Reading & Summaries
READ: ACTS 13:1-15:35
At Antioch, Barnabas and Saul (Paul) are appointed as missionaries. They preach in Cyprus, Antioch in Pisida, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe—experiencing both success and persecution. They return to Antioch to report “all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (14:27). Recommended interactive map: Paul’s First and Second Missionary Journeys by UnderstandingChristianity.com.
Key event — The Jerusalem Council: After Paul’s first missionary journey, there was a great increase in the number of Gentile Christians. Some Jewish Christians still insisted that Gentiles needed to observe Old Testament ceremonial laws (e.g. circumcision) in order to be saved and accepted into the fellowship of believers, so the church met at Jerusalem to settle the matter. The council, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, made it clear that both Jew and Gentile “are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus” (15:11) and not law-keeping. To avoid offending the Jews, the council only required Gentiles to avoid four practices associated with pagan idolatry (e.g. abstaining from food that had been offered to idols).
Recommended video: Acts Ch. 13-20 by The Bible Project.
READ ACTS 15:36-18:23
Paul and Barnabas separate over a sharp disagreement. Paul travels with Silas on his second missionary journey and Timothy joins them along the way. They minister in Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth.
READ ACTS 18:24-21:16
On Paul’s third missionary journey, he ministers in Ephesus, Greece, Troas, and Miletus, then travels to Jerusalem. Recommended interactive map: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey by UnderstandingChristianity.com.
READ ACTS 21-24
In Jerusalem, Paul is arrested. After he is beaten, he appeals to his Roman citizenship. The Jews plot to kill Paul.
READ: ACTS 25-28
Paul appeals to Ceasar, to stand trial in Rome—the right of every Roman citizen. Paul journeys to Rome where he is placed on house arrest and continues to minister.
When exercises require a written response, either (1) record your answers in a journal or (2) email your answers to a pastor or class leader who can give you feedback.
- What questions do you have about this week’s reading?
- In Acts 15:36-41, Paul and Barnabas have a “sharp disagreement” over the reliability of Mark. Although they go separate ways, Paul later refers to Barnabas as a gospel worker (1 Cor. 9:6) and to Mark as “very useful” (2 Tim. 4:11, cf. Col. 4:10). What can we learn from this account?
- Acts records the suffering endured by the disciples on behalf of Christ. Read Paul’s account of his sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-30. According to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, why did Paul boast in his weakness?
- The book of Acts concludes with Paul on house arrest in Rome. Use a search engine or encyclopedia to answer the question from history, “What happened to the Apostle Paul?”
- Open (1) the Table of Contents in the front of your Bible and (2) a map of Paul’s missionary journeys (one may be included in the back of your Bible, or you can use the ones that were hyperlinked in the daily summaries). Many of the books of the New Testament are letters written to churches that were planted in Acts. Which books sound like cities that the apostles ministered at? Example: 1 Corinthians is a letter written “To the church of God that is in Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2), which Paul planted in Acts 18:1-17.
- Inductive Bible study: Search for every reference to the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, then organize the Scripture references according to what they teach us about the Holy Spirit. Example: In Acts 1:16, “the Holy Spirit spoke” and in Acts 13:2, “the Holy Spirit said.” In your list of Scripture references, write: “The Holy Spirit speaks (Acts 1:16, 13:2).” A single verse may reveal more than one thing about the Holy Spirit. Think carefully about each verse in its context. Example: Acts 1:16 says, “the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David,” referring to the Old Testament. In your list of Scripture references, write: “The Holy Spirit inspires the Scriptures” (Acts 1:16). If you need help, ask your pastor.