The Horses at Las Colinas.
Friday, 1 April 2022
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Acts 6:10
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).
The previous verses referred to Stephen. It next referred to some arising from the Synagogue of the Freedmen who disputed with him. With that noted, it next says, “And they were not able to resist.” The word translated as “resist” signifies “to withstand.” It is a compound word coming from anti (opposite) and hístēmi (to stand). It is a 180 degree, opposing position on a matter. And so here we have Stephen laying out his case, and those who oppose what he says are completely unable to stand against it.
As they obviously must be dealing with Scripture, because they are arguing a position concerning Christ, Stephen is giving his evidence and the men of this synagogue are unable to refute the evidence that is presented. One can have a stand on a matter while another may oppose that stand when it is merely a philosophical argument. Either side can claim that their idea about what is stated is better than the other. However, when there is an established basis for a claim, such as Scripture concerning an issue involving the Messiah, there will ultimately be one side whose argument cannot stand against the other.
Stephen’s position is obviously the one that is supported by the very writings the sides are striving over. Specifically, they were not able to resist “the wisdom and the Spirit.” On several occasions, the Bible repeats this same general sentiment, such as in Proverbs 9:10 –
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
In order to fear the Lord, one must know who the Lord is, what He is capable of, what He expects, and so on. The same is true with having a knowledge of the Holy One. There must be a source for understanding the knowledge of Him. That source is, first and foremost, Scripture. Stephen obviously possessed this knowledge.
Further, as the Spirit is the One who inspired men to write out and compile Scripture (2 Peter 1:21), then it is the Spirit who will illuminate it in order for it to be properly understood. In other words, there may be two (or more) sides arguing over the meaning of Scripture, but they cannot all be correct. The Spirit inspired it, and the one who is properly in sync with the Spirit’s intent concerning the passage is the one whose argument is sound. Stephen’s handling of the word could not be refuted by these others.
None of this is explicitly stated, but it is to be inferred from the passage. There is a claim being presented, there is an argument against it, and there is an inability to support the argument against it or to dismiss the argument itself. As such, there must be a basis for the claim. That basis must be Scripture. This must be the source “by which he spoke.”
If it were not, he would be making claims pulled out of the thin air. There would be no basis to argue with such a person because one cannot argue against something that actually doesn’t exist except in the head of another. Stephen is speaking words that cannot be withstood. They are words of wisdom, and they are Spirit-led. What will be the outcome of it? Jesus gave words to those who followed Him concerning this –
“And He said, ‘Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.’” Luke 11:46-51
Stephen is not specifically identified as either a prophet or an apostle, but his words of the coming chapter demonstrate that he fills a role suitable to at least that of a prophet. He will speak out the word of God to the people and there will be a resulting reaction to what he says that is in accord with what Jesus says in Luke 11.
Life application: In the proverbs, one right after another, the two seemingly contradictory proverbs are given –
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs 26:4, 5
The meaning here is that there is a time to argue a point and there is a time to not argue a point. In the case of the first proverb, Solomon is asking us to be wise. When there is a fool out there spouting off nonsense that is obviously nonsense, we are admonished to not even respond to him.
The reason why is that if we do, there will be nothing that is valid that we can say to refute him. His words come out of his own head and so it doesn’t matter what you say, more retorts will continue to come out of that same vacuous place. You will be arguing against a maker of wind. When you do this, you will end up just like him with petty little arguments blowing back and forth. As such, you will only look foolish.
However, if a fool is arguing over something that can be refuted, especially something as important as Scripture, and if a defense against his foolish interpretation is not given, then he will walk away feeling vindicated in his stand. Anyone who sees his challenge go unmet will think that this fool is actually correct. Soon, a whole cohort of fools will be out claiming what is utterly foolish, simply because no one is there to correct what is obviously incorrect.
Stephen demonstrated wisdom and the filling of the Spirit. These men stood against him. However, because he was Spirit-filled, and because it is the Spirit who gave Scripture in the first place, they were unable to stand against his wisdom. The opposite must have been true as well. They foolishly tried to make their own case, and Stephen stood against them so that they would not be vindicated in their heads and feel wise in their own eyes.
In all such matters, be careful to evaluate the situation and respond with wisdom. Is this person a bag of hot air? Ignore him. Is this person foolishly handling Scripture to the detriment of himself and others? Respond to him. Consider, contemplate, and respond accordingly. Demonstrate your own wisdom by demonstrating the wisdom of God.
Lord God, help us not to get caught up in endless ramblings against fools who do not have the sense to listen to reason. It is unproductive and unhealthy. But, Lord, give us the wisdom to refute those who are simply following the wrong path and making an error in their thinking. Maybe they will listen. Yes, give us wisdom in such things. Amen.