Inquiring Minds (Acts 28:17-23)

And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.” (Acts 28:21–22, AV)

Most everyone has heard the expression, “Inquiring minds want to know.” The phrase had its origin with the tabloid, “The National Enquirer.” The publisher copyrighted the phrase, “Enquiring minds want to know,” in the late 80s. The magazine printed sensational stories on prominent people. Many would read these articles to get to know the gossip on their favorite celebrities. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

After arriving in Rome, Paul was placed under house arrest. He had a bit of freedom in this, being allowed to stay by himself with a soldier guarding him (v16). One of his privileges was to have visitors. Thus, he invited the local leaders of the Jews to visit him (v17). He explained to them why he was in Rome and after this, the leaders of the Jews asked Paul to expound on his religious views in regards to the sect who believe Jesus to be the hope of Israel (v19, 22).

The leaders of the Jews appointed a day for Paul to speak on the subject of Jesus as the Messiah. When that day arrived, they came with even greater numbers than in their previous meeting with him. Then Paul expounded from the Scriptures in order to convince them regarding Jesus (v23). “Inquiring minds want to know.”

Here we find an important truth. People want to know about spiritual things. We often have this fear of presenting the gospel to people. One of the reasons is that we have this incorrect idea that people are not interested. This is far from the truth. In Paul’s day, even the leaders of the Jews in Rome had an interest in learning what Paul believed in this matter. Yes, they had heard that many Jews had spoken against the beliefs of the Messianic sect. Yet, they were still interested in hearing what Paul had to say on the matter.

Today, people still want to know. Many do not understand true biblical Christian beliefs. They have ideas, but they really do not understand. They need to know and many want to know. When I have spent time on the streets of Portsmouth New Hampshire talking to people about biblical matters, I found very few who would not engage in a reasonable and civil dialog on these things. In general, people wanted to understand what the Bible said about how a person can get to heaven. They wanted to know more about the person of Jesus. “Inquiring minds want to know.”

From this, we have a couple points of application. First, we need to keep our spiritual eyes open to identify those who are inquiring. Perhaps the only real way to know is to ask them. One of the questions we used to ask in Evangelism Explosion was, “Would you like to know how I received eternal life and how you can know it too?” Asking questions is a good way to break the ice and determine if a person has an inquiring mind. Other questions like, “Are you interested in spiritual things? In knowing how to get to heaven when you die? What the bible says about Jesus and heaven?”

Second, we must be ready to give an answer to those who have inquiring minds. We can share our personal story. We can also share some basic Scripture regarding Christ, sin, judgment, and salvation.

Last, we must leave the results to God. It is of His salvation that we speak. Let Him do the work in the heart of the person.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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