God’s Faithfulness in Turbulent Times
Pastor David Guzik is known among the Christian community for his online commentary on the Bible, at enduringword.com. It is an incredible resource for everyone who wants help to better understand the Holy Scriptures. David’s Bible resources are used by thousands of people every day.
Below are excerpts from a conversation between Calvary Chapel Magazine editor Tom Price and David, as Christians turn to the Bible for answers during a turbulent time in our country.
Can you share a little bit about your background with the Calvary Chapel Magazine audience?
When we returned from Germany in 2010, I had the privilege of being the lead pastor at Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, CA. We did that for seven years until we felt the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We sensed His leading us to step away from that to give our full attention to this work that God has given me to do with the Bible commentary. That has really been our focus the last three years.
Is your Bible commentary on enduringword.com only accessible in the English language?
Some years ago, it appeared that God was using the commentary in far greater ways than we could have ever imagined. So, then we thought maybe God would want to use it in some other languages where there aren’t as many Bible resources available, especially free Bible resources.
So far, we have had the entire commentary, from Genesis to Revelation, translated into Spanish. That is available at www.enduringword.com. In the last several years, we have had a very dedicated focus on getting the New Testament commentary translated into Arabic and into Chinese.
Now the Arabic New Testament work is finished, and we have a dedicated Arabic website for that. It felt like a real milestone to do that. We are working on the Old Testament in Arabic, as well. We also are near to completion with the New Testament commentary in Chinese.
The Chinese language can be written in either traditional or simplified characters. The simplified is the main written language that’s used on the Chinese mainland. We wanted to get something that would have the broadest reach possible.
Can you share the importance of ensuring God’s Word can be read and understood by as many people as possible, even in countries where the Christian population is small?
Every believer—young or old, needs that grounding in God’s Word. In the commentary, I just go through and try to explain the Bible verse by verse, phrase by phrase. I read a lot of Bible commentaries. I understand that not every Bible commentator connects with every person.
If somebody reads my commentary and they don’t care for it, or it just doesn’t connect with them, it doesn’t hurt my feelings. I get that completely, but I’m just grateful that there’s at least a few out there that enjoy it. Not just pastors and preachers, but just everyday Christians use it in their study.
Can you share a personal story of how your Bible teachings are reaching and inspiring Christians from every walk of life?
Within the last month I got a wonderful email from a lady who sent me a picture of her Bible, which was heavily marked up. She said, “David, every day for the last six years, I’ve been going through the Bible with you and with your commentary. And I just finished going through the entire Bible.”
So, she’s going to buy a new Bible and start marking it up again and start going through the Bible once again. For whatever reason, God’s given my commentary a connection with everyday Christians who just want to read and understand the Bible.
…Resist this effort of the world to conform us into its image. And instead we want to be conformed in the image of God.
—Pastor David Guzik, Calvary Chapel Bible Commentator
How can Christians respond as the country faces turbulent times?
I think it’s an overused word, but I’ll use it anyway—this has been a lot for us to process. What I mean by process is just not that immediate thought or reaction, but something as we continue to think, as we continue to learn, we get the sense, “Okay, yes, this is what God says in His Word. This is how the world is around us. This is how God wants us to think and act in the present age.”
Let me just tell you a few things that have kind of been relevant to me.
First of all, I’ve been reminded of the necessity in any time of crisis or turmoil to get back to the very basics of our Christian life—to really have a focus on Jesus, on the Word of God, on prayer, on our worship to God, on just the very basics of the Christian life—because this gives us the wisdom and the grace we need to be God’s people in these particular times. I found it very helpful to say “OK, let’s really focus on the basics.”
Number two? I think it’s very important for us to come back to pivotal passages like Romans chapter 12. Paul says, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
So, we come to God just with that yielded sense that we are a living sacrifice before God, but then don’t miss what Paul says in the second verse. He says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I think it is important for us as believers to realize that we are not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. I think it’s J.B. Phillips, in his translation, who says, “Don’t let the world push you down or press you into its mold.” That’s the idea, that the world has a mold that it wants us to be pressed into.
And the things that are important to the culture are sometimes the things important to God as well. We don’t want to get in the position of saying that just because something is important to the culture that it’s not important to God or to God’s Word. At the same time, we shouldn’t embrace things just because it’s important to the world or to the culture around us. We should say, “No, this other avenue is important to God.” So that should be very important for us to do, to sort of have that continual reset.
Those are great reminders, is there anything else Christians can focus on in a time where people feel the urge to speak instead of listening?
So, the first thing was to get back to the basics. Then secondly, do not be conformed to the world, resist this effort of the world to conform us into its image. And instead, we want to be conformed in the image of God. Thirdly, I would say this: just remember humility.
I don’t have a lifetime Bible verse, but I’ll tell you one passage of scripture that’s very important to me and that I think about a lot in my life is a verse that’s repeated three times in the Bible. It’s in Proverbs, it’s in James and it’s in First Peter: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” We just need to be humble before God. It’s easy for us to be too arrogant and just think that we’ve got all the answers.
We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and really let Him speak to our lives, our hearts, our thinking, our actions. Because again, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So those are three things I’ve really been thinking about in a very personal way. And it’s really just a manifestation of the love that God wants us to have. But not just for those in the family of God, although I think we have a particular responsibility to show love to people in God’s family, but we also have that responsibility to the whole world.
Finally, do you have a particular response to Christians struggling with people they may disagree with on such sensitive issues at the forefront?
I see it online or on the news that there are a lot of people out there doing things that I think are really wrong and I disagree with—but in the name of Jesus, I need to love them, too. I can’t let the world just give me a list of the people that I’m supposed to hate and then hate them, right? The world will change what that list is. I’m going to say “No, I don’t want to be pressed into the world’s mold. In the name of Jesus, I want to have a transformed mind. I want a renewed mind. And, have that according to God’s Word. And I want to have the kind of love that God has for humanity.”
All verses above are quoted from the King James Version.
© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.