Sabbath: Paul’s Authority and Gospel
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10-1

Read for This Week’s Study:
2 Pet. 3:15, 16; Galatians 1; Phil. 1:1; Gal. 5:12.

Memory Text:

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, NKJV).

Students at a university built a center on their campus where everyone—regardless of race, gender, social status, or religious beliefs—would be welcome. Imagine if years later these students returned to the campus only to discover that other students had [...]

Inside Story: A Family Affair
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Kalujnikovy family

Papa greeted his daughter, Tamara, as she entered his home. During her visit she noticed an invitation to a Christmas program in another church in their city. She was curious and asked her father to go with her to the concert.

Papa was an elder in the Molokan church, an evangelistic, Bible-centered church in their homeland of Azerbaijan. Polina, Tamara’s sister, wanted to attend the concert too. She had sensed that something was missing from her family’s faith and for months [...]

Further Study: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles
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For the relationship between personal conversion and the church, read Ellen G. White, “Individual Independence,” pp. 430–434, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3. For a helpful map of the early life of Paul and commentary on his conversion, see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 226–234.

“Paul had formerly been known as a zealous defender of the Jewish religion and an untiring persecutor of the followers of Jesus. Courageous, independent, persevering, his talents and training would have enabled him to serve in almost any [...]

Thursday: Conflict Within the Church
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9-28

Of course, nothing human is perfect, and it wasn’t long before trouble began within the early community of faith.

For starters, not everyone was pleased with the entry of Gentile believers into the early church. The disagreement was not over the concept of a Gentile mission, but over the basis on which Gentiles should be allowed to join. Some felt that faith in Jesus alone was not sufficient as the defining mark of the Christian; faith, they argued, must be supplemented [...]

Wednesday: The Gospel Goes to the Gentiles
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Paul and Barnabas in Antioch Acts 15:2

Where was the first Gentile church established? What events caused the believers to go there? (Acts 11:19–21, 26). What does that remind you of from Old Testament times? (See Daniel 2.)  

The persecution that broke out in Jerusalem after Stephen’s death caused a number of Jewish believers to flee three hundred miles north to Antioch. As capital of the Roman province of Syria, Antioch was second only to Rome and Alexandria in significance. Its population, estimated at five hundred thousand, was extremely cosmopolitan, making it an [...]

Tuesday: Saul in Damascus
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9-26

During Saul’s encounter with Jesus, he was blinded and then instructed to go to the house of a man named Judas and to wait there for another man, Ananias. No doubt Saul’s physical blindness was a powerful reminder of the greater spiritual blindness that led him to persecute the followers of Jesus.

The appearance of Jesus to him on the Damascus road changed everything. Where Saul had thought he had been so right, he had been dead wrong. Rather than working [...]

Monday: Saul’s Conversion
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9-25

“And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads’”(Acts 9:5, NKJV).

Although Saul’s persecution of the early church begins rather inconspicuously (as he only holds the coats of Stephen’s executioners), it quickly intensifies (see Acts 8:1–3; 9:1, 2, 13, 14, 21; 22:3–5). Several of the words Luke uses to describe Saul paint a picture of a wild, ferocious beast or a pillaging soldier bent on the destruction [...]

Sunday: Persecutor of Christians
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9-24

Saul of Tarsus first appears in Acts as one involved in the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58) and then in connection with the more wide-scale persecution that broke out in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1–5). Peter, Stephen, Philip, and Paul play a significant role in the book of Acts because they were involved in events that led to the spread of the Christian faith beyond the Jewish world. Stephen is of particular significance because his preaching and martyrdom appear to have had a profound influence on [...]

The Gospel in Galatians – Introduction
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Galatians-cover220ds

Paul’s letter to the Galatians has been compared to spiritual “dynamite,” and rightly so. Except for Romans, no other book in the Bible has sparked as much spiritual revival and reformation. One could argue that out of the pages of Galatians (along with Romans) Protestantism itself was born. It was while reading Galatians that Martin Luther first was touched with the glorious good news of righteousness by faith. “The Epistle to the Galatians,” he said, “is my epistle. To it [...]

Sabbath: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles
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9-23

Read for This Week’s Study:

Acts 6:9–15, 9:1–9, 1 Sam. 16:7, Matt. 7:1, Acts 11:19–21, 15:1–5.

Memory Text:

“When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18, NKJV).

It’s not that hard to understand Saul of Tarsus (also known as the apostle Paul after his conversion), and why he did what he did. As a devout Jew who was taught all his life about the importance of the law and about the soon-coming [...]