Willing To Learn

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)

One day last week my Bible reading brought me to Proverbs 18 and Acts 18. Reading these two chapters together showed me again the beauty of how the Bible fits together. I thought about the verse above when reading the story in Acts 18 and the ministry of Apollos.

We’re told in the latter part of Acts 18 that Paul has left Ephesus and traveled on to Antioch and then Galatia and Phrygia. He had arrived in Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila after teaching and preaching at Corinth. Paul had worked side by side with Priscilla and Aquila in their tentmaking trade for a period of time, and we can assume that much of Paul’s teaching had rubbed off on them. Paul had left them both behind in Ephesus as he traveled on, so it is there that they meet Apollos. We’re told that Apollos himself is a gifted teacher, and that he “…was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.” (Acts 18:24). However, what Apollos was preaching and teaching was not the complete Gospel – “He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.” (Acts 18:25). Priscilla and Aquila heard him preach and realized something was missing in Apollos’ sermons. They took him aside and explained to him what was lacking.

From the text, it appears that Apollos was a willing and attentive learner. Priscilla and Aquila had learned much from their time with Paul, and now passed on what they knew to Apollos. This encounter reminded me of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Apollos could have looked around and thought that his ministry was just fine as is and that his “eloquence” would carry him far enough in his work for the Lord. But instead he recognized that there were some who were more advanced in their faith than he was, and he turned their counsel into a more fruitful ministry as he preached on.

There is a great lesson here for all of us. We should first and foremost always listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us as we read the Scriptures. But also, we should never be so blind as to discount the wisdom of those around us who are more mature in their faith and have insights to share. Apollos could have looked at his own ministry and decided that he didn’t need Aquila and Priscilla at that point in time. But “he had ears to hear” in this instance and it served him well. I’m reminded of that myself. Many of us are blessed to know others who are wise and willing to share what they have learned. I’ve been thankful over the last few years at this blog that many of those folks have taken the time to visit this site and have commented and shared what they know with me. To say I’ve benefited greatly from their wise words is a major understatement.

Solomon explained that “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” I hope and pray that those words are not used to describe me.

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