BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 17, Day 5: Acts 20:13-21:15

Summary of passage:  From Troas Paul head to Assos, Mitylene, Kios, Samos, and then Miletus.  He avoided Ephesus because he wanted to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost.  But he sent for the elders of Ephesus to come to Miletus to speak with him.

Paul tells them he lived a life of humility and tears as he served the Lord.  He preached helpful words to both Jews and Greeks about having faith in Christ and repenting to God.  Paul is compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem where he knows he will face prison and hardships.  His life is worth nothing to him if only he will finish the race and complete the task set out for him by Lord Jesus.

They won’t see him again so they must keep watch over the church and believers.  They must be on their guard for wolves will lurk and try to hurt the believers.  He commits them to God who can build them up and give them an inheritance.  We must help the weak, work hard, and remember Jesus’ words “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

They Paul prayed.

Then Paul boards a ship to Cos, Rhodes, Patar, Phoenicia, Syria, Tyre (where he stayed to encourage disciples and prayed), Ptolemais, and then Caesarea.  Here, the prophet Agabus bound his own hands and feet in warning to Paul about what will happen to him in Jerusalem.  Paul says he is ready to die for Jesus and his companions finally said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Finally, Paul arrives in Jerusalem.


13)  Paul mentions again how he lived with them, serving the Lord with great humility and tears, and how he had not coveted anyone’s silver, gold, or clothing.  Paul’s own hands supplied his needs and the needs of his companions.  He worked hard to help the weak.  Paul taught the people from house to house.  In every city he faces prison and hardships.

14a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 24 “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  It’s important to strive every day and stay on track with God’s purpose for your life, which is different for all of us, but is ultimately the same:  testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Verse 35  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Important to remember.  God blesses you.  You bless others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It shows his undying devotion to God’s call on his life.  He is singularly focused on his task.  It shows his love for others and how much others loved him (which is much harder to earn).  Throughout it all he prayed, kept the faith, and once again offered sage advice upon leaving.

15a)  Verse 35:  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Have a giving attitude.  Remember how everything is from God and you are merely a steward of it all.  Give of yourself, your finances, your time, your energy, and your passions in all areas of life.

Conclusions:  Paul is a great example of how to life your life.  He faces challenges knowing God is with him.  He obviously knows how to treat people since they adore him and beg him to spare himself.  He is always giving advice on how to live a better life and he himself is always striving to be a better person.  He’s a great role model.

I like how finally everyone agrees to “The Lord’s will be done.”  So often we fight against God and His will for us and others that we don’t submit to Him our problems, anxieties, and ultimately our lives.  God is in control but we sometimes try to be. Here Paul is the perfect example of knowing he cannot fight God’s will for his life so he accepts it 100%. This is hard for most of us but something we can always be trying to achieve:  100% committal to God’s will for our lives.

End Note:  My study bible says that the quote “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is the only quote from Jesus not found in the New Testament Gospels.  I found this fascinating.

Map of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey:

This map shows all of the places mentioned in the passage: