You Can Be Filled with God’s Spirit

Dr. W. A. Criswell
Ephesians 5:18  (Link for you to hear message)
10-24-71 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist
Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message. The title of the sermon is the
text itself, Filled with the Spirit, in Ephesians 5:18: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” In the Old Testament, in the prophecy of Joel, in the
second chapter and the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth verses, is the marvelous prophecy
of this day of grace and outpouring in which we live. “And it shall come to pass afterward,”
said the prophet Joel:
that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters
shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall
see visions:
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And also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens in those days will I
pour out of My Spirit.
[Joel 2:28-29]
There is a day coming, a great day coming says the prophet, when the Spirit of God
will not fall upon just a leader here, or there, or yonder—as upon a Samson, and a David,
and an Isaiah—but it will be poured out without measure upon all flesh: sons, daughters,
old men, young men. And then he says, “And even upon” and you have it translated
“servants,” and “handmaids,” “even upon the slaves”; no distinction in the outpouring, in the
empowering of the Spirit of God.
I do not know of a finer illustration of that than some of these things that I read in
books of homiletics. There are learned professors of homiletics—preaching—who write in
books that the greatest genius in the ministry that America has ever produced was one
John Jasper. He was a Negro slave; and as he sorted out with his hands tobacco in the
warehouse, the Holy Spirit of God came upon him. Upon a visit to Richmond, Virginia, to
the Foreign Mission Board, one time, the young man they sent out to the airport to get me
and take me to the board meeting, driving into the city, down one of those freeways, came
to a big bend in it, and as I looked at it, I said, “Well, why should not the freeway go
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Well, he said, “When the highway department condemned all the property— eminent
domain—for the building of this great expressway, they came to the church—the Sixth
Mount Zion Baptist Church—in Richmond. They came to the church of John Jasper, and
the people of Richmond said, ‘No, not a brick touched! It’s to stand there as a monument to
the preaching of the slave, John Jasper.’”
When you go into the city of Richmond down that freeway, you’ll make a great bend,
and there in the bend stands the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, a monument to a slave,
John Jasper. “Up
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g y y p g
development. God never recedes; He never retracts. But He necessarily and inexorably
moves on. And every age and every dispensation is the foundation for a greater one unto
the consummation of the end of the world. His creation is followed by redemption, and His
redemption is followed by sanctification, and His sanctification is followed by glorification.
God intends that the saints shall inherit the earth [Matthew 5:5]. That is why the Scriptures
say the elect are never to be discouraged or troubled [John 14:1]. Convulsions of nature, and
of nations, and the dissolution of social institutions, and war, and desolation, these things
are but preliminaries to the great final triumph of God in Christ Jesus. “Fear not, little
children; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” [Luke 12:32]. The whole
spirit of the prophetic message and the revelation of God is that: it is up, “There’s a great
day coming!”
Now, the prophecy is of a special and deepening interest to us because it refers to
the day, the age in which we live. If I can continue reading now the passage of Scripture we
shared in the second chapter of Acts—the Pentecostal chapter—Simon Peter stood up and
said, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel” [Acts 2:16]; it’s this age, it’s this
day. This is the great hour of which the prophet spoke, and our lives are enmeshed in it.
Pentecost was a time set in heaven, just as the incarnation, the nativity of Christ was
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a time set in heaven. Paul will say, “In the fullness of time, Christ came to be born of a
woman” [Galatians 4:4]. The time was set in heaven; and when the Romans had made the
empire, and the Greeks had provided the language, and the Jews had Moses read in every
city, “In the fullness of time, Christ came to be born of a woman” a time set in heaven. His
crucifixion was [Matthew 27:32-50] at a time set in heaven. He is the Passover Lamb [1
Corinthians 5:7]. The resurrection [Matthew 28:5-9] was a time set in heaven; prophesied, “On
the third day, He shall rise from the dead” [Luke 18:33]. The ascension into heaven [Acts 1:9],
and the advent, the return of Christ [Acts 1:11], known but to God, is a time definitely set in
heaven. So this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a time known to God, prophesied by Joel
[Joel 2:28-29], and set in heaven.
As such, it is a one time experience. It is something that happened in God’s program
—kingdom development—that will never happen again. There will never be another
incarnation; Christ came one time to be born in a manger, one time [Luke 2:7-16]. So there is
one time that the Holy Spirit of God was poured out upon the earth, the beginning of a new
era, a new government, a new age of grace, a new dispensation. Now that was introduced
by the messenger, John the Baptist, the great forerunner. And he said:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but there cometh One after
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me who is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to loose; He shall
baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.
[Matthew 3:11]
And before the Lord ascended to heaven, He repeated that Johannine prophecy,
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many
days hence” [Acts 1:5]. Now this baptism of the Holy Spirit—this “pouring out” of the Holy
Spirit—was a once-for-all set date in heaven; and it came to pass at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-4].
Now, John said, “I baptize with water, but He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit”
[Matthew 3:11]. And Jesus is the baptizer in the sense that He poured out the ascension gift.
In Luke 24:49, the Lord said: “Behold, I send the Promise of the Father upon you; tarry in
Jerusalem until it comes, until the promise is fulfilled, and ye be endued—clothed—with
power from on high.”
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ascension gift of Christ, and in that sense He is
the baptizer [Matthew 3:11]. When He returned to heaven [Acts 1:9-10], after His death, burial,
and resurrection [Matthew 27:32-28:7], when He returned to glory He poured out upon this
world the Spirit without measure [Acts 2:1-4]. In that sense, He is the baptizer; Christ is the
baptizer, pouring out the Spirit [Matthew 3:11].
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But since Pentecost, the baptizer is the Spirit who baptizes into the body of Christ,
into the church. First Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one
body.” Christ is the baptizer in the sense that He pours out the Spirit—the ascension gift—
from heaven [Acts 2:1-4]; but since that time, the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, and He baptizes
into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. When a man trusts Jesus as Savior, looks in faith
and repentance upon Christ, becomes a Christian [Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8], the Holy Spirit
baptizes him, adds him to the body of Christ; he becomes a member of the household of
faith [1 Corinthians 12:13]. And that is a one-time operation; and it happens when you are
saved. You are added, you are baptized into the body of Jesus.
Now could one be added and then taken out? Could he be placed in the body of
Christ and then removed, and then reinstated? Can you be saved and then lost, and saved
and lost? Added and taken out, made a part of the body of Christ and then cut off? Like cut
off your foot and then put your foot back on you; cut off your hand and put your hand back
on you; cut off your head, or cut off your arms and then put them back? Such an idea is
fanciful in anatomy; it is no less fanciful in Holy Scriptures. There is no such thing in the
Bible as being added to the body of Christ and then taken out of the body of Christ, and
then added to the body of Christ, lost and found, back and forth, “For by one Spirit are we
all baptized into the body of Christ” [1 C i thi 12 13] And that’s the work of the Holy Spirit
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all baptized into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. And that s the work of the Holy Spirit
when we’re saved. He baptizes us into the body of Christ; it is positional. It is something
God does for us, like writing our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life [Revelation 3:5, 20:12,
1521:27]. I could not do that, I’m not even up there; nor do I have the book in my hand, nor
would I know how to inscribe it. It is something God does. So the baptism of the Holy Spirit
is something God does for us. When we’re saved [Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8], we are added,
we are baptized into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13].
Well, what is this then that happens to us in the experience related here in Acts and
in the epistles? Without exception—and there’s no exception—without exception there is a
nomenclature that the inspired writers used, and they never vary from it: they never use
that word “baptize,” never. The only time you find it in the epistles and beginning in the
Book of Acts, the only time you’d find it is in the text that I read in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “By
one Spirit are we all baptized into the body of Christ.” Well then, what is the word that they
use? Without exception it is one, and never varies, “And they were all,” Acts 2:4, at
Pentecost, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” The baptism places us in the
church, in the body of the Lord. Just like the symbol, we are baptized into the fellowship of
the church, and nobody becomes a member of the fellowship of the local church who does
not find himself walking with the Lord through the waters of the Jordan; we’re baptized into
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not find himself walking with the Lord through the waters of the Jordan; we re baptized into
the fellowship of the church. We are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ [1
Corinthians 12:13]. Then what we experience, that is positional; something God does. There
is an experiential part of it, that’s something we feel and share. When God writes my name
in the Book of Life I don’t feel it, I didn’t even see it; I just know He promised that He did it
up there in heaven. But there is an experience in this also. And the experiential part of that
pouring out of the Holy Spirit is this being filled with the Holy Ghost. They never depart from
that word “filled.” At Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:4]. At Samaria
they were filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 8:14-17]. At Caesarea they were filled with the Holy
Spirit [Acts 10:44]. At Ephesus, they were filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 19:6]. The disciples
were filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:1-4]. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 9:17].
Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 7:55]. There is never an exception to it: always
that one word.
And that is my text: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the
Spirit—plerousthe —translated “filled,” plerousthe [Ephesians 5:18]. It is in the imperative
mood. There is never a commandment that we be “baptized with the Spirit”; that’s not in the
Bible, nor does it a
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e a p e o t t e e s a co a d e t t at e be ed t t e Sp t ut be ed,
plerousthe,” it is imperative mood; we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit [Ephesians
5:18]. We’re to be quickened, we’re to be alive. And a dead, dull, dry, dreary, boresome
Christian is a travesty on the name of Christ and an insult to God.
And that’s true with a preacher; a dull, dry, phlegmatic preacher. That’s true with a
deacon; a sorry, no-account, dead, good-for-nothing deacon. I don’t know why I’m looking
at you all. And a choir; I’m not saying you have to scream at the top of your voice all the
time, but I am saying if you sing softly, it ought to be done with intensity; I want to be able to
feel it down here. We’re under command to be filled with the Spirit [Ephesians 5:18]. And our
services ought to be the most gloriously interesting of any convocation, any attendance of
anything in the earth; there ought not to be any vaudeville you ever saw, any show you ever
attended, any game you ever witnessed, there ought to be nothing that rivals the intensity of
the interest of the services of God. Amen!
As you know, our glorious choirs—this marvelous Sanctuary Choir and our Chapel
Choir went out to the Cotton Bowl—sang. SMU would have lost that had it not been for my
praying. They would have. We won it for them. Well, I was out there, I took Cris and David
Yates; we were in the press box and all over the thing. Man, the people listening,
everybody intensely interested, and then the boys wanted to go to the midway.
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So I took what funds I had, all my life savings! I tell you if I ever saw gimmicks in my
life that’s the number one: it’s the midway out there. Went up and down that thing, I wasn’t
interested in doing that. You know, pitching those balls, and flinging out those quarters and
dimes trying to get a piece of glass and a stuffed teddy bear that you could buy for half as
much if you go to Woolworth’s or Kress; someplace. So I just looked. And as they went on
those tail-spinning rides and all the rest, well, I just watched the crowd. You just never saw
such an interesting thing in your life: pitching dimes in the hope to get a piece of glass
there, throwing that ball, taking that gun, shooting stars. Oh, man! The interest, they were
just glued to it. And as I watched them I thought, “What intensity of interest and response
for some thing that if I had it I would put it in the trash can, literally.” What interest, though;
the whole thing just riveted!
Then when we think about church, “Oh, dear me! Do I have to go to church?” And
look on the benediction like an amnesty, “I’ve got free!” Oh, no! Filled with the Spirit: a
command, plerousthe, to the preacher, to the deacon, to the choir, to the teacher, to the
leader, to every member; we ought to sparkle for God, we ought to be alive for God, like
putting your finger in a hot plug where you screw in a light, boy it ought to feel that way
when you touch one of us.
“B fill d ith th S i it” [E h i 5 18] l th i ti d It i t
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“Be ye filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18] plerousthe; imperative mood. It is present
tense. Now there’s no other way in the English language for us to describe the verbal
system. The Greeks never used tense. We do in English. I cannot talk, we cannot talk
without pigeonholing everything in a tense; it has to be past, or present, or future, or
pluperfect, future perfect, you can’t talk in English. But the Greeks didn’t do it that way; they
used their verbal system to describe kinds of action. For example, the whole aoristic verbal
system in Greek refers to just the fact of a thing, a pinpoint of a thing. And what we call the
present tense, plerousthe here means a continuous action. We’re not to be up—man I can
touch the feet of the angels—and we are really at it; and then the next day, why, we’re so
far removed and so dead and so unresponsive as though we never did know the Lord.
We’re to be happy, and glad, and praising God, and serving Jesus all the time, today, this
service, and then tonight at that service, and Monday just like Sunday, and Saturday, and
all over again. It’s a plerousthe present tense, it moves, it continues.
It is plural, plerousthe, it is plural; it’s everybody. We all are to share in that
marvelous quickening presence of the Spirit of God: the professional man, the steam fitter,
the fellow that picks up the garbage or sweeps out the floor, the lawyer, the doctor, all of us;
the pastor, the people, the singers, those who labor in teaching and pedagogical ministries,
all of us are to be filled with the Spirit [Ephesians 5:18]. There’s to be a quickening power that
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a o us a e to be ed t t e Sp t [ p es a s 5 8] e e s to be a qu c e g po e t at
moves in us, and the people ought to be able to see it.
Plerousthe, not only imperative mood, it is commanded. Not only present tense, it
continues. Not only plural number, it includes us all. But it is passive voice, plerousthe—
that is, the subject is acted upon—it is something that happens to the subject. “Plerousthe,
be ye filled with the Spirit”; it is something that the Spirit does to us. And Paul uses an
illustration here. You don’t quite get it because of the way it’s translated, “Be not drunk with
wine, wherein is excess; but be plerousthe,” passive voice, “filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians
Now let me show you the comparison that he’s making. When a man is under the
influence of alco
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shower and all around, and maybe at 3:00 o’ clock in the morning coming home. He’s
somebody else. He’s asotia ; he’s just abandoned himself. And he just attempts things,
what things a drunk man does, oh, you just, you hardly know.
There were a couple of drunks in the house upstairs, and one said to the other, “You
know, I’m going to jump out the window and fly around the house.” And the next day when
the other friend went to see him in the hospital, the guy lying there in the hospital bed said
to that friend, “Why didn’t you stop me?” And the other guy who was drunk with him said,
“Man, I thought you could do it.”
Now, that’s what it is to be under the influence of the Spirit of God; we are somebody
else, and things that we thought we could never do, man, we attempt them. We’re saying
things we never thought we could say, witnessing and testifying—bold, given to the work of
the Lord—filled with the Spirit, moving [Ephesians 5:18].
That’s why I think God will bless us so in our stewardship appeal. We’ve got the
heart, we have the trust, we have the commitment, we have the faith, we have the Spirit of
God working with us; and we are attempting things that never in the earth we would have
thought to attempt. We’re doing it because we’re moved by the Holy Spirit of God. And
that’s the way the Holy Spirit acts. He doesn’t lead us into little things, diminishing things,
d i i thi d t ti thi b t l h th S i it f G d it’
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and receiving things, and retreating things; but always when the Spirit of God moves it’s a
march, it’s a thrust, it’s a going. Man, look what God is doing through us!
When I was down there at the Panama Canal—been there several times and it’s a
miracle to me—did you know the mechanism of the running of that canal, those great gates,
after two generations is identical as those American engineers set it up? The reason it’s
such a great miracle, for one thing was government, after government, after government
attempted and failed ignominiously. You can go down there and see the attempt of the
French government. They were able to pursue it, pursue it—oh, maybe eight hundred
yards or something—and the big scar is still there, then they abandoned it. But the
American engineers were sent down there, and they did it. It’s one of the great engineering
feats of the history of mankind. Well, looking upon it, I thought of the song those engineers
sang after they had achieved that marvelous result:
Don’t send us back to a life that’s tame again
We who have shattered a continent’s spine;
Easy work, oh, we couldn’t do that again,
Haven’t you something that’s more in our line?
Now the next stanza all of you know:
Got any rivers you say are not crossable?
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Got a y e s you say a e ot c ossab e
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
We specialize in the wholly impossible,
Doing what nobody ever could do.
[title and author unknown]
Why, the spirit of that, of those American engineers, is the exact spirit of the apostle Paul
here, plerousthe, “filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18], passive voice, acted upon,
attempting, doing what you never thought just in human strength or ingenuity you could ever
achieve. Why, it’s a marvelous thing. It’s a glorious thing, led by the Spirit of God, this is
what we offer; seek, try, and by His grace shall do in His name.
Now we’re going to sing our hymn of appeal. I am praying the dear Lord that I have
this appeal on television. We’re going to do it today. You know what I have found as I talk
to these many people who listen to this television service? They say to me, “We do believe
that the most inspiring part of the hour is to see people come down that aisle and to the
Lord. It blesses our hearts.” And then if some of them are mean enough, they’ll say, “Why
don’t you stop some of that talking of yours, and let us see these people come down the
aisle?” Well, I’m going to take that as an admonition from God, even though it sounds like
the devil talking to me, I’m going to take that as an admonition of the Lord, and I’m going to
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do it. I’m going to quit before that time, and we’re going to let the quarter of a million people
or more see these that God has given us today.
The Lord has never failed in that. I have never preached here, morning and night for
twenty-seven years, no matter how cold or how hot, I’ve never preached here but that God
has given us a harvest. He has never failed. And I’m believing He will do it today. And you
television cameras, the people are going to see today, as they did last Sunday, how God
adds to His church. When I’m faithful to the Word and preach it, and when the people are
faithful and pray, we have every right to expect that God shall give us a harvest.
That’s you, a family you, a couple you, or just one somebody you, out of the balcony,
down a stairway, into the aisle, here to the front, “Here I come, pastor, and here I am. I’m
giving my heart to Jesus.” Or, “I’m putting my life in the fellowship of the church.” Do it
now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

America Needs Revival Now

Dr. Gene Pritchard is a dynamic pastor from Orlando, Florida.  Few men come to the pulpit better prepared to preach the Gospel than this good man. Here is one of his powerful outlines.

(Real Revival – Lesson Two)
(The Book of Nehemiah)
Introduction: Revival always begins in {God’s children}. (II Chronicles 7:14)
This month, we will study great revivals in the {Bible}. (Romans 15:4)
*Nehemiah 1:1-4 *Nehemiah 1:11 *Nehemiah 2:1-6
*Nehemiah 1:8-9 *Ezekiel 22:30-31
Note: God often uses a {problem}, a {person}, or a {promise} to inspire revival.
*Nehemiah 1:4-6 *Nehemiah 2:12-13 *Matthew 6:6 *Psalm 55:17
*Daniel 6:10 *Matthew 18:18-20
Note: Prayer needs a {place}, a {time}, and a {partner}.
*Nehemiah 2:17-18 *Nehemiah 4:14 *Ezra 8:21
*II Chronicles 20:3-4
Note: The most spiritual way to fast is to use a {Target Prayer} list! Join GBC’s 40 Day Prayer
Challenge and choose one day for the next six weeks to {fast and pray}!
*Nehemiah 2:19-20 *Nehemiah 4:6-10 *II Timothy 3:12
*Matthew 5:11-12 *Philippians 1:28-29
Note: Do not allow others to {discourage} your pursuit of God!
*Nehemiah 2:18 *Nehemiah 2:20 *Ephesians 3:20-21 *Matthew 19:26
*Nehemiah 6:16 *Nehemiah 12:40-43
Note: Real revival always brings {glory to God}!

Link to Dr. Pritchard’s sermons and Outlines


God’s Plan of Salvation

Pastor Ron Byers of Murfreesboro TN Shares God’s Plan of Salvation

Question: Is Heaven Your Eternal Home?

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
We must agree with God if we want to walk with Him in Heaven throughout eternity.

I. Agree with God on our condition.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23 We are sinners in God’s sight. We are not perfect and have failed to live up to the Lord’s requirements for our lives.

2. Agree with God on our consequences.
” For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Just as death separates us from our loved ones, sin separates us from God. Our penalty for sin is eternal death and separation from Him.

3. Agree with God on our cure.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 11 Corinthians 5:21
God gave His Son, Jesus, to take our place and suffer for our sins on the cross. Jesus can cleanse us and change our heart to live for Him.

4. Agree with God on claiming our cure.
Romans 10:13.”For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” We do not become God’s children through our own deeds or efforts of self-worth. We must repent of our sins (agree with Him on our condition and our sin’s consequences) and turn to Jesus in faith. We place our trust in Christ to forgive us, give us His own righteousness, and change us into what He wants us to be. We depend on Him to do all the work that needs to be done.

If you want to receive Jesus as your own personal Savior pray to Him from your heart,

Make this your personal prayer:
“Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sins. I realize I deserve to be separated from You, but you died for me to save my soul. Please forgive my sins, and give me Your righteousness. I trust You as my Lord and Savior and making me one of your children. Amen.”

Heaven is Your Eternal Home!
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:” John 3:36
” All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37

Ron Byers is pastor of Barfield Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN. You can learn more of him by visiting his website,

 Pastor Byers preached this message, The Holy Spirit Has Sealed us.
Image may contain: Ron Byers, smiling, suit and closeup

Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God



Editor’s Note: I have recently read the wonderful book by Dr. Roger Martin, “R. A. Torrey: Apostle of Certainty.”  I strongly recommend this writing to you. It unfolds the life and ministry of Mr. Torrey in a way you can’t obtain in any other manner. Torrey was as great in the pulpit as Moody though not nearly as emotional. But his results were great. Not unusual after an extended meeting to have reports of 60,000 converts. He was a man of prayer, a man of the Bible, a loving and devoted husband and father. You could find no greater example of a Christian man to emulate in personal soul winning, pulpit purity and power, dedication to the Lord’s work and totally yielded to the Holy Spirit. This message posted here was preached in nearly all of the revival meetings.  It is given here word for word as given in those blessed meetings where thousands were converted.  -Ron English

R A Torrey

I was brought up to believe that the Bible was the Word of God. In early life I accepted it as such upon the authority of my parents, and never gave the question any serious thought. But later in life my faith in the Bible was utterly shattered through the influence of the writings of a very celebrated, scholarly and brilliant sceptic. I found myself face to face with the question, Why do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?

I had no satisfactory answer. I determined to go to the bottom of this question. If satisfactory proof could not be found that the Bible was God’s Word I would give the whole thing up, cost what it might. If satisfactory proof could be found that the Bible was God’s Word I would take my stand upon it, cost what it might. I doubtless had many friends who could have answered the question satisfactorily, but I was unwilling to confide to them the struggle that was going on in my own heart; so I sought help from God and from books, and after much painful study and thought came out of the darkness of scepticism into the broad daylight of faith and certainty that the Bible from beginning to end is God’s Word. The following pages are largely the outcome of that experience of conflict and final victory.

I will give Ten Reasons why I believe the Bible is the Word of God:

FIRST, on the ground of the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Many people accept the authority of Christ who do not accept that of the Bible as a whole. We all must accept His authority. He is accredited to us by five Divine testimonies: by the testimony of the Divine life He lived; by the testimony of the Divine words He spoke; by the testimony of the Divine works He wrought; by the Divine attestation of the resurrection from the dead; and by the testimony of His Divine influence upon the history of mankind. But if we accept the authority of Christ we must accept the authority of the Bible as a whole. He testifies definitely and specifically to the Divine authorship of the whole Bible.

We find His testimony as to the Old Testament in Mark 7:13. Here He calls the law of Moses the “Word of God.” That, of course, covers only the first five books of the Old Testament, but in Luke 24:27 we read, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself,” and in the forty-fourth verse He said, “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and the Psalms.” The Jews, divided the Old Testament into three parts–the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms–and Christ takes up each of these parts and sets the stamp of His authority upon it. In John 10:35 Christ says, “The Scripture cannot be broken,” thereby teaching the absolute accuracy and inviolability of the Old Testament. More specifically still, it possible, in Matt. 5:18, Jesus says, “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” A jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet–less than half the size of any other letter, and a tittle is the merest point of a consonant–less than the cross we put on a “t,”–and Christ here declares that the Scripture is absolutely true, down to the smallest letter or point of a letter. So if we accept the authority of Christ we must accept the Divine authority of the entire Old Testament.

Now, as to the New Testament. We find Christ’s endorsement of it in John 14:26, “The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Here we see that not only was the teaching of the Apostles to be fully inspired, but also their recollection of what Christ Himself taught. We are sometimes asked how we know that the Apostles correctly reported what Jesus said–“may they not have forgotten?” True, they might forget, but Christ Himself tells us that in the Gospels we have, not the Apostles’ recollection of what He said, but the Holy Ghost’s recollection, and the Spirit of God never forgets. In John 16:13, 14, Christ said that the Holy Ghost should guide the Apostles into “all the truth,” therefore in the New Testament teaching we have the whole sphere of God’s truth. The teaching of the Apostles is more complete than that of Jesus Himself, for He says in John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He shall guide you into all the truth.” While His own teaching had been partial, because of their weakness, the teaching of the Apostles, under the promised Spirit, was to take in the whole sphere of God’s truth.

So if we accept the authority of Christ we must accept that of the whole Bible, but we must, as already seen, accept Christ’s authority.

SECOND, on the ground of its fulfilled prophecies.

There are two classes of prophecies in the Bible–first, the explicit, verbal prophecies, second, those of the types.

In the first we have the definite prophecies concerning the Jews, the heathen nations and the Messiah. Taking the prophecies, regarding the Messiah as an illustration, look at Isaiah 53, Mic. 5:2, Dan. 9:25-27. Many others might be mentioned, but these will serve as illustrations. In these prophecies, written hundreds of years before the Messiah came, we have the most explicit statements as to the manner and place of His birth, the manner of His reception by men, how His life would end, His resurrection and His victory succeeding His death. When made, these prophecies were exceedingly improbable, and seemingly impossible of fulfilment; but they were fulfilled to the very minutest detail of manner and place and time. How are we to account for it? Man could not have foreseen these improbable events–they lay hundreds of years ahead–but God could, and it is God who speaks through these men.

But the prophecies of the types are more remarkable still. Everything in the Old Testament–history, institutions, ceremonies–is prophetical. The high priesthood, the ordinary priesthood, the Levites, the prophets, priests and kings, are all prophecies. The tabernacle, the brazen altar, the laver, the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread, the veil, the altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, the very coverings of the tabernacle, are prophecies. In all these things, as we study them minutely and soberly in the light of the history of Jesus Christ and the church, we see, wrapped up in the ancient institutions ordained of God to meet an immediate purpose, prophecies of the death, atonement, and resurrection of Christ, the day of Pentecost, and the entire history of the church. We see the profoundest Christian doctrines of the New Testament clearly foreshadowed in these institutions of the Old Testament. The only way in which you can appreciate this is to get into the Book itself and study all about the sacrifices and feasts, etc., till you see the truths of the New Testament shining out in the Old. If, in studying some elementary form of life, I find a rudimentary organ, useless now, but by the process of development to become of use in that animal’s descendant, I say, back of this rudimentary organ is God, who, in the earlier animal, is preparing for the life and necessities of the animal that is to come. So, going back to these preparations in the Bible for the truth that is to be clearly taught at a later day, there is only one scientific way to account for them, namely, He who knows and prepares for the end from the beginning is the author of that Book.

THIRD, on the ground of the unity of the book.

This is an old argument, but a very satisfactory one. The Bible consists of sixty-six books, written by more than thirty different men, extending in the period of its composition over more than fifteen hundred years; written in three different languages, in many different countries, and by men on every plane of social life, from the herdman and fisherman and cheap politician up to the king upon his throne; written under all sorts of circumstances; yet in all this wonderful conglomeration we find an absolute unity of thought.

A wonderful thing about it is that this unity does not lie on the surface. On the surface there is oftentimes apparent contradiction, and the unity only comes out after deep and protracted study.

More wonderful yet is the organic character of this unity, beginning in the first book and growing till you come to its culmination in the last book of the Bible. We have first the seed, then the plant, then the bud, then the blossom, then the ripened fruit.

Suppose a vast building were to be erected, the stones for which were brought from the quarries in Rutland, Vermont; Berea, Ohio; Kasota, Minnesota, and Middletown, Connecticut. Each stone was hewn into final shape in the quarry from which it was brought. These stones were of all varieties of shape and size, cubical, rectangular, cylindrical, etc., but when they were brought together every stone fitted into its place, and when put together there rose before you a temple absolutely perfect in every outline, with its domes, sidewalls, buttresses, arches, transepts–not a gap or a flaw anywhere. How would you account for it? You would say:

“Back of these individual workers in the quarries was the master-mind of the architect who planned it all, and gave to each individual worker his specifications for the work.”

So in this marvelous temple of God’s truth which we call the Bible, whose stones have been quarried at periods of time and in places so remote from one another, but where every smallest part fits each other part, we are forced to say that back of the human hands that wrought was the Master-mind that thought.

FOURTH, on the ground of the immeasurable superiority of the teachings of the Bible to those of any other and all other books.

It is quite fashionable in some quarters to compare the teachings of the Bible with the teachings of Zoroaster, and Buddha, and Confucius, and Epictetus, and Socrates, and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and a number of other heathen authors. The difference between the teachings of the Bible and those of these men is found in three points–

First, the Bible has in it nothing but truth, while all the others have truth mixed with error. It is true Socrates taught how a philosopher ought to die; he also taught how a woman of the town ought to conduct her business. Jewels there are in the teachings of these men, but (as Joseph Cook once said) they are “jewels picked out of the mud.”

Second, the Bible contains all truth. There is not a truth to be found anywhere on moral or spiritual subjects that you cannot find in substance within the covers of that old Book. I have often, when speaking upon this subject, asked anyone to bring me a single truth on moral or spiritual subjects, which, upon reflection, I could not find within the covers of this book, and no one has ever been able to do it. I have taken pains to compare some of the better teachings of infidels with those of the Bible. They indeed have jewels of thought, but they are, whether they knew it or not, stolen jewels, and stolen from the very book they ridicule.

The third point of superiority is this: the Bible contains more truth than all other books together. Get together from all literature of ancient and modern times all the beautiful thoughts you can; put away all the rubbish; put all these truths that you have culled from the literature of all ages into one book, and as the result, even then you will not have a book that will take the place of this one book.

This is not a large book. I hold in my hand a copy that I carry in my vest pocket and yet in this one little book there is more of truth than in all the books which man has produced in all the ages of his history. How will you account for it? There is only one rational way. This is not man’s book, but God’s book.

FIFTH, on the ground of the history of the book, its victory over attack.

This book has always been hated. No sooner was it given to the world than it met the hatred of men, and they tried to stamp it out. Celsus tried it by the brilliancy of his genius, Porphyry by the depth of his philosophy; but they failed, Lucian directed against it the shafts of his ridicule, Diocletian the power of the Roman empire; but they failed. Edicts backed by all the power of the empire were issued that every Bible should be burned, and that everyone who had a Bible should be put to death. For eighteen centuries every engine of destruction that human science, philosophy, wit, reasoning or brutality could bring to bear against a book has been brought to bear against that book to stamp it out of the world, but it has a mightier hold on the world to-day than ever before.

If that were man’s book it would have been annihilated and forgotten hundreds of years ago, but because there is in it “the hiding of God’s power,” though at times all the great men of the world have been against it, and only an obscure remnant for it, still it has fulfilled wonderfully the words of Christ, though not in the sense of the original prophecy, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.”

SIXTH, on the ground of the character of those who accept and of those who reject the book.

Two things speak for the divinity of the Bible–the character of those who accept it, and, equally, the character of those who reject it. I do not mean by this that every man who professes to believe the book is better than every man that does not, but show me a man living an unselfish, devoted life, one who without reservation has surrendered himself to do the will of God, and I will show you a man who believes the Bible to be God’s Word. On the other hand, show me a man who rejects the Divine authority of that book, and I will show you a man living a life of greed, or lust, or spiritual pride, or self will.

Suppose you have a book purporting to be by a certain author, and the people best acquainted with that author say it is his, and the people least acquainted with him say it is not; which will you believe? Now, the people best acquainted with God say the Bible is His book; those who are least acquainted with God say it is not. Which will you believe?

Furthermore, as men grow better they are more likely to accept the Bible, and as they grow worse they are more likely to reject it. We have all known men who were both sinful and unbelieving, who by forsaking their sin lost their unbelief. Did any of us ever know a man who was sinful and believing, who by forsaking his sin lost his faith? The nearer men live to God the more confident they are that the Bible is God’s Word; the farther they get away from Him the more confident they are that it is not.

Where is the stronghold of the Bible? In the pure, unselfish, happy home. Where is the stronghold of infidelity? The gambling hell, the drinking saloon and the brothel. If a man should walk into a saloon and lay a Bible down upon the bar, and order a drink, we should think there was a strange incongruity in his actions, but if he should lay any infidel writing upon the bar, and order a drink, we would not feel that there was any incongruity.

SEVENTH, on the ground of the influence of the book.

There is more power in that little book to save men, and purify, gladden and beautify their lives, than in all other literature put together–more power to lift men up to God. A stream never rises higher than its source, and a book that has a power to lift men up to God that no other book has, must have come down from God in a way that no other book was.

I have in mind as I write a man who was the most complete victim of strong drink I ever knew; a man of marvelous intellectual gifts, but who had been stupefied and brutalized and demonized by the power of sin, and he was an infidel. At last the light of God shone into his darkened heart, and by the power of that book he has been transformed into one of the humblest, sweetest, noblest men I know to-day.

What other book would have done that? What other book has the power to elevate not only individuals but communities and nations that this book has?

EIGHTH, on the ground of the inexhaustible depth of the book.

Nothing has been added to it in eighteen hundred years, yet a man like Bunsen, or Neander, cannot exhaust it by the study of a lifetime. George Müller read it through more than one hundred times, and said it was fresher every time he read it. Could that be true of any other book?

But more wonderful than this–not only individual men but generations of men for eighteen hundred years have dug into it and given to the world thousands of volumes devoted to its exposition, and they have not reached the bottom of the quarry yet. A book that man produces man can exhaust, but all men together have not been able to get to the bottom of this book. How are you going to account for it? Only in this way–that in this book are hidden the infinite and inexhaustible treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

A brilliant Unitarian writer, in trying to disprove the inspiration of the Bible, says: “How irreligious to charge an infinite God with having written His whole Word in so small a book.” He does not see how his argument can be turned against himself. What a testimony it is to the divinity of this book that such infinite wisdom is stored away in so small a compass.

NINTH, on the ground of the fact that as we grow in knowledge and holiness we grow toward the Bible.

Every thoughtful person when he starts out to study the Bible finds many things with which he does not agree, but as he goes on studying and growing in likeness to God, the nearer he gets to God the nearer he gets to the Bible. The nearer and nearer we get to God’s standpoint the less and less becomes the disagreement between us and the Bible. What is the inevitable mathematical conclusion? When we get where God is, we and the Bible will meet. In other words, the Bible was written from God’s standpoint.

Suppose you are traveling through a forest under the conduct of an experienced and highly recommended guide. You come to a place where two roads diverge. The guide says the road to the left is the one to take, but your own judgment passing upon the facts before it sees clear evidence that the road to the right is the one to take. You turn and say to the guide,

“I know you have had large experience in this forest, and you have come to me highly recommended, but my own judgment tells me clearly that the road to the right is the one we should take, and I must follow my own judgment. I know my reason is not infallible, but it is the best guide I have.”

But after you have followed that path for some distance you are obliged to stop, turn around and go back and take the path which the guide said was the right one.

After a while you come to another place where two roads diverge. Now the guide says the road to the right is the one to take, but your judgment clearly says the one to the left is the one to take, and again you follow your own judgment with the same result as before.

After you had this experience forty or fifty times, and found yourself wrong every time, I think you would have sense enough the next time to follow the guide.

That is just my experience with the Bible. I received it at first on the authority of others. Like almost all other young men, my confidence became shaken, and I came to the fork in the road more than forty times, and I followed, my own reason, and in the outcome found myself wrong and the Bible right every time, and I trust that from this time on I shall have sense enough to follow the teachings of the Bible whatever my own judgment may say.

TENTH, on the ground of the direct testimony of the Holy Spirit.

We began with God and shall end with God. We began with the testimony of the second person of the Trinity, and shall close with that of the third person of the Trinity.

The Holy Spirit sets His seal in the soul of every believer to the Divine authority of the Bible. It is possible to get to a place where we need no argument to prove that the Bible is God’s Word. Christ says, “My sheep know my voice,” and God’s children know His voice, and I know that the voice that speaks to me from the pages of that Book is the voice of my Father. You will sometimes meet a pious old lady, who tells you that she knows that the Bible is God’s Word, and when you ask her for a reason for believing that it is God’s Word she can give you none, She simply says:

“I know it is God’s Word.”

You say: “That is mere superstition.”

Not at all. She is one of Christ’s sheep, and recognizes her Shepherd’s voice from every other voice. She is one of God’s children, and knows the voice which speaks to her from the Bible is the voice of God. She is above argument.

Everyone can have that testimony. John 7:17 (R. V.,) tells you how to get it. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God.” Just surrender your will to the will of God, no matter where it carries you, and you will put yourself in such an attitude toward God that when you read this book you will recognize that the voice that speaks to you from it is the voice of the God to whom you have surrendered your will.

Some time ago, when I was speaking to our students upon how to deal with sceptics, there was in the audience a graduate of a British University who had fallen into utter scepticism. At the close of the lecture he came to me and said:

“I don’t wish to be discourteous, sir, but my experience contradicts everything you have said.”

I asked him if he had followed the course of action that I had suggested and not found light. He said that he had. Stepping into another room I had a pledge written out running somewhat as follows:

“I believe there is an absolute difference between right and wrong, and I hereby take my stand upon the right, to follow it wherever it carries me. I promise earnestly to endeavor to find out what the truth is, and if I ever find that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, I promise to accept Him as my Savior and confess Him before the world.”

I handed the paper to the gentleman and asked him if he was willing to sign it. He answered, “Certainly,” and did sign it. I said to him:

“You don’t know there is not a God, and you don’t know that God doesn’t answer prayer. I know He does, but my knowledge cannot avail for you, but here is a possible clew to knowledge. Now you have promised to search earnestly for the truth, so you will follow this possible clue. I want you to offer a prayer like this: ‘Oh, God, if there be any God, and thou dost answer prayer, show me whether Jesus Christ is thy Son, and if you show me He is, I will accept Him as my Savior and confess Him before the world.'”

This he agreed to do. I further requested that he would take the Gospel of John and read in it every day, reading only a few verses at a time slowly and thoughtfully, every time before he read asking God to give him light. This he also agreed to do, but he finished by saying, “There is nothing in it.” However, at the end of a short time, I met him again, and he said to me, “There is something in that.” I replied, “I knew that.” Then he went on to say it seemed just as if he had been caught up by the Niagara river and had been carried along, and that before long he would be a shouting Methodist.

A short time ago I met this gentleman again, and he said to me that he could not understand how he had been so blind, how he had ever listened to the reasoning which he had; that it seemed to him utterly foolish now. I replied that the Bible would explain this to him, that the “natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,” but that now he had put himself into the right attitude towards God and His truth, everything had been made plain. That man, who assured me that he was “a very peculiar man,” and that methods that influenced others would not influence him, by putting himself into the right attitude towards God, got to a place where he received the direct testimony of the Holy Ghost that this Bible is God’s Word; and, any one else can do the same.

“Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God” was first published by Fleming H. Revell Company in 1898.

Is the Bible the Word of God?

An audio recording featuring the voice of R. A. Torrey. Here in his own voice and words is a stirring sermon of great importance. Dr. Torrey at one time was a skeptic and he set out to prove to himself the truth concerning the Bible. His research turned this doubting soul into a definite believer of the whole Bible. Dr. Torrey became one of America’s greatest evangelists and effective Bible teachers.