Revival Definitions

In Alphabetical order – by author

Bryant, David

In revival there is a fresh focus on Christ’s person (who He is to us, especially His character as God’s Son) and on His passion (who He is for us, especially in His death, resurrection, and ascension). As a result, we experience together in new ways the fullness of Christ’s life over us (as He rules over us as Lord and Head of the church) and in us (as He indwells us with His resurrection power). All of this presses us into new involvements in the fulfilment of Christ’s mission, where we live and among the nations, as He carries out His purposes (through us), and as He establishes His pre-eminence among many peoples (going out ahead of us to lead His global cause to victory and to bring about the consummation of history)

Brown, Douglas

Revival is a church word; it has to do with God’s people. You cannot revive the world; the world is dead in trespasses and sins; you cannot revive a corpse. But you can revitalize where there is life.

Douglas Brown, Revival Addresses, p.77

Buchanan, James

The imparting of life to those who are dead, and the imparting of health to those who are dying

Campbell, Duncan

Revival is a community saturated with God

In writing of the movement, I would like first to state what I mean by revival as witnessed in the Hebrides. I do not mean a time of religious entertainment, with crowds gathering to enjoy an evening of bright gospel singing; I do not mean sensational or spectacular advertising — in a God-sent revival you do not need to spend money on advertising. I do not mean high-pressure methods to get men to an inquiry room — in revival every service is an inquiry room; the road and hill side become sacred spots to many when the winds of God blow. Revival is a going of God among his people, and an awareness of God laying hold of the community. Here we see the difference between a successful campaign and revival; in the former we may see many brought to a saving knowledge of the truth, and the church or mission experience a time of quickening, but so far as the town or district is concerned no real change is visible; the world goes on its way and the dance and picture-shows are still crowded: but in revival the fear of God lays hold upon the community, moving men and women, who until then had no concern for spiritual things, to seek after God.

Duncan Campbell, The Lewis Awakening, p. 14-15

Davies, R E

A revival is a sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a group of Christians resulting in their spiritual reviving and quickening, and issuing in the awakening of spiritual concern in outsiders or formal church members; an immediate, or, at other times, a more long-term, effect will be efforts to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God both intensively in the society in which the Church is placed, and extensively in the spread of the gospel to more remote parts of the world.’

R E Davies, I Will Pour Out My Spirit, p15

Edwards, Brian

A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity of prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers. Revival is remarkable, large, effective and, above all, it is something that God brings about –

All above from Brian Edwards, Revival, A People Saturated with God, pp25-32

Fehsefeld, Del Jr.

“Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin and a hunger for His Word”

Del Fehsefeld Jr. ‘Seeking Him’ Life action Ministries p 13<

Finney, Charles

A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.

Charles Finney, Lectuires on Revivals of Religion, Chapter 1, What A Revival Of Religion Is

Hawthorne, Steve

Christ showing up in an extraordinarily powerful new way, to significantly overthrow the status quo and establish the claims of His kingdom afresh

Humphrey, Heman

A genuine revival is the fruit or effect of a supernatural Divine influence, which restores the joy of God’s salvation to backsliding Christians, startles the dead in trespasses and sins, convinces them of their lost and perishing condition, and makes them willing in the day of God’s power. In the church there is a genuine revival when she rises and shakes herself from the dust and puts on her beautiful garments, which have been laid aside to her great discomfort and reproach. In a congregation there is a true revival when impenitent sinners in considerable numbers are awakened and converted within a few days or weeks, and “many are added to the Lord of such as shall be saved.

Heman Humphrey, Revival Sketches and Manual, 1859, p13

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn

“You cannot revive something that has never had life, so revival, by definition, is first of all an enlivening and quickening and awakening of lethargic, sleeping church members. Suddenly the power of the Spirit comes upon them … they are humbled, they are convicted of sin … then as a result of their quickening and enlivening, they begin to pray. New power comes into the preaching of the ministers, and the result of this is large numbers are converted. So the two main characteristics of revival are, first, this extraordinary enlivening of the members of the church, and, second, the conversion of masses of people who have been outside in indifference and in sin.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, unknown source

Olford, Steven

“Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is rather an invasion from heaven which brings a man to a conscious awareness of God.”

Steven Olford, ‘Seeking Him’ Life action Ministries -p 15

Orr, Dr. J. Edwin

Revival is war between the Spirit and the Devil

Revival is movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and its related community

Roberts, Richard Owen

Revival is an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.

Richard Owen Roberts, Revival, p16-17

Spurgeon, Charles

To be revived is a blessing which can only he enjoyed by those who have some degree of life. Those who have no spiritual life are not, and cannot be, in the strictest sense of the term subjects of a revival… A true revival is to be looked for in the Church of God

Stewart, James

Revival is a new discovery of Jesus.

Professor James Stewart, quoted by Duncan Campbell, The Lewis Awakening, 1949-1953, p36

Virgo, Terry

I have personally embraced what would tend to be the classic British evangelical view, namely a time of fresh activity of the Holy Spirit first among Christians, often leading to repentance and renewed devotion and prayer, this in turn developing into evangelistic breakthrough and conviction of sin among the lost leading to multiplied conversions and ultimately resulting in transforming impact on the culture.

Terry Virgo’s Blog at, May 23rd 2008

Christmas Evans

Revival is God bending down to the dying embers of a fire that is just about to go out, and breathing into it, until it bursts again into flame.

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A revival is something that can only be explained as the direct action and intervention of God.

Vernon Higham

Revival is something above and beyond that spiritual environment and climate which we, for want of a better word, deem normal.

Robert Backhouse

In revival, God visits His people, making His presence known and revealing Himself as the holy God. In revival people are overcome and overwhelmed by God’s love.