Archive for February, 2007

Acts 22:12-29 – March 4, 2007

PAUL IS ALLOWED TO ADDRESS THE PEOPLE – PART II (verses 12-29)

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 verse 12 then read Acts 9:10-19. Why doesn’t Paul call Ananias a devout Christian in Acts 22:12?

Discussion)    Paul did not want to rile up the mob nor get Ananias in to trouble with the Jews.  Most of us today would have said that Ananias was a disciple or a Christian, to divert the heat off of us, but Paul did not want to get others into hot water (this is where Paul is showing love towards Ananias).

Q2) What does verse 16 mean? Can baptism actually wash away our sin? What does baptism do?

Discussion)    No baptism does not wash away our sin.  In those days, which it should be this way today, whoever you followed you were baptized in their name.  John that Baptist baptized people and they followed him, Apollos baptized people and they followed him, as well as others.  Even Pharisees were baptized to become Pharisees.  When you were baptized you showed by an act that you were leaving the past behind and following someone with your whole being.  Baptism is NOT a condition for salvation.  If it was, then the original twelve disciples would not be in heaven because no where in the Bible does it tell that they were ever baptized. 

Q3) In verses 17-21, Paul is in a trance and has a vision and the Holy Spirit tells Paul to get out of Jerusalem quickly. Why?

Discussion)    The Jew would not receive Paul.  Whatever we are saved from that is where we want to go and minister to.  Paul was saved from being a Pharisee so he naturally wanted to minister to the Pharisees, but the Lord wanted him to minister to the Gentiles.

Q4) The Jews accepted Paul’s defense and let him speak to the people. Why?

Clues)     The Jews did not accpet Paul’s defense.

Discussion)    Instead the Jews started to rip their clothes and throw ashes and dust in the air.  Just picture the scene, an angry mob quiets down to the point that they listen to Paul and know all of them are yelling, ripping their shirts, and then throwing ashes and dust in the air. 

Q5) The chief captain orders Paul to be brought inside the castle/prison and scourged {beaten}. Why?

Discussion)    To find out what stirred the mob into anger.  Paul was talking to them in the Hebrew language, which more than likely the commander did not know.  This was the general way to get something out of a captor.

Q6) What is the difference between the chief captain’s citizenship and that of Paul’s?

Discussion)    The captain’s citizenship was purchased which meant he had less rights than Paul.  Paul’s citizenship was by birth which means they did a horrible mistake in binding and beating Paul.

LIFE APPLICATION: Many commentaires state that Paul never defended himself [see Acts 16:20-40 – he mentioned he was a Roman after God releases him from jail] but here he does defend himself. What can we glean from this?

Discussion)    When you are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit it is correct to defend yourself when you are supposed to.  Without Paul defending himself, he would have rotted in jail.  By defending himself, as we shall see in the following weeks, this gave him a one-way ticket to see Agrippa in Rome.

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February 25, 2007 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

Acts 21:40-22:11 – February 25, 2007

PAUL IS ALLOWED TO ADDRESS THE PEOPLE – PART 1 (verses 21:40-22:11)

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 40, why didn’t Paul talk while the others were talking?

Discussion)    Paul wanted to end the chaos that was going on.  By him talking while the others were talking this would have led to more chaos and people asking what was going on and then them repeating to others.  Notice in verse 40 it says that it was very silent.  In verse 2 of the next chapter it says that it got even more quiet.  In present day terms this means that you could hear a pin drop and that the crowd, which in an earlier chapter said the whole of the city, was hanging on every word that Paul said.

Q2) Were the people Paul was speaking to surprised when he spoke to them in their own Greek language? Why?

Clues)    This was the trick question.  Paul was speaking in their own Hebrew language.

Discussion)    Yes the people were very much surprised.  For someone to speak to the whole of the city and not have the modern conveniences of microphones and sound systems, that person must have either been charismatic or had an amazing presence about them.  Since it was Paul we know that he had the presence of the Lord upon him.

As a side note here, many churches skip this part of the chapter because Paul recounts his time on the road to Damascus.  These churches like to go to Acts 9 of when it actually happened.  Instead, we should envision how Paul is telling this to the crowd.  Anytime we recount of how we got saved, we become passionate and zealous because it is a personal testimony of our own on how the Creator of the universe came down and met us where we were to show that we need a Savior.  With this, Paul was telling the crowd his testimony in a zealous and passionate manner.

Q3) In Acts 22:3, who is Gamaliel that is mentioned? {Research is needed here}.

Discussion)    We need to be careful when we look up Gamaliel in a concordance.  There are two Gamaliels in the Bible, one in the Old Testament in Numbers and one in the New Testament in Acts.  We are concerned with the one in the New Testament.  

If we look up Acts 5:33-39, we see an even-keeled discussion from Gamaliel.  Many of the Pharisees wanted to stop the apostles (before Paul came on the scene as a Christian), but Gamaliel said not to do anything.  If what the apostles were doing was man made it would stop and it it was from God there is no way to overthrow it.  Here we see that Gamaliel was not given in easily to the mob mentality.  Instead he was a Pharisee among the Pharisees.  In other words he was the Pharisee that other Pharisees went to when they had a problem.  Gamaliel was known for this and there was none like him in all of the Pharisees during this time.

Paul explains that he studied under Gamaliel and that he was a hit man, if you will, for the Pharisees to bind up Christians, whether man, woman, or child, and to bring them to Jerusalem to be beat, tortured, or killed.  One had to be zealous for their cause in order to do this. 

Q4) Read verse 6 then read Acts 9:1-4. Where was Paul {then known as Saul} going and what was he going to do on the road to Damascus?
Discussion)    Paul was going to Damascus to round up known Christians to take them back to Jerusalem for beatings, torture, and death.  He was a “ring leader” if you will in that he was the main contact for the Pharisees to do this work.  He was also a Pharisee in training.

Q5) In verse 9, Paul says those that were with him saw the light, but they didn’t hear the Lord’s voice. Why?

Discussion)    Paul says they did not hear the Lord’s voice and in Acts 9 it says that they heard a noise.  Paul knew that it was the Lord and this was the time for the ring-leader to be converted.  It was not for anyone, but since the others saw the light it is possible that they might come to know the Lord as the personal Savior through this.

LIFE APPLICATION: Read I Timothy 1:12-17 and then read Acts 22:6-11. What is significant about Jesus allowing Paul to be blinded?

Discussion)    This is a multi-significant life application.  First, as a Pharisee, Saul was all powerful and a Pharisee must have full control of their senses.  When Jesus allowed Paul to be blinded, Paul knew that he lost all power as a Pharisee and could never be a Pharisee again.  According to Old Testament law, once a Pharisee became blind, they were stripped of their title as a Pharisee and were forced to live outside the gate with the other blind people begging for help.  Paul was reduced to having to beg for the help of others to lead him to Damascus.  

Secondly, this paints a picture of a lost person’s life before they meet Jesus.  Most everyone who comes to know Jesus hits a very low point in their life where they lose most everything that they have.  When this happens the only one we can turn to is Jesus and this is what Jesus is showing through the life of Paul.

February 18, 2007 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Acts 21:27-39 – February 18, 2007

A MOB SEEKS TO KILL PAUL (verses 27 -39)

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) Verse 27 mentions the Jews of Asia. Were these believing Jews, and if so, why were they angry with Paul?

Discussion) These were believing Jews of Asia that believed in the Old Testament laws and were very zealous for the law. Remember that this was the time just before the festivities of the yearly Petnecost holiday. They were angry with Paul because they supposed (according to verse 29) that he had taken a Gentile inside of the synagogue. This was strongly opposed to since a Jew had to ceremonially go through the seven days of purification in order to enter the synagogue, there is no way that a Gentile was allowed inside of the synagogue of Jerusalem. Also that Paul was teaching heresy against the Old Testament law, they presupposed that this had happened.

Q2) Read verses 28-30 and explain them.

Discussion) That lots of presuppositions and zeal started a mob mentality instead of going to Paul directly and asking what he was doing.

Q3) In verse 31, the riotous mob began beating Paul and was determined to kill him. Why didn’t they kill him?

Discussion) The chief of the the captains stepped in. We want to remember that the plotting, planning and then executing of trying to overthrow the Roman government was a usual occurrence and that any type of riot was not uncommon. If a riot broke out and some one was killed that was a Roman citizen, then the captain whose watch it was on would be severly punished if not executed. This gave incentive to the captains to stop all riots immediately.

Q4) Do you suppose the chief captain was genuinely concerned about Paul’s well being or did he have another agenda?

Discussion) There was about 10% where he was concerned about Paul’s well being, but he had another agenda in that he wanted to make sure that no riots would happen and that everything ran smoothly on his watch.

Q5) Who was the Ethiopian that the commander thought Paul was? {This will require extra research}

Clues) This was the trick question. It was actually an Egyptian that the commander thought Paul was.

Discussion) This did require a lot of research. Josephus wrote a book called the Book of Antiquities and this was in it. This man, an Egyptian, three years prior to the day, was a prophet (though it was never told if he was a prophet of Jehovah God or a false prophet) instigated 40,000 rebels to come up against the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. Of those 40,000, 4,000 of these men were special forces that were to blend in to the city of Jerusalem and kill guards quickly. This Egyptian prophet was going to set foot on the Mount of Olives and show how the walls of Jerusalem would tumble (remember what Jesus said would happen to Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 AD), thus proving he would be able to conquer the Roman rule. Instead 400 of the 4,000 men were instantly killed and others were thrown into prison and later killed. This Egyptian escaped and was never heard from again.

Thus, the chief of captains thought that he had the Egyptian when he had captured Paul. That is why the chief of captains asked if he was the man. This Egyptian was the most wanted person of the Roman Empire and it would have been a big bonus in the career of the chief captain if he captured him. Instead Paul shocked the chief captain when he talked to him in Greek and not in Aremiac.

LIFE APPLICATION: Reread Acts 21:28-30 and then read Titus 3:2 and Ephesians 4:31. What life application is Paul telling us to obey?

Discussion) These verses tie in with what we see happen to Paul. By what happened to Paul at every city that there was a mob ready to kill him we see that he was the benefactor (or on the receiving end) of when someone started to assume, presume, presuppose, lie, and sow discord among others to rile everyone up. This is why Paul in many of his epistles says not to stir up trouble but to go to that person that is sinning and talk about it. He also uses the wisdom that Solomon shared in Proverbs that states that love covers a multitude of sins. That is not to say that we share in the sin or gloss it over, but we are not to go to the other extreme and cause a riotuous mob.

February 12, 2007 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

Acts 21:17-26 – February 11, 2007

PAUL ARRIVES IN JERUSALEM (verse 17-26)

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) Some commentaries state that verse 19 proves that Paul liked to promote himself. Do you agree or disagree?

Discussion)    Even though it seems like yes, the answer is clearly no. Paul was explaining what had been done in each of the Gentile cities and he always pointed everything to Jesus and not to himself.

Q2) In verse 20, what do you suppose Paul told the elders, that they glorified the Lord?

Discussion) The elders glorified the Lord in what they had heard. The key to question 1 is what happened in this verse. We must be careful when we hear people and their stories. Will the story (or events that happened) glorify Jesus and put Him up for others to see or will it glorify the storyteller so that the storyteller will get the praise of men. If the person is pointing to Jesus Christ, then the person is not promoting himself or herself. If the person is not pointing to Jesus Christ then this comes close to some type of form of idolatry.

Q3) In verses 20-22, why were the bretheren concerend about Paul being in Jerusalem?

Discussion) They were concerned for Paul due to the zealousness of the Jews for the law of Moses. Remember in Acts 15 that there were Jews who came out of the church of Jerusalem that went to the new church in Syria of Antioch and said that you must be circumcised in order to be saved. A letter was then written to the church to state that this was a false teaching but to be aware of not doing things like what was done in the temples of the Gentiles. Now forward to Acts 21 and the zealous Jews went to the other extreme that if Paul were not preaching circumcision then he was throwing out the whole law of Moses. Paul was not doing this but was trying to point everyone to Jesus Christ.

Q4) What did the elders want James to do, to prove he still obeyed the Jewish Law?

Clues) This was the trick question. It was Paul and not James.

Discussion) The elders wanted Paul to go through the shaving of his head, with four other Jews and then through the ritual of the days of purification, and pay for all of them doing it.

Q5) Did Paul agree to do what the elders wanted him to do? If so, why?

Discussion) Yes, Paul agreed to do this, but he did not have to. He could have easily said that he was Paul who has planted many churches, that he was a Christian, and that he did not need to go through this Jewish ritual, but he did not do that.   Instead he became a Jew to the Jew so that he may tell them of Jesus Christ.

Q6) What does verse 25 say to you?

Discussion) This verse states that Paul is reiterating what was written in the letter in Acts 15, that these are the things that the Gentile temples to other gods had going on in them. He wanted the new Christian churches in these cities to be different than what was going on in the pagan churches and everything else would fall into place.

Life Application: Reread Acts 21:17-26 then read what Paul writes in I Corinthians 9:19-23. How can we apply this in our lives?

Discussion) Here we see that Paul was telling us to be a Jew to the Jew, a Gentile to the Gentile, weak to the weak and strong to the strong. He is not saying that we participate in the sins of others. Instead he is saying, by his life example, that we need to meet people where they are at instead of trying to change them before the come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. Jesus meets us right where we are at and does not want us to change when we come to Him, that will happen later. He is waiting with open arms for each person to run to Him, and that is the way that Paul lived his life towards the lost. This is what we need to do.

February 4, 2007 at 11:15 pm Leave a comment


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