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Sodom Had No Bible

British evangelist and author Leonard Ravenhill made a significant impression on me when I was a young Christian. Ravenhill was one-in-a-thousand. He was an old-fashioned prophet, prayer-warrior, and intrepid preacher of the truth. It was impossible to hear him speak or read his writings and remain indifferent.

One of Ravenhill’s abilities was to create insightful spiritual maxims. He said many things about the Bible. Here are some of his observations from his book Sodom Had No Bible:

Sodom had no Bible. We have millions. Sodom perished … The only reason we are not smoking in the fire-wrath of a holy God is mercy, m-e-r-c-y, prolonged mercy!

In many parts of the earth, the Word of the Lord is being blamed, burned or banned … we have no apologies to make for the Bible. It is God’s final word to man. It is an infallible revelation from an infallible God to fallible man.

The Christian’s pilgrimage is uphill all the way, and the staff upon which he leans is the Word of the Lord.

A Christian’s muscles and sinews will strain under the loads which the Spirit will give. To ensure spiritual stamina, each believing burden–bearer must eat the strong meat of the Word.

Satan, the enemy of souls, snipes pilgrims from behind some innocent-looking bush. A return volley must be given with the same weapon that the conquering Christ used – “It is written.”

There is an inner reading of the Word of the Lord. In order to have this, the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Word, comes to indwell the believer and interpret the Word.

To live the life that God honours, we must first read the Word; then, we must obey it. This means that we must practice the Word, that knowledge must be transferred into action. “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only,” said our great Teacher.

Let us read the Bible to be wise, let us practice the Bible to be holy, and let us obey the Bible to be blessed!

Have we nothing to communicate? Is our living so inconsistent with our telling? Are we pitiably unsure of the truth of the Bible concerning the lost? Are we so stony-hearted that neither God’s promises nor God’s threats disturb us? What octopus has us in its grip? Where will our spiritual polio, our slovenly attention to divine truth land as – and others?

The purveyor of the ‘easy road’ philosophy does not know his Bible; neither does he cause Satan much trouble.

Where the rich Word of the living God is ministered in the anointing of the divine Spirit, the hungry sheep look up and are satisfyingly fed.

Years ago, amid the pomp and circumstances of the coronation of the Queen Elizabeth of England, there was a pause in the ceremony. Then her Majesty was presented with a copy of the Bible and these words: This is the greatest treasure that earth affords. How true!

Dare we as Christians attempt to walk the lonely heights of spirituality in the coming year without the chart of the Word of God and the guide of the Holy Spirit? Is the sea of life that is before us less dangerous than the choppy ocean before the Atlantic liner?

Ravenhill, Leonard. Sodom Had No Bible, Bethany Fellowship, 1979.

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© Scripture Union Canada 2021

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Leonard Ravenhill on Bible Engagement

In the classic, Why Revival Tarries, by Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994), the main thesis is prayer, but there are some Bible engagement nuggets worth sharing. Thus this post.

Ravenhill was a 20th Century revivalist who rebuked, reproved and exhorted Christians to live righteously. His single-minded warnings and appeals sometimes shocked and alienated people. Folk either loved or hated him. Regardless of what people thought about him, the bigger issue is whether or not he spoke the truth. You decide. Here are some of the things he had to say about Bible engagement:

One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.

With a stack of books beside us and marginal notes in Bibles for props, we have almost immunized ourselves from the scorching truth of the changeless Word of God.

There are only three classes of People in the world today: those who are afraid, those who do not know enough to be afraid, and those who know their Bibles.

We have millions of Bibles, scores of thousands of churches, endless preachers – and yet what sin!

We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).

The Holy Book of the living God suffers more from its exponents today than from its opponents! We are loose in the use of scriptural phrases, lopsided in interpreting them, and lazy to the point of impotence in appropriating their measureless wealth.

Let any man shut himself up for a week … with no books except the Bible, with no visitor except the Holy Ghost, and I guarantee … that that man will either break up or break through and out.

Most preachers are only echoes, for if you listen hard, you will be able to tell what latest book they have read and how little of the Book they quote.

There is a world of difference between knowing the Word of God and knowing the God of the Word.

Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, 1991.

© Scripture Union Canada 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5

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