MORE THAN WORDS
I pray that You would open the eyes of my heart, so I may know the hope to which Jesus has called me (Ephesians 1:18).
Read Acts 8:26–40
Philip and the Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you feel comfortable sharing the Word of God with your friends?
Look again for a moment at the book you have just read. Some of its writings date back 3,500 years. Translated into over 3,000 languages, there are an estimated five billion copies in print – the bestselling book in history. Made up of disparate genres including poetry, history, letters, and prophecy, it has an indisputable coherence.
To some, the Bible is just words. It can be read, studied and critiqued, and leave the reader untouched. But to others, like the Ethiopian official, it is the door to a new life. It’s not just words; it is the Word of God. The Bible is a gift to the church. The Ethiopian needed help to understand what he was reading. Philip was there to put Isaiah’s prophecy in context and to show how it pointed to Jesus. For me, and likely for you too, there have been people along the way who have helped me understand the Bible.
Through the centuries since this encounter, God has used the Bible to nourish, correct and guide the church. His written Word is yet another reason we will always be unstoppable.
Who might benefit from reading the Bible with you, and how could you make that happen? Could you meet weekly with a friend? Could you read to someone in a nursing home?
Thank You, God, that I have access to this ‘Book of books’ – and thank You for the people who have helped me to understand it.