What is this?
These Sabbath School lesson outlines aid Sabbath School teachers & members in their weekly study
& preparation for Sabbath School classes.
Join the Discussion
Use the form at the bottom of the page to share with other readers your thoughts about this lesson.
Sabbath School Lessons on Biblical Missionaries
Read the Quarterly Online
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
What about Ellen White?
to learn why I generally do not cite Ellen G. White in the lessons.
Looking for old Sabbath School lessons?
Sabbath School lesson study outlines from previous quarters are saved in the Sabbath School lesson archive
Got questions or comments?
Go to our contact form
and drop us a note.
SabbathSchoolLessons.com operates like grace: it is free, but not without cost.
We're counting on your ongoing financial support to help us continue providing these
lessons to Sabbath School teachers and members around the world. You may cancel your monthly contribution at any time.
Get these Sabbath School lessons by e-mail! Subscribe to the Bible Study of the Week mailing list:
Subscribe in a reader
Lesson 8: Cross-Cultural Missions *
Introduction: How good are you when dealing with cross-cultural
issues? I'm not very good because I have not had much practice. Two
cross-cultural events stand out in my mind. When I started law school
about a third of my fellow students were Jewish. I thought Jews were
Biblical characters. It was surprising to have them in my class
competing with me for grades! One time when I was traveling in
Canada, a French-Canadian demanded to know why I did not speak
French. French? I replied that I lived in the United States and that
the alternative language to know was Spanish. I'm doubtful that I
made a friend. How do we deal with cultural differences in sharing
the gospel? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we
- The Samaritan
- Read John 4:3-4. If you have GPS it generally gives you a
choice between the shortest way and other ways you might
prefer. This sounds like Jesus was forced to go through
Samaria. What is the problem with that? (The Jews and the
Samaritans did not like each other. The main problem was
that, as Matthew Henry says in his commentary, "the
Samaritans, both in blood and religion were mongrel Jews."
That kind of attitude is obviously not the basis for a
- Read John 4:5-8. Put yourself in Jesus' place. How are you
feeling? (He was tired, hungry and thirsty.)
- Read John 4:9. In the United States we have a term,
"political correctness." It means that you have to be
aware of your circumstances and not say anything that
would insult anyone. Is this woman telling Jesus that He
is not being politically correct? (Exactly. She is
essentially saying, "You know about the problem between
Jews and Gentiles, between males and females, you would
not be asking me for a favor if you were following
accepted patterns of behavior.)
- Read John 4:10. Is this a politically correct response?
What do you think that this woman thought Jesus was
saying? (Recall that Samaritans were considered
religiously and racially inferior. Jesus now says that she
lacks knowledge about God and lacks knowledge about the
importance of Jesus. Both of these points would increase
the friction because they are consistent with the existing
stereotypes that Jews had of Samaritans.)
- Read John 4:11-12. What kind of response does the
Samaritan woman make? Is she hurling insults back, is she
challenging Jesus' logic, or is she agreeing that
Samaritans are inferior people? (Her response is mostly
aimed at Jesus' logic. She points out that He is in no
position to be offering water because He cannot reach the
water in the well. She calls Jacob "our father" thus
pointing out that she is as racially important as Jesus.)
- Read John 4:13-14. Put yourself in the place of the
Samaritan woman. What is going through your mind? What are
your options in responding to Jesus? (The first option is
to conclude that He is a lunatic. The second option is to
believe that Jesus is someone special.)
- Read John 4:15. Which option has the woman chosen? (She
certainly has not decided that Jesus is a lunatic. But,
her response may either be a test of what Jesus is
offering, or indicate that she believes Jesus. She may
not understand Jesus, but she has crossed the line into
believing He is someone special.)
- Read John 4:16-19. What has happened here? (She is now
fully on board. When Jesus told her about her family
situation, that convinced her that He was someone special,
- Read John 4:20. Is she looking for spiritual advice? (I
think so. This is likely the first time she has
encountered a prophet. She asks who is right - her people
or the Jews about the proper place of worship?)
- Read John 4:21-24. Is this a politically correct response?
Is Jesus insulting her? (She asks "Who is right about the
place of worship?" Jesus responds, "Neither the Jews nor
the Samaritans are right when it comes to the long view of
things. However, salvation is from the Jews.")
- What lesson should we learn from Jesus in sharing the
gospel with hostile people? (Jesus does not shy away
from telling the truth. However, He is not trying to
- Read John 4:25-26. The Samaritan woman says that she
understands the long view of worship. What new bombshell
does Jesus drop? (He is the Messiah! Now this woman is
facing another leap of faith.)
- Read John 4:27-30. Has the woman accepted Jesus as the
Messiah? (She thinks it is a possibility. Imagine if you
had been speaking to the Messiah!)
- Read John 4:39-42. Think back over Jesus' conversation
with the Samaritan woman. How does He change cross-cultural hostility into belief that He is the Messiah?
- The Centurion
- Read Matthew 8:5-6. What cross-cultural issues are present
here? (A centurion would be a Roman, and the Romans
dominated the Jewish nation.)
- Read Matthew 8:7-9. What does the centurion teach us about
bridging cultural differences? (He dispenses with any
claim of cultural superiority. He acknowledges that Jesus
is the true authority.)
- Read Matthew 8:10-12. What does Jesus say about the
superiority of His culture? (He says that faith is the
important question, not culture.)
- Read Matthew 8:13. Consider how faith changed Jesus' plan.
Will our faith change God's plan for us? (Jesus planned to
"go and heal" ( Matthew 8:7), instead He spoke the servant
back to health.)
- The Woman
- Read Matthew 15:21-23. Put yourself in this scene. Is this
woman making life unpleasant for Jesus and the disciples?
(Apparently, she keeps following them and crying out.)
- Why does Jesus not answer her? Does it seem
sometimes that Jesus does not answer you?
- Read Matthew 15:24. Is this true? (We just read the
stories of the Samaritan woman and the Roman centurion.)
- If it is not true, why does Jesus say it?
- Read Matthew 15:25-26. Put yourself in the place of the
woman. How would you have reacted to Jesus calling your
daughter a "dog" because of her race?
- What lesson are we being taught about cross-cultural
- Read Matthew 15:27-28. What is more important than culture
and race? (Faith!)
- Should you take the same approach as Jesus took to
this woman? (Jesus was testing her faith. I don't
think we are called to test faith by insulting
- In the United States we have people who like to talk
about being "offended," as if they have some right to
keep others from saying or doing anything they
considered to be "offensive." What lesson does this
mother teach us on the subject of being offended? (We
need to keep focused on what is important, saving our
children and keeping faith.)
- The Lepers
- Read Luke 17:11-13. We will learn later that one of the
ten is a Samaritan. Why do the nine Jews associate with
the Samaritan? (Read Leviticus 13:45-46. Because they have
a far worse issue - they have leprosy and no one wants to
be with them.)
- Read Luke 17:14. How were they healed? (They believed
Jesus, headed to the priests for a certificate they were
free of leprosy, and on their way they were healed. They
acted on Jesus' words.)
- Read Luke 17:15-16. Would you return and thank Jesus, or
would you be telling your friends and family that you
could now live with them and be a normal of part society?
- Read Luke 17:17-19. Notice that Jesus calls him a
"foreigner." Should we be blind to racial and cultural
differences? (Jesus was annoyed that none of the Jews had
returned to thank Him. He noted the racial/cultural
- Do you remember to thank God for what He has done for
- What do you think Jesus' words "your faith has made
you well" mean? (I think Jesus means that his spirit,
not just his body are healed.)
- Friend, faith is more important than culture or race.
Will you determine to put faith first in your dealings
- Next week: Peter and the Gentiles.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.