Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Acts 15:36 – 18:17

This week we studied Acts 15:36-18:17.
As you begin your study each week, pray that God will speak to you through His Word. Come each week prepared for discussion. Be willing to participate and ask questions. As much as possible, stick to the topic at hand. Be sensitive to the other members in your group and listen attentively.
Intro To ACTS:
In the book of Acts, we see God birth the church by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell followers of Jesus. A great way to frame the entire book of Acts is in the following themes:
The beginning of the church (1:1 – 2:47)
The church and the Jewish authorities (3:1-5:42)
The church begins to expand (6:1-9:31)
The beginning of the Gentile mission (9:32-12:25)
The mission to Asia Minor and its aftermath (13:1-15:35)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Macedonia and Achaia (15:36-18:17)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Asia (18:18-20:38)
Paul’s arrest and imprisonment (21:1-28:31)
As we read and study Acts together, our prayer is that deep study of the Word of God would result in changed hearts and renewed spirits to pursue the things of God in our day and time.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Romans 8:11

Questions for this week:

  1. Read Acts 15:36-16:5. How did Paul and Barnabas deal with their sharp disagreement about whether or not to take John Mark with them on their next missionary journey? How do you respond to how they resolved this conflict?
  2. After all the discussion in the council at Jerusalem about Gentiles not having to be circumcised, why do you think Paul circumcised Timothy before taking him along on the journey with Silas and himself?
  3. How would you evaluate the spiritual health of the churches at this point?
  4. Look at the early interactions between Barnabas and Saul (Paul). Who was mentoring/ministering to whom in that relationship. After their parting, how does that compare with Paul and Timothy (introduced in Acts 16)? How does that work with the Great Commission of Matthew 28? How does this approach parallel our modern efforts in regard to church planting and the danger of being in our ‘comfort zone’?
  5. After their beating and flogging, what are Paul and Barnabas doing in Acts 16:25? What stands out to you in that verse? Do you think they were comfortable? Do you think they were singing to encourage themselves? What affect did this singing and praising God have on the other prisoners after the earthquake? Did they flee? Discuss why it’s important to be a good witness, despite what might be happening in your personal life.
  6. Acts 16:38 is one of the great understatements of Scripture…’they were alarmed.’ Why? How often does Paul use this status, even though it obviously carries a lot of weight? When he does make his status known, what purpose does it serve? What impression do you think Paul left on the people of Phillipi after all this? When Paul later writes his letter to this new church (Philippians), what does he say about personal status or position and how it should be used (Chapter 3)? Does this say anything to you now, not just in general, but with anything specific in your life? Share it with the group.