Acts 4:31 – At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.
This was apparently a major characteristic and a sign to the world in those early days of the church. Outspoken boldness- that is the only way to describe these men and women who were once timid but were now roaring like lions with the message of the gospel. The change could not be missed. Peter was the first example of this amazing transformation. Everyone knows about the shame Peter felt after denying the Lord three times, especially to a servant girl. Peter, when left to his own resources, had no courage and was ashamed to speak up for Christ. After the cross, resurrection, and Pentecost that suddenly changed. Peter was now fearless as he boldly preached Christ even when facing arrest and death. It was probably the testimony of Peter and the other disciples that opened Jerusalem to the gospel. Here is how the notes in the Passion describe this moment.
“The Greek word is parresia. This involves more than confidence; it was a free-flowing, unrestrained boldness. It can also mean “freedom of speech.” Parresia carries nuances that are not easily brought over into English. The person who speaks with parresia will say everything that is on his mind with no restraint, flowing out of his heart with confidence. It involves being frank and honest, hiding nothing and speaking directly to the heart. Most often it is a word used for public speaking. It refers to speech that is not tailored to make everyone happy but to speak the truth, in spite of what that may cost. It is the courage to speak truth into the ears of others. This was reserved for only the highest rank of Greek citizens, not people of other lands or slaves.”
This new boldness in the young church was supernatural. None of these early Christians were trained professional ministers or speakers. Their words carried weight because they flowed from the experience they had with the power of the Spirit. They were literally putting their lives on the line with their words.
How can you or I get this kind of boldness today? This type of boldness is not a personal character trait that needs to be developed. This outspoken boldness is a supernatural work of the Spirit. It comes from an encounter with Jesus, an encounter that is so profound that your only recourse is to open your mouth and let the Holy Spirit speak through you.