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Theocratic Ministry School Week Starting september 1 ‒ Highlights of Numbers 17-21

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Program of the Theocratic Ministry School: Week Starting september 1


ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014
Sept. 1 Bible reading: Numbers 17-21
No. 1: Numbers 17:1-13
No. 2: How We Know That There Really Is a Devil (rs p. 361 ¶2–p. 362 ¶2)
No. 3: Acts of Apostles—The Accuracy of the Book of Acts (it-1 p. 43 ¶3–p. 44 ¶2)

w14 7/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
SEPTEMBER 1-7, 2014
“Jehovah Knows Those Who Belong to Him”
PAGE 7 • SONGS: 63, 66

ws14 7/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
SEPTEMBER 1-7, 2014
“Jehovah Knows Those Who Belong to Him”
PAGE 3 • SONGS: 63, 66


Highlights From the Book of Numbers 17-21

Sept. 1 Bible reading: Numbers 17-21

Highlights From the Book of Numbers

21:14, 15—What was the book mentioned here? The Scriptures refer to various books that the Bible writers used as source material. (Joshua 10:12, 13; 1 Kings 11:41; 14:19, 29) “The book of the Wars of Jehovah” was such a writing. It contained a historical account of the wars of Jehovah’s people.

*** w13 8/15 p. 13 par. 15 Never Become “Enraged Against Jehovah” ***
15 What if we have a negative attitude toward our fellow worshippers? Under such circumstances, our relationship with Jehovah can be affected. (1 John 4:20) When the Israelites questioned Aaron’s appointment and position, Jehovah viewed that action as murmuring against Him. (Num. 17:10) Similarly, if we were to start grumbling and murmuring about those whom Jehovah is using to direct the earthly part of his organization, we could by inference be complaining about Jehovah.—Heb. 13:7, 17.

Furthermore, at that time to settle the question of the appointment of high priest, Jehovah commanded a rod to be brought before him for each tribe, twelve in all, and he would cause one of the rods to bud, showing his appointment, and so put an end to the murmuring. It was Aaron’s rod that produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds. (Num. 17:1-11) It is the same today. The anointed remnant of Christ’s followers have not taken this responsibility upon themselves. Neither did they choose it. They were faithful to their duties and Christ rewarded them with added privileges and services. Anyone who questions who is the one appointed by the Master should look for the fruits. Whose “rod” has “budded”? Whose authority is bringing forth results? Surely the answer must be obvious; it is none other than this “faithful and wise servant”. Some may not have realized this, but the testimony is there and is sure.

*** w12 1/15 pp. 17-18 pars. 6-7 Learn From ‘the Framework of Truth’ ***
6 A fundamental standard concerning any animal that was to be sacrificed to Jehovah was that it be “sound” in all respects—not blind, injured, deformed, or sick. (Lev. 22:20-22) When the Israelites offered fruits or grains to Jehovah, they needed to be the “firstfruits,” “the very best” of their harvests. (Num. 18:12, 29) A second-rate offering was not acceptable to Jehovah. The important requirement regarding animal sacrifices pictured that Jesus’ sacrifice would be spotless and unblemished and that Jehovah would sacrifice what was best and dearest to him in order to redeem mankind.—1 Pet. 1:18, 19.
7 If the person making a sacrifice was truly grateful to Jehovah for all of His goodness, then would he not be happy to select the very best that he possessed? The quality of the offering was left up to the individual.

*** w11 9/15 pp. 7-8 par. 4 Jehovah Is My Share ***
4 What did that assignment mean for the Levites? Jehovah said that he was to be their share in the sense that rather than receiving a land inheritance, they were entrusted with a priceless privilege of service. Being “the priesthood of Jehovah” was their inheritance. (Josh. 18:7) The context of Numbers 18:20 shows that this did not leave them impoverished materially. (Read Numbers 18:19, 21, 24.) The Levites were to be given “every tenth part in Israel as an inheritance in return for their service.” They would receive 10 percent of Israel’s produce and of the increase of the domestic animals. In turn, the Levites were to contribute a tenth part of what they received, “of the very best of it,” for the support of the priesthood. (Num. 18:25-29) The priests were also given “all the holy contributions” that the sons of Israel brought to God at his place of worship. Members of the priesthood thus had good reason for believing that Jehovah would provide for them.

*** w11 9/15 pp. 12-13 pars. 3-9 Are You Letting Jehovah Be Your Share? ***
3 Like the priests and Levites of old, anointed ones today view their service as a privilege. (Num. 18:20) The anointed do not expect to be given some territory or location on earth as a possession. Instead, they look forward to being kings and priests in heaven with Jesus Christ. They will continue to serve Jehovah in that assignment, as indicated by what we read at Revelation 4:10, 11 concerning the anointed in their heavenly position.—Ezek. 44:28.
8 Some who have been in a situation where their job seemed at risk may have wondered, ‘How will I fulfill my responsibility to provide for my family?’ (1 Tim. 5:8) Whether you have faced a similar challenge or not, from your own experience you are likely sure that you will never be disappointed if God is your share and you highly treasure the privilege of serving him. When Jesus told his disciples to keep on seeking first the kingdom, he assured them: “All these other things”—such as what to eat, drink, or put on—“will be added to you.”—Matt. 6:33.
9 Think of the Levites, who did not receive a land inheritance. Since pure worship was their primary concern, for sustenance they had to rely on Jehovah, who told them: “I am your share.” (Num. 18:20) Although we are not serving at a literal temple as the priests and Levites did, we can imitate their spirit, having confidence that Jehovah will provide for us. Our trust in God’s power to provide becomes more and more important as we move deeper into the last days.—Rev. 13:17.

*** w89 6/1 p. 19 par. 14 Be Clean in Mind and Body ***
What about the Israelites in general? If they became ceremonially impure for any reason, they were barred from taking part in worship until they had fulfilled the requirements for purification. (Numbers 19:11-22) All of this emphasized that physical cleanness is required of those who worship the holy God Jehovah.

*** w11 9/15 p. 28 par. 14 Are You Known by Jehovah? ***
14 Moses’ humility was also evident when he faced negative circumstances that affected him personally. On one occasion, Moses lost self-control and failed to sanctify God when dealing with the complaining people. As a result, Jehovah told Moses that he would not take the people into the Promised Land. (Num. 20:2-12) He and his brother, Aaron, had endured the grumbling of the Israelites for years. Then, because Moses erred on that one occasion, he would not get to experience what he had been expecting for so long! How did Moses react? While understandably disappointed, Moses humbly accepted Jehovah’s decision. He knew that Jehovah is a righteous God, with whom there is no injustice. (Deut. 3:25-27; 32:4) When you think of Moses, do you not see him as one known by Jehovah?—Read Exodus 33:12, 13.

*** w06 3/1 p. 26 “Keep Your Senses Completely” ***
When We Are Under Stress
15 Stressful circumstances can cause even loyal servants of Jehovah to speak or act unwisely. (Ecclesiastes 7:7) When under severe trial, Job became somewhat unbalanced and had to have his thinking corrected. (Job 35:2, 3; 40:6-8) Although “Moses was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground,” on one occasion he became provoked and spoke rashly. (Numbers 12:3; 20:7-12; Psalm 106:32, 33) David had shown admirable self-control in not striking down King Saul, but when Nabal insulted him and screamed abuses at his men, David became infuriated and lost his good judgment. Only when Abigail intervened did he regain his senses, narrowly avoiding a calamitous mistake.—1 Samuel 24:2-7; 25:9-13, 32, 33.
16 We too may face stressful situations that could rob us of our good judgment. Carefully weighing the viewpoints of others, as David did, can help us to avoid acting rashly and hastening into sin. (Proverbs 19:2) Further, God’s Word admonishes us: “Be agitated, but do not sin. Have your say in your heart, upon your bed, and keep silent.” (Psalm 4:4) Where possible, it is wise to wait until we are calm before taking action or making decisions. (Proverbs 14:17, 29) We can turn to Jehovah in fervent prayer, “and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard [our] hearts and [our] mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) This God-given calmness will stabilize us and help us to keep our senses completely.

*** w99 8/15 pp. 26-27 Benefiting From “the Grain of Heaven” ***
Imperfect humans can lose their appreciation for things that become a routine part of life—even if these things are a reflection of Jehovah’s loving concern. For example, the supernatural provision of manna both astonished and gratified the Israelites at the start, but in time many of them complained. “Our soul has come to abhor the contemptible bread,” they moaned disrespectfully—an indication that they were beginning to ‘draw away from the living God.’ (Numbers 11:6; 21:5; Hebrews 3:12) Their example, therefore, serves as “a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.”—1 Corinthians 10:11.
How can we take to heart this warning example? One way is by never allowing Bible teachings or the provisions we receive through the faithful and discreet slave class to become ordinary, or commonplace. (Matthew 24:45) Once we start to take Jehovah’s gifts for granted or become bored with them, our relationship with him begins to cool off.

*** it-1 p. 505 Copper Serpent ***
The Israelites kept the copper serpent and later improperly began to worship it, making sacrificial smoke to it. Hence, as part of his religious reforms, Judean King Hezekiah (745-717 B.C.E.) had the more than 700-year-old copper serpent crushed to pieces because the people had made an idol of it.

*** w09 4/15 p. 14 Do You Remember? ***
• Are “the book of Jashar” and “the book of the Wars of Jehovah” lost books of the Bible? (Josh. 10:13; Num. 21:14)
No. It seems that they were uninspired documents that existed in Bible times and were referred to by Bible writers.—3/15, page 32.

*** it-1 p. 10 Aaron ***
God now directed that 12 rods, each representing one of the 12 tribes, be placed in the tabernacle, and the rod for the tribe of Levi was inscribed with Aaron’s name. (Nu 17:1-4) On the following day Moses entered the tent of the Testimony and found that Aaron’s rod had budded, blossomed with flowers, and bore ripe almonds. (Nu 17:8) This established beyond dispute Jehovah’s choice of the Levite sons of Aaron for priestly service and His authorization of Aaron as high priest. Thereafter, the right of Aaron’s house to the priesthood was never seriously challenged. The budded rod of Aaron was placed in the ark of the covenant as “a sign to the sons of rebelliousness,” though it appears that after the death of these rebellious ones and the entry of the nation into the Land of Promise the rod was removed, having served its purpose.—Nu 17:10; Heb 9:4; 2Ch 5:10; 1Ki 8:9.

*** g02 6/8 p. 14 Salt—A Precious Commodity ***
Salt also became a symbol of stability and permanence. Therefore, in the Bible a binding covenant was called “a covenant of salt,” the parties often eating a meal together, with salt, to seal it. (Numbers 18:19) Under Mosaic Law, salt was to be added to sacrifices offered on the altar, doubtless denoting freedom from corruption or decay.

*** w11 9/15 p. 7 Jehovah Is My Share ***
Jehovah Is My Share
“I am your share and your inheritance in the midst of the sons of Israel.”—NUM. 18:20.
AFTER the Israelites had conquered much of the Promised Land, Joshua turned his attention to apportioning the land by lot. In doing this, he worked along with High Priest Eleazar and heads of the tribes. (Num. 34:13-29) As for the Levites, they were not to have a land inheritance such as the other tribes received. (Josh. 14:1-5) Why did the Levites have no tribal territory, or share, of the Promised Land? Were they being left out?
2 We find the answer in what Jehovah told the Levites. Underlining the fact that they were not being abandoned, Jehovah said to them: “I am your share and your inheritance in the midst of the sons of Israel.” (Num. 18:20)

*** w09 9/1 p. 19 A Judge Who Is Firm for What Is Right ***
A Judge Who Is Firm for What Is Right
Numbers 20:2-13
HUMAN judges may hand down sentences that are unfair or unduly severe but not so with Jehovah God—“a lover of justice.” (Psalm 37:28) Although patient, he is not indulgent. He is firm for what is right. Consider how he responded to a case of quarreling and rebellion, as recorded in Numbers chapter 20.
Near the end of their wilderness trek, the Israelites faced a water shortage. The people began quarreling with Moses and Aaron, saying: “Why have you men brought Jehovah’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts of burden to die there?” (Verse 4) The people complained that the wilderness was an “evil place” that had no “figs and vines and pomegranates”—the very fruit that Israelite spies had brought back from the Promised Land years before—and that there was “no water to drink.” (Verse 5; Numbers 13:23) They were, in effect, blaming Moses and Aaron because the wilderness was not like the fruitful land that an earlier generation of murmurers had refused to enter!
Jehovah did not reject the murmurers. Instead, he directed Moses to do three things: take his rod, gather the people, and “speak to the crag before their eyes that it [might] indeed give its water.” (Verse 8) Moses obeyed the first two directives, but he failed to be obedient in the third matter. Rather than speak in faith to the rock, he spoke in bitterness to the people, saying: “Hear, now, you rebels! Is it from this crag that we shall bring out water for you?” (Verse 10; Psalm 106:32, 33) Then Moses struck the rock twice, “and much water began to come out.”—Verse 11.
Moses, along with Aaron, thereby committed a serious sin. “You men rebelled against my order,” God said to them. (Numbers 20:24) By going against God’s order on this occasion, Moses and Aaron became what they accused the people of being—rebels. God’s judgment was clear: Moses and Aaron would not lead Israel into the Promised Land. Was the sentence too severe? No, for a number of reasons.
First, God had not directed Moses to speak to the people, let alone adjudge them rebels. Second, Moses and Aaron failed to glorify God. “You did not . . . sanctify me,” God said. (Verse 12) By saying “we shall bring out water,” Moses spoke as if he and Aaron—not God—were the providers of miraculous water. Third, the sentence was consistent with past judgments. God had denied the earlier generation of rebels entrance into Canaan, so he did the same with Moses and Aaron. (Numbers 14:22, 23) Fourth, Moses and Aaron were Israel’s leaders. Those with much responsibility have greater accountability to God.—Luke 12:48.
Jehovah is firm for what is right. Because he loves justice, he is incapable of handing down sentences that are unfair or unjust. Clearly, such a Judge deserves our trust and respect.

*** w87 10/15 p. 30 Questions From Readers ***
What was Moses’ error that cost him the privilege of entering the Promised Land? Was it that he hit the rock instead of just speaking to it or that he failed to glorify Jehovah God?
It seems that Moses’ error was more than just that he hit the rock instead of speaking to it, as God had directed.
Near the end of 40 years of wandering, the Israelites camped at Kadesh-barnea in the wilderness of Zin (or, Paran). They had camped there decades earlier, likely because three springs in the area produce a verdant oasis, such as seen in the accompanying photograph. On this occasion, though, water was scarce, which may have meant that the people could not find much food. So they quarreled with Moses, Jehovah’s representative, saying: “Why have you conducted us up out of Egypt to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed and figs and vines and pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”—Numbers 20:5.
Then God told Moses and Aaron: “Take the rod and call the assembly together, . . . and you must speak to the crag before their eyes that it may indeed give its water; and you must bring out water for them from the crag and give the assembly and their beasts of burden drink.” (Numbers 20:8) What happened next?
“Moses and Aaron called the congregation together before the crag, and he proceeded to say to them: ‘Hear, now, you rebels! Is it from this crag that we shall bring out water for you?’ With that Moses lifted his hand up and struck the crag with his rod twice; and much water began to come out.”—Numbers 20:10, 11.

*** w95 3/1 p. 17 par. 14 Living Up to Our Dedication “Day After Day” ***
14 Paul referred to another warning example: “Neither let us put Jehovah to the test, as some of them put him to the test, only to perish by the serpents.” (1 Corinthians 10:9) Paul here was talking about the time when the Israelites complained against God to Moses when they “began tiring out because of the way.” (Numbers 21:4) Do you ever make that mistake? When you dedicated yourself to Jehovah, did you think Armageddon was just around the corner? Has Jehovah’s patience been longer than you expected? Remember, we did not dedicate ourselves to Jehovah just for a certain period of time or merely until Armageddon. Our dedication continues forever. So, then, “let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out.”—Galatians 6:9.

*** w99 8/15 pp. 26-27 Benefiting From “the Grain of Heaven” ***
Imperfect humans can lose their appreciation for things that become a routine part of life—even if these things are a reflection of Jehovah’s loving concern. For example, the supernatural provision of manna both astonished and gratified the Israelites at the start, but in time many of them complained. “Our soul has come to abhor the contemptible bread,” they moaned disrespectfully—an indication that they were beginning to ‘draw away from the living God.’ (Numbers 11:6; 21:5; Hebrews 3:12) Their example, therefore, serves as “a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.”—1 Corinthians 10:11.
How can we take to heart this warning example? One way is by never allowing Bible teachings or the provisions we receive through the faithful and discreet slave class to become ordinary, or commonplace. (Matthew 24:45) Once we start to take Jehovah’s gifts for granted or become bored with them, our relationship with him begins to cool off.
For good reason, Jehovah does not flood us with a constant downpour of exciting new things. Rather, he sheds increased light on his Word gradually, progressively. (Proverbs 4:18) This allows his people to assimilate and put into practice the things they learn. Jesus followed his Father’s example when teaching his early disciples. He explained God’s Word to them “as far as they were able to listen,” or “understand,” as some translations put it.—Mark 4:33; compare John 16:12.
Fortify Your Appreciation for God’s Provisions
Jesus also employed repetition. The mind, of course, may readily comprehend a certain point—a Bible principle, for example—but taking it to heart and making it a part of the Christian “new personality” may take a little longer, especially if old worldly ways and attitudes are deeply entrenched. (Ephesians 4:22-24) That certainly was the case with Jesus’ disciples when it came to overcoming pride and developing humility. Jesus had to teach them about humility on a number of occasions, each time presenting the same basic point from a different angle so that it would sink in, which it eventually did.—Matthew 18:1-4; 23:11, 12; Luke 14:7-11; John 13:5, 12-17.
In modern times, Christian meetings and Watch Tower publications follow Jesus’ example in the well-thought-out use of repetition. So let us appreciate this as an expression of God’s loving concern for us and never become weary of what we receive, as the Israelites wearied of the manna. Indeed, as we patiently apply ourselves to absorbing Jehovah’s regular reminders, we will see fine fruitage in our lives. (2 Peter 3:1) Such an appreciative attitude truly shows that we are “getting the sense” of God’s Word in our hearts as well as in our minds. (Matthew 13:15, 19, 23) To that end, we have a fine example in the psalmist David, who, although not having the variety of spiritual food that we receive today, described Jehovah’s laws as “sweeter than honey and the flowing honey of the combs”!—Psalm 19:10.

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
The Scriptures mention “the book of Jashar” and “the book of the Wars of Jehovah.” (Josh. 10:13; Num. 21:14) Those two books do not appear in the Bible canon. Were these inspired writings that have been lost?
There is no reason to conclude that those two books were produced under inspiration and later lost. Inspired Bible writers referred to quite a few other writings. Some of those may indeed be parts of the Bible that simply were described in terms unfamiliar to modern readers. For example, 1 Chronicles 29:29 mentions “the words of Samuel the seer,” “the words of Nathan the prophet,” and “the words of Gad the visionary.” Those three could constitute a collective reference to books we know as 1 and 2 Samuel, or perhaps the book of Judges.
On the other hand, certain references may be to books that have names similar to books of the Bible but that are not actually part of the Bible. We might illustrate this with four ancient books: “the book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Judah,” “the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel,” “the Book of the Kings of Israel,” and “the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.” While those names may sound similar to the names of the Bible books we know as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the four books were not inspired, nor do those books find a place in the Bible canon. (1 Ki. 14:29; 2 Chron. 16:11; 20:34; 27:7) They were likely just historical writings available back in the period when the prophet Jeremiah and Ezra wrote the accounts that we have in the Bible.
Yes, some Bible writers did refer to or consult existing but uninspired histories or documents. Esther 10:2 refers to “the Book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Media and Persia.” Similarly, to prepare his Gospel account, Luke “traced all things from the start with accuracy.” He probably meant that he consulted written sources available to him as he compiled the list of Jesus’ genealogy that we can read in his Gospel. (Luke 1:3; 3:23-38) While the records Luke consulted were not inspired, his resulting Gospel certainly was. And that Gospel remains valuable for us.
As for the two books mentioned in the question—“the book of Jashar” and “the book of the Wars of Jehovah”—they seem to have been existing documents that were not inspired. Because of that, Jehovah did not see to their preservation. The Biblical references to those two books lead scholars to conclude that the two were collections of poetry or songs dealing with conflicts between Israel and its foes. (2 Sam. 1:17-27) One Bible encyclopedia suggests that the contents of those books may have been “the familiar oral repertoire of professional singers in ancient Israel who preserved Israel’s epic and lyric traditions.” Even some men whom God at times used as prophets or visionaries made records that Jehovah did not inspire or choose to have incorporated in the Scriptures, which are “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight” in our day.—2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22.
The fact that certain books were mentioned in the Bible and that they were usable sources should not lead us to conclude that they were inspired. However, Jehovah God has preserved all the writings containing “the word of our God,” and these “will last to time indefinite.” (Isa. 40:8) Yes, what Jehovah chose to include in the 66 Bible books that we have is just what we need to “be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

No. 1: Numbers 17:1-13


No. 2: How We Know That There Really Is a Devil (rs p. 361 ¶2–p. 362 ¶2)

rs p. 361 ¶2–p. 362 ¶2 Satan the Devil
The Bible is the chief source of evidence. There he is repeatedly referred to by name (Satan 52 times, Devil 33 times). Eyewitness testimony as to Satan’s existence is also recorded there. Who was the eyewitness? Jesus Christ, who lived in heaven before coming to earth, repeatedly spoke of that wicked one by name.—Luke 22:31; 10:18; Matt. 25:41.
What the Bible says about Satan the Devil makes sense. The evil that mankind experiences is far out of proportion to the malice of the humans involved. The Bible’s explanation of Satan’s origin and his activities makes clear why, despite the desire of the majority to live in peace, mankind has been plagued with hatred, violence, and war for thousands of years and why this has reached such a level that it now threatens to destroy all mankind.
If there really were no Devil, accepting what the Bible says about him would not bring lasting benefits to a person. In many instances, however, persons who formerly dabbled in the occult or who belonged to groups practicing spiritism report that they were at that time greatly distressed because of hearing “voices” from unseen sources, being “possessed” by superhuman beings, etc. Genuine relief was gained when they learned what the Bible says about Satan and his demons, applied the Bible’s counsel to shun spiritistic practices, and sought Jehovah’s help in prayer.—See pages 384-389, under the heading “Spiritism.”
Believing that Satan exists does not mean accepting the idea that he has horns, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork and that he roasts people in a fiery hell. The Bible gives no such description of Satan. That is the product of the minds of medieval artists who were influenced by representations of the mythological Greek god Pan and by the Inferno written by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Instead of teaching a fiery hell, the Bible clearly says that “the dead . . . are conscious of nothing at all.”—Eccl. 9:5.

No. 3: Acts of Apostles—The Accuracy of the Book of Acts (it-1 p. 43 ¶3–p. 44 ¶2)

it-1 p. 43 ¶3–p. 44 ¶2 Acts of Apostles
Authenticity. The accuracy of the book of Acts has been verified over the years by a number of archaeological discoveries. For example, Acts 13:7 says that Sergius Paulus was the proconsul of Cyprus. Now it is known that shortly before Paul visited Cyprus it was ruled by a propraetor, or legate, but an inscription found in Cyprus proves that the island did come under the direct rule of the Roman Senate in the person of a provincial governor called a proconsul. Similarly in Greece, during the rule of Augustus Caesar, Achaia was a province under the direct rule of the Roman Senate, but when Tiberius was emperor it was ruled directly by him. Later, under Emperor Claudius, it again became a senatorial province, according to Tacitus. A fragment of a rescript from Claudius to the Delphians of Greece has been discovered, which refers to Gallio’s proconsulship. Therefore, Acts 18:12 is correct in speaking of Gallio as the “proconsul” when Paul was there in Corinth, the capital of Achaia. (See GALLIO.) Also, an inscription on an archway in Thessalonica (fragments of which are preserved in the British Museum) shows that Acts 17:8 is correct in speaking of “the city rulers” (“politarchs,” governors of the citizens), even though this title is not found in classical literature.
To this day in Athens the Areopagus, or Mars’ Hill, where Paul preached, stands as a silent witness to the truthfulness of Acts. (Ac 17:19) Medical terms and expressions found in Acts are in agreement with the Greek medical writers of that time. Modes of travel used in the Middle East in the first century were essentially as described in Acts: overland, by walking, horseback, or horse-drawn chariots (23:24, 31, 32; 8:27-38); overseas, by cargo ships. (21:1-3; 27:1-5) Those ancient vessels did not have a single rudder but were controlled by two large oars, hence accurately spoken of in the plural number. (27:40) The description of Paul’s voyage by ship to Rome (27:1-44) as to the time taken, the distance traveled, and the places visited is acknowledged by modern seamen familiar with the region as completely reliable and trustworthy.
Acts of Apostles was accepted without question as inspired Scripture and canonical by Scripture catalogers from the second through the fourth centuries C.E. Portions of the book, along with fragments of the four Gospels, are found in the Chester Beatty No. 1 papyrus manuscript (P45) of the third century C.E. The Michigan No. 1571 manuscript (P38) of the third or fourth century contains portions of chapters 18 and 19, and a fourth-century manuscript, Aegyptus No. 8683 (P8), contains parts of chapters 4 through 6. The book of Acts was quoted from by Polycarp of Smyrna about 115 C.E., by Ignatius of Antioch about 110 C.E., and by Clement of Rome perhaps as early as 95 C.E. Athanasius, Jerome, and Augustine of the fourth century all confirm the earlier listings that included Acts.

References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM

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