Devoted to the apostles?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42, NIV)

If Peter and James and John were running around today, would we devote ourselves to their teaching? Or would we treat them just like just some other guys who have some interesting thoughts about who Jesus was? If they got a good blog and went on the speaking circuit, would they get an audience?

I’m told by many people that we need to keep a critical distance from — even suspicion of — the biblical text that has come down to us in 2014. Is that because we think the text has mistakes in it, that it somehow does not contain the actual teaching of the apostles? Or is it because we think the apostles really were not entirely accurate in what they taught? They got Jesus wrong or did not understand what it meant to live in light of Jesus Christ.

I have a hard time separating dismissal of the New Testament from dismissal of the apostles. And although people seem rather comfortable doing the first, would they as easily do the second?

If the New Testament is our best record of the teaching of the apostles, wouldn’t we be better served by devoting ourselves to it rather than looking for ways to distance ourselves from it?

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7 thoughts on “Devoted to the apostles?

  1. God, grant us the same respect and submission to the NT as Jesus had for the OT (mark 12:36).

    Or as Peter had for all the Scriptures, including Paul’s letters. 2 Peter 3:14-18 (and the Mark text above) has become an important text to me, helping me see how true and reliable these words we have been given are.

  2. Sorry, typing on phone. The reason I love the Peter passage so much is because it comes some 15-20 years after Galatians, where Paul publicly called Peter out. The arrogant, brash Peter we know in the gospels has transformed so much he is able to humbly submit to Paul’s teaching, even though he might have considered himself closer to Jesus. I love Peters heart! (That’ll preach)

  3. “Or is it because we think the apostles really were not entirely accurate in what they taught? They got Jesus wrong or did not understand what it meant to live in light of Jesus Christ.”

    And upon what basis, exactly, could we even conclude that they “got Jesus wrong”? This is one among many reasons why the Jesus Seminar lunatics get under my skin. When human reason, and biased emotion, trumps eye witnesses and theópneustos, then we’re in big, big, big trouble Great post!

  4. n my own life…..when studying the entire Bible becomes lacking…..prayer soon finds itself in a like place…..lacking. Become a sceptic of the NT and most assuredly a prayer life becomes non-existent. Ahhh…..nothing new though…..as old as Genesis…..casting doubt upon God’s Word. Even us ….with faith in God struggle with doubt on occasion and probably say along with that man in Mark 9, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”. Some people are hindered greatly by doubt; some see it as a springboard to life; and others see it as an obstacle to be overcome. I will leave my personal opinion out of it and just see what the Bible has to say about doubt.

    Traditional humanism says that doubt, while uncomfortable, is absolutely essential for life. The old French philosopher… René Descartes… said, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” This is similar to what the founder of Buddhism said: “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” The funny thing is….If we take their advice, we would have to doubt what they said, which seems rather contradictory.

    The Webster definition of doubt is “to lack confidence, to consider unlikely.” The very first expression of doubt in the Bible is in Genesis 3, when Satan tempted Eve. He wanted her to lack confidence in God’s command. When she affirmed God’s command, including the consequences, Satan replied with a denial, which is a stronger statement of doubt: “You will not surely die.” Doubt is a tool of Satan to make us lack confidence in God’s Word and consider His judgment unlikely.

    I wonder if at every time we allow human reason to overshadow faith in God, sinful doubt is the result. No matter how logical our reasons may seem, we must not forget……God has made foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20).

    Unlike the humanistic view that doubt is essential to life, the Bible says that doubt is a destroyer of life. James 1:5-8 tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, we are to ask in faith, without doubt. If we doubt God’s ability to respond to our request, what would be the point of asking in the first place? God says that if we doubt while we ask, we will not receive anything from Him, because we are unstable. “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (an interesting analogy….and a familiar one as of late).

    Certainly Satan knows that the remedy for doubt is faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). God gave us the Bible as a testimony of His works in the past, so we will have a reason to trust Him in the present. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11). In order for us to have faith in God, we must study to know what He has said. Once we have an understanding of what God has done in the past, what He has promised us for the present, and what we can expect from Him in the future, we are able to act in faith instead of doubt.

    And certainly Satan knows that doubt and faith do not co-exist for long. If we are able to do any one thing to combat against this within our churches and our nation…..I would guess that prayer, prayer, and more prayer would be the least of our responsibilities and the highest of our accountabilities before our God. I guess that is just my opinion….but I do believe it to be so.

  5. Doubt and questioning is the builder of great faith.
    Questioning by the sincere leads to research which leads to answers which gives one a solid foundation.
    “Blind Faith” will not last long.
    Being sure makes for great apologists of the faith and make teachers of falsehoods look false.
    Most of the works of Jesus where meant to “sure up” the apostles and the followers of Christ so they could witness with surety, stand the persecution that was sure to come and by their confidence of speech convince others.

    The Bible teaches the Word of God will stand the test and is solid.

    6 These are the things you shall do:
    Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
    Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
    17 Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor;
    And do not love a false oath.
    For all these are things that I hate,’
    Says the Lord.”
    Zechariah 8

    You can’t speak truth unless you know what it is.
    You can not declare justice unless you know what justice is.

    Did you know:;
    The scribe writing a Torah scroll must devote utmost attention and care to the writing; he is forbidden to rely on his memory and has to write from a model copy.

    Have you read…..?
    http://www.keddem.org/PublicDocs/YKWorkshops_5770/Basic%20Laws%20Regarding%20Torah%20Scrolls.pdf

    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

    John Wesleys Notes;
    Meantime, prove all things – Which any preacher recommends. (He speaks of practice, not of doctrines.) Try every advice by the touchstone of scripture, and hold fast that which is good – Zealously, resolutely, diligently practise it, in spite of all opposition.
    1 Thessalonians 5:21

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