Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus. Acts 18:24-28 (NRSV)
It is refreshing to meet people who have first come to faith in Jesus. Even though they may (or may not) be armed with a few Bible verses, their enthusiasm is infectious. Sometimes their theology is iffy, but their vivaciousness almost makes up for that lack.
As a person who tends to be rational versus emotional, I envy those who can look up at the sky with a blissful smile and say, “Just give me Jesus!,” and don’t give a whole lot of thought to theology or to necessarily nit picking on all the “right” things. Unfortunately for me and other fellow rational types, nothing gets close to my heart without going through my brain first. Some people, like me, challenge what we are taught and have to do the research and study to back up what we are taught, and even then we still struggle with belief. We have to learn all of the “right things” and even then we have to see faith in action, and almost get hit by lightning to even have a chance at getting it. This is why I always insist we give poor “doubting Thomas” a break!
Apollos was said to be an eloquent man and well versed in the Scriptures, but even he needed other people’s input for his knowledge to be more complete and for his teaching to be more effective.
Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another. Proverbs 27:17 (NRSV)
Priscilla and Aquila provided Apollos with the knowledge he needed to be a more effective witness. The Berean believers searched the Scriptures to back up what the apostle Paul was teaching. To be strong and valid, our faith must be an informed faith, built upon the Foundation, who is Jesus.
Some of us have that beautiful quality of “falling into” faith. Others of us have to “work out our own salvation in fear and trembling” as the apostle Paul speaks of in Philippians 2:12. Either way, we need each other’s input. We need each other’s enthusiasm and encouragement. God created us to live out our faith in community.
We are all stronger when we share our gifts and encourage each other.
How can we share our faith and encourage each other today?