Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Peter and John, Uneducated and Untrained?
“Now 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, NKJV)
Peter and John vs Paul
Peter and John never went to a seminary.  They were common fishermen.  Their mentor was the Lord Himself.  When they spoke it was with confidence.  They knew what they were talking about.  Peter even describes what will happen scientifically in the last chapter of his last letter.  He says that the elements will melt with fervent heat and all that is therein will be burned up before the Lord establishes a new heavens and a new earth (which probably is the eternal state and not the millennial kingdom).  My astronomy teacher in college taught that same exact thing.  He said the sun would become a supernova and it would vaporize the closest planets.  He said it could happen tomorrow but we don’t expect it to happen for millions of years.  How is that for Peter being uneducated and untrained?  My astronomy teacher could not speak with the authority with which Peter spoke because he had not “been with Jesus.”  
John also seems to be given insight that most did not have.  He knew something of the love of God that most of us have probably never experienced.  And as unlearned as he was, he was trusted with what Paul Harvey called, “the rest of the story.”  He was given the final revelation of the Lord dealing with end times.  He was also given some great admonitions for congregations that call themselves churches today.  
Paul didn’t come to know the Lord until after he was trained as a Pharisee. It appears that he had the best “college degree” that money could buy in his day.   He probably knew and spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin languages.  Yet it appears that he really experienced a close relationship with the Lord in those years in Arabia after his conversion on the Damascus Road.  It was apparently while he was alone with the Lord that He got revelations that he wrote about later.  But one thing he makes clear in the Galatian epistle—he was taught by the Lord and not by man.  In Galatians 1:11-12, he writes, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 
What we are seeing is that those who “have been with Jesus” are the ones who have the authority to preach and teach in such a way that others will realize that they are preaching truth.  
I remember many preachers who spoke in days gone by that many would never allow on their pulpits today.  They didn’t have written sermons.  Some didn’t even have notes.  Some were hard to follow and some didn’t have a really good grasp of the English language.  But they spoke with “heart.”  It was obvious that they had been with Jesus.  
I personally appreciate an education that helps with the language and culture existing when the Bible was written. We are nearly two thousand years away from the languages and customs of the New Testament and further than that from the language and customs of the Old Testament.  So it is always good to get the background of the writings.  But I have a guide as to whether I am hearing good preaching.  Number one,  “Is it based on the Biblical Gospel?”  Number two, “Do I come away saying, “Wow, that confirms what I believe!”  Or when the message deals with something I haven’t understood, can I say, “Wow, why didn’t I see that before?”  To me that is good preaching.
If I come away from a message saying, “Wow, I never would have understood that if it hadn’t been explained that way!”—-that message is one that I usually round file.  
Whether uneducated or untrained or whether seminary trained, I like to listen to people who “have been with Jesus.”  Their meditation on the word of God will be obvious.  Their explanations will make sense.  Their lives and experiences will illustrate the truths that they are teaching. Their ministry will be spirit-led.  Their enthusiasm will be catching and their love of the Lord will be obvious.  Their lessons will be practical.   If it is obvious that the Lord has spoken to the preacher,  it is likely that his message will speak to and benefit me.  
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of June 19, 2022

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