In Stone and Story

Early Christianity in the Roman World


Chapter 18: Powers and Protection

Discussion Questions

  1. Within a first-century world replete with the physical manifestations of spiritual dangers, how does Paul reject, reflect, or refract such thinking within his presentation of the gospel?
  2. Within the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), Jesus is often depicted as a powerful exorcist, overturning the powers of Satan and his harmful spiritual world. How does this presentation reject, reflect, or refract the broader understanding of demons and the spiritual realm?
  3. How does the ancient understanding of spiritual powers and protection differ from those in your context? To what spiritual realities were the ancients attuned? How might this have allowed them a more nuanced and vigorous understanding of the Christian message than understanding found, generally, in Western twenty-first-century contexts?