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Bold Faith

I need to speak boldly. I need to speak boldly every day. I need to argue and persuade as many as I can about the kingdom of God. In God’s country, Jesus is King. Everyone needs to hear this good news.

I also need to focus on making disciples of Jesus and the Way. Evangelism leads to discipleship (aka learner). Believing leads to learning.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Master. | Acts 19:8-10 (Christian Standard Bible)

It is important to note that while many will hear the good news, some will become obstinate and refuse to be persuaded about our Master Jesus.

What should we do? At some point we must move on to focus on the needs of the disciples and pay attention to their growth.

Here is the literal translation:

But when some were hardening themselves [= becoming obstinate] and refusing to be persuaded, badmouthing the Way in the sight of the multitude, he [Paul], disengaging from them, separated the disciples off [from the obstinate bad mouthers], conversing day by day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 And this went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia [a Roman province in western Asia Minor]—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Master.

Since the good news has the support of Scripture, Luke attributes unbelief to obstinacy and refusal to be persuaded.

  1. Luke’s use of two verbal expressions (“hardening themselves” and “refusing to be persuaded”), where one would have sufficed, highlights the unreasonable basis of disbelief. In effect, he’s saying to prospective converts, “Don’t let obstinacy keep you from believing, for believing is the reasonable thing to do.”
  2. “Badmouthing the Way” contrasts with Paul’s persuasive speech. The contrast portrays the badmouthing as unjust and casts the bad mouthers in a bad light.
  3. “In the sight of the multitude” probably means that the obstinate unbelievers were badmouthing the Way before the very same large congregation with whom Paul was conversing. So to avoid mere wrangling, he disengages from the bad mouthers by leaving the synagogue, takes his converts with him, and continues conversing with people in Tyrannus’s lecture hall. We know nothing more about Tyrannus, so that the mention of him by name gives evidence of Luke’s historical research
  4. “Day by day” multiplies Paul’s evangelistic efforts far beyond once-a-week presentations during Sabbath services in the synagogue.
  5. And “for two years” extends those efforts over a long time. As a result, not only the residents of Ephesus but also the residents of the whole province in which the city was located “heard the word of the Lord.” Implied is the coming of people who lived outside the city into the city and hearing Paul in Tyrannus’s lecture hall.
  6. By including “all the residents of Asia—both Jews and Greeks,” Luke emphasizes that the progress of the good news can’t be impeded even by people who badmouth it. Indeed, their badmouthing it leads to its wider distribution.

Sources

  1. Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Ac 19:1–41). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  2. Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 539). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.