- When was a time that you felt burdened by difficulties? How did you persevere in the midst of that situation?
- This week, we continue our exploration of the seven churches in Revelation 1-3 by looking at the church in Smyrna from Revelation 2:8-11. Whether you are alone or with a small group, read these verses out loud. Ask God to speak to you as you continue the study.
- Smyrna, like the other churches in Revelation 2 and 3, was in Asia Minor, and thrives today as the present day city of Izmir, Turkey. In the 6th century BC, Smyrna had been destroyed by invading forces, and lay abandoned for roughly three centuries before being rebuilt from its ruins as a model city. It developed a special relationship with Rome and eventually became one of the strongest cities in the region. It had, in a sense, risen from death into life as a city.
- Looking at verse Revelation 2:9, how would you describe the current situation of the church in Smyrna? Looking at verse Revelation 2:10, how would you describe the future situation of the church in Smyrna?
- The church of Smyrna is a suffering church. In fact, one of the earliest – and most well-known – stories of a Christian martyr is that of Polycarp of Smyrna. It is recorded with great depth and can be accessed online.
- How have you suffered for your faith? If you do not feel you have suffered, have you avoided suffering for your faith? If so, why?
- Jesus’ description of Himself in verse Revelation 2:8 echoes Revelation 1:17-18. What do you think the significance of this description is given Smyrna’s history and the current situation facing the believers in Smyrna?
- What is the promise that Jesus makes to the church in Smyrna in verse Revelation 2:11? The ‘second death’ was a phrase that refers to the final judgment and destiny of humanity (see Revelation 20:6, 14;21:8).
- What is one thing you have learned in this study? How will you put that into practice in your life this week? Write some of these things down. If you are in a small group, discuss this together.
[Next week we will continue our series, ‘Revealed,’ by looking at Revelation 2:12-17.]