“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22, 23, NIV).
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19–23, NIV. Modern missiology applies the term “contextualization” to Paul’s mission methods stated here. Contextualization is defined as “attempts to communicate the Gospel in word and deed and to establish the church in ways that make sense to people within their local cultural context, presenting Christianity in such a way that it meets people’s deepest needs and penetrates their worldview, thus allowing them to follow Christ and remain within their own culture.”—Darrell L. Whiteman, “Contextualization: The Theory, the Gap, the Challenge,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, vol. 21 (January 1997): p. 2.
“The Jewish Christians living within sight of the temple naturally allowed their minds to revert to the peculiar privileges of the Jews as a nation. When they saw the Christian church departing from the ceremonies and traditions of Judaism, and perceived that the peculiar sacredness with which the Jewish customs had been invested would soon be lost sight of in the light of the new faith, many grew indignant with Paul as the one who had, in a large measure, caused this change. Even the disciples were not all prepared to accept willingly the decision of the council. Some were zealous for the ceremonial law, and they regarded Paul with disfavor because they thought that his principles in regard to the obligations of the Jewish law were lax.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 197.
1- Read 1 Corinthians 9:20. What lessons can we draw from these words that can help us to understand and contextualize how we do mission, or even how we can do personal ministry and witness?
2- Despite Paul’s sinful, even shameful, past, God forgave Paul and used him in a mighty way. How can we learn to forgive ourselves for what we might have done and, claiming the righteousness of Christ as our own, seek to be used mightily of Him, as well?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q3 2015 «Biblical Missionaries» Lesson 11 – Paul: Background and Call