Posted by: Jo | October 4, 2013

Running Alongside Another

“Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked” (Acts 8:30)

imageUnderstanding what you are reading. It seems a simple and obvious statement, but when I was young, one of our most important classes was called “Comprehension”. In this class the object was not to read fluently, but to read with understanding, so after reading the set passage came the in depth questions that probed individual words, phrases, subjects, perhaps innuendos and veiled references. We had an excellent teacher and I always credit that class with deepening my already love of reading and when I became a Christian, I found the lessons invaluable in reading and understanding the Bible.

The book of Proverbs emphasizes over and over again the importance of gaining understanding;

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

We have a fascinating story about understanding in the Book of Acts (Acts 8:26 – 40). Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, is suddenly directed by an angel of the Lord to go south to a desert road, I have often thought he must have been confused by this command. How many people could he share Jesus with in a desert? Philip was obedient and the Holy Spirit pointed out why Philip was where he was. The Lord had already chosen the exact person he wanted Philip to meet. What a wonderful lesson for us. Often we may feel that the Lord has led us into some sort of desert, but when we have imagegiven our lives over to him we can be assured that nothing happens by coincidence, we can trust that we are in the right place, at the right time, we can rest in the fact that the Lord will reveal his purpose for us in his timing.

Philip sees an Ethiopian in a chariot, reading from the book of Isaiah, and runs beside him and asks him does he understand what he is reading. Now we know why Philip is where he is! Philip is invited into the chariot and is able to help the Ethiopian understand God’s word to the point of asking Philip to baptize him.

We too, like Philip, can be asked to run alongside another. The Christian journey was never meant to be a lonely walk and one of the benefits of having a companion to be right beside you, is the way both grow in the wonder of understanding of God’s word and the wonder of knowing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in a real and personal way.

Reading God’s word with another, praying together, sharing fears and joys can be a life changing experience. Often we hear plaintive cries just like the Ethiopian cried out to Philip, when Philip asked him did he understand;

“How can I” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” (Acts 8:31)

image Time and time again we hear of others saying the same thing. We need to be ready like Philip to put on our running shoes to be ready to run alongside the one the Lord has chosen for us to share our mutual love of the Saviour. We need to look around at where the Lord has placed us. Asking the Lord to show us who may be struggling to understand what God is saying through his word. We may be asked, like Philip, to move out of our safety zone and to be ready to make a new friend, to be ready to share our knowledge of the Lord, to be ready to be a companion in his name with another.


  1. Thanks, Jo. Very good thoughts, well explained. I thought about your comment about going to the desert road. My first response would be to think I was supposed to go to the end of that road to find what God wanted me to do. But, as you point out, Philip found his opportunity as he traveled the road.


  2. I always thought that God went to a lot of trouble for the sake of one person!He truly is the “hound of heaven”! we were all pursued one by one !you are right when you say that we need to leave our own plans and be available to the spirit….how exciting!


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