This is part 2 of 4 selections of Bible passages about the persecution of the apostle Paul and the very first Christians, most of whom were alive when Jesus Christ was. Some of them, as in the case of the apostle Peter, had been his disciples.
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Bible topics part 3
In the gospels in the New Testament, the Bible says Jesus gave some instructions to his disciples that on the face of it seem very harsh, about telling people about Christianity even though they would be persecuted for it. He encouraged them to stay strong in the faith. This page shows how Paul felt so strongly that Christianity needed to be spread that he himself travelled around preaching it even though he was persecuted himself for it, and as a consequence, the Christian Church grew.
John chapter 7 (TEV)
6 Jesus said ... 7 The world ... hates me, because I keep telling it that its ways are bad.
Matthew chapter 10 (GWT)
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to force evil spirits out of people and to cure every disease and sickness.
5 Jesus sent these twelve out with the following instructions:
16 "I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves. 17 Watch out for people who will hand you over to the Jewish courts and whip you in their synagogues. 18 Because of me you will even be brought in front of governors and kings to testify to them and to everyone in the world. 19 When they hand you over [to the authorities], don't worry about what to say or how to say it. When the time comes, you will be given what to say. 20 Indeed, you're not the ones who will be speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.
21 "Brother will hand over brother to death; a father will hand over his child. Children will rebel against their parents and kill them. 22 Everyone will hate you because you are committed to me. But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved.
23 So when they persecute you in one city, flee to another. I can guarantee this truth: Before you have gone through every city in Israel, the Son of Man will come.
24 "A student is not better than his teacher. Nor is a slave better than his owner. 25 It is enough for a student to become like his teacher and a slave like his owner. If they have called the owner of the house Beelzebul, they will certainly call the family members the same name. 26 So don't be afraid of them. Nothing has been covered that will not be exposed. Whatever is secret will be made known. 27 Tell in the daylight what I say to you in the dark. Shout from the housetops what you hear whispered.
28 Don't be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
29 "Aren't two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's permission. 30 Every hair on your head has been counted. 31 Don't be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows.
32 "So I will acknowledge in front of my Father in heaven that person who acknowledges me in front of others. 33 But I will tell my Father in heaven that I don't know the person who tells others that he doesn't know me.
John chapter 15 (TEV)
18 "If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: "Slaves are not greater than their master.' If people persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours too. 21 But they will do all this to you because you are mine; for they do not know the one who sent me. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.
John chapter 16 (TEV)
1 "I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. 2 You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when those who kill you will think that by doing this they are serving God. 3 People will do these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me. 4 But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember what I told you.
Matthew chapter 10 (TEV)
34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36 your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.
37 "Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples.
John chapter 12 (NLT)
25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
2 Timothy chapter 3 (GWT)
12 Those who try to live a godly life because they believe in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Matthew chapter 28 (GWT)
16 The eleven disciples went to the mountain in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down in worship, though some had doubts.
18 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.
"And remember that I am always with you until the end of time."
Romans chapter 10 (NLT)
13 "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?
And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?
And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
17 Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news - the Good News about Christ.
2 Timothy chapter 2 (NLT)
23 ... don't get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 The Lord's servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. 25 They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will believe the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
1 Peter chapter 3 (NLT)
15 ... worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way.
Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 18 Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God.
Revelation chapter 2 (CEV)
8 This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Smyrna:
I am the first and the last. I died, but now I am alive! Listen to what I say.
9 I know how much you suffer and how poor you are, but you are rich. I also know the cruel things being said about you by people who claim to be Jews. But they are not really Jews. They are a group that belongs to Satan. 10 Don't worry about what you will suffer. The devil will throw some of you into jail, and you will be tested and made to suffer for ten days. But if you are faithful until you die, I will reward you with a glorious life.
11 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Whoever wins the victory will not be hurt by the second death.
1 Peter chapter 4 (TEV)
12 My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. 13 Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed. 14 Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ's followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you. 15 If you suffer, it must not be because you are a murderer or a thief or a criminal or a meddler in other people's affairs. 16 However, if you suffer because you are a Christian, don't be ashamed of it, but thank God that you bear Christ's name.
17 The time has come for judgment to begin, and God's own people are the first to be judged. If it starts with us, how will it end with those who do not believe the Good News from God? 18 As the scripture says, "It is difficult for good people to be saved; what, then, will become of godless sinners?" 19 So then, those who suffer because it is God's will for them, should by their good actions trust themselves completely to their Creator, who always keeps his promise.
Acts chapter 16 (NIV)
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Acts chapter 16 (TEV)
16 One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a young servant woman who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. 17 She followed Paul and us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God! They announce to you how you can be saved!" 18 She did this for many days, until Paul became so upset that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her!" The spirit went out of her that very moment.
19 When her owners realized that their chance of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. 20 They brought them before the Roman officials and said, "These men are Jews, and they are causing trouble in our city. 21 They are teaching customs that are against our law; we are Roman citizens, and we cannot accept these customs or practice them." 22 And the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas.
Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be whipped. 23 After a severe beating, they were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to lock them up tight. 24 Upon receiving this order, the jailer threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet between heavy blocks of wood.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29 The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he led them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 They answered, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your family." 32 Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in the house. 33 At that very hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; and he and all his family were baptized at once. 34 Then he took Paul and Silas up into his house and gave them some food to eat. He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.
35 The next morning the Roman authorities sent police officers with the order, "Let those men go." 36 So the jailer told Paul, "The officials have sent an order for you and Silas to be released. You may leave, then, and go in peace."
37 But Paul said to the police officers, "We were not found guilty of any crime, yet they whipped us in public-and we are Roman citizens! Then they threw us in prison. And now they want to send us away secretly? Not at all! The Roman officials themselves must come here and let us out."
38 The police officers reported these words to the Roman officials; and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were afraid. 39 So they went and apologized to them; then they led them out of the prison and asked them to leave the city.
Acts chapter 17 (TEV)
1 Paul and Silas traveled on through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue. 2 According to his usual habit Paul went to the synagogue. There during three Sabbaths he held discussions with the people, quoting 3 and explaining the Scriptures, and proving from them that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from death. "This Jesus whom I announce to you," Paul said, "is the Messiah." 4 Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so did many of the leading women and a large group of Greeks who worshiped God.
5 But some Jews were jealous and gathered worthless loafers from the streets and formed a mob. They set the whole city in an uproar and attacked the home of a man named Jason, in an attempt to find Paul and Silas and bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city authorities and shouted, "These men have caused trouble everywhere! Now they have come to our city, 7 and Jason has kept them in his house. They are all breaking the laws of the Emperor, saying that there is another king, whose name is Jesus." 8 With these words they threw the crowd and the city authorities in an uproar.
9 The authorities made Jason and the others pay the required amount of money to be released, and then let them go.
10 As soon as night came, the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea.
When they arrived, they went to the synagogue. 11 The people there were more open-minded than the people in Thessalonica. They listened to the message with great eagerness, and every day they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true. 12 Many of them believed; and many Greek women of high social standing and many Greek men also believed.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica heard that Paul had preached the word of God in Berea also, they came there and started exciting and stirring up the mobs. 14 At once the believers sent Paul away to the coast; but both Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea.
15 The men who were taking Paul went with him as far as Athens and then returned to Berea with instructions from Paul that Silas and Timothy should join him as soon as possible.
1 Thessalonians chapter 1 (NIV)
2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
1 Thessalonians chapter 2 (NLT)
1 You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, even though we were surrounded by many who opposed us. 3 So you can see that we were not preaching with any deceit or impure purposes or trickery. 4 For we speak as messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money! 6 As for praise, we have never asked for it from you or anyone else.
11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory.
13 And we will never stop thanking God that when we preached his message to you, you didn't think of the words we spoke as being just our own. You accepted what we said as the very word of God - which, of course, it was. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God's churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews. 15 For some of the Jews had killed their own prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now they have persecuted us and driven us out. They displease God and oppose everyone 16 by trying to keep us from preaching the Good News to the Gentiles, for fear some might be saved. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. 18 We wanted very much to come, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us. 19 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what is our proud reward and crown? It is you! Yes, you will bring us much joy as we stand together before our Lord Jesus when he comes back again. 20 For you are our pride and joy.
1 Thessalonians chapter 3 (CEV)
1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.
5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. 6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
2 Thessalonians chapter 1 (NLT)
4 We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.
5 But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering, 6 and in his justice he will punish those who persecute you. 7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power 10 when he comes to receive glory and praise from his holy people. And you will be among those praising him on that day, for you believed what we testified about him.
2 Thessalonians chapter 3 (NLT)
1 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord's message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. 2 Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord.
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|Or go directly to the next in the series: The Unrest Caused By Paul's Message, And His Arrest And Appearance Before The High Council In Jerusalem.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
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