Voices from the Early Church

Voices from the Early Church

Study by Jodi Harris
Commentary by Guy Sayles and Hardy Clemons

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Brief Description

One of the challenges of written correspondence is saying all you want in as few words as possible. Sometimes the most meaningful and personal letters are the ones with only a few heartfelt words. The same is true for the New Testament letters we will explore in this unit.

Although short in length, Philemon, Titus, Jude, and 2 Timothy communicate large ideas. Their appeals to the early Christian church echo beyond the text and into our lives as Christians. In the next four sessions, we listen to voices from the early church that speak of transforming faith, complete commitment, outward actions, and persecution.

In Philemon, Paul confronts the church with a new way of thinking that ultimately transforms the whole community. Second Timothy speaks of commitment, even in a world of persecution. Not only does the author provide encouraging words for suffering, but he also challenges us to endure. Our third session from Titus focuses on the persecuted church in Crete. We will explore how this group of Christians relates to the community at large. Their public behavior is the focus of our attention. In Jude, persecution continues for the people of faith. “Scoffers” in the church were causing major divisions. The writer warns Christians about false teachers, and he gives them advice on how to deal with their brothers and sisters who have strayed from faith.

Although we can never understand the extent to which the community of faith faced persecution, the voices of the early church still speak to our own struggles and difficulties as we seek to follow God. Even more, their words summon us to respond. As we begin this journey, may we open our ears and be ready to listen for God’s voice.

Materials Included
• 4 Sessions of Learner’s Materials
• 4 Sessions of Teaching Materials
• 4 Handouts
Sessions Included
1. Speaking of Challenge
2. Speaking of Commitment
3. Speaking of Public Behavior
4. Speaking of Persecution

Age Group

1. Philemon 8-16
2. 2 Timothy 2:1-13
3. Titus 3:1-11
4. Jude 17-23

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