Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Brief Bible Study: Acts 8:3-4, Only God!

Okay, there's no giveaway here today, but a Wednesday without a post just feels funny. Some of you are saying, "Well you didn't post anything last Wednesday!"

To that, I answer, "That's why I know it feels funny."

So to keep feeling funny at bay, I'm offering a brief (for me) post on this morning's Bible study.

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I was reading the lesson for our Thursday night Bible Study at church (Yes, Thursday not Wednesday, and there is a reason for this. Curious? Ask in the comments and I'll explain).

So anyway...We are reading through Acts, aka My Favorite Book in the Entire Bible!

Here are the verses that shouted out to me this morning (the did not merely "speak" to me; it was definitely a shout):

Act 8:3-4 - "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."

Did you catch that? Therefore.

According to Webster, "therefore" means "because of that" (there are other definitions, click the link to see them, but they're all pretty close to this).

I'm gonna put a little "Andrea Spin" on this verse to modern it up a little. I think I've got the meaning right.

"Saul tormented the church, barging into people's homes, arresting them, and carting them off to prison. Because of that, the disciples who were scattered around the country went every where preaching the Gospel."

Okay, back up the truck here. Saul was arresting Christians, and the rest of the Christians preached the word even more? Look at the context to be even more amazed.  Stephen had just been stoned to death for preaching the Gospel! And still the faithful disciples of Jesus continued preaching the word.

Wouldn't it be safer to lay low until the danger passed? Instinct and human wisdom told them one thing, but they ignored those impulses and pressed on for the cause of Christ.

Let's not forget the "therefore" that started all this talk. These people didn't preach the word in spite of persecution, but according to the Scripture because of it. (For those who take issue with the King James Version, a search of the Unbound Bible website reveals at least two other well respected translations, NASB and ASV, that use the word "therefore.")

Only God could make that happen. Without the strength of conviction given by the Holy Spirit living in their lives, these disciples would have folded like a card table.

But with that Spirit helping them stand firm, persecuting these Christians was like pouring Miracle Gro on a dandelion. The thing they were trying to get rid of simply spread farther and faster than before.

That brings to mind another verse and a question:

1 Corinthians 3:19a -  "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."

Could Saul be learning anything through all this?

In the interest of brevity, I'll share more on that at a later date...

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