BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 2: Acts 18:23-28

Summary of passage:  We pick up Paul again as he’s leaving Antioch to travel to Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen the disciples.  During this time a Jew named Apollos from Alexandria came to Ephesus.  He had a vast knowledge of the Scriptures and had been instructed in the way of the Lord.  He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus Christ accurately in the synagogues.  Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak and invited him to their home where they explained God more adequately.

Apollos was encouraged by the brothers to spread the News to Achaia and he helped those who believed.  He vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving Jesus was the Christ using Scriptures.

Questions:

3a)  He left Antioch and went throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples there.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All my relatives and myself.  I always need strengthening (as we all do) when this world tears us down.

4a)  He was a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately.  He spoke boldly in the synagogue.

Traits:  intelligent, knowledgeable, probably charismatic to speak boldly, passionate about the Lord and Jesus, and had a heart for others to know Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The Bible says they “explained to him the way of God more adequately.”  I would imagine they filled him in on what happened after the baptism of John, told him all about Jesus’ ministry, His death and resurrection, all about what Paul and the others were doing, and about the decisions the Council at Jerusalem had made.

We are told Apollos was a Jew so we must assume he knew the Jewish law so he had all the history.  It seems he just needed to understand the relationship between God and Jesus and Jesus and man more clearly.

We can also assume that Aquila and Priscilla spent an enormous amount of time with Paul so they imparted with Apollos what exactly Paul was teaching and his vision from God so Apollos could spread that message as well.

c)  They gave him new knowledge and probably new confidence in his words.  Apollos was able to vigorously refute the Jews in public debate using the Scriptures, which he probably went over with Aquila and Priscilla.  I can assume Apollos gained an enormous amount of information and a new desire and will to succeed.

d)  Apollos apparently was very effective in convincing people to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah and as their Savior.  However, it appears people were lining up behind the messenger instead of the Message.  People were holding up Apollos, Paul, and Peter in place of Jesus, which is what Paul is chastising the Corinthians about in his letter.  This could quickly become a form of cult worship or sects within the body of Christ that Paul was not going to tolerate.

Paul warns the Corinthians and urges Apollos to return to Corinth but he declines.  I’m wondering if this was so his “cult” or following wouldn’t get any bigger and the chaos and frenzy surrounding Apollos would die down a bit.

Paul appeals to the people, saying they are united in their purpose to convert people and it is all God’s doing, not the mere effort of mortal men.

Conclusions:  I love learning about obscure people in the Bible that my church never talks about.  This is why I LOVE BSF! We study all of God’s word and not just the popular bits and pieces that seem to be so prevalent in today’s ministries.

In our effort to reach people and spread the Good News some of the nuts and bolts get lost amongst the big picture that is hanging up on the wall.  As Paul demonstrates repeatedly not only must we be converted, we must be strengthened.  The beginning is important but we must finish the race for God will judge all of our actions.

Application:  Something all too common in today’s world and we hear it all the time both in religion and in the secular world.

In religion:  people start worshiping the messenger and when they fall (which all humans do) people are devastated, left in a lurch, lost and all because they can’t see around the person.  Or cults take off and control people’s lives.  We must be wary of those with evil intentions.

In the secular world:  people practically worship celebrities or what have you and trends instead of realizing the One, True One to worship.  We must fight against this every day of our lives.  Just like idols in the study of Isaiah.  Anything is an idol if we put it above God.

Map of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey, showing Antioch, Galatia, and Phrygia:

http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_03.htm