30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 10

Faith Church May 1, 2004 Acts 1:8

Overview: chapter 18 in your books and look at the epistles


I.  The Missions Era


Story Line summary:  Paul expands the Church into the Roman Empire during the next two decades.


INPUT:  What do you know about the Roman Empire that made the spread of information much easier.  (Pax Romana—Peace of Roman, the common language established by the Greeks, the infrastructure of Roads that the Romans built, and the iron clad control that Rome exercised over her provinces that made peace)


It is within that setting that Paul launches out on his first missionary journey

A.  First Missionary Journey (Show Transparency)

(May want to peruse Acts 13-14)

In Paul’s first missionary journey, he and Barnabas are selected by the Holy Spirit to Travel to Galatia and take the gospel to Gentiles living there.

They depart from Antioch, the point of departure for all three missionary journeys, and are in Galatia for two years, experiencing encouraging results.

After they return to Jerusalem, a council is held amid much controversy, which determines that the Gentiles do not have to become Jewish in addition to becoming Christians.

Since we will be covering epistles during today’s lesson let me just mention that after he visited these churches and prior to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 he most likely wrote to these churches and that is where we get the epistle of Galatians:  INPUT:  What do you know about the book of Galatians?


B.  Second Missionary Journey  (Show Transparency)

Paul leaves from Antioch to visit the believers from his first journey.

 However, he receives a vision of a man in Macedonia (Greece) and changes his plans, going to Greece with the gospel message for the Gentiles there.

 He travels in Greece for three years.


(Go over what happened at Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Berea, Athens, then founded the church at Corinth —Acts 16-17)

Probably 1 & 2 Thessalonians were written shortly after Paul was chased off from Thessalonica:

INPUT:  What do you remember about what the Thessalonians were struggling with?


D.  Third Missionary Journey (Show Transparency)

Again, Paul leaves to encourage the believers from his first two trips and to spread the message of the gospel into Asia.

He has  great success and great opposition.

In Ephesus, the whole city breaks out in riot over his visit.

Though Paul is warned that he will be imprisoned upon his return to Jerusalem, he returns anyway after being in Asia for four years, and is immediately arrested

After ministering at Corinth he then writes back and answers some of their questions and confronts them on some issues –1 & 2 Corinthians

Also he shoots off a letter to the Roman Christians telling them of his desire to come visit them.

INPUT:  After this trip Paul heads back to Jerusalem, not the home base Antioch.  Does anyone remember why?  --  Delivery of an offering for the suffering Jewish Christians in Jerusalem—Famine, Romans 15:25-29; 2 Cor 8 & 9)



E.  Trials and Imprisonment (Show Transparency)

Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have Paul arrested on false charges.  Since his life is threatened there, even under guard, he is moved to Caesarea, the Roman capital in the area.

 There, he is tried under three men:  Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.  In order to thwart a miscarriage of justice in the process, Paul exercises his right as a Roman citizen to take his case before Caesar in Rome.

He is taken to Rome, but his case never comes to trial.  After being in a Roman prison for two years, it is said he was beheaded (the established means of execution for a Roman citizen.

Now, it is very interesting that Paul always wanted to go to Rome and he had made plans often to but those plans never materialized (Romans 1:13)

Now, God does allow him to go, but he goes to Rome as a prisoner!


(Read Acts 28:30-- And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him,  Phil 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.


In Prison, at Rome Paul writes the Prison epistles, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon & Philippians


INPUT:  What can we learn from how God got Paul to Rome?


II.  Epistles

Epistles are letters written to churches (as we have seen in Paul’s missionary Journeys, individuals, or in some cases, general letters to the Christian public at large.  They deal with specific problems and issues of the day but do so in a way that the information is universal and timeless.  The typical pattern of an epistle is to write a section of doctrinal truth and following up with the practical implications of that truth.  (Rom 1-11, then Rom 12-16;  Eph 1-3, then Eph 4-6).  Doctrine, then duty.  Principle, then practice



Now, let’s see how well you remember your epistles quiz them over pp. 148-149  (if you have time be creative and make this into a game)


If time ask:  INPUT:  What is your favorite epistle and why?

Faith Church