Acts 8:31

Texas floor mural. State Capitol.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:31

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, Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch if he understood what he was reading as he read the prophet Isaiah. Luke continues now with, “And he said.”

It is the response of the eunuch to Philip, and it reveals a truth that Paul conveys concerning the speaking of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14. If someone speaks in a tongue, what good is it if the mind is not edified? The answer is, “None.” Likewise, if one reads a passage of Scripture, and if it has no reference to anything else in the mind of the reader, then the mind cannot understand what is being conveyed. As such, and because the eunuch has no reference to what he is reading, he responds, saying, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”

Vincent’s Word Studies notes that the Greek more closely reads, “For how should I be able?” He then says, “the for connecting the question with an implied negative: ‘No; for how could I understand except.’”

This now shows the reason why Philip has been called to meet with the eunuch. He is reading Scripture, and in his reading, he has no reference to understand the context of the passage. With that now possible because someone with a suitable reference is at hand, it next says, “And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.”

Rather, it properly reads, “And he invited Philip, having come up, to sit with him” (BLB). One can see Philip, while the eunuch is talking, pulling himself up into the carriage as if he is going to help out with an explanation. Once Philip is up, the eunuch grants him the honor of sitting with him, probably on his own bench. It shows a willingness on the part of the eunuch to be considerate to a traveler. At the same time, it shows a willingness in him to want to know the meaning of what he is reading.

Life application: 1 Corinthians 14 is mentioned in the commentary above. It is a passage that should be carefully studied by everyone, but the overall message is that of edification. The eunuch is reading a passage of Scripture, but his mind is not being edified because he has no understanding of the subject of the material he is reading.

As such, if the eunuch were to try to teach on the passage himself, he could make the content mean anything he wanted. But there is a context that must be maintained. Philip will provide the appropriate context so that the eunuch will clearly understand what is being conveyed. And this is just what Jesus did for the two He met on the road to Emmaus –

“Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.’” Luke 24:25-27

The overall context of the Bible is Jesus. God is attempting to wake us up to this fact as the pages of Scripture unfold. The passage that the eunuch is reading will be seen to exactingly reveal this truth. To this day, the Jews reject this. And so, when they read the passage that the eunuch is reading (which almost never occurs), their rabbis insert Israel – not Jesus – into it, claiming it is about them.

Let us carefully consider Scripture with Jesus as the main Subject. In doing this, we will not be led astray. And pray for the eyes of Israel to be opened to this truth. Until they are, they will continue to miss the most important point of everything God has done, is doing, and will do within the stream of redemptive history.

Lord God, help our minds to be understanding of what the intent of Scripture is. May we be fruitful in our comprehension of what You are conveying to us, and may we not presuppose things, inserting them into what is being conveyed. Instead, Lord, help us to draw out from the word the truth of what You are conveying to us. Amen.