Chapter 61 - Men and Women of the Bible
Conversation on Heavenly Things--Enoch's
case is before us. Hundreds of years he walked with God. He lived in a
corrupt age, when moral pollution was teeming all around him; yet he trained
his mind to devotion, to love purity. His conversation was upon heavenly
things. He educated his mind to run in this channel, and he bore the impress
of the divine. His countenance was lighted up with the light which shineth
in the face of Jesus.--2T 122.
Preacher of Righteousness--As
the scenes of the future were opened to his view, Enoch became a preacher
of righteousness, bearing God's message to all who would hear the words
of warning. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine presence,
the prophet of God made known the wonderful scenes that had passed before
his vision. "Behold," he declared, "the Lord cometh with ten thousands
of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are
ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds."
The power of God that wrought with His servant was
felt by those who heard. Some gave heed to the warning and renounced their
sins; but the multitudes mocked at the solemn message. The servants of
God are to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it
also will be received by the majority with unbelief and mockery.
As year after year passed, deeper and deeper grew the
tide of human guilt, darker and darker gathered the clouds of divine judgment.
Yet Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, and
teaching, striving to turn back the tide of guilt and to stay the bolts
of vengeance.--GW 52, 53.
Reprover of Sin--He was
a fearless reprover of sin. While he preached the love of God in Christ
to the people of his time, and pleaded with them to forsake their evil
ways, he rebuked the prevailing iniquity, and warned the men of his generation
that judgment would surely be visited upon the transgressor. It was the
Spirit of Christ that spoke through Enoch; that Spirit is manifested, not
alone in utterances of love, compassion, and entreaty; it is not smooth
things only that are spoken by holy men. God puts into the heart and lips
of His messengers truths to utter that are keen and cutting as a two-edged
Fruitage of His Message--After
proclaiming his message, he always took back with him to his place of retirement
some who had received the warning. Some of these became overcomers, and
died before the Flood came. But some had lived
so long in the corrupting influence of sin that they could not endure righteousness.--1BC
Teacher of Moses--Jochebed
was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her burden heavy.
But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the world received
greater blessing. Knowing that her child must soon pass beyond her care,
to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored
to link his soul with heaven. She sought to implant in his heart love and
loyalty to God. And faithfully was the work accomplished. Those principles
of truth that were the burden of his mother's teaching and the lesson of
her life, no after influence could induce Moses to renounce.--Ed
Educator for God--God
had heard the mother's prayers; her faith had been rewarded. It was with
deep gratitude that she entered upon her now safe and happy task. She faithfully
improved her opportunity to educate her child for God. She felt confident
that he had been preserved for some great work, and she knew that he must
soon be given up to his royal mother, to be surrounded with influences
that would tend to lead him away from God. All this rendered her more diligent
and careful in his instruction than in that of her other children. She
endeavored to imbue his mind with the fear of God
and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed that he might be
preserved from every corrupting influence. She showed him the folly and
sin of idolatry, and early taught him to bow down and pray to the living
God, who alone could hear him and help him in every emergency.
She kept the boy as long as she could, but was obliged
to give him up when he was about twelve years old. From his humble cabin
home he was taken to the royal palace, to the daughter of Pharaoh, "and
he became her son." Yet even here he did not lose the impressions received
in childhood. The lessons learned at his mother's side could not be forgotten.
They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished
amid the splendor of the court.
How far-reaching in its results was the influence of
that one Hebrew woman, and she an exile and a slave! The whole future life
of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel,
testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother.--PP
Faithful Women As Mothers--Especially
does responsibility rest upon the mother. She, by whose lifeblood the child
is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental
and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character.
It was Jochebed, the Hebrew mother, who, strong in faith, was "not afraid
of the king's commandment" (Heb. 11:23), of whom was born Moses, the deliverer
of Israel. It was Hannah, the woman of prayer
and self-sacrifice and heavenly inspiration, who gave birth to Samuel,
the heaven-instructed child, the incorruptible judge, the founder of Israel's
sacred schools. It was Elisabeth, the kinswoman and kindred spirit of Mary
of Nazareth, who was the mother of the Saviour's herald.--MH
Words of Eloquence--The
life of Moses was marked with supreme love to God. His piety, humility,
and forbearance gave him influence with the host of Israel. His zeal and
faith in God were greater than those of any other man upon the earth. He
had often addressed his people in words of stirring eloquence. No one knew
better than he how to move the affections of the people. He conducted all
matters connected with the religious interests of the people with great
Fluency and Wisdom--As
Saul approached them [a band of prophets], the Spirit of the Lord came
upon him also, and he joined in their song of praise, and prophesied with
them. He spoke with so great fluency and wisdom, and joined so earnestly
in the service, that those who had known him exclaimed in astonishment,
"What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the
Kindness and Peace--The
piety of Abigail, like the fragrance of a flower, breathed out all unconsciously
in face and word and action. The Spirit of the Son of God was abiding in
her soul. Her speech, seasoned with grace, and full of kindness and peace,
shed a heavenly influence. Better impulses came to David, and he trembled
as he thought what might have been the consequences of his rash purpose.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God." Matt. 5:9. Would that there were many
more like this woman of Israel, who would soothe the irritated feelings,
prevent rash impulses, and quell great evils by words of calm and well-directed
Clear, Trumpetlike Tones--Looking
first upon the broken-down altar of Jehovah, and then upon the multitude,
Elijah cries out in clear, trumpetlike tones, "How long halt ye between
two opinions?"-- PK 147.
Children of Israel
Responsibility of Parents--God
commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements, and to
make them acquainted with all His dealings with their people. The home
and the school were one. In the place of stranger lips, the loving hearts
the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts
of God were associated with all the events of daily life in the home dwelling.
The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people were recounted
with eloquence and reverential awe. The great truths of God's providence
and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It became acquainted
with the true, the good, the beautiful.
By the use of figures and symbols the lessons given
were illustrated, and thus more firmly fixed in the memory. Through this
animated imagery the child was, almost from infancy, initiated into the
mysteries, the wisdom, and the hopes of his fathers, and guided in a way
of thinking and feeling and anticipating, that reached beyond things seen
and transitory, to the unseen and eternal.--FE 95.
John the Baptist
Pure, Native Eloquence--The
voice of John was lifted up like a trumpet. His commission was, "Show My
people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isa.
58:1. He had obtained no human scholarship. God and nature had been
his teachers. But one was needed to prepare the way before Christ who was
bold enough to make his voice heard like the prophets of old, summoning
the degenerate nation to repentance.
And all went forth into the wilderness to hear him.
Unlearned fishermen and peasants came from the surrounding countries and
from regions nigh and afar off. The Roman soldiers
from the barracks of Herod came to hear. Chieftains came with their swords
girded by their sides, to put down anything that savored of riot or rebellion.
The avaricious tax gatherers came from the regions round about; and from
the Sanhedrin came forth the phylacteried priests. All listened as if spellbound;
and all came away, even the Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the cold, unimpressionable
scoffer of the age, with the sneer gone, and cut to the heart with a sense
of their sin. There were no long arguments, no finely cut theories, elaborately
delivered in their "firstly," "secondly," and "thirdly." But pure native
eloquence was revealed in the short sentences, every word carrying
with it the certainty and truth of the weighty warnings given. . . .
John the Baptist met sin with open rebuke in men of
humble occupation and in men of high degree. He declared the truth to kings
and nobles, whether they would hear or reject it.--2SM
The Power of His Words--It
was the purpose of John to startle and arouse the people, and cause them
to tremble because of their great wickedness. In simplicity and plainness,
he pointed out the errors and crimes of men. A power attended his words,
and, reluctant as the people were to hear the denunciation of their unholy
lives, they could not resist his words. He flattered none; neither would
he receive flattery of any. The people, as if with common consent, came
to him repenting, and confessing their sins, and were baptized of him in
Kings and rulers came to the wilderness to hear the
prophet, and were interested and deeply convicted as he fearlessly pointed
out their particular sins. His discernment of character and spiritual sight
read the purposes and hearts of those who came to him, and he fearlessly
told both rich and poor, the honorable and the lowly, that without repentance
of their sins and a thorough conversion, although they might claim to be
righteous, they could not enjoy the favor of God and have part in the kingdom
of the Messiah, whose coming he announced.
In the spirit and with the power of Elijah, John denounced
the corruptions of the Jews, and raised his voice in reproving their prevailing
sins. His discourses were plain, pointed, and convincing.--RH
Jan. 7, 1873.
Voice Startling and Stern--With
no elaborate arguments or fine-spun theories did John declare his message.
Startling and stern, yet full of hope, his voice was heard from the wilderness:
"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt.
3:2. With a new, strange power it moved the people. The whole nation
was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness.--8T
Burden of His Mission--With
vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men,
that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of
heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation
and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the
lifework before him--DA 102.
Trumpet Tones--John had
preached the coming of the Messiah. In trumpet tones the words of the forerunner
of Christ had rung in their ears.--RH Feb. 13, 1900.
One of the Greatest of Prophets--Christ
declared John the Baptist to be one of the greatest of the prophets, and
He showed His hearers that they had had sufficient evidence that John was
a messenger from God. The words of the preacher in the wilderness were
with power. He bore his message unflinchingly, rebuking the sins of priests
and rulers, and enjoining upon them the works of the kingdom of heaven.--COL
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Teacher of the Child Jesus--The
child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother
was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the
prophets, He learned of heavenly things.--DA 70.
Class at His Mother's Knee--In
childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus studied the Scriptures. As a little
child He was daily at His mother's knee, taught from the scrolls of the
Simple, Accurate Speech--The
apostles and their associates were unlettered men, yet through the outpouring
of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, their speech, whether in their own
or a foreign language, became pure, simple, and accurate, both in word
and in accent.--DA 821.
this time [Pentecost] forth the language of the disciples was pure, simple,
and accurate in word and accent, whether they spoke their native tongue
or a foreign language. These humble men, who had never learned in the school
of the prophets, presented truths so elevated and pure as to astonish those
who heard them.--SR 246.
Words As Sharp Arrows--The
arguments of the apostles alone, though clear and convincing, would not
have removed the prejudice that had withstood so much evidence. But the
Holy Spirit sent the arguments home to hearts with divine power. The words
of the apostles were as sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting men of
their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory.--AA
Heroes of Faith--The disciples
were but humble men, without wealth and with no weapon but the Word of
God; yet in Christ's strength they went forth to tell the wonderful story
of the manger and the cross, and to triumph over all opposition. Without
earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes
of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence that shook the
Preachers of a Creator God--The
apostles endeavored to impart to these idolaters a knowledge of God the
Creator, and of His Son, the Saviour of the human race. They first directed
attention to the wonderful works of God--the sun, the moon, and the stars,
the beautiful order of the recurring seasons, the mighty snow-capped mountains,
the lofty trees, and other varied wonders of nature, which showed a skill
beyond human comprehension. Through these works of the Almighty, the apostles
led the minds of the heathen to a contemplation of the great Ruler of the
Having made plain these fundamental truths concerning
the Creator, the apostles told the Lystrians of the Son of God, who came
from heaven to our world because He loved the children of men.--AA
Clear, Plain Message--The
gospel workers in Corinth realized the terrible dangers threatening the
souls of those for whom they were laboring; and it was with a sense of
the responsibility resting on them that they presented the truth as it
is in Jesus. Clear, plain, and decided was their message--a savor of life
unto life, or of death unto death. And not only in their words, but in
the daily life, was the gospel revealed.--AA 249.
Simplicity and Clarity--They
had presented the truth with simplicity and
clearness, praying for the conviction and conversion of souls. And they
had endeavored to bring their conduct into harmony with their teaching,
that the truth presented might commend itself to every man's conscience.--AA
Boldness and Power--The
people were amazed at the boldness of the disciples. They supposed, because
they were ignorant fishermen, they would be overcome with embarrassment
when confronted by the priests, scribes, and elders. But they took knowledge
that they had been with Jesus. The apostles spoke as He had spoken, with
a convincing power that silenced their adversaries.--SR
John the Apostle
Faithful, Earnest Laborer--After
the ascension of Christ, John stands forth as a faithful, earnest laborer
for the Master. With the other disciples he enjoyed the outpouring of the
Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and with fresh zeal and power he continued
to speak to the people the words of life, seeking to lead their thoughts
to the Unseen. He was a powerful preacher, fervent, and deeply in earnest.
In beautiful language and with a musical voice he told of the words and
works of Christ, speaking in a way that impressed the hearts of those who
heard him. The simplicity of his words, the sublime power of the truths
he uttered, and the fervor that characterized his teachings, gave him access
to all classes.--AA 546.
No Controversy--As a witness
for Christ, John entered into no controversy, no wearisome contention.
He declared what he knew, what he had seen and heard.--AA
Focus on Gospel Story--When
the faith of the Christians would seem to waver under the fierce opposition
they were forced to meet, the old, tried servant of Jesus would repeat
with power and eloquence the story of the crucified and risen Saviour.--AA
Simplicity of Language--When
he testified of the Saviour's grace, the simplicity of his language was
eloquent with the love that pervaded his whole being. He had not a doubt
nor a suspicion. He entered into no controversy, no wearisome contention.--Ms
apostle's life was in harmony with his teachings. The love which glowed
in his heart for Christ, led him to put forth the most earnest, untiring
labor for his fellow men, especially for his brethren in the Christian
church. He was a powerful preacher, fervent, and deeply in earnest, and
his words carried with them a weight of conviction.--RH
Feb. 15, 1881.
Candor in the Emperor's Court--John
was accordingly summoned to Rome to be tried for his faith. Here before
the authorities the apostle's doctrines were misstated. False witnesses
accused him of teaching seditious heresies. By these accusations
his enemies hoped to bring about the disciple's death.
John answered for himself in a clear and convincing
manner, and with such simplicity and candor that his words had a powerful
effect. His hearers were astonished at his wisdom and eloquence. But the
more convincing his testimony, the deeper was the hatred of his opposers.
The emperor Domitian was filled with rage. He could neither dispute the
reasoning of Christ's faithful advocate, nor match the power that attended
his utterance of truth; yet he determined that he would silence his voice.--AA
Influence of the Holy Spirit--The
simplicity of his words, the sublime power of the truths he uttered, and
the spiritual fervor that characterized his teachings, gave him access
to all classes. Yet even believers were unable to fully comprehend the
sacred mysteries of divine truth unfolded in his discourses. He seemed
to be constantly imbued with the Holy Spirit. He sought to bring the thoughts
of the people up to grasp the unseen. The wisdom with which he spoke caused
his words to drop as the dew, softening and subduing the soul.--RH
Feb. 15, 1881.
Adaptation to His Audience--With
clearness and power Peter bore witness of the death and resurrection of
Christ: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus
of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and
signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also
know: Him . . . ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was
not possible that He should be holden of it."
Peter did not refer to the teachings of Christ to prove
his position, because he knew that the prejudice of his hearers was so
great that his words on this subject would be of no effect. Instead, he
spoke to them of David, who was regarded by the Jews as one of the patriarchs
of their nation.--AA 41.
Christ As His Example--This
courageous defense appalled the Jewish leaders. They had supposed that
the disciples would be overcome with fear and confusion when brought before
the Sanhedrin. But instead, these witnesses spoke as Christ had spoken,
with a convincing power that silenced their adversaries. There was no trace
of fear in Peter's voice as he declared of Christ, "This is the stone which
was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner."
Peter here used a figure of speech familiar to the
priests.--AA 63, 64.
Defender of Truth--Stephen,
the foremost of the seven deacons, was a man of deep piety and broad faith.
Though a Jew by birth, he spoke the Greek language,
and was familiar with the customs and manners of the Greeks. He therefore
found opportunity to preach the gospel in the synagogues of the Greek Jews.
He was very active in the cause of Christ, and boldly proclaimed his faith.
Learned rabbis and doctors of the law engaged in public discussion with
him, confidently expecting an easy victory. But "they were not able to
resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake." Not only did he speak
in the power of the Holy Spirit, but it was plain that he was a student
of the prophecies, and learned in all matters of the law. He ably defended
the truths that he advocated, and utterly defeated his opponents.--AA
Clear, Thrilling Voice--When
Stephen was questioned as to the truth of the charges against him, he began
his defense in a clear, thrilling voice, which rang through the council
hall. In words that held the assembly spellbound, he proceeded to rehearse
the history of the chosen people of God.--AA 99.
Wisdom and Power--With
power from on high, Stephen reproved the unbelieving priests and elders,
and exalted Jesus before them. They could not withstand the wisdom and
power with which he spoke.--EW 197.
Instruction From God--Paul
did not come to the churches as an orator or
as a scientific philosopher. He did not seek merely to please the ear by
flowery words and phrases. In eloquent simplicity he proclaimed the things
that had been revealed to him. He was able to speak with power and authority,
for he frequently received instruction from God in vision.--6BC 1084.
Good Reasoning Powers--He
could reason with extraordinary clearness, and by his withering sarcasm
could place an opponent in no enviable light . . . An eloquent speaker
and a severe critic, Paul, with his stern purpose and undaunted courage,
possessed the very qualifications needed in the early church.--AA
His Life an Example--Paul
carried with him the atmosphere of heaven. All who associated with him
felt the influence of his union with Christ. The fact that his own life
exemplified the truth he proclaimed, gave convincing power to his preaching.
Here lies the power of the truth. The unstudied, unconscious influence
of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor
of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition;
but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist.--GW
Sensible, Intelligent Appeals--His
toil-worn hands, as he presented them before the people, bore testimony
that he was not chargeable to any man for his support. They detracted nothing,
he deemed, from the force of his pathetic appeals,
sensible, intelligent, and eloquent beyond those of any other man who had
acted a part in the Christian ministry. --6BC 1064.
did not approach the Jews in such a way as to arouse their prejudices.
He did not at first tell them that they must believe in Jesus of Nazareth;
but dwelt upon the prophecies that spoke of Christ, His mission and His
work. Step by step he led his hearers on, showing the importance of honoring
law of God. He gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that it was
Christ who instituted the Jewish economy and the sacrificial service. Then
he brought them down to the first advent of the Redeemer, and showed that
in the life and death of Christ every specification of the sacrificial
service had been fulfilled.
The Gentiles, Paul approached by exalting Christ, and
then presenting the binding claims of the law. He showed how the light
reflected by the cross of Calvary gave significance and glory to the whole
Thus the apostle varied his manner of labor, shaping
his message to the circumstances under which he was placed. After patient
labor he was successful to a large degree; yet there were many who would
not be convinced.--GW 118.
is a striking contrast between the boastful, self-righteous claims of those
profess to be without sin, and the modest language of the apostle. Yet
it was the purity and faithfulness of his own life that gave such power
to his exhortations to his brethren.--SL 86.
the Spirit of God resting upon him, he would in a clear and forcible manner
carry his hearers down through the prophecies to the time of Christ's first
advent and show them that the scriptures had been fulfilled which referred
to His sufferings, death, and resurrection.--EW 201,
those who encountered Paul in the marketplace were "certain philosophers
of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics"; but they, and all others who came
in contact with him, soon saw that he had a store of knowledge even greater
than their own. His intellectual power commanded the respect of the learned;
while his earnest, logical reasoning and the power of his oratory held
the attention of all in the audience. His hearers recognized the fact that
he was no novice, but was able to meet all classes with convincing arguments
in support of the doctrines he taught. Thus the apostle stood undaunted,
meeting his opposers on their own ground, matching logic with logic, philosophy
with philosophy, eloquence with eloquence.
His heathen opponents called his attention to the fate
of Socrates, who, because he was a setter-forth of strange gods, had been
condemned to death; and they counseled Paul not to endanger his life in
the same way. But the apostle's discourses
riveted the attention of the people, and his unaffected wisdom commanded
their respect and admiration.--AA 235, 236.
Failure of Mere Eloquence and
Logic--It had been Paul's custom to adopt an oratorical style in
his preaching. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great
and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often
of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this
in Athens, meeting eloquence with eloquence, philosophy with philosophy,
and logic with logic; but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped
Simple Presentation of Christ--The
experience of the apostle Paul in meeting the philosophers of Athens has
a lesson for us. In presenting the gospel before the court of the Areopagus,
Paul met logic with logic, science with science, philosophy with philosophy.
The wisest of his hearers were astonished and silenced. His words could
not be controverted. But the effort bore little fruit. Few were led to
accept the gospel. Henceforth Paul adopted a different manner of labor.
He avoided elaborate arguments and discussion of theories, and in simplicity
pointed men and women to Christ as the Saviour of sinners.
Writing to the Corinthians of his work among them,
he said: "I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of
speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the
testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save
Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. . . . My speech and my preaching was not
with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but
in the power of God." 1 Cor. 2:1-5.--MH
Deep Reasoning--The facts
in the case were that Paul was a man of great learning, and his wisdom
and manners charmed his hearers. Learned men were pleased with his knowledge,
and many of them believed on Jesus. When before kings and large assemblies,
he would pour forth such eloquence as would fascinate all before him. This
greatly enraged the priests and elders. Paul could readily enter into deep
reasoning and, soaring up, carry the people with him in the most exalted
trains of thought, bringing to view the deep riches of the grace of God
and portraying before them the amazing love of Christ. Then with simplicity
he would come down to the understanding of the common people and in a most
powerful manner relate his experience, which called forth from them an
ardent desire to become the disciples of Christ.--EW
Creative Power of the True God--The
people were carried away with admiration for Paul's earnest and logical
presentation of the attributes of the true God--of His creative power,
and the existence of His overruling providence. With earnest and fervid
the apostle declared, "God that made the world and all things therein,
seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made
with hands; neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed
anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."--AA
Tact With Heathen Audiences--Paul's
words contain a treasure of knowledge for the church. He was in a position
where he might easily have said that which would have irritated his proud
listeners, and brought himself into difficulty. Had his oration been a
direct attack upon their gods and the great men of the city, he would have
been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates. But with a tact born of
divine love, he carefully drew their minds away from heathen deities, by
revealing to them the true God, who was to them unknown.--AA
Christ the Center of His Mind--His
words were spoken with solemn earnestness, and his hearers could not but
discern that he loved with all his heart the crucified and risen Saviour.
They saw that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was
bound up with his Lord. So impressive were his words, that only those who
were filled with the bitterest hatred against the Christian religion could
stand unmoved by them.--AA 247, 248.
Sound, Practical Instruction--Paul
was an eloquent speaker. Before his conversion, he had often sought to
impress his hearers by flights of oratory. But
now he set all this aside. Instead of indulging in poetic descriptions
and fanciful representations, which might please the senses and feed the
imagination, but which would not touch the daily experience, Paul sought
by the use of simple language to bring home to the heart the truths that
are of vital importance. Fanciful representations of truth may cause an
ecstasy of feeling; but all too often, truths presented in this way do
not supply the food necessary to strengthen and fortify the believer for
the battles of life. The immediate needs, the present trials, of struggling
souls--these must be met with sound, practical instruction in the fundamental
principles of Christianity.--AA 251, 252.
Gospel in Its Simplicity--During
the year and a half that Paul had spent in Corinth, he had purposely presented
the gospel in its simplicity. "Not with excellency of speech or of wisdom"
had he come to the Corinthians; but with fear and trembling, and "in demonstration
of the Spirit and of power," had he declared "the testimony of God," that
their "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of
God." 1 Cor. 2:1, 4, 5.
Paul had necessarily adapted his manner of teaching
to the condition of the church. "I, brethren, could not speak unto you
as unto spiritual," he afterward explained to them, "but as unto carnal,
even as unto babes in Christ." 1 Cor. 3:1.--AA
His Religion Not a Mere Profession--His
conversation, his influence, his refusal to yield to self-gratification,
must show that his religion was not a profession merely, but a daily, living
connection with God. One goal he kept ever before him, and strove earnestly
to reach--"the righteousness which is of God by faith." Phil.
convincing power the apostle set forth the great truth of the resurrection.
Plain Speech--The apostle,
in the most decided and impressive manner, endeavored to correct the false
and dangerous ideas and practices that were prevailing in the Corinthian
church. He spoke plainly, yet in love for their souls.--AA
Calm, Self-Possessed Bearing--In
the midst of the tumult [see Acts 21:33-40] the apostle was calm and self-possessed.
His mind was stayed upon God, and he knew that angels of heaven were about
him. He felt unwilling to leave the temple without making an effort to
set the truth before his countrymen. As he was about to be led into the
castle, he said to the chief captain, "May I speak unto thee?" Lysias responded,
"Canst thou speak Greek? Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these
days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand
men that were murderers?" In reply Paul said, "I am a man which am a Jew
of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech
thee, suffer me to speak unto the people."
The request was granted, and "Paul stood on the
and beckoned with the hand unto the people." The gesture attracted their
attention, while his bearing commanded respect.--AA
he attempted to enter into argument with his opponents, they would have
stubbornly refused to listen to his words; but the relation of his experience
was attended with a convincing power that for the time seemed to soften
and subdue their hearts.--AA 409.
Evident Sincerity--In a candid, straightforward manner he stated the object of his visit to Jerusalem, and the circumstances of his arrest and trial. . . . The apostle spoke with earnestness and evident sincerity, and his words carried with them a weight of conviction.--AA 421.
Clear Defense Before Agrippa--With
clearness and power Paul outlined before Agrippa the leading events connected
with the life of Christ on earth.-- AA 436.
True Courtesy--Look at
Paul when brought before rulers. His speech before Agrippa is an illustration
of true courtesy as well as persuasive eloquence.-- MH
Caution and Kindness--He
said nothing of the abuse which he had suffered at the hands of the Jews,
or of their repeated plots to assassinate him. His words were marked with
caution and kindness.
. . . He related his own experience, and presented
arguments from the Old Testament Scriptures with simplicity, sincerity,
and power.--AA 450, 451.
As a Voice From Heaven--With
more than human eloquence and power, Paul presents the truths of the gospel.
He points his hearers to the sacrifice made for the fallen race. He declares
that an infinite price has been paid for man's redemption. . . .
Thus pleads the advocate of truth. Faithful among the
faithless, loyal among the disloyal, he stands as God's representative,
and his voice is as a voice from heaven. There is no fear, no sadness,
no discouragement in word or look. . . .
Many who that day looked upon him, "saw his face as
it had been the face of an angel." Acts 6:15.
Never before had that company listened to words like
these. They struck a chord that vibrated in the hearts of even the most
hardened. Truth, clear and convincing, overthrew error.--AA
father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess. From a child he had known the
Scriptures. The piety that he saw in his home life was sound and sensible.
The faith of his mother and his grandmother in the sacred oracles was to
him a constant reminder of the blessing in doing God's will. The Word of
God was the rule by which these two godly women had guided Timothy. The
spiritual power of the lessons that he had
received from them kept him pure in speech and unsullied by the evil influences
with which he was surrounded. Thus his home instructors had cooperated
with God in preparing him to bear burdens.
Paul saw that Timothy was faithful, steadfast, and
true, and he chose him as a companion in labor and travel. Those who had
taught Timothy in his childhood were rewarded by seeing the son of their
care linked in close fellowship with the great apostle. Timothy was a mere
youth when he was chosen by God to be a teacher; but his principles had
been so established by his early education that he was fitted to take his
place as Paul's helper. And though young, he bore his responsibilities
with Christian meekness.--AA 203, 204.