Watch Your Attitude (July 7)

Revelation 2:1-11

Comment


William Turner offers one possible explanation for John’s complaint against the church at Ephesus, “you have abandoned the love you had at first” (2:4):

“ ‘You have lost your love and concern for those inside and outside the fellowship of Christ,’ or ‘In the process of purifying your religion, love for people has gotten lost.’ Perhaps the concern to preserve orthodoxy has starved out love. During the Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries in Western Europe, the need to be right all but obliterated love. When Baptists and Quakers came to America hoping to find a place of religious freedom, they found instead a Puritan theocracy in which they were drowned, burned at the stake, and given the same bitter medicine of intolerance they had experienced in Europe. The concern for doctrinal purity has led to more than one inquisition. God-fearing people became preoccupied with the need for religious conformity, and love was forgotten.”

(Making Sense of the Revelation: A Clear Message of Hope, Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2000, pp. 22-23).

Reading the Scripture
Begin and/or end the scripture reading with these words from Revelation: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it” (Revelation 1:3).

Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)

Teaching Suggestions

•    Consider introducing the book of Revelation, and this unit, by having someone dress up like John and read or paraphrase James Blevins’ monologue quoted in the introduction to these Supplements above.

•    Coded (Apocalyptic) Language - See Blevins’ definitions in the introduction of these Supplements:
o    Seven (2:1)
o    Golden (2:1)
o    Ten (2:10)

•    The Revelation is meant to be visualized. John presents a vision like a painting of the seven churches and then calls attention to specific details in the vision as he addresses each church. Show a picture representation of this passage. See the web site: /sunday-school-supplements/ for depictions of this scene in Revelation 2-3.

•    Local features of the letters: Making Sense of the Book of Revelation by Laurie Guy (pp. 54-56) has a helpful chart listing each of the seven churches and noting how Revelation utilizes “features of the cities they inhabit.” This book is available in my office. Tommy can help you locate it if I’m not available.

•    Display maps and pictures of the places named in the passage: Ephesus and Smyrna
o    The Seven Churches of Revelation: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) p. 451-452.
o    Seven Churches: Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 158-159, E3.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Maps 15.
o    Seven Churches of Revelation: The Essential Bible Guide: Bible Background with Maps, Charts, and Lists, Menahse Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 113-114.

•    The Temple of Artemis (mentioned in the Formations Study Guide, p. 62): I have posted a photo of a model of the Temple of Artemis and a photo of the remains of the Temple of Artemis.

•    The Formations Teaching Guide suggests closing by singing a hymn about God’s love. Phil will lead us in a hymn about God’s love in worship this Sunday.

Resources
I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons. Other resources are kept in my office.

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

•    Three commentaries in my office may be of interest to you:
o    Making Sense of the Revelation: A Clear Message of Hope, William Turner (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2000)
o    Revelation as Drama, James L. Blevins (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1984)
o    Making Sense of the Book of Revelation, Laurie Guy (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2009), pp. 54-56

•    Maps and pictures in the library
o    The Seven Churches of Revelation: Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) p. 451-452.
o    Seven Churches: Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 158-159, E3.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Maps 15.
o    Seven Churches of Revelation: The Essential Bible Guide: Bible Background with Maps, Charts, and Lists, Menahse Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 113-114.