Were Peter and John Illiterate?

Peter preachingNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

The phrase “uneducated and untrained” can be also rephrased as “not educated in rabbinic law nor professionally trained in matters of religion.” But, certainly, it does not mean that Peter and John were illiterate. They were literate enough to write epistles and professionally trained fishermen. However, the scribes and temple leaders didn’t recognize them as literate according to their standards and procedures of education. But, they were trained better than the scribes in understanding the law and the prophets and their fulfillment in Christ.

Later on, Peter stresses the importance of a right training for an understanding of the scriptures. He says that there are some who are unlearned and unstable that twist the scriptures.

There are some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist {and} misconstrue to their own utter destruction, just as [they distort and misinterpret] the rest of the Scriptures. (2Pet. 3:16, Amp)

It is more important to know the grace of Jesus Christ than to memorize 10,000 commentaries on the law. The disciples knew Jesus, and everybody took note that they were with Him.

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True Security – The Original Sense of Nakedness (Matt 6:31-33)

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mat 6:31-33)

The original sense of nakedness was from that deep insecurity of autonomy that sprung from man’s first alienation from God due to sin– spiritual death. Seeking God marks man’s refusal to stay alienated by turning towards His Maker in whom alone is Covering and true Security and no reason to be ashamed anymore.

Choices

Often times, we are given the choice:
To be humanly honored or to divinely love,
To be socially accepted or to deny all,
To have silver and gold or have joy everlasting,
To be renowned in earth or be remembered in heaven,
To be treated as kings or hated as refuse,
To please men or to please Christ.

Blessed are those who choose to follow Christ!

Modern Ethic: Truth Vs Humanism

Modern (or post-postmodern) ethic inclines more towards a secular humanism that is aversive to hard justice. The form of secular humanism is sympathetic towards rapists, murderers, and looters and in some cases, would even dare to eulogize criminals as heroes. Thus, they will eulogize a rapist-murderer as hero who has been sentenced to death by hanging, just because they hate capital punishment. They turn sympathetic towards mass murderers not because they do not hate murder, but because they do not wish for justice to be so brutal after all, so exacting. Movies and novels try to highlight the humane part of a villain and arouse sympathy towards his weaknesses.

Thus, real heroes who want to put an end to evil become villains in their eyes and villains become heroes. Media plays a villainous role in warping public opinion.

Also, historical amnesia is becoming a characteristic of modern world. In the past, histories were preserved in family tales and social narratives. In the modern period of increasingly splintered experiences, the only grand narrative is money, sex, and power. People are forgetful of or unmindful of historic lessons. They will easily believe a criminal to be a savior, because he speaks smoothly and authoritatively.

In short, we live in a corrupt and confused world.  It is much more important now than ever to distinguish between feelings and facts, to rightly juxtapose mercy with justice, to celebrate morality, to affirm the truth.

The Rewards of Risk-Taking (Eccl. 11:1-6)

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” (Ecc 11:1)

One should not fear taking risks. All work of production calculates risks. Risk-taking is key to farming, business, banking. In the Parable of Talents, the boss commended the two workers who went and took risks to do business with the money they received, doubling it by the time their boss returned. However, he was very unhappy with the worker who went and hid the capital depriving the boss of even the interest from the use of it. He rebuked him saying that he should have given the money to bankers if he was afraid of taking risks, for bankers (risk-takers themselves) assure of a set interest amount. Risk-taking must be accompanied by good counsel, calculation, wisdom, and diligent hard-work that explores various avenues of investment. Risk-taking investments forgo the present disuse or use of something for sake of future returns. For instance, the farmer sows the grain instead of eating it or storing it for consumption in order to reap multiple production.

Instead of investing the whole capital in just one industry, it is better to divide it into various. “Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” (Ecc 11:2)

It is also important to be diligent and willing to use spare time (available labor-time–not to scrape it from family and rest time) in any other industry. “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”(Ecc 11:6)

Don’t just wait for things to look very sure and certain. Move forward. Risk-takers move by faith, not by sight. “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap (Ecc.11:4)

Also, be prepared for crisis-times. And, do not forget that charity and helping the poor has assurance of returns and rewards from God (Prov.19:17). That reward is always assured and never lost.

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