Speaking the Language - Acts 22

Speaking the Language

Acts 22:1-30

Language is the primary avenue of communication.  Missionaries who serve in foreign lands quickly learn the importance of language.  The apostle Paul knew the importance of speaking in a language that the listeners understood.  He wrote, "There are, it may be, so many languages in the world, and none of them is without significance.  Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me."  1 Corinthians 14:10, 11.

In Acts 22 a badly beaten Paul is found in the barracks of Romans soldiers, standing on the stairs before a Jewish mob in Jerusalem.  It's time to communicate.  He opened his mouth, and "when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent."  Acts 22:1.

This missionary was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and possibly Latin.  The native tongue of the Jews of Jerusalem was Hebrew.  He got their attention.  They listened carefully to what he had to say.

Missionaries who serve the Lord in foreign lands quickly learn the importance of speaking the language.  Most missionaries spend months, if not years, in language study.  Some are more successful than others, when it comes to learning the language.  Communication is especially important when sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

At times we don't even understand what some people are saying in English.  The prominent editor of a leading Christian magazine had a reputation for purposely using scholarly words which were unknown to the vast majority of believers.  Some take great pride in their enormous vocabulary, even at the price of not being understood.  This is a price we cannot afford.

When Paul preached in Hebrew to the Jews in Jerusalem they understood every word.  They listened intently until he said that God told him to go to the Gentiles.  "Then they raised their voices and said, 'Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!'  Then...they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air."  That wasn't exactly the response that he wanted, but at least he got a reaction.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, used to send out prospective preachers.  When they returned he would ask, "Was anyone converted?"  If they said no, he would continue, "Did anyone get mad?"  If they also answered no to that question, he told them that he didn't think that God had called them to preach.  He believed that when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, people either get converted or angry.


Lord, deliver us from our timidity.  Thank You for Your Word of truth.  Help us to communicate Your message to others that they might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  In His name.  Amen! 


Known by Name - Acts 23 



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Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
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