True truth

16 12 2011

Paul took his mission seriously and travelled around the Eastern Mediterranean for years of his life.  Most of the maps of his journeys are covered in arrows showing directions, but I find them confusing, so here’s one that is simple and tells you where you can read about the different trips he made.   It’s about 1450 miles from Rome to Jerusalem direct, but Paul never travels directly and remember that this is in the days before Easyjet! 

So what is the mission that takes Paul all around this area?

Essentially he is an interpreter.   He is a good public speaker who is adept at grasping meaning and conveying it to his listeners.  In a sense he’s an “in between-er” – he stands between God and people, interpreting God’s message so that his listeners can understand and experience God for themselves.

Translators and interpreters have power.  When I see them with headphones at international conferences, I wonder if they are tempted to massage what they hear, to embelish or misrepresent.  It could be fun to lead important people up the proverbial garden path!

But back to Paul.

When he visits Berea, the people who listen to him have an interesting reaction : ” When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” (Acts 17:10-12)

Here are open-minded people who are willing to consider something new. At the same time they are prepared to do the hard work of investigation to make sure that Paul and Silas are not misleading them.  Truth matters to them.  It’s not that they want to decide what’s true for them in a relativistic sense.  They want to make sure that what Paul says hangs together, that it fits with Old Testament teaching, that he’s not leading them up the garden path. It’s a good search to go on – to find true truth.

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