“SPEAKING TWISTED THINGS”
In today’s 20th chapter in Acts we have the account of a long conversation Paul had with “the elders of the church” [v.17] at Ephesus whom he called to see him at the port of Miletus. He told them then “that they would not see his face again’ [V.38].
It was obviously an intense discussion. He tells them, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock … I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert …” [v.27-31]
It is natural for most of us to want to try to avoid all problems, all controversy, to ignore it if we can. But what does that achieve? Does it bring us closer to God and to Christ? We have many lessons on this from Christ himself in the gospels. Of course the circumstances in Ephesus are different, it is an entirely Gentile community – but what is not different is human nature – and the only solution to that is the development of a genuine Christ-like frame of mind. The foundation ingredient for do that, especially for us today, is the meditative reading of God’s word.
Bible reading is the only way to untwist things that have been twisted. With what intensity did Paul seek to do this! We might think he did this by intense study, reasoning and constructive argumentation, and we see some of this in his letter to them – but what does the text in Acts say?
What is the point he makes in reminding them of the spirit of mind he showed when he was among them? “…. Be alert remembering that for three years I did not cease night and day toadmonish everyone with tears.” [v.31] A most challenging example to follow. The lesson is clear – academic reasoning is not the major part of dealing with “twisted things”.
Paul left Timothy at Ephesus [1 Tim 1 v.3] and he ends his letter to him by saying, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions …” We must do the same