Memory Verse: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” Acts 20:28.
Daily Bible Readings: Acts 18:23-28; Acts 19; Acts 20; Acts 21:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1-3; Ephesians 4:17-30
Scripture Reading: Acts 18:22-28
Today, we find Paul spending some time at Antioch and then off he goes again on the third missionary journey. Paul follows the route of his second trip through Galatia and Phrygia, “strengthening all the disciples.”
Paul spends a considerable amount of time at Ephesus during this trip. That is not usual for him. He usually “plants” the church and leaves someone else to “water” it. Notice that he always, as he says in 1 Corinthians 3, gives credit to God for the increase. After Ephesus, Paul travels through Macedonia and Greece and then stops at Miletus. From Miletus, he sends for the Ephesian elders. He doesn’t take time to stop in Ephesus to see them but sends for them to meet him instead. He is in a hurry because he wants to be back in Jerusalem before the day of Pentecost.
On the way to Jerusalem, Paul is warned several times of the trials waiting for him at Jerusalem. It says that he is going “bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem” and that the “Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me (or await me). But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” Acts 20:22-23. Luke had earlier told us that Paul was being led by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. See Acts 19:21.
Paul is ready to suffer if the Lord demands it. Paul in his message to the Ephesian elders holds himself up as an example. He is inviting them to follow him to the extent that he follows Christ. In his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:1), Paul tells them “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Who are your models? And who are you a model for? In all things, seek to follow Christ and those who follow him.
Acts 18:23-28. Apollos and Aquila and Priscilla
- What are the good qualities of Apollos that Luke describes? Acts 18:24-26.
- What do you think Luke meant when he said that Apollos only knew “the baptism of John.” Acts 18:25; Matthew 3:2-6, 11-12; Luke 3:7-14.
- What happened to Apollos after he was informed about Christ more perfectly by Aquila and Priscilla? Acts 18:26-28; 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
Acts 19:1-41. Paul in Ephesus
- What happened to the 12 disciples at Ephesus after they were informed about the Holy Ghost? Acts 19:1-7.
- Do believers know whether they have the Holy Spirit in their heart? The story of the 12 disciples at Ephesus seems to imply that believers do know whether or not they have the Holy Spirit.
- Compare and contrast this event with the other three occasions where the Holy Spirit came on followers of Christ. Acts 2:4, 11; 8:18; 10:46; 19:5-6.
- What happened when Jewish believers tried to exorcise demons in the name of Paul or Jesus? Acts 19:13-17. How was it used to spread the gospel?
- In Acts 19:24-27 we see the silversmiths in Ephesus unhappy because their shrine making business was hurting because of the many conversions to Christianity. Do you think this was the event that Paul spoke of in his second letter to the Corinthians? Acts 19:29-30; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.
Acts 20:1-38. Paul in Macedonia, Greece, Miletus, and Tyre
- Acts 20:7 is sometimes used to say that we should meet together on the first day of the week. On what day is this meeting held and is there any significance that Luke reports the meeting was “on the first day of the week?” 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.
- Describe the prophecies that Luke relates concerning the danger Paul was facing by going to Jerusalem. Acts 20:23; 21:4, 10-11. Why do you think Paul received these warnings?
Question for thought:
Like the residents of Ephesus who practiced magic arts that burned their books, do you have areas of your life that need cleansing? Acts 19:17-19; Luke 3:10-14; Ephesians 4:17-24; 5:8-11. What modern-day event would cause a similar fear in you that would lead to such a drastic change?