There are several scriptures in the Bible, directing us to be bold in teaching the Word and influencing others for God. There are also references to boldness in approaching God in prayer.
Acts 4:31 Peter and John were released from the Sanhedrin council, prayed and then were filled with the Holy Spirit. They spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 28:31 “Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
2 Corinthians 3:12 “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are bold.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Ephesians 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” NIV
Ephesians 3:12 “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” NKJV
Thayer's Greek Lexicon gives the Greek word for bold as ̓parrhēsia and defines it:
1) freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech: 1a) openly, frankly, i.e., without concealment; 1b) without ambiguity or circumlocution; 2) free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance.
Boldness, which literally means "freedom from timidity" or "liberty" according to Webster's 1828 dictionary, is a basic character trait every Christian should possess.
One commentator believes that the boldness spoken of in Hebrews 4 is approaching God with respect, but the boldness comes in by demanding he fulfill his promises. He writes that we should remind God of his promises, even quoting the scriptures to him. That stretches boldness too far for my comfort. Be bold in asking for God’s mercy and grace is what I get from Hebrews. Rick Renner writes that we should pray with boldness and confidence. He uses the NKJV. Being confident that God listens to us and making demands is very different
James 4:2-3 tells us that we do not receive because we do not ask, and we ask for the wrong motives. I believe we can be bold by asking God for anything, but we must have the right heart.
Boldness is an absolute necessity for us to be able to accomplish the things that God expects of us. It is needed when we attempt to teach about God and Jesus. It is necessary when we are going to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.
Boldness about God and Christ is not an in your face attitude. Boldness is not rudeness by condemning others to hell to get their attention. That is self-righteousness thinking that you have the responsibility to judge others. That kind of “boldness” turns people away from what you have to say about God and Jesus.
You may be timid, shy, and awkward in social situations. Maybe you don't mix well in groups and are not outgoing. You are not the first to approach someone you don’t know. 2 Corinthians says because we have hope through Jesus, we can be bold when teaching about Him. 2 Timothy tells us that God did not give us timidity but power, love, and self-discipline when teaching about Jesus.
These verses do not mean that you must start walking up to everyone and telling them about Jesus. You do not have to shout from the mountain top about Jesus. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us always to be prepared to give people the reason for our hope. I believe God will provide opportunities to tell about our hope through Jesus, and we must be ready and be bold to explain our hope. Yes, you must overcome your timidity, shyness, awkwardness, and especially fear of rejection when serving God. Some people will not want to hear what you have to say. Always keep in your mind that Jesus was not timid as he suffered for you! Surely, we can suffer through some discomfort and uneasiness considering what he suffered.
Recent experiences with bold people:
I was buying a product in a retail store and needed some information about it. After apologizing for my speech, I asked my question, and the clerk answered it. She then wanted to know what happened to my speech. When she found out it was due to a stroke, she told me about her aunt, who was a stroke survivor. Her name was Brenda and wanted to know if it would be Ok to pray for me. She asked for my name. I told her “Mike, no not Mac so I spelled M I K E.” People often hear “Mac” when I pronounce my name. Many times, I just let it go, but if she is going to pray for me, I want to make she has the correct name! I said “sure” thinking she meant in her private prayers. Brenda began praying for me right at the checkout counter. Although somewhat taken back, I appreciated her boldness. She cares about God and his people.
I was standing outside the courtroom one morning talking with the father of one of my CASA boys. The boy had just been told that he had one more chance. This time he was going to a lockdown facility for boys. The next appearance before the judge for any violation would send him to prison. A lady interrupted our conversation. She wanted to know if he was just up in front of the judge with his son. I was aggravated at the interruption. The father said “yes,” then she asked for permission to pray for both the boy and the father. He gave her permission, and she immediately prayed. My aggravation left me, and I appreciated her boldness.
These two ladies did not ask about our religious beliefs nor ask for us to study the Bible with them but demonstrated that they are believers. Is this the kind of boldness that the Bible speaks about? I believe that it is a form of boldness. The apostles were bold in preaching about Christ. We all do not have that talent, but we can be bold in other means by demonstrating that we are believers. You might not be comfortable praying for someone in at the checkout counter or outside of court but letting them know they will be in your prayers does take boldness for some people.
I’m working on my boldness. When people ask about my speech, I tell them about the stroke. My speech was worse than it is now, I had no control over my right side, very little fine motor skills, could not walk, could not swallow anything but liquids, etc. I could have died or been an invalid, but God rescued me. I want them to know that God really blessed me! For me, this being bold.
At the conclusion of a meeting with my CASA families, I ask them if it’s alright to end the meeting with a prayer. This, for me, is boldness. This is not easy for me. Most of these people believe that there is a God but have no relationship with him. A number of these people have arrest records primarily for drugs and are hard as nails. I’m not physically intimidated, but often they sneer when I mention praying. At times I’ve allowed the previous sneers to keep me from praying again. After studying for this article, I decided not to let their attitudes keep from suggesting that we pray for them. I’m not where I hope to be, but I am working on my boldness. Sneers for me versus suffering on the cross for Jesus, I can take it!
We sing a song at Southside, “Do You Know My Jesus?” I especially appreciate the third verse: “Who knows your disappointments, Who hears each time you cry; Who understands your heartaches, Who dries the tears from your eyes?” The chorus asks: “Do you know my Jesus, Do you know my friend, Have you heard He loves you, And that He will abide till the end?” If someone I know answers these questions with a “No” then I have not been BOLD enough!
For those of you who have read other articles I have posted, you would be shocked if I did not use a Max Lucado quote. Here it is:
*“If you know God's grace, love boldly, live robustly. Swing from the trapeze; his safety net will break your fall. #LiveLoved” I need to remember this if I question whether or not to bold.
*Printed by permission from Max Lucado’s website