Greek God-Worshippers

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 1-3; Acts 17:1-15

17 Paul and Silas journeyed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was Paul’s custom, he entered the synagogue and for three Sabbaths interacted with them on the basis of the scriptures. Through his interpretation of the scriptures, he demonstrated that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. He declared, “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ.” Some were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, including a larger number of Greek God-worshippers and quite a few prominent women. (Acts 17:1-4, Common English Bible)

“Greek God-worshippers” is how the Common English Bible says it. In the New Revised Standard Version, it is “devout Greeks.” Then there is the New International Version which uses the term, “God-fearing Greeks.” Who are these Greeks?

In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), God-Fearers (or the other names above) were Gentiles who, to varying degrees, embraced Judaism but never actually converted to the faith. They were nominal men and women of faith.

As for the early Christian Church, in the Book of Acts (our lesson for today), it was much the same. The chief difference being, the God-fearers followed many of the teachings of the Jews or Christians. They had not converted to the Christian faith, until this story.

Paul and Silas, as they often did, visited the local synagogue. Changes in the hearts of the people there didn’t change, at least not immediately. The lesson tells us that Paul and Silas did this, interacting with the God-fearers, and I would assume Jews as well, for three Sabbaths. They continued to minister to and share the faith with those gathered for three weeks. Their faithfulness made a difference as “…a larger number of Greek God-worshippers and quite a few prominent women…” became convinced that Jesus is the Messiah.

“Pastor, I have talked with my friends and neighbors. If they aren’t already Christians, I don’t want to nag them.” There is obviously a fine-line we must walk if we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ as Jesus himself commissioned those who were already disciples in every age (that would be us) to do.

There are people around us who are already disposed to the faith. They are similar to the God-fearers. They understand something of the love God has for them but they don’t get it in full. It is not yet a full understanding.

I would challenge you as well to remember the story we read just a short time ago about Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Phillip asks the eunuch if he understands what he is reading. The eunuch says, “How can I if I have no one to explain it to me.”

If the God-fearers of the New Testament era were to understand, Paul and Silas had to explain it. If those who seek more knowledge before becoming disciples are to understand, that job is up to us. How will we respond?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With joy and thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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