Ovid, who lived around the time of Christ, records an ancient Greek myth called “Baucis and Philemon” in the eighth book of his famous Metamorphoses. Baucis and Philemon are husband and wife, and unknowingly entertain the gods Zeus and Hermes; when they realize the identity of their guests (after the performance of a miracle), they beg indulgence for being unable to provide better for their gods. Zeus and Hermes punished the people who had not welcomed them with hospitality with a flood and reward husband and wife for being hospitable, unlike their neighbors. Their hospitality was considered an example in the ancient Greek and Roman world.
The desire of reward and determination to avoid further judgment explain why, in Acts 14:8-20, the people respond in bold gratitude after a lame man regained the ability to walk, greeting Paul and Barnabas so enthusiastically. Since Hermes was regarded as speaker for the gods in Greek mythology, this further cemented the “identity” of both Barnabas and Paul as Zeus and Hermes, respectively. Paul and Barnabas hastily correct their boldness.
Yet we as believers are to have the same boldness in Christ. We are not to be like Moses, who kept his boldness in revealing the glory of God in check for the sake of his brothers. Paul argues: “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we behave with great boldness, and not like Moses who used to put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from staring at the result of the glory that was made ineffective” (2 Corinthians 3:12-13).
How can we best practice boldness? A good way to start is with our prayers. We should be bold in our prayers—being bold about praying for boldness. This is exactly the opposite of “being patient about praying for patience”. This practice is known in more critical circles as putting off praying expressly for patience to exhibit your clearly-already-established Godly patience by being willing to wait for better timing on praying for patience). Next we will look on how we can better pray with boldness, in order that we may be an example of Godly boldness before our children and the children we serve.