What is Biblical Revival?

With all of events going on around the world, people are asking questions like “What is Biblical Revival?” Let’s take a look at what the Bible teaches us about Revival.

Based on an original article by Steven R. Cook, Used by permission.

What is Biblical Revival?

Bible-Based Revivals Contain Four Elements:

  • Someone communicates God’s word, and people receive it joyously.
  • Revivals can be of individuals or groups (national).
  • The lost get saved, and believers get renewed.
  • They usually don’t last beyond one generation.

Individual Revival

The psalmist longed for revival, and he knew it came through reading and hearing God’s word. The entirety of Psalm 119 exalts the power of God’s Word:

 “Revive me according to Your word (Psalm 119:25, see also 119:50; 107; 154).”

Note: Jesus is the living Word of God. And Blind Bartimaeus exemplifies someone revived by Jesus.

There was also a blind man in Jericho who gave up his cloak—everything he had! —and followed Jesus:

“So they called the blind man, saying, “Be of good comfort. Rise, He is calling you.” Throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. Jesus answered him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

The blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, that I might receive my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the way (Mark 10:49-52).”

National Revival

King Josiah

Josiah was king of Judah (Israel) in the seventh century BC (2 Kings 22:1). During his early reign, God’s word had been lost for decades. Then, a priest in the temple found a copy of the Bible book of Deuteronomy (2 Kings 22:8-20). Shaphan, the scribe, read the book to the king, who reacted by tearing his clothes. He knew they had forsaken God and His instructions, and he feared the Lord’s discipline.

Then Josiah read God’s word to the people.

He renewed the nation’s covenant with God, and the people approved of his revival. He purified the worship of the Lord and destroyed all the evil works and idols in the land. And God promised him peace during his lifetime; his revival delayed God’s discipline on the nation for its disobedience:

“Now there had been no king like him before or after, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses (2 Kings 23:25).”

The Prophet Jonah

Assyria was a notoriously evil nation, and its capital was Nineveh. God sent His prophet Jonah to Nineveh to warn them to repent or face destruction. Jonah hated the evil Ninevites, so, knowing God’s merciful nature, he didn’t want them to repent and be saved from destruction. However, God sent a great fish to block Jonah’s escape, so Jonah relented and proceeded to Nineveh.

Jonah spoke God’s word to the Ninevites, and the people of Nineveh repented when they heard God’s message (Jonah 3:5-8). Because they believed God, God relented of His judgment and spared the city (Jonah 3:10). However, they soon fell back into their evil ways, so, generations later, God used the Babylonians to destroy the Assyrian nation in 612 BC. “This shows that the faith of one generation is merely the faith of one generation, and that believing and humble parents do not guarantee believing and humble children (Steven Cook).”

The Apostle Paul

Paul taught God’s word in Ephesus for two years (Acts 19:9-10), and “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:10).” His preaching led to individual salvations and social reforms. Those who practiced magic burned their books in the sight of everyone (Acts 19:19). Therefore, “the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing (Acts 19:20).”

Even after Paul left Ephesus (Acts 20:1), the Ephesian church continued as a model of godliness (see Paul’s letter to the Ephesians). However, within two generations, Jesus said the Ephesians had “left their first love (Rev 2:4).” He called them to repent and return to their former heights (Rev 2:5). Again, this shows that the faith and zeal of one generation often stalls. Each generation must choose to serve the Lord.

People Don’t Always Respond to God’s Word

  • Noah preached God’s word for one hundred and twenty years, and only his family, eight persons, were saved from the flood waters (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5).
  • Jeremiah preached God’s word for twenty-three years, but his generation didn’t respond (Jeremiah 25:3). Because they didn’t, Jerusalem was destroyed and taken into captivity in 586 BC.
  • Jesus preached for over three years, and Israel as a nation rejected Him. Jesus told them:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … Look, your house is forsaken. Truly I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Luke 13:34-35).’

Because they didn’t believe in Jesus, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD.

Summary

Personal or corporate revival starts with:

  • Communicating God’s Word
  • The heartfelt response to God’s Word

That leads to the following:

  • Lost people getting personal salvation and
  • Righteous reforms among the saved.

Do you want to be saved today? Read more here.

For more about how to receive through Jesus Christ, we invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU Video on this page.

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If this video connected with you in some way, and you’d like to find out more about having a relationship with God and how His forgiveness and grace applies to you, a great place to start is praying the prayer below. The words themselves aren’t magic, but if you earnestly pray them and mean them, God will hear you! He’ll help you in ways you don’t understand, and we’ll help you find support and next steps.

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Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray,

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