The Story of My Bible Commentary
I have often said it because it’s true: I never started out to write Bible commentary. What people use today as my commentary is really just my teaching notes, prepared as if I was going to teach verse-by-verse through a chapter of the Bible.
I started using the expanded outline format for my notes in the late 1980s – probably 1988 or so. Along with my friend and fellow pastor Lance Ralston, I was an early adopter of personal computer technology, so those early teaching notes were prepared digitally with a word processor. The first computer was a Kaypro II and the second was an early Tandy laptop.
In 1996 I went to a Calvary Chapel pastors conference at the just-purchased Murrieta Hot Spring conference facility. Together with an estimated 300 other Calvary Chapel pastors, a man from a ministry named Blue Letter Bible asked the pastors if they had digital commentary or teaching notes they would like to submit to the site. Blue Letter Bible was one of the earliest online Bible resources, and still one of the best – I highly recommend their website.
Looking around the room, I figured that at least 10% of the guys had content they could send. I figured at least half of them would actually do it – maybe about 15 pastors. Since my teaching notes were in digital form for almost the last 10 years, I figured that I would be one of those 15. When I came home from the conference I mailed 4 or 5 of those old 3.5 inch floppy disks to the address they gave me.
I really didn’t think much more about it until one day a friend asked, “David, did you see your stuff on the Blue Letter Bible?” I went online (using that old dial-up modem), went to Blue Letter Bible, and was shocked. Not to see my commentary, but to see that for Bible commentary, people could choose from Matthew Henry, Chuck Smith, Chuck Missler – and David Guzik for commentary. The first three were esteemed and even famous Bible teachers; I was a nobody pastoring a small church in Simi Valley California. My face flushed red with embarrassment.
The embarrassment was there because I thought people would see that my material wasn’t very good, would wonder who this guy “David Guzik” was, and why he was arrogant enough to think anyone should read what he writes about the Bible. I thought I would be one of 15 more-or-less unknown pastors offering content; instead it was just me. I seriously considered contacting the team at Blue Letter Bible, asking them to take down my material. Considering it as a way that I could die to self and confident that God knew my heart if no one else did, I didn’t ask them to take it down.
Through those unexpected circumstances, I learned that what I prepared for myself as teaching notes was helpful for some others as Bible commentary. How would I ever know that? It was the beginning of something wonderful for me.
Since then, literally millions of users have used the commentary literally millions of times. I do present much of the commentary in print or Kindle format, but probably more than 97% of the people who use my commentary use it online. I know that one big reason for its use is that it is free. People like free, and I like to give it away for free. That’s why this website remains donor based instead of charging a fee for the use of the commentary and other resources.
I am so grateful to my friends and brothers at Blue Letter Bible, especially Frank Rabinovitch and Jim Milligan. God used them to start something wonderful in my life, ministry, and calling.