UPDATED Today’s AMI Devotional Quiet Time, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on April 21, 2016. Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Bible Is Not for Dummies”
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
So little is written about Apollos, but it seems that he had great impact on the early church. His arrival was clearly very notable; and after he was joined up with Priscilla and Aquila, he went on to play a similar role as Paul, strengthening believers and defending the faith publicly. He clearly was so compelling and effective that people were tempted to break off into an Apollos camp in the Corinthian church.
There are a lot of worthy lessons to draw from this passage – the importance of proper teaching in our churches or staying teachable no matter how educated we might be. But what sticks out to me is that learning and teaching is a job that is not just reserved for the primary preacher here. We know that Priscilla and Aquila were also tentmakers like Paul and were trustworthy and capable enough to become partners with him. They were not the ones who regularly spoke up in the synagogue. However, they had also such thorough understanding of the Scriptures that they could not only keep up with well-educated Apollos but also know how to correct and guide him. Instead of just waiting around for someone of more authority like Paul to come with correction, they themselves guided Apollos.
I think we often let ourselves off the hook when it comes to thoroughly learning the Word and teaching others, making the excuse that it is a job reserved for the pastors. It is undeniable that God has called some to study His Word vocationally, and they hold great responsibility among us to educate the congregation. But He has also given His Word and His Spirit freely to each one of us! Let us take hold of the opportunities to all become humble, diligent students and teachers of the Word. Let’s read it and eat it, and as we are digesting, help someone else on how to study and understand it too. Remember, the Bible is not for dummies, meaning God has taken us seriously enough to give us a serious book to study, for life.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for not filling my life with Your Word more and more. Give me wisdom and understanding to read Your Word correctly, and give me the opportunity to bless others with what You give me. Help us increase the opportunity for Your Word to shape and transform our lives. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 13
Lunch Break Study
Read James 1:19-25: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Questions to Consider
1. What does James say having the Word planted in our lives do for us?
2. What is the consequence of just listening to the Word and not doing what it says?
3. How does this passage help us understand the importance of studying the Word? What is the ultimate purpose we want to achieve in studying and teaching the Word?
1. In verse 21, he writes if we humbly accept “the word planted in you,” it can save; also, verse 25 says that God’s Word is the “perfect law that gives freedom.” Knowing Scripture is not just an exercise for our minds, but it is the means by which we take hold of the salvation life Christ has given us.
2. Knowing the Word but not doing what it says shows that the Word does not have a place to transform our lives. Since having the Word give us freedom and saves us, the consequence of not taking it seriously is that we will find ourselves still mastered under the thumb of our old, evil self.
3. James writes that our study of the Word is worthless if we only look at the Word but never do what it says. The value that comes from looking at the Word is the type of fruit that comes from taking it seriously. So, we want to be good students of the Word and good teachers of the Word, but our priority must be having the Word applied to our lives.
How do you feel about studying God’s Word and teaching it to others? One of the biggest obstacles is that the task might seem a little boring. Martin Luther once said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me …“ Let’s reflect on our experience of God’s Word and ask Him to show us how it is alive and active in our lives. As we take steps to study it more, we will find that the idea of studying and teaching God’s Word becomes exciting.