BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 4, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a; 22:1-16; 26:9-19

Summary of passage:  Saul was persecuting the Lord’s disciples and all others who belonged to the Way, trying to imprison them or kill them.  As Saul neared Damascus, a light from haven flashed around him and he heard a voice (Jesus), asking why does he persecute him?  Jesus tells Saul to go to the city and he will be told what to do.

The others with him did not see anyone.  They lead Saul to Damascus because Saul had been blinded by the light.  In Damascus, the Lord called a disciple named Ananias to go to Saul and lay hands on him so that Saul may see again.

Ananias tells the Lord that Saul is a bad man (as if God didn’t know) and he might be arrested if he goes.  The Lord explains his purpose for Saul to Ananias, saying Saul is His chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles.

So Ananias complies, healing Saul and filling him with the Holy Spirit.  Saul was baptized and regained his strength.

Questions:

9a) bright, the brilliance of the light had blinded Saul, brighter than the sun blazing around me

b) Paul’s companions did not understand the voice, the voice was in Aramaic

c) Jesus of Nazareth, go into Damascus, told all you have been assigned to do, in Acts 26, Paul says Jesus told him what the other accounts say God told Ananias.

d) Paul’s commanded to go to the Gentiles.  In Acts 9, all we learn is he was baptized.  In Acts 22, Ananias is telling Paul still his commission.  In Acts 26, Paul proclaims he was not disobedient to the vision from heaven

10a) Afterwards, Paul blinded followed Jesus, doing God’s will for his life.

b)  I have never seen the glory of Christ so not for sure what things have lost their brilliance.  If one is asking to list some things that have lost their brilliance after accepting Christ, that’s a different question.  For that question, I would answer lots of things and it’s different for everyone because we are all beaten down by life and the Devil so the fight takes some of our enthusiasm away at times.

Not sure what BSF is after here though.

Not for sure what has lost its appeal in my life either in 4 weeks (a bit premature and borderline presumptuous in my opinion).  This would be a better question to ask at the end of the study.

11) Paul was persecuting all the Lord’s disciples or followers of this Way and had wanted to imprison them in Jerusalem and hopefully kill them.

I’m definitely not persecuting anyone, hunting them down, calling for their imprisonment and death.  In this sense of comparison, compared to what Paul was doing to Christians, I do know I’m no where near such a thing.

Even if BSF is asking for small persecutions, I would say no.  Persecution is a very strong word (I submit a loaded word), meaning to harass in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict (Webster’s definition).

The closest I can come to what BSF is trying to get here is small issues that divide people and cause us not to associate with them due to beliefs.  But there’s usually more that plays into such decisions like if their beliefs are harmful to your children or tearing you down personally.

12)  Ananias questions the Lord’s call, mainly because he is afraid of dying.  But when God explains the importance of His request, Ananias obeys despite the fears he may harbor.

The same goes for us.  Despite our fears and our questions, we must follow God’s call on our life.

Conclusions:  I didn’t like this lesson at all.  I think this is the first time I’ve felt this way.  Trying to compare Paul’s life to ours is a bit of stretch in my opinion.  First, he lived an extraordinary life and lived in turbulent times; whereas, for most of us, we don’t.  We live in relatively peaceful times and most of us lead ordinary lives.

Second, Paul experienced things most of us haven’t like seeing the glory of God and persecuting others to the point of death.  I just can’t relate to these topics.  I haven’t seen the Glory of God (would like to but probably won’t until I die) and I definitely haven’t come close to persecuting anyone.

While I admire BSF for trying to bring lessons down to our level, here I think they went awry.  10b and 11 need to be more specific in the context.

While I think Question 9 and 12 are good, I was so focused on the others that these messages got lost in their importance.

I’m sure some of you won’t like my take on this lesson or my critique.  But this is how I see this from my perspective and I’m being honest with you all.

I’d love to hear your take on these questions.  Maybe I’m being too literal or I’m just missing the point altogether.

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14 comments on “BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 4, Day 4: Acts 9:1-19a; 22:1-16; 26:9-19

  1. Renee says:

    On 10 a. I went to I Corthinthians 4:5-”Judge nothing before the appointed time. Wait til the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness and will expose the meaning of men’s hearts.” Paul’s eyes were blinded to his past deeds and he lived in the glory of the light of Jesus Christ.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think to say we live in peaceful times is narrow thinking. Yes, in this country that’s true, but BSF is in many countries that aren’t peaceful. While it may seem hard to compare your life in this season to Paul’s, there may be a woman in China who identifies completely.

    • atozmom says:

      Good point, Sarah. When I answer I am usually speaking about the US since that’s where I abide. The questions are personal, asking how I have or have not experienced, so I answered with a personal answer. So, yes, I am comparing my life to Paul’s since that’s the only life I got. I can’t speak for others like a woman in China who may have different experiences. I am one person with one voice, which I post.

      But I haven’t so that’s what I wrote.

  3. Birgit says:

    A couple of things that struck me: 10b – I haven’t seen the glory of Christ like Paul did but when I realized that Jesus was my savior, certain things lost their attraction.
    11 – I did not persecute Christians by killing them but the question reminded me of my judgement about them and treatment of them before I became a follower of Jesusmyself. I am sure I hurt people and made it hard for them to be loving and Christlike. This question gave me the opportunity to repent about something I had not thought of.

  4. coltsfan44 says:

    I too thought of others who may not have had a Christian upbringing and acted similarly to Paul in our times and been converted. Their new life may be like seeing the glory of Christ. I also was convicted by 11 with my sometimes judgmental attitude toward others or less than kind comments. I may not be persecuting Christians because of their Christianity, but I certainly persecute others in my mind with wrong thoughts, bad attitudes, and un-Christlike behavior. That was my take on those questions.

  5. enjat says:

    I love your comment and honesty on your answers. As for the Q#10a, my take is that Paul’s phsical eyes were blinded by the light, but his spiritual eyes were opened, thought he could later on wrote the other 13 epistles in the N.T. for us to know God and His will.

    • Mary Bolner says:

      That is my answer to 10a. Before his conversion, Paul could physically see but was spiritually blind. After his conversion, he was physically blinded for 3 days but could now spiritually see. After 3 days his sight was resurrected.

  6. Linda says:

    Q11 brought a song to my heart called Feel the Nails. The precept is that we are persecuting Jesus (like Saul) by the sins we allow to creep into our lives. The song goes, “Does He still feel the nails every time I fail; does He hear the crowd cry crucify again?” Next time verse says “Have I crucified Jesus with my sins.”

  7. MaryKay says:

    I agree that the persecution aspect does not come into play in our lives here in the USA but since this study is in 38 countries it may apply to others doing this study. I also agree These questions were just a bit odd. Love your blog.

  8. Sharon K says:

    Ladies, I enjoy reading the discusion.
    As for question 11 Jesus clearly states in all 3 Acts passages (Chapters 9,22,26) that Paul is persecuting Him. “Why do you persecute me?”
    If we have ever gossiped, held a grudge, etc.against another believer (We are all in the Body of Christ) we have persecuted Him. I doubt that any of us is innocent. We rarely realize how sinful we are. We (and I am including myself) need to repent and ask Jesus for forgiveness. I hope this helps.

  9. edr says:

    I would say we see God’s glory daily in the Presece of the Holy Spirit and all other things, i.e. His creation that surrounds us.

    We may not physicall persecute, but we certainly treat those who are not like us, in our circle, in our neighborhoods, in our churches…

  10. jan says:

    10a. Examples of things that have “brillance and glory” could include people, stuff, jewelry, anything that becomes more important to us than Jesus Christ. I think that when we become Christians, everything should loose it’s “brilliance and glory” as compared to Christ.
    11. “Persecute” is a strong word, but do we “grieve or hurt” people that don’t understand our beliefs? Unbelievers?
    Just a thought…
    Love your blog!

  11. Sweet Mama says:

    I was with you on this section and completely missed the boat compared to some of the amazing answers on #10 a, b, c, and d in our circle. Most went straight to the Scripture verses here although one pointed out that Saul was blinded by Jesus, the Light of the World. Just like a light can blind us, it also illuminates the way in darkness.

    #11 Persecute is a strong word on the surface for those of us who live in countries where we are free to worship but it gets back to not every question being for me. On the other hand, a lot of the above posters and those in my circle managed to find plenty of ways we persecute others with our thoughts and behavior and lack of love. I was with you on this one for me personally.

    Regarding #12 and Ananais’ fear that many here and in my circle mentioned since Saul had a reputation for persecution of Jesus’ followers…I totally did NOT pick up on that at all. Maybe because my natural self is lazy (I prefer to think of it as easy going, manana mama), my own sins tend to be of ommission rather than commision…the casserole I should have baked for the neighbor and even had purchased the ingredients already and the tutoring I should be doing for the many children without access. So I didn’t see him as not wanting to go because of fear but because it would mean he would be out of his comfort zone…I have to get dressed up, walk a long way, I haven’t had lunch yet and Straight Street is all the way across town, and I don’t personally know this fellow, and really, Lord, don’t you have someone else you could get to do this job? I’m busy studying my BSF, I need to make a lot of phone calls for volunteers and I forgot to call my momma earlier, we need eggs, milk, and cat food, the library books are due, I need to watch Dancing with the Stars because Momma will ask me who I liked this week, my best friend is having a hard time right now, I still haven’t done anything with all the inherited china dishes my mother-in-law graciously gave me, my neighbor is out of town and his vegetables need picking, and all I really want to do is harvest my imaginary farm on Facebook and watch cute puppy dogs on Youtube.

  12. Kini says:

    i agree with you…I didnt care for this one either!!

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