Randy Alcorn on Scriptural Influences

When Randy Alcorn spoke with us for his recent Bible Study Magazine interview, he also told us about some of the passages of scripture that have influenced his life and ministry. Here’s what he had to say:

The prodigal son, Luke 15, has had a great impact on me. I see life through the lens of heaven rejoicing as people come to faith on earth. I felt that very strongly with my dad, my mom, and with other people who have come to faith.

Another passage that has been huge is John 1:14 and 1:17—Jesus came full of grace and truth, and just the importance of the balance of grace and truth. I wrote a little book about this passage called The Grace and Truth Paradox. It’s just a two-point checklist of Christ-likeness: grace and truth. They capture everything in terms of what the spiritual life is about and what it means to follow Christ. And even as a parent, as our kids were growing up, I often thought, “What I need to do for my kids is to be full of grace and truth.” Not, “I'm going to be a truth parent, and then let my wife be the grace parent,” or, “I'm going to be the grace parent and let my wife be the truth parent.” I need to be full of both, just as Jesus was.

But I think, probably the single most strategic passage for me is the one that we based our ministry on: 2 Corinthians 4:16–18.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (NIV).

When we were thinking about names for our ministry, I knew I wanted the concept of eternity to be in it. But at the time I didn’t know all that the ministry would entail. I had just written Money, Possessions, and Eternity, and in it I had the illustration of a dot and a line: This life is a dot. It begins, and it ends; it's brief. But from that dot extends a line that goes out for eternity. We all live in the dot, but if we're smart, we won’t live for the dot. We’ll live with the line in mind—that's the eternal perspective. So we chose Eternal Perspective Ministries.

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