Logos Live: Beth Moore

Logos Live with Tavis Bohlinger and Beth Moore

Watch Tavis Bohlinger interview Beth Moore, bestselling author, Bible teacher, and founder of Living Proof Ministries. They talk about where to start with studying the Bible, what it means to flourish, and much more.

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Jump to transcript.

Books & audiobooks by Beth Moore

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B&H Beth Moore Collection (14 vols.)

B&H Beth Moore Collection (14 vols.)

Regular price: $113.99

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The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus

The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus

Regular price: $13.99

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A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David

A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David

Regular price: $11.99

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Feathers from My Nest: A Mother's Reflections

Feathers from My Nest: A Mother’s Reflections

Regular price: $11.99

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Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance (audio)

Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance (audio)

Regular price: $17.99

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Audacious

Audacious

Regular price: $14.98

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Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender (audio)

Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender (audio)

Regular price: $16.98

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The Promise of Security (audio)

The Promise of Security (audio)

Regular price: $5.98

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Prayers for the Faithful: Fervent Daily Prayer and Meditations for Christians Serving Around the World

Prayers for the Faithful: Fervent Daily Prayer and Meditations for Christians Serving Around the World

Regular price: $9.99

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Interview with Beth Moore transcript

Tavis Bohlinger:
Beth Moore, welcome to Logos Live. All of you watching, thank you all so much for watching this very special Logos Live with Beth Moore. Beth, you don’t really need an introduction, except I would like to say welcome to Beth Moore, the vintner.

Beth Moore:
Now, that is the first time I have been introduced that way, so I’m ecstatic. Yes, I’ll take that. Novice, novice.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah, yeah. This is a five-year journey now for you.

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Is that correct?

Beth Moore:
Every bit of five years. Mm-hmm.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Amazing. So, I just wanted to start off talking about wine.

Beth Moore:
Let’s just get straight to it, why don’t we? Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Wine growing, your memoir, and the topic of hope, and specifically Jesus—or hope personified as Jesus.

Beth Moore:
In Christ. Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
These are just some things I’ve seen you talking about recently. I think if we want to get to know the real Beth Moore, we definitely need to talk about wine growing, vine growing.

Beth Moore:
I’d love that. You just lead me, and I hope to follow. Thank you so much for having me on here today.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Well, you are very welcome. So, I’m being serious. So here’s a question to start things off. If you could go back in time and instead of starting to teach the Bible at the age of eighteen, I believe it was?

Beth Moore:
Yes. I surrendered to ministry at eighteen, I would say. I was speaking by my early twenties, and I was teaching at twenty-seven.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. There was this lead up to that.

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
But if you could go back in time and have been instead born and raised in a small village in Tuscany—

Beth Moore:
Oh my.

Tavis Bohlinger:
—and been a farmer’s daughter and grown vines and made wine in your life, would you have chosen that instead of the life that you have lived?

Beth Moore:
Oh, absolutely not. But I would hope that if that had been my path since the growing of it and doing the actual business that is brought to life in the metaphor in John, chapter 15, I hope then that it would’ve had the same impact. It would’ve just been that they were reversed in their order and that it would’ve been that knowing then, learning then those passages that the whole thing would’ve come to life. My experience was the exact opposite, which was that I already love the passages, had no thought about teaching them; it’s just that when I got there—and this was about five years ago—when we awakened one morning, we had traveled through the darkness and checked into our little inn late that night, so we had not seen any of our surroundings, but when we awakened the next morning, and I pulled my blinds back in my room, it was the most majestic site I had ever seen in my life: hills and hills of vineyards. Just gorgeous and right at the time of picking. And I mean, suddenly, I have no way to even describe what happened because it was just like—

I’ve loved calling it my grape crush because it was just like what happened was that John 15 came to life to me. And watching, they were harvesting at the time, so they were walking up and down the rows and clipping them and dropping them into baskets. It was mesmerizing. So, I had to write on it for the next couple of years. And then true to form, Tavis, I had to then try to do it. So, that has been my five-year labor of love, but I have done nothing but learn more and more about Christ’s relationship, first of all, with the gardener, and then the true vine, and then the branches and the fruit. So, it’s never ending. Never ending. But I love studying, so I love that process.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So, let’s talk about studying, because that’s something that seems to have been an emphasis of your ministry since the beginning, and specifically how to study the Bible and not have to be some highly educated scholar.

Beth Moore:
Right, right.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So, what encouragement would you give to people—do you give to people—who think, “Oh my goodness, this thing is so big! I don’t know where to start. I don’t have the resources!” What is that fundamental thing that everyone needs to know or to have to study the Bible well?

Beth Moore:
I think that it begins with the motivation for it, that if we can get that adjusted in a way that we are walking in truth from the very start and we’re going to have the humility that it’s going to take for the multitude, Tavis, the multitude of mistakes we’re going to make, whether we are academically educated or not, all of us are going to make lots of mistakes, granted. Someone like me, who is not having the opportunity to go to seminary and that kind of thing—that just did not work for me. It did not work with my family. So somebody that’s just not really breaking open books and going to mentors and taking regular classes—of course, we will be more prone to error, but everybody’s going to mess up. The only one that doesn’t is Jesus himself.

But I think it’s got to start with this that why do we study the Bible? And this has been something that has driven me for all the years of ministry since Living Proof was established, and that’s this one truth that we are studying Scripture in order to know God through Jesus Christ—that all discipleship is toward knowing Christ and emulating the fruit of the Spirit. So that’s what it’s got to be about. It never was meant to just accrue knowledge. It was meant for us to know God, to know how to approach him, who he is, what he has done. And the end of every bit of it, every goal, every devotional, every teaching opportunity—that’s what I think of most: not how much they could be impressed with a lesson, but would they be motivated to study and know Jesus for themselves?
So a while back, I changed my vision statement for Living Proof. For many years, [it] was encouraging people to know Jesus through the study of his work. Well, about fifteen years ago—thank you, social media! Social media has taught us all so much. It’s taught us what we want to be and what we don’t want to be, but one of the things I saw quickly is: “Wait a second, I’m missing a little piece in that mission statement because it’s not just to know, it is also to love.” And so, it became: “To encourage people to know and love Jesus Christ” because we see the Bible quoted so often in the public sphere without—at least, we can sense without—a wit of the love of Christ in it. And so, I had to back up. That piece is crucial.

So to me, that’s it. So if that’s the goal of everything—now, I have specific goals in a lesson, specific goals in a series that I’m doing, but the end result for every group I go before, every group I get to serve, that is my hope: that at the end of this lesson, at the end of this series, they love Jesus more than they did when we began, that they know more about how the word of God can jump off the page by the power of the Spirit and onto the pavement where their feet are blistered on that hot ground. They know more about it than they did when they started. So, that’s it. And that protects me a lot.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So Beth, thank you for that. How would you express the connection between our flourishing, as you just described this, leaving there with being more equipped, not just in head knowledge but actually a closer relationship to Jesus.

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So, what is it about the Bible specifically that catalyzes this flourishing? Wspecially in recent years, you’ve really been focusing on is this thing: we are made to flourish.

Beth Moore:
Yes, we are.

I think that it’s crucial that we define somewhat what it means to flourish because what we know, most of us who are tuning in, have long since turned away and rejected what the larger world would call the prosperity gospel, where we don’t ascribe to the thought that if you are faithful to Christ, you will always be blessed in tangible ways and in riches and in health and all that. We reject that. But what does flourishing mean? And I think in a lot of ways, Tavis, that it is captured in the words of Paul when he said that, “You will abound in every good work.” What Christ said in John 10:10 that “I came to give you life and life more abundantly” that it’s abounding in him. That’s so important because part of that is coming in us denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following.

In other words, to abound, there is a dying to self that gets us into the posture, where we’re following Christ, where we can abound in the spirit. So, I think it takes that kind of defining so people understand that it’s all about the fact that we, in identifying with Christ, are dead to self and are raised up in new life. And so, that’s absolutely crucial. But the role of the Scriptures in it—I’m assuming that many of us who are tuning in feel this way about the Scriptures, that these are living words that even though they have been down on paper and complete for centuries now, and over all those centuries from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, even though it’s been down in print since antiquity, we still believe it to be a living word because the Holy Spirit who inspired it is alive in those words. It’s living and active.

And I love to tell groups this when I get to serve them and when we open the word together. The words don’t change, but it comes with the fresh breath of the Spirit: the warm, fresh breath of the Spirit alive now. And so Jesus tells us, “My words are spirit and life to you.” I think of it as iron in our blood, as calcium in our bones. And the fact is we cannot know God and begin to understand his ways apart from seeking him through the pages of Scripture. The ways he reveals himself beyond that—the only way we would be able to recognize any of that is because we have concretized for us in the Scriptures that we have the word of God. Oh, it’s everything. It’s healing to us. It’s wisdom to us. It’s warning to us. But most of all, I want to say to somebody it’s living to us. This is a living word. And that’s why the time will never exceed the relevance of the Scriptures. If Christ tarries and there are still groups being discipled in two thousand more years, it still will be relevant because it’s alive.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah, yeah. You said it so well. It’s a word that does not change, but it changes us.

Beth Moore:
Right. Yes, yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Which is amazing. And you’re right, twenty thousand years from now, however long until the parousia when Christ returns, he’s left us this book. However—this is the big “however”—this is big and these words are small, and it’s intimidating, especially for new Christians or even for someone like myself, who’s studied the Bible for a long time. It can be a struggle every morning to think, am I doing enough?

Beth Moore:
Yes. And am I doing it right?

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. Am I doing it correctly?

Beth Moore:
Mm-hmm.

Tavis Bohlinger:
And then, you encounter all this different information from out there. And you start to question, is what I’m reading true? Is what I thought about it true? So from your experience over so many years of teaching the Bible and studying and reading the Bible, what are some of the biggest obstacles that you’ve seen people encounter, or even yourself? And how would you encourage us to overcome those obstacles and those hesitations?

Beth Moore:
One of the things, when you were talking about change just a moment ago, I smiled to myself because when I look back over the course of my ministry life, of my life in general because I was raised in church, so I don’t remember a time when I was not hearing the word Jesus. I mean, I can’t recall a single moment that that name would’ve been foreign to me because I had the privilege to be raised in church. Then growing up in ministry, I’m sixty-five. I surrendered at eighteen. I was actively serving by my early twenties, actively serving. Even in college, I was already teaching sixth grade Sunday school. So, that’s a long, long, long time. But there’s so much change that takes place because growth necessitates change.

And so, I have to tell myself over and over again, and I want to encourage somebody else with this, that you need to know in advance you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, that you’re going to get a lot of things wrong. But as a parent, I’m a parent and a grandparent, and here’s what I try to think about, and it’s one of the things that I learned when I was studying the vines when I went all the way back to the beginning in the Creation narrative, and saw how God loves to watch things grow. And I thought as a parent, as a grandparent, would I have wanted to miss the babies learning to walk, and toddling, and weaving around, and learning how to speak? Would I have wanted to miss that for anything? And the answer is no, I would not have wanted them to be born into this world as adults. I would’ve wanted to watch them grow.

And so, Tavis, I have to think about that a lot because I’ve looked back, I have just finished a memoir, so I’ve had a chance to look back on all these years of ministry. And parts of it are so embarrassing—even some of the things that wrote. Okay, let me give you one example. And I say this out of encouragement to our viewers and our listeners because you might think, “No, I’m going to be cooler than that all along.” Listen, I thought I was cool at the time. And I look back now and it’s like, oh, dear Lord, why didn’t someone just come get me and sit me down and say, “You know what? Let’s just have some tea and let’s wait twenty years, and we’ll send you back out”? But I found a list of my topics that I spoke on. So when I would send out information, a church would contact me to speak. And this was when I was in my mid- to late twenties. They would contact me to speak. And I would say, “What do you want me to speak on?”

“Well, could we have a list of your topics?”

That’s how it was done back in that day. So, I found one of those lists here recently. Tavis, I laughed until I cried. I mean, my head down on my hands. The names of them were so stupid. One of them was named the many hats of God. Now, what I meant was that he had numerous roles: Father, Lord, all the things. But I specifically recall that I took hats with me to those speaking engagements, where I was asked to speak on that topic. And I look back on that—it is just so humiliating, so many things that I have said—I just cringe! And even some of the things that I’ll see posted that I just think some people will pull out things to criticize before that I said twenty-five years ago when I’m thinking, “How old are you? Because this is going to come back around to you, because when you’re my age, you will also have embarrassed yourself. You will have done it wrong.”

But I think the Lord, he’s looking on our hearts. And every minute of it, as messed up as I was, and as many things as I am sure I mis-taught with all the cheesiness that was me, I wanted to serve him so much. And that’s what I would say to somebody. One of the things that I have learned when we might have somebody on with us right now that just thinks, the thing of it is I wish I love Scripture like that. I wish I felt that way about Jesus. You know what? Pray to. Pray to. The one reason why this love for Scripture has been sustained in me all of these years is because the Lord, first, he showed it to me in someone. I saw it in another teacher. I saw that he—I’d never seen anybody that I thought, “You know what? He would rather study Scripture than have his next meal.” That was my Bible doctrine teacher. I’d never seen anything like it.

I didn’t even know how to define it, but I was like, “Lord, I want that. Do it in me.” And so throughout this whole time, I was twenty-seven at the time, it is the most common thing that I pray over and over. I ask the Lord for three things. I ask him, “Cause me to love your Son more than anything I could possibly see with my eyes or touch with my fingertips. Cause me to have a lifelong love of Scripture. And cause me to love people.” And I think sometimes, it just needs to be said: What is it that you want and you yearn for? Is it something that is already God’s will? Because if it is, 1 John, chapter five, you’ve already got it. You begin to pray it and you’re already going, “Thank you, Lord. You’re going to give it to me because there’s nothing you want more from me than this.”

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. It’s amazing how you’ve talked twice now about mistakes at different points in our conversation already, but now, just prayer and the power of prayer according to God’s will.

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So, that’s really interesting to me and I think most of our readers because prayer is a very strange thing, isn’t it?

Beth Moore:
Yes, yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
We feel like we’re talking to the air. We don’t hear an audible response. We just have to believe.

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
And we most of the time don’t pray God’s will, just because we don’t know it.

Beth Moore:
That’s right.

Tavis Bohlinger:
And so, I know, well, maybe I’m only speaking from my own experience, but I just think that’s so encouraging, this aspect of mistakes. I mean, how do you understand the Father and his way of looking at you or all believers now compared to when you were younger and making all these mistakes? Not that you don’t make mistakes anymore but—

Beth Moore:
I was going to say, I would’ve made them just yesterday as well. So, this kind of perspective is crucial because we don’t outgrow our imperfection. We’re not going to. We are going to be flawed to the death of this body, and then we’ll see him face to face. And it’s his way, because I can tell you after writing an overall flashback of my life that the only person that looks good at the end of the memoir, if I was able to convey what I meant to convey, is Jesus. Truly, truly, Tavis, truly. But one of the things that I have to remember is this is something that we say often but do we believe it to our bones is, “Did he love me more when I made less mistakes than when I was just tumbling all over the place?” And the answer to that is no. We are completely loved.

And one of the things I love about his foreknowledge is that he always knew what he was getting when he called us. I cannot tell you, I don’t know if that means anything to anybody else, but I remember thinking early on because some of the worst mistakes that I made came soon after I surrendered to my calling. I didn’t even understand the role, the capacity. I knew there was a devil. I knew there was the demonic, but I had never been discipled on how to really be armed against spiritual warfare or any of that kind of thing. Well, I don’t have to tell you that the enemy knew that I was sincere; that what I lacked in a thousand other ways, I was sincere. The only thing I have wanted all these years in ministry is to do the will of God and to please him.

I want so bad to exalt the name of Jesus, but the enemy just came for me. And I remember, and I made so many foolish decisions. And I remember thinking to myself back then, “I know you’re so sorry you called me. And that’s the infancy of our faith and our knowledge of God, because he knew that just as surely as when he sat at that table at that Last Supper and said to Peter, “I just want you to know what you’re about to do, but when you return, not if, when you return, you strengthen your brothers.” And so, we’re so loved. We’re so loved. That doesn’t mean we don’t own it. We have to. And especially, Tavis, in this social media world, where there’s so much, where any of us, especially those of us who are communicators—so, that’s any kind of teacher or writer or preacher or anybody that’s got sort of the gift of speech—we have to also be able to go, “Man, I blew it. That was so dumb!” For me, I get reminded a lot of the mistakes that I’ve made, so it’s one reason why you hear me refer to them so often. I’m pretty well looking at some of that on a continual basis. But I just think when I think about the other person: be careful, because you need to know that I’m someone that Jesus loves. And when I want to cast a stone at someone else or I want to be hateful back, I have to think to myself, “Be careful, be careful because that’s somebody Jesus loves.”

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. Let’s keep talking about mistakes, but I want to talk about something—well, an arena where mistakes are often made, but in a more personal private space because what I really like to know—this is something that I’ve been thinking about since I knew we were going to do this interview—is I’d love to hear the impact and the importance of your marriage to Keith on your teaching, on the way that you read Scripture, and on your relationship with Jesus.

Beth Moore:
I love that you asked me that question. I love for somebody to ask me about Keith. We have been married forty-three and a half years and ridden the wildest roller coaster because we both come—I say “because”: maybe we would’ve had all of these problems had we not come from the backgrounds that we did, but we both came from tremendous trauma. His was loss. He has lost two siblings. He was in a fire with his older brother when he was just under two and his brother was just three and a half, and his brother did not survive. So, that trauma has followed him all of his life. I come from a background of abuse in my home. My home was extremely unstable. I will say probably to the death that we have a way of seeking out someone with a matching set of baggage. We just do, we just do. I mean, we’re just looking for someone that is a match somehow.

And in college I met this handsome, handsome young man, but something in me must have known, okay, our luggage is going to match, and boy did it! So we brought all of that into marriage together. And so, we have had quite the time and quite the journey with the Lord. But I have told the Lord a number of times, and I’ve said this in front of Keith and he knows what I mean by this and we’ve laughed about it, I’ve told the Lord a number of times, if I can survive this path that he set me on, this path with a constantly challenging marriage, a constantly challenging ministry walk, all of these things, I have told the Lord so many times if I can live through this, I’m going to say, “Lord, this was a very good idea.”

And I say that because he has kept me so desperate for him. I’m talking about the Lord. He’s kept me so desperate for him that I didn’t get to check out. When I go speak or teach, I go in as one with many, many difficulties, many problems. I have not mastered all these things in my life. I’m still very much a fellow sojourner. That goes with me everywhere. And so coming back to Keith. One of the things about Keith is that he has just no tolerance for bull. None, none. He cannot stand pretense. And so, the gift that that has been to me—I cannot even put into words. When Keith prays over me—he prays over me before I speak virtually every single time; it will only be if he’s unreachable because he’s out of town—even when he is in the deer blind, he whispers and prays for me on the phone before I speak. But one of the things he’ll very often say to the Lord, “I believe that what is in her is true and what you have given her to do is authentic to her life.” And for him to convey that—not that I’ve got it together, not that I have mastered anything, but if Keith were sitting here with me today, he would be able to look at you, Tavis, and go, “That woman is the same woman that I know, and this is her in our home and this is no fake.” And if you would permit me to because the teacher in me says that whatever we’re talking about, I want to make sure that our listeners see what it has to do with them. And I want you to know who we’re listening or watching that God is very devoted to burning the fake out of us. I say this in the best way. And it’s 1 Peter, chapter 1, with the refining fire that what he’s looking for is proving us genuine. See, he’s wanting us to prove that our lives begin to show, that he is allowed to so burn away through fiery trials that take place in all sorts of ways, he is so devoted to proving us genuine that he’s constantly burning the fake out of us, because what I believe he knows the objective here on this side of the veil is not that we are ever going to be sinless and perfect. That’s not going to happen in these bodies, this side of veil. But for us to be real, for that authenticity to show. People know. People recognize that. They will. Maybe not at first, but if you have an enduring ministry, and the only way it’s going to endure is by the authentic work of the Holy Spirit, that will bear witness that, “Okay, all right, he or she—I’m not with him on everything. But I can tell you this, that’s a person who loves and honors God and loves and believes the Scriptures and sees it as authority.”

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. Awesome. My wife is like that too. No bull.

Beth Moore:
No bull. Listen, that’s a gift to you and it is a gift to me.

Tavis Bohlinger:
I realize it now.

Beth Moore:
Yes, yes, yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Sixteen years ago, I was like, what have I done?

Beth Moore:
Exactly. God’s like, oh, look what I have done for you. Not what I’ve done to you. It’s: look what I have done for you.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Getting back to your vine, the Bible’s vine metaphors that you’ve been expounding on, it’s that pruning process that’s just critical, isn’t it? Tell me more about your personal practice. I’m asking this question, I think, on behalf of those people listening: okay, Beth, she teaches the Bible, she’s done it for a long time, she knows so much, which, you know, we talked about that earlier, about knowledge versus relationship, but I would love to hear for myself and I think our audiences: What is your personal practice of reading the Bible, studying the Bible? Is there a difference for you between just meditating on the word versus absolutely preparing for a presentation?

Beth Moore:
100 percent. Got to be, got to be. I want to say something, Tavis, about pruning just for a moment. Don’t let me forget the question that you’ve asked, but I want to say this to somebody because this can be so confusing. It is very, very easy to think that numbers and size are reflective of the favor of God and of his blessing. The pruning process disproves that belief. That’s not our doctrine. The growth is in our inner man, that we are growing up. As Ephesians says, we are growing up in everything “into Christ,” who is the head. Yes, we are constantly growing, but it’s us growing up into Christ, because what the pruning shows—I have lived this for the last six years—that sometimes, growing looks a whole lot like shrinking because of that pruning process that he’s cutting back, he’s cutting back, he’s cutting back, he’s cutting back constantly so that he can increase the quality of the fruit.

So, I just cannot convey strongly enough to someone: get out of your head that the blessing of God is reflected through what looks to be the growth of your ministry. It’s just not true. That’s just not how it works. It is going to be the fruit bearing that only he can bring, and it happens in those secret places. So back to what you asked, yes, it looks different. And so, I’ll start with just this morning. And one of the things I always ask before I do a podcast of any kind, Tavis, is that I’ll be true and not be fake, that I won’t convey to you more than is true. So, I want to try to say to you that this is what I did this morning, it’s what I did yesterday morning, what I did the morning before. When I get up and spend time with the Lord, I always have a Bible reading plan, whether I’m reading through a book of the Bible, or whether I am reading through segments of the Bible, maybe an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading, and an epistle reading. It may be any [of these], but it’s going to be straight word. Every now and then, I’ll also end it off with—I believe in devotional books. I love them. But I think one of the things that happens over time is that you get more and more aware: just the pure beauty of the sacred word on the page that gets you going, I just love it. I love it so much. So, I’m going to do my Bible reading. And I start with prayer. I always think of it like this: I’m pouring out, and then I’m asking him to pour in because I want to walk in the Spirit that day. So, I’m praising him. I’m giving confession of my sins: “Lord, I want you to please fill me up with your Spirit so that you’re living through me.” So, I go to the word, I do my Bible reading, but one of the things he taught me that’s just completely game changing—I want to encourage someone to try this—we talk about how, “Well, we pray, but I mean, he’s not talking back, but he’s talking first.” And so, hear me out on this: God speaks to me through his word. And so, I use it as dialogue. I speak back. And so, I’ll be going through a reading about, say, for instance, within the last couple of days, it was on the woman with the infirmity that she’d had for eighteen years, she’d been bent over. So I’m reading that and I’m like, “Oh Lord, help us, help us, help us when all we can do is look to the ground.” I’m using the word as intercession and dialogue. He’s spoken to me, I’m speaking back. I’ll see something that is difficult in the Scriptures that “Lord, this seems to me—I know that you don’t contradict yourself—but it seems to me, I don’t know what to make of this next to this passage.” And even though, Tavis, I don’t get an answer right then, I still—well, I’m asking for insight. I’m talking to him where it is dialogue.

And it’s the way where you don’t get sleepy in prayer because you’re not thinking, well, I’m just like speaking to the ceiling. No, no. I am going to the word of God as the Holy Spirit speaking to me through those words, and then I’m going to speak back, “Oh Lord, I want this for my children. I want this for my grandchildren.” And so, what I try to do because most—I was telling someone yesterday—I’ve tried to estimate this before, and I think this is pretty accurate: about 80 percent of what I ever end up speaking on in conferences, in any of mine where I do three sessions of teaching over the course of a weekend, any series, any books, anything like that, anything that is coming out of my preparation, that’s not been asked of me to speak on, but it’s what I have been led to speak on, about 80 percent of that, Tavis, is coming out of my own quiet times. It’s coming out of that reading.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Wow.

Beth Moore:
And so, what I do because I don’t want to get—that’s why you got to have that, because otherwise, you’re just going out there to get it. Well, no. What is the Lord pressing on you? That’s going to be what’s hot in your veins right then. And so, what I do is, because I’m trying to stay: it’s my relationship with Jesus right now in my devotional time and interceding. This is not time for preparation, but I don’t want to forget that, so I’m going to flip to the back. I’ve got a place in my journal where I flip to the back. And then, I jot down something, like, if I see a concept, a phrase jumps out and I think, hmm, I can sense; after sixty-five years, your spirit begins to bear witness, ah, this the Lord stirring in me, that phrase is coming off the page a bit, I’m going to jot that down. What a beautiful thing.

And so, that reminds me that might be a topic for speaking, but I’m going to try to stay focused here on what God is doing, saying to me. I want him to speak. I’m going to say this to somebody that might need to hear it. I never ever get on social media until I have been in the word. Never, never. I do not want anybody to speak to me before the Lord speaks to me. I don’t want anybody to tell me who I am until the Lord has told me who I am. And he’s told me who he is and I can trust that. So after that is when you know, then I’ll go about my day, but I got to have my own time with him. I got to. That’s what keeps me at it and that’s what keeps the word of God fresh to me.

Tavis Bohlinger:
So Beth, you’ve just talked about your private personal practice, which is amazing. I didn’t realize that most of what you talked about comes out of that time, which to me is incredible and beautiful. What about when it gets down to the deep work, when it’s like, okay, I’ve written this word or these words in the back of my journal. Yep, I’m going to do a three-day talk on this. When you get into the deep work as you do, what does that look like? What are you doing?

Beth Moore:
Okay. Now, let me say this. This is where I am so, so fortunate because I love the study process. And one of the things I would say to another teacher is: you may say, “Well, I don’t love that part of it,” and I get that, I get that. I love a classroom. So, that is a little bit different. But I would say to you, pray for God to awaken that in you because a teacher that doesn’t like to study is a talker, not a teacher. A teacher is a lifelong learner. And of course, that’s what a disciple is, is just a learner. I mean, I don’t believe that we could do anything to get rid of our salvation any more than we could do anything to have earned it on our own. That’s the gift of God, not the result of work so that no one may boast, but we can certainly stop growing and certainly stop being discipled in the Scriptures.

I love the study process and that is what comes next: Now what? So for me, it’s going to be whatever passages he’s leading me to teach on, it’s going to be reading, rereading, rereading, rereading. And what I’m going to do, especially if it’s a shorter passage, is I’m going to read it aloud and I’m going to read it emphasizing—I’m going to hear myself read it, let my own ears hear the word. I’m going to emphasize this word this time I read it, and I’m going to emphasize this word this time I read it. For me, mine probably looks different than someone who has been trained academically, but my teachers, my professors all these years, what I was taught early on by my mentors was how to use commentaries and how to use Bible dictionaries, and then ultimately and slowly, how to use secondary sources for original languages and that kind of thing.

But then, it’s studying and doing due diligence so that you know that you ever just like pulling something out of the air, but instead you were looking. To me, for those with the gift of speaking and teaching, our BFFs are those with the gift of knowledge. Their gifting is in that deeper scholarship. And here’s what I’d say to you about using your Bible resources: start where you are. The biggest mistakes that we make in our teaching is that we teach more than we know. That was huge for me as a young teacher. I was way, way over my head; way, way over my head. But let yourself grow. Start with a couple of commentaries, an Old Testament, New Testament, and then go to a twelve-volume series of commentaries, and then move beyond that as God would have you to, and just be a lifelong learner and do the work.

I don’t want anyone to do that for me. My daughter, truly, she does not like for me to say this, but you talk about a theologian. She’s got four degrees in biblical language. And she is as smart as a whip. So, she does those. She can use primary sources. Now, I can read a lot of biblical Greek, but I don’t read Hebrew, but for both of them, I mostly use secondary sources. But she can read straight out of the original languages. And so, she does research also when I ask her to, when I say, “I’m teaching on this passage, do you have access to materials, dissertations, anything that could give me some insight that I can’t find?” But I don’t want anyone doing it for me. She does it with me, not for me. I love discovery. Do you have time for me to say one more thing, Tavis, about this?

Tavis Bohlinger:
You can talk as long as you want.

Beth Moore:
Okay. Do you know that part in Deuteronomy? I think it’s chapter 8. I’m going to look at it while I’m saying this to you guys. Moses is being used of God to tell the Israelites what to expect when they get to the Land of Promise. And so, he starts describing what it’s going to be like. And it’s in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, and he talks about what a good land it’s going to be. And I want to read a couple of verses. It says, “For the Lord, your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams, springs and deep water sources flowing in valleys and hills, a land of wheat, barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat food without shortage, where you will like nothing, a land whose rocks are iron, and from whose hills you will mine copper.”
“From whose hills you will mine copper.” Every time I see that verse, I think about this, that I love to dig up the copper. I don’t want it to be just laying up in the grass. To me, the delight of Bible study—and if you ask me, “What is it you’re trying to achieve when you’re walking along with someone in a series, maybe an eight-week Bible study, what is it you’re hoping for?” Well, I’m hoping that all along, there’s just this beauty of discovery, that there are these aha moments when they just go, “Lord, your brilliance, it astounds me!” And to learn how to dig instead of letting it all just be laid out there on the hill for them. No, teach them how to dig. You go turn—listen, if you are writing a Bible study where they don’t need to open their Bible, something is amiss.

They ought to have to, where they turn from this to this, to this, to this. When Breaking Free was put out in a regular book, and I gave them permission to do it, but I have told people over and over again, some of the Bible studies were pretty solid when they were put also into trade books. Breaking Free, absolutely not. I’ve told more people, “Listen, you get in the Bible study. It’s the word, the truth, that will set you free. It is the word that will help you tear down those strong holes. You got to be in it for yourself where you are turning and turning and turning and turning,” so that they’ll dig it up instead of expecting their teachers to just lay stuff out on the hill.

Tavis Bohlinger:
There’s joy in the work, right? I mean, I had my son sweep our driveway. We have a pretty long driveway and I asked him to sweep it this weekend. And he procrastinated and procrastinated, and it took four days, but he finished it last night. He’s autistic, so there wasn’t a single leaf left on the driveway. You couldn’t have blowed the blowers. You couldn’t have done better with the blowers.

Beth Moore:
Oh, my word.

Tavis Bohlinger:
And at the end, he’s all proud of himself. And I said, “See, bud. You’re sweating, you’re dirty, you’re pumped.” And the point I made to him was, “That’s how you grow muscles.” He’s really into that right now. “That’s how you get stronger.”

Beth Moore:
That’s it.

Tavis Bohlinger:
But you’re not going to get stronger unless you’re doing the work.

Beth Moore:
That’s it.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Whether it’s studying the Bible or sweeping the drive, so—

Beth Moore:
It’s true. It’s going to be in that sweat. It’s going to be in those scuffed up knees and elbows. It really is, it really is.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. So before this recording, you were talking about how you used Logos. And some people actually asked in the comments. I’m not trying to push it on you, but—

Beth Moore:
No, I want to.

Tavis Bohlinger:
—how does it work within your workflow as a student of the Bible?

Beth Moore:
Okay. I’ve got to tease with you guys that are watching and listening because we chatted for a couple of minutes before we ever got to be with you. And I was telling them that when the invitation first came to do an interview, I thought that they were going to interview me on the software. And I was like, oh, I can talk about it all day long because I use it every day. So, I tease with them, but they said, well, maybe we’ll have time to bring that up, but oh, when I say—I tell people all the time, “You need a hard copy of a Bible.” I just constantly tell people. I think it’s a wonderful thing that we have electronic Bibles, but you also need to have a hard copy right in front of you so you can feel the weight of it. But at the same time, I use my software every single day. Normally, multiple times a day. It goes with me.

It’s how I have a briefcase, rolling briefcase when I go speak that I can even lift and put into the overhead is because I don’t have four commentaries that are stuck down in my case. I’ve got my laptop and all of it’s going to be on there, and I can connect whether I’m online or not. That’s very important. It won’t update, but it’s still there. It’s still there because it’s been downloaded. I’ve got it whether or not I can get access online. And I depend on it all the time, whether it’s to look at how many, almost numberless amount of commentaries. And you can find them that coincide with where you are as a student. They’re the ones that are going to talk about the Greek language, the Hebrew language, the Aramaic, or there are those that are not going to mention that at all, where you get to choose, you get to choose.

And then, you can also look at the breakdown of every single time this particular word, how often it’s used in the Scripture. Look up that verse, it’s going to take it apart word by word, tell you what the Greek is. It’s just endless. It will give you a reading program. I can’t say enough about it. I keep at all times my screen—how I keep it, where I have the passage where I can study the passage, where of course, my search bar is always open for something. My Bible Atlas is always open, my Bible dictionary, and the one that has all of the different translations of the Bible, so I’m looking at four, five—one of the ways that you can see what those Greek and Hebrew words meant in the larger definition.

You may not realize this, but when you look at multiple translations, and I’m talking about major translations, so I’m talking about the ESV, I’m talking about the New King James, I’m talking about the NIV, I’m talking about the CSV, I’m talking about the Revised Standard. Those formal translations, believe it or not, if you will check about five of them, you really are looking at the breadth of what those original definitions of those words would have told you, because you’re seeing them translated into English language. I don’t know what I would do without it. And I’ve had it almost since the beginning, so I’ve had it updated a number of times and added to. Yeah.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah. If you’re up for it, send us a screenshot of your outline.

Beth Moore:
Oh, I will. That’s fun.

Tavis Bohlinger:
That would be really interesting to see because I know I have my personal setup that I still use from when I was doing my doctoral work in England. And what I would do is have about ten to twelve commentaries all open at the same passage, and they would just move along with me is I was going through Romans at the time.

Beth Moore:
Oh, absolutely.

Tavis Bohlinger:
And if I had tried to carry those around with me, well, I might have gotten stronger, but—

Beth Moore:
Yes.

Tavis Bohlinger:
—it would’ve been a challenge. No, thanks for talking on that. So, let me throw the final question at you as we’re coming to the top of the hour here. And we started off, and I said, look, there’s three things I want to talk to you about, which is wine, your memoir, and hope. And we’ve touched on the first two a bit, not as much in the memoir as I’d like to, although I’d love for you to say a word about that, but the last one, hope, and this comes from something you recently tweeted about personifying hope. Those of you listening, check out Beth’s Twitter feed. And it’s probably going to be within the last ten tweets, but it was about hope in all caps and just how our hope is personified in Christ. And I wanted to ask you because hope is something I said quite a bit in the past, but have you read Jürgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Hope?

Beth Moore:
No.

Tavis Bohlinger:
If you haven’t, just the way he expresses this theme of hope from a scriptural standpoint is pretty profound.

Beth Moore:
I would definitely look into that.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Yeah, look into that. But I’d love for you to maybe end us on that: Is talking about the importance of hope to you, especially given the length and the breadth of your ministry, the challenges that you face, the highs and the lows, the beauty of your marriage to Keith, your children, your grandchildren—you’re like this beautiful gnarled vine now that’s been grown and pruned, and grown and pruned, and grown and pruned over many, many years—how does hope factor in with this concept of flourishing as a believer under the loving hand of God?

Beth Moore:
I love that, Tavis. And of course, it’s everything. He is our blessed hope. And I love the picture of that when we lose, when we feel like we’ve lost hope, no, it’s personified in Christ. And you’re not losing Christ. You’re not losing Christ. He is promised. At the end of Matthew, I will be with you. I’m right there with you to the end of the age. And so, I love to know that when I feel like I’ve lost hope, hope has not lost me. I love where—remember where Job says in the twenty-third chapter when he’s talking about, oh, he’s so mad: “When I go to the north, I do not find him. He’s talking about the Lord. When I go to the south, east or west, no matter where!” but it’s so beautiful because he’s basically saying, I feel like I’ve lost him, but he has not lost me. And I love that. And you have not lost him either. He has certainly not lost you.

But I want to say this drives me constantly. So, this is not just a theological truth here. This is a practical reality, every single day of this gnarled vine’s life, and that is that this turns out very well, very well. And I think about this all the time because when—I just got to keep walking. I just got to keep walking with Jesus because there is—if you are in Christ, this ends beautifully. You have a perfect ending, and that ending gives way to a new beginning that has no ending. There is coming—one of the things that troubles me right now is that I think we have gone to the opposite extreme. Maybe we got so fixated on end times and life after death that we forgot what we were called to do on this earth. But we can also go to the other extreme and forget that we have before us, that this we are experiencing, this world is a shadow of the things to come.

We’re not entering ghost town, where we all walk through one another. We have before us the renewal of all things, of a new heaven and a new earth, of real estate under our feet that has a firmer foundation than the ground on which we walk to work, got in our car, anything we can see around us. We’ve got the kingdom coming and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And I just love to think that no matter what, this may be a rough patch, this may not look good right now, but I’m going to tell you something, this ends beautifully. With a little bit of Cinderella language in here, we will all live happily ever after because we will enter our master’s happiness. And I don’t know about you, Tavis, but I’ll be glad. I’m glad I have a Savior who is happy.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Amen to that. Wow, Beth, this has been really wonderful. I could keep talking to you for another hour.

Beth Moore:
I could too. I love this. love to talk to people about the practical aspects of the pursuit of Christ because it is—I believe so much in the spiritual disciplines, but they have to be fully innovated and immersed in the Spirit. We can’t leave God out of our pursuit of God. We can’t serve God without God. So, I love talking about this. So thank you for having me. Thank you for chancing having me because it always brings you guys a lot of flak.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Well, hey, honestly, it’s been really wonderful talking to you. I wish you all the best with your vinting—is that the right way to say it?— with making with the five vines you have. I think it’s correct. Honestly—

Beth Moore:
I have five mature vines, but I have nineteen vines in all. The rest are just one and two year olds. Only three year olds you can let fruit. So yes, thank you for that. I just love it. I just love it.

Tavis Bohlinger:
Honestly, I wish you the best with wine growing, with your marriage to Keith, your family, and your ministry. And just thank you very much for this.

Beth Moore:
My great pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Tavis. And bye everybody. It’s a pleasure to serve you.

Tavis Bohlinger:
All right, God bless you.

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Written by
Jason Brueckner

Jason Brueckner is the Sr. Community Manager at Faithlife. He has a master’s in biblical exegesis from Wheaton College Graduate School and over a decade of experience with digital marketing, church communications, and ministry.

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Written by Jason Brueckner