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Criticism or Edification from Acts 18

October 3, 2011

Library of Celsus, Ephesus (microsoft graphics)

What kind of person are you? Are you a constant critic? Do you just accept anything anyone does or is? Somewhere in between? Or do you find yourself at either extreme sometimes?

I am often overly critical. I have high standards and I expect a lot out of others….. especially when they are related.

I received a gentle reminder from God’s Word in Acts 18. The Apostle Paul has been living with Aquila and Priscilla for about a year and a half in Corinth. They were all tentmakers and Paul has been teaching and establishing a church there.

Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla all sail from Corinth. Making a stop at Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla stay there while Paul travels on his journey to Jerusalem.

At Ephesus, a Jew named Apollos is teaching others about this “new way.” He is a great speaker and knows his Old Testament scriptures. The Bible also describes him as fervent, diligent, and bold.

So where is the problem? He only knows about the ministry of John the Baptist. He doesn’t have the complete picture. Aquila and Priscilla hear Apollos. They see his deficiencies, but how do they respond?

They could have confronted him, and told him that he should not have been teaching if he didn’t have the whole story. They could have spread rumours about his ministry to discredit it, “He is okay, but messed up in some of his theology.”

Instead, they came alongside him and explained the truth of the gospel in its entirety. They invested in the ministry. The refused to see only the faults and instead of blowing him out of the water, they helped and encouraged him.

Are we an Aquila/Priscilla to someone? Are  we looking for the good or only seeing the faults? When we see the problems, do we graciously edify to shore up the weak spots? I read that you have to give 10 compliments before someone will listen to a criticism.

On the other hand, this story wouldn’t have a good ending if Apollos had rejected their help. We see in Apollos someone who is teachable. When someone is critical of us, do we consider the criticism and whether there is even the slightest particle of truth, or do we immediately dismiss it?

There are enough enemies to the cause of Christ, let’s not help them out. Let’s encourage that fervent and diligent one to use their talents for the Lord. Let’s show them “the more perfect way” in a loving way. Let’s choose to build-up.

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