Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Inspirational Moments with Kay Arthur

Elegant, gracious, wise, knowledgeable, and truly in love with her Savior -- that's Kay Arthur, cofounder with her husband, Jack, of Precept Ministries International, and a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker known across the globe for proclaiming the power and inerrancy of Scripture and teaching Christians how to study and apply the Bible to their everyday lives.

Kay is a prolific author, having penned more than 100 bestselling books and Bible studies, including her "Precept Upon Precept" Bible study series, and is also the host of the 30-minute radio and TV show Precepts for Life.

This has been a banner year for Kay. At this year's National Religious Broadcasters Convention in February, Kay's TV show won Best Television Teaching Program. And in March, Precept Ministries dedicated their new World Communications Center to facilitate future radio, television, and Web production projects. Plus, Kay has several books releasing this year, including her just released God, I Need Your Comfort (Harvest House).

When I first came face-to-face with Kay Arthur, it was at last year's National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville. I was taking a break in between interviews and Kay walked past, said a quick but congenial hello, and grabbed the daily convention newspaper from the rack next to me.

I never guessed that the following year, at the same convention, I would be sitting next to this great woman of God in a coffee bar in Charlotte discussing one of her books, Jesus, God's Gift of Hope: A Journey of PrayerWhen God Became Man (Harvest House, 2003), the first in a three-book series devoted to the life of Christ, this one centering specifically on the events and people surrounding the birth of Christ.

Nor did I guess I would be late for the interview: a journalist's worst nightmare. But Kay, being the truly beautiful person that she is, upon seeing my flustered expression and profusely apologetic demeanor, smiled graciously, led me over to a comfortable couch, grabbed my hand in hers, and prayed the sweetest prayer with me to ease the initial tension. I was instantly impressed by her kindness and her servant attitude. It wouldn't be long before Kay also impressed me with her Bible knowledge and her obvious passion for God.

After writing hundreds of books and Bible Studies and 30 years of being a Christian, how did you learn to rest in God's sovereignty?

KAY ARTHUR: It is the greatest truth that I have ever learned in my life, and it keeps everything else in perspective. I got that truth by reading through the Word of God. I think the problem today is that people spend all of their time in the New Testament, and that is not where you meet God. That is not where you discover His ways, His character, His names, His attributes. Jesus said, 'If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father,' but He was constantly pulling in the Old Testament. You read through the Old Testament and come to Scriptures like 'His sovereignty rules over all. I am the Lord. There is no other. I create good and I create adversity. I am the Lord who does all these things.' You read how the enemy is coming against the Israelites and how there is no water for them and how God puts water there. The enemy thinks it is blood, thinks the battle has been won. So God just uses all these things. To understand that and to understand that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever -- the alpha and the omega -- is the greatest truth.

In your book, with Jesus, even He had to learn.

KAY ARTHUR: He learned obedience through the things which He suffered. It is so interesting because when you take the whole counsel of God on suffering, I think you see that suffering becomes our platform, even like Paul in 2nd Corinthians. He despaired of his life. He says, 'The comfort I received from God enabled me to give that comfort to others.' Then the trials are a test of our faith. When we go through that test, what is faith? Those who come to God must believe that He is God, and He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. So when Paul said, 'I am going to glory in my infirmities -- in my reproaches, in my necessities -- because when I am weak, I am strong,' then you turn to Him. The trials are not designed to destroy us. They are designed to refine us, to draw us and drive us into His all-sufficient arms. We are counted as sheep to the slaughter. We are put to death all day long. But in all these things, we can overwhelmingly conquer.

In your book, you try to paint the human side of Mary, Joseph, Caiaphas, even Jesus. I think sometimes as Christians we want to honor these biblical figures, but at the same time, if we think they are so holy, we don't understand what Jesus is trying to tell us.

KAY ARTHUR: That's right. We have got to remember that in Hebrews it says that He became flesh and blood that He might taste death for every man. In Hebrews it also says that the priests were chosen from among the people because they were tempted, and our High Priest needs to be tempted. What we need to see is that we can be holy, but it doesn't mean that we are not tempted. The sin is not the temptation; the sin is yielding to the temptation.

That is key because Jesus was tempted but never sinned.

KAY ARTHUR: Exactly. I think that we need to realize that Mary was a normal, young girl. Joseph was a young man. We see his nobility in not wanting to disgrace her. You see this love and this care. You see his fear in running away. We have to realize that these are flesh and blood people. We are flesh and blood. God uses ordinary people.

Do you feel like the Christian community has lost their fear of the Lord?

KAY ARTHUR: Yes. I feel that the Christian community has lost the fear of the Lord, and because we have lost it, the world has lost it. We are salt and light. When I have a fear and a reverence for the Lord, then it spills over on people. I think that we have greatly lost it, and I think we have lost it because I don't think we are people of the Book. We don't have a biblical concept of God.

Why aren't people reading their Bibles?

KAY ARTHUR: I think because we are so busy, and I think it is because we have so many Christian books and so many Christian novels and that the enemy is going to do everything He can to keep us away from the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, which is the One and Only offensive weapon of the Christian. Everything about the armor in Ephesians 6 is connected with the Word, so he wants us to be standing there, spiritually buck naked, so to speak, with no armor, not dressed for war, no Sword in our hands. He succeeded by deceiving us. Everything has been substituted for the Word, yet prayer is based on the Word: 'If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you'; revival -- 'Revive me according to Your Word'; evangelism -- 'Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God'; reconciliation -- 'Be reconciled to God.' It is all based on the Word. It is the foundation.

At the end of each chapter, you end with a prayer. These prayers are filled with Scriptures so that we are praying God's Word back to Him. Why is that so important?

KAY ARTHUR: Jesus said, 'If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ask what you will and it shall be done.' The Word of God gives you the will of God, so when I am praying the Word of God, I am praying the will of God. If I ask anything according to His will, He hears me. Isn't that awesome?

Why aren't more Christians doing that?

KAY ARTHUR: Because they don't know the Word. In 2nd Timothy, when Paul is getting ready to die, he writes that final epistle to his son, and he says, 'Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man but wars and entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he might please Him who has called him to be a soldier.' I think that we are so entangled with the affairs of this life that we don't have time. We need quiet with God.

You do inductive Bible studies through your ministry, Precept Ministries International. What is an inductive Bible study?

KAY ARTHUR: Inductive Bible study means that you are able to go straight to the Word of God yourself without a middleman and discover truth for yourself through the skills of observation, interpretation, and application. We teach you how to observe the text. It is interesting. I was talking to my grandson who is in high school about Bible study and he said, 'I have been using the inductive study skills when I have been studying my history. My teacher is really impressed.' I said, 'Well, what are you doing?' He says, 'I am looking for the who, the what, the when, the where, the why, the how, key repeated words.' He is getting it. It works. This is a way of accurate observation.

Study is based on the literal text and looking at it in context?

KAY ARTHUR: Yes, exactly. When it comes to interpretation, context is king because God never contradicts Himself. Scripture interprets Scripture. That is why I have a book on how to study your Bible (How to Study Your Bible, Harvest House, 2001).

In your book, there are two times that you give a prayer for salvation for those who aren't Christian. I think that this is missing from a lot of Christian books. We have forgotten that half of our message is getting people saved. Do you feel like that?

KAY ARTHUR: Yes, I think it is so important to let them know what genuine Christianity is and then show them here is the answer and this is how you get it. So I try to do that in my writings. I say to them, 'If you don't know Christ, if you don't have a changed life' -- because a changed life and knowing Christ are synonymous.

Do you get feedback from others who say they got saved through reading one of your books or through Precept Ministries?

KAY ARTHUR: Yes, and when I speak a lot. Just the other day, I was speaking to about 1,300 to 1,400 people, and 40 people came to this conference knowing that I was teaching and they got saved. I see it all the time. They will tell me. But it is the Word. I didn't save them. It was the Word that saved them.

What is your life verse?

KAY ARTHUR: I don't have a life verse.

Is that because you know so many verses?

KAY ARTHUR: Well, yes. They all mean so much to me. There is one verse that I pray a lot, 2nd Corinthians 5:9 -- 'Whether in this body or out of this body, my passion is to be pleasing to Him.' That, in a sense, is my passion, to be pleasing to Him.

After writing this book, what do you take away from it?

KAY ARTHUR: When you reflect on Christ and just God's timing, because He didn't have Jesus born until a certain time. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son. It has just caused me to stop and think about God's time, God's way, God's plan, God's example to me. Paul says, 'Be an imitator of me even as I am of Christ.' So when I look at Mary and I look at her faith and how she says 'blessed be the Lord God, my Savior,' I just stop and I can almost see them in my mind's eye. I want to learn from them, from their lives, and from the Lord. I have learned as I have gone along when God is silent, when I am weary of waiting.

Do you ever reread some of your books?

KAY ARTHUR: The book that I have reread all the way through is How to Study Your Bible. It is so easy to read and so easy to understand that that is the one book that I read all the way through. What I want to do is have time to read my novel, Israel My Beloved (Harvest House, 2001). Having read it, I want to come back now and just read through that because it is a true story in novel form and it is loaded with the history of the Jews from 586 B.C. You should read it because then you would understand the role that Israel plays.

Where is God leading you next?

KAY ARTHUR: My passion and goal within the next 10 years is to have an inductive study course in the Precept level and the inductive study series for every book of the Bible, so that we have the whole counsel of God for the whole world and to have it available in the ten major languages.

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