Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s talk: ‘Discover Yourself In God’s Mirror – Who Am I? (Part 1)’.
Notable quote from this teaching:
“The spirit gives life, the soul receives life. The spirit is self-existent, the soul depends on the spirit.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
Welcome to the first in a series of four sessions of teaching on a theme of which the title is: “Who Am I?” The subtitle gives you a hint of where we’re going to go for an answer, “Discover Yourself In God’s Mirror.” So, the aim of this teaching will be, as it were, to hold up a mirror to you in which you can see yourself. But you’ll not be seeing your outward visible form, you’ll be seeing something you cannot see in any other mirror, which is what you’re really like inside.
Before I get into this subject, I think I need to say a little about my personal background, because it’s relevant to this.
Before I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally — and I met Him one midnight in an army barrack room of the British Army, late in July in l941, from which time there are two things I’ve never doubted. First of all, that Jesus is alive; and second, that the Bible is true. I came to both those conclusions in one night.
But let me tell you how I came to them. Before that happened to me, I was a professional philosopher. You probably don’t meet many, there aren’t many — which is probably a good thing. When I say a professional philosopher, I mean I earned my living by it. It wasn’t a very substantial living, at least it kept me alive. I actually held a fellowship in philosophy at Kings College in Cambridge in Britain. We won’t go into the relative merits of British universities, we’ll leave that on one side.
I was a philosopher, because I was looking for an answer. I think I was one of those people, I was born with a question inside me. The question was: “What’s the purpose of life? What are we here for? What is worth doing and what is not worth doing?”
I had grown up in the nominal church in Britain, but I didn’t think that I would find an answer there. So when I went to Cambridge at the age of 18, I decided that I would look in philosophy for an answer. Philosophy means the love of the search for wisdom. I have that kind of mind that’s very much at home in the abstract and doesn’t like to get bogged down in practical details.
There are only two things I know about a car. One is when it goes, and the other is when it stops. And my system in life has always been to know somebody who knew more than I did about cars!
But when it comes to the abstract and to the logical realm, I think God gave me a natural gift in that area.
So, for seven years at Cambridge I pursued the study of philosophy, and I can say objectively I was successful. I held the most prized research studentship at the University for two years in succession, and was one of the youngest people ever to be elected as a fellow of King’s College Cambridge.
But then the War came along, and I was uprooted — which was a very good thing I realized afterwards. But in philosophy, I had not found the answer I was looking for. I studied Greek philosophy extensively and also a good deal of what was then contemporary philosophy, it’s probably out of date today. I also studied some of the other European philosophers.
So when I came to being called up into the army, my big problem was: what am I going to take with me to read? Because, in the army you can’t carry a library around with you. And books are heavy and you have to carry them yourself. So I thought to myself there’s one book that really is a book of philosophy and, actually, it’s probably the most widely read book in the world and the most influential in human history. And I know very little about what’s in that book. The book I had in mind was the Bible.
So I felt it was my philosophic duty to study the Bible. I bought myself a nice new black Bible, I couldn’t conceive you’d ever have any other color but black, and took it with me into the army and started to read it.
Well, I found it: the first book that really baffled me. I couldn’t make head or tail of it, I didn’t know how to classify it, I found it very boring. But I started at the beginning, and I was determined that no book was going to beat me, I would read it through to the end.
Well, after nine months of struggling with this book, I met the Author and the next day the book made perfect sense. The change was not gradual, it was instantaneous from one day to the next.
And so, since l941 up to the present time, I’ve been studying the Bible. And I would like to say I find it richer, more exciting and more illuminating today than I did when I first started. It has never become dull and the more I read it the more I see there is to learn.
I think I need to say something else too, in the context of Christianity. God called me specifically, verbally, in l944 when I was still in the British army in Palestine, to be a teacher of the Scriptures. It was as clear and precise as anything that ever happened in my life. And I have been seeking to do that ever since.
And I’ve had the privilege in the last 20 years or so traveling very widely, ministering to Christians of many different national and denominational and cultural backgrounds. I’ve been part of what is called the Charismatic movement since the early l960s. Not that that was how I came into the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I was so ignorant that I got baptized in the Holy Spirit without knowing you had to wait for it. And I didn’t go to church, I got baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same army barrack room where I got saved. And being still ignorant, I didn’t know you had to wait six months to get spiritual gifts, so God immediately gave me the gift of interpretation. And at that time every time I spoke in tongues I interpreted. I don’t want to go into that.
But anyhow, I have a pretty wide acquaintance with the Body of Christ today. I love God’s people, I thank God for what He’s doing through the earth.
But I have one deep concern as a Bible teacher. It seems to me that the majority of God’s people don’t have a really strong solid foundation of Biblical knowledge. That’s why I produced that set of books which Ruth held up a moment or two ago, “The Foundation Series.” My aim being in a clear, simple, non-theological way to present the great foundation truths of the Christian faith.