Proving Your Faith
How do we know that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God? Is our faith based merely upon tradition? Is faith the result of religious fanaticism? No, genuine faith stands firmly upon evidence.
After the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the newly appointed apostle entered the Jewish synagogues and “proclaimed Jesus, that he is the son of God” (Acts 9:20). His message continually amazed those who heard it. It seemed incredible that one who had so opposed the Christian Way could now be one of its most zealous advocates. The historian Luke informed his readers that Saul increased in strength, and he “confounded the Jews that lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).
Of interest in this passage is the term “proving.” It is a translation of the Greek word sumbibazon. It is a present tense participle form, which suggests that Paul's preaching was characterized consistently by a demonstrative line of argumentation. The original term, from an etymological viewpoint means “to bring together,” as when, for example, parts of the body are brought together (i.e., tied together) by sinew, ligament, etc. (see Ephesians 4:16).
In the context of Acts 9:22, the word connotes bringing together pieces of information from which a logical conclusion is drawn. In “proving” to the Jews that Jesus is the “Christ” (i.e., the promised Old Testament Messiah), Paul would have: (1) introduced specific Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah; (2) compared those predictions with factual data that pertained to Jesus of Nazareth; and, (3) from the preceding, he would have drawn irresistible conclusions that no rational and honest person could deny.
The critic who alleges that Christianity is merely emotional, and not intellectual, simply does not know the facts.