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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 49: Paul Begins His Final Missionary Journey

This entry is part 49 of 50 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 49: Paul Begins His Final Missionary Journey

Weekly memory verse:

Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Weekly hymn:

“Look, Ye Saints, the Sight Is Glorious” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit you?
Christ is my advocate in heaven before his Father and my certain promise that he will take me up to himself.

Day 241: The Fool’s Folly

Reading: Proverbs 26–27

Notes

Proverb 26, Verse 4. According to his folly. When addressing a fool (an unbeliever), he should not be given the impression that his presuppositions are correct, lest he think he is right.

Verse 11. Vomit. Peter quotes this Proverb in 2 Peter 2:22.

Verse 17. Dog. Dogs were not domesticated in ancient times.

Proverbs 27, Verse 14. Loud voice. In other words, mere flattery.

Verse 22. Mortar . . . pestle. Utensils used to crush grain into powder.

Summary

The progressive deterioration of a fool like is incongruent aspects of the natural order and will move from bad to worse. A wise person, on the other hand, think before he speaks, benefits from the sharpening of others, and will be blessed.

Discussion Questions

  1. What kinds of pictures does the Proverb use to describe the fool?
  2. What are characteristics of a wise person?
  3. What are some blessings a wise person can expect to enjoy?
READ
Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 46: The Persecution of the Early Church and Spread of the Gospel

Day 242: The Wicked Condemned

Reading: Proverbs 28–29

Notes

Proverb 28, Verse 8. Interest. The law prohibited Jews from charging interest to other Jews (Deut 23:19–20).

Verse 21. Piece of bread. A small bribe.

Proverb 20, Verse 13. Give light to the eyes. This literally means to give life.

Summary

Wicked people’s lives are characterized by injustice and immorality. But they will ultimately receive the fruit of the own wicked actions, eternal condemnation.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are specific acts of injustice described in these proverbs?
  2. How do wicked acts result in condemnation for the wicked?
  3. How are the actions of righteous people contrasted with those of the wicked in these proverbs?

Day 243: Paul Completes His Second Missionary Journey

Reading: Acts 18:1–28, Proverbs 30

Notes

Acts 18, Verse 1. Corinth. This was the most important commercial and political city in Greece.

Verse 2. Aquilla . . . Priscilla. This couple was probably part of the church in Rome.

Verse 11. A year and six months. This was Paul’s longest stay in one city except for Ephesus (20:31) and Rome (28:30).

Verse 19. Ephesus. This was the most important city in Asia Minor.

Verse 22. Went up. Because Jerusalem was elevated, this indicates that Paul visited in the church at Jerusalem before heading to Antioch. This ended his second missionary journey.

Proverb 30. This is a collection of proverbs likely written by a student of Solomon.

Summary

Paul strategically chose important cities for his missionary endeavors, seeking to establish churches in these cities that would then continue evangelizing the area. Yet ultimately, it was God who had chosen many people in those cities, and he worked sovereignly to lead Paul and save key individuals for the foundation of these churches.

READ
Moses, Reproach, and Suffering for Christ

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Paul choose Corinth and Ephesus to minister in?
  2. How were Aquilla and Priscilla helpful in Paul’s missionary work?
  3. How do the events in this chapter illustrate human responsibility and God’s sovereignty in evangelism?

Day 244: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey

Reading: Acts 19:1–41

Notes

Verse 1. Paul passed through. Paul’s third missionary journey began after he left Antioch in Acts 8:22.

Verse 6. Holy Spirit. Tongues and prophecy once again served to confirm that these converts were part of the church.

Verse 14. Sceva. There is no record of such a Jewish high priest, so he may have assumed this title falsely.

Verse 21. Spirit. Probably Paul’s spirit, not the Holy Spirit (the Greek word for “spirit” is the same as “Spirit”).

Summary

The power of the gospel to save is clearly evident during Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. The gospel has power to convert sinners and join them to Christ’s body; it has power to sanctify new converts, causing them to reject their former sinful life; and it has power such that the unbelieving community will notice the life-transforming change that occurs for someone who trusts Christ.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why was it important for God to confirm that the Ephesian converts were truly part of the church?
  2. What are some evidences that the new Ephesian converts were truly saved?
  3. Why were the unbelieving people of Ephesus upset?

Day 245: Paul’s Letter to the Corinthian Church

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1–2:31, 13:1–13

Notes

Chapter 1, Verse 1. Sosthenes. Probably a former leader of the Corinthians synagogue who was converted and became Paul’s personal secretary (Acts 18:12–17). This letter was probably written while Paul was in Ephesus, during his third missionary journey.

READ
Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 14: Samson

Verse 11. Chloe. Probably a prominent member of the Corinthian church who had visited Paul in Ephesus and told him of divisions in the Corinthian church.

Summary

In Paul’s recounting of the power of the gospel among the Corinthians, he reveals that he did not come to them seeking to appeal to their preferences or in any way that changed the message of the gospel. Rather, he preached to them the clear gospel, which was actually a stumbling block to natural people, both Jews and Greeks. And yet that same gospel penetrated the hearts of some, bringing them to faith in Christ and into the unity of the body.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why was Paul thankful for the Corinthian believers?
  2. Why does God choose to use weak things to bring unbelievers to faith in Christ?
  3. What is the nature of true, biblical love?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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