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Volume 33 - Page 168 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
associated with parables, where it is translated "to put forth" (Matt. 13: 24), a mode of
teaching in which one thing is placed beside (para) another, thus, "The field is the world"
(Matt. 13: 38). The Apostle's method therefore was twofold. First, he opened up the
Scriptures. This would involve, not only quotation, but any needed explanation to make
plain the inspired sense to the hearer. Then he compared scripture with scripture, and
scripture with historic fact, or with feeling, and so produced a convincing argument.
There was one further element that Paul added to his manner of preaching which vivified
his reasoning and alleging: he "testified" or "bore witness" to the truth he expounded.
With this word he summed up his early ministry, "testifying both to the Jews, and also
to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ"
(Acts 20: 21). From this time he looked forward to entering upon his second great
ministry, "to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20: 24), and with this
expounding and testifying he brought his ministry to Israel to a close (Acts 28: 23).
Paul's message was the testimony of a lover of the Scriptures, not the mere
deliverance of a doctrinaire. The alphabet he used may have been learned at the feet of
Gamaliel, but the gospel he preached he learned at the foot of the cross. His learning and
logic was made a living thing by reason of his personal testimony. He was both preacher
and teacher. He brought good tidings of great joy; he announced the message given him
with no uncertain sound, and he taught, and "showed", as the word translated "doctrine"
indicates, the unfolding of the mind and will of God. He knew by bitter experience the
bondage of legalism; he knew what pride of race and religion could never give. He
knew the conflict that the believer experiences, for he confessed that when he would do
good evil was present with him; and so he emphasizes the need for sympathy with our
hearers in all their pilgrim experiences.
Turning from the example of Paul to some who served with him in the gospel, we
learn another important lesson in Christian equipment. In Acts 18: 24-28 we read of
a man named Apollos, who was both "mighty" in the scriptures and an "eloquent" man.
We might be pardoned for believing that such a man was "throughly furnished". Yet
Aquila and Priscilla evidently thought otherwise, for they took him home, and there
"expounded to him the way of God more perfectly". These faithful servants of Christ
enabled Apollos to sort out his already abundant material; to arrange, to classify, to
differentiate, to complete (for he knew only "the baptism of John"). In other words, he
was led to see the need for "rightly dividing the Word of truth", and as a consequence he
"helped them much which had believed through grace", besides "mightily" convincing
the Jews (Acts 18: 27, 28).
In conclusion, it must not be forgotten that the thorough furnishing of the Christian
worker will not be attained unless he adds to all that has been brought forward such
qualities as "lowliness of mind". While at one time the Apostle would "magnify" his
office, at another he would recognize that he was indeed "less than the least of all saints".
The Apostle was consistent. His preaching and his practicing went hand in hand.
"Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life". Thus he not only taught the church