Passage: Acts 17
v1-9 - Paul & Silas' experience in Thessalonica seem to mirror their experience in other communities: they begin to proclaim the gospel in the local synagogue, the Jews get jealous, a mob is assembled and Paul & Silas are run out of town. One thing that stands out in this particular episode is how Paul "reasons" (literally: dialogues) with people by showing them how the scriptures show salvation in Christ. Today we call this practice expository preaching, and we do our best to model that every Sunday at WCRC.
v10-15 - Paul and Silas receive a warm welcome in Berea. These people have become famous for "examining the scriptures every day to see if" what they were hearing was true (v11).
v16-34 - This passage tells of what has been come to be called the "Mars Hill Sermon." Once again, Paul begins in this new area by "reasoning" in the synagogue on the sabbath day, but this time he expands his ministry to the market place the rest of the week (v17). 'Dialoging' about God is not just for Sundays! Paul's message attracts the attention of the Athens philosophical scene (which at this point is a mere shadow of its previous greatness, having falling victim to decadence and affluence (sound familiar to our day & age?)). Notice how Paul utilizes a different strategy here. He doesn't just quote scripture to them, rather he uses their own philosophical language to persuade them. As you 'dialogue' with people, be sure to meet them on their own turf, so to speak.
Old Testament Reference -
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize. Congratulations to Jennifer Weg for being January's winner!
In v11, Luke describes the Bereans as being people of 'noble character.' Just by using the information in v10-12, how would you describe a person who has noble character?
Compare and contrast the response to Paul's dialogues in this chapter with the way people respond to dialogues today.
Remember to always be on the look out for 'so that' phrases in the Bible. There's a big one in v27 as Paul reasons with the philosophers. Based on this verse, what would you say the purpose of life is? Try to give an example of how you might use Paul's philosophy as you dialog with people today.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: In God our Father we live and move and have our being (v28)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the ability to dialog about God in this world where honest dialog about anything is rare
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
We're looking forward to celebrating Communion on Feb 7 at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. As you prepare, consider these words from theologian Herman Bavinck (this is a review from yesterday):
First we are to consider by ourselves our sins and the curse due unto them, to the end that we may humble ourselves before God...