Showing posts from March, 2015

Protective Custody in the Middle East

We took a week off for Spring Break here, and our Bible study continues tomorrow with (Roman citizen) Paul held in protective custody by the Roman authorities, as civilian life continues to devolve into chaos and war. Do you ever get the feeling, nothing changes? (22) Citizen Jailed Paul is a Roman citizen. He’s effectively being held in protective custody by the Roman authorities, as Jerusalem devolves into violence. The world of that time wasn’t really so different from the world of today. A Violent Conspiracy 1.        Read Acts 23:12-13 . Do you suppose the oath-takers thought they were doing God’s will? Do we see people claiming to be following God’s will when they act without God’s guidance today? What do you think they believe? 2.        Read Acts 23:14-15 . What should have been the chief priest’s and elders’ first response? What should be our first response when we’re asked to do something that maybe doesn’t sound right? 3.        Read Acts 23:16-18 . How do

Paul's lasts

Paul's approaching the end of his third missionary journey in this week's study, and it's a chapter of "lasts" as friends and parishioners tell him he's walking into danger, which perhaps invites the question: How can we ever know we're doing the right thing? (21) A Chapter of “Last”s Paul is heading back to Jerusalem with a gift for the churches and a longing to go to Rome. He must have spent nearly a year wandering through Asia and Greece – he left Ephesus after Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8-9) and now he’s hurrying to reach Jerusalem before the next Pentecost (Acts 20:16) . Three months of that period was probably spent in Corinth, followed by a slow trek north toward Philippi with trouble all the way (Acts 21:3) . The team crosses to Troas (Troy) and works their way South toward Ephesus, but Paul’s in a hurry and doesn’t want to stop there. Last Words to the Ephesians 1.        Read Acts 20:17. Remembering the troubles Paul seems to have ha

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

I tried looking at some maps of Paul's third missionary journey, and they were all different. I guess no-one's quite sure what route he took, and everyone uses different bits of Acts or the Epistles to figure it out. So I picked the one that made most sense to me and used it in this week's study. I'll use it when I write the children's stories too, and my fingers are beginning to itch with ideas... (20) A Collection for the Churches Paul’s third missionary journey started with a prolonged stay (up to three years) in Ephesus, just across the straits from Corinth. He left Ephesus with the intention of carrying the gospel to the center of the known universe – to Rome. But first he planned to revisit old mission fields collecting aid for Jerusalem, where Christians were suffering now from famine, terrorism and war. While no one is quite sure what route he took, it’s likely the journey started with a brief trip to Corinth Trouble in Corinth 1.        Paul send

More Teachers Take Up The Task

There are lots of other characters in Acts, even once it starts chronicling Paul's journeys, so a little digression to look at Priscilla and Aquila might be a good place to start the next study... (19) Moving On To Ephesus When Paul left Greece, he sailed with Priscilla and Aquila to Ephesus, on his way to Jerusalem for the feast. On the way, he had his hair cut off and presumably took a vow which he would fulfil at the feast. Then he returned to Antioch (Acts 18:22-23). Paul didn’t stay in Ephesus because of his vow. But Priscilla and Aquila did. So today’s study starts with them. Who gets to teach? 1.        Who were Priscilla and Acquila, and why might they have stayed in Ephesus? (Read Acts 18:1-3,18-21) 2.        Read Acts 18:24-25. Who was Apollos? Where might he have heard of Jesus from? 3.        How can tentmakers argue with scholars? And how can scholars learn from tentmakers? (Read Acts 18:26-28) Does Apollos’ willingness to learn, and then teach what