The book of Acts contains many wonderful records of Christ being preached. One of these records details some of the incidents surrounding Paul’s preaching in the city of Athens. The student of God’s Word will note some interesting differences between the way Paul presented the truth in Athens and his presentation elsewhere. This is partly due to the fact that he was speaking to men who were not grounded in the Old Testament, but rather in the writings of Greek philosophers. Still, the focus and object of his preaching remained clear and consistent.
Also worth noting is the response of the people present to the words of Paul.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, “We will hear thee again of this matter.”
So Paul departed from among them.
Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed.
Some of those who heard that day responded with believing. Hurray! That is the proper response! In addition, since only the third group is referred to as having believed, we must conclude that the first two groups, though dissimilar in many ways, had one significant point of agreement: they did NOT believe.
What insight for us today! We too will see all three of these responses to the Word of God. When some mock, it is easy to recognize them as unbelievers, and to move on. But what of the “hear thee again” group? They are often kind and sympathetic. They are certainly interested. But if their interest does not extend to the recognition of a personal need for redemption, they are merely kind and sympathetic unbelievers.
God did not give His Word to elicit man’s interest. He gave His Word that we might believe it. When the lost, parched, and hopeless desert traveler stumbles upon an oasis, he does not study it with interest. He recognizes that, contrary to all expectation, his life has been saved and he runs to that salvation, thankfully. Likewise, the only acceptable response to the revelation of man’s lost state and God’s gracious provision is simply to recognize the former, and cleave to the latter.
Philippians 2:15, 16a
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Holding forth the word of life.
We are not offering the world “something interesting;” we are offering life itself. When man responds with anything short of believing, he is missing the entire point of God’s Word, and he is separating himself from all of its blessings and benefits. This is no less true for those who are born again.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We need more than “something interesting” — we need power.
God’s Word is powerful.
The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
We need more than “something interesting” — we need light. God’s Word is light.
The only individual who would find God’s Word merely interesting is the individual who believes that he already has sufficient life, power, and light. And that individual is deluded. Like those spoken of in II Timothy 4, he may have ears that itch for new information, but he has ears that have turned from the truth.
Do you study God’s Word in hopes of being rewarded by “something interesting?” Please stop, now.
If we study God’s Word solely when we are called upon to teach, if we study it to find ammunition against those with whom we disagree, if we study it to pique our flagging interest, our pursuit will be ultimately fruitless. But if we study it for life, for light, for power, if we study it to learn who our Father is and what He has made us to be, if we study it for instruction in righteousness, we shall be richly rewarded.