Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 1:1–11, 2:14–41, 17:15–34, 18:1–16, 1 Corinthians 13.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV).
Soon after Christ returned to heaven, the early church began to expand and grow. At first, it almost was exclusively Jews who were accepting Jesus as the Messiah and coming into the ranks of believers. Indeed, at first, many of the believers thought that the gospel was only for the Jews, which showed how much they still had to learn.
At Pentecost, after Peter’s preaching and altar call before a multitude of Jews (Acts 2), “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). This text alone shows the fallacy of the idea that all the Jews rejected Jesus.
Yet, we would be mistaken to look back on the early church as some sort of idyllic time of worship and praise. Though in a radically different context, the early church struggled with some of the same issues we struggle with today, issues that could and would impact everything about their faith, including worship.
This week we will take a look at a few instances from the early days of Christianity and some of the challenges the church faced as it grew and seek to learn from the good things and, also, from the bad.
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 17.