Archive for December, 2006

Acts 19:21-34 – January 7, 2007

THE GOSPEL CHALLENGES THE ECONOMY (PART 1) (verses 21-34)

CHALLENGE: We know that Paul spent three years at Ephesus. We get a glimpse of the things Paul talked about in the book of Ephesians. Why do you think Paul wrote Ephesians 3:14-21 to them?
Paul was telling the Ephesians that they no longer have to go through a priest to get to God and that power does not come from the occultists but that all people can go directly to God through Jesus Christ.

Q1) What does it mean in verse 21, “Paul purposed in his spirit?”

Clues)    What did Paul do when he wanted to go to Asia and the Holy Spirit told him not to?

Discussion)    Paul purposed to go along with what the Holy Spirit told him to do.  He determined in his heart that he would do what God wanted him to do no matter what man would do to him.

Q2) What did Demetrius love more – the goddess Diana, or money, and why?

Clues)    What are the reasons behind what Demetrius started to do.

Discussion)    The temple to Diana was one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.  Obviously this attracted much wealth to the area.  The silversmiths and coppersmiths were the ones that was fueling this religion in the mandates that everyone who worshipped at this temple would have to have an idol in their household.  Therefore the love that Demetrius had was fueled by money.

Q3) Gaius and Aristarchus were seized in verse 29. Why wasn’t Paul?

Clues)    Paul was there but was not seized.

Discussion)    It was not time for Paul to be seized.  Remember that there was much commotion that was going on at this time.  The disciples were afraid for Paul but the Lord allowed him not to be seized at this time.

Q4) How is Demetrius like the masters of the slave girl in Acts 16:16-24?

Clues)    What was the love of both of these people?

Discussion)    That they both loved the profit that they were benefitting from.  Also, they told the heads of the cities not the truth about Paul, but that Paul was about to crumble their economy.  Much like people now, people back then had their hearts in their pocketbooks.

Q5) What is laughable yet sad about verse 32?

Clues)    Really read verse 32 and think about it.

Discussion)    Many in the assembly that was amassed by Demetrius were confused and they did not know why they were there.  They saw a crowd and they went along with the crowd.  Many people are like this today.  They have no idea what they are doing or why they go along with something.

Q6) Verse 33 talks about Alexander. Many commentaries claim that this is the same Alexander that is talked about in I Timothy 1:20 and II Timothy 4:14. Is this the same Alexander? Why or why not?

Clues)    This is a tough question.

Discussion)    The Alexander in I Timothy sounds like he was shipwrecked with Paul.  That happened after Ephesus.  The Alexander in II Timothy is a coppersmith who was with Demetrius, so this was probably the same Alexander.  Though we may not know the answer this was an exercise done to show how commentaries are not the final authority and that we need to ask God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom when studying the Bible.

CHALLENGE: In light of these verses that happen in Ephesus, read Ephesians 4:25-32. What is Paul saying to us now?

We did not get to the challenge so it will be the very first thing we cover next week.

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December 31, 2006 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Acts 19:8-20 – December 31, 2006

LECTURES IN THE SYNAGOGUE AND THE SHOOL OF TYRANNUS (verses 8-10) and OCCULTISTS ARE CONVERTED (verses 11-20)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) How are verses 8 and 9 like Acts 18:6, and how are they different?

Clues) We are looking at how the Jews in the synagogue treated Paul.

Discussion) In chapter 18 the Jews went to the point of blaspheming, whereas in chapter 19 the Jews started to speak evil about what Jesus did. It was brought up that Paul could have been sick and tired by this point of dealing with the unbelieving Jews and wanted to go to the Genitles who were searching for God. It was also brought up that it is very likely that Paul knew the point that people would start blspheming Jesus and he stopped dealing with the Jews here at Ephesus before they got to that point. That is showing love on the part of Paul.

Q2) What is exciting about verse 10?

Clues) Think about what happened during the second missionary journey of Paul.

Discussion) First, because Paul was teaching and reasoning daily at the school of Tyrannus, this became like a ghetto blaster, for lack of a better analogy. All of the teaching and signs and wonders that were done at this school for two years started to resonate with those that dwelt in Asia about who Jesus is and what He did on the cross for each person. Remember in Acts 16:6-9, Paul tried twice to go into Asia, but the Holy Spirit did not allow him to do that but directed him westward. Here is a fulfillment of Paul’s desire to go into Asia. What he wanted to do was being fulfilled in Acts 19:10, though he physically did not go into Asia, what was being accomplished for Jesus was like a ghetto blaster in that it was amplifying Jesus to the point that no one could ignore Him any longer. Verse 10 is very exciting for Paul though it is easily overlooked.

Q3) Can verse 12 happen today?

Clues) Do we see this happening?

Discussion) Yes it can happen today, though very few Christians expect this type of thing to happen today. As we get closer to the end days and the Lord pours His Spirit on all people we will see this as a daily occurrence.

Q4) Compare and contrast what Peter did in Acts 16:18 and what the Jewish exorcists did in Acts 19:13?

Clues) This is the trick question. It is Paul and not Peter.

Discussion) Paul had a relationship with Jesus where the Jewish exorcists did not have a relationship with Jesus but were trying to use the name of Jesus to their advantage. Paul not only had a personal relationship with Jesus but he sought out the Lord in times of worship and study. He wanted to know Jesus more and more. Most Christians today stop at a relationship with Jesus but Jesus wants so much more from us. He wants a relationship that is devoted to Him.  In this type of relationship the Lord will open up mysteries and secret places in Him that the “typical” Christian will never understand or comprehend.

Q5) In verse 17, why did fear fall on all the people?

Clues) This is a fear that turns to Jesus.

Discussion) The Jewish exorcists more than likely were using magic as an illusion for profit and did not believe that there were demons. When a demon manifested and then told the exorcists that he knows Jesus and he knows Paul, but that he doesn’t know them, this caused extreme aggitation on the part of the demons. Remember that it says in the Bible that at the mention of the name of Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. This was like stepping into a hornets nest for the exorcists. They did not know what they were doing when the pronounced the name of Jesus, they thought they were going to have the power that Paul had. When the name of Jesus was mentioned, the demons had to obey, but the exorcists were not proclaiming the name of Jesus to further the kingdom of God. So legally the demons had every right to batter and rip the clothes off of the exorcists. When this happened the people of Ephesus saw the exorcists running down the streets in a state of fear with no clothes on and badly beaten. This caused fear to the Ephesians but was an opening for Paul and those that were at the school of Tyrannus to tell them about what Jesus had done and the power that Jesus has over the demonic realm which further magnifies Jesus Christ.

Q6) Compare and contrast what happened in verse 19 to modern day book burnings that we hear about.

Clues) What is in the heart.

Discussion) This was not censorship but it was a time of repentance and giving up something that was vaulable for following Jesus. Instead of making money from the selling or trading of these items, the people decided to burn them so that no one else would be enslaved by these items of magic.

CHALLENGE: We know that Paul spent three years at Ephesus. We get a glimpse of the things Paul talked about in the book of Ephesians. Why do you think Paul wrote Ephesians 3:14-21 to them?

We did not have time to get into this challenge so it will be the first thing we get into on January 7th, 2007.

December 24, 2006 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Acts 18:25-19:7 – December 24, 2006

APOLLOS IS MENTORED IN THE FAITH (verse 25-28) and PAUL ARRIVES AT EPHESUS (verse 1-7)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 25, we see that Apollos was instructed in the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. What does this mean?

Clues) This is about the baptism of John the Baptist.

Discussion) Apollos knew the Scriptures up to the point of the baptism of John the Baptist (water baptism) but he did not hear about what Jesus did on the cross and how He came back from the dead. This blows apart the fallacy that everyone in this region had heard about what happened to Jesus. Apollos was a highly regarded figure and had many times crossed through Israel but had never heard about Jesus nor the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Q2) How can we be fervent in the spirit, right now, today?

Clues) What does fervent mean?

Discussion) We can be fervent by having a passion for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and letting it flow forth from our heart and soul like a river. Fervent is zeal and passion expressed in people’s lives.

Q3) What did Aquila and Paul do in verse 26, and why is this important?

Clues) This is a trick question, it was Aquila and Priscilla.

Discussion) They took Apollos aside and told him about what Jesus did on the cross and how He was raised from the dead. They did not quench the fire that Apollos had, but added to the fire and as you see in the last verses of the chapter he was more zealous for God than before.

Q4) Apollos was extremely important in Corinth, to the point where he had disciples (read I Corinthians 3:4-6). When Paul met these disciples in Acts 19:1-7, did he belittle Apollos to these disciples?

Clues) Do leaders of opposing denominations do this today?

Discussion) Apollos had just left Ephesus for Corinth and Paul had just arrived in Ephesus. Instead of belittling Apollos to his disciples or telling them to follow him instead of Apollos since Apollos did not know about Jesus, he told them about Jesus. This is something that leaders of all churches need to get. It is not about who we can get into our churches, but it is how effectively we can point others towards Jesus and what He did for each of us. Paul could have seen Apollos as a threat (remember that Paul had no disciples, but Apollos had 12 disciples) but he did not. Paul knew who he was in Christ and therefore when a new leader was emerging, he wanted to give the followers of the new leader tools to effectively witness and have a closer relationship with God.

Q5) What is the baptism of John, found in verse 25? (Read Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, Acts 11:15, and Acts 19:1-5)

Clues) This is of John the Baptist.

Discussion) This is the baptism by water that signifies as an act that you completely agree with the death, burial, and ressurrection of Jesus. This is not for salvation, if it was, then the thief that hung on the cross next to Jesus would not be in paradise like Jesus said he would be. This is an act of obedience, just like in the Old Testament it was an act of obedience to have to go to the priest witha specific type of animal to have it sacrificed for the sins that you had committed.

Q6) Do you agree or disagree that there is another baptism after the baptism of repentance (salvation) and water baptism?

Clues) Verses 5 through 7 talk about these baptisms.

Discussion) Yes there is the baptism of repentance which is salvation, water baptism which is the first thing that all new believers are commanded to do, and then baptism of the Holy Spirit which is the empowering of the believer to do the things that Jesus was able to do here on earth. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the final thing for the believer to want, instead it is the start of a new journey where you can then start operating within the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit you have not attained some special level, but the Lord has seen fit for you to start doing a service for Him.

CHALLENGE: Acts 18:24 mentions that Apollos was born in Alexandria, Egypt. What translation of the Old Testament did Alexandria give to the world in the second century B.C.?

This is the Septuagint. This is the Old Testament that was translated into the common Greek tongue. Alexandria, Egypt, was a thriving metropolis that had over 70 different nationalities that lived there. The Jews were one of the nationalities but they lost their effective talking in Hebrew, since most of them talked in the common Greek tongue for commerce. In the second century B.C., the Alexandrian Jews had 70 different scribes come from Israel and translate the Old Testament into the Greek tongue. These 70 scribes did this at different times and separate from all the others. These translations ended up being the same and this then became the first translation out of Hebrew of the Old Testament. Apollos learned the Scriptures from this translation and not the scrolls found in Israel. This is where Alexandria starts to become a force for the new found church along with the northern part of the Mediterranian countries.

December 18, 2006 at 1:18 am Leave a comment

Acts 18:12-23 – December 17, 2006

JEWISH LEADERS OPPOSE THE GOSPEL (verses 12-17) and PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH (verses 18-23)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) Who is Gallio in verse 12?

Clues) Think about when Jesus was put before Pontius Pilate.

Discussion) Gallio was the proconsul at Achaia. This means that he was the governor and in the old Roman culture he administered the law in cases that could not be settled out of court. If the Jewish people could not settle a case, they then brought the case before the proconsul of the region.

It was pointed out that in verse 14, Paul is ready to speak on his own behalf, but Gallio speaks and says that he wants no part of this trial, since Paul did not break a law. It was mentioned that the Lord will intercede on our behalf, when He deems fit and necessary, so that we need not say a word. We see that Sosthenes is beat in verse 17, but Gallio would not help him. Similarly, Pontius Pilate wanted nothing to do with the the trial of Jesus, but Pilate caved in under pressure.

Q2) Who is Sosthenes in verse 17?

Clues) Read I Corinthians 1:1 – this is a tough question. It may not be apparent at first.

Discussion) Sosthenes was the ruler of the synagogue (therefore a high ranking Jew) who was against Paul in the trial. He was beat in verse 17 since he could not get Gallio convinced that Paul was doing wrong. In I Corinthians 1:1, Paul mentions Sosthenes. Though we do not know if it is the same person as here in Acts, if it is, there is an amazing love that is shown by Paul and the Corinthians towards the prosecuting attorney against Paul. Though Sosthenes was trying to prosecute Paul to have him thrown in prison or beat, later he is told about Jesus and turns to him, since Paul calls him a brother in I Corinthians. AMAZING the type of love that is shown.

Q3) Why did Peter have his head shaved in verse 18? If it was a vow, explain it.

Clues) This was the trick question. It was Paul that had his head shaved and not Peter.

Discussion) This is a living proof that Paul not only talked the talk but walked the walk of Christianity. He states that we should be a Jew to the Jew and a Greek to the Greek. While he was on this second missionary trip he let his hair grow long so he would be recognized by the Greeks as one of them. When he sailed for Syria, he was wanting to go back to Jerusalem, so he shaved his head and took the Nazarite vow, thereby showing that he was going to be a Jew to the Jews. This is part of meeting people where they are at, which is what Jesus did and does to each one of us.

Q4) Why did Paul go to the synagogue in Ephesus, in verse 19, after what he said in verse 6? Isn’t this contradictory?

Clues) Look very carefully at verse 6.

Discussion) Paul was talking to the Corinthian Jews in verse 6 and not all Jews. The Corinthian Jews blaphemed and Paul wanted no part of that. When he arrived at Ephesus, he headed straight to the synagogue, which was his normal mode of operation when going somewhere for the first time.

Q5) In verse 21, why does Paul say he will return again if God will (FYI – deo volente – Latin – God willing)?

Clues) Think back about all of the things that Paul has gone through.

Dicussion) This is the first time that the Bible states Paul had ever stated this. Paul might have been showing his human side here that he knew he would be imprisoned again or beat again for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, he is in total reliance on the Holy Spirit and therefore showing that if the Holy Spirit allows him to come back to Ephesus that he will.

We mentioned here that in I Corinthians, Paul mentions not to go after him or Apollos or John. That might have been written in direct correlation of the people here begging him to stay at Ephesus. In I Corinthians, Paul encourages and exhorts the Christian to have a deeper relationship with Jesus and not follow a man.

Q6) Why do you suppose Paul went all over Phrygia and Galatia strengthening the disciples?

Clues) We talked about this earlier. What did he always do the first time in a city then later on.

Discussion) Whenever Paul first visited a city or a region it was for evangelizing purposes and to start a church. The next time(s) that he visited that city or region it was to strengthen those in the church and have them go through discipleship. Paul figured that after the first time, it was the duty of the new convert in that city to tell others about Jesus.

CHALLENGE: Read II Thessalonians, which Paul wrote in Corinth while he was there for 18 months (in verse 11). What questions did those in Thessalonica have for Paul after reading his first letter?

Discussion) The questions that the Thessalonians had for Paul where: 1) what to do in times of persecution, 2) discerning the times and the end times, 3) encouragment, and 4) praying for others. He also wrapped up that not only are we to anxiously await the appearing of Jesus, but that every believer has work and some ministry to do.

What places did Paul go on his second journey and his third journey? (The second journey ends part way through verse 23 and the third journey starts in the center of verse 23)?pauls-second-journey.gif

Verse 19 – Cenchrea – number 19 on map (second journey)

Verse 20 – Ephesus – number 20 on map (second journey)

Verse 22 – Caesarea – number 21 on map (second journey)

Verse 22 – Antioch – number 22 on map (second journey)

pauls-third-journey.gif

Verse 23 – Antioch – number 1 on map (third journey)

Verse 23 – Galatia – number 2 on map (third journey)

Verse 23 – Phrygia – number 3 on map (third journey)

December 18, 2006 at 1:05 am 1 comment

Acts 18:1-11 – December 10, 2006

PARTNERSHIP WITH PRISCILLA AND AQUILA (verse 1-4) and A SYNAGOGUE RULER BELIEVES (verses 5-11)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 3, Paul applies his trade as a smithie. Some commentators say he did this because he suffered defeat at Athens. Do you agree or disagree?

Clues) This was the trick question. Paul was a tentmaker and not a smithie.

Discussion) This was a very good discussion. There are commentators that state since very few people came to know Jesus as their Savior in Athens that this became the proverbial “straw that broke the camels back” to Paul and that he needed a sabbatical from traveling and that is why he spent 18 months in Corinth (verse 11). In this class we are not out to prove or disprove anything. We are seeking what the Lord truly says in His word. We notice that in verse 4 that he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. This is the same thing he did in every city in which he stopped at the synagogues, so in that light he was not taking a sabbatical time off.

Q2) In verse 3, the Bible says Paul’s craft was tent making. Why did he need a craft? Why didn’t he just live off of church offerings or have his hosts pay his way?

Clues) Read I Corinthians 9:15-18

Discussion) Paul’s mission was to start new churches in different cities then to set the five-fold ministry up at each church. Whenever you start something new, you do not want to bleed the ministry or fleece the flock. He did not want anyone to say that he abused his power and his authority by having these new churches support him. He was more interested in bringing people into the kingdom and then having the new converst start the road of discipleship then to receive money.

One thing needs to be noted here. This is not a verse that is to come against salaried pastors and other salaried people in local churches that are already established. Instead this is an example of seeing the work of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit spread without it being tied to payments of humans.

Q3) What does it mean in verse 6 where it states, “they blasphemed the Gospel, Paul shook his raiment and stated I am clean?”

Clues) Think back of all the times that Paul went to each synagogue of the city and what the Jews did to him.

Discussion) Almost every city that Paul went into where he went into the synagogue and told all people about Jesus, he was somehow persecuted. We know that Paul was human and that in the back of his mind he knew that persecution was going to come. Here at Corinth, the Jewish people did something else. They said blasphemies against God. Paul wanted no part of this and stated that he was clean, or in other words that he had no part of this blasphemy. He also states that from now on he will only go to the Gentiles (a key note for next week’s lesson).

Q4) What do we know about Justus?

Clues) What does the Bible state about him.

Discussion) One thing we discussed is that whenever the Bible mentions someone by name (for just a couple of verses) in the New Testament when they are of great help to the Lord or to those serving the Lord, it is because the people are hungry for more of God and are obedient to what God tells them to do. Here Justus lives right next to the synagogue. One thing about the synagogue in each city is that the synagogue was never put into a portion of the city that was run down or what we would consider “on the wrong side of the tracks.” The synagogue was always put in the main thoroughfare of the city and usually was in the best and richest parts of the city. So we can gather that Justus was a person of great wealth who was a devout Jew, but converted to Christianity as soon as he heard about Jesus.

We also noted that Crispus who was the ruler of the synagogue believed on the Lord Jesus. If you will notice in verse 8 that many of the Corinthians believed on the Lord and were baptized. This refutes the claims that commentators have that Paul was on a Sabbatical.

Q5) Why did the Lord appear to Paul in verse 9?

Clues) Let’s remember everything that Paul had been through up to this point.

Discussion) Paul had previously been stoned and left for dead, persecuted, run out of cities, beaten then thrown in prison, and many other things. Here we see some great victories for the Lord in Corinth, but also we see some blapheming the name of God. After a while, the body grows frail (remember by now Paul had been going for at least 17 years) and the devil will try to play tricks with a person’s mind. The Lord in His grace and mercy told Paul not to keep silent but that He is with him. No one will attack or hurt him and that He has many in the city. There was some discussion on that the Lord has many in the city that it could be new converst and also those seeking the Lord and that they will find Him through Paul.

Q6) In vese 11, Paul was at Corinth for 18 months. What did he do there and why?

Clues) It was partially told by the Lord in verses 9 and 10.

Discussion) There were many there who needed to know about Jesus. This would be a time of not only evangelism but also deep discipleship of the Corinthians. Also, this is the time where Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians. Remember that Timothy remained in Thessalonica after Paul left. When Paul was at Corinth, Timothy came over to him to give him a good report about what was happening at the church at Thessalonica. Paul was extremely pleased and wrote down some further instructions in the form of discipleship in a letter (I Thessalonians) that was delivered by Timothy. Timothy relayed the letter to the church at Thessalonica and they were happy about the letter and further instructions. They then had a few more questions, which was relayed in a letter given to Timothy back to Paul. Paul wrote further instructions in the form of II Thessalonians and Timothy delivered that letter.

Paul travels one place in this study. Where is it on the map:pauls-second-journey.gif

Verse 1 – Corinth – number 18 on the map.

We discussed a little bit about last week’s challenge. One repsonse was that Paul wrote Galatians while in prison in Rome during Acts 28. No one else commented so the challenge is to read Galatians chapter 2 and find out when you feel that Paul wrote Galatians.

December 10, 2006 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Acts 17:22-34 – December 3, 2006

DISTRESS AND DEBATE AT ATHENS – PART 2 (verses 22-34)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 23, Paul states that those in Philippi worshipped God without knowing it. How can this be?

Clues) This is the trick question of the study. Paul stated this about those in Athens.

Discussion) It was mentioned that this is the unknown god that those in Athens had a monument to. To the Athenians, this was to cover themselves in case they missed worshipping any gods accidentally. To Paul, this was Jehovah God, the one and only God that they were worshipping. Paul then proceeds to tell the Athenians who God is and who Jesus is. We noted here that some try to twist this verse to make it sound like the worship of Jesus is just like the worship of Buddha and others. That is not what Paul is saying here. What Paul is saying is that the unknown God that the Athenians had was actually the God of the universe.

Q2) Why did Paul emphasize that God made the world and everything in it?

Clues) We need to focus on where the Athenians were at and what they believed in at the time.

Discussion) The Athenians (and the Greeks for that matter) believed in the Greek mythology that there were multiple gods who created the universe, world, and everything in it. Paul met the people where they are at (like Jesus meets each one of us right where we are at). Paul shows the Athenians that Jehovah God of the Old Testament is the one and only God that created the universe, world, and everything in it.

Q3) Verse 27 sticks out as a peculiar verse. Why did Paul say this?

Clues) We must give attention of how the Athenians worshipped their gods.

Discussion) The Athenians were groping around always seeking their gods. If their gods did not answer their worship (which was all the time since they are false gods), they then created performance steps or penance that they must go through in order to reach their gods. At the end of verse 27, Paul mentions that Jehovah God is not far from each person alive. This means that whenever you call upon God and the name of Jesus that He is there, and He will be there no matter who you are or what your social, racial, or economical status is.

Q4) In verse 28, Paul mentions poets and in verse 29, he mentions gold, silver, stone, and art. He has never mentioned any of these things before when telling others about Jesus. Why does he mention these things here?

Clues) Again, Paul is meeting the Athenians exactly where they are at.

Discussion) These are all things that the Greeks held in high regard and were most influential in their thinking in the society. We must remember that the Greeks were not the type of society that the Romans were who ruled with an iron fist. The Greeks ruled with philosophical ideas and the written word. Poetry and art were of utmost importance. Here is one thing we must get a hold of. In verse 28 it states, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.'” Paul must have learned and known some poetry in order for him to state this line from a poem. This shows us that Paul was willing to learn about the culture of the places that he went to in order to meet the people where they are at. He did not have a one size fits all program that he performed when talking to others about Jesus. In the same way Jesus meets us where we are at.

Q5) The people listen undisturbed to Paul for a time. When did they get riled up and begin mocking him?

Clues) This is where Jesus says that He is a stumbling block to many.

Discussion) They become riled up in verse 32 after Paul states in verse 31 that Jesus was raised from the dead. The Athenians agreed with everything that Paul stated up until this point. Their gods were gods of convenience, and Paul here states a plain, hard fact that Jesus was raised from the dead which is inconvenient to many. This is what many people stumble upon today is what Jesus did for them in complete love.

Q6) What is significant about Dionysius and Damaris in verse 34?

Clues) #1) Notice what is after Dionysius’ name. #2) In what context were women considered by the Greeks?

Discussion) First of all we need to understand what we talked about a few studies ago. Whenever the New Testament calls someone by their name and they are only in a couple of verses, it is pointing out obedience to the Holy Spirit and boldness among their countrymen to talk to them about Jesus and to follow Jesus amidst persecution.

Verse 34 calls him Dionysius the Areopagite. This means that he was high up in the rule and philosophical ranks of the Athenians. He was keeper of the Areopagus. This would be like calling him mayor or governor. He had mighty influence over many people.

Damarais is a different story since there are very few clues given about her. Women were considered higher than slaves and were not allowed to be part of any philosophical discussions with the men. There are several different views about who Damarias was and where she came from. One view holds that she was an influential daughter of one of the lead philosophers. Another view holds that she was a foreigner and that she was educated due to her being a foreigner. Another view says that she was somehow related or married to Dionysius and therefore held influence over others as Dionysius did. One last view, which is intriguing is that she was a hetairai. That is a woman that was a mistress of a high philosopher, not for fornication or adultery purposes, but that to talk about philosophies when he went out of the Athenian area. Whatever her past was, she gave it all up to follow Jesus and became obedient unto Him.

Here we see that Paul is meeting the Athenians exactly where they were at. He did not spend years studying their culture or way of thinking. Also, he did not discount what they currently believed in. Instead he took them from what they currently believed in and pointed them towards Jesus.

CAHLLENGE: Some people believe Paul wrote Galatians during the council in Acts 15. Some believe he wrote it while he was on his third missionary journey in Acts 20. Still others believe he wrote it while he was in prison in Acts 28. Read Galatians and determine when you think he wrote it.

Not many people accepted this challenge from last week, so we postponed it until next week.

As we study next week (Acts 18:1-11) we see that some commentators state that the reason Paul stayed at Corinth for 18 months was for the lack of people at Athens that wanted to follow Jesus. In other words that this was the proverbial “straw that broke the camels back” and that Paul needed a sabbatical. As you do the questions for next week, do you see that this being validated in Scripture?

Paul did not go anywhere in this portion of text, so there is no map.

December 4, 2006 at 12:04 am Leave a comment


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