Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

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"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 18th January 1998

From the Pastor: Proverbial Anecdotes

"Strengthen those things that remain which are about to die" Revelation 3:2

Many texts from the Bible have become woven into English proverbial lore, even though many today have no idea of their origin or context.

Thus people come out with such expressions as these:

    "the writing's on the wall" (Daniel 5: 24);
    "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5);
    "no peace for the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21);
    "money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10 - garbled).

While sometimes these proverbial texts are misquoted or misapplied, at least they are known. They may roll off the tongue very easily, but such expressions at least provide an open door for evangelistic testimony. If people cite some of these expressions as true, they give left-handed admission to the truth of the Bible from which they come.

Apart from the opportunities these expressions provide, we need to ask ourselves how they have come to be proverbial. The answer is simple: they are the legacy from a time when Biblical exposition from the pulpit and memorization by the rank and file were in the ascendency. These emphases go right back to Puritan times in the seventeenth century.

Alas, neither are any longer the case on the general scene, hence we have isolated biblical anecdotes which people cite in ignorance.

While the reasons for the decline in Biblical knowledge are many and various, the existence of these fragments call us to "strengthen those things which remain", as above. Build on them and use them to "rebuild the ancient ruins" (Isaiah 61:4). Meanwhile, coming weeks will explore some of these proverbs and show their true meaning.

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Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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