For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – I Corinthians 1:18
Scripture reading: I Corinthians 1:18-31
The 19th century is known as the Great Century of Missions. My family was impacted by the Presbyterian missionaries from Britain and the USA when they began their work around Antioch, Syria. My father was the grandson of the local Orthodox priest in Seleucia. Thanks to the presence and teaching of the missionaries, he converted to Protestantism. After serving in the Ottoman Army during WWI, he was tutored by the missionaries and served as pastor in two cities of the area.
Growing up in a Protestant home, I became aware of the ways the early missionaries accomplished their work. My father’s library was lined with Bible Commentaries, books on Systematic Theology and Church History. All had been translated into Arabic by the pioneer missionaries whose greatest accomplishment and gift to us was the translation of the Bible into Arabic, our native language. To this day, this translation is known as the “Smith-Van Dyck” version of 1860!
National pastors were equipped to proclaim the “Word of the Cross.” Notwithstanding the obstacles they encountered in their work, their message brought men and women to a saving faith in the Lord, as it was accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. The phrase, “the word of the Cross” summarized the essence of Christianity as a faith based on the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, by His death on the Cross, His victory over death, His Resurrection and Ascension into glory, seated at the right hand of God to make intercession for His own.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the Lord to grant His messengers steadfastness in their proclamation of the Word of the Cross.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”