Acts 16:6-15

A new period begins here, recording Paul’s greatest missionary effort and achievement: the evangelization of three important Roman provinces Macedonia, Achaia and Asia.

  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Acts 15:35-16:5

  1. What was the contention between Paul and Barnabas?
    Which was right, or were both wrong?
    Cf. John 21:21, 22; 2 Tim. 4:11. Can you disagree with another Christian without falling out with them?
  2. What provision did God make for Paul when he lost the help of Barnabas and John Mark?
    What was the keynote of their work at this stage?
    Cf. 14:21-23; 18:23. In what ways can you help a young Christian to be strong in the faith?
  3. 12:225-16:5. List the developments which took place in this fourth period (see Analysis).

 

Acts 15:13-34

  1. Verses 14-21. Here James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, the Lord’s brother, and probably President of the Council, sums up. What judgment does he give, and for what reasons?
    Do you think this would satisfy both Jew and Gentile?
  2. Verses 22, 23. In what ways was the decision to be made known to the gentiles, and with what results?
    From the whole debate, what principles can you draw out to guide you when there is a disagreement among fellow Christians:
    (a) on essentials of the faith and
    (b) about non-essentials and matters of individual conscience?

Acts 15:1-12

  1. The point at issue between the newly-established Gentile church at Antioch and the older Jewish church at Jerusalem was:
    On what terms can Gentiles be saved?
    What answer was given by:
    (a) Paul and Barnabas (see 14:27). And
    (b) the teachers from Judaism (verses 1, 5)?
    Write down what you think is essential for salvation.
  2. Verses 7-11. Of what three facts did Peter remind the Council at Jerusalem, and what conclusions does he draw from them?
    Is it possible for old established churches to impose upon young churches of a different culture, or for mature Christians to impose upon new converts, patterns of behavior or ceremonies that are not essential to Christianity?

Acts 14:13-28

  1. What five elemental truths about God are set forth by Paul in verses 15-17?
    What application does he draw from them?
    Cf. verses 11, 14, 15. To whom do you think Paul would bring this of message today?
  2. Verses 19-25. Despite opposition Paul and Barnabas return to the cities where churches have been founded to strengthen them.
    In what ways did they encourage these young Christians?
    What can we learn from this about helping one another in our faith?
  3. Paul and Barnabas report to the church that had sent them out. Cf. 13:1-3 with 14:26-28.
    What is their emphasis in the way they report?

Acts 14:1-12

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Acts 13:44-52

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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?