NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Revelation 2:8-11
- What riches have you experienced because of your relationship with Christ?
- How do suffering and hardship work to strengthen our faith?
- What are some practical ways to reject fear and embrace God’s promises for the future?
Food for Thought:
Tradition says John was the only apostle not martyred for his faith. But late in his life, around A.D. 95, he lived on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, just off the coast of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:9). He was exiled there because of his bold ministry for Christ, primarily in the city of Ephesus.
John recounted how, on one Lord’s day, he was in the Spirit when he witnessed a vision of the risen and exalted Christ (vv. 8-20). The Lord commanded John to write down what he was about to hear and see, and send it as letters to seven churches in seven cities of Asia Minor (v. 11).
In Revelation 2:8-11, John wrote to the church in Smyrna. Jesus’ message to the believers began with encouragement: “I know your affliction and poverty, but you are rich” (v. 9). The church at Smyrna was a poor church with few resources. Still, Jesus described them using one word: “rich” (v. 9). Their lack of material and financial wealth did not completely define them; their spiritual blessings in Christ, however, did.
Jesus told the church at Smyrna not to fear what they were going to face. They had endured tremendous trials, tribulation and persecution in the past – and more was still to come. We are told repeatedly in Scripture not to be afraid, and Jesus reminded the believers in Smyrna of that instruction. The believers at Smyrna needed these words of encouragement because persecution did come. The Jews hated the Christians as much as the pagans did, and they sought to imprison and even kill them.
Jesus’ words to the church in Smyrna ended the same way His earlier message to the church in Ephesus did: “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches” (v. 11). He wanted the churches to not just hear the words but take them to heart. They were to act on the instruction they had just received.
This message was given to the church in Smyrna, but it is a message that is relevant to us today. True, lasting riches are only found in Christ. Though we may face suffering and persecution, in Christ we are conquerors. He has secured our victory.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at biblestudiesforlife.com.