1. As you review the first part of this chapter, specifically vv. 1-15, what do you see as differences between the two cities (Thessalonica & Berea) in their reception of the Gospel? Why are the Bereans often upheld as an example for us today? What do we learn about those who opposed Paul and his preaching, and how would you have responded in these situations? How can you become more like a Berean?
2. Verse 6 states the accusation that Paul and his companions had “upset the world” or ‘turned the world upside down’. Although these charges were applied to harm Paul, how are they indeed true for Christians and their faith? How does Christianity ‘upset the world’ and declare “another king (v. 7)?
3. What brings spiritual distress (“provoked within”, v. 16) to your heart when you look around your community? What are steps you can take to remedy or bring healing or knowledge to such circumstances? What might we learn from Paul’s own example?
4. Review 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” How do we see this verse worked out in chapter 17? What methods did Paul use to “give an account” and how did he draw upon contemporary culture of the day?
5. Read the following texts and discuss how Paul incorporates these truths in his address to the people of Athens: Genesis 14:19, 22; Deuteronomy 32:8; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 9:7-8; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Isaiah 2:18, 19:1, 45:18-25, 66:1-2; Ezekiel 18:23.
6. Romans 1:25 sets forth a powerful reminder of what the people of Athens had done regarding their “religion”--“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Although not many today in our culture bow down to a statue, we nonetheless are just like those in Athens, and certainly have our “idols”. Identify some of the contemporary “idols” we worship and how we serve creation and not the Creator.
We are a Christ centered community, whose heart is to be a place where individuals are knowing Jesus Christ, growing in Christ, and going out into the world with Christ, in order that lives would be transformed by the gospel and God would be glorified.