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.”
“Look, Ye Saints, the Sight Is Glorious” (free download)
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
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.
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.
- What kinds of pictures does the Proverb use to describe the fool?
- What are characteristics of a wise person?
- What are some blessings a wise person can expect to enjoy?
Day 242: The Wicked Condemned
Reading: Proverbs 28–29
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.
Wicked people’s lives are characterized by injustice and immorality. But they will ultimately receive the fruit of the own wicked actions, eternal condemnation.
- What are specific acts of injustice described in these proverbs?
- How do wicked acts result in condemnation for the wicked?
- 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
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.
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.
- Why did Paul choose Corinth and Ephesus to minister in?
- How were Aquilla and Priscilla helpful in Paul’s missionary work?
- 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
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”).
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.
- Why was it important for God to confirm that the Ephesian converts were truly part of the church?
- What are some evidences that the new Ephesian converts were truly saved?
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- Why was Paul thankful for the Corinthian believers?
- Why does God choose to use weak things to bring unbelievers to faith in Christ?
- What is the nature of true, biblical love?