Basic theme: Message to Six Churches (Rev 2:8 – 3:22)
The changes to the Teacher’s Edition of the Adult Sabbath School Study Guide (known popularly as the Sabbath School Quarterly) for January to March 2019 were fairly small for this week, I will review the changes that were interesting or substantive.
My introduction statement was completely replaced. I was summarizing the order in which the seven messages were address in the main lesson, the editors instead summarized the theme of the messages as encouragement to God’s people over the centuries. A major editorial change, but not theologically significant.
A minor change occurred in Main Theme I. I had written that the letters to Smyrna and Philadelphia were “very largely positive.” The editors removed the “very” leaving them “largely positive.” A meaningful change that I could have made in thinking about it more. Later in the same paragraph I wrote that the chiastic structure of the seven message “tells us” that Laodicea, like Ephesus suffers from a deficiency of love. The editors changed the phrase to “suggests,” appropriate scholarly caution.
I was pleased that my section (Main Theme III) on the dark side of missionary endeavors (which is true but not pleasant for Christians to hear) was retained intact.
In Main Theme 5 the editors switched from third person to first person (“us” instead of “them”). I was writing with the assumption that some readers would not be Seventh-day Adventists and leaving them space to understand and appreciate what was said there. The change is aimed to identify with SDA readers and could make “outsiders” feel left out. I prefer the former, but it is the kind of decision best made from leadership’s perspective. Perhaps they know that non-Seventh-day Adventists won’t be reading the Teacher’s Edition.
In the Life Application I section, the editors added to a discussion of the Lamb’s bride “symbolized by the New Jerusalem.” I think that was a good addition. In Life Application II my clause “identify with His death and resurrection” was replaced with “invite Jesus to rule over our hearts and overcome,” eliminating a reference to Revelation 5:5-6.
In sum, you can work with this week’s lesson as if it came directly from my hand. There were no changes of major theological significance.
Again, for those who don’t have access to the standard printed edition of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide or the Teacher’s Edition for this quarter, you can access them online week by week at https://www.absg.adventist.org/. My original pre-edited Teacher’s Edition manuscript for this week is provided in the previous blog. You can also download audio of me teaching the lesson ahead of time each week at http://pineknoll.org/sabbath-school-lessons.