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bible study

Bible Study: Acts 19

Chapter 19: Acts 19: 1-41, Paul’s third missionary journey

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for ears to hear You and eyes to see You. We pray that You will direct our steps, answer our prayers, and speak to us through scriptures, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

V 1-3, 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, unto John’s baptism.

Paul started his third missionary journey. He traveled by land through Galatia, Asia Minor, and arrived at Ephesus, while Apollos was in Corinth. Paul stayed in Ephesus for 3 years. Ephesus was the guardian of the temple of Diana or Artemis, the patron goddess of women. According to Greek mythology, Diana was the daughter of Zeus or Jupiter. Besides paganism, Ephesus was also an active commercial centre.

Paul discovered that believers in Ephesus had not received the Holy Spirit because they were baptised by John the Baptist and were ignorant about the Holy Spirit.

VV 4-7, 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve.

Paul laid hands upon 12 Ephesian believers and baptised them in the name of Jesus. They were filled by the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, and prophesied.

VV 8-10, 8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Paul preached and taught the kingdom of God in the local synagogue for three months, but the unbelieving Jews antagonised, persecuted, and harassed Paul. He left the synagogue and taught in the school of Tyrannus daily for 2 years. Jews and Gentiles from all over Asia Minor came and heard Paul preach the word of Jesus in the school of Tyrannus. Paul wrote 1 and 2 Corinthians in Ephesus during his third missionary journey.

VV 11-12, 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Paul was so anointed by the Holy Spirit that even his aprons and handkerchiefs had the power to heal the sick and deliver the demon-possessed.

VV 13-16, 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, we adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Jews who practiced sorcery invoked the name of Jesus in their exorcism trade but the demons answered back and said, they did not recognise them. Sceva was one of the Jewish priests who practiced sorcery and occultism. The seven sons of Sceva invoked the name of Jesus to exorcise the demonised. The demons did not submit to their commands and leaped onto them causing physical injuries and embarrassments.

VV 17-20, 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus, and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men, and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Ephesus was a stronghold of occult worship, paganism, and sorcery. When what happened to the seven sons of Sceva became public knowledge, fear came upon the people. The name of the Lord was exalted and many believed in Him. The sorcerers got together and burnt all the occult books, which were valued at 50,000 pieces of silver. This may be equivalent to a few million dollars in today’s economy. The church continued to grow and the faith of the believers was strengthened.

VV 21-22, 21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

Paul laid out his future traveling plans to Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and Rome. He sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia to collect an offering for the Jerusalem church, while he stayed back in Ephesus, 1 Cor 16:1.

1 Cor 16:1, ‘’Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also’’.

VV 23-27, 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen. 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands. 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

In those days, Christians were called followers of the way. Demetrius a silversmith was upset over the loss of income when people converted to Christianity and stopped buying statues of Diana. Blaming Paul for his loss of income, he instigated all the silversmiths in Ephesus to oppose and attack Paul.

VV 28-31, 28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.29 And the whole city was filled with confusion, and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

The silversmiths were filled with anger saying “Great is Diana”. They started a mob in the city. They arrested Paul’s disciples Gaius and Aristarchus and threw them into the Roman amphitheater, a huge open-air complex with a seating capacity of 20,000. Paul wanted to go in to rescue Gaius and Aristarchus, but his companions feared for his safety and prevented him from entering the theatre.

VV 32-41, 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was confused, and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. 34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies, let them implead one another. 39 But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. 40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

The people in the mob were confused and did not know what was happening. Alexander was hand-picked by the crowd to make an address but when the people found out that he was a Jew, they started chanting “Great is Diana” for 2 hours. The town clerk came to the rescue and addressed the mob. He acknowledged the people’s belief that Ephesus was the guardian to the temple of Diana whose image fell from the sky God, Jupiter. According to Greek mythology, Jupiter or Zeus was the father of Diana. He said Paul’s followers did not rob temples or churches and did not blaspheme their goddess Diana. If Demetrius or any other silversmith were unhappy over their loss of income, they could take the matter to the court. After this, he dismissed the crowd.

The Risen Christ rebuked the Ephesians church for abandoning their first love for Him in Rev 2:4. Today, the ruins of Ephesus and the huge Roman amphitheater had been excavated.

Rev 2:4, “nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou has left thy first love.”

Application:

The sorcerers in Ephesus invoked the names of Jesus Christ in their exorcism trade but it backfired on them. The demons recognised Jesus and Paul but they did not recognise the sorcerers. Non-Christians should not invoke the name of Jesus in prayer because it will not work. Jesus will only answer your prayer if you have a personal relationship with Him and abide in His Word, John 15:7.

The Ephesians silversmiths openly attacked and mobbed Paul and his companions. Persecution is one of the marks of an apostle. Paul was openly persecuted by hostile Jews in Damascus, Jerusalem, Philippi, Thessalonica, Lystra, Pisidia Antioch, Corinth, and now Ephesus. Paul continued to preach the gospel faithfully. He did not throw in the towel. Have you ever suffered persecuting or hostilities from any non-Christians?

Evangelism is a spiritual war against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Spiritual warfare is real. You need to go on your knees every day and put on the whole armour of God, Ephesians 6.

John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will remain in us even as we remain in You and Your words. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and saturate us in Your words. Correct, convict, teach, educate, and train us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study

Bible Study: Acts 18

Chapter 18: Acts 18: 1-28, Concluding Paul’s second missionary journey

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to encounter You as we journey with Paul to Corinth. Give us ears to listen, eyes to see, hearts to learn, minds to know, and willingness to obey, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Paul traveled from Athens to Corinth, the capital of Achaia. Ancient Achaia is Southern Greece today. Northern Greece and Southern Greece are seperat4e by a narrow 4 miles wide Isthmus. Today, ships can cross Corinth from east to west and vice versa, via the Corinthian canal but this was not possible in the first-century world. Ancient Corinth was a big city with a population of 200,000.

Corinth had a reputation for Corinthian bronze, Corinthian architecture, Corinthian columns, Corinthian sports, Isthmian games, and immorality. A Corinthian is someone immoral. To corinthianise means to be a prostitute. The temple of Aphrodite housed 1000 prostitutes who roamed the streets of Corinth every night to ply their trade.

VV 1-4, After these things Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth. 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought, for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Paul met Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth, a husband and wife Jewish tentmakers from Rome. They had migrated to Corinth due to persecution by Claudius Caesar, the emperor of Rome.

VV 5-8, 5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, your blood be upon your own heads, I am clean, from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. 7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth from Macedonia. Paul preached to Corinthians Jews that Jesus was the Christ but they did not believe and persecuted him. Shaking his garments as a sign of breaking fellowship, Paul announced that he would take the gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul entered the house of Justus, a Gentile God-fearer. Crispus, a ruler of the synagogue believed. Many Gentiles Corinthians believed and were baptised.

VV 9-13, 9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace. 10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for I have much people in this city. 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, this fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision encouraging him to continue speaking with a promise to protect him. Jesus had many people loyal to Him in Corinth. Paul stayed on in Corinth for 18 months, teaching the word of God, from 50-52 AD. The Jews joined hands to persecute Paul and brought him before Roman proconsul Gallio.

VV 14-17, 14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you. 15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it, for I will be no judge of such matters. 16 And he drave them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Gallio spoke up for Paul but did not want to be involved. He dismissed the case and sent the Jews away from the judgment seat. The Greeks beat Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue at the judgment seat but Gallio ignored it.

VV 18-23, 18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila, having shorn his head in Cenchrea, for he had a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there, but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not, 21 but bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem, but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Paul left Corinth, and sailed to Ephesus in Asia Minor via Cenchrea, with Priscilla and Aquila. Paul shaved his hair at Cenchrea because he had taken a Nazarite wow, Number 6:1-4. Aquila and Priscilla parted company with Paul at Ephesus but Paul continued to preach in the local synagogue. The Ephesians believers begged Paul to stay longer but he declined because he had to be in Jerusalem before the feast. Paul left Ephesus by sea and landed in Caesarea, and traveled by land to Antioch, Syria, bringing his second missionary journey to a close.

Paul’s second missionary journey took 3 years from 49 to 52 AD. Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians during this second missionary journey.

After some time in Antioch, Syria, Paul started his third missionary journey, traveling through Galatia, Asia Minor. You can follow Paul’s third missionary journey on a map available on the internet.

Numbers 6:1-4, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.”

VV 24-25, 24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John

The author of Acts introduced us to Apollos in Ephesus who was a bible scholar, teacher, preacher, orator, and disciple of John the Baptist. His full name was Apollonius, a Hellenistic Jew from Alexandria, a Jewish settlement in Egypt, where the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the New Testament, was compiled in 132 BC. Baptised by John the Baptist, Apollos did not know about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

VV 26-28, 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him, who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace. 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Aquila and Priscilla discipled Apollo and taught him that Jesus was the Christ. Apollos left Ephesus and crossed over to Corinth, where he taught and discipled the believers. He confronted the unbelieving Jews boldly proving from scripture that Jesus was the Messiah. Apollos made a great impact on the Corinthian church.

Application:

Aquila and Priscilla took Apollo aside and discipled him. The church needs more Aquila’s and Priscillas. Have you taught and discipled anyone in the faith? The church needs more Apollos who made an impact on the church. Do have an Apollos spirit? Have you made an impact on the church?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will deposit into us the spirit of Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. Help us to make an impact on the lives of people through mentoring, discipleship, and teaching, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study

Bible Study: Acts 17

Chapter 17: Acts 17: 1-34, to an unknown god.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You are Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Mkadesh, Jehovah Shamma, Jehovah Seboath, and Jehovah Shalom. You are all these and much more. Thank You for loving us and caring for us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-4, 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Paul and his team traveled to Amphipolis, Apollonian, and reached Thessalonica, another city in Macedonia, northern Greece. Paul preached the gospel and the resurrection of Christ in the local synagogue on three consecutive Sabbaths.

VV 5-9, 5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, these that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.

7 Whom Jason hath received, and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. 8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

The Jews in Thessalonica were skeptical, furious, aggressive, jealous, and wanted to attack Paul. They started a mob in the city and attacked Jason. When they did not find Paul, they dragged Jason and some disciples to the rulers of the city, charging them for wilfully causing unrest in the city. They even invoked the name of Caesar. After collecting bond money from Jason, they released everyone.

VV 10-15, 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea, who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea, but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens, and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.

The disciples sent Paul and Silas to Berea by night. At Berea, they preached the gospel in the local synagogues. The Bereans were more knowledgable than the Thessalonians. They counter-checked with scripture all the things that Paul said and many of them believed. The Jews from Thessalonica came to Berea and started another riot there. The disciples sent Paul away to Athens by sea leaving Silas and Timothy behind.

VV 16-18, 16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. 18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, what will this babbler say? other some, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

Paul confronted the Epicureans and Stoic philosophers of Athens. Epicureans believed in random chance, an uncaring God, and did not believe in life after death. All things must be enjoyed in this present life. Stoics denied pleasure, endured pain and fear. They were keen to listen to Paul’s teaching.

VV 19-21, 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, may we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears, we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

They took Paul to the Areopagus and allowed him to speak. The philosophers of Athens and foreigners liked to waste time and listen to new ideas and philosophies in the Areopagus.

VV 22-23, 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

Paul was very polite to his audience. He commended them for their religiosity and ferventness in seeking God. Athen was famous for statues. When Paul was walking in the streets of Athens, he saw plenty of statues, and one particular statute was dedicated to an unknown god. Greek for unknown god is ‘’anosko theos’’. Paul used this unknown god statute as an ice breaker for his sermon.

VV 24-31, 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, 25 neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent, 31 because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Here was Paul’s evangelistic sermon. Paul quoted phrases from two Greek poets, “we live and move and have our being” and “we are were also his offspring”.

God is the creator. He does not dwell in temples made by men’s hands. He gave life and breath to all living things. He created the first human being Adam who populated the whole earth. He predetermined the times and places that people will live. Contrary to the teachings of the epicureans, God is a personal God who wants our relationship. We are God’s children. God is not an idol carved out by men’s hands using gold, silver, or stone. In the past, God overlooked people’s ignorance but now He commanded everyone to repent of their sins. God will judge the world in righteousness through the Lord Jesus Christ whom God resurrected from the dead to prove that He is God.

VV 32-34, 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed, among which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

When they heard about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, some of them were skeptical and mocked Paul, some wanted to hear more from Paul at another time, but some believed. Among those who believed were Dionysius, Damaris, and others.

Application:

The Bereans checked with scripture all the things that Paul said. Did you check with scriptures all the things that preachers and teachers said? Do not believe everything you hear. You should counter-check with scripture to see whether the teachings you hear or read are biblical or not.

When Paul preached the gospel in Athens, some mocked, some wanted to hear more, but some believed. You should evangelise for the sake of those who will believe. Do not worry about those who mock and do not believe. Your job is to sow the seed of the gospel. Conversion is the job of the Holy Spirit, not you.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to master the art of evangelistic preaching in the marketplace. Help us to imitate Paul just as he imitated Christ. We pray for the anointing and gifts of the Holy Spirit to equip us in ministry, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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bible study

Bible Study: Acts 16

Chapter 16: Acts 16:1- 40, earth-shattering worship

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for preserving the Bible in a written form in so many different languages of the world for our benefit. Thank You for knowing each one of us by name, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

VV 1-5, Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed, but his father was a Greek, 2 which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Paul met Timothy when he came to Derbe and Lystra. Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He was a person with good character and reputation. Paul recruited Timothy into his missionary team and circumcised him so as not to offend the Jews. Paul, Silas, and Timothy visited the churches in Galatia, strengthening the believer’s faith and multiplying the disciples.

VV 6-10, 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night, there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

They traveled through Phrygia and Mysia and wanted to go north to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit directed them to Troas. Paul saw a vision of a Macedonian man begging him to go to Macedonia. So, he traveled west to Macedonia, Northern Greece, Europe. From verse 10 onwards, Luke used the plural pronouns, we and us instead of, they and them. Luke had joined Paul’s missionary team in Troas and included himself in the narrative. “We” includes Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke.

VV 11-13, 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony, and we were in that city abiding certain days. 13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made, and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

From Troas in Asia Minor, Paul and his team, entered Macedonia, Northern Greece, Europe, and passed through Samothrace, Neapolis, and Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony without a synagogue because it did not have 10 Jewish males living there. So, on the Sabbath, they went to the riverside to pray and met some women there.

VV 14-15, 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

Paul preached to Lydia, a businesswoman who sells purple cloth, from Thyatira. The Holy Spirit convicted Lydia to believe in Jesus and Paul baptised her. Lydia invited Paul and his team to stay in her house. Lydia was the first European woman Christian convert.

VV 16-19, 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, these men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers.

Paul and his team encountered a demonised slave girl in Philippi. She followed the team for many days and kept repeating that they were servants of the Most high God. Paul exorcised and delivered her from demon-possession. This enraged her masters because she could not earn money for them anymore. They dragged Paul and Silas by force into the court.

VV 20-24, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely, 24 who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

They reported Paul and Silas to the judges and charged them for causing trouble and teaching unlawful customs to the Romans. The judges were furious and sentenced them to jail and beating with rods, 2 Corinthians 11:25. They kept Paul in an inner jail and fastened their feet with chains.

2 Cor 11:25, ‘’Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have been in the deep’’.

VV 25-28, 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm, for we are all here.

At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, sang, and worshiped God in the prison. The worship was so powerful that an earthquake ensued. The prison doors flew opened and the prisoner’s chains fell off. The Philippians jailor wanted to commit suicide but Paul stopped him assuring him that no one had escaped.

VV 29-34, 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and brought them out, and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The Philippians jailor trembled before Paul and Silas asking what he should do to be saved. Paul and Silas replied that he and his family would be saved if they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas preached the gospel to the jailer and his family and baptised them. The jailor invited Paul and Silas to his house.

VV 35-37, 35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, let those men go.36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, the magistrates have sent to let you go, now therefore depart, and go in peace. 37 But Paul said unto them, they have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison, and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

In the morning, the judges released Paul and Silas. Paul told them that he and Silas were Roman citizens and what they did to them was unlawful. Paul insisted for the judge to come to the prison and sent them off officially.

VV 38-40, 38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates, and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia, and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

The judges were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They came and begged Paul and Silas to leave the city. They went to Lydia’s

house and left the city.

Application:

Who is your Paul? Who is your Timothy? If you are a mature Christian, you should find a Timothy to mentor him/her in the faith. If you are young in the faith, you should look for a Paul to mentor you in the faith.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for healing, protection, salvation, justification, sanctification, and the promise of eternal life. We pray for those who have not believed and received Jesus to do so and be saved, in Jesus’ name, Amen.