What did the apostle Paul mean when he said he wanted to be all things to all men?

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: What did the apostle Paul mean when he said he wanted to be all things to all men? It seems contradictory. -- M.H.

A: The Apostle Paul never compromised the Gospel message. When he wrote to the Corinthians he said, we "endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:12). Paul didn't confine his message to the educated, as he was. From the Scriptures he preached to the weak, to the downtrodden, to the mighty, and to those in authority.

Paul went to the synagogues and reasoned with the Jews, and also the Gentiles, concerning Jesus. He preached in the marketplace and scoffers said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Paul was given a forceful escort to the Areopagus, also known as Mars Hill, the court of law where people debated world problems. While on the way, the men said to him, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. ... We want to know what these things mean" (Acts 17:19-20).

Why did they want to hear from Paul? He stood out from the crowd. He didn't apologize for his message; he proclaimed it with boldness. Athenians were always seeking "some new thing," and they asked him to explain his message. Paul had observed their customs; their moral corruption was revealed by the hundreds of idols illuminated by the sun. They worshiped the constellations and the physical body, and they indulged every obsession that gave them pleasure. And in case they missed one, they had even erected a statue to represent the unknown god.


Paul went straight to the heart of their curiosity and declared God's truth -- without compromise -- and declared the one true God. The Lord blesses this kind of boldness and will strengthen His messengers every step of the way.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)





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