The movie “Hidden Figures” is a wonderful story about three women who worked for NASA during the space race of the 1960s. They were expert mathematicians and analytical geometry specialists who performed the complex calculations that enabled the United States to accomplish its first successful launches and orbits before computers were in place at Mission Control.
Work of that nature has to be done with great precision. One wrong equation could lead to disaster and the death of the astronauts. It is mind-boggling to me that paper, pencil, chalk boards, and slide rulers could put a man into orbit, and yet that is exactly how the early space program began.
Our reading from Acts today addresses a different type of accuracy which should be a goal of every Christian. We read about Apollos, who was described as well-educated and instructed in the Scriptures, which enabled him to speak and teach accurately about Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies. Apollos spoke effectively and boldly and was said to have “watered what Paul had planted” in Achaia. Along the way he received further instruction from Priscilla and Aquila and was received into their circle of friends.
Acts 18:24-28 (Common English Bible)
24 Meanwhile, a certain Jew named Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a native of Alexandria and was well-educated and effective in his use of the scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and spoke as one stirred up by the Spirit. He taught accurately the things about Jesus, even though he was aware only of the baptism John proclaimed and practiced. 26 He began speaking with confidence in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they received him into their circle of friends and explained to him God’s way more accurately. 27 When he wanted to travel to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples so they would open their homes to him. Once he arrived, he was of great help to those who had come to believe through grace. 28 He would vigorously defeat Jewish arguments in public debate, using the scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Christ.
There are so many learning points in this short passage!
First, we learn that Apollos was instructed in the word, which is a reminder to us of our need to be sitting under a teacher’s instruction on a regular basis. Sunday School is not something we ever outgrow! Our need for daily and weekly Bible study is a life-long venture.
Second, we see that Apollos was “stirred up by the Spirit” which enabled him to speak with confidence (verse 25). This indicates that Apollos spent quiet time with the Spirit in prayer and meditation. When is the last time you pulled away from your busy life to seek the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit?
Third, we see that Apollos was open to further instruction by other followers. This is an indication of a humble attitude that led him to further learning. Are you a humble learner? Even those who teach the Scriptures are constantly learning.
Finally, Apollos spoke boldly enough to vigorously defeat Jewish arguments and prove that Jesus was the Christ. Are we vigorous in our witness? Are we bold like Apollos?
The early church benefited from people like this who followed God’s direction to go and tell the good news. The present church demands the same of us: to boldly speak with well-informed accuracy the truth of the gospel of our Lord to all who will hear.
Boldly Go by Becca Ziegler