Bible Study Guides – Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens

January 25, 2015 – January 31, 2015

Key Text

“As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” I Thessalonians 2:4.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 228–242.


“The messengers of Christ must arm themselves with watchfulness and prayer, and move forward with faith, firmness, and courage, and, in the name of Jesus, keep at their work, as did the apostles. They must sound the note of warning to the world, teaching the transgressors of the law what sin is, and pointing them to Jesus Christ as its great and only remedy.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 86.


  • What victories for Christ were achieved through Paul upon his first arrival in Thessalonica, another Macedonian city? Acts 17:1–4.
  • What should we learn from the way some unbelieving Jews made trouble for the believers? What accusation was brought against the apostles? Acts 17:5–8; I Peter 4:12–16.

Note: “Those who preach unpopular truth in our day meet with determined resistance, as did the apostles. They need expect no more favorable reception from a large majority of professed Christians than did Paul from his Jewish brethren. There will be a union of opposing elements against them; for however diverse from each other different organizations may be in their sentiments and religious faith, their forces are united in trampling under foot the fourth commandment in the law of God.

“Those who will not themselves accept the truth are most zealous that others shall not receive it; and those are not wanting who perseveringly manufacture falsehoods, and stir up the base passions of the people to make the truth of God of none effect.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 86.


  • Despite the false claims against him, how did Paul describe his actual manner of preaching the gospel in Thessalonica? I Thessalonians 2:1–8. Why could his time in that city be considered a success? I Thessalonians 1:5–10.

Note: “Paul was an Adventist; he presented the important event of the second coming of Christ with such power and reasoning that a deep impression, which never wore away, was made upon the minds of the Thessalonians.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 83.

  • What observation was made about the Jews in Berea, the city to which the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night? How can the Bereans be an inspiration to us today? Acts 17:10–12.

Note: “The minds of the Bereans were not narrowed by prejudice, and they were willing to investigate and receive the truths preached by the apostles. If the people of our time would follow the example of the noble Bereans, in searching the Scriptures daily, and in comparing the messages brought to them with what is there recorded, there would be thousands loyal to God’s law where there is one today.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 88.

“Like the noble Bereans, we should search the Scriptures carefully, prayerfully, to become acquainted with the utterances of God. We should inquire, not what the minister, the church, or some personal friend may say, but what the Lord says.” The Signs of the Times, November 26, 1885.

  • Hearing that many of the Jews of Berea were deeply impressed by the truth, what action did the unbelieving Jews of Thessalonica take? Acts 17:13.

Note: “The unbelieving Jews of Thessalonica, filled with jealousy and hatred of the apostles, and not content with having driven them from their labors among the Thessalonians, followed them to Berea, and again stirred up the excitable passions of the lower class to do them violence. The teachers of the truth were again driven from their field of labor. Persecution followed them from city to city.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 88.


  • Because of the persecution in Thessalonica, what did the brethren decide to do with Paul? Acts 17:14, 15.

Note: “The faithful apostle steadily pressed on through opposition, conflict, and persecution, to carry out the purpose of God as revealed to him in the vision at Jerusalem: ‘I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles’ (Acts 22:21).” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 88, 89.

  • How did Paul feel, waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens? Acts 17:16.

Note: “The city of Athens was the metropolis of heathendom. Paul did not here meet with an ignorant, credulous populace, as at Lystra; but he encountered a people famous for their intelligence and education. …

“As Paul looked upon the beauty and grandeur surrounding him, and saw the city crowded with idols, his spirit was stirred with jealousy for God, whom he saw dishonored on every side.

“His heart was drawn out in deep pity for the citizens of that grand metropolis, who, notwithstanding their intellectual greatness, were given to idolatry. …

“As he saw the magnificence of the city, with its costly devices, he realized its seductive power over the minds of the lovers of art and science. His mind was deeply impressed with the importance of the work before him in Athens. His solitude in that great city where God was not worshiped was oppressive; and he longed for the sympathy and aid of his fellow-laborers. As far as human fellowship was concerned, he felt himself to be utterly isolated. In his Epistle to the Thessalonians he expresses his feelings in these words: ‘Left at Athens alone’ (I Thessalonians 3:1).

“Paul’s work was to bear the tidings of salvation to a people who had no intelligent understanding of God and His plans. He was not traveling for the purpose of sight-seeing, nor to gratify a morbid desire for new and strange scenes. His dejection of mind was caused by the apparently insurmountable obstacles which presented themselves against his reaching the minds of the people of Athens.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 89, 90.

  • What challenge did Paul face before these highly philosophical Greeks? I Corinthians 1:22.


  • Why was Paul a source of curiosity in Athens? Acts 17:17–21.

Note: “The religion of the Athenians, of which they made great boast, was of no value, for it was destitute of the knowledge of the true God. It consisted, in great part, of art worship, and a round of dissipating amusement and festivities. It wanted the virtue of true goodness. Genuine religion gives men the victory over themselves; but a religion of mere intellect and taste is wanting in the qualities essential to raise its possessor above the evils of his nature, and to connect him with God. …

“Some who prided themselves upon the extent of their intellectual culture entered into conversation with him. This soon drew a crowd of listeners about them. Some were prepared to ridicule the apostle as one far beneath them, socially and intellectually. …

“The Stoics and the Epicureans encountered him; but they, and all others who came in contact with him, soon saw that he had a store of knowledge even greater than their own.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 91, 92.

  • What reasoning did Paul use in his appeal? Acts 17:22–31.

Note: “Inspiration has given us this glance at the life of the Athenians, with all their knowledge, refinement, and art, yet sunken in vice, that it might be seen how God, through His servant, rebuked idolatry, and the sins of a proud, self-sufficient people. The words of Paul become a memorial of the occasion, and give a treasure of knowledge to the church. He was in a position where he might easily have spoken that which would irritate his proud listeners, and bring himself into difficulty. Had his oration been a direct attack upon their gods, and the great men of the city who were before him, he would have been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates. But he carefully drew their minds away from heathen deities, by revealing to them the true God, whom they were endeavoring to worship, but Who was to them unknown, as they themselves confessed by a public inscription.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 97.

  • Describe the response of nearly all the hearers, and the result. Acts 17:32, 33. Who were two of the exceptions named? Acts 17:34.


  • Why couldn’t the Athenians understand Paul? I Corinthians 2:12–14. What principle did Jesus explain in this regard? John 7:17.
  • As ancient Greek values and philosophies still permeate today’s social and educational systems, what must we keep in mind? 1 Corinthians 3:18–20; 8:1; Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

Note: “Christian knowledge bears its own stamp of unmeasured superiority in all that concerns the preparation for the future, immortal life. It distinguishes the Bible reader and believer, who has been receiving the precious treasures of truth, from the skeptic and the believer in pagan philosophy.

“Cleave to the word, ‘It is written.’ Cast out of the mind the dangerous, obtrusive theories which, if entertained, will hold the mind in bondage, so that man shall not become a new creature in Christ. The mind must be constantly restrained and guarded. It must be given as food only that which will strengthen the religious experience.” The Review and Herald, November 10, 1904.

“Study not the philosophy of man’s conjectures, but study the philosophy of Him Who is truth. Other literature is of little value when compared with this.

“The mind that is earthly finds no pleasure in contemplating the word of God; but for the mind renewed by the Holy Spirit, divine beauty and celestial light shine from the sacred page. That which is to the earthly mind a desolate wilderness, to the spiritual mind becomes a land of living streams.” The Signs of the Times, October 10, 1906.


1 What sad result must be expected by all who proclaim unpopular truth?

2 How are the noble Bereans to be an example for us today?

3 In what ways are the ideologies of Athens repeated in our time?

4 Explain the caution of Paul while addressing the Athenian idolaters.

5 What is to be our safeguard in today’s era when paganism is so rampant?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Souls Are Crying for Truth

January 18, 2015 – January 24, 2015

Key Text

“A vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” Acts 16:9.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 188–197.


“The Lord calls for volunteers who will take their stand firmly on His side, and will pledge themselves to unite with Jesus of Nazareth in doing the very work that needs to be done now, just now.” Messages to Young People, 198.


  • What item was foremost on the agenda of what was essentially a general conference meeting of the early church? Acts 15:1–6.

Note: “The Gentiles, and especially the Greeks, were extremely licentious, and there was danger that some, unconverted in heart, would make a profession of faith without renouncing their evil practices. The Jewish Christians could not tolerate the immorality that was not even regarded as criminal by the heathen. The Jews therefore held it as highly proper that circumcision and the observance of the ceremonial law should be enjoined on the Gentile converts as a test of their sincerity and devotion. This, they believed, would prevent the addition to the church of those who, adopting the faith without true conversion of heart, might afterward bring reproach upon the cause by immorality and excess.

“The various points involved in the settlement of the main question at issue seemed to present before the council insurmountable difficulties. But the Holy Spirit had, in reality, already settled this question, upon the decision of which seemed to depend the prosperity, if not the very existence, of the Christian church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 192.

  • Amid the disputing, what were Peter’s comments on the matter? Acts 15:7–11.


  • What news did Paul and Barnabas report at the meeting in Jerusalem? Acts 15:12. What should we learn from the way James, as chairman, then applied those news into forming a resolution? Acts 15:13–21.

Note: “The Holy Spirit saw good not to impose the ceremonial law on the Gentile converts, and the mind of the apostles regarding this matter was as the mind of the Spirit of God. James presided at the council, and his final decision was, ‘Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God’ (Acts 15:19).

“This ended the discussion. In this instance we have a refutation of the doctrine held by the Roman Catholic Church that Peter was the head of the church. Those who, as popes, have claimed to be his successors, have no Scriptural foundation for their pretensions. Nothing in the life of Peter gives sanction to the claim that he was elevated above his brethren as the vicegerent of the Most High. If those who are declared to be the successors of Peter had followed his example, they would always have been content to remain on an equality with their brethren.” The Acts of the Apostles, 194, 195.

  • With what conclusion did the assembly agree? Acts 15:22–31. Why was it so important that even Gentile Christians should abstain from consuming the blood of animals? Genesis 9:1–4; Leviticus 3:17.

Note: “The entire body of Christians was not called to vote upon the question [whether to enforce the ceremonial law upon the Gentiles]. The ‘apostles and elders,’ men of influence and judgment, framed and issued the decree, which was thereupon generally accepted by the Christian churches. Not all, however, were pleased with the decision; there was a faction of ambitious and self-confident brethren who disagreed with it. These men assumed to engage in the work on their own responsibility. They indulged in much murmuring and faultfinding, proposing new plans and seeking to pull down the work of the men whom God had ordained to teach the gospel message. From the first the church has had such obstacles to meet and ever will have till the close of time.” The Acts of the Apostles, 196, 197.

  • When the time came for all to return to their respective fields of labor, what triggered a dispute between Paul and Barnabas? Acts 15:36–38.


  • What task did Paul soon undertake together with Silas, and who was the youth that Paul soon added to their company? Acts 15:39–41; 16:1–3.
  • Why did Paul feel impressed to go to Philippi in Macedonia? Acts 16:9–12. In what sense does this “Macedonian cry” echo down even to our day? John 4:35; Isaiah 6:8.

Note: “All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” The Acts of the Apostles, 109.

“God will accept many more workers from the humble walks of life if they will fully consecrate themselves to His service. Men and women should be coming up to carry the truth into all the highways and byways of life. Not all can go through a long course of education, but if they are consecrated to God and learn of Him, many can without this do much to bless others. Thousands would be accepted if they would give themselves to God. Not all who labor in this line should depend upon the conferences for support. Let those who can do so give their time and what ability they have, let them be messengers of God’s grace, their hearts throbbing in unison with Christ’s great heart of love, their ears open to hear the Macedonian cry.” The Southern Work, 16, 17.

  • How are we, in our busy generation, to be inspired by the way Lydia proved to be a blessing to the apostles? Acts 16:14, 15, 40; I Peter 4:9.

Note: “Lydia … and her household were converted and baptized, and she entreated the apostles to make her house their home.” The Acts of the Apostles, 212.

“Among our own people the opportunity of showing hospitality is not regarded as it should be, as a privilege and blessing. There is altogether too little sociability, too little of a disposition to make room for two or three more at the family board, without embarrassment or parade. Some plead that ‘it is too much trouble.’ It would not be if you would say: ‘We have made no special preparation, but you are welcome to what we have.’ By the unexpected guest a welcome is appreciated far more than is the most elaborate preparation.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 343.


  • Why were Paul and Silas cast into prison, and how were they treated? Acts 16:16–24. What did they do there? Acts 16:25.

Note: “[While in the Philippian dungeon] the apostles were left in a very painful condition. Their lacerated and bleeding backs were in contact with the rough stone floor, while their feet were elevated and bound fast in the stocks. In this unnatural position they suffered extreme torture; yet they did not groan nor complain, but conversed with and encouraged each other and praised God with grateful hearts that they were found worthy to suffer shame for His dear name. Paul was reminded of the persecution he had been instrumental in heaping upon the disciples of Christ, and he was devoutly thankful that his eyes had been opened to see, and his heart to feel, the glorious truths of the gospel of the Son of God, and that he had been privileged to preach the doctrine which he had once despised.

“There in the pitchy darkness and desolation of the dungeon, Paul and Silas prayed, and sung songs of praise to God. The other prisoners heard with astonishment the voice of prayer and praise issuing from the inner prison. They had been accustomed to hear shrieks and moans, cursing and swearing, breaking at night upon the silence of the prison; but they had never before heard the words of prayer and praise ascending from that gloomy cell. The guards and prisoners marveled who were these men who, cold, hungry, and tortured, could still rejoice and converse cheerfully with each other.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 75, 76.

  • What happened when Paul and Silas praised God in the dungeon? Acts 16:26–34. What does this teach us? Matthew 5:44–46.

Note: “The apostles might have fled when the earthquake opened their prison doors and loosened their fetters; but that would have been an acknowledgment that they were criminals, which would have been a disgrace to the gospel of Christ. …

“The Philippians could but acknowledge the nobility and generosity of the apostles in their course of action, especially in forbearing to appeal to a higher power against the magistrates who had persecuted them. The news of their unjust imprisonment and miraculous deliverance, was noised about through all that region, and brought the apostles and their ministry before the notice of a large number who would not otherwise have been reached.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 80, 81.


  • Why did the apostles leave Philippi, though not in haste? Acts 16:35–39. In time, what was the fruit of Paul’s labors at Philippi? Philippians 1:1, 2.

Note: “Paul’s labors at Philippi resulted in the establishment of a church there, whose numbers steadily increased. His example of zeal and devotion, above all, his willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake, exerted a deep and lasting influence upon the converts to the faith. They highly prized the precious truths for which the apostle had sacrificed so much, and they gave themselves, with whole-hearted devotion, to the cause of their Redeemer.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 81.

  • How did Paul consider the Philippian believers, and how did he exhort them regarding the persecution they would face? Philippians 1:3–7, 27–30.
  • Like the Philippians, on what are we to focus? Philippians 2:5–11; 4:6–8. What testimony of Paul can inspire us? Philippians 3:7–11.

Note: “The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power. Men will discern the value of the precious pearl, and with the apostle Paul they will say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:7, 8).” Christ’s Object Lessons, 121.


1 Why did the Jewish Christians insist that the Gentiles be circumcised?

2 How did God guide the assembly to correct the problem faced?

3 Even if we cannot answer the Macedonian cry, how can Lydia inspire us?

4 Why was the Philippian jailer and his family softened to conversion?

5 What attitude of Paul is needed in order to receive the latter rain?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Working With Worldly-minded People

January 11, 2015 – January 17, 2015

Key Text

“When they [Paul and Barnabas] had preached the gospel to that city [Derbe], and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21, 22.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 177–187.


“None need fear defeat at the hand of the enemy; for it is the privilege of the gospel worker to be endued with power from above sufficient to enable him to withstand every satanic influence.” The Review and Herald, May 18, 1911.


  • Where did Paul and Barnabas begin their mission, and who was the young man that accompanied them? Acts 13:4, 5; 12:12, 25.
  • What challenge did the missionaries encounter at Paphos? Acts 13:6–8.

Note: “Not without a struggle does Satan allow the kingdom of God to be built up in the earth. The forces of evil are engaged in unceasing warfare against the agencies appointed for the spread of the gospel, and these powers of darkness are especially active when the truth is proclaimed before men of repute and sterling integrity. Thus it was when Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus, was listening to the gospel message. The deputy had sent for the apostles, that he might be instructed in the message they had come to bear, and now the forces of evil, working through the sorcerer Elymas, sought with their baleful suggestions to turn him from the faith and so thwart the purpose of God.

“Thus the fallen foe ever works to keep in his ranks men of influence who, if converted, might render effective service in God’s cause.” The Acts of the Apostles, 167.


  • How did the Lord spiritually bless the amazing boldness with which Paul handled the interference of Elymas, the sorcerer? Acts 13:9–12.

Note: “Although sorely beset by Satan, Paul had the courage to rebuke the one through whom the enemy was working. …

“The sorcerer had closed his eyes to the evidences of gospel truth, and the Lord, in righteous anger, caused his natural eyes to be closed, shutting out from him the light of day. This blindness was not permanent, but only for a season, that he might be warned to repent and seek pardon of the God whom he had so grievously offended. …

“Elymas was not a man of education, yet he was peculiarly fitted to do the work of Satan. Those who preach the truth of God will meet the wily foe in many different forms.” The Acts of the Apostles, 168, 169.

  • Where did the apostles plant the gospel seed next, and what happened to John Mark? Acts 13:13. As it is the case of many newly aspiring missionaries, why did this young man have difficulties? II Timothy 2:3.

Note: “Paul and Barnabas had learned to trust God’s power to deliver. Their hearts were filled with fervent love for perishing souls. As faithful shepherds in search of the lost sheep, they gave no thought to their own ease and convenience. Forgetful of self, they faltered not when weary, hungry, and cold. They had in view but one object—the salvation of those who had wandered far from the fold.

“It was here [in Perga] that Mark, overwhelmed with fear and discouragement, wavered for a time in his purpose to give himself wholeheartedly to the Lord’s work. Unused to hardships, he was disheartened by the perils and privations of the way. He had labored with success under favorable circumstances; but now, amidst the opposition and perils that so often beset the pioneer worker, he failed to endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross.” The Acts of the Apostles, 169, 170.

“Mark did not apostatize from the faith of Christianity; but, like many young ministers, he shrank from hardships, and preferred the comfort and safety of home to the travels, labors, and dangers of the missionary field. This desertion caused Paul to judge him unfavorably and severely for a long time.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 46, 47.


  • Where did Paul and Barnabas begin their preaching in Antioch, and who were some that appreciated it the most—and the least? Acts 13:14, 42–45.
  • Describe the attitude of the believers in the face of such strong opposition. Acts 13:46–52. What should we learn from the way Christ foresaw this conflict and advised His faithful followers? Matthew 10:23.

Note: “When brought before courts, we are to give up our rights, unless by so doing we are brought into collision with God. We are not pleading for our right, but for God’s right to our service. Instead of resisting the penalties imposed unjustly upon us, it would be better to take heed to the Saviour’s word [Matthew 10:23 quoted].” [Emphasis author’s.] Spalding and Magan Collection, 26.

  • Where did Paul and Barnabas go next, and what did they find there? Acts 14:1, 2. What can we learn from their success nonetheless? Acts 14:3.

Note: “Friends of the apostles, although unbelievers, warned them [Paul and Barnabas] of the designs of the malicious Jews, and urged them not to expose themselves uselessly to their fury, but to escape for their lives. They accordingly departed from Iconium in secret and left the faithful and opposing parties to battle for themselves, trusting God to give victory to the doctrine of Christ. But they by no means took a final leave of Iconium; they purposed to return, after the excitement then raging had abated, and complete the work they had begun.

“Those who observe and teach the binding claims of God’s law, frequently receive, in a degree, similar treatment to that of the apostles at Iconium. They often meet a bitter opposition from ministers and people who persistently refuse the light of God, who, by misrepresentation and falsehood, close every door by which the messenger of truth might have access to the people. …

“The apostles, in their work, met all grades of people, and all kinds of faith and religion. They were brought in opposition to Jewish bigotry and intolerance, sorcery, blasphemy, unjust magistrates who loved to exercise their power, false shepherds, superstition, and idolatry. While persecution and opposition met them on every hand, victory still crowned their efforts, and converts were daily added to the faith.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 54, 55.


  • Why did it soon become necessary for Paul and Barnabas to move on from Iconium—and what characterized this new area? Acts 14:4–7.

Note: “Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia … were inhabited by a heathen, superstitious people; but among them were souls that would hear and accept the doctrine of Christ. The apostles chose to labor in those cities because they would not there meet Jewish prejudice and persecution. They now came in contact with an entirely new element—heathen superstition and idolatry. …

“In Lystra there was no Jewish synagogue, though there were a few Jews in the place. The temple of Jupiter occupied a conspicuous position there.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 55.

  • Give an example of how a person’s faith can take hold in a powerful way upon hearing the gospel. Acts 14:8–10. What was the response of the enthusiastic, yet ignorant people who beheld this miracle? Acts 14:11–13.

Note: “Paul and Barnabas appeared in the city together, teaching the doctrine of Christ with great power and eloquence. The credulous people believed them to be gods come down from Heaven. As the apostles gathered the people about them, and explained their strange belief, the worshipers of Jupiter sought to connect these doctrines, as far as they were able, with their own superstitious faith.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 55.

  • Why was it so important that such misunderstandings not be allowed to continue? Acts 14:14–18; Colossians 2:8; Revelation 22:8, 9.

Note: “Do not receive flattery, even in your religious life. Flattery is an art by which Satan lieth in wait to deceive and to puff up the human agent with high thoughts of himself. [Colossians 2:8 quoted.] … Praise, flattery, and indulgence have done more toward leading precious souls into false paths, than any other art that Satan has devised.

“Flattery is a part of the world’s policy, but it is no part of Christ’s policy. Through flattery poor human beings, full of frailty and infirmities, come to think that they are efficient and worthy, and become puffed up in their fleshly mind.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 304.


  • Enraged by the miracle at Lystra, who arrived a short time later—and in what evil deed did they enlist the disappointed heathens? Acts 14:19.

Note: “The disappointment experienced by the idolaters in being refused the privilege of offering sacrifices to the apostles, prepared them to turn against these ministers of God with a zeal which approached that of the enthusiasm with which they had hailed them as gods. The malicious Jews did not hesitate to take full advantage of the superstition and credulity of this heathen people, to carry out their cruel designs. They incited them to attack the apostles by force; and they charged them not to allow Paul an opportunity to speak, alleging that if they did so he would bewitch the people.

“The Lystrians rushed upon the apostles with great rage and fury. They hurled stones violently; and Paul, bruised, battered, and fainting, felt that his end had come. The martyrdom of Stephen was brought vividly to his mind, and the cruel part he had acted on that occasion. He fell to the ground apparently dead, and the infuriated mob dragged his insensible body through the gates of the city, and threw it beneath the walls.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 60, 61.

  • What amazing miracle confirmed God’s blessing? Acts 14:20–23. How did this providential act encourage greatly the apostles to press onward? Acts 14:24–28; Malachi 3:16, 17.

Note: “Timothy had been converted through the ministration of Paul, and was an eye-witness of the sufferings of the apostle upon this occasion. He stood by his apparently dead body, and saw him arise, bruised and covered with blood, not with groans or murmurings upon his lips, but with praises to Jesus Christ, that he was permitted to suffer for His name.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 62.


1 Why is it important to pray for our missionaries?

2 What lessons do we learn from the human frailty of John Mark?

3 What can we all expect when teaching the law of God to a lawless world?

4 How does this lesson reveal the fickle nature of idolaters?

5 How did God endorse both the attitude and the labors of Paul?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Chosen and Ordained by God

January 4, 2015 – January 10, 2015

Key Text

“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” John 15:16, first part.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 155–165.


“Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners, but having chosen us He says He has ordained us to go and bring forth fruit. Has each one something to do?—Certainly, everyone that is yoked up with Christ must bear His burden, work in His lines.” The Signs of the Times, December 17, 1894.


  • What was Paul inspired to do immediately after his conversion? Acts 9:20. Describe the response. Acts 9:21–24.
  • What soon became necessary in order to protect Paul’s life? Acts 9:25.
  • Explain the important experience that served to fortify Paul’s faith and establish on solid ground his calling from God. Galatians 1:15–17.

Note: “He [Paul] 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.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 33, 34.


  • What characterized Paul’s time in Arabia—and whom else does his experience bring to mind? Psalm 139:23, 24; Exodus 2:15; 3:1.

Note: “In the military schools of Egypt, Moses was taught the law of force, and so strong a hold did this teaching have upon his character that it required forty years of quiet and communion with God and nature to fit him for the leadership of Israel by the law of love. The same lesson Paul had to learn.” Education, 65.

“While in Arabia he [Paul] 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, and established him in his faith, bestowing upon him His wisdom and grace.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 34.

  • Why does God often use wilderness experiences in solitude to prepare leaders to enter into a mighty work for Him? Job 37:14; Psalm 46:10.
  • Despite Paul’s high hopes, what startling disappointment was he to face when he finally had the chance to meet the leading brethren at Jerusalem? Acts 9:26; Galatians 1:18, 19. What made Paul’s experience so unique?

Note: “Peter, James, and John felt confident that God had appointed them to preach Christ among their own countrymen at home. But Paul had received his commission from God, while praying in the temple, and his broad missionary field had been distinctly presented before him. To prepare him for his extensive and important work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself, and had opened before his enraptured vision a glimpse of the beauty and glory of Heaven.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 41, 42.


  • Who paved the way for Paul’s acceptance among the apostles, and why did this visit to Jerusalem have to be cut short? Acts 9:27–29; 22:17, 18. What helped the believers eventually to endorse Paul’s ministry to the despised Gentiles? Acts 8:26, 27, 38; 10:34, 35, 44–47.
  • What logic did Paul use in prayer regarding what he felt was his calling—and what was the response? Acts 22:19–21. How was the church blessed by echoing God’s verdict? Acts 9:30, 31.
  • What timeless principle did Paul declare later for the benefit of all believers to the close of time—and how is this principle a warning to us? Galatians 3:28, 29; Colossians 3:11.

Note: “God has chosen man to do a certain work. His mental capacities may be weak, but then the evidence is more apparent that God works. His speech may not be eloquent, but that is no evidence that he has not a message from God. His knowledge may be limited, but in many cases God can work with His wisdom through such an agent, and the power be seen of God, more than through one possessing natural and acquired abilities and who knows it and has confidence in himself, in his judgment, in his knowledge, in his manner of address.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 244.

“Prejudice is a terrible thing in the sight of God. It was prejudice that crucified the world’s Redeemer. Let us as a people put away all prejudice; for it blinds the mind, and makes men incapable of doing justice to those they imagine blameworthy. It will cause men to sit in judgment upon brethren whose inmost souls they cannot read, and if they could, would not understand. Instead of creating discords, of judging others, we need to bind the members of our churches together by the cords of strong brotherly love in heavenly union. If a brother is halting, it is a great sin to set his case before the brethren in a discouraging light, and set others on his track, that they may discover his many frailties. This is a satanic proceeding, and altogether out of harmony with the Spirit of Christ.” The Review and Herald, October 24, 1893.


  • What was Paul to say of his early work for Christ? Galatians 1:20–24.
  • Meanwhile, what was taking place in cities north of Judea, even in Cyprus (an island in the Mediterranean)—and why? Acts 11:19–21. What need soon became evident? Acts 11:22–24.
  • Whom did Barnabas seek as a coworker, and within a year, what noteworthy impact did their joint labors carry? Acts 11:25, 26. How is this to be an inspiration to each one of us? John 15:16.

Note: “Jesus is calling for many missionaries, for men and women who will consecrate themselves to God, willing to spend and be spent in His service. O, can we not remember that there is a world to labor for? Shall we not move forward step by step, letting God use us as His helping hand? Shall we not place ourselves on the altar of service? Then the love of Christ will touch and transform us, making us willing for His sake to do and dare.” The Review and Herald, January 27, 1903.

“At the eleventh hour the Lord will call into His service many faithful workers. Self-sacrificing men and women will step into the places made vacant by apostasy and death. To young men and young women, as well as to those who are older, God will give power from above. With converted minds, converted hands, converted feet, and converted tongues, their lips touched with a living coal from the divine altar, they will go forth into the Master’s service, moving steadily onward and upward, carrying the work forward to completion.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 13, 1902.

“When the churches see young men possessing zeal to qualify themselves to extend their labors to cities, villages, and towns that have never been aroused to the truth, and missionaries volunteering to go to other nations to carry the truth to them, the churches will be encouraged and strengthened far more than to themselves receive the labors of inexperienced young men.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 204.


  • What did God communicate to the prophets and teachers in the local church at Antioch? Acts 13:1, 2. What reveals that a church can only take such a step in the fear of God, with prayer and fasting? Acts 13:3.

Note: “Before being sent forth as missionaries to the heathen world, these apostles [Barnabas and Saul] were solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands. Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority. …

“Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands added no new grace or virtual qualification. It was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointed office and a recognition of one’s authority in that office.” The Acts of the Apostles, 161, 162.

  • How did Paul consider this solemn appointment? Romans 1:1.

Note: “Paul regarded the occasion of his formal ordination as marking the beginning of a new and important epoch in his lifework. It was from this time that he afterward dated the beginning of his apostleship in the Christian church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 164, 165.

  • What are some key points to realize about the sacred calling of a formal ordination to ecclesiastical service? I Timothy 5:22; Isaiah 52:11, last part.


1 Why did God send Paul to Arabia?

2 How could we be in danger of treating others as the apostles did Paul?

3 What prejudices of mine could be hindering God’s work?

4 Describe the soon-coming scene to be revealed at the eleventh hour.

5 What solemn duty do all church members have whenever a name is proposed for formal ordination, whether it be for deacon, elder, or minister?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Conversion of Saul

December 28, 2014 – January 3, 2015

The Life of Paul

Key Text

“He [Saul] is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15, 16.

Study Help: Early Writings, 197–202.


“He [Saul] had a knowledge of the Scriptures, and after his conversion a divine light shone upon the prophecies concerning Jesus, which enabled him to clearly and boldly present the truth, and to correct any perversion of the Scriptures.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, 92.


  • How did the Lord use Stephen as a powerful instrument in the early church? Acts 6:2–8.

Note: “The church … selected seven men full of faith and the wisdom of the Spirit of God, to attend to the business pertaining to the cause. Stephen was chosen first; he was a Jew by birth and religion, but spoke the Greek language, and was conversant with the customs and manners of the Greeks. He was therefore considered the most proper person to stand at the head, and have supervision of the disbursement of the funds appropriated to the widows, orphans, and the worthy poor. …

“The seven chosen men were solemnly set apart for their duties by prayer and the laying on of hands. Those who were thus ordained, were not thereby excluded from teaching the faith. On the contrary, it is recorded that ‘Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people’ (Acts 6:8). … They were also men of calm judgment and discretion, well calculated to deal with difficult cases of trial, of murmuring or jealousy.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 292, 293.

  • What was it about Stephen that aroused the ire of the Jews? Acts 6:9–14.


  • When Stephen was called to testify of his faith in Jesus and to relate the history of Israel’s rebellion, describe the contrasting difference between his attitude and that of the Jewish council. Acts 6:15; 7:54–60.
  • Who is named as one who was present and took notice of it all—and how did he later describe himself as an accessory to the crime? Acts 7:58; 22:20.

Note: “The martyrdom of Stephen made a deep impression upon all who witnessed it. The memory of the signet of God upon his face; his words, which touched the very souls of those who heard them, remained in the minds of the beholders, and testified to the truth of that which he had proclaimed. His death was a sore trial to the church, but it resulted in the conviction of Saul, who could not efface from his memory the faith and constancy of the martyr, and the glory that had rested on his countenance.” The Acts of the Apostles, 101.

  • In keeping with the traditional mentality of his countrymen, to what did Saul devote his energies after the death of Stephen? Acts 8:1–3.

Note: “A Roman citizen, born in a Gentile city; a Jew, not only by descent but by lifelong training, patriotic devotion, and religious faith; educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis, and instructed in all the laws and traditions of the fathers, Saul of Tarsus shared to the fullest extent the pride and the prejudices of his nation. …

“In the theological schools of Judea the word of God had been set aside for human speculations; it was robbed of its power by the interpretations and traditions of the rabbis. Self-aggrandizement, love of domination, jealous exclusiveness, bigotry and contemptuous pride, were the ruling principles and motives of these teachers.

“The rabbis gloried in their superiority, not only to the people of other nations, but to the masses of their own. With their fierce hatred of their Roman oppressors, they cherished the determination to recover by force of arms their national supremacy. The followers of Jesus, whose message of peace was so contrary to their schemes of ambition, they hated and put to death. In this persecution, Saul was one of the most bitter and relentless actors.” Education, 64, 65.


  • Describe the believers’ response to Saul’s persecution of the church and the furious steps that Saul took. Acts 8:3, 4; 9:1, 2. Deep-down, what had always been his goal, even from his youth? Acts 23:1; Hebrews 13:18.

Note: “He [Saul] was looked upon as a man of promise, a zealous defender of the ancient faith.” Education, 64.

  • When we sincerely desire to follow God, what does Jesus reveal as the reason why we will eventually feel uncomfortable when doing wrong? John 16:7, 8.

Note: “Our love to Christ will be in proportion to the depth of our conviction of sin, and by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Faith and Works, 96.

“You may have a conscience and that conscience may bring conviction to you, but the question is, Is that conviction a working agent? Does that conviction reach your heart and the doings of the inner man? Is there a purification of the soul temple of its defilement? That is what we want.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 324.

  • What startling phenomenon abruptly stopped Saul in his tracks? Acts 9:3, 4. Who was it that spoke, and what should all realize about the reference to Saul’s “kicking against the pricks”? Acts 9:5.

Note: “He [Saul] had witnessed Stephen’s forbearance toward his enemies and his forgiveness of them. He had also witnessed the fortitude and cheerful resignation of many whom he had caused to be tormented and afflicted. He had seen some yield up even their lives with rejoicing for the sake of their faith.

“All these things had appealed loudly to Saul and at times had thrust upon his mind an almost overwhelming conviction that Jesus was the promised Messiah. At such times he had struggled for entire nights against this conviction, and always he had ended the matter by avowing his belief that Jesus was not the Messiah and that His followers were deluded fanatics.” The Acts of the Apostles, 116, 117.

“Every effort to stay the onward progress of the gospel results in injury and suffering to the opposer. Sooner or later his own heart will condemn him; he will find that he has, indeed, been kicking against the pricks.” The Review and Herald, March 16, 1911.


  • Describe the way Saul was suddenly humbled. Acts 9:6–9.

Note: “In persecuting the followers of Jesus, Saul had struck directly against the Lord of heaven. In falsely accusing and testifying against them, he had falsely accused and testified against the Saviour of the world.” The Acts of the Apostles, 117.

  • Who was Ananias, and what did Jesus tell him to do? Acts 9:10–12. Why was Ananias reluctant to follow this command, and what reassurance was he given? Acts 9:13–16. Why was the highly educated Saul sent to Ananias, a simple man?

Note: “The light of heavenly illumination deprived Saul of sight; but Jesus, the great Healer, did not at once restore it. All blessings flow from Christ, but He had now established a church as His representative on earth, and to it belonged the work of directing the repentant sinner in the way of life. The very men whom Saul had purposed to destroy were to be his instructors in the religion he had despised and persecuted.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 29.

  • How did Ananias address Saul, and what beautiful victories were achieved upon their encounter? Acts 9:17–19.

Note: “Jesus might have done all this work for Paul directly, but this was not His plan. Paul had something to do in the line of confession to the men whose destruction he had premeditated, and God had a responsible work for the men to do whom He had ordained to act in His stead. Paul was to take those steps necessary in conversion. He was required to unite himself to the very people whom he had persecuted for their religion. Christ here gives all His people an example of the manner of His working for the salvation of men. The Son of God identified Himself with the office and authority of His organized church. His blessings were to come through the agencies that He has ordained, thus connecting man with the channel through which His blessings come. Paul’s being strictly conscientious in his work of persecuting the saints does not make him guiltless when the knowledge of his cruel work is impressed upon him by the Spirit of God. He is to become a learner of the disciples.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 431, 432.


  • Why was the following step which Saul then took such an important one? Mark 16:16.

Note: “By the light of the moral law, which he had believed himself to be zealously keeping, Saul saw himself a sinner of sinners. He repented, that is, died to sin, became obedient to the law of God, exercised faith in Jesus Christ as his Saviour, was baptized, and preached Jesus as earnestly and zealously as he had once denounced Him.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 31.

  • Why does Christ have an organized body on earth—and what is the church to be known as? Matthew 16:18, 19; I Timothy 3:15.
  • Why is the church so precious to Jesus? Ephesians 5:25, last part, 29, 30.

Note: “Jesus is the friend of sinners; His heart is touched by their woe; He has all power, both in Heaven and upon earth; but He respects the means which He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men; He directs sinners to the church, which He has made a channel of light to the world.

“Saul was a learned teacher in Israel; but, while in the midst of his blind error and prejudice, Christ reveals Himself to him, and then places him in communication with His church. … All is done in the name and by the authority of Christ; but the church is the channel of communication.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 31, 32.


1 How can the life of Stephen inspire us?

2 What attitude caused Stephen’s martyrdom at the hands of religious men?

3 Why did God use Ananias in the restoration of Paul’s sight?

4 Why does it not pay “to kick against the pricks”?

5 What motivated Saul to be baptized—and what is it likewise to motivate us?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Tofu NeatBalls

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts toasted at 200 degrees for 15 minutes

1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs 2 Tbsp. onion powder

1 16 oz. block Tofu, firm or extra firm 3 Tbsp. dried parsley

3 Tbsp. gluten flour 2 tsp. salt

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes 1 tsp sage

1 tsp. marjoram

Mix all ingredients together and mash or knead thoroughly with hands. Roll into balls and place on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Makes approximately 18 tofu balls. Delicious baked in a casserole with spaghetti sauce, or served over rice or toast.

Food – All About Tofu

Tofu is a curd made from soybeans. Although it is quite bland, it has a remarkable ability to soak up flavors and makes an excellent addition to many recipes. Tofu is actually a great convenience food and you should think of it as an ingredient rather than a meal in itself.

There are three main types of tofu. Firm tofu is dense, solid, and holds its shape in stir fries and soups or under the broiler as well as on the grill. It is higher in protein, fat and calcium than other varieties. Soft tofu works best when blended or mashed into dishes, and silken tofu is a creamy custard-like product that works well pureed. Silken tofu is particularly good for dips, sauces, and desserts.

Following are some ideas for using tofu as a vegan alternative in everyday dishes:

  • For any recipe that calls for cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese or ricotta, replace half the amount with silken tofu.
  • Make a topping for baked potatoes. Combine 1/2 cup silken tofu with 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives.

Whatever recipes you choose to make, add variety and nutrition to your meal planning. And with inventive dishes, you’ll never think tofu is boring again.

Recently, tofu has been creating quite a stir because of its potential health benefits. In addition to being a source of high-grade protein—comparable to meat in quality and more digestible—tofu is a good source of B vitamins, potassium and iron.

Tofu is sold in water-filled tubs or vacuum packs and can usually be found in the produce or dairy section of supermarkets. Since it has a limited shelf life, check the “best before” date on the package. After the package has been opened, drain the liquid, place any unused tofu in a bowl and cover with fresh cold water. Store covered in the refrigerator. Tofu will keep for one week if the water is changed daily.

Children’s Story – The Foolish Rich Man

One day Jesus was teaching a great crowd of people who had come together to hear Him. After He had finished, a man came up to Him and said, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide with me the property which our father left us.”

But Jesus refused to be drawn into their selfish quarrel. “I am not a judge or a divider of property,” He said.

After the man had gone his way, Jesus turned to His disciples who had heard the conversation and said: “Watch yourselves and stay away from selfishness; for life is not measured by how much a man has.”

Then to illustrate His meaning, He told them this story:

The land of a certain wealthy man was very rich and brought forth such a large harvest that the man said, “What will I do, for I do not have enough room to store my crops?”

It did not occur to him to give some to the poor, nor did he thank God for his good fortune. Instead he said to himself, “This I will do—I will tear down my old barns and build bigger ones, and then I will have room for my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have plenty of goods stored up for many years; take it easy, eat, drink, and have a good time.’ ”

But God was much displeased because the man was thinking only of himself. And God said to him, “You are a very foolish man. Tonight your life comes to its end. After you are gone, whose will these things be that you call yours?”

By this story Jesus was teaching that in the sight of God true wealth consists not in what a man gets, but in what he gives.

This story found in Luke 12:13–21.

Parables from Nature, by J. Calvin Reid, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954, p. 13–15.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Scandalizing God’s Name

A father is shamed when his son scandalizes the family name thereby bringing the family name into disrepute. But many people who are called by the name of the God of heaven scandalize His name and bring His name into disrepute by their conduct. Unbelievers see Christians with behavior worse than their own. Therefore, the Christian religion has very little force in the world.

Throughout the Bible the number seven has special significance for God. In the Hebrew Bible the very first sentence, Genesis 1:1, has seven words. There are seven Hebrew words in the first commandment of the ten that were handed to Moses on the mount (Exodus 20:3). In the fourth commandment, there are seven commands (Exodus 20:8–10), and in the tenth commandment there are seven things mentioned that we are not to covet (Exodus 20:17). The number seven appears throughout the Bible and in the book of Revelation it is repeated significantly.

It should not be a surprise then that the Lord’s Prayer contains seven petitions. The first of these is the phrase, “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9). This petition comes first because reverence is the very gateway into the divine presence. Reverence is the first step in approaching God because in that way we place ourselves in a proper attitude toward Him.

We place God where He rightly belongs by exalting Him above all earthly things that can claim our loyalty. It is the person who approaches God with reverence who finds God. One cannot find his way into the audience chamber of the Most High with a flippant or irreverent attitude. When Moses was speaking to the Lord, he approached Him with humility. He humbled himself because only the meek and the humble can enter into the secret chamber of the High and Holy God.

The Bible says that Moses was the meekest man on the face of the earth. The book of Isaiah tells us that it is the meek person who is going to find God. “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15.

When Jesus gave the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, the very first one that He gave was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Actually, this is a reference to what is written by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 66:2: “ ‘For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.’ ”

It is the person who is humble and recognizes that God is Someone to be reverenced, the one who will properly approach God who will be received by Him and gain an audience with Him. We cannot properly approach God unless we recognize His holiness and His holiness is in His name. In the Bible, a person’s name and a person’s character are virtually synonymous. The wise man, Solomon, said, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” Proverbs 22:1.

Today when we say that somebody has a good name, we mean that the person has a good character or reputation. When Moses was called up into the mountain he wanted to know God’s name. “And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’ Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ ” Exodus 33:18, 19.

And then the Lord said to Moses, “ ‘You cannot see My face: for no man shall see Me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘… I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see my back part.’ ” Exodus 33:20–23. “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.’ ” Exodus 34:5, 6.

Here the Lord proclaimed His name, “… merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” Verses 6, 7.

All of these adjectives are descriptions of God. They are part of His name. Therefore they should never be used in a flippant, careless way, making an epithet or trying to make the point to somebody. When Moses heard this, he … “made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Verse 8. When the prophet Isaiah predicted when Jesus would come, he said that His name would be called Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6). The Bible contains many names of God to describe His character.

What does the name of God mean to you? We use names to distinguish one person or object from another. The mention of a person’s name always brings to mind the character or the nature of that person and causes a certain character image to be registered in our thoughts. We usually come to dislike the names of those whose characters are distasteful to us.

On the other hand, a noble character always glorifies the estimation of that name of a person who bears it. Our attitude toward any person’s name depends on our knowledge of the character to which that name is attached. God’s name is a revelation of Himself, a manifestation of who and what He really is. It stands for His matchless character. The purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal God’s character to man. This purpose was completed by the incarnation of God in human flesh through Christ.

When Jesus was on earth His disciples sometimes became impatient with Him. The night before He was betrayed, the day before He was crucified Jesus told them that they should not be troubled; He was going to go away but He was going to prepare a place for them. Then He would come back and receive them to Himself. He told them, “Where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” John 14:4–6. And then Jesus told them that they did not really know Who He was. He said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Verse 7.

When He said that, Philip said, “ ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father?” Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.’ ” Verses 8–11.

Notice, when Jesus came into the world, by His life and also by His death, by His teaching and by His miracles, He revealed the character of the Father to all the inhabitants on this fallen planet. He made the name of God complete. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9.

The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name,” is inseparably connected with the invocation, the address, because we cannot hallow God’s name unless we are His sons and He is our Father. Holiness in man can only be attained through a union of humanity with divinity. When we understand that and can truly call God our Father, then we begin to understand the unfathomable love of God in making us His sons through the death of His Son. And then we can cry, as the apostle Paul said, “Abba, Father.”

The chief delight of a true son is to honor and magnify His Father’s name that he also bears. The hallowing of the name of God must include the holiness of our own characters.

If we are born again Christians, we are members of His family and we bear His name. So our first desire should be to protect His name by conduct that is appropriate or fitting for a son or daughter of God.

God’s name, His family name, should never be polluted by sin and folly. Just as the delight of an earthly father centers in the character development of his children, so God delights in the character development of His children and He is glorified by His children when they reflect His image. When Jesus was facing the great trial at the end of His life in Gethsemane and Calvary, He said to His Father, “ ‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ ” John 12:28.

God’s name was glorified by the life of Christ, by His miracles, and by His teaching and it was going to be glorified again by His death. The love of the deity for a lost world in rebellion was demonstrated, as Paul says, “When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” Romans 5:10.

It is not unusual today for the name of God to be mentioned maybe 15 or 20 times in a prayer. But this practice has a tendency to bring the name of God down to the level of common names and should therefore be discarded. The third commandment (Exodus 20:7) forbids the taking of false oaths and common swearing. So, it also forbids our using the name of God in a light and careless manner without regard to its profound significance.

If we mention God’s name thoughtlessly or irreverently in common conversation, or frequently repeat His name, we make Him altogether one like ourselves and God rebukes this kind of behavior. Notice what the Lord said about it in Psalm 50:21. “These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.”

We dishonor Him if we use His name in a light or flippant manner or repeat it many, many times. If we are born again Christians, by virtue of the new birth of the Holy Spirit, we have a right to call God our Father. It is also our privilege to bear His name, His image. If you take upon yourself the name Christian, then you are bearing the name of Christ. This is an exalted privilege. In all respectable families whose members are proud of their family name, they make every possible effort to defend and protect it. The family name of God, His family name, should stand for the character of those who profess to serve Him. A good reputation is taken in vain if one brings a disgrace upon the name of his family by unbecoming conduct.

A professed Christian who is not like Christ, whose conduct is ungodly, takes God’s name in vain and is guilty of breaking the third commandment. The children of Israel were warned about this. “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.’ And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:2, 12.

The apostle James wrote of rich people who despise and oppress the poor. “Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” James 2:7. Thus we see that a name has significance only when applied to a person’s character. If your character is out of harmony with your name, your name is a falsehood or a lie.

To hallow God’s name, the person who prays the Lord’s Prayer must be a revelation of His character, a reflection of His image. The Bible describes a people who are alive when the Lord returns. They have God’s name, His character, in their minds. “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1.

Only those who reach this standard of character, with their Father’s name, His character, in them, will receive the seal of God. The apostle Paul describes the condition this way. He says, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from all iniquity.’ ” II Timothy 2:19.

If you have taken the name of Christ and call yourself a Christian, the Bible says you are to depart from all iniquity. Otherwise, your name is deceptive. You are claiming a name that does not really belong to you. What did it mean in ancient times, recorded in II Chronicles 6, when the Lord declared that His name was in the sanctuary?

This has reference to the fact that the Ark of the Covenant containing God’s law was located in the sanctuary. God’s law is a transcript of His character. Therefore, it is a manifestation of His name, a revelation of His nature. A word study in the Bible will find that every characteristic of God that is revealed is also a characteristic of His law.

The Bible says that God is true. It also says that His law is true. God is holy and His law is also holy. God is righteous and His law is righteous. In fact, concerning the law it says it converts the soul. So, the law of God is a description, a transcription of His character.

In the New Covenant, the law of God is written upon the fleshly tables of the heart so that we may do by nature the things contained in the law. (See II Corinthians 3:3; Romans 2:14.)

Those who have this experience will have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. It is evident then that only born-again Christians can call God their Father and truly offer this petition. Only born-again Christians can really say, “Hallowed be Thy name.” God’s name is hallowed when those who are called by His name reveal His character in the world. A person who has an unconsecrated heart has no right to pray this prayer, for it belongs to His sons and daughters. We must join the family of God through a spiritual birth before it becomes our privilege to pray this prayer.

Friend, has your life been changed? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Have you been born again? When you commit your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, when you acknowledge Him as your Lord and Saviour and choose to follow Him and obey Him in all things, then the promise is that you will receive the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will give you a new heart, a new mind and a new character. (See Romans 8.)

When you pray and say, “Hallowed be Thy name,” you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you, through you. God has acknowledged you before men and angels as His child if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and been born again. We need to pray that we might do no dishonor to the worthy name by which we are called.

God sends His children into the world as His representatives. In every act of life, we are to make manifest the name of God. This petition, this prayer, calls upon Christians to possess His character.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – Nutrition – Why is it Necessary?

Our bodies are built up from the food we eat. There is a constant breaking down of the tissues of the body; every movement of every organ involves waste, and this waste is repaired from our food. Each organ of the body requires its share of nutrition. The brain must be supplied with its portion; the bones, muscles, and nerves demand theirs. It is a wonderful process that transforms the food into blood and uses this blood to build up the varied parts of the body; but this process is going on continually, supplying with life and strength each nerve, muscle, and tissue.

Water Protein Fat Carbohydrates Ash


Wheat 10.6 12.2 1.7 73.7 1.8
Oats 11.0 11.8 5.0 69.2 3.0
Corn 10.8 10.0 4.3 73.4 1.5
Rye 10.5 12.2 1.5 73.9 1.9
Buckwheat 12.6 10.0 2.2 73.2 2.0
Rice 12.0 8.0 2.0 77.0 1.0
Potato 78.3 2.2 0.1 18.4 1.0
Shelled Beans 58.9 9.4 0.6 29.1 2.0
Apple 84.6 0.4 0.5 14.2 0.3
Banana 75.3 1.3 0.6 22.0 0.8
Walnut 2.5 16.6 63.4 16.1 1.4

“Those foods should be chosen that best supply the elements needed for building up the body. In this choice, appetite is not a safe guide. Through wrong habits of eating, the appetite has become perverted. … The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet.” The Ministry of Healing, 295.

Nutritious food builds up the immune system – the immune system kills diseased cells.

FACTS: We were formed from the dust of the ground and the main composition of our bodies matches that with the dust of the earth: water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and minerals.

The above table showing the breakdown of certain foods is taken from Abundant Health, 15, 16, by Julius Gilbert White, Kessinger Publishing (2010).

All of these foods God provides to us from the dust of the ground—from whence He formed us. And a variety of these whole foods carry the nutrition to our bodies. Another wonderful benefit of natural whole food is that it also aids in healing the immune system. When our body is diseased, it needs super nutrition and a lot of it.

Nutrition Restores the Immune System

There is a chapter in The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD with Thomas M. Campbell II, called, “Turning Off Cancer,” pages 43–67. It explains that certain foods have the potential to promote the growth of cancer cells while other foods have the potential to shut them down.

“These dietary factors, called promoters, feed cancer growth. Other dietary factors, called anti-promoters, slow cancer growth. Cancer growth flourishes when there are more promoters than anti-promoters; when anti-promoters prevail cancer growth slows or stops. It is a push-pull process. The profound importance of this reversibility cannot be overemphasized.” Ibid., 50.

“… nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development. … In studies of pancreatic cancer and other nutrients, the pattern was consistent.” Ibid., 66.

God formed us from the dust of the ground and the nutrition we need can be found in grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes and need not be obtained second hand from the carcasses of animals.

“As disease in animals increases, the use of milk and eggs will become more and more unsafe.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 365. How very thankful we should be that our God is so merciful to us that He has given us warnings and then directions we need to be healthy.

We need to do the best we can to keep our bodies in good health. Romans 12:1 and 2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”