Showing posts from April, 2015

Letters to a slowly changing world

Last week we left Paul in Rome, spending two years teaching and preaching while under house arrest. This week's study looks at what he and Peter may have been writing at the time. Next week we'll move to "Acts 29" or Paul's fourth missionary journey, then to "Acts 30" and the world after Paul. I hope you're enjoying the journey as much as I am. Once we've finished the studies I promise I'll start writing the children's stories! (25) Letters from Peter and Paul Paul is imprisoned in Rome around AD60-62. The emperor Nero won’t seriously persecute Christians until AD64 after the fire. In Jerusalem things aren’t good, but they’ll get worse in AD66 when the Roman procurator Florus removes Temple treasures. Nero dies in AD68 and is followed by Vespasian. Jerusalem, including its Temple, will be razed in AD70. Some authors suggest Paul dies in AD62 at the end of his imprisonment but others claim he was released ( Philemon 1:22 ) and continu

Paul Finally Makes it to Rome

We left Paul on the island of Malta last week, still on his way to Rome. This week we look at the next two years of his life. We also reach the end of Acts, but our Coffee Break group has kindly said I can continue to the end of the Bible instead of stopping here, so look out for some lightning tours of the remaining Epistles in the next few weeks. (24) An Interesting Imprisonment Paul winters on Malta after a somewhat stressful journey. When the sailing season restarts he will travel to Rome, and follow whatever path God has planned for him there. How do you suppose he feels as he steps ashore? Handling Snakes 1.        Read Acts 28:1-2. Some translations say “islanders;” others say “natives.” What is happening as Paul comes ashore? 2.        Read Acts 28:3. What makes this sound like an eye-witness account? 3.        Read Acts 28:4 . Why would they think this? (A Phoenician belief was that someone guilty of murder who escaped death would be forced to face death aga

The Trials of Paul

We're getting close to the end of Acts, and Paul's getting close to Rome. I'm hoping our Coffee Break group will be open to continuing the story through the Epistles. Anyway, here's this week's study: (23) The Trials of Paul Paul has been held in Caesarea for two years now, first by Felix, then by Festus; and he has finally appealed to Caesar. At some point the Romans will have to send him to Rome to resolve his case. Trial before Agrippa and Festus 1.        Read Acts 25:13-15. This takes place just after Paul’s appeal. Why might Festus discuss the case with Agrippa? (Agrippa II was the last Roman/Jewish king in Palestine. He was a descendant of Herod the Great and is recorded as being very pro-Rome. Bernice was his sister; there were various rumors about Agrippa’s relationship with her.) 2.        Read Acts 25:16-17. What does the way Felix addresses the problem tell us about his relationship with Agrippa? 3.        Read Acts 25:18-21. What par