Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. NKJV 2 Timothy 4:13 (Emphasis mine)
Recently, a friend of mine, Dr Alex Mutagubya graduated with a doctorate from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon USA. Because of our friendship, I get to receive free theological and doctrinal consultation from Alex, and so I was the more excited about his achievements. I was now being advised and taught by a Doctor! But that’s besides the point.
At the party, many speeches were made, but during the commissioning, Apostle John Bunjo spoke from the verse above, and so what I’m sharing is a revelation I received from him. He stressed the value of education and learning in his address.
Now, realize that Paul was a most eminent apostle. He was not behind the others in revelation, power or influence. Paul had seen Christ on the road to Damascus and was sure of His power. He experienced Christ in ways not many people ever will. He said that his Gospel was not in word, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He healed the sick, cast out demons and even raised the dead! Paul spent fourteen years being prepared for the ministry, in which he communed with and experienced God in amazing ways. Paul went to the third heaven; to paradise itself and says that he saw things that a man is not allowed to utter! Paul saw God!
But look, a man with that degree of spirituality and experiences of the Spirit is still studying. He is asking for his books and parchments; presumably parchments or scrolls of scripture. At that time, the printing press had not been invented, and so every written thing was hand written, including the scriptures. That made those scrolls and books very expensive. One had to be a devoted learner to spend lots of money to have their own handwritten copies of scripture or other books.
Remember Paul had studied at the feet of Gamaliel before he became a believer. He was a theologian and philosopher. When he encountered Christ, he didn’t do what many of us do; throw away the books. He held both the experience and the head knowledge together to lead the most powerful ministry on earth on record apart from that of Christ. The other apostles also had experiences with Christ, both in the natural before he was crucified and raised and after His resurrection. Why did Paul’s influence surpass them all? Well, he says it was the grace of God working through him. But could it also be because he was well studied and well learned? Because of his education, Paul was able to articulate the Gospel for the culture in ways that Peter and others couldn’t.
In the church today, there seems to be two schools of thought, with a chasm between them. There are those who believe in studying and learning. Going back to seminary and getting an education is what qualifies you to minister – according to them. But often, these studied leaders undermine the power of the Holy Spirit. Then there are those who on being called by God gave up, or give up everything and jump into the work. They insist on only being led by the Spirit and look with suspicion on those who want to go back to school to study.
But in Paul, we have an example of a leader who is both led by the Spirit and at the same time values continuous learning and study. Remember, by this time Paul is an old man. He has been around the block a few times. He could say, “I already know that” – the most dangerous phrase for a learner or leader. But he is still learning and studying even in his old age. He writes to Timothy his protege and instructs him the same way:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV 2 Timothy 2:15
I thank God that my friend Alex is this kind of man. Even with his doctorate, he is still on fire for God. In fact the first thing he did once he had settled down after his return from the graduation was go for a prayer retreat! CONGRATULATIONS DR ALEX MUTAGUBYA!
Now, where is my transcript!?