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Acts…Lesson 8: The Antioch Church and the First Missionary Journey of Paul

Memory Verse:For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” Romans 1:16.

Daily Bible Readings: Acts 11:19-30; Acts 12; Acts 13; Acts 14; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22

Scripture Reading: Acts 11:19-30

Introduction:

As we progress through Acts, things start moving at a faster rate. Persecution becomes more frequent. Herod Agrippa I kills James by the sword and throws Peter in prison. Paul is stoned at Lystra. (According to Deuteronomy 13:6-18, if someone entices a Jew to engage in idolatry, he must be put to death by stoning. If someone entices an entire city to serve other gods, then he is killed with a sword.)

We also see the church having leaders called elders. Churches are organized and share gifts with each other. The Holy Spirit acts to call the church at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles with the Gospel message. They go across Cyprus and then Asia Minor on what is commonly referred to as Paul’s first missionary journey.

As we study the accelerating spread of the Gospel in Acts and as we live in a world where change is accelerating, ask ourselves how we are doing our part. How are we reaching our community with the Good News? Are we sharing needed gifts with other churches? Are the elders in our churches actively seeking the Lord’s guidance? What is the Holy Spirit calling us to do? Prayerfully seek guidance from the Holy Spirit to be a light in your community and world. Be the light on the hill that shows God’s light to the world.

Lesson Questions:

Acts 11:19-30. The church at Antioch

  1. Who was Barnabas and why was he a good choice for the Jerusalem church to send to Antioch? Acts 4:36-37; 11:22-24; 13:1-2.
  2. How do the prophets in the New Testament differ from Old Testament prophets? Acts 11:27-30; 15:32; 21:10-11; 1 Corinthians 14:3 versus Isaiah 42:1-4; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 12:10; Malachi 4:1-2.
  3. Do you think the actions of the Gentile church at Antioch in sending a gift would have helped break down any barriers between Jew and Gentile Christians? Acts 11:27-30; 12:25.

Acts 12:1-19. James killed and Peter in Prison

  1. Acts gives several instances where angels intervene on behalf of God’s people. What is the role and position of angels? Acts 12:7-10; Hebrews 1:4, 14; 2:9, 16.
  2. Why were the believers surprised when God answered their prayers and released Peter? Acts 12:13-17.

Acts 12:20-25. Death of Herod

  1. Why do you think Luke takes time to tell the story of the death of Herod? Acts 12:20-24.

Acts 13:1-14:34. Barnabas and Saul Sent to the Gentiles

  1. Comment on the calling and sending of Barnabas and Paul to the mission field. Acts 13:2-4.
  2. What is said about Jesus in the message by Paul in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia? Acts 13:23, 28-39. What Old Testament prophecies are quoted in this message? Acts 13:33-35.
  3. What actions by the residents of Lystra were so offensive to Paul and Barnabas? Acts 14:11-18.
  4. How did Paul and Barnabas select elders in each city? Acts 14:22-23.

Question for thought:

What is the witness that demonstrates God’s goodness towards all nations and all people so that nobody has an excuse? Psalms 19:1-6; Acts 14:15-17; 17:22-28; Romans 1:18-23.