Archive for November, 2006

Acts 17:10-21 – November 26, 2006

MORE CONFLICT IN BEREA (verses 10-15) and DISTRESS AND DEBATE AT ATHENS – PART 1 (verse 16-21)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) What can we learn from the Bereans in verse 11?

Q1 Answer) They searched the Scriptures and were fair-minded.

Above and beyond this, those in Berea were eager and hungry for the things of God. The received the things of the Lord but also searched the Scriptures DAILY to find out if everything that was taught to them was true and sound.

Q2) In verse 14, why did the brethern send only Paul away?

Q2 Answer) They feared for his life.

We discussed that Paul was more outspoken then the other two (Timothy and Silas) were. Do to this outspokenness those in Berea feared for Paul when the Jews from Thessalonica came to Berea. Remember that this was not a simple 2 hour drive from Thessalonica to Berea, this was a long walk so these people form Thessalonica were outraged at Paul.

Q3) In verse 17 Paul resons with those in the synagogue and in the marketplaces. What did Paul reason (or tell) to the people?

Q3 Answer) The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have mentioned this in previous studies, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is His death, burial, and resurrection. Nothing more was reasoned or told to the people.

Q4) This will require some research. What did the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers believe?

Q4 Answer) Epicurean thought themselves as gods. Stoic thought they were as good or equal to God.

A bit of discussion on this. The Bible clearly mentions these two modes of philosophy that was prevelant in Athens. The Epicurean main attitude was that of indulgence. This is where the hedonistic attitude that we have today in America stems from. The Stoic attitude is that of striving for godhood and that of the New Age attitudes stems from this philosophy. Remember these two modes of philosophy because it will be brought back up in question 6.

Q5) In verse 19, what is the Roman Coliseum?

Q5 Answer) This is a trick question. In verse 19 it talks about the Areopagus.

This was a place where all the philosophers and heads of the city met to talk about new philosophies and other things. This was mainly done by men.

Q6) In what ways are the world and certain institutions like verse 21?

Q6 Answer) The key to this question is to understand verse 21 and the two main types of philosophies going on at Athens.

In verse 21 it is mentioned that Athenians mainly wanted to tell or hear something new at all times. The two philsophies are exactly the type of philosophies that are being taught in American universities and colleges today. Along with whatever new style of thinking comes along, to ride that horse until it is dead or until a new fad comes along, that is the society of America in a nutshell. These two types of philosophies are not accidentally listed in Acts. The Lord knew that these would be the general attitudes that most of the nations would have 2000 years later. This shows that human kind has not changed in 2000 years, but is still in need of a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.

CHALLENGE: We see that Paul was in Thessalonica for Acts 17:1-9, which is not a log of Scripture, though there was a major conflict. In Acts 18, when Paul is in Corinth, he writes I Thesssalonians. Read the book, remembering how Paul was persecuted there.

We went to I Thessalonians and read 2:1-3 and also 2:13-14. I Thessalonians 2:1-3 states, “For you yourselves know, brethern, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.”

I Thessalonians 2:13-14 states, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did form the Judeans.”

WOW, that is powerful that Paul tells them that he thanks God without ceasing because they received the word of God in truth, even though they were persecuted and suffered by their own countrymen. The more you understand Acts and the order that Paul went through things, the more the epistles that he wrote to these churches come alive.

Paul travels in this study, so please use the following map:

pauls-second-journey.gif

What two places on the map does Paul go to?

Verse 10 – Berea – number 16 on the map.

Verse 15 – Athens – number 17 on the map.

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November 26, 2006 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

Acts 16:35-17:9 – November 19, 2006

PAUL AND SILAS ARE RELEASED (verse 35-40) and CONVERTS AND CONFLICT IN THESSALONICA (verses 1-9)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 37, Paul states he is a Roman. I thought he was Jewish?

Q1 Answer) He is both.

Paul is a Roman citizen that is of Jewish heritage.

Q2) Why was Paul so bold about being a Roman after he was thrown into prison instead of before?

Q2 Answer) He might have showed fear.

We need to stop and think about this question for a bit. If he had said that he was a Roman before hand he would not have been beat nor thrown into jail. That might have been shown as weakness or that he was fearful of going through persecution to the new believers in Philippi. Being bold after he was beat and thrown in jail showed to the new believers boldness. Remember that this was not an ace up the sleeve of Paul. He did not mention that he was a Roman citizen to get anyone into trouble, instead he did it to show how he was innocent. Also it is amazing what Paul writes in Philippians 1:12-14, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

Did you catch what was the last part of that verse? If Paul had not been beat and gone to prison, the new boldness that the new converts have would not have been so. The new converts saw the chains on Paul and become bolder and had no fear about speaking to others about Jesus.

Q3) Why did the magistrates plead for Paul and Silas to leave the city?

Q3 Answer) This is a tough question and it is one that you must know about Roman cities back then.

In order for a Roman city to have any ability to take part in the transportation of goods and being able take part in commerce, the city had to have a charter from Rome. If a Roman citizen was beat or imprisoned unjustly, the charter could be revoked from the city. This shows that the magistrates of the city were more frightened of what Rome and Caeser would do and not of what God would do.

Q4) In Acts 17:1 Paul found something at Thessalonica not found at Philippi. What was it?

Q4 Answer) It was a synagogue.

So now Paul and Silas go into a city that has more than 10 Jewish men in it, since the city has a synagogue.

Q5) In verse 5, the Jews who do not believe become envious and attack the house of Jason. Is this the same type of spirit that Paul runs into in Lystra where he was jailed?

Q5 Answer) This is the trick question. Paul was jailed in Philippi and not Lystra.

Yes this is the same type of spirit. We went over this in a previous study that this is a religious spirit rooted in envy and pride.

Q6) Jason is persecuted and condemened for harboring fugitives. What do we know about Jason?

Q6 Answer) This is tough since there is not much written about Jason.

We do know that he is a new Christian and that he is persecuted for the name of Jesus. We also know that he is of Greek origin (Jason is a Greek name – remember the Greek myth of Jason and the argonauts?). One thing we discussed is that whenever the Bible mentions someone by name (for just a couple of verses) in the New Testament when they are of great help to the Lord or to those serving the Lord, it is because the people are hungry for more of God and are obedient to what God tells them to do.

CHALLENGE: Over this next week, read the book of Philippians while keeping in mind Paul’s first trip there. He was beaten, thrown in prison, and then kicked out of the city. What is different about this book now then when you previously read it?

Much discussion over how it is different now and that the love that Paul shows in his writting to those in Philippi and to the jailer even though he had suffered immensely in this city. He did not have a vendetta against anyone.

Paul and Silas travel in this study, so please use the following map:pauls-second-journey.gif

What three cities did Paul and Silas go to?

Verse 1 – Amphipolis – number 13 on the map

Verse 1 – Apollonia – number 14 on the map

Verse 1 – Thessalonica – number 15 on the map

November 24, 2006 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment

Acts 16:25-34 – November 12, 2006

A JAILER AND HIS FAMILY BELIEVE (verses 25-34)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1)    Read Acts 12:3-10 and Acts 16:25-34. Compare and contrast Peter in prison then and Paul in prison here.

Q1 Answer)    Peter slept and had others prayed for him. Paul and Silas were beaten and in chains and were praising God.

What a thought and a question. Peter was comforted by the Holy Spirit after he sees James executed and knows that he will be executed the next day. He is comforted to the point that he can sleep soundly. Paul was beaten for trumped up charges due to his freeing a slave girl from demonic possession. He was then thrown in jail. He praised and worshipped God even though he was a bloody mess. One thing to notice in verse 25 is that the prisoners listened to Paul and Silas and did not retaliate to them praising Jesus.

Q2) In verse 28 Paul told the prison keeper not to harm himself. Why did he do this instead of running from the prison?

Q2 Answer) Love for others.

The jail was open and it would have been perfectly acceptable for Paul to leave the jail and run. He decided not to do that but instead faced the jailer. The jailer was ready to kill himself, since all the prisoners were loose and that meant that the next day he would lose his life. None of the prisoners escaped and Paul turned to minister to the jailer.

Q3) Verse 29 is very unusual for a keeper of a prison. Why is it unusual?

Q3 Answer) Shows humbleness and humility.

The very prisoner that the jailer was told to keep an eye on is the one that the jailer is bowing down to. Catch this, an earthquake happened and every chain and stock that all prisoners had on were loosened. The chances of that happening are very rare. Then instead of it being mayhem and all the prisoners running around, each prisoner remained. Truly this was an act of God and the jailer knew that God was there in the jail. He ran and fell down at Paul’s feet and wanted to know what he could do to be saved. If Paul would have ran out the door when the earthquake happened, this would not have happened.

Q4) The jailer took the prisoners into his home. Why might he do this? (Read Acts 12:19 – what might the jailer expect from his superiors?)

Q4 Answer) The jailer had a new found love for his new brothers.

Wow is all I can say. The very person that was to keep an eye on Paul is now taking him into his home, cleaned his wounds, and then was saved and baptized. Catch this, if Paul had not had mercy on the jailer he might not have gotten his wounds cleaned. Put it in our lives, if we do not show mercy on someone else, mercy that we need may not come to us; but if we show mercy then mercy we need will come from the most unexepected places.

Q5) Wait a second! I thought John was with Paul and Silas? If he isn’t then what happened to him?

Q5 Answer) This is the trick question. Two studies ago we learned that Luke was with Paul and Silas and not John.

Luke was not seized so it is very possible that he is at Lydia’s house praying for Paul and Silas.

Q6) Why do you think God added the jailer to the Philippi church?

Q6 Answer) He had influence over others.

A jailer has an amazing influence over others and this jailer took things seriously (read he was ready to kill himself since he failed at his job). That also shows loyalty and that is what was needed at this new church.

Since we are still at Philippi in this study, there is no reason to use the map.

November 24, 2006 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Acts 16:16-24 – November 5, 2006

A SLAVE GIRL FINDS FAITH AND FREEDOM (verses 16-24)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 16 Paul and Silas are going to prayer. Is this typical that Satan and his army of darkness will come against us as we got the Lord?

Q1 Answer) Yes

Satan despises it that we can boldly go to the Lord in His throne room. This was made possible by the work of Jesus Christ. Since Satan despises this, he will try everything in his power to come against us as we go to the Lord.

Q2) When the girl cried out in verse 17 was this her or the demon possessing her?

Q2 Answer) It was the demon possessing her.

Here we talked about the pagan religions that were around this area in the Old Testament times and how the masters of the slave girl must have had a contract or a pact made with the demonic realm in order to profit from this slave girl being demon posessed. There was no way that the girl could have known who Paul and Silas were, but the demon knew who they were and while Paul and Silas went around, it is almost guaranteed that what the demon cried out through the girl in verse 17 was in a mocking manner.

Q3) What can we learn from the way Paul commanded the demon in the girl out and what is done today?

Q3 Answer) Paul simply commanded it out.

Paul did not go into getting the demon’s name, or do an all-night session. He was annoyed and he commanded the demon to leave. We wonder if he also did this because of the sympathy he had for the condition that the slave girl was in.

Q4) In verses 20 and 21 the masters of the girl tell the magistrates of the city something different than what happened. Why?

Q4 Answer) Accusations by the enemy are usually lies.

In every occurrence since Jesus and including the trial of Jesus, all accusations against Christians are drummed up lies. They cannot convict someone on showing the love of Jesus Christ toward someone and freeing them from bondage.

Q5) Remember that we are still in Lystra. With the masters garnering support from the multitude, what does it tell you about the masters?

Q5 Answer) This is the trick question. We are still in Philippi and not Lystra.

This tells us that the masters are extremely influential in the city and in todays terms have pull or stroke with the officials of the city.

Q6) We see that due to Paul freeing the slave girl from demonic possession, he and Silas paid the price of being beat and imprisoned. Are you willing to pay the price to bring freedom to others who are suffering?

Q6 Answer) Dependant upon the person.

This is a question that only you can answer for yourself. I believe that Paul and Silas had no idea that they would be beat and imprisoned for freeing a slave girl from demonic possession.

Since we are still in Philippi there is no map for this study.

November 24, 2006 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

Acts 16:6-15 – October 29, 2006

THE SPIRIT DIRECTS THE TEAM WESTWARD (verses 6-10) and A CLOTHIER TURNS TO CHRIST (verses 11-15)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verses 6 and 7 the Holy Spirit forbids Paul and Silas to go to Asia and Bithynia. Why is this (think about Jewish attitude towards the Romans)?

Q1 Answer) Jewish people could not handle being around the Romans. The further west they went the closer to Rome they got. To go east would have been easier.

Another crossroads for Paul. Though he was a Roman citizen, most of his training and beliefs were that of his Jewish upbringing. This crossroads is that though they wanted to go eastward, the Holy Spirit told them to go closer to the place the the Jews hated. Remember that at this time the Roman govenment was considered evil by the Jews since the Romans occupied and controlled all of Israel.

Q2) In verses 9 and 10 Paul has a vision. What can be gathered about the man in the vision?

Q2 Answer) A man of no worldly importance.

Though this man was of no worldly importance he was hungry for more of God. The more that you want of God the more He will direct Himself in various forms to you.

Here we stopped and discussed verse 10.  Towards the end it says, “concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”  Notice who the Lord called?  It was us.  Suddenly the writer of Acts, who is Luke, is with Paul and Silas.  We need to be careful of when Luke joins up with Paul and Silas and when he leaves them.

Q3) You will have to do some research on this question. In verse 12 Paul and Silas go to Phillipi and stop for a time. They don’t stay at place like Troas, Samothrace or Neapolis. What was so important about Phillipi (think about travel routes and worldly importance)?

Q3 Answer) Phillipi was a gateway to Europe from the East and Middle East.

Phillipi was a large city that was a stopping point going to and from Europe to the East or the Middle East. It would not have been wrong for Paul and Silas to stop at the other cities, the Holy Spirit had them go directly to Philippi for a reason which we will see a little later. Philippi was a large city with many people that were wealthy. This brought about pride, self-importance, and affluence.

Q4) Verse 13 sticks out like a sore thumb. Where were prayers normally held and who prayed?

Q4 Answer) Prayers were normally held at the synagogue and they were performed by men.

Since there was no synagogue they went down to the river. Remember a previous study, if a city had less than 10 Jewish men in that city they could not have a synagogue. There was no synagogue so there was less than 10 Jewish men in the city. The women conducted the prayers and were hungry for God.

Q5) The women in verse 13 and Lydia in verse 14 show us what about the women of Lystra?

Q5 Answer) This was the trick question, it was about the women of Philippi.

It showed us that they were hungry spiritually and that the material things of this large city did not fill them.

Q6) In verse 14 it says, “the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” What does this mean?

Q6 Answer) The Lord alone can open the heart to things about Him.

Though we may want to reason with a person or group of people very badly, its the Lord who will open up the heart of a person to receive things from Him.

The following map is used in this study:

pauls-second-journey.gif

What seven places on the map did Paul and Silas go?

Verse 6 – Phrygia – number 6 on the map

Verse 6 – Galatia – number 7 on the map

Verse 7 – Mysia – number 8 on the map

Verse 8 – Troas – number 9 on the map

Verse 11 – Samothrace – number 10 on the map

Verse 11 – Neapolis – number 11 on the map

Verse 12 – Philippi – number 12 on the map

November 24, 2006 at 6:55 pm Leave a comment

Acts 15:36-16:5 – October 22, 2006

PAUL AND BARNABAS PART (verses 36-40) and TIMOTHY IS RECRUITED FOR THE WORK (verses 1-5)

Starting with this study, we will be looking at Paul’s second missionary journey, so we will be using the map at the bottom of this study.

Also starting with this study, each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) Why did Paul want to visit all the previous cities that Paul and Barnabas preached in?

Q1 Answer) Followup and to see how they are doing.

This was a time for followup and discipleship for those in the churches to strengthen them and not to necessarily go after new converts.

Q2) We see that there was a strong contention between Paul and Barnabas over what John Mark did in Acts 13:13. What characteristic(s) do we see in Barnabas that Paul had yet to learn?

Q2 Answer) Mentoring and giving multiple chances.

We know that John Mark left in Acts 13, but we truly do not know why. Some say it was homesick, not being able to deal with Gentiles, not being able to deal with Paul, or not being able to deal with travelling. Whatever the cause of his leaving, this rubbed Paul the wrong way. What we see is the old Pharisee mind set that Paul had where he did not have any time for foolishness and he considered what John Mark did to be complete foolishness. On the other hand, Barnabas was willing to give another chance to John Mark. What Barnabas did is a picture of no matter how bad we mess up, Jesus is willing to give is another chance.

Q3) Paul and Barnabas go separate ways in these verses. Paul starts out on his second journey, where Barnabas goes to Cypress and is not really mentioned again. Was the Lord in both journeys or just Paul’s, since the Bible covers Paul’s journey more in depth?

Q3) The Lord was in both journeys.

The Lord did work in both journeys. We need to remember that just because Paul is mainly written about and most of the New Testament was letters from Paul, that the Lord did perform mighty works through Barnabas.

Q4) Paul and Silas travel to Lystra and pick up Timothy. He had Timothy circumcised, but wait, I thought in Acts 15 that circumcision was not part of salvation. Why did Paul do this to Timothy?

Q4 Answer) To the Jews – they would not hear anyone who was not circumcised.

This is not Paul going back on his word about circumcision. This is Paul knowing about the Jewish people. He realized that the Jewish people he would come in contact with would not listen to Timothy unless he was Jewish. This is part of Paul’s understanding of when he says in I Corinthians 9:20, “And unto the Jew I became as a Jew”.

Q5) In verse 4 they delivered decress to the cities instead of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why?

Q5 Answer) These were cities that churches were established in. These visits were not for witnessing but for strengthening the Christians.

Paul showed that it was not up to him to win the lost in each city, but it was up to those who lived in the city. When he visited cities a second time, it was always as a strenghtening visit.

Q6) What is significant about the order in verse 6 of being strengthened in faith then added to daily?

Q6 Answer) The number 6 that is crossed out in this question is the error for today’s lesson. It was in verse 5.

Again this reiterates what was talked about in question 5 but takes it a step further. When those that live in the city are strengthened they have a renewed enthusiasm and vigor to talk to those who are without Jesus.

The following map is used in this study and several subsequent studies:

pauls-second-journey.gif

What four cities have Paul and Silas gone through?

Acts 15 – Anticoh in Syria – number 1 on the map

Between Acts 15 & 16 – Syria and Cilicia – number 2 and 3 on the map

Acts 16:1 – Derbe – number 4 on the map

Acts 16:1 – Lystra – number 5 on the map

November 24, 2006 at 6:24 pm Leave a comment

Acts 15:22-35 – October 15, 2006

A LETTER OF RECONCILIATION IS SENT (verses 22-35)

Q1) Why did others go with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to deliver the letter?

Q1 Answer) For a good report.

The apostles and disciples wanted to show that the church in Jerusalem supported the church in Anticoh in Syria and that they did this fully. This was not to “gang up” on the new church but to envelop the church in support and love. From here on out we need to keep in mind that everything that Barnabas, Paul, and Silas do for the new churches that are established is out of a heart of love of these people.

Q2) What is significant in verse 24, where it says, “some who went out from us?”

Q2 Answer) There was no division made.

The writers of the letter are acknowledging where this unacceptable doctrine came from. Instead of pointing the finger at those individuals, they show that they are taking the responsibility that it came from the church at Jerusalem. This shows to the new church that there is unity in the body and that the leaders are willing to be mature. Think about how we need to have this in the body today.

Q3) Verses 24, 25, and 26 seem to go into great detail. In today’s society, we would have just written we are sorry. Why is detail needed here?

Q3 Answer) For encouragement and explanation.

Just saying that you are sorry can be and is so cold. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at anyone, the writers went into great detail to encourage the new church and also to explain some things further. Communication is the key here.

Q4) Read Matthew 11:29-30 and then read Acts 15:28. What did the authors of this letter understand?

Q4 Answer) Jesus is not concerned with burdening someone down with rules. He wants a relationship.

We need to be careful here. We are not saying that there should not be rules, ethics, and morals that conduct our lives as Christians. What we are saying is that burdening people down with rules that people are not able to live by is not what Jesus intended. He is concerned about the heart and wants a relationship.

Q5) In verse 31 we see there is rejoicing due to the letter being encouraging. How was it encouraging?

Q5 Answer) No pointing fingers or blaming others.

As we have previously said there was not pointing fingers or blaming others. This was a letter of ecnouragement and explanation, over which there was much rejoicing by the Gentiles.

Q6) In verse 32, we see that Judas and Silas are prophets. Prophets in the Old Testament were mainly doom and gloom. Do you think what Judas and Silas said to those in Antioch was shocking?

Q6 Answer) Yes.

This was very shocking since the old time prophets were forewarning of impending doom unless Israel turned back to God. Here we see prophecy take a new turn in which they exhorted and strengthened the new converts in their relationship and daily walk with Jesus. A huge about face for what prophets would prophesy about.

November 24, 2006 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

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