The book of Acts is the book in which the history of the early Church is told to us. It is no coincidence that God allowed one of the 66 books of the Bible to be the book of Acts. Many times we look at the way the early Church grew, their zeal, their deeds, and in our hearts there seems to be a holy envy, and at the same time a question: Why don’t all these things happen nowadays? Why are there fewer and fewer people dedicated to God today? What was the secret of the early Church?
Why did the Christians of that time live such a vivid and real Christian life? The secret was in their attitude toward the Word of God. The early church, like no other, had a very beautiful attitude toward God’s Word. Christians in the Church were characterized by a great hunger for knowledge of God’s Word, and of course, as we shall see later, this also led to an increase in the number of believers. Not only in number, but also in quality.
But let’s see, “What was the attitude of the early church toward the word of God?”
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching
In chapter 2:41-42 the author of the book tells us:
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NASB)
If anyone accepted the Lord Jesus in his heart, he was suddenly directed to study the Scriptures. Verse 41 tells us that on that day 3,000 souls were added to the number of disciples, and v. 42, which is a continuation, begins with the words “they.” That is, those who added themselves to the number of the disciples, along with the disciples, were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching or, in other words, the teaching of God’s Word.
For a year they learned the word of God every day
And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers of people; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:25-26 NASB)
For a year, large numbers of Christians gathered and studied the Holy Scriptures. It would seem that after a year they would be satisfied with what they had learned and with that they would have finished their study. After a day Paul left, Barnabas left, and this is where the teaching ended. Was that really the case? Not. Disciples were trained there. He says that for the first time the “Disciples” received the name of Christians in Antioch. So Paul and Barnabas were not only interested in teaching God’s Word but also in training disciples. A disciple is one who does exactly the same thing as his teacher. One that follows you in what you do. After Paul and Barnabas left, disciples had already been trained in Antioch who continued to teach the Word of God in the Church.
A true disciple receives the Word and passes it on to others. For a year, they learned and proclaimed the Word. So they studied and continued to share it with others. As a result, a large number of people believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. What are you doing, dear friend, with the Word of God that you hear and study? How many people around you need to hear and study it?
Holy Scripture was being studied
Now these people were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11 NASB)
What an interesting attitude of the Jews (from the locality of Berea) who received the Word with great eagerness. They examined the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being told was correct, and this shows us that all the teaching was not just a sermon or a theory, but the study was based on Scripture.
Then, with regard to the believers in Antioch, the period of time was specified, a whole year they insisted on the studying of the Word. But here he does not specify any period. He says that they did this every day, which shows you a way of life. They found daily pleasure in the study of the Holy Scriptures.
What do you find pleasure in, dear reader?
Specific days were planned when Christians and non-Christians came to hear and learn the Word of God.
When they had set a day for Paul, people came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things said by Paul, but others would not believe. (Acts 28:23-24 NASB)
Very interestingly, throughout the book of Acts, we do not see even one time when Christians planned certain evangelizations, choir meetings, and so on. But when it comes to learning God’s Word, we see that certain days, concrete periods of time, were planned. Evangelism was happening, but it was not planned. Evangelism happened many times by taking advantage of the right moment. The apostle Peter with John, by going to the temple and healing the lame man at the gate, aroused the curiosity of many. They used this God-given opportunity, proclaimed the gospel, and as a result 5,000 people repented. At the Feast of Pentecost God made the gospel resound loudly on this day. So it was a skill to use whatever opportunity God offered. Isn’t this interesting? We do not find a single written time that the Church would have gathered and spent days from morning to evening, making fun games that would make the members of the Church forget all the problems they were going through. On the contrary, we find them gathered around the Word of God, studying it, eagerly examining it, from morning till night. They gathered for teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and praying. (Acts 2:42 NASB) These were 4 things that the early Church placed great emphasis on and, as a result, brought a great result both in the Church and in society and even throughout the world. Thus the Word of God, through the disciples, came to us.
My dear reader, what is your attitude toward the Word of God? Do you persevere in learning and studying it? How often? The Lord Jesus Christ once said, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). In what do you find your daily pleasure more than in the Word of God?
Our attitude toward God’s Word shows us, in fact, whose disciples we are.
Translated by Aliona Soltan