Leaders Devotion 3: The Whole Counsel of God
Updated: Aug 6
As we continue to examine Paul's address to the Ephesian elders, we read his summary of
his ministry values and approach when he was establishing a church in any venue: "You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:20-21). In these verses, we learn that Paul conducted both evangelism efforts to identify new believers and then preached "anything that would be helpful" to the converts. His goal was to equip the church for successful living, which was made up of moral and ethical directives consistent with a holy lifestyle, along with an appropriate understanding of the mystery of God that the gospel was available to the Gentiles by grace. Paul summarized all this when he said,
"Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God" (Acts 20:26-27).
One Bible version calls it the "purpose of God" and another summarizes it as "all that God wants you to know." Today, the whole counsel is found in the sacred Scriptures, which leaders are to be familiar with so they can present a full perspective of God's will. Since Paul was addressing the Ephesian elders, it would be good to examine his letter to the Ephesian church as a good example of the "whole counsel," for the first half of the letter is doctrinal while the last half addresses holy behavior.
Are you balanced in your ministry between evangelism and discipleship? Do you major in one one or a few doctrines, like faith or the end times or political social action, or do you teach through the Bible in some systematic format, not avoiding those passages or issues with which you are not comfortable or competent? What are you doing to become more adept at ministering the whole purpose or counsel of God?