Their story is told in Acts 18. They are also mentioned in Romans 16: 3-5; 1 Cor. 16: 19; 2 Tim. 4: 19



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Complete the study and questions the the 4 Bible characters listed belo

Aquila and Priscilla, Asa, Balaam, Barnabas


THE LIVES AND PROBLEMS
OF THOSE IN BIBLE TIMES


Lesson Four
AQUILA AND PRISCILLA MAKE THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

Their story is told in Acts 18. They are also mentioned in Romans 16:3-5; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19.


Some couples know how to make the most of life. They complement each other, capitalize on each other’s strengths, and form an effective team. Their united efforts affect those around them. Aquila and Priscilla were such a couple. They are never mentioned separately in the Bible. In marriage and ministry, they were together.
Priscilla and Aquila met Paul in Corinth during his second missionary journey. They had just been expelled from Rome by Emperor Claudius’s decree against Jews. Their home was as movable as the tents they made to support themselves. They opened their home to Paul, and he joined them in tentmaking. He shared with them his wealth of spiritual wisdom.
Priscilla and Aquila made the most of their spiritual education. They listened carefully to sermons and evaluated what they heard. When they heard Apollos speak, they were impressed by his ability, but realized that his information was not complete. Instead of open confrontation, the couple quietly took Apollos home and shared with him what he needed to know. Until then, Apollos had only John the Baptist’s message about Christ. Priscilla and Aquila told him about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and the reality of God’s indwelling Spirit. He continued to preach powerfully—but now with the full story.
As for Priscilla and Aquila, they went on using their home as a warm place for training and worship. Back in Rome years later, they hosted one of the house churches that developed.
In an age when the focus is mostly on what happens between husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla are an example of what can happen through husband and wife. Their effectiveness together speaks about their relationship with each other. Their hospitality opened the doorway of salvation to many. The Christian home is still one of the best tools for spreading the gospel. Do guests find Christ in your home?
Strengths and accomplishments:

• Outstanding husband/wife team who ministered in the early church

• Supported themselves by tentmaking while serving Christ

• Close friends of Paul

• Explained to Apollos the full message of Christ
Lessons from their lives:

• Couples can have an effective ministry together

• The home is a valuable tool for evangelism

• Every believer needs to be well educated in the faith, whatever his or her role in the church


Vital statistics:

• Where: Originally from Rome, moved to Corinth, then Ephesus

• Occupation: Tentmakers

• Contemporaries: Emperor Claudius, Paul, Timothy, Apollos




Key verses:

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them” (Romans 16:3-4).



Questions:
1. Where is the location of this story?

2. Name some strengths of this Bible character.


3. Name some weaknesses of this Bible character.


4. What is the lesson from life of this Bible character?


5. Where did Aquila and Priscilla hold training and worship?



ASA BELIEVED THAT THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS

Asa’s story is told in 1 Kings 15:8-24 and 2 Chron. 14-16. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 41:9; Matthew 1:7.


God has never accepted the idea that “the ends justify the means.” He is just and perfect in all his ways. People, on the other hand, are far from perfect. That a bond can exist between a loving and merciful Creator and a resisting and rebellious creation is as great a miracle as creation itself! As a king, Asa came very close to being good. He traveled a long way with God before getting off track. His sin was not so much deliberate disobedience as choosing the easy way rather than the right way.
When the odds seemed impossible in the battle with the Cushites, Asa recognized his need to depend on God. Following that victory, God’s promise of peace based on obedience spurred the king and people to many years of right living. But Asa was to face a tougher test.
Years of animosity between Asa and Israel’s king Baasha took an ugly turn. Baasha, king of the rival northern kingdom, was building a fort that threatened both the peace and the economy of Judah. Asa thought he saw a way out—he bribed King Ben-Hadad of Aram to break his alliance with King Baasha. The plan worked brilliantly, but it wasn’t God’s way. When Asa was confronted by God’s prophet Hanani, he flew into a rage, jailed Hanani, and took out his anger on his people. Asa rejected correction and refused to admit his error to God. His greatest failure was missing what God could have done with his life if he had been willing to be humble. His pride ruined the health of his reign. He stubbornly held on to his failure until his death.
Does this attitude sound familiar? Can you identify failures in your life that you have continued to rationalize rather than admit them to God and accept his forgiveness? The ends do not justify the means. Such a belief leads to sin and failure. The stubborn refusal to admit a failure due to sin can become a big problem because it makes you spend time rationalizing rather than learning from your mistakes and moving on.
Strengths and accomplishments:

• Obeyed God during the first ten years of his reign

• Carried out a partially successful effort to abolish idolatry

• Deposed his idolatrous mother Maacah

• Defeated Cush’s mighty army
Weaknesses and mistakes:

• Responded with rage when confronted about his sin

• Made alliances with foreign nations and evil people
Lessons from his life:

• God not only reinforces good, he confronts evil

• Efforts to follow God’s plans and rules yield positive results

• How well a plan works is no measure of its rightness or approval by God


Vital statistics:

• Where: Jerusalem

• Occupation: King of Judah

• Relatives: Mother: Maacah. Father: Abijah. Son: Jehoshaphat

• Contemporaries: Hanani, Ben-Hadad, Zerah, Azariah, Baasha
Key verse:

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war” (2 Chron. 16:9).



Questions:
1. Where is the location of this story?

2. Name some strengths of this Bible character.


3. Name some weaknesses of this Bible character.


4. What is the lesson from life of this Bible character?


5. How did Ada feel about correction?



BALAAM ACKNOWLEDGED THAT YAHWEH
WAS A POWERFUL GOD.

Balaam’s story is told in Numbers 22:1-24:25. He is also mentioned in Numbers 31:7-8, 16; Deut. 23:4-5; Joshua 24:9-10; Neh. 13:2; Micah 6:5; 2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14.


Balaam was one of those noteworthy Old Testament characters who, though not one of God’s chosen people, was willing to acknowledge that Yahweh (the Lord) was indeed a powerful God. But he did not believe in the Lord as the only true God. His story exposes the deception of maintaining an outward facade of spirituality over a corrupt inward life. Balaam was a man ready to obey God’s command as long as he could profit from doing so. This mixture of motives—obedience and profit—eventually led to Balaam’s death. Although he realized the awesome power of Israel’s God, his heart was occupied with the wealth he could gain in Moab. There he returned to die when the armies of Israel invaded.
Eventually, each of us lives through the same process. Who and what we are will somehow come to the surface, destroying any masks we may have put on to cover up our real selves. Efforts spent on keeping up appearances would be much better spent on finding the answer to sin in our lives. We can avoid Balaam’s mistake by facing ourselves and realizing that God is willing to accept us, forgive us, and literally make us over from within. Don’t miss this great discovery that eluded Balaam.
Strengths and accomplishments:

• Widely known for his effective curses and blessings

• Obeyed God and blessed Israel, in spite of Balak’s bribe
Weaknesses and mistakes:

• Encouraged the Israelites to worship idols (Numbers 31:16)

• Returned to Moab and was killed in war
Lessons from his life:

• Motives are just as important as actions

• Your treasure is where your heart is
Vital statistics:

• Where: Lived near the Euphrates River, traveled to Moab

• Occupations: Sorcerer, prophet

• Relative: Father: Beor

• Contemporaries: Balak (king of Moab), Moses, Aaron
Key verses:

“They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness” (2 Peter 2:15-16).




Questions:
1.Where is the location of this story?

2. Name some strengths of this Bible character.


3. Name some weaknesses of this Bible character.


4. What is the lesson from life of this Bible character?


5. Was Balaam one of God's chosen people?



BARNABAS

Barnabas’s story is told in Acts 4:36-37; Acts 9:27-15:39. He is also mentioned in 1 Cor. 9:6; Galatians 2:1, 9, 13; Colossians 4:10.


Every group needs an “encourager,” because everyone needs encouragement at one time or another. However, the value of encouragement is often missed because it tends to be private rather than public. In fact, people. We most need encouragement when they feel most alone. A man named Joseph was such an encourager that he earned the nickname “Son of Encouragement,” or Barnabas, from the Jerusalem Christians.
Barnabas was drawn to people he could encourage, and he was a great help to those around him. It is delightful that wherever Barnabas encouraged Christians, non-Christians flocked to become believers!
Barnabas’s actions were crucial to the early church. In a way, we can thank him for most of the New Testament. God used his relationship with Paul at one point and with Mark at another to keep these two men going when either might have failed. Barnabas did wonders with encouragement!
When Paul arrived in Jerusalem for the first time following his conversion, the local Christians were understandably reluctant to welcome him. They thought his story was a trick to capture more Christians. Only Barnabas proved willing to risk his life to meet with Paul and then convince the others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus. We can only wonder what might have happened to Paul without Barnabas.
It was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with him and Paul to Antioch. Mark joined them on their first missionary journey, but decided during the trip to return home. Later, Barnabas wanted to invite Mark to join them for another journey, but Paul would not agree. As a result, the partners went separate ways, Barnabas with Mark and Paul with Silas. This actually doubled the missionary effort. Barnabas’s patient encouragement was confirmed by Mark’s eventual effective ministry. Paul and Mark were later reunited in missionary efforts.
As Barnabas’s life shows, we are rarely in a situation where there isn’t someone we can encourage. Our tendency, however, is to criticize instead. It may be important at times to point out someone’s shortcomings, but before we have the right to do this, we must build that person’s trust through encouragement. Are you prepared to encourage those with whom you come in contact today?
Strengths and accomplishments:

• One of the first to sell possessions to help the Christians in Jerusalem

• First to travel with Paul as a missionary team

• Was an encourager, as his nickname shows, and thus one of the most quietly influential people in the early days of Christianity

• Called an apostle, although not one of the original 12
Weakness and mistake:

With Peter, temporarily stayed aloof from Gentile believers until Paul corrected him



Lessons from his life:

• Encouragement is one of the most effective ways to help

• Sooner or later, true obedience to God will involve risk

• There is always someone who needs encouragement


Vital statistics:

• Where: Cyprus, Jerusalem, Antioch

• Occupations: Missionary, teacher

• Relatives: Aunt: Mary. Cousin: John Mark

• Contemporaries: Peter, Silas, Paul, Herod Agrippa I
Key verses:

“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:23-24).


Questions:
1.Where is the location of this story?

2. Name some strengths of this Bible character.


3. Name some weaknesses of this Bible character.


4. What is the lesson from life of this Bible character?




5. Who came to listen to Barnabas other than Christians?


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