For further study on the issue of unity and diversity in the church, read Ellen G. White, “Investigation of New Light,” pp. 45, 47, in Counsels to Writers and Editors; “An Explanation of Early Statements,” p. 75, in Selected Messages, book 1; “Tactfulness,” pp. 117–119, in Gospel Workers; and “Manuscript Release 898,” pp. 1092, 1093, in1888 Materials, vol. 3.
“Even the best of men, if left to themselves, will make grave blunders. The more responsibilities placed upon the human agent, the higher his position to dictate and control, the more mischief he [...]
The Unity of the Gospel October 15, 2011
Key Thought: The church was in danger of losing its understanding of the gospel because of dependence on Jewish traditions that opposed faith in Christ’s work.
1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 2:3-5
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Why were the Jews so concerned about the Gentiles being circumcised?
C. Personal Application: What challenge does the SDA [...]
The situation in Antioch surely was tense: Paul and Peter, two leaders in the church, were in open conflict. And Paul holds nothing back as he calls Peter to account for his behavior.
What reasons does Paul give for publicly confronting Peter? Gal. 2:11–14.
As Paul saw it, the problem was not that Peter had decided to eat with the visitors from Jerusalem. Ancient traditions about hospitality certainly would have required as much.
The issue was “the truth of the gospel.” That is, it wasn’t [...]
“Live in harmony with one another…” Romans 12:16, NIV
I enjoy concerts. I marvel at how many different instruments in an orchestra can blend together to produce something of great power and beauty. I also thrill at the many different voices that blend together to produce the majestic strains of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Whether it is a barbershop quartet or a college choir, the interplay of basses and tenors with altos and sopranos weaves a tapestry more vivid than any skilled [...]
I have about as many bones as the average adult female does, and that’s enough for me. Some of those 206 bones are long and narrow, some are short and stubby.
They attach to other bones by various means. Some of them are “fused” together. Others fit together by means of a hinge. And I just read that the bone that keeps our tongue in place doesn’t work with any other bones but is controlled entirely by muscles and ligaments.
Still, a [...]
Some time after Paul’s consultation in Jerusalem, Peter made a visit to Antioch in Syria, the location of the first Gentile church and the base of Paul’s missionary activities described in Acts. While there, Peter ate freely with the Gentile Christians, but when a group of Jewish Christians arrived from James, Peter—fearful of what they would think—changed his behavior entirely.
Why should Peter have known better? Compare Gal. 2:11–13 and Acts 10:28. What does his action tell us about just how powerfully ingrained culture and tradition can [...]
Read Galatians 2:1–10. Paul says that the false brothers “slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery”(Gal. 2:4, ESV). What are Christians free from? Read ; Rom. 6:6, 7; 8:2, 3; Gal. 3:23–25; 4:7, 8; Heb. 2:14, 15. How do we experience for ourselves the reality of this freedom?
Freedom, as a description of the Christian experience, is an important concept for Paul. He used the word more frequently than any other author in the New Testament did, [...]
Why was circumcision such a focal point in the dispute between Paul and certain Jewish Christians? See Gen. 17:1–22; Gal. 2:3–5; 5:2, 6; Acts 15:1, 5. Why is it not that hard to understand how some could have believed that even the Gentiles needed to undergo it?
Circumcision was the sign of the covenant relationship that God established with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. Although circumcision was only for Abraham’s male descendants, everyone was invited into the covenant relationship with God. The sign of circumcision [...]
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–13. What does this passage tell us about how important Paul believed unity in the church was?
Having refuted the allegations that his gospel was not God-given, Paul directs his attention in Galatians 2:1, 2 to another charge being made against him. The false teachers in Galatia claimed that Paul’s gospel was not in harmony with what Peter and the other apostles taught. Paul, they were saying, was a renegade.
In response to this charge, Paul recounts a trip he made to [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 2:1–14, 1 Cor. 1:10–13, Gen. 17:1–21, John 8:31–36, Col. 3:11.
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2, NKJV).
Protestant reformer John Calvin believed that disunity and division were the devil’s chief device against the church, and he warned that Christians should avoid schism like the plague.
But should unity be preserved at the cost of truth? Imagine if Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, [...]