The Power Of Testimony

The Power Of Testimony

As Christians, we use the word “testimony,” often, but have you ever wondered what that actually means? If someone stands up in church to “give their testimony,” we expect to hear them tell the story of what they used to be like and what Jesus did for them, but have you ever thought about why we use that verbiage?

In English, “testimony” is typically a term that would be used in the legal sense and is defined as “a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law.” The word testimony is used over and over again, in the New Testament. There are several words in the Bible’s original language that we translate “testimony” in English, but they all have a similar meaning, and could also be translated as “bear witness,” or “evidence.” This goes along with the idea that a testimony has a legal connotation to it, right? Stay with me, here. I promise this isn’t a language lesson.

Acts 4:33 says, “And with great power, the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. 2 Peter 1:16 says, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” After Jesus was resurrected, the church grew and was persecuted, and they were often called before courts of law and were required to give their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus because they’d seen Him do what others had only heard about!

One of my favorite verses is 1 Timothy 1:7: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” This is a verse many people know, but the verse that follows absolutely can’t be missed. 2 Timothy 1:8 says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” That’s an important “therefore.” Paul is saying to Timothy (paraphrased), “You’ve not been given a spirit of fear so that you can be bold and unashamed for the testimony about Jesus, even though I’m in prison for it.” That same truth applies to us! We’ve also been given a spirit of power and love, not fear so that we can be bold and unashamed for the truth about Jesus!

When we give our testimony, we aren’t just telling a story about us. A testimony is, by definition, “to,” “of,” or “about” something, as it says above, “the testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” When we tell a story of what God did for us, we’re giving our witness to the truth of who God is, and that’s much bigger than us. Just as when someone may be called into court to testify to a particular event, under oath, we get to stand and testify for the truth that existed long before we did. The truth is on trial in our culture, but it’s not the first time that the truth has been unpopular! Our very lives are a witness, evidence, and testimony, to the truth of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:32 says, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” We get to testify to the same truth that Peter and Paul and all of the early church testified to: Jesus is alive. He’s exactly who He said He was and He will do the same thing for you that He did for us if you just believe him!