Pastor's Bible Study

meets at 7:00 p.m. every Wednesday evening from September through May

February Bible Study dates are:
Feb 7th
Feb 14th NO Bible Study - Ash Wednesday
Feb 21st
Feb 28th 

Bible Study February 28, 2018

Acts 13, 14 

I. What is the longest trip you’ve ever made?  How far did you go?  What is the most “exotic” location  to which you have ever traveled? 

II. Chapter 13 sees Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark begin the first of the three missionary journeys.

     A. MAP—consecrated or set apart for the mission by the church at Antioch in Syria.  They travel to  Barnabas’ home island—Cyprus.

     B. Pattern is established: The word is proclaimed to Jews but not well received and Paul turns to the  Gentiles.

     C. People have been talking about the thousands of people to which Bill Graham preached and his  “success,” I guess.  Watch these stories about Paul closely: how does on define success? 

III. READ ACTS 13:13-52.

     A. MAP: Perga, Pamphylia and Pisidian Antioch.  350 miles by sea and land.

         1. There are at least 13 cities named Antioch during this period. (Like Springfield—every state).

         2. Named for the father of Alexander the Great’s general Seleucus I who found the Seleucid Empire—man of whose emperors were named Antiochus (300 BC-64 BC).

     B. John Mark

          1. Mother’s (Mary) house was a meeting place in Acts 12.  He leaves Paul and Barnabas and goes  back to Jerusalem.  It splits up Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15; Barnabas takes John Mark back to  Cyprus.

          2. Last mention of either in Acts (?).

          3. Why would John Mark want to go?  Why would he want to leave?  Thinking about what we said  about the church’s role in discerning, how might a church feel if someone “came home?

      C. This is Paul’s first speech/sermon to Diaspora Jews and sympathetic (believing) Gentiles.

           1. Focuses on “salvation history” and highlights God’s care and guidance ending in Jesus, whose gift is offered to Jews and Gentiles.

           2. “Justified” in vv. 38 and 39.

           3. What is the controversy?  Note that women here resist rather than support the mission.

           4. Shaking dust from one’s feet is symbolic gesture of disassociation (Like 9:5; 10:11).  

           5. How do we know when on ministry is over and we are being called to another? 

IV. READ ACTS 14:1-7.

      A. Same pattern—go to the synagogues first but with mixed success. 

          1. Is the conflict political or theological?

          2. How can that sort of struggle create confusion within the church? 

V. READ ACTS 14:8-20.

     A. After the miraculous healing, this is Paul’s first speech to a pagan audience.

         1. The people don’t want to risk failing to offer hospitality to visiting gods.

         2. There was a myth about an elderly couple who wined and dined Zeus and Hermes without  knowing it.  They saved their community from disastrous flooding while others were destroyed  and they were made priests of the local temple to Zeus.

         3. Paul and Barnabas tear their clothes—act of mourning or in response to blasphemy. 

     B. Paul’s speech does not include any mention of Jesus Christ or salvation.

         1. God’s prior witness to the nations consists of nature’s good works; the Creator’s divine goodness is now climaxed in a mission that brings good news of salvation to them. 

         2. The things of nature are a means through which God manifests himself to us (natural revelation?).  Romans 1:19-23.

         3. Persecutions referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:25 and 2 Timothy 3:11.

         4. Now their Jewish opponents seem to be following them and acting violently.

         5. How do people tend to read the gospel through the lens of their own prejudices, beliefs, desires, or aims? 

VI. READ ACTS 14:21-28.

      A. Why do you think they returned to these other communities?  To strengthen and encourage them.

      B. They appoint elders—as they were consecrated at Antioch.  In keeping with Jewish tradition.

      C. “Urban ministry”—once heard a sermon about this in seminary re: Jesus’ ministry.

           1. Where the people are.  Diverse groups—the message is aimed at different kinds of people.

           2. City is a religious symbol of God’s universal salvation.  [Jerusalem].

           3. Congregations are not meant to isolate themselves from their surroundings—people or institutions.