Revival Starts with the Bible
- Karen Jones Bible Study Magazine
- 2011 14 Jul
Greg Gordon experienced society’s dark underside at an early age. While his high school peers were worried about making grades and prom dates, he was lost in the despair of drugs, dropping out in a desperate search for clarity. “I was trying to find something … anything with meaning,” says the 30-year-old creator of SermonIndex.net, who “hit bottom” at age sixteen in his parents’ Toronto home in 1995.
“I was sitting in my room when I saw a small Bible given to me years ago in summer camp. I randomly turned to a page—it was Romans 3:23: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ It hit me. I read it again and this time I saw ‘For Greg has sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ I fell to my knees and prayed. I knew I needed salvation but felt I didn’t deserve it, but God was with me and His peace flooded through me. That was fourteen years ago, and it has radically changed my life.”
Since coming to Christ, Gordon has finished high school, acquired a certificate in desktop publishing from George Brown College in Toronto, studied theology at Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, and worked at the University of Toronto before starting SermonIndex.net in 2002.
The inspiration for SermonIndex was reading Leonard Ravenhill’s book Why Revival Tarries. Gordon was so taken by Ravenhill’s emphasis on biblical revival that he contacted the late evangelist’s estate and was given permission to post 12 of his sermons on the Internet.
Seven years later, there are over 15,000 audio sermons on the site and 12 million downloads recorded. The mission of SermonIndex is “the preservation of classical vintage preaching and the promotion of genuine biblical revival to this generation.”
Gordon calls revival “the very presence of God” and has been active in organizing revival conferences. Revival is generally described as impassioned public expressions of faith led by charismatic theologians or those embracing the teachings of historical religious evangelists.
Gordon advocates the restoration of the original apostolic Church through daily Bible study. He studies the Bible everyday and believes in doing so with the intensity and dedication of men like Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer, R. C. Sproul and Scottish preacher Robert Murray McCheyne, all of whom he considers mentors. To explain, he quotes Sproul:
Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. 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.
Gordon laments what he considers the lack of emphasis on Scripture in many of today’s pulpits. “We need to get back to the Bible as the sole authority and guide for the Church’s purpose, function and plan in the world. We have never had so many ideas of what the Church is, and never has there been so many ideas expressed without the counsel of the Word.” Again Gordon believes the clarity of Scripture as preached by seasoned theologians is critical.
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When asked about his specific Bible study habits, Gordon says there is no shortcut to spiritual success, adding that studying the Bible takes time and it should be studied in its entirety. “We need to simply put our foundation and trust back in the Word of God and study the Bible verse-by-verse in a way that is systematic, instead of a favorite verse here and there. … The Bible cannot be read like other literature—it demands more reverence, more careful attention, more waiting and meditating for meanings.”
Gordon follows several steps while studying his well-worn King James Version.
“First I read primarily to allow God to speak to me personally. As I read it I ask for a ‘light on myself.’ An old English writer once said that we need to let the Bible accuse us. The King James Version has a lot of direct language. Next I read it from the point of having a relationship with God and Jesus Christ. John 17:3 says ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’ Then I study it carefully. The Bible is more precious than gold or silver and I study it scripture to scripture. Once you start to align the Scriptures together, you see more truth than just one passage.”
SermonIndex is now a full-time occupation for Gordon, who says it can sometimes be run on as little as $100 a month. “God can use little to accomplish much. I don’t have to build a big ministry. The apostles accomplished much with very little.” Gordon wishes to instill more genuine emotion in today’s Bible study. “We have all the tools, but where’s the necessary passion? I think that comes from prayer and revival. I believe both will lead to more Bible-studying, Bible-centric people.”
For Gordon, Bible study is integral to revival, and seasoned theologians can guide us to a better understanding of its role in loving and obeying God’s Word.
Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Kay Arthur, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Barry Black, and more. More information is available at http://www.biblestudymagazine.com. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (July–Aug 2009): pgs. 18–19.
Publication date: July 14, 2011