Bible Study Guides – A Prisoner for Truth

February 22, 2015 – February 28, 2015

Key Text

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:8.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 406–418.


“If you have caught a glimpse of Heaven’s truth, turn not away. Be not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Walk in the light you have received, and your pathway will grow brighter and brighter. In the light shining from Calvary you will see the sinfulness of sin, and you will see also God’s willingness and power to save from sin.” The Signs of the Times, May 27, 1903.


  • As an internationally renowned advocate for Christ entering the revered inner court of the temple at Jerusalem, to what peril did Paul expose himself? Acts 21:27, 28.

Note: “Those who advised Paul to take this step [of ceremonial purification] had not fully considered the great peril to which he would thus be exposed. At this season, Jerusalem was filled with worshipers from many lands. As, in fulfillment of the commission given him by God, Paul had borne the gospel to the Gentiles, he had visited many of the world’s largest cities, and he was well known to thousands who from foreign parts had come to Jerusalem to attend the feast. Among these were men whose hearts were filled with bitter hatred for Paul, and for him to enter the temple on a public occasion was to risk his life.” The Acts of the Apostles, 406.

  • What false accusation did the Jews thrust upon Paul as they violently dragged him from the precincts of the temple? Acts 21:29.
  • Relate the tumultuous uproar that followed. Acts 21:30–36. Of what might this whole scene remind us? Mark 15:12–14.


  • What did Paul request (in the Greek language) from the man holding him in custody? Acts 21:37. Who had the chief captain wrongly assumed Paul to be—and why was he quick to grant Paul’s next request? Acts 21:38–40. What can we learn from the kinds of opportunities Paul was always seeking? II Timothy 4:2.

Note: “Do not mingle with the world from choice; but if you have a word of warning, of invitation, of entreaty, do not fear to speak it. Lose no opportunity of witnessing for Christ. He is the Source of all grace, and He will send to His people the precious golden oil, enabling them to witness boldly for Him. As we consecrate ourselves to God, the Holy Spirit will impart to us the holy oil, that our lamps may be kept bright and shining.” The Review and Herald, May 16, 1899.

  • Why were Paul’s opening remarks in Hebrew relatively well received by many of his Jewish hearers? Acts 22:1–5. Why was Paul even able to continue his testimony until that certain point in his discourse when the Jews could tolerate it no more? Acts 22:6–22.

Note: “Had he [Paul] attempted to enter into argument with his opponents, they would have stubbornly refused to listen to his words; but the relation of his experience was attended with a convincing power that for the time seemed to soften and subdue their hearts.

“He then endeavored to show that his work among the Gentiles had not been entered upon from choice. He had desired to labor for his own nation; but in that very temple the voice of God had spoken to him in holy vision, directing his course ‘far hence unto the Gentiles’ (Acts 22:21).

“Hitherto the people had listened with close attention, but when Paul reached the point in his history where he was appointed Christ’s ambassador to the Gentiles, their fury broke forth anew. Accustomed to look upon themselves as the only people favored by God, they were unwilling to permit the despised Gentiles to share the privileges which had hitherto been regarded as exclusively their own.” The Acts of the Apostles, 409, 410.


  • Unable to understand Hebrew, what action did the chief captain take against his prisoner, based solely on the fury of the mob against him? Acts 22:23, 24. How did Paul quietly avert the preparations for torture to be inflicted upon him, and what plan was arranged for him? Acts 22:25–30.
  • How strong were Paul’s chances of being allowed to testify properly before the Jewish council? Acts 23:1–5. Realizing the futile situation, what shrewd step did Paul take—and why did God have to use the heathen ruler to protect His servant? Acts 23:6–10. What does this experience bring to mind?

Note: “Satan was bent on shutting out the divine light from the world, and he used his utmost cunning to destroy the Saviour. But He who never slumbers nor sleeps was watching over His beloved Son. He who had rained manna from heaven for Israel and had fed Elijah in the time of famine provided in a heathen land a refuge for Mary and the child Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 65.

  • What perspective do we need to have in considering the trials of Paul, as explained in his own words? II Corinthians 4:17, 18.

Note: “This life at best is but the Christian’s winter and the bleak winds of winter—disappointments, losses, pain, and anguish—are our lot here; but our hopes are reaching forward to the Christian’s summer, when we shall change climate, leave all the wintry blasts and fierce tempests behind, and be taken to those mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for those that love Him. …

“When we contrast our circumstances with those of the apostle Paul, we should feel rebuked for ever harboring the least feeling of murmuring or complaint. We know but little by experience of self-denial, and persecution, and pain for Christ’s sake. We are here as probationers, and we must be tested and proved.” The Review and Herald, November 7, 1878.


  • While Paul was alone that night, ashamed of his countrymen, and bitterly persecuted for his Saviour, how did God remember him? Acts 23:11.

Note: “While reflecting on the trying experiences of the day [when the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the multitude were divided], Paul began to fear that his course might not have been pleasing to God. Could it be that he had made a mistake after all in visiting Jerusalem? Had his great desire to be in union with his brethren led to this disastrous result?

“The position which the Jews as God’s professed people occupied before an unbelieving world, caused the apostle intense anguish of spirit. How would those heathen officers look upon them?—claiming to be worshipers of Jehovah, and assuming sacred office, yet giving themselves up to the control of blind, unreasoning anger, seeking to destroy even their brethren who dared to differ with them in religious faith, and turning their most solemn deliberative council into a scene of strife and wild confusion. Paul felt that the name of his God had suffered reproach in the eyes of the heathen.

“And now he was in prison, and he knew that his enemies, in their desperate malice, would resort to any means to put him to death. Could it be that his work for the churches was ended and that ravening wolves were to enter in now? The cause of Christ was very near to Paul’s heart, and with deep anxiety he thought of the perils of the scattered churches, exposed as they were to the persecutions of just such men as he had encountered in the Sanhedrin council. In distress and discouragement he wept and prayed.

“In this dark hour the Lord was not unmindful of His servant. He had guarded him from the murderous throng in the temple courts; He had been with him before the Sanhedrin council; He was with him in the fortress; and He revealed Himself to His faithful witness in response to the earnest prayers of the apostle for guidance. ‘The night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome’ (Acts 23:11).” The Acts of the Apostles, 412, 413.

  • What could Paul realize at that moment? Psalm 63:5–9; Deuteronomy 31:6.


  • What wise principles and promises echo down through the ages whenever we find ourselves in difficult, perplexing situations similar to those Paul suffered? Micah 7:7, 8; II Corinthians 4:8–10.

Note: “Had the leaders in the church fully surrendered their feeling of bitterness toward the apostle, and accepted him as one specially called of God to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, the Lord would have spared him to them. God had not ordained that Paul’s labors should so soon end, but He did not work a miracle to counteract the train of circumstances to which the course of the leaders in the church at Jerusalem had given rise.” The Acts of the Apostles, 417.

  • While Paul was in prison, what strange vow was being made—and by what means did God provide for the chief captain to be informed of what was going on and to take action in Paul’s behalf? Acts 23:12–30. How does the Lord look upon such fasting? Isaiah 58:2–5.
  • What did the soldiers do with Paul, and what did the governor decide? Acts 23:31–35. How did Christ prophesy this would happen to His followers—and why could Paul view this trial as a privilege? Luke 21:12; Psalm 119:46; Proverbs 22:29.


1 How can we avoid the type of situation Paul had in the temple?

2 What was Paul’s foremost priority in this crisis?

3 How does the apostle describe his perspective in the midst of great trial?

4 In the night, how did Christ shower His mercy upon His troubled servant?

5 What principles do we learn from this chapter in Paul’s experience?

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

Bible Study Guides – Surrounded by Perils

February 15, 2015 – February 21, 2015

Key Text

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 389–405.


“We have a soldier’s duty to perform, victories to gain, for we must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. We pray and then watch lest Satan shall steal upon us and make us forget our need of prayer.” This Day With God, 27.


  • Explain Paul’s unusual medical missionary acts reminiscent of some of Christ’s miracles. Acts 19:11, 12; Matthew 14:35, 36; Luke 8:43–48.

Note: “The apostles were not always able to work miracles at will. The Lord granted His servants this special power as the progress of His cause or the honor of His name required. … On this occasion, garments were made the means of cure to all that believed; ‘diseases departed from them, and evil spirits went out of them’ (Acts 19:12). Yet these miracles gave no encouragement to blind superstition. When Jesus felt the touch of the suffering woman, he exclaimed, ‘Virtue is gone out of Me’ (Luke 8:46). So the Scripture declares that the Lord wrought miracles by the hand of Paul, and that the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, and not the name of Paul.

“The manifestations of supernatural power which accompanied the apostle’s work, were calculated to make a deep impression upon a people given to sorcery, and priding themselves upon their intercourse with invisible beings. The miracles of Paul were far more potent than had ever before been witnessed in Ephesus, and were of such a character that they could not be imitated by the skill of the juggler or the enchantments of the sorcerer. Thus the Lord exalted His servant, even in the estimation of the idolaters themselves, immeasurably above the most favored and powerful of the magicians.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 135, 136.


  • How was Christ’s name vindicated to the shame of apostate Jews who had actually stooped to sorcery? Acts 19:13–16. How were many impressed by this event? Acts 19:17, 18.
  • What step was taken by the new converts who had been practicing sorcery? Acts 19:19, 20. Why? Matthew 5:29, 30; Ephesians 6:12.

Note: “When the transforming grace of Christ is upon the heart, a righteous indignation will take possession of the soul because the sinner has so long neglected the great salvation that God has provided for him. … He will, like the Ephesians, denounce sorcery, and will cut the last thread that binds him to Satan. He will leave the banner of the prince of darkness, and will come under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. He will burn the magical books.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 16, 1893.

  • What must we realize about much that is in print and on many videos, DVDs, and websites? Ecclesiastes 12:12, 13; I Timothy 6:20, 21.

Note: “To take up fictitious stories, the fruits of somebody’s imagination, is to lay the mind open to the bewitching power of Satan; and this kind of reading creates an unnatural appetite for fictitious stories, from which no moral strength is derived. Fictitious stories leave the mind and heart as destitute of the grace of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. Let every one who claims to be a child of God, burn the magical books. …

“Books from the pens of infidels should have no place in the libraries of those who would serve God. They will make better kindling material for your stove, than food for the mind. Infidel books have been a cause of ruin to many souls. Men have studied these books of Satan’s inspiration, and they have become confused in regard to what was truth. Satan stands at the side of him who opens an infidel book, and he will educate the mind that peruses such literature, and so bewitch the soul that it will be almost impossible to break the infatuation.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 23, 1893.

“All who venture into scenes of dissipation or irreligious pleasure, or seek the society of the sensualist, the skeptic, or the blasphemer, by personal intercourse or through the medium of the press, are tampering with sorcery.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 140.


  • In God’s sight, how seriously offensive is sorcery? Leviticus 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9–12. Name some ways this ancient evil is practiced today under various names and disguises.

Note: “An agent of the great deceiver will say and do anything to gain his object. It matters little whether he calls himself a spiritualist, an ‘electric physician,’ or a ‘magnetic healer.’ By specious pretenses he wins the confidence of the unwary. He pretends to read the life history and to understand all the difficulties and afflictions of those who resort to him. Disguising himself as an angel of light, while the blackness of the pit is in his heart, he manifests great interest in women who seek his counsel. He tells them that all their troubles are due to an unhappy marriage. This may be too true, but such counsel does not better their condition. He tells them that they need love and sympathy. Pretending great interest in their welfare, he casts a spell over his unsuspecting victims, charming them as the serpent charms the trembling bird. Soon they are completely in his power, and sin, disgrace, and ruin are the terrible sequel.

“Our only safety is in preserving the ancient landmarks.” Counsels on Health, 459.

“Believers in spiritism may speak with scorn of the magicians of old, but the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.

“There are many who shrink with horror from the thought of consulting spirit mediums, but who are attracted by more pleasing forms of spiritism. Others are led astray by the teachings of Christian Science, and by the mysticism of Theosophy and other Oriental religions.

“The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to heal. They attribute this power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called ‘sympathetic remedies,’ or to latent forces within the mind of man.” Prophets and Kings, 210, 211.

“Not a few in this Christian age and Christian nation resort to evil spirits rather than trust to the power of the living God. The mother, watching by the sickbed of her child, exclaims: ‘I can do no more. Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?’ She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hands of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power which it seems impossible to break.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 193, 194.

“Every person who cherishes a known error, in faith or practice, is under the power of sorcery.” The Signs of the Times, May 18, 1882.


  • Although Paul had always clung to a goal of going to Jerusalem to remove the prejudice of his Jewish countrymen, what did his brethren warn him? Acts 21:3, 4. Why did he still press forward? Acts 21:5; II Corinthians 5:7.

Note: “The Holy Spirit had revealed to them [a few disciples at Tyre] something of the dangers which awaited Paul at Jerusalem, and they endeavored to dissuade him from his purpose. But the same Spirit which had warned him of afflictions, bonds, and imprisonment, still urged him forward, a willing captive.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 203.

  • What further enlightenment came to Paul at Caesarea, and why were all subdued by Paul’s touching response? Acts 21:8–15. What perspective does Christ give us concerning martyrdom? Luke 12:4, 5.

Note: “The apostle was deeply moved by the entreaties of his beloved brethren. To human judgment he had sufficient reason to relinquish his plan as unwise. But he felt that he was moving in obedience to the will of God, and he could not be deterred by the voice of friends, or even the warning of the prophet. He would not swerve from the path of duty to the right hand nor to the left. He must follow Christ, if need be, to prison and to death. His tears fell not for himself, but in sympathy with his brethren, upon whom his determination had brought so great sorrow.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 205.

  • Describe the results upon Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem. Acts 21:17, 18.

Note: “Paul and his companions formally presented to the leaders of the work at Jerusalem the contributions forwarded by the Gentile churches for the support of the poor among their Jewish brethren. The gathering of these contributions had cost the apostle and his fellow workers much time, anxious thought, and wearisome labor. The sum, which far exceeded the expectations of the elders at Jerusalem, represented many sacrifices and even severe privations on the part of the Gentile believers. …

“It was apparent to Paul and his companions that even among those before whom they now stood were some who were unable to appreciate the spirit of brotherly love that had prompted the gifts.” The Acts of the Apostles, 399, 400.


  • Explain the unwise, unnecessary plan suddenly unveiled to Paul by the elders at Jerusalem, and the human logic behind it. Acts 21:19–25.

Note: “The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law, still held good. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice.” The Acts of the Apostles, 404.

  • What did Paul do about this plan? Acts 21:26. Why did he agree to perform such an act? I Corinthians 9:22, 23.

Note: “Paul realized that so long as many of the leading members of the church at Jerusalem should continue to cherish prejudice against him, they would work constantly to counteract his influence. He felt that if by any reasonable concession he could win them to the truth he would remove a great obstacle to the success of the gospel in other places. But he was not authorized of God to concede as much as they asked.

“When we think of Paul’s great desire to be in harmony with his brethren, his tenderness toward the weak in the faith, his reverence for the apostles who had been with Christ, and for James, the brother of the Lord, and his purpose to become all things to all men so far as he could without sacrificing principle—when we think of all this, it is less surprising that he was constrained to deviate from the firm, decided course that he had hitherto followed.” The Acts of the Apostles, 405.


1 Under what types of circumstances has God performed unusual miracles?

2 What are some “magical books” that need to be burned right away?

3 To what forms of spiritism may we be in danger of falling prey?

4 Why did Paul go to Jerusalem?

5 What caution should we heed from Paul’s reasoning in Jerusalem?

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

Bible Study Guides – Galatia and Ephesus

February 8, 2015 – February 14, 2015

Key Text

“Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:11–13.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 281–297, 383–388.


“Good and evil never harmonize. Between light and darkness there can be no compromise. Truth is light revealed; error is darkness.” In Heavenly Places, 260.


  • Which area (of relatively little mention in the book of Acts) had been included within the scope of Paul’s missionary journeys? Acts 16:6; 18:23.
  • Where had Paul been forbidden to go? Acts 16:7. What shows there was eventual success in that area—and what does this teach us? I Peter 1:1, 2.

Note: “True workers walk and work by faith. Sometimes they grow weary with watching the slow advance of the work when the battle wages strong between the powers of good and evil. But if they refuse to fail or be discouraged they will see the clouds breaking away and the promise of deliverance fulfilling. Through the mist with which Satan has surrounded them, they will see the shining of the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

“Work in faith, and leave results with God. Pray in faith, and the mystery of His providence will bring its answer. At times it may seem that you cannot succeed. But work and believe, putting into your efforts faith, hope, and courage. After doing what you can, wait for the Lord, declaring His faithfulness, and He will bring His word to pass. Wait, not in fretful anxiety, but in undaunted faith and unshaken trust.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 245.


  • With what sharp words did Paul attack head-on a spiritually fatal crisis among the Galatian believers? Galatians 1:6–9; 3:1–3; 4:9. Why did Paul treat them differently than he did the Corinthians?

Note: “The Corinthians had been overcome by temptation, and deceived by the ingenious sophistry of teachers who presented errors under the guise of truth. They had become confused and bewildered. To teach them to distinguish the false from the true, required great caution and patience in their instructor. Harshness or injudicious haste would have destroyed his influence over those whom he sought to benefit.

“In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the faith of the gospel. Christ, the true foundation, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism. The apostle saw that if these churches were saved from the dangerous influences which threatened them, the most decisive measures must be taken, the sharpest warnings given, to bring them to a sense of their true condition.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 189, 190.

  • In our desire to witness and win others to the Saviour, what distinction should be clear in our mind? Jude 21–23.

Note: “In all true teaching the personal element is essential. Christ in His teaching dealt with men individually. It was by personal contact and association that He trained the Twelve. It was in private, often to but one listener, that He gave His most precious instruction. To the honored rabbi at the night conference on the Mount of Olives, to the despised woman at the well of Sychar, He opened His richest treasures; for in these hearers He discerned the impressible heart, the open mind, the receptive spirit. Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy.

“Christ discerned the possibilities in every human being.” Education, 231, 232.


  • What must all realize to be saved? Galatians 3:7–9, 27–29.

Note: “In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the gospel message. Christ, the true foundation of the faith, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism. …

“The apostle urged the Galatians to leave the false guides by whom they had been misled, and to return to the faith that had been accompanied by unmistakable evidences of divine approval. The men who had attempted to lead them from their belief in the gospel were hypocrites, unholy in heart and corrupt in life. Their religion was made up of a round of ceremonies, through the performance of which they expected to gain the favor of God. They had no desire for a gospel that called for obedience to the word, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). They felt that a religion based on such a doctrine, required too great a sacrifice, and they clung to their errors, deceiving themselves and others.

“To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan’s studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors.” The Acts of the Apostles, 385–387.

  • As many get caught up today in keeping ceremonial feast-days, what should we remember? Galatians 5:1, 2, 16–26.

Note: “It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance [of feet washing] that would do for them the very thing they needed—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these [ancient Jewish] rites would be an insult to Jehovah.” The Review and Herald, June 14, 1898.


  • Why did Paul need to rebaptize some disciples in Ephesus? Acts 19:1–7. Why was this appropriate?

Note: “When they [the twelve Jewish brethren at Ephesus] received baptism at the hand of John, they were holding serious errors. But with clearer light they gladly accepted Christ as their Redeemer; and with this advance step came a change in their obligations. As they received a purer faith, there was a corresponding change in their life and character. In token of this change, and as an acknowledgment of their faith in Christ, they were rebaptized, in the name of Jesus.

“Many a sincere follower of Christ has had a similar experience. A clearer understanding of God’s will, places man in a new relation to Him. New duties are revealed. Much which before appeared innocent, or even praiseworthy, is now seen to be sinful.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 132.

  • Describe Paul’s task in Ephesus. Acts 19:8–10.

Note: “The Spirit of God had wrought with and through Paul in his labors for his countrymen. Sufficient evidence had been presented to convince all who honestly desired to know the truth. But many permitted themselves to be controlled by prejudice and unbelief, and refused to yield to the most conclusive evidence. Fearing that the faith of the believers would be endangered by continued association with these opposers of the truth, Paul separated the disciples as a distinct body, and himself continued his public instructions. …

“Paul saw that ‘a great door and effectual’ was open before him, though there were ‘many adversaries’ (1 Corinthians 16:19). Ephesus was not only the most magnificent, but the most corrupt, of the cities of Asia. Superstition and sensual pleasure held sway over her teeming population. Under the shadow of her idol temples, criminals of every grade found shelter, and the most degrading vices flourished.

“The city was famed for the worship of the goddess Diana and the practice of magic. Here was the great temple of Diana, which was regarded by the ancients as one of the wonders of the world. Its vast extent and surpassing magnificence made it the pride, not only of the city, but of the nation. Kings and princes had enriched it by their donations. … The idol enshrined in this sumptuous edifice was a rude, uncouth image, declared by tradition to have fallen from the sky.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 134.


  • Seeing that the teachings of Paul had hurt his financial enterprise as a manufacturer of portable “Diana” statues, what did Demetrius the silversmith do? Acts 19:23–27. How did the people react to this charge? Acts 19:28, 29.
  • Although Paul was willing to face grave danger to gain yet another chance to present the gospel, what did his brethren urge him to do? Acts 19:30–32. What role did Alexander the coppersmith play—and why did his attempt to oppose the apostle’s work prove a failure? Acts 19:33–41; II Timothy 4:14.
  • How did Paul summarize his work in Ephesus? Acts 20:17–21, 25–27, 33–35. What should we learn from the foresight of his final words—and the response that followed? Acts 20:22–24, 28–32, 36–38.

Note: “By his fidelity to the truth, Paul inspired intense hatred; but he also inspired the deepest and warmest affection. Sadly the disciples followed him to the ship, their hearts filled with anxiety, both for his future and for their own. The apostle’s tears flowed freely as he parted from these brethren, and after he had embarked there came to him from the shore the sound of weeping. With heavy hearts the elders turned homeward, knowing that they could expect no further help from him who had felt so deep an interest and labored with so great zeal for them and for the church under their care.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 202, 203.


1 What should we always consider about the timing of God’s providence?

2 Explain the character distinction between Corinthians and Galatians.

3 Why are people so prone to fall into ceremonialism and Judaization?

4 In what ways was Ephesus similar to our society today?

5 What can we learn from the way Paul handled this difficult mission field?

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

Bible Study Guides – Corinth

February 1, 2015 – February 7, 2015

The Life of Paul

Key Text

“Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” II Corinthians 2:4.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 243–254, 298–322.


“No man ever lived who was a more earnest, energetic, and self-sacrificing disciple of Christ than was Paul. … He possessed a burning desire to bring perishing men to a knowledge of the truth through a Saviour’s love.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 100, 101.


  • What blessing did the Lord provide for Paul upon his arrival in Corinth? Acts 18:1–3. What should we realize about Paul’s situation?

Note: “His [Paul’s] whole soul was engaged in the work of the ministry; but he seated himself to the labor of his humble trade that he might not be burdensome to the churches that were pressed with poverty. Although he had planted many churches, he refused to be supported by them, fearing that his usefulness and success as a minister of Christ might be injured by suspicions that he was preaching the gospel for gain. He would remove from his enemies all occasion to misrepresent him, and thus to detract from the force of his message.

“As a laborer in the gospel, Paul might have claimed support, instead of sustaining himself; but this right he was willing to forego. Although feeble in health, he labored during the day in serving the cause of Christ, and then toiled a large share of the night, and frequently all night, that he might make provision for his own and others’ necessities. The apostle would also give an example to the Christian ministry, dignifying and honoring industry. While thus preaching and working, he presented the highest type of Christianity.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 101.


  • In Corinth, whom did Paul persuade in the synagogue every Sabbath? Acts 18:4, 5. What did he decide there, and how did the Lord encourage His servant at this difficult time? Acts 18:6–11.
  • Describe the next trials Paul faced, and how God blessed his labors. Acts 18:12–23.
  • What can we learn from the mutual love and respect among Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla—and the way God was able to use all three of them to His glory? Acts 18:24–28; I Corinthians 3:22, 23; 4:6.

Note: “Aquila and Priscilla listened to him [Apollos], and saw that his teachings were defective. He had not a thorough knowledge of the mission of Christ, His resurrection and ascension, and of the work of His Spirit, the Comforter which He sent down to remain with His people during His absence. They accordingly sent for Apollos, and the educated orator received instruction from them with grateful surprise and joy. Through their teachings he obtained a clearer understanding of the Scriptures, and became one of the ablest defenders of the Christian church. Thus a thorough scholar and brilliant orator learned the way of the Lord more perfectly from the teachings of a Christian man and woman whose humble employment was that of tent-making.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 119.

“Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose, and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soulsaving.

“There is a large field open before the self-supporting gospel worker. Many may gain valuable experiences in ministry while toiling a portion of the time at some form of manual labor, and by this method strong workers may be developed for important service in needy fields.” The Acts of the Apostles, 355.


  • As talented Apollos had now begun his faithful work as an apostle in Corinth, what began to occur among the believers in that city? I Corinthians 1:10–13.
  • What points was Paul constrained to clarify to the Corinthians regarding the vanity of human learning and finite knowledge? I Corinthians 1:17–31.
  • Although Paul could have easily spoken in such a way as to impress his Corinthian hearers with his extensive learning, how had his limited success in Athens influenced him to try a different method instead? I Corinthians 2:1–5.

Note: “In preaching the gospel in Corinth, the apostle [Paul] followed a course different from that which had marked his labors at Athens. While in the latter place, he had sought to adapt his style to the character of his audience; he had met logic with logic, science with science, philosophy with philosophy. As he thought of the time thus spent, and realized that his teaching in Athens had been productive of but little fruit, he decided to follow another plan of labor in Corinth in his efforts to arrest the attention of the careless and the indifferent. He determined to avoid elaborate arguments and discussions, and ‘not to know anything’ among the Corinthians ‘save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’ He would preach to them ‘not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (I Corinthians 2:2, 4).” The Acts of the Apostles, 244.

“Paul was an eloquent speaker. Before his conversion he had often sought to impress his hearers by flights of oratory. But now he set all this aside. Instead of indulging in poetic descriptions and fanciful representations, which might please the senses and feed the imagination, but which would not touch the daily experience, Paul sought by the use of simple language to bring home to the heart the truths that are of vital importance. Fanciful representations of truth may cause an ecstasy of feeling, but all too often truths presented in this way do not supply the food necessary to strengthen and fortify the believer for the battles of life.” Ibid., 251, 252.


  • What principles did the Corinthians need to learn about God’s apostles—and how can this apply in our midst today? I Corinthians 3:1–10. How was the problem wisely handled? I Corinthians 16:12.

Note: “There can be no stronger evidence in churches that the truths of the Bible have not sanctified the receivers, than their attachment to some favorite minister, and their unwillingness to accept the labors of some other teacher, and to be profited by them. The Lord sends help to His church as they need, not as they choose; for short-sighted mortals cannot discern what is for their highest good. It is seldom that one minister has all the qualifications necessary to perfect any one church in all the requirements of Christianity; therefore God sends other ministers to follow him, one after another, each possessing some qualifications in which the others were deficient.

“The church should gratefully accept these servants of Christ, even as they would accept the Master Himself. They should seek to derive all the benefit possible from the instruction which ministers may give them from the word of God. But the ministers themselves are not to be idolized; there should be no religious pets and favorites among the people; it is the truths they bring which are to be accepted and appreciated in the meekness of humility.

“In the apostles’ day, one party claimed to believe in Christ, yet refused to give due respect to His ambassadors. They claimed to follow no human teacher, but to be taught directly from Christ, without the aid of ministers of the gospel. They were independent in spirit, and unwilling to submit to the voice of the church. Another party claimed Paul as their leader, and drew comparisons between him and Peter, which were unfavorable to the latter. Another declared that Apollos far exceeded Paul in address, and power of oratory. Another claimed Peter as their leader, affirming that he had been most intimate with Christ when He was upon the earth, while Paul had been a persecutor of the believers. There was danger that this party spirit would ruin the Christian church.

“Paul and Apollos were in perfect harmony. The latter was disappointed and grieved because of the dissension in the church; he took no advantage of the preference shown himself, nor did he encourage it, but hastily left the field of strife. When Paul afterward urged him to visit Corinth, he declined, and did not again labor there until long after, when the church had reached a better spiritual state.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 127, 128.


  • What appeals did Paul make to the conscience of the Corinthians who, by nature, tended heavily to sensuality? I Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:13–20; 9:25–27.
  • What is often the experience of an earnest teacher of reformation? II Corinthians 11:29, 30; 12:15. When Paul felt that the struggling Corinthians would not necessarily profit very much from a personal visit from him, what did he do? II Corinthians 2:4; 8:16.

Note: “When Paul sent Titus to Corinth to strengthen the believers there, he instructed him to build up that church in the grace of giving. …

“Unselfish liberality threw the early church into a transport of joy; for the believers knew that their efforts were helping to send the gospel message to those in darkness. Their benevolence testified that they had not received the grace of God in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit? In the eyes of believers and unbelievers it was a miracle of grace.

“Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. The followers of Christ should rejoice in the privilege of revealing in their lives the beneficence of their Redeemer.” The Acts of the Apostles, 344, 345.

  • What did Paul instruct Titus about expanding the gospel work into broader regions while still maintaining its purity? Titus 1:5–9, 15, 16; 2:1, 11–15; 3:9–11.


1 How can Paul inspire all who work with their hands for a livelihood?

2 Explain how humble Priscilla and Acquila could bear far-reaching fruit.

3 In seeking to win intellectuals, what can we learn from Paul in Corinth?

4 What type of attitude can ruin the effects of the varied gifts in the church?

5 Why is it so vital to uphold biblical standards of behavior in the church?

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

Recipe – Wild West Bean Caviar

¼ cup lemon juice with a pinch of sweetener

6 cups cooked black beans or black-eyed peas

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

3 ripe tomatoes

½ cup chopped red onion

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp. lime juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp salt

corn chips or pita chips

Under the broiler, cook tomatoes for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, or until charred on all sides. Cool, peel, seed and core. In a food processor, combine tomato flesh, lemon juice, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and salt; process until smooth.

In a bowl, stir together roasted tomato sauce, beans, red onions, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve with chips for scooping or serve as a starter salad or side dish.

Use 3 cans (each 19 ounces) black beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained or cook your own starting with 1 ½ cups dried.

Food – Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils are delicious hot or cold. They are visually appealing and come in many different shapes, sizes and colors – including yellow chickpeas, red or white kidney beans and multi-colored lentils. Being highly adaptable, they combine well with a wide variety of flavors and foods, running the gamut from graceful and elegant to rib-sticking. Lentils can make inspiring appetizers, distinctive soups, the most stylish of salads, and delicious entrees. Better still, they are inexpensive and highly nutritious. In fact, if it weren’t for dried beans and lentils, many of our pioneer ancestors would not have survived. Because they were easy to store, legumes were a crucial source of nutrition for an age that lacked refrigeration as well as seasonal supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Although the benefits vary between different types, legumes share some common nutritional characteristics. All are a rich source of B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc.

Legumes are an excellent source of low-fat protein. A diet rich in beans and lentils can help to provide necessary protein without the added cholesterol and fat contained in meat. Strict vegetarians should ensure they eat adequate amounts of grains and cereals, seeds and nuts in addition to legumes.

Dried beans and lentils can be purchased in various package sizes at most supermarkets or from bulk food stores. They should be stored in a dry, airtight container at room temperature. Since they lose their moisture over time, they are best used within a year. Not only do old beans take longer to soak and to cook, they are likely to be tougher than beans that have been stored for only a few months.

Once cooked, legumes should be covered and stored in the refrigerator where they will keep for four to five days. Cooked legumes can also be frozen. Packaged in an airtight, freezer-friendly container, they will keep frozen for up to six months. The Beans Lentils & Tofu Gourmet, Published by Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2000.

Children’s Story – Sowing Seeds

It is the beginning of a new year. Many people make resolutions that they hope will make a difference in their lives. Unfortunately, most of them are not fulfilled. This year why not resolve to protect your heart from the enemy.

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

Early Sunday morning, Dr. Reed called his children to come out into the garden for a seed-planting game. They selected a plot of ground where they had planned to sow winter rye for the chickens.

“We will use only a small part of this good ground for our game,” announced Daddy Reed, as he set a few stakes to mark off a small corner of the plot. Then he took from his pocket three envelopes. Handing one to Harold, he said, “Son, you may take this dock seed and scatter it as evenly as you can over this corner of the plot.”

Harold objected. “Why, daddy, why plant dock seed? We’ll have an awful time pulling up the plants when they once get started.”

“It’s part of the game,” said the doctor, handing another envelope to Linda. “You may plant this hemlock weed seed.”

“Hemlock!” exclaimed Linda in surprise. “Isn’t that a poisonous plant?” She could scarcely believe her ears when daddy replied, “Yes, it is very poisonous, but this is only a game; we’re just playing it for fun. So scatter the seed over the ground.” Then he gave Betty Lou and Eddie some dandelion seed.

“Ready! Now plant!” came the orders; “scatter your seeds carefully.”

Harold looked at his father as if to ask, “Do you really mean for us to do this foolish thing?” The only response to his questioning look was, “Go ahead and plant the seed!”

Slowly, hesitatingly, the children began to drop the seeds.

“Our seeds are flying away,” exclaimed Eddie. He and Betty Lou ran here and there trying to catch the fluffy things, but the breeze carried them off. Only a few of the dandelion seeds reached the damp ground, which held them fast.

“Now, children, you have sown the seed. The game is to see how many of these seeds you can find and put back into the envelopes.”

“Oh, no!” objected all the children.

Then daddy went on to say, “There is another kind of seed that we are planting every day in the gardens of our hearts. Either we are helping Jesus plant good seed, or we are helping the evil one plant bad seed. Satan has many people working for him, helping scatter bad seeds in the minds of boys and girls, where they will grow into poisonous plants.

“The men who print these books and papers telling about the foolish or wicked things that people can do, and the naughty tricks of children, illustrating their stories with ugly pictures, are helpers of Satan. They try to make these bad things appear as funny as they can so those who read them will think it smart to do the same kinds of things themselves. Other helpers of Satan pile these books on the newsstands where young people will be tempted to spend their nickels and dimes for them. Others make up nonsense pages which go into the newspapers for the entertainment of boys and girls.

“Some of these books and papers are silly. They are like the dandelion seeds that cover the ground with useless plants and keep good seeds from finding a place to grow. They fill the mind with foolishness, so there is little room for the good thoughts which make life beautiful.

“Some are like the dock seeds, which grow big, ugly roots that are hard to pull up. They leave bad pictures in the minds, which are almost impossible to forget.

“But the very worst of all these worthless books are the ones that tell of wicked deeds, like shooting, and stealing, and other sinful things. These bad books are like the poisonous hemlock. They fill the mind with thoughts of sin and crime.

“Now, children, I hope that you will finish this seed planting game and gather up as many of these seeds as you can so they will not spoil our garden. Remember, every one you pick up now will save hard work digging out weeds later on. You may put the seeds back into their envelopes as you gather them up.

“Put the dandelion seed into this envelope marked The Funnies. The dock-weed seed goes into this one marked The Uglies. And this one, for the hemlock seed, I have marked The Crimies.”

The children objected even to trying to find the tiny things, but daddy insisted that they make the effort. An hour later they came into the house tired and discouraged.

“We’ve lost the game,” Harold had to admit, as he handed the almost empty envelopes to his father.

“The seeds are so small we can’t find them, and the dandelion seeds all flew away,” Eddie complained.

“The only thing we can do now is to dig the weeds out early in the spring before they get big,” Harold concluded.

Daddy looked serious as he said, “It will be a hard task to dig out the weeds you planted today in your garden, but not nearly as hard as it would be to uproot the weeds of sin in your lives, if you should be foolish enough to let their seeds into your minds.”

The children all agreed that they would do their very best to keep the bad seeds out, and to sow only good seeds, that would bear beautiful flowers and precious fruit for Jesus.

Happy Home Stories by Ella M. Robinson, Teach Services, Inc.

Health – Fatigue and How to Conquer It

Fortunately, there are a number of simple causes of fatigue. If we eliminate these, fatigue will usually disappear. A rarely understood cause of fatigue is overeating. It would seem that a snack or between meal eating would be the very thing to help cure fatigue, but the reverse is actually the case. Do not overeat, such as between-meal snacks or a heavy supper. While a heavy supper may enable some to sleep the sleep of the drugged, it does not cause refreshment. Next morning the person awakens in a partial stupor.

Too little exercise is another common cause of fatigue. Again it would appear that exercise would cause fatigue in itself. Not so. As the out-of-condition person begins to exercise, chronic fatigue may disappear like magic.

The use of too little water is also a common source of weakness and fatigue. Drinking water will perk you up just as a wilted flower perks up in water. Chronic dehydration is often caused by diuretics such as coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate. Eating concentrated, rich, or heavy foods promotes chronic dehydration. Protein food supplements can also cause chronic dehydration.

There are certain conditions of the body associated with fatigue which must be diagnosed by chemical tests: thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, and many chronic diseases. Ideal fasting blood sugar ranges between 70 and 85. Any deviation from the ideal may mean a trend toward an error in metabolism. A special program should then be followed.

If your hemoglobin (blood iron) is either too high or too low you may feel fatigue. Almost everyone is aware that a low level of hemoglobin is associated with fatigue, but it is the rare person who understands that rich, heavy blood can also cause fatigue. Pushing around the heavy blood is a tax on the heart and arteries, uses up energy, and results in fatigue. In order to bring the hemoglobin down one should take more exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables prepared simply or eaten raw, avoid all rich or concentrated foods, avoid overeating, drink plenty of water, and avoid stresses.

A class of stressful stimuli can be listed as fatigue producers. These include working around a lot of noise, being in a stressful or anxious state, having periods of lack of rest, and depression. One of the first indications of depression is fatigue. Overweight, overwork, and depression are often related, and may cause fatigue.

If one has an irregular schedule, the body does not have the ability to control the expenditure of energy, and the loss of energy with resultant fatigue is a frequent companion of an irregular schedule.

Constipation can cause fatigue by the constant transmission of electrical signals from the gastrointestinal tract to the central nervous system, using up energy.

Poor air, especially in the bedroom while sleeping, is a common cause of early morning fatigue as well as headache. If exhaled impurities are taken again into the blood, the body must expend double energy to throw them off. Foods having a high nutrient density per unit volume require more energy to metabolize, resulting in fatigue. Concentrated foods are oils, sugars, wheat germ, all animal products (meat, milk, eggs, and cheese), and anything other than fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Excesses of one’s pleasures are a sure producer of fatigue.

Make a self-evaluation and correct all those things that are known to be causes of fatigue. If fatigue continues after correcting all known causes, then one should select a good physician and receive an evaluation of his/her thyroid, blood sugar, hemoglobin levels, and other health indicators.

Question & Answer – Was Jesus rude to His mother, as recorded in John 2:4?

“ ‘Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.’

“His manner was respectful, yet firm; He designed to teach Mary that the time for her to control Him as a mother, was ended. His mighty work now lay before Him, and no one must direct concerning the exercise of His divine power. There was danger that Mary would presume upon her relationship to Christ, and feel that she had special claims upon Him and special rights. As Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world, no earthly ties must hold Him from His divine mission, nor influence the course He must pursue. It was needful that He should stand free from every personal consideration, ready to do the will of His Father in Heaven.

“Jesus loved His mother tenderly … but the time had now come when He was to go about His Father’s business. In rebuking His mother, Jesus also rebukes a large class who have an idolatrous love for their family, and allow the ties of relationship to draw them from the service of God. Human love is a sacred attribute; but should not be allowed to mar our religious experience, or draw our hearts from God.

“The future life of Christ was mapped out before Him. His divine power had been hidden, and He had waited in obscurity and humiliation for thirty years, and was in no haste to act until the proper time should arrive. But Mary, in the pride of her heart, longed to see Him prove to the company that He was really the honored of God. … But He answered that His hour had not yet come. His time to be honored and glorified as King was not yet come; it was His lot to be a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

“The earthly relation of Christ to His mother was ended. He who had been her submissive son was now her divine Lord. Her only hope, in common with the rest of mankind, was to believe Him to be the Redeemer of the world, and yield Him implicit obedience. The fearful delusion of the Roman church exalts the mother of Christ equal with the Son of the Infinite God; but He, the Saviour, places the matter in a vastly different light, and in a pointed manner indicates that the tie of relationship between them in no way raises her to His level, or insures her future. Human sympathies must no longer affect the One whose mission is to the world.

“The mother of Christ understood the character of her Son, and bowed in submission to His will. She knew that He would comply with her request if it was best to do so. Her manner evidenced her perfect faith in his wisdom and power, and it was this faith to which Jesus responded in the miracle that followed.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 101–103.

Pen of Inspiration – Happy New Year

I wish you a happy New Year,” will soon be repeated far and near, by parents and children, brothers and sisters, acquaintances and friends. In a world like ours, this New Year’s greeting seems far more appropriate than the Merry Christmas so lately echoed from lip to lip. On every hand are pale faces, brows furrowed with pain and care, or forms bowed with age. Wherever we turn may be seen the garb of mourning. The suffering, the care-worn, and the aged can no longer be merry. In many a household there is a vacant chair; a beloved child, a husband and father, whose presence gladdened the last Christmas and New Year’s festivity, is gone from the circle. A merry Christmas seems a mockery to that bereaved family.

But whatever the cares and sorrows of life, whatever the mistakes and errors of the past, the “Happy New Year,” when uttered as an expression of love or respect, falls pleasantly upon the ear. And yet, are not these kindly wishes often forgotten with the utterance? How often we fail to carry their import into the daily life, and thus to aid in their fulfillment. The New Year’s greeting is frequently uttered by insincere lips, from hearts that would not forego one selfish gratification in order to make other’s happy. Recipients of gifts and favors every new year, many accept these as their due. Receiving daily the bounties of Heaven, sunshine and shower, food and raiment, friends and home—all the unnoted yet priceless blessings of life—they forget the claims of the Giver; forget that God has left them a legacy in His poor; and that Christ, the Majesty of Heaven, identifies Himself with suffering humanity in the person of his saints.

Says our Saviour, “It was I Whom you neglected. While your wardrobe was supplied with costly apparel, I had no comfortable clothing; while you feasted, I was hungry; while you were absorbed in pleasure, I was sick, a stranger, and uncared for.” Let those who would have a happy new year, seek to honor God and make all around them happy. Let them share the gifts of Providence with those more needy, and bring to the Lord their offerings of gratitude, their sin-offerings, and their free-will offerings.

Let us review our own course during the past year, and compare our life and character with the Bible standard. Have we withheld from our gracious Benefactor that which He claims from us in return for all the blessings He has granted? Have we neglected to care for the poor, and comfort the sorrowing? Here, then, is work for us.

Upon many, God has bestowed His gifts with a lavish hand. Will they make corresponding returns? Some of these persons, when in poverty, were faithful in the smallest trust committed to them. They would sooner deny themselves of the comforts, or even the necessaries of life, than to withhold their offerings from the Lord’s treasury. God has rewarded their faithfulness by prosperity. But now a change comes over the recipients of His bounty. Their wants increase faster than their income, and they no longer return to God the portion which is His due. Thus is developed that same spirit of covetousness which proved the ruin of Judas.

Let us each bring our souls to task. Let us see if we have brought all our offerings to God. I would do this for myself as an individual. It may be that I have been remiss during the past year. I know not when or where, but to make sure that I have done my whole duty, I will at the first of the year bring an offering to God to be appropriated as may seem best, to some one of the branches of His work. If any of you, my brethren and sisters, are convicted that you have failed to render to God the things that are His; if you have not kindly considered the wants of the poor; or if you have withheld from any man his due, I entreat you to repent before the Lord, and to restore fourfold. Strict honesty toward God and men will alone meet the divine requirements. Remember that if you have defrauded a neighbor in trade, or in any manner deprived him of his own, or if you have robbed God in tithes and offerings, it is all registered in the books of Heaven.

Many are bemoaning their backsliding, their want of peace and rest in Christ, when the past year’s record shows that they have separated themselves from God by their departure from strict integrity. When they will faithfully examine their hearts, when they will open their eyes to see the selfishness of their motives—then their prayer will be, “Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). God requires us to have a pure heart and clean hands (Psalm 24:4). Let those who have committed wrong give proof of their repentance by seeking to make full restitution, let them in their after-life give evidence of a genuine reformation, and they will assuredly enjoy the peace of Heaven.

Let us enter upon the new year with a clean record. Let faults be corrected. Let bitterness and malice be uprooted. Let right triumph over wrong. Let envy and jealousy between brethren be put away. Heartfelt, honest confession will heal grave difficulties. Then, with the love of God in the soul, there may flow from sincere lips the greeting, “I wish you a happy New Year.”

Many who were with us at the beginning of 1881 are not here to welcome 1882. We ourselves may not live to see another year. Shall we not seek to improve the little time allotted us? Will not the church of Christ turn from their backslidings? Will they not cast aside their idols, repent of their love of the world, overcome their selfish greed, and open the door of the heart to bid the Saviour welcome? May the beginning of this year be a time that shall never be forgotten—a time when Christ shall come in among us, and say, “Peace be unto you.”

Brethren and sisters, I wish you, one and all, a happy New Year.

“We live in deeds, not years; in
thought, not breath;
In feelings, not in figures on the dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs
when they beat
For man, for duty. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels noblest, acts
the best.”

The Review and Herald, January 3, 1882.