Bible Study Guides – Paul

November 27, 2011 – December 3, 2011

Faith of Our Fathers

Key Text

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Philippians 3:8, 9.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 123–130; Testimonies, vol. 4, 371–380.


“A more hearty, persevering, energetic disciple of Jesus Christ than was Paul, has never been upon the earth.” The Review and Herald, September 11, 1888.


  • Although Paul does not include his own name in the list of heroes of faith, what was the background of this author of the book of Hebrews? Philippians 3:4–6.

Note: “Paul had faith before his conversion; but it was not a correct faith. His self-righteousness strengthened his faith that he was doing God’s service in rejecting Christ, and he enjoyed a restful satisfaction. False faith as well as true faith will give peacefulness for a time. Paul verily thought that he was doing God’s service when he was persecuting the followers of Christ and putting them to death. He was sincere in his belief; but sincerity will not make error truth, nor truth error.” The Review and Herald, January 5, 1886.

  • What comfort comes to all who surrender to Jesus, as Paul did? Acts 9:1–6, 17, 18.

Note: “You also may have done wrong, thinking you were perfectly right; but when time reveals your error, then it is your duty to humble the heart, and confess your sin. Fall on the Rock and be broken; then Jesus can give you a new heart, a new spirit.” The Review and Herald, December 16, 1890.


  • What was Paul’s first step immediately after his baptism? Galatians 1:15–19.

Note: “Paul’s life was in peril, and he received a commission from God to leave Damascus for a time. He went into Arabia; and there, in comparative solitude, he had ample opportunity for communion with God, and for contemplation. He wished to be alone with God, to search his own heart, to deepen his repentance, and to prepare himself by prayer and study to engage in a work which appeared to him too great and too important for him to undertake. He was an apostle, not chosen of men, but chosen of God, and his work was plainly stated to be among the Gentiles.

“While in Arabia he did not communicate with the apostles; he sought God earnestly with all his heart, determining not to rest till he knew for a certainty that his repentance was accepted, and his great sin pardoned. He would not give up the conflict until he had the assurance that Jesus would be with him in his coming ministry. He was ever to carry about with him in the body the marks of Christ’s glory, in his eyes, which had been blinded by the heavenly light, and he desired also to bear with him constantly the assurance of Christ’s sustaining grace. Paul came in close connection with Heaven, and Jesus communed with him.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 33, 34.

  • What was Paul later to declare about the residual problem with his eyes? II Corinthians 12:7–10.
  • How can we be inspired by Paul’s choice? Philippians 3:7–11; Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

Note: “Paul suffered much. He was persecuted from city to city, in perils oft, in prison, in scourging, in bonds, in fastings, in wearinesses and painful watchings, but he looked beyond the sufferings of the present time to glory beyond, and said: ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18]. This is what God would have His people do. He would have us reckon and consider the rich reward of the eternal world, that we may appreciate the privileges that are brought within our reach through the plan of salvation.” The Signs of the Times, November 18, 1889.


  • How can we summarize Paul’s aim? I Corinthians 9:24–27; Philippians 3:12–14.

Note: “He [Paul] had one aim before him, and that was, that from his lips should go forth the tidings of redemption to perishing souls, that they might be brought into acquaintance with the Redeemer of the world. His whole soul was wrapped up in Jesus, and in the light of truth received from the Source of all light. This light must be carefully cherished.” The Review and Herald, September 11, 1888.

“In all the busy activities of his life, Paul never lost sight of one great purpose—to press toward the prize of his high calling. One aim he kept steadfastly before him—to be faithful to the One who at the gate of Damascus had revealed Himself to him. From this aim nothing had power to turn him aside. To exalt the cross of Calvary—this was the all-absorbing motive that inspired his words and acts.

“The great purpose that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty should lead every Christian worker to consecrate himself wholly to God’s service. Worldly attractions will be presented to draw his attentions from the Saviour, but he is to press on toward the goal, showing to the world, to angels, and to men that the hope of seeing the face of God is worth all the effort and sacrifice that the attainment of this hope demands.” The Acts of the Apostles, 483, 484.

  • What should we consider in view of the shortness of time before us? Luke 12:27–37.

Note: “Paul counted all things but loss that he might win Christ. But when the Saviour calls for our possessions and our service, there are many who see they cannot obey God and carry their earthly treasures with them, and they decide to stay by their treasures. Jesus left all His glory, and became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. But how few of His professed followers appreciate His great sacrifice! How few are willing to follow His example! How can those who expect to stand around Christ’s throne, and to be clothed with his righteousness, distrust God, and fear that He will leave them to come to want? Where is their faith? Our heavenly Father feeds the ravens, and will He not much more feed us?” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1887.


  • What kind of life did the apostle Paul lead? II Corinthians 11:9.

Note: “Among the believers in Christ there was no one apostle who was exalted as was Paul by the revelation of the Saviour in his conversion. And Paul labored with his hands as a tentmaker. In the midst of his zeal in persecuting the Christians, Paul had been arrested by a voice and a great light from heaven. During his ministerial labors he had several visions, of which he spoke little. He saw and heard many things not lawful for a man to utter. That which was given him as a special revelation from God was not at all times dwelt upon when he spoke to the people. But the impression was ever with him, enabling him to give a correct representation of the Christian life and character. The impression made upon his mind by the revelation of Christ never lost its force. It influenced his estimation and delineation of Christian character.

“The history of the apostle Paul is a constant testimony that manual labor cannot be degrading, that it is not inconsistent with true elevation of character. Paul worked day and night to avoid being a burden to his brethren, and at times he supported his fellow workers, he himself suffering from hunger in order to relieve the necessities of others. His toil-worn hands, as he presented them before the people, bore testimony that he was not chargeable to any man for his support. They detracted nothing, he deemed, from the force of his pathetic appeals, sensible, intelligent, and eloquent beyond those of any other man who had acted a part in the Christian ministry.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 31, 1901.

  • What does Paul teach us about true Christian ministry? II Corinthians 11:22–28.

Note: “We need men in these last days who are ever awake. Minutemen are wanted who are sincere in their love for the truth and willing to labor at a sacrifice if they can advance the cause of God and save precious souls. Men are wanted in this work who will not murmur or complain at hardships or trials, knowing that this is a part of the legacy that Jesus has left them. They should be willing to go without the camp and suffer reproach and bear burdens as good soldiers of Christ. They will bear the cross of Christ without complaint, without murmuring or fretfulness, and will be patient in tribulation.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 423.


  • Why should we be inspired by Paul’s level of consecration? Philippians 4:11–13.

Note: “Let the great purpose that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty lead you to consecrate yourselves wholly to God’s service.” The Review and Herald, December 29, 1910.

  • Foreseeing his soon martyrdom, what did Paul declare? II Timothy 1:11–13; 4:6–8.

Note: “The apostle [Paul] had carefully guarded himself, that he should not betray any murmuring, or make any appeal to his own sympathies. But, for the benefit of those who should follow Christ, he was determined to leave an example worthy of imitation. … He desired that Timothy should heartily believe, and carefully meditate upon the sufferings, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, of Christ, and find in the mission of Jesus sufficient support under all trials in the Christian life, that he might be able to endure all for Christ’s sake. For if the Master of the house had to suffer trial and persecution, shall not they of his household?” The Review and Herald, September 11, 1888.


1 Whom do I know that may yet be changed as Paul was on the road to Damascus?

2 In seeking to be a soul winner, have I yet undergone the “Arabia retreat” of which Paul recognized the need?

3 What things may be now distracting me from the noblest aim I should have?

4 Why should I be thankful for manual labor, even if I would prefer to do something else?

5 In what aspects of my life do I need greater dedication to God’s service?

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.