Testimonies

God has really laid on my heart lately this idea of personal testimony and what it actually means to our witnessing efforts biblicaly. Testimonies in the New Testament were the method of choice for the disciples after Christ’s ascension. Granted, they didn’t have tracts or livingwaters.com (which I highly recommend), so they relied on personal encounters.

But, in following the biblical example, I have learned that a personal account of Christ can be far more powerful than “here, read this when you get a chance”. Obviously, you say. But not so fast. I think there is more to the disciples’ personal testimonies than meets the eye. For one thing, it seems to me in my initial study that they always talked with people about Christ, and not what He had done for them. Think about that. We usually think about witnessing to people like we witness about anything else that may happen to us – explaining our specific reaction to someone else. We tell them what Jesus has done for us. But when Peter preached in Acts (Acts 10:34-48), his testimony was simply relaying who Christ was and what He came to do (and completed, btw). He didn’t explain how Christ had changed his life and brought him out of despair. It seems he told the Gospel and relied on the Holy Spirit to do the application. I am not saying that a personal account of what Jesus has done for you is ineffective or incorrect. I am saying that perhaps we can rethink our approach to giving our testimony in many cases, and what that should mean. Should our testimony testify more to the work of Christ than on our personal encounter with Him? I am in the initial study of this, so your thoughts are greatly appreciated…

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One thought on “Testimonies

  1. Delicious says:

    Interesting thought.

    The Bible is definitely clear that we should “declare what the Lord has done” (Ps. 118:17 KJV) and to “tell of [God]’s mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4 NIV) but I think there are many various ways to do that, none more right than the other.

    Telling of what God has done in the lives of OTHERS:

    Before Stephen is stoned to death in Acts 7, he tells of what God had done for the nation of Israel. The author of Hebrews describes the lives of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, etc. in relation to faith. Paul in his writings frequently mentions what God had done in the lives of other apostles.

    Telling of what God has done for the WORLD:

    Matthew 28:19-20 etc.

    Telling of what God has done for YOU:

    After Jesus orders the demons out of the man named Legion, He tells him to “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you” (Mark 5:19 NKJV).

    The blind man told the Pharisees what Jesus “did to him” and “how he opened his eyes” (John 9:26-27).

    After Peter is delivered from prison, he “explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison” (Acts 12:17 CSB).

    Finally, Paul gives his testimony many times: i.e. Acts 22 in front of the people and Acts 24 before Felix.

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