[Paul speaking] "...and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic..."
Thoughts for Today:Not long ago, upon hearing of my mission trip to Nepal, my daughter's second grade teacher asked me to share my experience with her class. She warned me to not forget I would be speaking to a room full of second graders, so I should make sure my comments and time were tailored according to their attention span and interests (pretty good advice). I brought with me several pictures I had taken in Nepal, a Bible in Aramaic, and lots of trinkets. I spoke in short clips with class participation ("Who knows where Nepal is?"); and I passed the things I brought with me around for the kids to see and feel as I talked about the great work the Lord had called us to in Nepal. So how do I know if I was successful? In this case, I could tell because the kids didn't want me to leave (they wanted to hear more and had many questions), and every time I see one of them they remember something I said about Nepal. Two of the boys actually asked if they could go on my next mission trip. My daughter was so proud.
My point in the foregoing example, as our passage today illustrates: it is not only acceptable but many times necessary to adapt our delivery style (Jesus spoke to Paul in Aramaic) in order to reach our audience in the most effective way possible.
Questions to Ponder:When you witness your faith, do you speak in relatable terms? For most non-Christians, Biblical terms and concepts can be very hard to understand (sin, judgment, sanctification, blood, shepherd, lambs, slaughter, etc). Those of us who are Christians know what these words mean related to the sacrifice Jesus made for us, but for many it is too complex to grasp. I am not suggesting we change the Gospel message -- absolutely not! But we must explain it in relatable terms so our audience has a better chance of understanding. Jesus provides the best example of this practice. Often times when discussing a more complex spiritual concept with His disciples (which they might be having difficulty understanding), Jesus would shift His explanation to a parable (a simple story to illustrate a moral lesson). Try it sometime.