Christian Living

Why I Write about the Bible in Present Tense

Embrace Scripture as Present, Available, and Relevant

In most of my books and a lot of my blog posts I write about the Bible in present tense. This is an intentional effort to remind us that the Bible is not only an ancient text but also one that’s present, available, and relevant to us today.

It takes more effort to write about the Bible in the present tense, but the results are worth it. Consider these reasons why I feel this is an appropriate action:

The Bible Is Alive and Active

The authors of the book of Hebrews write that the word of God is active and alive (Hebrews 4:12). They don’t write it was. They write it is. Present tense.

They go on to state that the word is sharper than any sword, dividing soul, spirit, and body. It judges—that is, it convicts—our thoughts and attitudes.

These are all present tense attributes about Scripture. This is a key reason why I prefer to write about the Bible in present tense.

Note that this verse can also carry a secondary meeting. Recall John writing that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14).

In this way we see that Jesus—as the Word—is also alive and active, penetrating and judging. Again, we will do well to have a present-tense attitude toward our Savior.

The I Am

When God confronts Moses at the burning Bush, he identifies himself as I Am (Exodus 3:14). He’s not I was, but I am.

Less we think this present-tense identifier of Father God only applies to Moses, John also references this several times in his biography of Jesus.

In it, Jesus, likewise, identifies as I am. He does this several times (John 4:26, John 8:58, John 13:19, and John 18:5-8). Though the NIV presents this as I am, other versions of the Bible use I Am or even I AM.

This I am phrase continues throughout the New Testament, peaking in Revelation 2-3 and culminating with the end-time, future-focused conclusion of Revelation 21-22.

Throughout this, we see God—both Father and Son—as the great I Am of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the end of time. We should therefore think of him as the God who is, a present tense reality.

The Living God

More to the point, the I am is a living God. We see this throughout the Bible, starting when God reveals himself to Moses in Deuteronomy, all the way through to John’s end-time vision in Revelation.

As our living God—who we served today and will abide with throughout eternity—I want to continually remind myself of this reality by writing about him in the present tense.

God and Time

We perceive God who was, is, and is to come (Revelation 4:8). Yet he exists outside of the time-space reality he created for us. As such, we are bound by time. He is not.

To our Creator there is no past, present, or future. There is a singular reality of presence. As being bound by time, this is hard for our finite minds to comprehend.

We default to past, present, and future. But to God our three perspectives converge to one. In my limited view, I best understand this reality as an extant is.

I can best remind myself of this by speaking and writing about the Bible in present tense, of speaking and writing about God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in the present tense.

Though this still limits our appreciation for God’s reality in the spiritual realm, it may be as close as we can get while we remain on earth.

Write about the Bible in Present Tense

I write in present tense as a reminder that Scripture is alive and active. It teaches us of our living God who is I Am, existing outside of time’s constraints.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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