One evening in April, we were visiting folks in a neighborhood in our city. As we walked down the street, I met a young man named Jacob. After speaking with him about the Lord for a few moments, I met another young man named Jeremiah.
I can be slow, but I made the connection the second time. Both young men had Bible names.
Jacob got away before I thought about it, but with Jeremiah, I told him that he was named for a prophet in the Bible. He was all ears. He listened with interest as I explained how Jeremiah was chosen by God to bring his message to his people, a difficult message that the people didn’t want to hear. I told him how they threw Jeremiah in a pit and burned up his scroll, but God was faithful and protected him.
Then, we met a boy named Daniel. And Daniel told us he had a friend named Mark. So, Jacob, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Mark – all within a few moments of each other. I was amazed!
By now, I was ready. As with Jeremiah, I told Daniel that he was named for a prophet in the Bible, someone who lived many centuries ago. This caught his interest. I asked if he knew the story of Daniel in the lions’ den. He said that he did not. A boy about nine-years-old or so and he had never heard about Daniel in the lions’ den!
Well, I had to tell him about Daniel, how he ended up in the lions’ den, and how God miraculously protected him from the hungry lions. Young Daniel was wide-eyed and mesmerized as he listened, anxious to find out how things ended for ancient Daniel.
What a joy it was to tell a boy the account of Daniel in the lions’ den for his very first time!
I was torn in two. Half of me was thrilled and honored to have such a wonderful opportunity. The other half of me was saddened to know that young people like Daniel and Jeremiah know nothing about their own Bible names. Somebody named them after men of God. Why haven’t they been told about those men and the God they served?
These young men represent a generation growing up without the benefit of hearing about the eternal truth that is recorded in Scripture. In the past, you could simply make a reference to the Good Samaritan or the Prodigal Son, and most listeners would be familiar with the parables of Jesus that these titles represent. No longer.
Nowadays, we cannot assume that people know the riches that are revealed in God’s Word. Instead, we should recognize open doors in everyday conversation to introduce people to the truth that awaits them in the Bible. This may be a simple statement or explanation. It may also include telling or summarizing an account in Scripture, like Daniel in the lions’ den.
Introducing people to the revelation of God in the Bible does not require that we have all the narratives in Scripture memorized word-for-word. We can communicate the essentials of various accounts in our own words. We pray that our efforts to relay Bible accounts will inspire people to read God’s Word for themselves.
God promises that his word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
May God’s Spirit inspire and enable us to be ambassadors for Christ to a world filled with need,
Brother Richard Foster