We pick up Paul again as he’s leaving Antioch to travel to Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen the disciples on what would become his third missionary journey. During this time a Jew named Apollos from Alexandria came to Ephesus. He had a vast knowledge of the Scriptures and had been instructed in the way of the Lord. He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus Christ accurately in the synagogues. Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak and invited him to their home where they explained God more adequately.
Apollos was encouraged by the brothers to spread the News to Achaia and he helped those who believed. He vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving Jesus was the Christ using Scriptures.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 2: Acts 18:23-28
3) Paul left Antioch and went throughout the regions of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples there.
4) Part Personal Question. My answer: Apollos was a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately. He spoke boldly in the synagogue. He wanted to do more for the Lord, so he did, traveling to Achaia to defend Jesus. I love how he goes above and beyond for Jesus, traveling to far off places (which, at that time, was a big deal), defending Jesus. Great example for all of us.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Through the example of Priscilla and Aquila, we are all to help and support one another, including in the education of God, Jesus, and the Word.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 2: Acts 18:23-28
I love how the Bible is full of Christians helping one another. This is something we all probably could be better at doing.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 2: Acts 18:23-28
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey Begins
We don’t know exactly how much time Paul spent back at his home congregation in Syrian Antioch. Luke wrote the account to give the sense of an immediate move on to Paul’s next missionary journey.
Since Paul’s first focus on this trip was strengthening all the disciples, he went back to the churches already founded on previous missionary works. This would include congregations in Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch.
Paul had a passion for building disciples, not merely making converts.
Apollos in the Bible
It seems Apollos (like many in his day) was a missionary called by God alone, because we have no indication that he was sent or commissioned by any specific congregation or apostle. He simply came to Ephesus.
The reputation and work of John the Baptist was widely known throughout the Jews of the Roman Empire, reaching here as far as Alexandria.
Because Apollos knew of the work of John the Baptist, it is likely that he preached that the Messiah had come and we must repent and respond to Jesus, but he probably had little knowledge of the full person and work of Jesus Christ.
Priscilla and Aquila in the Bible
Paul met this couple that shared his profession of tentmaking in Corinth (Acts 18:3). They went with him from Corinth to Ephesus, and Paul left them there while he continued eastward to Caesarea, Jerusalem, and Antioch (Acts 18:18-22).
Aquila and Priscilla helped someone who had a passion for God.
With both instruction from Aquila and Priscilla and letters of reference from the church in Ephesus, Apollos served effectively in Achaia, especially among opposing Jews .
When Apollos went to the region of Achaia, it probably means he went to the city of Corinth in the region of Achaia. From what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, he apparently had a remarkable ministry there.
Though some Corinthians fixated on Apollos in a divisive spirit (1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4), there is no reason to believe that Apollos himself encouraged this. Paul regarded Apollos as a trusted colleague (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 and 16:12).
Apollos was Jewish, eloquent and fervent in spirit (Acts 18:24-25), refuted the Jews, and knew Scripture. Thus, some scholars consider him a possible author of the book of Hebrews.
Paul requests prayer for the message of the Lord to be spread rapidly and be honored and for safety in essence (delivered from the wicked and evil men). The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the Devil.
Paul commands them to stay away from idlers and who do not live according to his teachings. We were not idle. We worked night and day so as not to be a burden. For if a man will not work, he shall not eat. We urge you to earn the bread you eat and never tire of doing what is right. those who are not following our instruction.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 5: 2 Thessalonians 3
11) Part Personal Question. My answer: Paul requests prayer for the message of the Lord to be spread rapidly and be honored. Direction for the future.
12) The definition of idleness is someone who is avoiding work, is lazy, without purpose, and is working for no point. It was important to Paul that everyone who is able earn the bread they eat. Plus, idleness led to busybodies, or gossip. Idle is choosing not to work when you can. Rest is recovering from work, whether that be mental or physical.
13) Personal Question. My answer: It allows me not to have to worry.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 5: 2 Thessalonians 3
I love how we are to never tire of doing what is right. I know that is hard for all of us sometimes when we are tired and we just want to take the easy way out. Yet, we must remember Jesus took the hard road and died for us; nothing we face can compare.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 5: 2 Thessalonians 3
Paul’s prayer request makes us wonder how often the work of God’s Word is hindered by our prayerlessness.
God has promised that His Word would be free and perform its work: It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11). But as with many of God’s promises, we are expected to take this promise in faith, and in prayer, to ask God to perform the promise for His glory.
God promised to keep Satan on a leash. He will not allow any temptation to become too great for us (1 Corinthians 10:13), and will not allow Satan to do whatever he wants with us (Luke 22:31-32).
Paul wisely prayed for both love and patience (endurance) for the Thessalonian Christians. These were two qualities essential for the kind of spiritual stability and strength the Thessalonians needed.
The purpose in withdrawing from these disobedient was not so much punishment, but more so simply to deny these disobedient ones the aid and comfort of the fellowship of the body of Christ until they repented. It put them out of the church into the “domain” of Satan (the world), in hope that they might miss the fellowship of the church so much they would repent of their disobedience.
Church is a place of love and comfort. One should be sad to be excluded from the church.
Rail Against Idleness
God’s plan is to provide for our needs through our work.
There is a play on words between the ancient Greek phrasing in the lines not working at all and but are busybodies. The idea is something like “busybodies who do no business.”
Perhaps these busybodies thought that if Jesus was coming soon, it made no sense to work.
The early church did provide for the truly needy among them, but only after being certain that they were truly needy and after putting them to work for the church (1 Timothy 5:3-16).
Be not weary in well doing. There is plenty of well-wishing in the world. Well-resolving, well-suggesting, and well-criticizing are also found in plenty. Many people are good at well-talking, but there is not enough of simple well doing.
“The intention of excommunication is not to drive men from the Lord’s flock, but rather to bring them back again when they have wandered and gone astray… Excommunication is to be distinguished from anathema.” (Calvin)
As was his custom, Paul himself wrote the final words of the epistle with his own hand. This was both a personal demonstration of affection and proof that the letter was authentic.
For Paul, God’s grace was the beginning and the end of the Christian life. It was appropriate that this letter – and most – of his letters began and ended with a mention of grace.
From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit if you believe in the truth. Through the gospel you might share in the glory of Jesus Christ. Stand firm and hold to the teachings (the Word) and may Jesus and God encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 4: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
8a) God chose us (man) to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through our belief in the truth and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross We must believe to have the Holy Spirit indwell within so we may be with God. Always thank God and hold to his teachings.
b) Personal Question. My answer: God is good and full of merciful grace.
9) So that you can be saved and not fall into Satan’s lies.
10) Personal Question. My answer: By not believing the lies the world tells us and how some sins are okay. Stick to God’s word and you will be strengthened.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 4: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Short days are nice to break up the longer days. To sum it up: believe in God’s truth (who He is and His word), accept Jesus as your Savior, and receive God’s sanctification of the Spirit and the glory of Jesus Christ (who he is) as well as eternal salvation.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 4: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Paul repeats his idea from 2 Thessalonians 1:3, that he was obligated to thank God for His work in the Thessalonians, in light of the greatness of that work.
God’s love for us is the primary motivation for all His work in and through us.
God’s work of sanctification uses two great forces, the Spirit and the belief in the truth. The Spirit of God and the Word of God are essential to our sanctification.
This is the same glory John wrote of in 1 John 3:2 – we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Paul in His Second Letter to the Thessalonians says the day of our Lord will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming to be God.
The secret power of lawlessness is already at work but he is being held back and will be continued to be held back until he is removed. The lawless one will be revealed and Jesus will then overthrow him. We will see the coming of the lawless one by witnessing the counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders and other deceiving evils. The unbelievers refuse to love the truth so God will send them a delusion so they will be condemned.
Summary of Revelation 13:6-13:
The beast opened his mouth to blaspheme God and was given power to conquer the saints in war. He was given authority over all people. All unbelievers will worship the beast whose name is not written in the book of life.
Another beast emerged with two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. He was the first beast’s helper who made everyone worship the first beast. He performed miraculous signs including fire coming down from heaven.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 3: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with Revelation 13:6-13
6a) A rebellion will occur, and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.
b) The man of lawlessness is a man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, claiming to be God. Jesus will overthrow him easily. The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the works of Satan, such as counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and evil. Those who will be unsaved wil be condemned who have not believed the truth.
7a) Because of people’s refusal to open their eyes and see and accept God’s truth He allows them to be deluded by the Devil and things of this world and not His world. For instance, they worship and serve created things instead of the Creator. Although they know they will have death if they do these things, they continue to do so and approve of others who do so as well.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Deception can come in a beautiful package to deceive us. Truth will save you.
c) Personal Question. My answer: We need to always be vigilant, always testing what we are told with God’s word, and always in tune with God so we don’t fall into any lies set forth by Satan. Know God’s truths and engrave them into your heart with steel. Pray and pray some more. Read and study God’s words. Use it as a shield against the Enemy. Accept God’s truth, what Jesus did for us on the cross, and reject the world’s acts as much as possible. Make God your center and the delusion will be repelled like a dog is to ultrasonic sounds.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 3: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with Revelation 13:6-13
Great warning to us how the Devil is everywhere and will try to make us fall at every turn. We must be vigilant in our walk with God and not stray off His path for it is all too easy. We must be aware that the lawlessness one will come and be prepared for it by becoming more and more like Jesus every day of our lives.
The man of lawlessness is also referred to as the Antichrist and many scholars believe it will be a human man.
The beast of the Revelations passage also refers to the man of lawlessness. They are one in the same just called different names. The beast, the man of lawlessness, and the Antichrist are all the same person who will come instead of Jesus to lure people into wickedness. We (humans) are unsure what this person/thing will look like so there are many descriptions of him throughout the Bible.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 3: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with Revelation 13:6-13
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12:
Paul here addressed questions raised by his first letter, where he instructed the Thessalonians about the catching away of the church to be with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
The challenge in understanding this chapter comes from the fact that it is a supplement to what Paul has already taught the Thessalonians in words, and we don’t know exactly what Paul said to the them. Yet the ideas are clear enough if carefully pieced together.
Two Comings of Jesus in One Rapture
Paul clearly wrote of the return of Jesus, but the wording here implies a difference between the coming and our gathering. This strongly suggests that there are essentially two comings of Jesus. One coming is for His church (as described clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), and the other coming is with His church, to judge a rebellious world.
A preferred manuscript reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 has the day of the Lord rather than the day of Christ. The day of the Lord is a concept with a rich Old Testament background, and was mentioned in Paul’s previous letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5:2). It is not a single day, but a period associated with God’s outpouring of judgment and the deliverance of God’s people. A significant aspect of the day of the Lord is the Great Tribulation described in Matthew 24:1-31.
The Thessalonians were afraid that they were in the Great Tribulation (the day of the Lord), and feared that they had missed the rapture. But Paul will demonstrate that they are not in the day of Christ; because if they were, then certain signs would be present.
Bible scholars debate if there will be an apostasy among those who once followed God, or a general worldwide rebellion. In fact, Paul may have both in mind, because there is evidence of each in the end times (1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 4:3-4).
Some scholard believe that the man of sin not an individual, but a system or an office. However, Daniel described an individual person: The prince who is to come (Daniel 9:26), the king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23), the willful king (Daniel 11:36-45), and Jesus described an individual person: The one who comes in his own name (John 5:43).
The Man of Sin
The man of sin demands worship for himself that belongs to God only (Luke 4:8). This demand for worship is also described in Revelation 13:1-6.
The prophet Daniel told us the Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews and bring sacrifice and offerings to an end; that the Antichrist will defile the temple by setting something abominable there (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11).
Jesus said to look for an abomination standing in the holy place, which would be the pivotal sign that the season of God’s wrath was upon the earth (Matthew 24:15-16 and 24:21).
The man of sin is truly an Anti-Christ. Satan has planned the career of the man of sin to mirror the ministry of Jesus.
Both Jesus and the man of sin have support for their claims by miraculous works (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
The Man of Sin Comes When:
The Holy Spirit removes His restraint.
Second, the lawless one will be destroyed by the mere brightness of Jesus at His coming.
Satan will give the man of sin power. Antichrist is only God’s messenger, revealing God’s judgment on the people.
The beast makes war against the saints (God’s people). Everyone will worship the final world dictator, except the chosen.
The two horns may express the fact that this beast has authority in two realms, such as religious and political authority. Or, he may have two horns simply because that’s how many horns lambs have (two horns like a lamb).
Signs and wonders will be present among Christians, but the real marks of God’s work are love and truth.
Second Letter to the Church in Thessalonica. We ought to thank God for you as your faith is growing more and more and you love one another more and more. We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
God’s judgment is right and you will be worthy of the kingdom of God. God is just. He will pay back those who trouble you and bring relief when the Lord Jesus comes from Heaven in a blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus with everlasting destruction. Those who believe will marvel in him as he’s glorified in his holy people.
We pray that God may count you worthy of his calling and that he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 2: 2 Thessalonians 1
3a) Because their faith is growing more and more and the love every one of them has for each other is increasing. They have perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials they are enduring.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I think we all grow in our struggles, whether we think we do or not. Often, we don’t see it till later on down the road, but having the faith that we are growing helps.
4a) Jesus will be revealed from Heaven in blazing fire with powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Jesus will be glorified in his holy people and be marveled at. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to those who are troubled. Unbelievers will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people.
5) Part personal Question. My answer: That God may count the Thessalonians worthy of his calling, that he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. Myself and everyone.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 2: 2 Thessalonians 1
Powerful prayer we should be praying for ourselves and others regularly. That our purpose is His purpose. That we find His purpose in our lives. That we live out that purpose despite the world’s pressures to hinder and squash us at every turn. That we may be always prompted by faith in what we do. That we live for Him every moment of our lives.
Major Theme: What You Hope For is What You Live For
Great Video of 2 Thessalonians Here:
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 19, Day 2: 2 Thessalonians 1
Silas we met in Acts. He was a long and experienced companion of Paul who traveled with Paul on his second missionary journey and was imprisoned and set free with Paul in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:19-27). When Paul first came to Thessalonica, Silas came with him (Acts 17:1-9), so the Thessalonians knew him well. He also collaborated with Paul on the first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1).
Timothy was a resident of Lystra, a city in the province of Galatia (Acts 16:1-3). He was the son of a Greek father (Acts 16:1), and a Jewish mother named Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). From his youth, he had been taught in the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Timothy was a trusted companion and associate of Paul, and he accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journeys. Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians on a previous occasion (1 Thessalonians 3:2). With Silvanus, Timothy was also a collaborator on Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1).
Paul himself founded the church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9). This letter covers the same topics as 1 Thessalonians, but in a sterner manner.
The Thessalonians’ suffering was evidence of the righteous judgment of God. Where suffering is coupled with righteous endurance, God’s work is done.
Since God is righteous, He will repayall evil, and it will all be judged and accounted for either at the cross or in hell. A day of rest is promised for every believer. Life may be unfair, but in the end, God would make it fair.
The judgment of God means that there is nothing unimportant in my life. Everything is under the eye of the God I must answer to.
What truly characterizes hell is that people are not in the presence of the Lord, in the sense of being apart from anything good or blessed in God’s presence. The separatedness from God is eternal.
We live worthy of God’s call when we display God’s goodness to others, glorify Jesus, and we are glorified through Jesus — all by God’s grace.
Jesus died and rose again so those who have died will be risen when Jesus comes again. The Lord will come down from heaven with a loud command, a trumpet call, and the voice of the archangel. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then those who are still alive will meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever.
The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, suddenly. Destruction will come and they will not escape. Let us be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and hope of salvation as a helmet. God appointed us to receive salvation through Jesus and not for wrath. He died for us so we may live together with him. Encourage one another in this.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
12a) To be with him forever. To be sons of the light, be alert, self-controlled, being faithful and hopeful, to receive salvation through Jesus, encourage each other
b) To live in darkness, to be like others, to suffer wrath
c) Personal Question. My answer: It makes the days seem not as long.
13) God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. Those who are still alive will not procede those who have died before to heaven. Lord will come down from heaven with a loud command, the voice of an archangel, a trumpet call, and the dead will rise first. Then those who are still alive will meet with the Lord and be with Him forever. The day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
14) Personal Question. My answer: We will all be together with Him forever. It’s encouraging.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Interesting Paul throws this in here to the Thessalonians. Great encouragement to them.
Paul here is addressing will Jesus return and what about those who have already died. The Thessalonians lived in constant danger of persecution so wondered when Jesus would return to save them. Paul advises to lead a quiet life and mind your own business while you wait. Thessalonica thrived with Paul’s encouragement and became known as “The City fo Orthodoxy” because of their faith.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Don’t Be Ignorant
Four times in all of Paul’s letters, he asked Christians to not be ignorant:
Don’t be ignorant about God’s plan for Israel (Romans 11:25).
These are still areas today that many Christians are confused on.
Sleep was used by pagans at the time to express death. In the ancient world, there was no hope after death for many. Christians called death sleep, but they emphasized the idea of rest. Early Christians began to call their burial places “cemeteries,” which means, “dormitories” or “sleeping places.” Yet the Bible never describes the death of the unbeliever as sleep, for there is no rest, peace, or comfort for them in death.
Jesus will bring those who have died with him. When a believer dies, we only mourn for ourselves, because they are with the Lord.
Trumpets in the Bible
The rapture will not be silent or secret, though the vast majority of people may not understand the sound or its meaning. Jesus will come with angels and will be gathered by a trumpet sound.
In the Old Testament, trumpets sounded the alarm for war and threw the enemy into a panic, in the sense of the seven trumpets described in Numbers 10:9 and Revelation 8 and 9. Trumpets also sounded an assembly of God’s people, as in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 10:2. Here, the trumpet of God gathers together God’s people.
There are three other associations of trumpets and end-times events.
The trumpet gathering the elect of Israel at the end of the age in Matthew 24:31.
Either the present dead in Christ are with the Lord in a spiritual body, awaiting their final resurrection body; or, because of the nature of timeless eternity, they have received their resurrection bodies already because they live in the eternal now.
This passage is the basis for the New Testament doctrine of the rapture, the catching away of believers to be with Jesus. The word rapture is not in the ancient Greek text, but comes from the Latin Vulgate, which translates the phrase caught up with rapturus, from which we get our English word rapture.
Many Christians believe the Bible teaches that there will be an important seven-year period of history before the Battle of Armageddon and triumphant return of Jesus. The debate about this catching away centers on where it fits in with this final seven-year period, popularly known as the Great Tribulation, with reference to Matthew 24:21.
The pre-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up before this final seven-year period.
The mid-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up in the midst of this final seven-year period.
The pre-wrath rapture position believes believers are caught up at some time in the second half of this final seven-year period.
The post-tribulation rapture position believes believers are caught up at the end of this final seven-year period.
In the end, no one knows except God for certain.
1 Thessalonians 5:
The day of the Lord is fulfilled with Jesus judging the earth and returning in glory.
It does not refer to a single day, but to a season when God rapidly advances His agenda to the end of the age. The day of the Lord “Is a familiar Old Testament expression. It denotes the day when God intervenes in history to judge His enemies, deliver His people, and establish His kingdom.” (Hiebert)
The phrase labor pains suggest both inevitability and unexpectedness. Jesus used the same idea in Matthew 24:8, when He spoke of calamities preceding the end times as the beginning of sorrows, which is literally the beginning of labor pains. The idea is both of giving birth to a new age and implying an increase of intensity and frequency in these calamities.
Be ready for Jesus’ return is Paul’s main message here.
Spiritually speaking, we need to be active and aware, to watch and be sober. Sober means don’t get too excited about the things of this world.
When one compares this description of spiritual armor with that found in Ephesians 6, there is not an exact correlation. Paul saw the idea of spiritual armor as a helpful picture, not something rigid in its particular details.
Faith and love are represented by the breastplate because the breastplate covers the vital organs. No solider would ever go to battle without his breastplate, and no Christian is equipped to live the Christian life without faith and love.
The hope of salvation is represented as a helmet, because the helmet protects the head, which is just as essential as the breastplate. Hope isn’t used in the sense of wishful thinking, but in the sense of a confident expectation of God’s hand in the future.
The Wrath of God
We deserve God’s wrath, but we are saved from it through Jesus’ death.
We deserve God’s wrath fro Adam’s sin and our sin.
Give comfort and build up each other.
Rest of 1 Thessalonians 5:
Recognize your leaders, esteem them in love, and be at peace.
Be patient with everyone and not seek revenge. Be forgiving. Jesus made it plain that we should get things right with men before we come to worship God (Matthew 5:23-24).
Rejoice always, pray continually (a constant communication with God), give thanks in everything. We can do this because it is God’s will.
We can quench the fire of the Spirit by our doubt, our indifference, our rejection of Him, or by the distraction of others. When people start to draw attention to themselves, it is a sure quench to the Spirit.
Prophesy was being despised because individuals were abusing the gift. There were idlers among the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12), perhaps who spiritualized their idleness with prophecy. There were date-setters and end-times speculators among the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5), perhaps who backed up their speculations with supposed prophetic authority.
Sanctify means “to set apart” – to make something different and distinct, breaking old associations and forming a new association. God wants us to be set apart to Him.
Completely: “The adjective (holoeleis), occurring only here in the New Testament, is a compound of holos, ‘whole, entire,’ and telos, ‘end.’ Its basic connotation is ‘wholly attaining the end, reaching the intended goal,’ hence has the force of no part being left unreached.” (Hiebert)
We (Paul and his followers) have instructed you how to live to please God and we urge you to do this more and more. It is God’s will that: you should be sanctified; avoid sexual immorality; learn to control your own body in a holy way and not lustfully; and no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish for such sins since God has called you to live a holy life. You reject God himself if you reject His instruction.
Love your brothers and do so more and more.
Lead a quiet life, mind your own business, and work with your hands so you will be respected by non-believers and independent.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28:
We (Paul speaking again) ask you to respect authority, those over you and who admonish you. Love them. [I see this as an extension of God who admonishes us]. Live in peace with each other. Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Don’t seek revenge and be kind to one another.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will. Test everything (including prophecies) and hold on to the good and reject the evil. Do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire that burns in you and others.
May God sanctify you and you be kept blameless as we wait the coming of Jesus. Pray for us. Grace be with you.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 5:12-28
9) Part personal Question. My answer: You should be sanctified; avoid sexual immorality; learn to control your own body in a holy way and not lustfully; and no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. Live a holy life. Love each other more and more. Lead a quiet life, minding your own business and work with your hands so you will not be dependent on others.
Respect authority, those over you and who admonish you. Love them. [I see this as an extension of God who admonishes us]. Live in peace with each other. Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Don’t seek revenge, and be kind to one another.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will. Test everything (including prophecies) and hold on to the good and reject the evil. Do not extinguish the Spirit’s fire that burns in you and others.
I struggle with most of these at some point in live. I struggle to love others, to be joyful and give thanks in all circumstances, to hold onto the good, and to live a holy life.
10) Personal Question. My answer: God helps us by traversing our paths at our side faithfully. He sanctifies us with the Holy Spirit, which helps us in times of our greatest need. But we must pray, be joyful, and be grateful always in all circumstances to God and what He gives and does for us. We must constantly remember His grace, mercy, and presence in our lives if we are to have any hope of keeping His will for us.
11) Personal Question. My answer: Every day is an opportunity to live out His will. This doesn’t have to be specific. I think everything in my life is from Him, and thus, as I live, it glorifies Him and lives out His will. By making Godly choices daily, I live out His will. Specifically, by being a good wife, mother, pet owner, worker, and writer.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 5:12-28
My favorite part here of Paul’s words to live a holy life is to “hold on to the good.” I think if we all did this, the bad wouldn’t be so bad after all.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 5:12-28
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12:
Christian maturity is never finished on this side of eternity. No matter how far a Christian has come in love and holiness, he or she can still abound more and more.
The purpose of Christian living is to please God and not ourselves.
Paul gave these commands to a first-century Roman culture that was marked by sexual immorality. At this time in the Roman Empire, chastity and sexual purity were almost unknown virtues. Nevertheless, Christians were to take their standards of sexual morality from God and not from the culture.
Paul said this was a commandment (1 Thessalonians 4:2). That word was a military term describing an order from an officer to a subordinate, and the order came from Jesus and not from Paul.
Interesting Cultural Note: The ancient writer Demosthenes expressed the generally amoral view of sex in the ancient Roman Empire: “We keep prostitutes for pleasure; we keep mistresses for the day to day needs of the body; we keep wives for the faithful guardianship of our homes.”
The idea behind sanctification is to be set apart, and God wants us set apart from a godless culture and its sexual immorality. If our sexual behavior is no different than the Gentiles who do not know God, then we are not sanctified in the way God wants us to be.
The older King James Version translates sexual immorality as fornication. “Fornication is used here in its comprehensive meaning to denote every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.”
Immorality is the opposite of honor because it degrades and debases the self. Those who do not restrain their sexual desires act more like animals than humans, following every impulse without restraint.
Paul meant to encourage each Christian to possess or hold his own body (vessel) in a way that honored God. Sexual immorality is a sin against one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Four Reasons for Sexual Purity
God punishes sexual immorality
We are to live holy
Reject God’s call if you are sexually impure
We have the Holy Spirit to overcome sexual impurity
We should have an aspiration or ambition in life, and that we should aspire to lead a quiet life.
Aspire has the thought of ambition and is translated that way in several versions of the Bible. Quiet has the thought of peace, calm, rest and satisfaction.
The quiet life contradicts the hugely successful modern attraction to entertainment and excitement. This addiction to entertainment and excitement is damaging both spiritually and culturally. We might say that excitement and entertainment are like a religion for many people today. When we live the quiet life, we can listen to God and get to know Him better.
Work is God’s plan for the progress of society and the church. We fall into Satan’s snare when we expect things to always come easily, or regard God’s blessing as an opportunity for laziness.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28:
Pauls tells the Thessalonians to do three things for leaders:
Leaders shepherd us (are over us) and admonish us (gently reprove)
Christians should be patient always and not seek revenge.
Paul will write about more spiritual matters such as prayer, thanksgiving, and worship. But before these spiritual or religious matters comes teaching about right relationships. Jesus made it plain that we should get things right with men before we come to worship God (Matthew 5:23-24).
Rejoice always, pray always (every moment of every day in constant, flowing conversation with God), and give thanks for everything. Prayer can take place anywhere, anytime, in any posture.
Spurgeon: “When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude.”
“‘Quench’ properly applies to the putting out of a flame of some sort, as that of a fire (Mark 9:48), or a lamp (Matthew 25:8). This is the only place in the New Testament where it is used in a metaphorical sense.” (Morris) Thomas says that the phrase could be more literally translated, “Stop putting out the Spirit’s fire.”
We can quench the fire of the Spirit by our doubt, our indifference, our rejection of Him, or by the distraction of others.
Between the time Paul last saw the Thessalonians and the writing of this letter, he had spent time in Berea (Acts 17:10-12). There, the Christians were of a noble character because they heard Paul’s preaching and diligently searched the Scriptures to see if what he said was true. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to have more of the heart and mind of the Bereans.
Completely: “The adjective (holoeleis), occurring only here in the New Testament, is a compound of holos, ‘whole, entire,’ and telos, ‘end.’ Its basic connotation is ‘wholly attaining the end, reaching the intended goal,’ hence has the force of no part being left unreached.” (Hiebert)
Spirit, Soul & Body
Paul’s use of spirit, soul, and body in this passage has led many to adopt what is called a trichotimist view of man, believing that man is made up of three distinct parts: spirit, soul, and body.
One might say that Mark 12:30 divides man’s nature into four parts (heart, soul, mind, and strength), and that 1 Corinthians 7:34 divides man’s nature into two parts (body and spirit). In some passages the terms soul and spirit seem to be synonymous, other times they seem to be distinct and hard to define precisely. It seems that there are indeed these three different aspects to the human person, yet the specific meaning of spirit or soul must be determined by the context.
The great Greek scholar Dean Alford described the spirit and the soul as thus:
“The SPIRIT (pneuma) is the highest and distinctive part of man, the immortal.”
“The SOUL is the lower or animal soul, containing the passions and desires which we have in common with the brutes, but which in us is ennobled and drawn up by the spirit.”
God intends there to be a hierarchy within the human person, ordered first with the spirit, then with the soul, and finally with the body.
We are to sublimate the needs of the body to the soul, and the needs of both body and soul to the needs of the spirit.
Holy kiss: “Apparently at this time the sexes were segregated in the assembly and the men kissed the men and the women the women… When the kiss came to be exchanged between men and women it became the occasion for their critics to charge the Christians with impurity. The resultant embarrassments gave rise to numerous regulations concerning the practice by the early church councils.” (Hiebert)
I charge you: Paul used a strong phrase here. It was important that this epistle be read among Christians. This is an unusual statement, unique in Paul’s letters.
It All Comes Down to Grace
Nearly all Paul’s letters begin and end with the idea of grace. This is also true of almost everything God has to say to His people.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor, His bestowal of love and acceptance on us because of who He is and what Jesus has done.
It is appropriate that this letter – the first of Paul’s preserved correspondence to the churches that is full of love, encouragement, and instruction — ends on a note of grace.
“Whatever God has to say to us – and in all the New Testament letters there are things that search the heart and make it quake – begins and ends with grace… All that God has been to man in Jesus Christ is summed up in it: all His gentleness and beauty, all His tenderness and patience, all the holy passion of His love, is gathered up in grace. What more could one soul wish for another than that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ should be with it?” (Denney, cited in Morris)
Paul writing to the church in Thessalonica: We preached God’s gospel despite strong opposition, Paul proclaims. We are not trying to trick you. We are men approved by God entrusted with the gospel. We are trying to please God, not men, who tests our hearts. We never used flattery. We were open and honest.
We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you we shared God and our lives with you. We were not a burden to you. We were holy, righteous, and blameless and we dealt with each of you as a father does who encourages, comforts, and urges you to lead Godly lives.
You accepted God’s word as such which is at work in you. Your churches imitated God’s church which are in Christ Jesus and you suffered for it. But the wrath of God has come upon those against us.
We wanted to come to you, but Satan stopped us from doing so. You are our hope, joy, glory, and crown.
Summary of 1 Thessalonians 3:
We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in faith. We (believers) are destined for trials and persecution and I (Paul) wanted to make sure you were not tempted by the Devil.
Timothy reports back that you have good memories of us and long to see us again. You encouraged us in our distress because of your faith. We really live because you stand firm in the Lord. You give us joy. We pray for you night and day to see you again and for God to supply what is lacking in your faith.
We hope to see you again. May your love overflow like ours does for you. May God strengthen your hearts so you will be holy when Jesus comes again.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
6) Part personal Question. My answer: Paul preached God’s gospel despite strong opposition. He did not try to trick them. They are approved by God. He never used flattery. They were open and honest. They were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children. They loved you, so they shared God and their lives with you. They were not a burden to you. They were holy, righteous, and blameless, and they dealt with each of you as a father does who encourages, comforts, and urges you to lead Godly lives. It’s about pleasing God, not others.
7) Personal question. My answer: Paul says in all of his distress and persecution, he was encouraged by the faith of the Thessalonians who suffered. He will come if God clears the way for him to come. We all suffer some degree of affliction in our lives; it’s how we deal with it that matters the most. For me, it’s difficult when faced with sin opportunities that are pleasureable to pick the Godly way. While I have no suffered any physical afflictions like Paul did, I believe we all are under mental affliction as we struggle in today’s society that so wants to sugar coat everything and call sin something else entirely, like a mistake. It’s the mental battle now that we all must win.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answer: Paul was encouraging, comforting, and urging the Thessalonians to live Godly lives (2:12). He tells them that he longs to see them but that Satan stopped them and continues to do so. He, however, still wants to see them if God clears a way for him to do so. It’s nice to have such an intimate connection with other believers. For me, I have none of that so it’s definitely something I need to work on.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
It’s cool to see such a faith-filled and loving community that sadly many of us don’t experience in this world.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
1 Thessalonians 2:
Paul defends his own character and ministry before the Thessalonians because he had many enemies in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5-6 and 17:13) who discredited him in his absence, especially because of his hurried departure from Thessalonica. Paul’s enemies said he left town quickly because he was a self-serving coward, untrustworthy, had impure motives, deceived others, and only wanted personal glory
Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his sufferings in the ministry. He made the point that he would not carry on in the face of beatings and conflict if he were in it only for himself. When Paul arrived in Thessalonica, the wounds on his back from Philippi were still fresh.
Acts 16:23-24 records that he suffered a public flogging and had his feet in stocks while confined in the city’s inner prison.
In the first century world Paul lived in, there were many competing religions, and many ministers of those religions were motivated by greed and gain.
The city of Thessalonica sat on the Egnatian Way, the famous highway that went east to west through Macedonia. Thessalonica was also an important port and a melting pot city with cultures from all over the world. There were a staggering variety of religions and religious professionals in Thessalonica. In this city, you would find the worship of the gods of the Olympian pantheon, especially Apollo, Athena, and Hercules. There were the native Greek mystery religions, celebrating Dionysis and the sex and drinking cult. The Greek intellectual and philosophical traditions were also represented. There were shrines to many Egyptian gods: Isis, Sarapis, Anubis. Also present were the Roman State cults that deified the political heroes of Rome. There were also the Jewish people and the God-fearing Gentiles.
Most of these religions were missionary minded and sought to spread their faith using itinerant evangelists and preachers. Most of these missionaries were opportunists who took everything they could from their listeners, and then moved on to find someone else to support them.
Paul’s satisfaction came from his relationship with Jesus, not from the praise of people. Paul was among the Thessalonians to give something to them, not to take something from them.
The sacrifices Paul endured for the sake of ministry to the Thessalonians were not a burden. He was well pleased to do it because Paul was affectionately longing for the Thessalonians as they had become dear to Paul and his associates.
Paul recognized his right to be supported by those he ministered to (1 Corinthians 9:14), but voluntarily gave up that right to set himself apart from missionaries of false religions. Paul denied his rights and took a higher standard upon himself.
Paul earnestly believed and taught others that God had spoken to man and that we have recorded this word of God. Paul believed in a voice that speaks to mankind with the authority of eternity, and speaks above mere human opinion. Since we do have this word of God, we have a true voice of authority.
When the Thessalonians responded to the Gospel, they became the targets of persecution.
Paul comforted these suffering Christians with the assurance that they were not the first to suffer this way. The Lord Jesus faced persecution, and the Christians in Judea faced it first. Additionally, Paul and his associates were also persecuted.
Paul comforted the Thessalonians by assuring them that God would indeed take care of their persecutors. When Christians forget this, they often disgrace and curse themselves by returning persecution for persecution towards others.
Paul’s Response to Satan’s Attack:
Paul understood who was attacking him (Satan)
Paul had faith
Paul was committed to fight what was against him
God brought victory as Paul returns to the Thessalonians in Acts 20:1-5
1 Thessalonians 3:
For the sake of the Thessalonians, Paul was willing to be left in Athens alone. It cost him something to send Timothy to the Thessalonians, and he thought it was good to pay that cost.
Paul sought to establish first. Encouragement can really only come after we are established in the right direction.
As part of the normal Christian life, believers have an appointment with affliction.
It is true that there is a great deal of suffering we could be spared by simply obeying God’s Word, and God wants to spare us that suffering. Nevertheless, suffering was good enough to teach Jesus (Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8), therefore it is good enough to teach us. God does teach the believer perseverance, obedience, how to comfort others, and deeper fellowship with Jesus in trials.
There are two ancient Greek words used to translate the concept of suffering, and neither of them is used exclusively in regard to persecution. Thilipsis was used for such things as physical pain, emotional hardships, and suffering under temptation. Pasko was used for such things as physical sufferings unrelated to persecution, suffering under temptation, and hardships in a general sense.
Affliction means that God loves us enough to give the best when we may only desire what is easy. Paul recognized that Christians are appointed to affliction.
Paul could barely endure the thought that the faith of the Thessalonians might crumble under this season of affliction, so he sent Timothy to both check on them and to help them. He sent Timothy to them, because those who are in affliction need the help of other godly people.
Calvin on faith and love: “In these two words he states concisely the sum total of godliness. All who aim at this double mark are beyond the danger of error for the whole of their life.”
Morris on good news: “The verb he employs is the one which is usually translated ‘preach the gospel.’ Indeed, this is the only place in the whole of Paul’s writings where it is used in any other sense than that.”
Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, and his coming to that city was marked by difficulty. He said of his coming to Corinth, I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). Yet since Timothy came back with good news, Paul had a renewed strength and freshness of life. It made Paul feel much better that the Thessalonians were doing well.
The church is founded upon the apostles, with Christ Himself the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The foundation of the New Jerusalem is the twelve apostles (Revelation 21:14). There was something significantly unique about the first-century apostles and prophets, and that unique ministry is preserved in the New Testament.
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians emphasized three things that are important for every Christian today:
First, he wanted to be with them, so they could benefit from his apostolic wisdom and authority.
He wanted them to abound in love.
He wanted them to be established in true heart-holiness.
Paul writes to the church in Thessalonians (a church he founded), telling them he thanks God for them and prays for them, remembering how their work is produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in Jesus.
God has chosen them as evinced by the power of the Holy Spirit and their deep conviction. They welcomed the message with joy despite suffering. The Thessalonians then became a model for Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere. It is known how the Thessalonians turned from idols to the One, True God and how they wait for his Son to return from heaven–the one who was raised from the dead–and who will rescue all from the coming wrath.
Summary of Acts 17:1-10:
Paul preached in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, explaining and proving Christ had to suffer and was raised from the dead. Some of the Jews as well as Greeks were persuaded and joined Paul. The Jews were jealous of Paul’s success so they rounded up a mob and rioted in the city. They searched for Paul and Silas but did not find them. Instead, they dragged Jason (whom Paul was staying with) and others before city officials, saying they have defied Caesar by declaring a new king called Jesus. The officials were not happy, but they released Jason and the others on bond.
Thus, Paul and Silas had to flee to Berea, where they preached in the Jewish synagogue.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
3) Part personal Question. My answer: The Thessalonians did their work by faith, their labor by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in Jesus. They imitated Jesus despite suffering and welcomed the message with joy given by the Holy Spirit. I like how they welcomed the message with joy. I can take the message for granted a lot since I have such an easy life relatively speaking.
4) Personal Question. My answer: The Christian life is all by faith and has suffering and joy. Jesus because he is King, Lord, and Savior.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Verse 6 because I need to be more joyful.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
All personal questions again. Wonder if this will be a pattern for the second have of the study of Acts. I like joy and suffering again appearing together. Seems they are forever intertwined.
Another great video for an overview of 1 Thessalonians:
Holiness, Love, and Future Hope is the themes of this book.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
History of the Church of Thessalonica
Paul visited Thessalonica when enemies were chasing him from town to town (Acts 16-17). After Paul left the Thessalonians, they continued to experience trouble.
This letter is the earliest record we have of a Christian community. Paul wrote this letter after Timothy reported back positive things about this church. While Paul rejoiced, he was concerned about their problems. The Thessalonians were disagreeing about Jesus’ return to earth and about morality.
Paul is in Thessalonica with Silas. Timothy had previously visited Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2).
Paul founded this church (Acts 17:1-9), but was driven away. Still, he never forgot them, which prompted this letter.
Thessalonica was the prosperous capital of the province of Macedonia (northern Greece), located on the famous Egnatian Way.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
After only three weekends of prosperous ministry (Acts 17:2), Paul had to flee from an angry mob. He moved on to Berea – again enjoying several weeks of ministry, but soon driven out by the same Thessalonian mob.
His next stop was Athens where he preached a good sermon but had mixed results. By the time he came to Corinth, he was in weakness, in fear and in much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). At this point of the second missionary journey, it seemed that Paul was a very discouraged missionary.
While in Corinth, it is likely that Paul was greatly concerned about the churches he had just founded, and he wondered about their state. While at Corinth, Silas and Timothy came to him from Thessalonica with great news: the church there was strong. Paul became so excited that he dashed off this letter to the Thessalonians, probably his first letter to any church. He wrote it just a few months after he had first established the church in Thessalonica. After writing and sending this letter, Paul enjoyed a sustained and fruitful ministry in Corinth – and eventually returned to the Thessalonians.
Paul brought this customary greeting to the Thessalonian Christians, hailing them in the grace and peace of God the Father.
Despite the problems, Paul was so grateful to God for the Thessalonians because there was an undeniable work of the Holy Spirit and a marvelous change in their lives. The three great Christian virtues were evident among them: faith, love, and hope.
“Here for the first time, chronologically, in Paul’s writings we have this famous triad: faith, love, hope. But Paul’s stress is not on these virtues alone, but rather upon what they produce.” (Hiebert)
Faith produces works
Loe produces labor
Hope produces patience
“There are two different ancient Greek words for work: ergon and kopos. Ergon “may be pleasant and stimulating,” but kopos “implies toil that is strenuous and sweat-producing.” (Hiebert)
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that God loved them (beloved) and that He chose them (election). The two go together. When we love someone, we naturally choose them.
“The phrase beloved by God was a phrase which the Jews applied only to supremely great men like Moses and Solomon, and to the nation of Israel itself. Now the greatest privilege of the greatest men of God’s chosen people has been extended to the humblest of the Gentiles.” (Barclay)
The Gospel is more thatnwords, it also has power.
The Holy Spirit, a living Person, who works within the hearts of the hearers, to convict, to comfort, and to instruct.
The Thessalonians stopped following other things but followed after Paul and the Lord. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Examples to Others
First, Paul was an example to the Thessalonian Christians. Then they became examples to others. This is exactly how the work of God should happen.
The Christians in Macedonia and Achaia needed examples, and the Thessalonians supplied that need. This was true even though they had only been followers of Jesus a short time. As Christians, we always need others who will show us how to follow Jesus Christ, beyond the need of hearing about how to follow Him.
“Sounded forth”means “a loud ringing sound, as of a trumpet blast.” The word of the Lord sounded forth, and their faith toward God has gone out
It seems that the verb douleuo (to serve) was apparently never used in a religious sense in pagan literature. Hiebert quotes Denney: “No Greek or Roman could take in the idea of ‘serving’ a God… There was no room for it in his religion; his conception of the gods did not admit of it. If life was to be a moral service rendered to God, it must be to a God quite different from any to whom he was introduced by his ancestral worship.”
Later in this letter, Paul used the expression God did not appoint us to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9) to refer to God’s deliverance of His people in the context of the wrath to come upon the world in the last days. He may have the same idea in mind here. “Used technically, as it so frequently is in the NT, ‘wrath’ (orges) is a title for the period just before Messiah’s kingdom on earth, when God will afflict earth’s inhabitants with an unparalleled series of physical torments because of their rejection of His will.” (Thomas)
End Notes Acts 17:1-10:
Thessalonica was an important port city, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) and a three-day walk from Philippi. Modern Thessalonika is still a large, thriving city.
Paul uses the Scriptures, explains them, demonstrates how Christ died for us, and talks about who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Some believed.
When Paul was in Thessalonica, he received financial support from the Christians in Philippi (Philippians 4:15-16).
As happened at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:45, 50), at Iconium (Acts 14:2, 5), and at Lystra (Acts 14:19) on the first missionary journey, here also Paul was opposed by a mob incited by jealous Jews.
Jason was a Christian in Thessalonica whose house seems to have been a center for the church.
Other versions say “men who have turned the world upside-down” instead of caused trouble. This more effectively reflects what Christ had done and continues to do for those who know him.
No one wanted to defy Caesar and bring Rome’s wrath upon them. This further stirred up people since no one wanted Roman soldiers to come and restore order. So Jason had to post the bond even though he did not start the riot.
Paul and Silas left Thessalonica quickly, not wanting to bring more persecution on the Christians there or to jeopardize Jason’s security deposit.
Paul only spent a few weeks in Thessalonica (Acts 17:2) and it seems he wished he could have taught them more. He decided to teach them more in a written letter, and many believe that 1 Thessalonians was his first letter written to a congregation.
Paul next journeyed to Corinth where he met a tentmaker named Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, whom he stayed with and helped for a time. He preached every Sabbath in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks to accept Jesus. Having little luck after months of preaching, Paul one day announces he is giving up, telling the Jews it will be on their heads they haven’t accepted Jesus and he will turn to the Gentiles now.
Paul did have some success, converting Titius Justus and Crispus.
The Lord then encouraged Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you.” Paul stayed for another year and a half.
The Jews tried to attack Paul by bringing charges against him in Achaia in front of Gallio. Gallio dismissed the complaint, telling them to work out their squabbles on their own since the matter was within their (Jewish) own law. Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, was beaten because of it.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 5: Acts 18:1-22
12) Paul was very discouraged, having just come from Athens where only a few converted, and the fact that he had been run out of town several times before this. Paul preached every day in the synagogue, but the Jews became abusive as well, and Paul got fed up and said it was on them whether they converted or not. He did have success at the house of Titius Justus. Paul was encouraged to keep going by God in a vision.
13) God spoke to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” It would be nice if God spoke to all of us and encouraged us in our dark days. However, through prayer and supplication, I am encouraged daily in my walk with Him. The promise of a better life is also encouraging.
14) Part personal question. My answer: Other believers know what we are going through and can offer words of advice to help us when we are struggling on this side of heaven. My family is who I depend on for support, encouragement, and community.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 5: Acts 18:1-22
Now, this lesson is BSF at its finest. It has the perfect amount of examination of the Bible, coupled with how to apply God’s teaching to your life. Putting together a year-long Bible study is no walk in the park, and I love BSF for doing so. I think they, too, are still trying to find the perfect blend of Biblical study and personal application that many are seeking in this world in 2020.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 5: Acts 18:1-22
Many scholars believe that when Paul reached Corinth, he was shaken and discouraged because of the little success he was having and of his fanatical opponents. They believe he resolved to make Christ the sole subject of his teaching and preaching while there.
Corinth was a major city of the Roman Empire, at an important crossroads of trade and travel. It was also a city notorious for its hedonism and immorality.
In Paul’s day, Corinth was already an ancient city. It was a commercial center with two harbors and had long been a rival to its northern neighbor, Athens. Corinth was a city with a remarkable reputation for loose living and especially sexual immorality. In classical Greek, to act like a Corinthian meant to practice fornication, and a Corinthian companion meant a prostitute. This sexual immorality was permitted under the widely popular worship of Aphrodite (also known as Venus, the goddess of fertility and sexuality). In 146 B.C. Corinth rebelled against Rome and was brutally destroyed by Roman armies. It lay in ruins for a century, until Julius Caesar rebuilt the city. It quickly re-established its former position as a center for both trade and immorality of every sort.
This is one of the important friendships of the New Testament – Paul and Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. Paul called them his fellow workers who had risked their own necks for my life (Romans 16:3-4).
“Priscilla is a diminutive form of Prisca, which is one of the great families of Rome. She was probably related to this family in some way.” (Hughes) In half the mentions of this New Testament married couple, Priscilla’s name is written first – which is said to be unusual.
Paul’s tentmaking was an important part of his ministry. Though he recognized his right to be supported by those he ministered to (1 Corinthians 9:7-14), he voluntarily supported himself in his missionary and preaching work so that no one could accuse him of seeking converts for the sake of enriching himself (1 Corinthians 9:15-18).
Fun Fact: In the modern missions movement, people call any work that a missionary does to support himself on the mission field tentmaking.
The Roman historian Suetonius wrote that Claudius banished Jews from Rome around 49 AD because they were “indulging in constant riots at the instigation of Chrestus.”
Paul was effective as he reasoned (discussed, debated) among the Jews and Greeks. The Greeks present in the synagogue were Gentiles interested in and sympathetic with Judaism.
Paul later described the character of his bold preaching in Corinth in: For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-16).
When Timothy came, he brought news about how the Christians in Thessalonica were remaining steadfast in the faith (1 Thessalonians 3:6-10). This brought Paul great joy, spurring him on in ministry (Paul was compelled by the Spirit). He answered back by writing 1 Thessalonians from Corinth.
According to 2 Corinthians 11:8-9, while Paul was in Corinth, financial support arrived from the Christians in Philippi, and he was able to put aside tentmaking for a while and concentrate more fully on the task of building the church in Corinth.
Paul strongly sensed his responsibility to preach to the Jews first (Romans 1:16), but when his message was rejected, he wasted no time in going to the Gentiles.
Paul shook out his clothes so that not a speck of dust from the synagogue would remain on them, much less his sandals. This was a dramatic way of expressing his rejection of their rejection.
Paul was afraid, fearing that here in Corinth his work would be cut short by either opposing Jews (as in Thessalonica and Berea) or by the highly-charged worldliness around him.
It could also be don’t be afraid of God, since many in the Old Testament feared God when He spoke to them.
In approaching Gallio, the Jews of Corinth tried to stop Paul’s preaching work in the entire province. He correctly saw that the government has no role in attempting to decide religious matters
Gallio looked the other way when angry Gentiles beat Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue.
Apparently, when Crispus trusted in Jesus, he was replaced as ruler of the synagogue (Acts 18:8) by Sosthenes – who later himself seems to have become a Christian (1 Corinthians 1:1).
Unlike previous cities, Paul wasn’t forced out of Corinth. He stayed there a good while, fulfilling the promise Jesus made to him in Acts 18:9-10.
Paul developed such a deep friendship and partnership with this married couple that they decided to go with him as decided to head east back to Jerusalem and then Antioch.
Vow of Nazirite
The vow was almost certainly the vow of a Nazirite (Numbers 6). Usually this vow was taken for a certain period of time and when completed, the hair (which had been allowed to freely grow) was cut off and offered to the Lord at a special ceremony at the temple in Jerusalem.
The purpose of the vow of a Nazirite was to express a unique consecration to God, promising to abstain from all products from the grapevine, to not cut one’s hair, and to never come near a dead body.
Paul’s performance of this vow shows that Jewish opposition to his preaching had not made him anti-Jewish. He never forgot that he was Jewish, His Messiah was Jewish, that Christianity is Jewish, and that Old Testament forms and rituals might still be used to good purpose. Apparently, though Paul was adamant that Jewish ceremonies and rituals must not be required of Gentiles, he saw nothing wrong with Jewish believers who wished to observe such ceremonies, presumably if their fulfillment in Jesus was also recognized.
William Barclay suggests that Paul’s motive was gratitude. “No doubt Paul was thinking of all God’s goodness to him in Corinth and took this vow to show his gratitude.” But the purpose of a Nazirite vow seems to be more of consecration than thanksgiving. Perhaps the intense worldliness of Corinth made Paul want to express his dedication and separation unto the Lord more than ever.
By tradition, a Nazirite vow could only be fulfilled in Judea. Paul began this vow at Cenchrea, not in Judea. Paul’s adoption of the vow out of the bounds dictated by Jewish tradition could indicate a desire to practice a more purely Biblical observance of Jewish rituals.
Paul wanted to preach in Ephesus some two years earlier, but was prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6). Now, the Holy Spirit gave him the liberty to preach in this important city, and great results were seen.
God has a special timing for everything in our lives. If Paul could have discerned it, the Holy Spirit was really saying, “wait” when he wanted to go to Ephesus, instead of “no.” Sometimes God says, “wait” and He always knows what He’s doing when He says it.
Aquila and Priscilla stayed at Ephesus, seemingly at Paul’s request. Something good started at Ephesus, and Paul wanted the work to continue with his trusted friends.
When it says that Paul had gone up and greeted the church, it means he went up to Jerusalem and fulfilled his Nazirite vow in the temple.
Leaving Jerusalem, Paul returned to his home church in Syrian Antioch. They must have been pleased to have Paul return and tell of all his work over the previous three years or so.