April 5, 2013

That Bible Found Me

by Mike Riccardi

The following is a testimony of the self-authenticating glory of the Word of God as the Lord made known the power and authority of His Word to G. Campbell Morgan (1863–1945), the renowned British preacher and evangelist, predecessor of Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Westminster Chapel in London. The account is compiled by his daughter-in-law, Jill Morgan, from her biography, A Man of the Word: Life of G. Campbell Morgan (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978), 39–40.

G Campbell Morgan

For three years this young man, seriously contemplating a future of teaching and ultimately of preaching, felt the troubled waters of the stream of religious controversy carrying him beyond his depth. He read the new books which debated such questions as, “Is God Knowable?” and found that the authors’ concerted decision was, “He is not knowable.” He became confused and perplexed. No longer was he sure of that which his father proclaimed in public, and had taught him in the home.

Other books appeared, seeking to defend the Bible from the attacks which were being made upon it. The more he read, the more unanswerable became the questions which filled his mind. One who has never suffered it cannot appreciate the anguish of spirit young Campbell Morgan endured during this crucial period of his life. Through all the after years it gave him the greatest sympathy with young people passing through similar experiences at college—experiences which he likened to “passing through a trackless desert.”

At last the crisis came when he admitted to himself his total lack of assurance that the Bible was the authoritative Word of God to man. He immediately cancelled all preaching engagements. Then, taking all his books, both those attacking and those defending the Bible, he put them all in a corner cupboard. Relating this afterwards, as he did many times in preaching, he told of turning the key in the lock of the door. “I can hear the click of that lock now,” he used to say. He went out of the house, and down the street to a bookshop. He bought a new Bible and, returning to his room with it, he said to himself: “I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be—the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.”

“That Bible found me,” he said, “I began to read and study it then, in 1883. I have been a student ever since, and I still am [in 1938].”

At the end of two years Campbell Morgan emerged from that eclipse of faith absolutely sure that the Bible was, in very deed and truth, none other than the Word of the living God. Quoting again from his account of the incident: “…This experience is what, at last, took me back into the work of preaching, and into the work of the ministry. I soon found foothold enough to begin to preach, and from that time I went on.”

With this crisis behind him and this new certainty thrilling his soul, there came a compelling conviction. This Book, being what it was, merited all that a man could give to its study, not merely for the sake of the personal joy of delving deeply into the heart and mind and will of God, but also in order that those truths discovered by such searching of the Scriptures should be made known to a world of men groping for light, and perishing in the darkness with no clear knowledge of that Will.

The gospel of the blessed God does not go abroad a begging for its evidence,
so much as some think:
it has its highest and most proper evidence in itself.
- Jonathan Edwards -

 For the word of God is living and active
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
- Hebrews 4:12 -

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • SuzanneT

    What a great testimony to the efficacy and truth of God’s word and the preservation of His saints. Great share, Mike.

    God’s regenerative work in my own heart came as I was reading the bible, something I hadn’t done in years. I’d been looking for answers about another persons’ sin but God showed me my own! He showed me His holiness, like an Isaiah 6 moment. A Powerful hour. I was alone. I didn’t think I needed saving, I’d walked that aisle and prayed the prayer..several times, thought God and I were good to go..phew

    Hebrews 4:12 is such a stand-out verse for me.

  • Melissa Collins

    Something very similar happened with me, having been raised in the Word in a Christ-filled home yet having to eschew it all eventually and then discover it entirely thru my life circumstances…..and the joy I discovered in the living, breathing Word has been nothing short of miraculous. To understand that God was very serious in His promise to meet my every need on a daily basis and all I need to do is ask and seek Him first……what a difference it has made in my life. He has not let me down ever since.

  • Michael Coughlin

    Wow! Praise God. Same story, different millennium for me. I opened a bible with the intention to read it and prove it wrong.

    I haven’t put it down since. :)