Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – August 30, 2015
Theme: Responses to the Word
Topic: Thessalonians and Bereans
Main Texts: Acts 17:1-15
Key Verse: Acts 17:11 – “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, as we studied the response of Saul (later Apostle Paul) to God’s word at his initial calling. We noted especially the fact that he deliberately chose not to consult the earlier apostles over God’s revelation to him.
Our key learning points from the study are:
There are God’s revelations to us as individuals which He expects us to act upon and not discuss with even those we respect.
The fact that we are acting in obedience to God’s revelation does not mean that the road will be smooth all through. Despite Paul’s obedience, he had a hard time throughout his ministry
God’s revelations to us of impending suffering may not always be with a view for us to pray that God should disallow the suffering. It may be to prepare us to go through it.
This Sunday, we will be studying how The Thessalonians and Bereans received God’s word brought to them by Paul. Key points to share with the class should include:
Just as Paul adopted a multi-pronged approach to sharing the Gospel with the diverse populations, we need to also adopt appropriate strategies as we share the Gospel with Muslims, nominal Christians and other unbelievers. The same approach may not work for every group.
It is important that our core faith and beliefs are based on God’s word and not what some respected Christian leaders tell us, or even our denomination’s specific teachings. When a brother or sister points out a Scripture truth us, we should not thenceforth ascribe the truth to the brother or the sister; it is God’s word.
Denomination-specific teachings which are well intentioned are good, but we should not present them as being Scripture teachings or at the same level with the Scriptures. If we avoid this pitfall, we would see far fewer reasons for acrimony between denominations
Apostle Paul was the one apostle specifically mandated to take the Gospel to the non-Jewish world –see Acts 9:15. His missionary journeys targeted Gentile routes, but the Gentile cities he visited also had sizeable Jewish populations. He adopted a multi-pronged approach to his Gospel outreach: He combined marketplace evangelistic outreaches – which mostly targeted the Gentiles, with synagogue-based Scripture discourses which targeted Jews and Proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism). See Acts 17:1-3, 6-17.
a) Is there a need to tailor our evangelistic outreach style to particular mind sets? If so, what would be the key differences in approach between reaching out to Muslims, nominal Christians, and traditionalists? Our key verse makes an unusual comparison between the Jews in Thessalonica and those in Berea. It uses the term “more noble character” to describe the Bereans, for the simple reason that they did not only received the message “with great eagerness”, they also “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”. One of the challenges respected Christian leaders face today is that many of their hearers accept and even quote what they teach, hardly establishing
the Bible basis for the teachings.
b) What are the dangers of holding on to specific teachings (even when such teachings are beneficial) because we heard them from respected leaders, without establishing the Scriptural basis?
c) How can Bible preachers and teachers help their hearers establish the basis of what they belief in the Scriptures rather than in their own (preacher’s/teacher’s) respectability? Just as one could erroneously hold on to, and live by teachings of individual respectable Christian leaders, it is also possible to hold on to teachings on purely denominational grounds. Actually, if all church teachings were stripped of all denomination-specific teachings, what would be left would be the pure Scripture which binds all Christians all over the world together. While many denominational teachings are sound and have a good basis, it is important that we recognise them as denomination-specific and should therefore not hinder fellowship with other Christians. Read 1 Corinthians 7:12.
d) How can we identify teachings that are based on denominational judgement rather than Scripture injunction, especially as we do not often hear the type of qualification Paul gave in 1 Corinthians 7:12 with what our denominations teach or preach?
e) Mention some denomination-specific teachings, either in your church or other churches you know, that are based on denominational judgement rather than direct Scriptural injunction. What is the appropriate way to disseminate such teachings?
Father, I commit to studying your word to know what it says so that my faith will be based on what You say and not on man’s view. Help me to apply the Scripture test to all I hear, in Jesus’ name. Amen.