If you ever doubted the importance of teaching and education to the life of the church then our reading from Acts for today should convince you. It is the story of the conversion of the Ethiopian by Philip. As the African rides along in his chariot he reads aloud from the Hebrew scriptures. “So Philip ran up to it (the chariot) and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him” (Acts 8:30-31).
“How can I (understand), unless someone guides me?” Often the words of scripture can appear like a trackless region with no clear direction. The fact that Philip met the Ethiopian on a wilderness road may be symbolic of this fact. Left to his own effort the Ethiopian might never have found the truth contained in the Bible, or upon encountering it not understand it. But when given proper guidance by Philip he grasped the meaning of God’s word. Eventually he way his through the complexities to the good news of Jesus Christ. The same is true in our day as well. This is not to say that Bible study is easy. It is difficult work. Nor is there ever an end to the process. Even those who teach need continual refreshing, need to remain connected to the source, as it were.
If you are a teacher or study leader in your community of faith, thank you. The work you do is essential in preparing others to step up and accept the challenge in years to come. In this way the word of God goes from generation to generation and never lies fallow. In this way men and women, young and old, are made more aware of who they are and whose they are.
Prayer: Lord, uphold those who teach and who guide the study of your word. May they know the joy of leading others to better understanding and to lives enriched . In Jesus’ name. Amen.