For at least 18 months, I have been teaching Acts in a verse by verse style. It has been a tremendous blessing for me to get to study and teach this great book of Scripture. I have been touched by many things, and over the next few posts, I want to share some of the things I have learned.
Today I want to talk about Paul and his teaching ministry.
Paul followed a familiar pattern. Though we think of him as “Apostle to the Gentiles, ” he actually always met with Jews first. In every case, he sought to teach and reach his countrymen. This is what he did on the first missionary journey and in Rome as the book comes to a close.
As you read through Acts, you notice that Paul gave his all in seeking to teach good theology and share the hope he had in Christ.
In Ephesus, Paul stayed for three years teaching in the rented Hall of Tyrannus. There are indications that Paul taught to any and all who joined him in the hall from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, the traditional time in the middle of the day to rest in Ephesus. Just think of what Paul must have done. Assuming he had one day (Sunday?) when he did not teach, he would have taught five hours a day for six days a week for three years!
No wonder Ephesus became a center for faith in Christ. The seven churches of Asia (in Revelation) were nearby and so was Colossae. Philemon was associated with Colossae as well. Paul used his time, energy, and effort to reach his world.
What if we had this kind of commitment? It’s easy to get lackadaisical in ministry and in Christian service. It’s easy to think we do too much and work too hard. That does not seem to have been the case with Paul.
Could I encourage pastors and lay people to look at Paul’s commitment? His willingness to teach exhausting hours (and without pay) should be an example to us about a deep commitment to Christ to make a difference.
May God bless our churches and use us to affect our world as Paul affected his.