- Sum up Herod’s character from verses 1-4 and 18-23.
How and why was his life abruptly ended?
Are we living to the glory of God? Cf. 1 Cor. 10:31.
- Prayer was the church’s weapon to free Peter. Note:
(a0 its character (verse 5)’
(b) its obstacles (verses 6-11),
(c) its results (verses 12-17).
Those who had prayed did not believe that had happened was true (verses 14, 15).
Do you believe that intercessory prayer can do great things?
Cf. 2 Cor. 1:8-11 and Eph. 3; 20, 21.
The circumcision party (verse 2) was a conservation group in the church at Jerusalem, who insisted on the necessity of circumcision for all. Cf. 15:1, 5.
Peter has to explain to them his action with Cornelius.
- What main point does Peter emphasize when he recounts his meeting with Cornelius? Notice what Peter says about prayer; the vision and action of God; the part played by the angel and the Holy Spirit. What was the result of God’s action on: (a) the Gentiles (verses 14, 17, 18), (b) the circumcision party (verses 18), and (c) Peter (verses 16, 17)?
- Compare 1:5 with 11:16, 17 and Eph. 3:6. Peter had to learn that there was more truth in God’s word than he realized at first, and that he must not keep up social, national and religious barriers when God has removed them. Do you retain any such barriers between yourself and someone else which ought to be removed?
The city of Antioch, capital of the Roman province of Syria, was one of the three largest cities of the Empire. It was famous for its commerce, are and literature, and infamous for its vice and frivolity. It was to become ‘the jumping off point’ for Paul’s missionary journeys
- What was the distinctive feature that from the beginning marked the preaching of the gospel at Antioch, and with what far-reaching results?
- What stages marked the establishment of the church there, and what part did Barnabas play? How can we teach and encourage young Christians?
- Verses 27-30. A young Gentile church helps the older church at Jerusalem. Note the signs of this church’s vitality, influence and Christian spirit. Cf. 2:44, 45; 4:34-37. Does your Christian faith find expression in practical giving like this?
- What new truth had Peter learned from the vision? See verses 34, 35 and cf. verse 28. Notice that the work could not develop until Peter had learned this. Is our unwillingness to learn some divinely – revealed truth hindering God’s work in and through us?
- When Peter addressed Jews, what truths did he use to awaken their conscience (cf. 2:36 and 3:13-15)? What truth did he
- See Notes 1 and 2. Contrast the two towns of Joppa and Caesarea, and the two men and Cornelius.
The scene is now set for the Gentiles to receive the gospel.
Whose intervention was necessary to bring it about?
Whom ought we to thank for our reception of the gospel?
- How did God teach new truth to both Peter and Cornelius?
Notice the prejudice that had to be removed and the obedience that was shown.
Are you also willing to obey God when he teaches you something new and different from your natural prejudice or preference?
- What evidences do you find in these verses that a widespread revival was going on at this time, and that Christ, dwelling in his people, still moved among men as Saviour, Teacher, Healer and Friend?
What prayer ought such a record to stir us to pray?
- How do you picture Dorcas?
What ideals of Christian character and service are exemplified in her?
Can you find ways to go and do likewise?
- What do these verses reveal of Christ’s power, majesty and glory and also of his compassion, love and grace? Cf. 1 Tim. 1:12-14.
- What task was Ananias given to do? In what is he an example of the help we can give to a recently converted person?
- How did Paul prove his sincerity from the very beginning of his Christian life? Cf. 1 John 3:14; Acts 26:19, 20.
- Comparing verse 31 with 6:7, notice how the church had extended its boundaries. Notice, also, the two marks of healthy spiritual life that are especially mentioned in verse 31. Are these marks, together with those seen in Paul’s life (Question 1), found in yours?
- Note how much of active interest and response the Ethiopian was already showing before Philip met him.
What more did he need before he was able to go on’ his way rejoicing?
What similar aids can we use in order to find God and to discover more of his truth for ourselves?
- Learn from Philip:
(a) the qualities needed in, and
(b) the methods used by, one man when leading another person to trust Christ.
Are you willing to be sent on such an errand (verse 26, 29)?