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Ask for the Old Paths:
The Key to Old-Fashioned Revival

(Brother Piper is prayerfully intending to use this particular book to promote revival in his ministry as an evangelist.)

Below is a pre-publication preview of this work, in the form of excerpts including the Table of Contents and a portion of the Introduction.


Ask for the Old Paths: The Key to Old-Fashioned Revival

    • Needlessly Blind
    • Mercifully Led
    • Avoiding the Perils of Ignorance
    • Seeking to Be Faithful
    • Proving All Things
    • Approaching God Acceptably
    • Standing upon the Rock
    • Building upon the Rock
    • Building upon the Sand
    • Restoring the Lost Years
    • The Extent of the Old Paths
    • The Forsaking of the Old Paths
    • The Reblazing of the Old Paths
    • The Answers of Rebellion
    • Modernism: The Rejection of Godly History
    • Relativism: The Rejection of Biblical Absolutes
    • Materialism: The Rejection of Heavenly Riches
    • Humanism: The Rejection of Christ’s Preeminence
    • The Fruits of Rebellion
    • The Budding Remnant
    • The Bottle of Tears
    • The Fragrance of Revival’s Blossom
    • The Bible’s Revivals
    • The Philadelphian Church
    • The Book of Remembrance




In centuries past, how sweet were the spiritual revivals under the powerful preaching of such men as C.H.Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, JonathanEdwards, and GeorgeWhitefield!  Today, how far removed seem those revivals’ pleasant influences!  Might God’s people hope to again taste the blessedness of a spiritual awakening even today?  Certainly they may, if they will but take hold of the only key to old-fashioned revival—the “old paths” of the Bible!  However, to do so, they must realize that life’s answers come not from within their own intellect.  They must aim their quest for learning above themselves and toward the Bible; they must forsake their own endless ambitions in order to fully seek the inerrantly guiding answers of God’s Word to all of life’s questions.  Indeed, for every item of mortal life, the Bible is the only source of exhaustive guidance.

However, how often does society yearn to excel merely in academics, applied sciences, and the like.  The quest is for learning—but what a quest!  It has no end, no true purpose, no lasting motivation other than to continue learning, no application that truly changes mankind, and no answers that satisfy the human soul!  People run here and there seeking answers; some study for years on end to be acclaimed as educated; others sharpen their mental potential for self-improvement and ambitions of finance and power.  More time, energy, and health are spent in the pursuit of knowledge than in almost any other activity regarded by mankind.  Where did this human thirst for knowledge originate? Where has it brought mankind? Where will this pursuit of the sciences end?  From the dawn of time, man has desired to know; man still desires to know; and man will always desire to know.  The very curiosity about life, physics, chemistry, and all fields of knowledge began in the Garden of Eden.  The first man Adam, for example, named each and every animal in the bright new world God had freshly created—what a science!  No individual professor today has ever come close to accomplishing a feat of such magnitude, for modern science simply adapts and changes or elaborates upon most animal names preserved to some degree or another since Eden.  No, Adam—from a human standpoint—single-handedly gave every creature an accurately descriptive name: those names were so appropriate that the Bible never once even suggests that God needed to correct or improve any of Adam’s choices.  Adam’s amazing classification is only one example of man’s God-given aptitude toward collected knowledge. Presently, mankind enjoys a degree of knowledge such as was never known before in history.  Before the last century, who ever heard of soaring through the air and above the clouds faster and higher than any bird?  Who ever dreamed of plunging deep into murky fathoms, deeper than anyone would have ever guessed the oceans to be?   Who could have fathomed a man stepping onto the stark face of the sun-lit moon, or riding above the sphere of the earth in the heavens belonging only to the Creator?[i]  All of that and much more is common knowledge to the average man of today: many are born never knowing a time when such things did not exist.  For all of the improvements in the comfort and efficiency of life, man is not bettered.  He is still just as forlorn and worn seeking a purpose and a motivation to continue, always hoping that he will find something worth finding just around the next corner.  The hoping for something better—perhaps that is the very secret to human curiosity.  Will man find what he is seeking? Is science an ocean with a gorgeous shore somewhere waiting to welcome its weary seamen, or is it a shoreless ocean with no comforts in store for those riding its endless waves? Doubtless, man will ever seek answers: his hunger for knowledge will likely never be quenched: instead, it will only change.  In the beginning, humanity fell out of fellowship with the Creator by welcoming a hunger for knowledge of the forbidden.[ii]  Ever since the fall of humanity, man’s originally God-given appetite for learning has been perverted by his inborn inclination to rebellion against his Creator. One day, the desire to learn will be righted again into its original position and pointed again toward its original purpose, to know the Creator of the universe.  All of eternity spent behind heaven’s pearly gates will be passed absorbing this glorious science, a science which cannot be measured or put into volumes, but which is more precise and tangible than anything the mortal mind can comprehend.  On the other hand, all of eternity spent under hell’s glowing embers will be passed, by those who find themselves there, with the desire to know, or at least to guess, what eternity might have been like without tormenting pain, intense darkness, and consuming fear.  Truly, the quest for knowledge began almost with time but will not cease with time, just as man began almost with time but will not cease with time.  Even now, before eternity separates those souls awaiting its events, man is ever seeking to learn.  However, he is—of all things—still blind because, ironically, he refuses to learn.  “Refuses to learn?” some may exclaim, “In such a modern, technological age?”  Yes, he refuses to learn!  How is it possible that man, with all of his gadgets, machinery, and knowledge could be so ignorant?  The answer is so simple, yet by man so vastly complicated.  He has rejected the source of all true knowledge, the fountain of all worthwhile understanding, the only genuine record of man’s origin, purpose, and eternal destiny—the BIBLE!  How utterly and horridly amazing it is that the unquenchable human thirst for knowledge should find the Bible, the pure source of knowledge, distasteful!

The Bible—what a guidebook to life It is! When one seeks the advice of an unselfish friend, what a focused counselor It is; when one needs the cautions of a concerned friend, what a faithful reprover It is; when one yearns for the presence of a compassionate friend, what a comforting serenity It is! No human friend on this wide world is more a friend than the little black Book, which so persuasively points man toward his Creator’s vast, open arms!  Without It, none could see God, for God cannot be seen by human eyes: none could know God, for God cannot be perceived by human perception.  With It, no poor lost soul ever needs feel the burning fires of hell scald his smallest toe as long as he is still within saving reach of the Gospel of God’s Word: no Christian ever needs hang his head in dismal shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ as long as the Word actively abides in that Christian’s hand, head, heart, and mouth until heaven’s great court date.  What a gift to mankind the written Word is!  Sadly, how neglected and unappreciated by its recipients It is!   However, the sinner ought not to be hastily condemned by Christians for his neglect and indifference to the Bible, for he has not yet truly tasted of Its sweetness.  Indeed, he cannot truly realize the depth of importance and value in being saved until the second after he becomes saved.  Then, and not until then, the sweet savor of eternal hope and security will swirl around his newly born spiritual senses.  No, the lost man cannot be blamed too much for his neglect of the Word—how can he even receive It, except some bear him Its glad tidings?[iii]  Thus, the one who stands more inexcusable is that blood-bought Christian who neglects the love letter from his Redeemer, the life manual from his Creator, the grand commission from the Captain of his salvation—the precious, priceless, and prized—but pitifully dusty—Bible!

Of all things, what foolishness it is to possess an inerrant guidebook of such quality, content, and character as the Bible, and yet to lay it aside as less needful than the daily newspaper.  It would appear that most Christians today believe the current news to be more applicable and useful to daily life than God’s eternal Word.  Would they admit such inverted priorities?  Never!  Nonetheless, boldly do they proclaim it by their actions.  How?  Christians usually have two approaches: they either do not believe what the Bible has to say about their daily decisions, or deny that the Bible has anything to say about their daily decisions.  The first approach is chosen by liberal professing Christians; the second approach is chosen by conservative “Bible-believing” Christians—of all people. GeorgeWhitefield, a famous eighteenth-century preacher influential in bringing great spiritual awakening to colonial America, said,  “I am persuaded the devil believes more of the Bible than most of us do.”[iv]  Sadly, after the passing of a couple hundred years, people’s hearts have not improved but have only worsened.  Even many Christians who avidly read their Bibles, in effect, have persuaded themselves that there are corners in modern life that not even the brightness of the Bible can adequately illuminate. 

Before any Christian can fully realize the holy depth and eternal practicality of the Bible, he must first accept that the Bible does indeed contain all the answers to all the questions in life.  Truly, whether in direct wording or in implied principles, God “…hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him….”—that is, through His Word! (IIPeter 1:3)  There is nothing in the entire sphere of life left to question; there is nothing in the godliness of Christianity left to question. God answers all—in His written Word! Therefore, the problem is not a lack of answers but rather a lack of believers.  Nevertheless, some Christians would protest, “Some things are not right or wrong: some things are just ‘gray’ areas!”  Ah! To him who fully seeks God’s counsel on all things, there are no “gray” areas.  In Romans 14 are mentioned “doubtful disputations,” the closest things in the Bible to “gray” areas.  Quickly, some might exclaim, “Aha! There are gray areas, after all!”  On the contrary, what they fail to grasp is that when God’s Word deals with an issue, that issue is not abandoned to human whim; thus, even “doubtful disputations” are not “gray areas,” for the Bible defines them clearly and gives them definite parameters.  In short, God never gives His people the right or the excuse to do “…every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.” (Deuteronomy 12:8) Thus, is there any Christian who will accept that all of his thoughts, motives, words, actions, and reactions are to be governed by the precepts of the Bible?  Will no one stand up against the tide of relativism?  Who will answer the call to hold fast to the absolutes of God’s Word and will indeed gratefully acknowledge and in turn shamelessly proclaim that those absolutes cover all—even the most minute—areas of life?  How far and long must “…the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth….” (II Chronicles 16:9) in search for those who are willing-hearted and contented enough to exclaim with the psalmist, “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right;and I hate every false way.”? (Psalms 119:128)  Oh, how often must God endure the lip service of a people belonging to Him but not yielded to His ways?  May it be so no longer!  May God’s people subject their every desire, decision, and devotion to the thorough scrutiny of the light of God’s Word.  Then, and only then, Christians shall find their faith rewarded and enjoy the freedom to say with all sincerity and honesty, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105)  May such a shining example of Christian obedience soon illuminate this darkened world of rebellion.


[i] Psalm 115:16.

[ii] Genesis 3:6.

[iii] Romans 10:14.

[iv] [George Whitefield], Select Sermons of GeorgeWhitefield: With Life Account by J.C.Ryle and doctrinal summary by R.Elliot (London: Banner of Truth Trust, n.d.), p. 84.


By: Dr. D. S. Piper
(By God’s Grace)

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