Read 1 Corinthians 1:22–24. How do these verses help us to understand the different ways people relate to truth? What can we learn here that can help us in our witnessing to various people groups?
In the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, God worked remarkable signs of providential care for Israel. Later generations of Jews developed the expectation that any new messenger sent from God should make themselves known by signs and wonders and miracles. In contrast, in line with their philosophical and scientific heritage, Greeks sought a rational basis for belief, one that would satisfy the demands of human wisdom. Paul did not dismiss the cultural and spiritual heritage of his target peoples but used it as an entry point for proclaiming Christ crucified. Those who desired signs found them in the life and ministry of Jesus and in the early church. Those who wanted logical elegance and rationality found it in Paul’s arguments for the gospel message. Both types of persons ultimately had only one need, and that was to know the risen Christ and “the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).
How Paul brought them to that knowledge depended upon the people to whom he was witnessing. When Paul preached to Jewish listeners, he based his sermons on the history of Israel, linking Christ to David, and emphasizing the Old Testament prophecies pointing to Christ and foretelling His crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 13:16–41). That is, he started out with what was familiar to them, with what they revered and believed, and from that starting point he sought to bring them to Christ. For Gentiles, Paul’s message included God as Creator, Upholder, and Judge; the entry of sin into the world; salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 14:15–17, 17:22–31). Paul had to work from a different starting point with these people than he did with the Jews (or with Gentiles who believed in the Jewish faith). Here, too, though, his goal was to lead them to Jesus.
Think about your own faith. On what is it based? What good reasons do you have for it? How might your reasons differ from those of other people, and why is it important to recognize these differences?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q3 2015 «Biblical Missionaries» Lesson 12 – Paul: Mission and Message