Revival in The Bible: How the Bible Puts It

The Bible is full of amazing stories about people coming back to life, like Lazarus being raised from the dead and Jesus’ own resurrection. These are some of the most powerful moments in Scripture. But what does it really mean to experience “revival”? The Bible talks about revival in two main ways – it’s about an individual’s spiritual awakening, when God does a new work in their heart. But revival can also happen in a whole community of believers, when there’s a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit and a renewed commitment to following Jesus.

Whether you personally need a jump-start in your faith, or you’re part of a church longing to see God move in a big way, the stories of revival in the Bible have a lot to teach us. We’ll dive into those examples, look at the characteristics of revival, and discover how you can experience that same life-changing power in your own life today. The God who brought people back to life in the Bible is still at work, just waiting to breathe new life into your faith!

What is Revival?

The word “revival” is used in the Bible to describe both an individual’s spiritual awakening and the rebirth of a community of believers. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for revival (chayil) is used to describe Israel’s restoration after exile. The New Testament Greek word for revival (anazōnē) can be translated as “rebirth” or “new life.”

Definition of Revival in the Bible

You won’t find the word ‘revival’ in the New Testament. Jesus, Paul, and the other Bible folks didn’t talk about praying for revival. This whole ‘revival’ thing is more of a later Church idea, not something they were chatting about in the early days.

In the Bible, “revival” is used to describe two main things:

  1. The spiritual awakening of an individual believer. This is when God does a new work in someone’s heart, bringing them back to a close relationship with Him.
  2. The rebirth and restoration of an entire community of believers. This happens when there is a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit, and a renewed commitment to following Jesus within the church.

Spiritual Awakening and Rebirth

Whether it’s on a personal level or a community level, revival is all about new life and new beginnings. It’s about God breathing fresh energy and passion into our faith, transforming us from spiritual deadness to spiritual vitality.

Just like when someone is physically revived or resuscitated, biblical revival is about being brought back from a state of near-death to a state of vibrant, abundant life. It’s an experience of God’s grace that completely changes us.

The Power of Revival

Revival is one of the most powerful and hopeful themes we see throughout the Bible. It’s a reminder that no matter how far we may have drifted from God, He is always ready and willing to revive us and restore us.

When revival happens, it’s like the whole world is made new again. Individuals find their love for God reignited, churches experience a surge of unity and purpose, and communities are transformed by the unstoppable power of the gospel. Revival is God’s way of breathing fresh life into His people.

Biblical Basis for Revival

Throughout history, God has used revivals to bring His people back to Himself. And He continues to do so today.

Old Testament Examples

In the Old Testament, we see God’s people going through cycles of turning away from Him and then crying out for His help and restoration. This pattern is especially clear in the book of Judges, where we read about how “the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help…and the Lord raised up a deliverer” (Judges 3:9,15).

Over and over again, the Israelites would fall into sin and spiritual decline, only to be revived when they humbled themselves and returned to God. Prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel would call the nation back to the Lord, and God would pour out His Spirit to bring about a time of revival and renewal.

Jesus Brings Revival

When we come to the New Testament, we see that Jesus Himself came to bring true, lasting revival to God’s people. His message of repentance and forgiveness was all about calling people back to a right relationship with God. And after His resurrection, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them for ministry (Acts 1:8).

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On the day of Pentecost, we see the beginning of an incredible outpouring of God’s Spirit that led to a powerful movement of revival across Judea and Samaria (Acts 2:1-41). The early church experienced amazing growth as people were saved and added to their numbers daily.

Revivals Throughout History

God has continued to use revivals to bring His people back to Himself. Whether it’s the Great Awakening in the 18th century or the Azusa Street Revival in the early 1900s, God has repeatedly poured out His Spirit and sparked spiritual awakenings around the world.

And the good news is, God is still in the business of revival today! He is just waiting for His people to humble themselves, pray, and seek His face. When we do, He promises to hear from heaven and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Revival is still possible, and it all starts with us turning our hearts back to the Lord.

Characteristics of Revival

A Revival is a time when the Holy Spirit falls on a group of people and they are powerfully and emotionally moved. There is an increase in seeking God, prayer, and worship. There is also a lot of joy, love, and unity among believers. The message of the gospel is preached with boldness and people are saved.

Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

When revival happens, it is always marked by a powerful outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. This is what we see happening in the book of Acts, when the disciples were filled with the Spirit and began speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-4).

The Holy Spirit is the one who breathes new life into our souls and empowers us to live for God. During times of revival, the Spirit’s presence is felt in a very tangible way, leading to increased prayer, worship, and a deeper hunger for God.

Increased Spiritual Hunger

Another key characteristic of revival is a renewed sense of spiritual hunger and commitment among God’s people. When revival comes, believers start seeking God with all their hearts, praying fervently, and diving deeper into His Word.

There is a fresh joy and love for the Lord that bubbles up, and a strong desire to share the good news of the gospel with others. People become bold in their faith and passionate about living for Jesus.

Unity and Community

Interestingly, revival also tends to bring a special kind of unity and community among believers. When the Holy Spirit moves in power, it breaks down walls and unites God’s people in a way that is truly remarkable.

You’ll often see churches experiencing revival come together in amazing ways – worshiping as one, supporting one another, and working hand-in-hand to reach their community for Christ. It’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ functioning as it was meant to.

Salvations and Transformed Lives

Of course, one of the most exciting characteristics of revival is the way it leads to people encountering Jesus and experiencing life-changing salvation. During times of revival, the gospel message is preached with boldness and clarity, and many respond by giving their lives to Christ.

But it’s not just about the initial salvation experience. Revival also leads to deep, lasting transformation in people’s lives. Believers are empowered to break free from sin and live in the freedom and joy of their relationship with God.

When revival comes, the whole world seems to be made new again! It’s an incredible thing to witness and be a part of.

Benefits of Revival

There are many benefits of Revival, both for the individual and for the church body. On a personal level, Revival is a time when we can recommit ourselves to our faith and grow closer to God. It is also an opportunity to assess our lives and make any necessary changes. For the church, Revival can breathe new life into a congregation and help it to reach its full potential. It can also help bring people back to the church who have been away for awhile.

Personal Growth and Renewal

One of the great things about revival is how it can help you grow in your faith and renew your commitment to God. It’s like a spiritual jump-start that gets you excited about following Jesus and living for Him.

During times of revival, you might find yourself feeling closer to God, more passionate about prayer and reading the Bible, and eager to share your faith with others. It’s a time of personal renewal and growth that can really make a difference in your walk with God.

Church Revitalization

Revival isn’t just about individuals – it can also breathe new life into a whole church community. When a church experiences revival, you’ll see a renewed sense of purpose and unity among the members.

People start coming together to worship, pray, and serve in ways that they never have before. There’s a fresh excitement about reaching out to the community and sharing the love of Jesus with those around them. Revival can help a church reach its full potential and become a vibrant, thriving community of believers.

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Bringing Back the Wanderers

Another wonderful benefit of revival is how it can bring back those who have drifted away from the faith. Maybe you know someone who used to be active in church but has since fallen away. During times of revival, God has a way of drawing these wanderers back to Himself.

It’s a beautiful thing to see people who have been distant from God for a while suddenly come back to Him with open arms. Revival has a way of softening hearts and reminding people of the love and grace that God offers to all who seek Him.

Renewed Passion for God

Revival can reignite your passion for God and His kingdom. It’s like a spark that sets your heart on fire for the things of God.

You might find yourself more eager to pray, more excited to worship, and more willing to step out in faith and obedience. Revival can awaken a fresh love for God in your heart and inspire you to live boldly for Him in every area of your life.

Revival isn’t just a one-time event – it’s a ongoing process of renewal and transformation that can have a lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you.

Biblical Verses on Revival

There are many verses in the Bible that speak to the idea of revival. Here are a few of them:

Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

God encourages us to forget the past and look forward to the new things He is doing. He promises to make a way in the wilderness and bring rivers in the desert. We are reminded that God is at work, He brings new life and hope even to the most barren of situations.

Ezekiel 36:26

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Here, God promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit. He will remove our hard, unresponsive hearts and replace them with hearts that are soft and responsive to Him. This verse speaks to the transformation that God brings about in our lives during times of revival, changing us from the inside out.

2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

This verse lays out a clear path to revival. God tells us that if His people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land. It’s a powerful reminder that revival starts with us, with our willingness to turn back to God and seek His face.

Joel 2:23-25

“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.

God promises to bring restoration and abundance to His people. He will provide for their needs and pour out His blessings on them.

These verses from the Bible show us the heart of God for revival and renewal. They remind us that God is always ready and willing to bring new life and hope to His people, if only we are willing to turn to Him and seek His face. Revival is not just a historical event – it’s a present reality that we can experience in our own lives today.

Revival Case Study in the Bible

The Bible is full of accounts of God’s people being revived, both spiritually and physically.

Old Testament Revival: The Return from Exile

One powerful example of revival in the Bible is when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon. They had turned away from God and found themselves in a desperate situation. But when they cried out to God for help, He heard their prayers and sent the prophet Ezra to lead them back to Jerusalem.

Ezra’s leadership sparked a revival among the people. They rebuilt the temple, renewed their commitment to God, and experienced a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. This revival not only brought physical restoration as they returned to their homeland but also spiritual renewal as they reconnected with God.

New Testament Revival: The Ministry of Jesus

In the New Testament, we see an even greater example of revival taking place through the ministry of Jesus. He came to bring new life and hope to all who would follow Him. Jesus’ message of love, forgiveness, and salvation transformed lives and brought about a spiritual revival that continues to impact people today.

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Through His teachings, miracles, and sacrificial love, Jesus sparked a revival that spread throughout the land. People were drawn to Him, lives were changed, and a movement of faith and renewal began that would ultimately change the course of history. Jesus’ ministry was a powerful example of revival in action, showing us the transformative power of God’s love and grace.

Personal Application: Experiencing Revival Today

These biblical case studies of revival are not just stories from the past – they are examples of what God can do in our lives today. Just like the Israelites in exile and the followers of Jesus, we too can experience revival in our own hearts and communities.

If you’re feeling distant from God or in need of a fresh touch from Him, take heart! The same God who brought revival to His people in the Bible is still at work today. Turn to Him with all your heart, seek His face, and ask for His Spirit to revive you. God is ready and willing to bring new life and hope to you, just as He did for His people in the past.

How to Experience Revival Today

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Humble Yourself Before God

The first step to experiencing revival in your life is to humble yourself before God. This means coming to Him with a repentant heart, acknowledging your need for His help and your dependence on His grace.

When you humble yourself, you’re saying, “God, I can’t do this on my own. I need You to move in my life and revive my spirit.” It’s an act of surrender that opens the door for God to work in powerful ways.

Repent and Seek Forgiveness

Along with humbling yourself, it’s important to repent of any sin or disobedience in your life. Confess your wrongdoings to God and ask for His forgiveness. This clears the way for Him to pour out His Spirit and bring about revival.

Repentance isn’t just saying “I’m sorry” – it’s a complete turnaround, a decision to turn away from sin and turn back to God. When you do this, you’re positioning yourself to receive the new life and fresh start that revival brings.

Pray for Revival

One of the best things you can do to experience revival is to pray for it! Ask God to pour out His Spirit in a fresh way, to revive your heart and the hearts of those around you.

Pray for your church, your community, and your nation. Cry out to God for a spiritual awakening that will transform lives and bring people back to Him. Revival often begins with the fervent prayers of God’s people.

Immerse Yourself in God’s Word

As you pray for revival, make sure to also spend time reading and meditating on God’s Word. The Bible is full of promises and examples of how God brings revival to His people.

Let the truths of Scripture sink deep into your heart and mind. Allow God to speak to you through His Word and prepare your heart to receive the new life that revival brings.

Be Obedient to God’s Calling

Finally, be willing to respond in obedience to whatever God is calling you to do. When revival comes, it often requires stepping out in faith and being willing to do things differently.

Whether it’s sharing your faith more boldly, serving in a new way, or making changes in your lifestyle – be open to following God’s lead. Obedience unlocks the door to experiencing the full power and blessing of revival.

The good news is, revival is still possible today! By humbling yourself, repenting, praying, studying God’s Word, and obeying His call, you can position yourself to experience the life-changing power of revival in your own life.

Conclusion

Stories of revival in the Bible are not just ancient tales but living examples of God’s power to bring new life and hope to His people. Revival is a journey that starts with a humble heart, a repentant spirit, and a desire to seek God’s face. As we immerse ourselves in the stories of revival in Scripture, we are reminded that God is always ready to revive and renew us if we are willing to turn to Him.

So if you’re feeling like your faith needs a fresh touch, remember that revival is not a thing of the past – it’s a present reality waiting to unfold in your life. Keep seeking God, keep praying for revival, and keep believing that He can bring new life and hope to you. The God of revival is faithful and ready to do a new work in your heart if you open yourself to His transforming power. Revival awaits, and the journey of faith is filled with the promise of new beginnings and a deeper walk with the Lord.

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