Monday: A Pagan Response to Rome
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

The pagan response to the powerlessness many Thessalonians felt was a spiritual movement scholars call the Cabirus cult. The cult was grounded in a man named Cabirus who spoke up for the disenfranchised and was eventually murdered by his two brothers. He was buried along with symbols of royalty, and the cult came to treat him as a martyred hero.

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The lower classes believed that Cabirus had exhibited miraculous powers while alive. They also believed [...]

Sunday: The Romans Arrive in Thessalonica
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Read John 11:48-50. How were the political and religious decisions regarding the ministry of Jesus impacted by the arrival of the Romans in first-century Palestine and Jerusalem? Think through the logic expressed here. In what frightening ways does it make sense?

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In the context of a civil war among the Greek city-states, the Thessalonians invited the Romans to take over their city and protect it from local enemies around 168 b.c. The Romans rewarded Thessalonica for [...]

Sabbath: Thessalonica in Paul’s Day
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Read for This Week’s Study: John 11:48-50, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Cor. 9:19-27, John 3:3-8, 1 Cor. 16:19.

Memory Text: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19, NIV).

Key Thought: A short study of the context of ancient Thessalonica demonstrates that Paul’s approach to the citizens of Thessalonica was unique and carefully crafted.

The primary focus of this lesson will be a summary of what history, literature, and archaeology tells us about Thessalonica.

This [...]

Further Study: Preserving Relationships
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“If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful(emphasis supplied), there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one. But, though professing to be converted, we carry around with us a bundle of self that we regard as altogether too precious to be given up. It is our privilege to lay this burden at the feet of Christ and in its place take the character and similitude of [...]

Inside Story: Lighthouse on an Island
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Laura and Paulo live in town on the island of Madeira in the Mediterranean Sea. Paolo had once been an Adventist, but he had stopped attending church before he married. However he often read from Acts of the Apostles, a book he treasured.

One day an Adventist pastor visited them. Laura and Paulo were pleased, and the pastor continued visiting every week, even though the roads were treacherous and no other Adventists lived nearby.

The family began attending the only church on [...]

The Messiah in Prophecy
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Several years ago, I was showing a set of Christian books to a lady. There were several hardbound books in the set, which also included beautiful art work. The lady loved the books, and asked how much they were. I told her, “Four-twenty-nine.” She was delighted, and exclaimed, “Is that all!” I said, “Yes.” I  went on to explain the payment plans, of cash, credit card, or down payment of 15% and then 12 monthly payments. She looked confused, and [...]

Battlefield
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Many of us, because of the time and place in which we’ve grown up, have never seen an actual, active battlefield. I am one of those people. All I know of battles, I have learned from movies and TV, and as realistic as those may try to be, they are not like really being there…thank goodness.

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But we forget that we all are in the middle of, not just a battle, but a war. Satan [...]

02: Preserving Relationships – Thought Starters
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A journey through time

“Would you look at that? A perfect illustration of the god particle.” Fred held up the second week’s lesson of the Bible Study Guide and pointed to the picture of two hands reaching for each other.

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“Whatever are you talking about?” Sherry said, her eyebrows lifting toward her hairline. “Whatever in the world does the god particle have to do with the lesson this week?”

Fred folded back the pages [...]

Thursday: Paul Reveals His Heart
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Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:10. What does this passage tell us about Paul’s emotional attachment and relationship to these believers? What can we learn from it regarding how we should relate with those to whom we minister?

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Paul’s depth of thought and confrontational tone (see, for example, Gal. 1:6, 7; 3:1-4; 4:9-11) sometimes make him appear dismissive of feelings and personal relationships. But this delightful interlude in 1 Thessalonians shows otherwise. He was an intensely relational evangelist along the lines of the Great [...]

Wednesday: Arrival in Corinth
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Acts 18:1-18 contains two major intersections with secular history. The first is the expulsion of the Jews from Rome during the reign of Claudius (Acts 18:2). Information from extra-biblical sources locates this event in A.D. 49. The other major intersection is the mention of the proconsul Gallio (Acts 18:12). Because proconsuls in Corinth were appointed for one-year terms, information from inscriptions and other data accurately dates Gallio’s term of office to a.d. 50-51. Critical scholars often doubt the historicity of [...]

02: Preserving Relationships – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought : Evangelism is not just a mere acceptance of Christian beliefs. The whole life – physical, mental, and emotional is involved in our Christian faith..

[Teaching plan for "Preserving Relationships" July 9, 2012]

1. Have a volunteer read Acts 17:5-9.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. In what ways as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, both positive and negative, do our lives affect the people we interact with from [...]

Tuesday: Interlude in Athens
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According to Acts 17:14-16, Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea while Paul was escorted to Athens. Paul instructed his escorts to have Silas and Timothy join him in Athens, but there is no mention of their doing so. On the other hand, in 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 2, we learn that Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica from Athens. So Timothy, at least, seems to have joined him there for a short time.

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When speaking to [...]