The apostle Paul has been compared with the butterfly effect in chaos theory: that “the flap of a butterfly’s wings in California causes a hurricane in Asia.” His work as a writer and preacher helped turn a Jewish sect in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire into a world religion. The ideas put forth in his 13 letters have probably exerted greater influence than any other ancient Greek literature of comparable size.
1- Paul avoided martyrdom by fleeing to Athens, the intellectual center of the Greco-Roman world. Cities provide shelter for refugees, including Christians. The apostle lost no time; after observing the city’s religious monuments, he reasoned with the Jews and preached in the marketplace. Read Acts 17:16–31. What approach does Paul take with these people, and how does it help us to understand the need to tailor the message for various people groups? At the same time, look at how Paul did not in any way water down or compromise truth in order to reach these people. In our attempts to reach others, how can we be certain that we don’t compromise core beliefs?
2- Why is the state of the dead such an important teaching? What are some of the many errors and deceptions that an understanding of this truth protects us against? What about your own culture? What are some of the beliefs against which this truth can be a bulwark?
3- Dwell more on the question of the role of signs in regard to faith and the role of logic and reason, as well. In class, let those who are willing talk about how they came to faith and what role such factors as signs or logic, and so on, had in their experiences. Also, what role should they have, not just in coming to faith but in maintaining faith?
4- What about the majority of people in your society? What kind of background do they have? What kind of beliefs are the most common? Based on your understanding of their beliefs and background, think through carefully the best approach to reach out to them. What are some entering wedges that will allow you to make contact in a way that will not immediately offend them?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q3 2015 «Biblical Missionaries» Lesson 12 – Paul: Mission and Message