Christian Quotation of the DayOctober 6, 2006
Feast of William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Martyr, 1536Meditation
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"--because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you."
-- Acts 17:16-23 (ESV)
If those who say that we must preach the same message as Paul and the other apostles mean that we should also exhibit the same adaptability and sensitivity to the background culture, then they are right... If, however, they mean that we should expect results merely by repeating the actual phrases found in the New Testament, then they are mistaken. They are making, in fact, one of the basic mistakes in verbal communication, which is to confuse words with what they describe. The gospel is something God has done, not a series of phrases describing it. Saying this does not undermine the Christian’s belief in the inspiration of the Bible, for the important thing about the Bible is what it talks about, rather than the way it does the talking. If we considered that there was the same degree of essential inspiration in the way it does the talking, then we would have to insist that every Christian learn Hebrew and Greek. The mere fact that we in the Western world read translations of the scriptures is a clear admission that times and cultures have changed.
... Gavin Reid, The Gagging of God
Quiet time reflection
Lord, You speak to all people in their own language. Show me what I must do to carry the Gospel to those You have chosen.
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