In Acts 18:24-28, Luke introduces Apollos as a strong new voice in the defense of the Gospel. Apollos is eloquent. He knows how to shape words to communicate a story. He is persuasive in his manner and compelling. He is also “well-versed” which could refer to the depth of the content of his arguments or it could refer to the power that he conveyed his subject matter. In either case, he carried himself and used words that would give others the impression of someone who had it all put together. Luke, however, tells us that Apollos has a flaw – and it is a major flaw. Apollos “knew only the baptism of John.”
When Priscilla and Aquila come in contact with Apollos, they do something very surprising. They listen to his teaching and discern that although Apollos had incredible skills to communicate, he did not know the truth of the Gospel or the “way of God” as one translation describes it. But the couple did not stop with just listening, they also “took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately.”
This story from 2,000 years ago has challenged me this week. Do I listen? When I speak, do I clearly communicate the “way of God” to all who listen. How long does someone need to listen to me before they can tell that I know God and His Son Jesus intimately? When I hear others communicate an unclear or incomplete message of who Jesus is, or what God has done for us through His Son, do I assume they know and just poorly communicated or do I take them aside to make sure they know and know how to communicate the Gospel clearly?” And finally, do I demonstrate the discernment to know what aspect of the Gospel is missing so that I can gently and humbly encourage an aspiring leader discretely and in a way that commands his or her full attention?
Dear Lord, make me more patient. Help me to listen, discern partial truth from the full truth, and discretely correct our brothers so that You will receive the glory and the honor and the praise that You and You alone are due.