All in a word

It’s worth looking at a certain word embedded in Acts 2:42,  ” And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” because it is the real game-changer when it comes to committment to making these things happen in life.

It is like giving yourself room to determine that there are some things in your Christian life that you ‘may’ do as opposed to things you ‘must’ do. Legalism stops us from saying that there are a whole catalogue of things that we must do – but when all is considered, because of our love for the Lord there is an urgency in our heart that prevails upon us, we simply must pray, and read about Him because He is all we really truly have. 

The ESV is very helpful, but with this verse it misses the mark slightly. The NASB translation more correctly  translates the phrase as “They were continually devoting themselves…”

Luke says that the believers were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.

This does not mean that they were “devoted” to listening to what the apostles were teaching. Instead, it means that these early Christians were continually persevering in living according to the message that the apostles taught, as well as continuing to fellowship (share life) break bread (eat together), and pray.

The early believers were attempting to live their lives in accordance with the message that the apostles taught,

“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:43-47 ESV)

The church lived according to the gospel (the apostles’ teaching), and they shared their lives and their meals with one another. On the day of Pentecost, God did not create individuals who loved to sit and listen to teaching, instead, God created a new community who now lived new lives – lives that were not lived for themselves any longer.

Focus, vision, determination – all of these speak of aspects of deep devotion. This is the work of God in our hearts that the Spirit brings about, our part is not to ignite this (only God can do that), but to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in tenderness to His prompting.

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