Week of July 8 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: Acts 14:7

and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Day 1 Read: Acts 14:1-7

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Reflect: What opposition did Paul and Barnabas face? How did they respond to this opposition (v. 3)? How did the Lord help them?

Consider: It was no easy journey. Iconium was some ninety miles southeast of Antioch by the Sebastian way, the main route that connected Ephesus with Syria and Mesopotamia. Iconium was located on a plateau 3,370 feet in elevation. In many ways the city was strongly Hellenized because it had been under Seleucid rule during the second and third centuries before Christ. In Paul’s day the Roman influence was particularly in evidence, as is indicated by the name Claudiconium, which was granted to it in a.d. 41 by the emperor Claudius. It was considered a particular honor for a city to be given the right to bear the emperor’s name. In short, at Iconium Paul and Barnabas encountered a cultural amalgam—native Phrygians whose ancestors had occupied the area from ancient times, Greeks and Jews who dated back to the Seleucid period (312–65 b.c.), and Roman colonists whose presence dated from more recent times. Geographically it was the most ideal place for human settlement in an otherwise desolate area, and there is evidence for a town there from ancient times right down to the present.[1]

Respond: What factors likely motivated Paul and Barnabas to press on? What motivates you in your ministry efforts? How can we know whether to continue to serve in the face of opposition or to move on to other areas of service?

 

[1] John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 309–310.