The Sum of Scripture: The Heraldic Announcement


The Sum of Scripture: The Heraldic Announcement

October 26th, 1980 @ 10:50 AM

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Acts 17:11-12

10-26-80    10:50 a.m.



Welcome, the uncounted thousands of you who are listening to this hour on radio and on television.  This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  In our morning hour, and for a long, long time, the pastor will be delivering a series of doctrinal messages, summations of the whole revelation of God. 

It is divided into fifteen sections, and the first section we are now in entitled "Bibliology," the doctrinal series on the Bible.  Next Sunday it will be The Witness of The Word to Itself.  Tonight at 7:00 o’clock, and every evening hour at 7:00 o’clock, the pastor is delivering a series of sermons all this fall until Christmastime on "The Problems of Human Life."  And as was announced earlier, the sermon tonight is Michal: The Loneliness of Singles

Now there are those who are single traumatically – by trauma.  They are divorced, or they are deserted, or they are alone by death, the partner has died and they are a single parent.  Or there are those who are single by choice, by the elective purpose of God, by Providence.  And the sermon tonight will bless us all, but especially will it be an incomparable assurance for those who are not married: The Loneliness of Singles.

Now the sermon today in this series on bibliology is entitled The Summation of Scripture: The Heraldic Announcement.  And in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Acts is the background of the message – the summation, the summary, The Summation of Scripture: The Heraldic Announcement.

In the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Acts, the missionaries Paul and Timothy, Silas – have come to Thessalonica, which is the capital city of the Roman province of Macedonia. 

And Paul, as his manner was, went into the synagogue:


and for three days, three sabbath days he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures,

Opening and alleging, that Christ must,suffer, and be raised again,

and that this Jesus, whom I preach, is the Messiah of God, Christ the Anointed One.

[Acts 17:2-3]


Now  in verse 11 – in verse 10, they have come to Berea.  And in Berea "they searched the Scriptures daily."  And verse 12, "Therefore many of them believed; of the honorable women, and of the men, not a few."  Isn’t that an unusual way that Dr. Luke puts that?  He places the honorable women first.  Christianity has always been just like that.  The Christian faith is a woman’s faith; it’s a woman’s religion.  It always has been.  It still is.  "Of the honorable women," he names them first, "and of the men, not a few."

Now just to exegete for a moment, to look at these words: in Thessalonica, in verse 2, on three Sabbath days he "reasoned" with them – dialego.  He presented the biblical assurances and the reasons why these great doctrinal truths he was preaching were so; dialego, to reason.  Then it has translated here, "opening and alleging" [Acts 17:3].  The Greek word for the mind is dianoia, and when you make a verbal form of it, dianoigo – "opening," it is translated here.  Dianoigo, it means to open the ears, and the eyes, and the heart, and the mind, and the understanding. 

All of the emotional fanaticism that you find in the Christian faith may have a place, or may not have a place; but it’s not the thing itself.  There is not anything in this world more reasonable than it is to be a Christian, a child of God.  Dianoigo: translated here "opening," opening the ears, and the mind, and the heart to the truth of God.

And then "alleging" – alleging that Christ is the Lord.  That’s paratithemi.   Tithemi is the word for "to place," tithemi.  Para is alongside.  So the word "alleging" is a translation of paratithemi.  He "placed alongside," he "set before" these great spiritual truths of the gospel of Christ.

Now for just a moment, exegetically, to look at this word about Berea.  They "searched the Scriptures" [Acts 17:11].  That’s a good legal term: anakrino.  It means to investigate, to examine, to judge.  And they examined those Scriptures.  They investigated the Word of God and they made judgments concerning what God had to say.  And then this little word "Therefore, many of them believed."  Having judiciously examined, and studied, and compared, and investigated, the little word here translated "Therefore many believed" [Acts 17:12].  That is very emphatic, the way that the author Luke writes that.  There is a little particle in greek, m-e-n, men, and that means "indeed" and oun, o-u-n, means "therefore."  And he writes both of those there: "men oun, many of them believed" – men oun, indeed therefore many of them believed" as a result of their studying the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

There are two avowals, there are two concomitants, corollaries, addenda from this exegetical study, brief as it is.  There are two things, there are two conclusions that are very apparent.  Number one is this: the center of Paul’s ministry was the Holy Scriptures.  When Paul preached, that’s what he preached.  When Paul stood up, he did so with a Bible in his hand.  He expounded the way of God; he delivered the message of the Scriptures.  That’s the first thing that is very apparent

 Paul summed up that whole attitude and message that he had regarding the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16, down through the fourth chapter and the third verse, and you remember it.  "All Scripture," he said:


 is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine,

I charge thee therefore before God, and before the Lord Jesus Christ,

who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom;

Preach the Word,exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.

[2 Timothy 3:16-4:2]


That first avowal is so true: the center and the circumference and the basis of Paul’s ministry was preaching the Holy Scriptures.

Now the second conclusion, the second corollary from this passage: the second one is no less clear, the Scriptures point to Jesus.  They lead us to a faith in the Lord.  Having opened, and alleged, and searched, and judged, and examined, therefore they believed [Acts 17:11-12].  The Scriptures point us to Jesus.  They lead us to the Lord.  The summation of the Scripture is a heraldic announcement. 

And I have summed up the whole Bible in three avowals, which are the three parts of the message today.  One: the Old Testament is the announcement, Somebody is coming; Someone is coming.  The Christ, the Messiah of God, the promised Savior of the world, He is coming.  That’s the Old Covenant: Someone is coming.  The second: in the New Testament, and in the evangel’s gospel message: Someone is here.  He is Jesus our Lord, our Christ – Someone is here.  And the third tremendous, heraldic announcement: Someone is coming again; the Lord, King Jesus.  That is the whole Bible; that’s the summation of the whole Scripture. 

First, the Old Covenant, the Old Testament: Somebody is coming, – Someone is coming.  And the Old Covenant, the Old Testament Scriptures present it in three ways: by promise, by type, and by vivid word description.  Someone is coming in promise; the Bible begins that way.  In the protevangelium, Genesis 3:15, the "Seed of the woman" shall crush Satan’s head.  As I say, the old rabbis studied that verse for thousands of years and could never understand it.  A woman doesn’t have seed; the man has seed.  But the promise says that the Seed of the woman shall crush Satan’s head: the virgin birth of our Lord.  He is coming!

In Genesis , when Israel, dying, gathers around him his patriarchal sons, he turns to Judah and says, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and to Him shall the gathering of the people be" [Genesis :10].  Someone, Somebody is coming.

When Moses faced the end of his life, he gathered his people on the plains of Moab and said, "After I am gone, God shall raise up a Prophet unto thee like unto me" [Deuteronomy 18:15].  Somebody is coming, Someone is coming.

God sent Nathan the prophet to David to announce to him that, after he should be gathered to his fathers, God would give him a Son who would be seated on the throne of David forever: "And of His kingdom there shall be no end" [2 Samuel 7:12, 16].  Somebody great and marvelous is coming.  Someone is coming.

When I come to the conclusion of the Old Covenant, the Old Testament Scriptures, Malachi announces: "I shall send My messenger before My face" [Malachi 3:1].  That’s John ho baptistes, John the one who baptizes. "My messenger I shall send before My face: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple."  Somebody is coming.

"And to you who fear the Lord," added Malachi, "shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings" [Malachi 4:2].  Somebody is coming.  That promise entered into the very life of all of Israel.

I so poignantly remember reading in 1 Maccabees when Antiochus Epiphanes had offered a sow on the sacred altar, and took the juice of the pig and poured it all over the temple and all over the holy vessels in order to desecrate it.  When Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. had thrown off the yoke of the tragic Syrians, and when the temple was re-dedicated – and in just a few weeks Israel will celebrate that feast of dedication, they call it Hanukkah – when Judas Maccabeus had won freedom for the Jew from those awful pagans, they stood before the altar that had been polluted by the sacrifice of a sow, and what should they do?  And this is what they did.  First Maccabees said they took the altar and its stones and they set those stones – tenderly and lovingly by the side, outside of the temple.  And 1 Maccabees says, "awaiting the day when the Prophet shall come" who should tell them what to do.  Somebody is coming!  That’s the heart of the Old Testament.

In type, all of it presents the glorious day when He will come.  The sacrifice of Isaac on Mt. Moriah by Abraham is a type of the coming of our Lord [Genesis 22:1-14].  The Passover Lamb, such a strange thing for God to do, and those who were under the blood would be saved [Exodus 12:7, 13, 23] – a type of the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" [John 1:29].  "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," a type of the Lord who was to come [John 3:14].

Were you here in the church?  Most of you were not, when I preached through the Bible; one solid, whole year I preached on the ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.  There the author is presenting Christ in the typology of the tabernacle.  The altar: that’s His cross, the cross of sacrifice [Hebrews 9:23].  The laver, "the washing of water by the word [Ephesians 5:26]. "You are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" [John 15:3].  He said.  The door: He is the way into heaven [Hebrews 9:24].  On the left side, on the south side, the seven-branched lampstand: "He is the light of the world" [John 8:12].  On the right, the north side, the table of showbread: He is the bread of life [John 6:35], the manna from heaven, angel’s food.  The golden altar of incense: He is our great Intercessor and Mediator [John 8:12].  The veil of His flesh, rent in twain, by which we have direct access to God [Hebrews 10:19-20].  And the holy ark of the covenant, covered over with blood of atonement [Hebrews 9:22].  All of it is of Him. Somebody is coming.

And I haven’t time even to mention those words – dramatic, detailed, and specific, regarding the coming of our Lord.  For example, the twenty-second Psalm – this never happened to David though it’s a psalm of David: "They pierced My hands and My feet.  They part My garments among them and cast lots upon My vesture" [Psalms 22:16-18, Matthew 27:35].  He is coming.

The fifty-second and the fifty-third chapters of Isaiah: you would think that Isaiah was standing at the cross as he describes the suffering of our Lord. [It] "pleased the Lord to bruise Him,God shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied," [Isaiah 53:10-11].  The whole Old Testament covenant is that: Someone is coming, our Lord and our Savior.

The second part of the Bible is this: Someone is here, Jesus the Christ.  The four evangels present Him so marvelously and wondrously.  Matthew wrote for the Jew.  The theme of Matthew’s Gospel is, "This came to pass, this happened, that it might be fulfilled that which spoken by the prophet, saying,"  He starts his Gospel like that: "All of this happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and they shall call His name" [Matthew 1:22-23] Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6], "and they shall call His name Immanuel,God is with us."  That’s Matthew: He is here.

Mark wrote his Gospel for the Romans.  There, Christ is presented as the mighty worker of miracles, the Man of authority and action; the Roman would like that.  Luke wrote his Gospel for the hurt of humanity.  He is the beloved physician and the doctor.  And he writes of the birth of our Lord so intimately, as he learned it’s story from Mary, the mother.  It is Luke who writes of the good Samaritan [Luke 10:30-37]; it is Luke who tells the story of the prodigal son [Luke 15:11-32].  It is Luke who tells us of the Lord seeking out Zaccheus, a hated tax collector [Luke 19:1-10].  It is Luke who describes the agony of Jesus, whose blood in His prayer in Gethsemane, stained the ground [Luke 22:44].  And it is Luke who describes the two on the way to Emmaus – so sad and so despondent [Luke 24:13-35].  The French critic Renan says it is the most beautiful story in the world.  And as they walked along, so sad and hopeless, Jesus – unknown to them – was a third, walking by their side.  That’s Luke, describing our Lord as the healer of the hurt of humanity.

And John, the sainted apostle John: John presents our Lord here, God in the flesh.  According to John, He is the Son of Man being born of a woman, made of flesh and blood; but He also is the Son of God:


And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw His glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,

For the law, and judgment, and condemnation came by Moses, but grace, and truth, and forgiveness, and salvation came by Jesus Christ.

[John 1:14, 17]


That’s John.  As the Son of Man, our Lord was baptized in water [Matthew 3:13-17]; but as the Son of God, He is the One, John says, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit – that’s John [John 1:33].  As the Son of Man our Lord was thirsty and asked water from a woman at the well [John 4:7].  But as the Son of God He walked on the seas; that’s John [John 6:19].  As the Son of Man, our Lord was "an hungered" [Matthew 4:2], but as the Son of God, He fed the five thousand; that’s John [John 6:1-13].  As the Son of Man, He wept in sorrow at the tomb of Lazarus – but as the Son of God He raised him from the dead; that’s John [John 11:35, 43-44].  As the Son of Man, He was hurt and bruised and they plucked out His beard, and they crowned Him with a crown of thorns [Matthew 27:29], but as the Son of God He bore all of our sorrows and carried all of our sicknesses; that’s John [Matthew 8:17].  As the Son of Man, He was nailed to the cross and suffered and died [John 19:16-30].  But as the Son of God He burst asunder the bands of the death and of the grave, and reigns and lives forever in heaven our triumphant Lord and Savior: that’s John, that’s John [John 20].

And this is John: and He is with us forever, alive, and in our hearts.  Those beautiful chapters of John – chapters 14, 15, 16 – the Lord says, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go away, I will send Him" [John 16:7], the Comforter, "that He may abide with you forever" [John 14:16].

Isn’t that a miracle that we see before our eyes?  Over there in the Orient, and over there in Europe, and down there in South America, and wherever somebody is who opens his heart to Jesus – that somebody has the fullness of the Lord.   Isn’t that amazing?  All of Him – all of Him with those people there; all of Him with those people there;  all of Him with us here: wherever we are, the fullness of the blessed Jesus is in our hearts.  Somebody is here.  Somebody is here.

Now the third and the last section of the Holy Bible, the summation of the heraldic announcement: Somebody is coming again.  Someone is coming again.  I suppose that more tears have fallen on the leaves of the fourteenth chapter of John than anywhere else in the Bible, and beyond all literature in the world:


Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. 

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,

[John 14:1-3]


Somebody is coming again.  "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" [John 14:3].

A neophyte, a preacher just out of school was talking to an old saint who was just getting ready to cross the swollen river.  And the young fellow read to him that passage that I’ve just quoted, and began to talk to him about those mansions on the other side.  And the old saint broke in and said, "There, there, my boy.  It’s not those mansions that this old heart of mine is a-thinkin’ of.  What I want to see is the blessed Jesus."   Somebody is coming for us, Somebody is preparing for us, Somebody is coming again.  That’s the Bible: the summation of the whole Scriptures. 

It was the glad announcement of the angels, "This same Jesus that you saw going up into heaven shall so come in like manner" [Acts 1:10-11].  Somebody is coming again.  It was the preaching of Simon Peter, "Him let the heavens receive until the restitution of all things" [Acts 3:21], the denouement of history is in Him.  Somebody is coming again.  It was the preaching of Paul:


We are not to sorrow as others who have no hope:

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that the Lord shall come with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

And we who remain shall be caught up to meet them with the clouds in the air; to be ever with the Lord.

[1 Thessalonians 4:13-17]


Somebody is coming again.  It was the preaching of the author of Hebrews in chapter 10: "This we say unto you, A little while, He that shall come shall come and will not tarry" [verse 37].  It was the preaching of the pastor at Jerusalem – James, the Lord’s brother – in the fifth chapter of his little book, "Establish your hearts; be patient: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" [James 5:8]. 

And the Revelation: the first word is apokalupsis.  That is such a word, that’s the first word, apokalupsis, the unveiling, the revealing, the coming of the Lord Jesus.  And the text of the book is the seventh verse of the first chapter: "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, ."  And it closes with that marvelous announcement, heraldic announcement, "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely – surely I come quickly."  And the answering prayer of the sainted John, "Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus" [Revelation 22:20].

If I know heart, I’m ready.  Any day, Lord – today, tonight, tomorrow, the next day – any day, Lord, I’m ready.  Somebody is coming.

May we stand together?

Our wonderful, wonderful Savior, oh, that we had the tongue of an angel!  That we had the fire of a seraph; that we had the loving compassion of a cherub, thus to magnify our glorious Lord and King Christ Jesus.  What He means to us, word could not say, pen could not write, song could not sing – only our hearts overflowing.  And may the Spirit that knows the mind of our souls bear our love and gratitude to God’s throne of grace.  O Lord, beyond any way we could say it, we praise Thee for the blessed Lord Jesus.

In a moment, we shall sing our hymn of appeal.  And as our people quietly pray and wait, down one of those stairways, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, today we have decided for Jesus and here we come.  The whole family of us is coming – all of us are coming."  "Just the two of us are coming my wife and I"; or "My friend and I"; or just one somebody you.  Make that decision now in your heart, and in this moment when we sing, respond with your life.

And thank You, Lord, for the wonderful, precious, beautiful harvest.  In Thy wonderful name, amen. 

And while we pray, and while we wait, and while we sing, and while our men here gladly, happily, welcoming you, make the decision now and come, while we sing, do it now.  Do it now.