1Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7and there they continued to preach the gospel.
Paul and his companions spoke “in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.” What a fascinating comment. Does this credit the manner of speaking as something that contributed to the conversion of lost people? Yes it does, and we do well to pay attention to it. Knowing the Gospel is essential, but it is not enough. God gifts people with the ability to speak convincingly. It is part of the gift of evangelism and we need to pray it into our churches. It is wrong to maintain that all that is needed is good theology. Good theology is needed – very desperately in today’s doctrinally mindless environment.
To speak eloquently with bad doctrine is to condemn our listeners to not receiving truth. But good theology is not a substitute for shoddy presentation. To speak good doctrine in a way that no one will listen will do the same. The Gospel we know must be delivered in the giftedness that God grants for the persuasive declaration of the Scriptures. What a powerful text.
We should want to give Gospel truth to people today. And we should want it to be presented in a manner that attracts people to the truth. This takes great care and wisdom. Let’s not be obnoxious with the greatest truth that mankind has ever been allowed to hear. And let us be struck with awe that God allows us to deliver it.