Read Acts 17 -- 19
In Today’s Reading:
Jewish opposition; Paul and Silas in Berea; Paul's sermon from Mars Hill; Paul at Corinth; Priscilla and Aquila; beginning of Paul's third missionary journey; Paul at Ephesus; uproar of the silversmiths.
The Apostle Paul and his coworker Silas were brutally beaten by a mob in Philippi and then thrown into prison. They were released the next day. Paul was no quitter and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed. . . . to Thessalonica (Acts 16:40 -- 17:1). Wherever he went, Paul always attended the synagogue. Here in Thessalonica, he for three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the (Old Testament) Scriptures . . . that Christ must suffer, and rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed (17:2-4). When the unbelieving religious leaders became aware of the conversions, they started a riot. After the riot, Paul left at night and traveled southwest to Berea, where the Jews received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see if these things were so. Consequently, many of them believed (17:11-12) and received Jesus as their Messiah.
After searching the Scriptures, the Bereans were honest enough to receive Christ as their Messiah, although it contradicted the traditions and decisions of their religious authorities in Jerusalem. This should encourage everyone, regardless of religious training, to study all the Scriptures with a sincere desire to be obedient to the Truth.
There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Our Creator has allotted each of us 24 hours a day and only one lifetime. We have a dual responsibility -- to become the person He wants us to be in order to accomplish the purposes for which He created us. Think how tragic it will be for those who fall short of fulfilling the perfect will of God, wasting their few short years achieving material, social, and financial goals for self-gratification, but failing to accomplish the purpose for which He created them.
One cannot continue to read through the Bible without being deeply convinced of the miraculous unity of the entire Book. It was written over a period of 1500 years by more than 40 authors. Some were prophets, some kings, and others peasants. We marvel at how each book is arranged exactly where it needs to be in order to portray the perfect purpose of the One True Author. Through the books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44), the three Hebrew divisions of the canonized Old Testament, we become overwhelmingly convinced that all the Bible has but One Author, our Creator God, speaking through many human writers to reveal His only plan to redeem a sinful world through one final sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son.
Our search through the Scriptures regarding Jesus Christ begins with the first prophecy of Him in Genesis 3:15, then, on through the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. We see His sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension fulfilled, and His prophesied second coming also recorded in the New Testament. After completing that search, we too can say with utmost confidence: There is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Thought for Today: We may not always enjoy God's way of accomplishing His will through us, but His ways are always best.
17:19 Areopagus = the Athenian council which met on Mars Hill; 17:29 Godhead = the Trinity -- God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
Government Official: Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA) · Pray for one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Cote d’Ivoire (16 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and over 60 native dialects · Religious freedom · 40% animist; 25% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for the Lord’s blessings and peace upon His children (Numbers 6:24-27).
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 8:37-39