 Timothy 3:16.
  • Have you felt unsettled by any passages of Scripture? Ask the Lord to show you why. 

Check your motivation. The Bible is not a handbook. Don’t search it to find a better life—instead, look for God. Let the Word drive your passion to know and love Jesus Christ.

  • Study Colossians 2:9-10, Ephesians 3:16, and Psalm 16:11.
  • As you read His Word, look for a new way to understand God.

Be unsatisfied with doctrine alone. Saying the same old truths, in the same old ways, will eventually betray the Bible’s depth and beauty. Growing in grace in the knowledge of Jesus Christ means to be continually learning, moving truth from your head to your heart.

  • Meditate on Ephesians 4:15-16 and Colossians 2:19.
  • Commit to learn more of God’s Word, in depth and personally.


Download "How to Understand the Bible," a beautiful digital rendering of Dr. McGee's "Guidelines for the Understanding of the Scriptures."