Journal Acts 16 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy—the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer (but his father was Greek).
He (Timothy) was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.
Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him (because of the Jews who were in those places for they all knew that his (Timothy’s) father was a Greek).
As they (Paul, Silas, and now Timothy) went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them (the Believers in those cities) for observance of the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So, the churches were strengthened in the Faith and they increased in numbers daily.” Acts 16:1-5
Observation: How serious did the believers take being part of the local church?
Analysis: Does any ever experience that reading through the Scriptures can become skimming through the Scriptures? I have, especially if I have colored a scripture or ten. My eyes then go from highlighted sentence to highlighted sentence, functionally ignoring the stuff in-between.
I have gone from my personal, printed Bible, to a Kindle copy of the ESV, to now ESV.org, especially when I am writing for the journal. How many copies of the Bible do I have? A lot, by anyone’s count. How many do I read? Two, both electronic.
I only say this to emphasize the bad habit of skimming, something of which I am most guilty of. Writing for journaling purposes, chapter by chapter, makes me attempt to focus for that assignment of the day.
I picked up on two things in chapter 16.
- I wonder how many would aspire to leadership in the local church if the first examination would be “are you circumcised or not?” Now, it is fully understood through the doctrines of Grace circumcisions are not a requirement for salvation. But apparently it was a consideration for executive missionary work. Do you want to be taken seriously preaching to the dispersed Jews? Apostles and Elders say, “Let’s go behind this curtain and chat about your ‘calling’. How called are you?”
Makes me think twice and be grateful for this time we live in.
- The churches were serious, really serious. My bet it wasn’t far from their minds that the guy Jerusalem sent out was the same guy (not too long ago) was out for their blood. So, it took some solemn, earnest self-deliberation to receive Paul in the name and honor of the Lord Jesus. All Paul, Silas, and Timothy were doing was delivering observations, decisions, and the like. But the results were astounding: the churches were strengthened in the Faith (made strong in understanding and knowledge of the Gospel) and they grew numerically daily.
These are the usually “skimmed” over parts, I think. But not skimming perhaps opens a page or two of wondering and consideration, footnotes to the larger message of the Gospel.
At least it does for me.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your Word. Even in this small talk, I have faith that it pulsates with Life. Help me with the story of Acts and why what I read isn’t being replicated? If it is being replicated, help me see it. If it is coming, help me pray for it and anticipate it prophetically.
Ricky Two Shoes