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A Teachable Spirit (Acts 18)

“… When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:26)

What amazing benefits accrue to the one who has a humble spirit. You and I may have come so far in our walk with the Lord that, today, our faith and our witness may shine as stars in the dark sky of this world (Philippians 2:15). Perhaps we have even gone further in grace than some brothers and sisters in the Lord, learning not to grumble, for instance, even in challenging circumstances (2:14). At times, even among other believers, our faith and obedience to Christ may shine brightly in contrast. But we must see that it is not how far we have come but the issue of a humble spirit that will determine whether we continue to grow in godliness.

Keep in mind that the serpent is crafty. At first, the temptation is to backslide. “Go back to partying; go back to that old friend group. Don’t be so ‘religious’ about praying and Bible reading and fellowship. God isn’t the only important thing in life!” But if those tricks are not effective on us, the enemy will tempt us to become proud of how far we have progressed, to get our eyes completely away from how much further we need to go. If the devil cannot trap us in apathy or unbelief concerning the Word of God, he will tempt us to become prideful about just how much understanding and insight we have into the Bible! Suddenly, we feel quite “spiritual.”

Yet, a humble spirit is a strong and trustworthy refuge from all of this. Acts chapter 18 tells of Apollos, “an eloquent man” who was “mighty in the scriptures” (18:24). He was well-instructed, and he was “fervent in spirit” but also “taught accurately” (18:25). How we desire to see enthusiasm for the things of God paired with biblical accuracy! How churches and ministries suffer greatly when they lack one or the other! There is nothing to dislike about Apollos. But he only understood the baptism of John, a baptism of repentance, so Aquila and Priscilla were moved by God to help him understand “more accurately” (18:26). Perhaps their lengthy time of fellowship with Paul gave them grace to teach Apollos the power of faith in greater depth.

I can even now imagine a number of indignant rebuttals that could spew from a prideful minister’s mouth if one of his peers wanted to help him understand something better. “If God wants to correct me, He can tell me Himself.” “I don’t need man’s input, I’m God’s servant!” “All of my teaching I learned from the Spirit. Who are you?”

But thank God that was not the case here. Through a humble spirit, Apollos did receive their input. He exhibited this verse, which is a key to growth: “And if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2). I bless and praise God for how far His grace has taken you and I, out of sin and sloth and selfishness. But no matter how far we have come, we are called to “press on to know the Lord” in greater ways (Hosea 6:3). A teachable spirit is our key to moving forward. Let’s cultivate and value it.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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