Acts 13:8

A guy who did something.

Monday, 19 December 2022 

But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Acts 13:8

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).

In the previous verse, Sergius Paulus called for Barnabas and Saul seeking to hear the word of God. With that remembered, it now begins with, “But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated).”

As has been seen, it is not uncommon for people to have more than one way to designate them. In the case of this man, he was “Son of Jesus,” but his given name is Elymas. Thus, his name would more fully be stated as “Elymas, the son of Jesus.” The name Elymas is hard to pin down, especially because it is a transliteration into Greek. Despite this, it may mean “Wise.” If so, he may have let his skills, abilities, and wisdom go to his head because of the meaning of the name. The thought might be, “I am Wise and hence I embody wisdom.” Concerning Barnabas and Saul and their message, it next says that Elymas “withstood them.”

The word gives the sense of opposition in a 180-degree contrary position. He was like a wall that refused to be moved. It was obvious that Sergius Paulus was highly affected by the word of God that was proclaimed and sat listening in rapt attention. In seeing this, it next notes that Elymas was “seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.”

Elymas could see that the influence of the word of God would diminish his own influence over Sergius Paulus. And so, as the two men spoke, he would inject his own words, “That’s balderdash!” “Barnabas, you don’t know what you’re talking about!” And so on. The word translated as “turn away” signifies a total corruption or twisting of something. He attempted to pervert the sound teaching of Barnabas and Saul hoping to maintain his control over the proconsul.

Life application: The tactic employed by Elymas is as common as aisles in a Walmart. If someone posts a theologically sound sermon or study on the internet, those who wish to draw attention to their own crummy doctrine will post an endless stream of negative comments in order to draw attention away from the word of God and towards themselves or their perverted doctrine.

This happens on live streaming as well. Right during a sermon, people will sign on and start bad-mouthing what is being presented. At times, however, it may be that the person who has signed on has a legitimate argument against the bad doctrine that is being presented. And so, how does one tell what is right and what is not?

The only way to do so is to READ AND KNOW THE BIBLE before such attacks come. It is so easy to be led astray by fine-sounding arguments when you are not already grounded in the word. Another thing to do is to watch out for fallacious thinking. But one cannot know what fallacies are being presented unless the fallacies are known. So, it is good to read up on them.

For example, someone may say, “Look at him, his appearance is terrible. Who would listen to him!” That is an immediate (and fallacious) appeal to the source. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like. He can be Chinese, shabby, wearing a top hat, or sitting in a bland room with nothing but a white background. What matters is the message and whether it is correct or not.

Be careful to know your Bible, understand fallacious arguments, and prepared to defend why you believe what you hold to. These things are important, so be sure to spend the necessary time in knowing your subjects properly.

Lord God, thank You for leading us to teachers and preachers who rightly handle Your word. But Lord, we have to know Your word well enough to know that we are not being duped in the process. And so, we have our part to do as well. Give us the strong desire to know Your word, and then when You direct us to teachers, we will know when they are properly dividing it. Amen.