Hint: I’m reading Acts.
Acts like things you do. Actions. Movements. Speakings. It is not a passive thing.
I read about Apollos in Acts chapter 18 today. This guy’s special. He was from Alexandria in Egypt, and he knew almost nothing about Jesus.
So: ought not Paul to be remarking what an eager learner this fellow was, or how regularly he sought out teaching an instruction? Perhaps we should be reminded that this guy was always sitting in synagogues, at the feet of Paul, always listening and soaking things up. After all, he knew ONLY about John’s baptism of Jesus.
This is where God does his usual thing, which is an unusual thing. (God is not boring. Remember that. Your life maybe won’t shock you so much after.)
Apollos is known for teaching.
No, you read it right. Teaching. Now, clearly there were some missing elements of his teaching, because Acquilla and Priscilla took him to their home and taught him all that he needed to know to more fully declare the beautiful gospel.
He started teaching way before that though. Can you imagine standing before a learned crowd that studied and memorized the scriptures from the time they were children, and explainng to them the ways of your Savior? Put yourself there: wrap your toga a smidge tighter so that when you gesture wildly in joy at the things God’s done, it doesn’t slip. And explain again how with a simple *dunk* John put Jesus under the water – so reluctant to baptize the Christ! – and when Jesus stood up with water dripping from his beard and off his nose and with his tunic stuck to him all wrinkly, like any human, the voice of His Father, God himself, opened heaven like soft praise and a Dove-Spirit descended down.
Seriously, what if we did that? I know it’s scary. I know you won’t understand the Greek and Hebrew roots of scripture without deep and regular study. I know you won’t be able to contextualize every passage, understand the dual meanings of various prophesies, tear apart the insinuations of the beatitudes, etc.
Gosh, people. Does it take all that? Yes, it is beautiful and instructive and helpful and each of us should have a buddy in Bible School so that we learn better how to learn and what to learn. But does it take all that? Do you need to know each verse in order to tell people the offensive good news of the Gospel?
I don’t think so. Let me explain it differently.
Suppose I write a book. It’s a famous book. It’s the best selling book in the history of everness. That kind of famous. Now further suppose it is a life-changing book. So naturally, after I change your life, you want to help other people. (I happen to have an inflated view of my life. JK. It’s an example. Just keep reading.)
Naturally, in order to learn more about this life-changing-ness, you go to college: you pick a school that writes books about my book and that teaches from my book and all the professors have read my book (most of them anyway.)
Or, you could phone me. Read my book, read it again, phone me again (I’m readily available. 867-5309… haaaaahahaha). Read it some more. Memorize a bit.
Really though. Do you think that the people God made – however Godly and wise and learned – can teach you more about his book than he can? But somehow, we take that arrogant view, I think. And not intentionally. But it can happen.
[This is a radical concept even to me. I kind of just discovered it as I wrote it. Somebody remind me to read this again in a while!]
You know, I have friends in Bible school and I highly commend them. For the longest time, I assumed they were better than me. They’re majoring in Biblical Studies and I’m in Literature. I majored in Literature because I love Literature. I questioned myself as to whether that was a bad thing. No, no I don’t think so. (Mostly that’s a discussion for another time.) But I tried to condone my choice by arguing that the disciples were loud, uncouth fishermen, and they understood the Gospel. If uneducated men working the “fall-back” career of the day could be disciples, couldn’t I? I get that my attitude wasn’t right about it. I felt guilty and I was trying to rationalize.
However. I think now that I found the correct answer in the incorrect way. If volatile, thunderous fishermen can be chosen ones; if self-saving wishy-washy Peter can be an agent of grace; if men who don’t understand what Jesus and the scriptures have been saying about his resurrection can be apostles; then by
golly grace, so can I.
Below – Caribou Coffee asks: if you could talk to one historical character: who? Yes, you people. Yes.
So let’s do it. Lets be out there and teach. Let’s explain the grace we do know instead of waiting for more. Let’s teach what we have and share what we’ve been given. We can receive more instruction and we should wholeheartedly seek it, but we should not let it stop us.
If all you know is the baptism, teach the baptism.