It may seem a bit ironic that I took a run at the internet in this morning’s sermons and I am now writing a blog post, which will be posted on the internet, but I am willing to live with that contradiction.
As I may have mentioned in one or the other sermon it is a constant source of wonder to me that the Holy Spirit can reveal things about a familiar text that I have never seen before. I have read the Bible through a number of times, honestly it isn’t all that difficult, and I never noticed the words “looked carefully” in Acts 17:23. I have obviously read them but I didn’t notice them. So what is so important about those words?
Those words are so important because they provide clear evidence that Paul took the time to ensure that he knew the context – cultural and spiritual – of the people he wanted to minister to. But why is that important? It is important because it demonstrates Paul was willing to treat the people he was going to be talking to with respect. Paul had a tremendously important message for the Athenians which had been given to him by Christ himself. We sometimes think the import of what we have to say negates the requirement to understand our audience and nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is this a sign of respect but it is also part of making the message as palatable as possible.
A hallmark of our culture at the moment, especially online, is talking past or talking at each other. We think that what we have to say is so important that we don’t have to listen to the other party nor do we have to figure out their context or motivation; is it any surprise that virtually no one’s message is getting through? Paul did everything he could to make his message attractive and understandable.
I realized as I was typing the paragraph, which I just deleted, that this is not the place to try and re-preach the sermons so I am going to stop now. I would be delighted to continue a conversation about this with anyone who is so inclined. There are comment possibilities below or you can hit me up on Facebook or wherever works best for you.
Knox Presbyterian Wait, we can talk with them? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Wait, we can talk with them? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
 If this is something you have wondered about I can’t recommend the YouVersion people highly enough, click http://www.youversion.com/ and see what you think. If you want some suggestions about the easiest way to read the entire Bible there are lot there and I have a few myself 🙂
 A similar distinction can be made between “hearing” and “listening” which is something every parent or caregiver has had to work through with their children.