Tough Texas Brigade.
Thursday, 28 April 2022
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. Acts 7:22
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
It was just noted that Moses was set out, but Pharaoh’s daughter “took him away and brought him up as her own son.” With that remembered, Stephen next says, “And Moses was learned.”
The word is paideuó. It signifies the process of learning, not the result. In other words, this doesn’t mean, “Moses was known for having learned everything.” Instead, it means “Moses was given training in.” Other than Stephen’s speech, this is not recorded in Scripture. However, Flavius Josephus and Philo both referred to this. The Pulpit Commentary states –
“Josephus makes Thermeutis speak of him as ‘of a noble understanding;’ and says that he was ‘brought up with much care and diligence.’ And Philo, in his life of Moses (quoted by Whitby), says he was smiled [skilled] in music, geometry, arithmetic, and hieroglyphics, and the whole circle of arts and sciences.”
It is evident from this, as well as verses such as 2 Timothy 3:8 and Jude 1:9, that extrabiblical references were accepted among the people concerning their history. Likewise, Paul cites Greek philosophers in his writings as well. Despite the sources not being inspired, their inclusion in Scripture tells us that those particular things that have been cited should be considered accurate statements concerning what is stated.
As for Moses, whatever his final level of education was, he was educated “in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” As noted in the words of the Pulpit Commentary above, this included a wide range of disciplines. It probably also included astrology, medical studies, Egyptian religious rites and practices, various types of divination and dream interpretation, and so on.
Moses was aware of these things, as can be seen in the law. For example, there is great structure and poetical beauty in his writings at times, such as the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. These things can only be speculated on, but by reading what he speaks of, the way he writes, and the things he warns against, a fuller picture of the things he was aware of can be determined. Because of his learning, Stephen next says, “and was mighty in words and deeds.”
This refers to his pronouncements and actions in life. His learning gave him the ability to utter forth things that were intelligent, structured, and of great importance. He was also able to turn the things he instructed into action, accomplishing great feats, such as uniting Israel and keeping them united despite all the troubles that they faced, both from without and from within. The statement in Exodus 4:10 (below) does not at all conflict with what Stephen now says –
“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’”
Having a speech impediment is not connected to what Stephen speaks of when he says, “mighty in words.” Words can be written down, they can be communicated by another (such as Aaron), and they can also simply refer to what a word signifies – a matter – and not the speaking out of the word. The words of Moses have immense weight, regardless as to how they may have fumbled off of his lips.
Life application: There is often a dilemma among Christians concerning education. Some demand that getting an education in theology is an excuse to reject that person’s doctrine (yes, there are people out there like this). Some think that one should only be trained in the Bible. Some find extrabiblical studies relevant to some extent, dismissing some things as unacceptable and claiming other things are acceptable.
It is hard to know where education becomes pointless, such as obtaining knowledge merely for the sake of having it, but without any valid reason for having it. Those things can be debated forever. But one should not dismiss being educated as leading to being tainted and unqualified to teach the Bible. For example, someone might learn about heresies in order to know how to identify that which is heretical.
Further, someone may use the writings of Greek philosophers as a way of conveying a biblical truth that can then be more readily understood. As noted above, Paul cites several Greek philosophers. Some are stated in Acts as recorded by Luke, and some are in Paul’s own writings.
In regard to the Bible, the first and most important thing is to know it sufficiently before any other training in relation to it is obtained. If one is trained in theology without first knowing the Bible, then two things will immediately be true. The first is that he will have no idea if what he is being trained in is actually in accord with the word or not.
The second is that once he is trained in that theology, he will have presuppositions based on that training which will then bias his analysis of the Bible from that point on. It is very hard to mentally separate oneself from what he has been trained in, even when provided evidence that his training was faulty.
For example, a Jehovah’s Witness will be trained, in advance of his knowing the Bible, that Jesus is not God. From that point on, he will always believe this, even when provided all the evidence necessary to validate that Jesus is, in fact, God. It is a state known as cognitive dissonance, and it is an extremely hard thing to overcome.
Only when the Bible is read and understood to a sufficient degree should a person be introduced to various theologies. And it is always good to learn as many viewpoints on those particular theologies as possible. Understanding the variations in thought can help a person process what he already knows, and come to a right decision about what is correct and what is to be rejected. Above all, know the Bible intimately first. From there, never stop checking the Bible for confirmation of what you are told.
Glorious God Almighty, give us the desire to seek Your word daily, and give us the ability to remember what is there. Help us in this, O Lord, so that when we are presented with a teaching on its contents, we can properly evaluate if what we have been told is correct or not. May it be so, to Your glory and for our benefit. Amen.