Acts 20 emphasizes the total dedication of Paul to complete the mission Jesus gave him. He declares to the Ephesian elders who had joined him at Miletus that he has “gone about proclaiming the kingdom … therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves …” (verses 26-28).

The whole counsel of God has its climax in the prospect of His kingdom coming and His will being “done on earth”. This has to be the central theme those who follow Christ hold and teach. It is tragic that Paul knew and told them that “from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away disciples after them” (verse 30). And so it happened. This is a major reason why we need to absorb into our minds some portion of God’s word every day – we ourselves must keep a firm hold on “the whole counsel of God”.

The Song of Solomon is a rather challenging example of this: it is understood as an allegorical story, a parable. It is about a bride waiting for her bridegroom and having difficulty in keeping sight of him. He is Christ, and true believers are his spiritual bride. The bride is anxiously waiting for the bridegroom, “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found no answer …” (5:6). There are some who ask the waiting bride, “What is your beloved more than another beloved O most beautiful among women?” (verse 9). The true believer should aim to develop spiritual beauty and see her bridegroom as the one and only prospective husband. She answers, “he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend” (verse 16). Tomorrow’s chapter describes their meeting. “Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields … to the vineyards … There I will give you my love” (verse 11,12) – an allegorical picture of the joys of the kingdom.

True believers who live by “the whole counsel of God” see their Saviour and hope of salvation in this perspective.