Do Your Homework

Eagerly Examine Every Day

Acts 17

Do you do your homework? This may seem like an odd question to be asking but that’s exactly what the people in Acts 17 were commended for doing. When Paul and Silas went to a place called Berea they were teaching the word of God to people in the synagogues. The people had never seen the scriptures in the light that Paul and Silas were teaching it to them, they had never recognized the truths that were being shared. So rather than just believe what they heard they went ahead and studied it in the scriptures for themselves to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true. Essentially they were ‘doing their homework’. They found that what was being taught was true and so came to salvation. We refer to them as the Bereans. The term may sound familiar to you as many church youth groups have held the name Berean in their names. This is a reference to that noble group that studied the scriptures for themselves to see if what they were being taught was true.

In our society today there do not seem to be enough people who display Berean like qualities of ‘doing their homework’. Why were the Bereans noble – because they searched for the truth and they found it! Truth is important to us, but today the truth seems more, and more difficult to unearth. There are many newscasters, commentators, teachers, and yes preachers too who would all benefit from doing a little more homework before presenting information to the public. This would prevent a whole host of misinformation from circulating about. Many people would be better able to discern the truth if they did their homework. If you know the truth of a matter then you will less likely fall for anything false. We should all strive to be like the Bereans and desire to know the truth for ourselves, through diligent research especially when it comes to the word of God!

-Pastor Merry Peterson

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Samuel 15-16 and Acts 17

How to be an Apollos

Acts 18:19 – 19:41


Because the book of Acts spends a great deal of time tracking the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys, it’s easy to overlook others who only have a few verses written about them, but they played a significant part in the spread of the Gospel. One of these is a man named Apollos.  

We meet up with Apollos in Ephesus and immediately we are informed of his cultural background, his hometown, and his status in regards to his knowledge of the Scriptures. We know that he was enthusiastic about continuing his own understanding as evidenced by his time spent with Priscilla and Aquila. We read that Apollos is very enthusiastic and bold about sharing the Gospel to other Jews. And if we take a sneak peak in 1 Corinthians 3: 4-5, we see that his influence of converting believers is compared to Paul! Wow!


So what can we apply to our own lives just off of these verses at the end of Acts 18? 


1 – We each need to be reading and studying Scripture regularly. If you’re reading this blog post, chances are…you do this already! Great! If digging into Scripture isn’t a consistent habit you have in place – ask yourself how you can restructure just a portion of your day to include an infusion of the Word. I know a couple of people who have found that listening to the Bible while on their way to or from work or school has made a difference. Try it out! You might like it! 


2- Be willing to continually learn more about the Word of God from others who have been around a while. And if you’re one who has experience living a Christian lifestyle, make sure that you are connecting and investing in others’ spiritual walks. When Apollos met up with Priscilla and Aquila, he only knew about the baptism of John. After spending time with the couple, Apollos’ ministry became even more influential. This could be you! 


3 – Acts 18:28 states that “Apollos vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate”. If you’re on any kind of social media platform, I’m sure that you’ve witnessed hotly contested debates in the last few months over a variety of issues and I am certainly not advocating for that in regards to faith-based ideas. Instead, think about it this way: Apollos was ready to give a logical response to those who asked questions. AND he was prepared to thoughtfully challenge (I’m sure in a calm and respectful manner) others’ thinking. We must also be prepared to do the same. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” If the situation ever presented itself, could you share your testimony of how and why you became a child of the Most High God? If not, spend some time thinking about what you would say…you never know when you might be asked to share your story. 


Apollos, while not as prolific as the apostle Paul, had incredible influence over the spread of the Gospel of Christ. You and I can also lead consequential lives in which our love for God and His love for us is shared with others. To be effective, we must continue to study Scripture, learn from others, and be prepared to speak boldly. This is what makes us modern day disciples of Christ. 

-Bethany Ligon

Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Acts 18:19-19:41.

Tomorrow we will finish the week with the beginning of 1st Corinthians (chapters 1-4).

Be a Berean

ACTS 17

acts 17 11

In Acts 17 we see three very different cities and their different responses to the Gospel.

Thessalonica hears the word and some Jews and a lot of Greeks believed.  But other Jews did not like how Christianity changed their culture. They liked the status quo and therefore used their influence to stir up trouble for Paul and got him kicked out of the city.  Similar to the rich young ruler there are some people that are very happy with life as it is and just cannot accept the changes required to follow Christ and will fight it tooth and nail to hold on to their old lives.  We cannot hesitate and look back when we follow Christ.

 

Berea is very different.  The Jews there hesitated when they heard Paul’s message, but they studied the scriptures and saw that Jesus did indeed fulfill the prophecies and they believed.  It is very important that we seek out truth and question things that we hear and compare them to scripture. There are too many people in the world today that hold a certain belief just because their pastor or their denomination told them so.  Those people might be right and might have a lot of wisdom and knowledge to pass on, but at the end of the day I am the one that is responsible for my own salvation and I need to know that what I believe is the truth. Deep study is a great way to make your faith your own.

 

Lastly there was Athens, which had been a hub of culture and ideas for hundreds of years and had idols of many different gods from many different cultures.  The Athenians knew that God was out there, but they were searching for him in all the wrong places. There are many people around us today that similarly feel a need for something more in their lives, but instead of finding the one true God they fill that void with idols.  Those idols come in many different forms such as jobs, significant others, money, or belongings. Even though the Athenians were searching in all the wrong places at least they were searching and were therefore open to listening to Paul’s message. I think that Athenian culture is one of the most similar cultures from Bible times to our culture today, and I think that God is likely similarly unhappy at the number of idols that we have placed in our lives.

 

So, to conclude, I would encourage you to let go of your old life, study the scriptures and make them your own, and remove the idols from your life.  If we can do these things then we can consider ourselves to be of noble character like the Bereans.

-Chris Mattison