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 MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Revelation 2:18-29
Discussion Questions: What aspects of the activities in Thyatira resemble what you see in culture today? The church at Thyatira had allowed themselves to be deceived by Jezebel. What makes Christians susceptible to deception? Paul challenged believers to remain firm in the faith they had been taught (Colossians 2:6-8). How can we do that?
Food for thought:
The church at Thyatira is the fourth of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3. Thyatira found her significance in two identities, both of which Christ intimates in His letter. During the Greek epoch the city originally was an important military headquarters. Thyatira unfortunately suffered under one conqueror after another but never stopped thinking of herself as a power. Her military legacy continued under Roman rule, but she evolved into one of the most thriving commercial centers in all of Asia. Her city walls bulged with wool and linen workers, dyers, leather workers, potters, tanners, bakers, slave dealers and bronze smiths.
Like the city, the church had much going for it. Jesus commended it for its love, its faithfulness, its service, its endurance and the fact that its most recent works were greater than its earlier works. Even so, He brought a charge against the church: “You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols.”
Under Roman rule, the evolution of Thyatira’s commerce shifted militant authority to successful merchants. Powerful trade guilds ran the city like the mob. Clubs and societies were not only social but also highly political. The networking between these trade clubs and societies was more like a web. They came with offers a citizen wasn’t wise to refuse.
“Jezebel” was very powerful in Thyatira. Likely up to her elbows in secret guilds and society climbs, she did everything she could to infiltrate the church with them. And apparently the church allowed her to succeed in those efforts. In so doing, they allowed themselves to be misled, even to engaging in sexual immorality and lightly regarding offerings made to idols. To this deceived church, Jesus challenged them to hold on to the truth they had at the first — not the deception being fed to them at that time.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.