BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 5 & 6: Acts 14:20b-28

Summary of passage:  Paul and Barnabas head to Derbe next (Map HERE) where they preach and win a large number of disciples.  Then they head back home, stopping in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch again on the way back.  They strength the disciples and encourage them in their walk with Christ by saying remain true to the faith.  They appointed elders in each church to continue their work and prayed and fasted for them.

Then they went through Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, and Attalia and then finally back to Antioch, their work complete.  They reported back and told of their adventures and how God had opened the door of the faith to the Gentiles.  Here they stayed for a long time.

Questions:

13a)  Gaius

b)  They met with no resistance (at least none that was recorded) and nothing noteworthy to record.

c)  God gives them ups with the downs.  This must have been a huge moral booster and encourager in doing God’s work.  Good days come with the bad and the good days are what keep a person going.

14a)  Paul encouraged the disciples in the low times.  They put their trust in elders and prayed and fasted for them.

b)  He tells his listeners that they have such a place in his heart that he’d live or die with them.

c)  He is in pain for the people (pain of childbirth) until they accept Christ

d)  Paul was delighted to share the Gospel with them because they were so dear to him.  He was gentle with them like a mother caring for her children.  They worked night and day so as not to be a burden and to support them sharing the Gospel.  He dealt with them as a father does his own children.  They were holy, righteous, and blameless amongst them.

e)  Paul tells the people they are his glory and joy when the Lord Jesus comes.

f)  Paul really lives since now they are standing firm in the Lord.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  They encouraged them.  They suffered alongside them.  They led by example, never asking them to endure anything they didn’t or wouldn’t.  They chose others, prayed and fasted for them, and trusted them (which is huge.  Think of society today where no one trusts anyone anymore).

Then they returned home and told of all the wonderful miracles and conversions, especially of the Gentiles.  Success stories always motivate others.  Then they stayed there a long time with the disciples.  I would conjecture they trained them, encouraged them, helped them, and modeled a good Christian life for them.

An interesting note:  they didn’t just convert them and then leave them to wonder “What next?”  Paul and Barnabas guided them and showed them the next steps in the walk with Jesus.

Conclusions:  I think Paul and Barnabas set a great example.  Most new believers are super excited when they turn their life over to Christ.  But then the enthusiasm wanes and as the ups and downs of life inevitably occur, they are left wondering, “Is this it?  Is this the Christian life?”

I think it’s hugely important not to leave these people dangling.  They need guidance, friendship, and strength to endure the hardships with being a Christian.  They need to know not everything is Sunshine and Roses from here on out.

Great message today.

End Note:  Not sure why Gaius is important.  I’m assuming he’s going to do something in Acts.  Otherwise, he just seems like a name from the Bible like the lists in the Old Testament.

Cool Map:  This map traces the route for you when you open it up.  It’s quite cool!

http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_01.htm

Paul’s First Missionary Journey took place from about 47-48 AD so about 14 years after Christ’ death.

This map makes me wonder why they didn’t take the land route through Tarsus either on the way there or the way back.  Why did they choose Cyprus to visit and the other places?  I’m assuming because the terrain was too rugged or sailing was safer?  I’m wondering if geography played a key role in determining where Paul and Barnabas went as well as the technology in the means of transportation back in the first century AD.  Fascinating stuff.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 5: Acts 13:42-52

Summary of passage:  Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak the next Sunday at the synagogue.  The people followed them and talked to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.  The next Sabbath almost the entire city showed up to hear the word of the Lord.  The Jews were jealous that so many showed up to hear Paul speak and spoke against them.  Paul and Barnabas answered them saying we spoke the word of God to you first but you rejected it so we turned to the Gentiles as commanded by God.

Many believed and the word of the Lord spread throughout the region.  But the Jews continued to come against them, expelling them from their region.  So, Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium filled with the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

13)  Beginning in grace of God is not enough.  People must continue in it after they have faith in the Lord.  Grace is a foundation of what God gives to us and what He calls us to show to others.  Paul is urging the people not to stop after the beginning.

According to my Bible Dictionary, grace is the unmerited favor of God toward sinners whereby He has provided for their redemption.  He extends favor to all who have faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Grace is a major theme of Paul’s.  He identifies it as the instrument through which God has effected salvation of all believers.  Grace is also regarded as the sustaining influence enabling the believer to persevere in the Christian life.  It is not the initiatory act that secures salvation but that which maintains it throughout a Christian’s life.

All of the above is from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney under grace.

14)  Verse 46 “Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”

Acts 18:6  “…Your blood will be on your own hands!  I am clear of my responsibility.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Acts 19:9  “Some of them became obstinate.  They refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way…”

b)  Isaiah 49:6  That the Gentiles will be granted eternal salvation

15a)  They converted many Gentiles but were ridiculed and persecuted by the Jews.  Yet they continued on in joy to Iconium to deliver the Good News there as well.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I pray about it.  Seek advice.  Listen.  Then follow what God has laid on my heart to do.

Conclusions:  This is a great lesson for us today as well.  Some people will believe in Christ.  Some won’t.  Our responsibility is to share the Good News.  It is up to the listeners to decide (Free Will) for themselves.  It is not our responsibility (Acts 18:6) like Paul was saying.  We are called to share.  Ultimately, it is the individual’s responsibility to believe.

Then joyfully, we continue on our journey in life to the next place and the next ears God puts us in contact with and do the same thing over again:  share Him with others.

Map of Iconium:  http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN217ACTSPaulOne.htm

So not too far from Pisidian Antioch to Iconium.  Now I can feel like I’m traveling along with these two as I trace their route!