Journal Acts 26 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: [Paul speaking] “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Acts 9), but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles—that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
For this reason, the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.
To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that (by being the first to rise from the dead) he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”
But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words…” Acts 26:19-25
Observation: “…speaking true and rational words…”
How much must I learn and be mindful of that my testimony doesn’t sound optional and irrational to those I speak to? How do I gain that confidence that the testimony of Jesus, spoken to others, is RATIONAL?
Application: This is a subject that has bothered me for a long time and is my pursuit: not only for myself, but for the ones that God brings in my way.
In my accidental profession (industrial supply chain stuff) , the goal is to know my subject inside and out and be able to apply that knowledge to the experience that God brings my way.
That “inside and out” reference is called doctrine—no matter if it is secular or biblical.
So, if the optimum supply chain path has a deviation, and I want the deviation to go away, then knowing supply chain optimal doctrine helps me to identify the deviant issues and correct them.
So it is with Biblical Doctrine.
Why, then, is the subject of Biblical Doctrine resisted? Why aren’t the various Doctrines learned and espoused and advocated?
I am envious of the description of Paul in this reference. I want my testimony and presentation of the Gospel to be faithfully TRUE and presented RATIONALLY. God is the most rational being in all of Creation and beyond.
A few years ago, I encountered a pair of Jehovah Witnesses come to my door—an older woman and a young apprentice. They opened with the normal appeal customary to JW’s. I listened respectfully and tried not to interrupt nor squirm internally awaiting my turn with anxiousness.
After the older lady finished her pitch, I offered an alternative view leading with “this is what I believe and am convinced of”. At that point, I presented the Gospel starting with, “…from before time began, the Triune God devised a Plan of Redemption that started with the foreknowledge of Adam’s treachery and rebellion (sin), Adam and his progeny deserving of God’s total Wrath but with the Triune God providing Redemption through the Cross (not as a Plan B due to Adam’s sin, but always Plan A), and so on…
I got to the point that Man could never gain the Triune God’s approval through moral actions, and they excused themselves and left, saying “We don’t believe that.”
I guess my point is that I practiced that presentation through the study of Doctrine, confirming such doctrine through the Bible and standing on the shoulders of gifts of faithful men that have come before me.
It was Festus who exclaimed to Paul, “…your great learning has driven you mad…” Paul replied, “Au contraire, Festus…”
Do I desire to follow in the footsteps of Paul and study and/or train my can off, like the Bible says to do? Re:
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather, train yourself for godliness…” 1 Tim 4:6-7a
I gotta review Ps 119 and the words: Doctrine, Precepts, Rules, and Principles today.
Prayer: Lord, you drive this in me. I don’t want to miss stuff, miss your whisper and guidance, in this quest for godliness and maturity. Keep sharpening me, O God, that I may be a ready instrument of your Grace.
Ricky Two Shoes