God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.



© Rosemary Bardsley 2020

From the very beginning people of faith have suffered because of their faith. Their alignment with God and acceptance by God rendered them targets of attack from two antagonists: the devil and unbelievers.

Consider these Old Testament believers. How did they suffer at the hands of the godless?
Abel (Genesis 4:3 – 8; Hebrews 11:4)

David (1 Samuel 19:1 – 15; Psalm 2:1 – 3)

Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:1, 2; 26:7 – 11; 38:4 – 9)



Amos (Amos 7:12, 13)


Matthew 21:33 – 36

Mark 6:14 - 29


The New Testament makes it clear that this rejection and mistreatment of God’s people was on-going. From Abel right up to the transitional prophet John the Baptist those who publically aligned themselves with God did so at the risk of their social acceptance and of their lives.



Jesus made it quite clear that those who aligned themselves with him would suffer the same kinds of misunderstanding and rejection that he himself suffered.

What did he say?
Matthew 5:10 – 12


Matthew 10:14 – 20


Matthew 10:21 – 25


Matthew 10:34 – 36

Matthew 18:5 – 7

Mark 13:9, 10

Luke 10:3

John 15:18 – 25

John 16:1 -4

John 16:33

John 17:14 – 15



The New Testament reports the experiences of the apostles and other believers as they lived as followers of Jesus Christ. Their world was either that of historic Judaism or Greek and Roman politics, culture and religion, or a combination of both. In both contexts believers in Christ were viewed as a new and radical sect. They did not fit into the status quo. They were misunderstood and misrepresented, just as Jesus was. (Note: the question below looks only at references in Acts. There are also multiple references in the apostolic letters.)

How did they suffer at the hands of their unbelieving world – both religious and secular?
Acts 2:13

Acts 4:1 – 3, 18, 21

Acts 5:17 – 18, 33, 40

Acts 6:8 – 14; 7:54 – 8:1

Acts 8:3; 9:1, 2

Acts 9:23, 29

Acts 12:1 – 4

Acts 13:50

Acts 14:2, 5, 19

Acts 16:19 – 24

Acts 17:5 – 9, 13

Acts 19:23 – 31

Acts 21:27 – 36

Acts 23:12 – 15


Now consider or discuss these questions:
In your opinion, which of these experiences would have been the most difficult to endure? Explain why.



Go to https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/world-watch-list/ and click on ‘list view’. Have a look at a few of the countries listed. Compare the current persecution to what the apostles experienced.


What level of anti-Christian attitudes are present in your community? [Include what is presented in news media and entertainment.]


How have you personally been the target of anti-Christian attitudes, words and actions?




While God does, on occasion, rescue his people from persecution, and sometimes quite miraculously, it is obvious that God does not always do this. His people suffer terrible atrocities. His people are killed. And he does not seem to lift a hand to relieve their suffering.

At these times, it is very easy to feel that God is not there, or, if he is there, that he does not care. But the Bible assures us that God is there and God does care.

The Bible makes it very clear that God not only sees, but also remembers all the mistreatment of his people. Their cries are all stored up … from the blood of Abel to the last Christian martyrs killed before his coming. He views the mistreatment of his people, whom he loves, so seriously that the most severe judgement is reserved for their persecutors. God will exact justice.

What did Jesus teach about how God feels about the mistreatment of his people?
Matthew 18:5, 6


Matthew 23:29 – 36


Luke 18:1 – 8


What did the apostles teach about how God feels about the mistreatment of his people?
Romans 12:17 – 19

1Corinthians 3:16, 17

2Thessalonians 1:4 – 10

2Timothy 4:14, 15

2Peter 2:1 – 3, 9, 13


What does Revelation teach about how God feels about the mistreatment of his people?
Revelation 6:9 – 11

Revelation 8:3 – 6


Revelation 17:6, 16 - 18


Revelation 18:2 – 8, 20, 24



Revelation 19:2, 3



What has impacted you from these perspectives from Jesus, the apostles and Revelation?