A new period begins here, recording Paul’s greatest missionary effort and achievement: the evangelization of three important Roman provinces Macedonia, Achaia and Asia.
- Verses 6-10. By what various means was Paul guided at this time?
Trace on a map how remarkable the guidance was.
What indication is there from this that God does not always guide us in the way we might expect?
- Verses 11-15. The gospel comes to Europe. What evidence is there:
(a) that Luke, the author of Acts, joined Paul at this time;
(b) that the work began in a small way (with verses 13, cf. 13:14-16; 14:1, 2 and Zech. 4:10), and
(c) that Lydia was truly born again of the Holy Spirit?
Do you ever try to organize great work for God, rather than let God start a lasting work in a small way?
Paul continues his missionary visits to the towns and cities of Asia Minor. He always chose the strategic centers from which to work. Iconium was a prosperous commercial city on one of the main trade routes from east to west, where there would be both Jews and Gentiles.
Lystra was a smaller and more country town, with a simpler and less-educated population.
- Each verse of verses 1-7 describes a fresh development in the events at Iconium.
From these identify the three main stages of the work.
Are you finding that opposition (human or satanic) follows blessing in your Christian work?
- Verses 8-12. At Lystra a cripple is healed. What are:
(a) the condition of the man,
(b) the cause and the character of his faith, and
(c) the reaction of the people?
The Jews at Antioch become jealous (verse 45) because Paul’s message of forgiveness through Christ was drawing away the God-fearers, whom they hoped would eventually become fully committed to Judaism.
- What was the effect of this jealous opposition on the work of Paul and Barnabas?
Cf. 18:28. Do you ever allow opposition to silence your testimony or halt your Christian work?
What may the refusal of some to respond indicate?
- Paul and Barnabas now turn to the Gentiles.
What two reasons are given in verses 46, 47 (see Note 1), and what two results follow in:
(a) the wider proclamation of the gospel and the ingathering of believers, and
(b) the experience of the converts?