Sunday, July 3, 2011

Writing Our Testimonies: A Biblical Example

This is the second post in the series "Writing Our Testimonies" by Pam Williams. The first post can be found at Writing Our Testimonies: Why We Share.

Writing Our Testimonies: A Biblical Example

Mary Fairchild, in her www.about.com article, “How to Write Your Testimony” (2009) says, “Skeptics may debate the validity of Scripture or argue the existence of God, but no one can deny your personal experiences with him.”

Though people may not respond to a litany of verses, they often are interested in hearing about a person’s spiritual journey. They can identify with the trials we face, the challenges we overcome, and the processes we went through to reach where we are in our relationship to God.

When writing our own testimony, Fairchild suggests we study one of the most famous examples in the Bible--the witness of Paul. We find Paul’s testimony three times in the book of Acts—Acts 9, 22, and 26—and many more times throughout his letters. Paul’s account of his conversion to Christianity gives us excellent guidelines to follow in writing our own faith story.

As in all writing, our testimony should begin with a hook—an attention-grabbing sentence that leads the reader into the story. Paul’s first sentence casts a tempting lure for his hearers as he wows them with his association with the leading Jewish teacher of the day. "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up here in Jerusalem as a student of Gamaliel.” (Acts 22:3 GNT)

Early in all three chapters of Acts, we learn about Paul’s life before encountering Jesus. Acts 26:4-11 gives a quick summary of his former religious beliefs, how he lived and his zeal as a Pharisee.

Acts 22: 6-16 relates the circumstances of Paul’s encounter with Jesus. Using great sensory detail and dialogue, he highlights what he saw (or couldn’t see in this case), felt, heard and did.

Paul concludes his testimony in Acts 26:19-23 with what his life is like since encountering Jesus—his attitudes, his beliefs, his work. Paul wraps up with a prayerful invitation to his listeners, "Whether a short time or a long time my prayer to God is that you and all the rest of you who are listening to me today might become what I am - except, of course, for these chains!"

As the highlighted phrases show, Paul’s testimony consists of three parts; our stories should also include:
1. Life before encountering Jesus
2. Encountering Jesus
3. Life since encountering Jesus.

We’ll go into more detail on the three parts of a testimony next Sunday here at 1st Writes. Ask God to bring to mind details about your encounter with Jesus in preparation for writing your testimony. Blessings on your week!


©2011 Pamela D. Williams

4 comments:

  1. We can't go wrong by studying the Book :)

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  2. Thank you for this. I have a group of ladies right now that have expressed an interest in a short class I am getting ready to give on 'How to effectively share your testimony.' I am going to use this info.

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  3. Hi Pam it's me again. Funny thing is I wrote a post giving my testimony of how I came to know about Jesus, http://geoffmaritz.blogspot.com/2011/06/unlovable.html
    and your 1 2 3 is exactly how it was written.
    I'm amazed.
    I will follow this blog, It gives useful insight into how God has been using me to write for him. Thanks, Geoff.

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  4. Lynda: You are so right! God's Word is our guide through this life and the next.

    Shanda, so glad I could be of help to you.How exciting for you to be leading this group! Hope you hear lots of wonderful stories.

    Geoff,happy to be an encouragement to a fellow Christian writer. Blessings!

    Pam

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