Community Groups can use these questions to jump start their discussions.
Through the Christmas holiday we will be taking a break from formal group questions. Have fun with a holiday study or devotional. Maybe get together for a holiday dinner.
December 11th – December 17th
- Read Luke 2 as a group.
- The angels show up and the glory of God appears to the shepherds. What do we know about shepherds from that time?
- What does it mean for the announcement to be made to shepherds instead of the powerful and those in positions of authority?
- We see in this passage how the glory of God shows up and it brings a few things.
- The glory of God exposes us for who we really are. (Luke 2:9)
- The glory of God drives out fear and replaces that with joy. (Luke 2:10)
- The glory of God changes our outlook on life. (Luke 2:15-20)
- Is the glory of the Lord isolated to just a few Biblical events? Go deeper than just yes or no.
- Where has experiencing the glory of the Lord changed your life?
- Has fear been driven out of your life and replaced with the joy of the Lord? Read Philippians 4:4:7
- What is the difference between being Happy and being Joyful?
- During this holiday season how have you been reminded of the blessings the Lord has brought into your life?
- Do the weeks leading up to Christmas produce more gratitude from you or do they bring more disappointment and fear? What might you need to lay before the Lord to change this?
December 4th – December 10th
- Read Isaiah 9 as a group.
- Talk about the history of Israel. (ex. Exodus, Judges, Kings, Nation Splits, Exile, Return to the Promised Land, 400 years of a quiet God, Roman Rule). What would these prophecies mean for them as a nation?
- Read Luke 1:26-56 as a group.
- Talk through the life of Mary as a group.
- She is a young girl.
- She is engaged.
- She is visited by the Holy Spirit.
- She is pregnant out of wedlock.
- Her attitude toward the situation.
- Read Matthew 1:18-25 as a group.
- He is a righteous man.
- He is engaged to Mary.
- Mary is pregnant our of wedlock.
- His attitude toward the situation.
- In these three passages we see God as our Comforter. How do they each portray this attribute of God?
- If we rely on God as our Comforter what are we free to do with those we come in contact with?
- If the peace and comfort we spread, to those around us, is an indicator of our own relationship with God what does that say about our own lives?
November 27th – December 3rd
- Read Exodus 1:8-3:12 as a group.
- The Advent theme for this week is God our Deliverer. Reflect on the story from above. How specifically did God fulfill His promises to deliver His people?
- The Hebrews were a slave nation with no power of their own. What did it mean for them to rely on God to deliver them? What were their successes and what areas did they fail in? Go beyond just the first 3 chapters of Exodus.
- What does it mean for God to Know you?
- What does it mean for God to Hear you?
- What does it mean for God to intervene for you?
- Talk about some times in your life when God delivered you. What was the situation or problem? How did God work out the details?
- Do you struggle with allowing God to be your deliverer?
- Read Matthew 1. How is Jesus’ work similar but also not similar to how God used Moses to deliver his people?
- We are no longer waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, we are waiting for our King to return. Do you have your eyes set to the “skies” or are you too focused on the ground in front of you? What areas of your life do you need to give up control and allow God to work?
November 20th – November 26th
- Read Acts 28 as a group. Discuss your first impressions.
- We read that the islanders (whom many of the men considered barbarians) showed the shipwrecked men considerable kindness. What did the islanders do? How do you explain these actions coming from “barbarians”? What can we learn from the actions of these islanders?
- We read that the islanders are the ones who welcomed them and built a fire to warm them. Why, then, do you think Paul was gathering wood for the fire? What does this act tell us about Paul? What lesson does it hold for us?
- What happened to Paul as he put the wood on the fire? What did everyone think was going to happen to Paul? Why? What explanation did the islanders give for this happening to Paul? Do we in the church apply such “logic” to events around us? Please explain.
- As the others waited for Paul to die, what did Paul do? As time passed, nothing happened to Paul. How did the islanders account for this? How do you explain the change in them concerning Paul?
- By all accounts of nature, Paul should have died. Why didn’t he? What can we learn from this?
- Malta was part of the Roman Empire and so had a Roman official living there. Publius probably did not get many visitors, so he welcomes them into his home. How important is it that we offer hospitality to others, even shipwrecked prisoners? What happens when Paul learns that Publius’ father is sick? As a result of this episode with Publius’ father, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul. What happened? Is this an isolated incident or should we expect to see and to participate in similar actions? Please explain.
- In his stay on Malta, Paul brought the gospel to pagans. He became a missionary. How did he reveal the gospel of Jesus Christ to them? What result did Paul’s presentation of the gospel have on them? What can we learn about ministering to people who are not familiar with the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- After three months they prepare to leave Malta. They sail on an Alexandrian ship. What is the figurehead of a ship? What was the figurehead of this ship? Why do you believe Luke mentioned this fact?
- On their way to Rome, they stopped in Puteoli, where they found some brothers. How do you believe these brothers came to be in Puteoli? Why do you think Paul’s Roman guard allowed him to stay a week with the brothers?
- Finally, after a 2,000 mile journey, Paul arrives in Rome. News of his arrival had preceded him, and Paul was met by more brothers in Rome. Paul was still “under arrest” but what special treatment did he receive? What does this tell us about the Romans attitude toward Paul?
- Paul had never been to Rome before, yet the brothers there welcomed him and met his needs. What does this show us about the church? What can we learn as a local church body?
- Paul wastes no time. Verse 17 tells us that three days after arriving in Rome, Paul called together the leaders of the Jews. What does Paul tell them? (Read vv. 17-20.) Why did Paul do this?
- What do the leaders of the Jews reply in response to Paul’s concern? What request do they make of Paul? Based on these scriptures, why might Paul have been sent to Rome?
- Paul makes arrangements to meet with the leaders on a certain day. When that day came, even larger numbers of people came to hear Paul. We read in verse 23 that Paul spoke from morning till evening. What was Paul’s objective? Briefly look at a synopsis of the book of Romans, and we will get an idea of what was taking place. What are some of the major themes covered in Romans? Could you speak from morning until evening convincing people that Jesus is the Christ? If the answer is “No,” what can we do to change this?
- Read vv. 24-25. What was their response to Paul’s message?
- We read that the Jews left following Paul’s final statement. In your own words, what was this final statement? What do verses 26-27 mean to you? What do you think they meant to the Jews?
- Why do you think Paul ended with the statement in verse 28? How do you think the Jews reacted to this statement? What implications does it hold for us today?
- Acts ends by telling us that for two whole years Paul welcomed people into his rented home. Why do you think no further mention is made of Paul’s trial? Based on this abrupt ending, what would you say the book of Acts is about?
- Read v. 31. In what way does this verse summarize Paul’s life? What does this verse mean to you?
- What are some of the theories about Paul’s fate?
- What has this study of Acts meant to you? What have you learned and how has it affected you personally? What can we, as the church, learn from Acts?
November 13th – November 19th
- Read Acts 27 as a group. Share your first thoughts with one another.
- Once again the account mentions “we” when referring to their preparations, meaning once again that Luke has joined Paul. The last reference to Luke was in Acts 21:18. Where do you believe Luke was during this time? What do you think he was doing?
- Why did Julius allow the prisoner Paul to go to his friends that they could provide for Paul? What needs do you think they met? What does this tell us about Paul and his relationship with those around him, even those sent to guard him? What can we learn from this?
- Why do you think Luke recorded their journey in such detail? Most of this story seems to be an indirect route laid out by God. Why would this indirect route be needed? Talk about indirect routes you may have experienced in your life.
- Knowing what lies ahead, Paul addresses the men. Who are these men and why would they listen to him? What does Paul tell them? How does Paul know this? What would following Paul’s advice entail?
- The centurion does not listen to Paul. Instead, he followed the advice of the pilot and the owner. What advice do you think they gave him? What was their motivation?
- Why was Fair Havens’ harbor unsuitable to winter in? As a result, what do they decide to do? How long a journey was it to Phoenix?
- They set sail amid favorable winds. However, before long, the winds change. Luke records that a “northeaster” swept in. What is a “northeaster”? What affect did this storm have on the ship and crew?
- Read very carefully verse 17. What happens? What can you learn about the storm from this verse? What do you think was the mood aboard that ship? Do you get any sense from reading this account that Luke was afraid? Please explain your answer.
What is the significance of verses 18 & 19? (See v. 12.) What spiritual and scriptural truth do we see operating? What is significant about the fact that the men threw overboard the ship’s tackle with their own hands?
- After all this time, Luke records in verse 20 that they finally gave up all hope of being saved. It is at this time that Paul speaks and tells them that they should have taken his advice. If they had, what would they have been spared? Notice, Paul never mentions their lives being at stake. He tells them to take courage because not one of them will be lost. How does Paul know this? What does Paul say about God in verse 23? What does the angel tell Paul? If you had been one of these sailors, believing there was no hope of being saved, how might you have reacted to Paul’s message? Why might you be led to believe him?
- Paul does tell them that the ship will be destroyed and that they must run the ship aground on some island. Finally after 14 days they approach land. How did they know they were nearing land? What did they do to slow down the ship? Fearing they would be dashed against the rocks, some of the sailors attempt to escape by the lifeboat. What does Paul tell the centurion about this plan? What does the centurion do and why do you believe he does this?
- Paul knows the men need to eat. For fourteen days they have been battling the storm and fearing for their lives. No one has felt like eating, but Paul knows they need their strength for what lies ahead. In the middle of this storm, what does Paul do? (See v. 35.) What effect did this have on the 276 men aboard?
- The next morning they sight land and make preparations to run the ship aground. What do they do? What goes wrong that prevents them from running aground on the island? As a result what are the soldiers preparing to do? Why do you believe they are going to do this? Why does the centurion stop the soldiers?
- In this chapter we see Paul encourage the men to stay with a ship that was not going to reach its destination. To abandon that ship meant death; to stay with that sinking ship meant life. Are there spiritual applications we can make from this? Please explain. (Remember the word the Lord gave us: looks will be deceiving)
- What else have you learned from this chapter?
November 6th – November 12th
- Two years have passed, yet the Jews have not forgotten about Paul.
- When Porcius Festus replaces Felix, what do the Jews do?
- Place yourself in Festus’ place. You are newly placed in authority. The “religious leaders” come to you and warn you about certain members of the church. What would you do?
- Read verse 5. What do you notice about Festus’ attitude toward Paul?
- After arriving in Caesarea, Festus convenes court the next day. How do you account for the quick action in regard to Paul when Felix kept Paul for two years without holding a trial?
- In making his defense, Paul says he has done nothing wrong. What three areas does he list?
- When asked before about bringing Paul to Jerusalem, Festus refused. Why now does he ask Paul if Paul is willing to go there to stand trial?
- Why does Festus ask Paul if he is willing to go to Jerusalem instead of ordering him there?
- Paul answered by saying he should be tried in Caesar’s court. Why?
- A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice come to pay their respects to Festus. Who was King Agrippa? Bernice? Why did Festus discuss Paul’s case with King Agrippa?
- Festus reveals that the Jews brought none of the expected charges against Paul. Instead, he states that the “charges” revolve around what?
- Festus concludes by mentioning a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. Why was Festus at a loss to investigate these charges?
- Why do you think King Agrippa wanted to hear Paul himself?
- In verse 23 we read that King Agrippa and Bernice enter “with great pomp” attended by high ranking officials. What does this tell you about them?
- Festus addresses all who are present. He states that the Jews brought charges against Paul, but that he (Festus) found that Paul had done nothing wrong. As a matter of fact, he would have let Paul go if Paul had not appealed to Caesar. However, Festus has one problem. What is it? How does Festus hope King Agrippa will help him?
- Why is Festus hesitant about sending Paul to Rome without charges?
- Paul now prepares to address King Agrippa. Agrippa opens by allowing Paul to speak for himself. What is different about this setting as opposed to the one with Festus?
- Paul first witnessed to Festus, a gentile. Now, he testifies to Agrippa, one who is acquainted with Jewish laws and customs. What differences do you notice in Paul’s approach, if any?
- How would you change your presentation of the gospel for a nonbeliever as opposed to someone who was acquainted with the church?
- What is the significance of Paul’s comment in verse 3 that Agrippa was well acquainted with Jewish controversies as well as the customs? How could this be good for Paul?
- Paul tells Agrippa that the Jews know how Paul has lived his life. He states that if they were willing to testify, they could tell Agrippa all about him. To what “facts” could they testify?
- Remember, Paul is speaking to Agrippa, who is familiar with everything to which Paul is referring. How familiar are we with Paul’s references? Should we be? Please explain.
- Paul holds nothing back. What does he reveal about himself in verses 9-11? Did you learn anything new about Paul?
- How does Agrippa receive this news?
- Paul then relates Jesus’ words to him. This time the account is longer. How do you explain this? What does Agrippa (as well as we do) learn from Jesus’ words?
- Paul tells Agrippa that he was not disobedient to this vision. What does he mean?
- What does it mean to you to be obedient to a vision, provided, of course, that the vision is from God and not man? Read vv. 19-20. How did Paul remain faithful to the vision?
- What message did Paul preach?
- What has saved Paul to this day?
- Paul makes an interesting comment concerning the resurrection of Jesus. He says that the resurrection of Jesus is both true and reasonable. It what way is it true? In what way is it reasonable?
- How does this exchange between Paul and Festus reflect the truth found in I Corinthians 1:18? Are we likely to encounter this same reaction today? Please explain. If we do, how should we react?
- If someone asked you what it meant to be a Christian, how comfortable would you be making the statement Paul made: to be a Christian is to be what I am?
- The king and the others leave at this point. What conclusion did they reach about Paul after listening to him speak?
- Considering Agrippa’s statement, was Paul wrong in appealing to Caesar? Please explain.
October 30th – November 5th
- Read Acts 24 as a group.
- Tertullus addresses Felix in verse 2. If would be safe to say that he begins by flattering Felix. What does Tertullus say to Felix? Read vv. 5-8. Tertullus lists three charges against Paul. What are the three?
- As we know, these charges are groundless. However, in verse 10 we read that the Jewish leaders joined in the accusations, testifying that these charges were true. How would you react if you were wrongly accused? At issue here is the question of justice. What do the scriptures say about God and justice?
- Finally, Paul gets the opportunity to present his defense. He also begins by addressing Felix. How do his statements to Felix differ from those of Tertullus?
- Read carefully Paul’s defense in vv. 11-21. Unlike the Jews, Paul states facts. Remembering that facts can be proven or verified, what facts does Paul give in his opening remarks in vv. 11-13? What does he say cannot be proven?
- Next, Paul, making no attempt to hide the truth, makes several admissions. To what does Paul admit?
- These admissions can also be proven by the life Paul lived. We all have probably been asked if we were brought to trial for being a Christian, would we be found guilty. What admissions could you make that can be verified by your actions?
- As a result of all Paul believes, he states in verse 16 that he always strives to keep his conscience clear before God and man. What does this mean to you?
- Paul finishes by stating that those present should state what crime Paul has committed. Yet, they already presented their “charges” against Paul. Why, then, did Paul make this statement? According to Paul, what is the real reason for this trial?
- What is the significance of Felix’s being well acquainted with the Way? In other words, how might this have helped Paul? How might Felix have learned about the Way?
- What decision does Felix reach as a result of this trial?
- Why did Felix bring his wife Drusilla to listen to Paul? Why would Felix become “afraid” as a result of this visit? What does Felix decide to do?
- Why might someone react with fear when they hear about Jesus?
- It might seem that Felix has been touched by Paul’s testimony. However, despite the fact that he has not found Paul guilty of any crime, he keeps Paul locked up. Why?
- How long does Felix keep Paul locked up? Why does he not let Paul go?
- In this chapter, we see Paul once again take advantage of a situation to testify about Jesus Christ. Paul is not intimidated or afraid to be identified with the name of Jesus. What can we learn from Paul’s example?
October 23rd – October 29th
- Read Acts 23 as a group.
- When Paul was given the opportunity to speak to the Sanhedrin, he looked straight at them. What does this indicate?
- Paul is speaking with the permission of the Roman commander. Yet, when he speaks to the Sanhedrin, he addresses them as “My brothers”. What are Paul’s intentions in using this greeting? How do you think the Jews felt when they heard it?
- What does Paul tell them? What do you think he meant by this?
- What can you learn about Ananias? How did the high priest react to Paul’s statement? Why? What was the significance of Paul’s being struck on the mouth in public?
- In reading verse 3 we see Paul loose his temper. Do you think he is justified in doing so? What does Paul say to the high priest? What do you think he meant by it? How would a “whitewashed wall” behave in the church today? In what way was the high priest violating the law? (Use scripture if possible.)
- What was Paul’s reaction when he learned he had been speaking to the high priest? Some have suggested that Paul was using irony in his statement in verse 5 while others say Paul was being very serious. What do you think? Please explain your answer. How could Paul, a devout Jew, not know Ananias was the high priest? How does the fact that Paul appears to be apologizing to the one who ordered him struck affect you? To what scripture is Paul referring in verse 5? How does this truth apply to us today?
- Verse 6 states that Paul knew some were Sadducees and some were Pharisees. What can you learn about these two groups? In what ways did they differ? Now look carefully at Paul’s statement to the Sanhedrin. What did he say that caused such an uproar? Did Paul do this on purpose in order to cause greater division? Please explain.
- Paul, himself a Pharisee, is pronounced innocent by the Pharisees. Are they being fair in their judgment, or are they pronouncing him innocent because he is a Pharisee like them? What is implied by their question, “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him”? Why would this “What if” question cause even more trouble?
- Remember, the Roman commander is present with his troops. Yet, even their presence does not stop this crowd. What do you think is meant when we read that the crowd became so “violent” that the commander feared for Paul’s life? What did the commander do?
- Once again the Lord Jesus visits Paul. What does Jesus say to him? How do you think this affected Paul?
- Read carefully vv. 12-15. About 40 Jews took a solemn oath. What was that oath? What does the law say about oaths? How could these “law-abiding” Jews take an oath to kill someone? What do these conspirators want the Sanhedrin to do?
- The Sanhedrin agrees to send for Paul under the pretext of wanting more information about Paul. However, this is not true. What does the law say about telling lies? How could these religious leaders justify breaking the Law of Moses in order to protect the Law of Moses? What does the phrase “the ends justifies the means” mean to you? Can you think of an instance where this might be true? The 40 men plan on killing Paul before he arrives before the Sanhedrin. This is murder. What does the law say about murder?
- Now, when we talk about the Law of Moses, we are talking about the law God gave the Israelites. These leaders are just a little corrupt. What does God say about submitting to leaders of this type? (For reference, look at David and King Saul.) What are we to learn from this?
- Who warns Paul about the plot? How could he possibly have learned about their plans? What does this tell us about Paul’s family?
Paul sends the boy with one of the centurions to tell the commander. The young man tells him the entire plot. What does the commander tell the young man to do? Why?
- The commander decides to get Paul out of Jerusalem that night. How many men does he send with Paul? Why do you think he sent so many? He is sending Paul to Governor Felix. What can you learn about him? Do we learn anything new in the letter the commander sent to the governor? If so, what?
- They leave Jerusalem at night. Why? Why would the Romans be afraid of the Jews?
- Why does Governor Felix ask Paul what province Paul was from? What is the significance of Paul’s being from Cilicia? What does the governor agree to do?
October 16th – October 22nd
- Read Acts 21:17-22:29 as a group.
- Paul receives a warm welcome when he arrives in Jerusalem. He immediately goes to see James. Who is James and why does Paul go to see him? We also read that the elders are present also. Paul has received warning after warning that he was going to be bound and turned over to the Gentiles. Yet, what does Paul report to James and the elders? What “evidence” does Paul have with him to support his reports? What does this tell us about Paul?
- How do the elders respond to Paul’s report? However, they have a concern. Their focus is on the Jewish believers in Jerusalem, of which there are many thousands. What concerns do James and the elders have? What are they worried will happen? The report about Paul is not true. So, how did this spread? How did Paul respond to this false report?
- In verse 22 the elders ask, “What shall we do?” In response to that question, what do they tell Paul to do? What can you learn about “purification rites” and “shaving the head”? How will this help solve the dispute with the Jews? What about the Gentiles?
- Now Paul has done nothing to violate Jewish custom or law. Yet, he agrees to these conditions without question or complaint. What does this tell us about Paul? What can we learn from this?
- Despite this we read in vv. 27-29 that the Jews were still angry and against Paul. We read that they stirred up the crowd and seized Paul. What accusations did they make against Paul? What led to the accusation that Paul had brought Gentiles into the temple? What caution does this hold for us about jumping to conclusions and about believing “eyewitness” reports?
- Following this, the entire city of Jerusalem was caught in the uproar. What was their intention? It is ironic that Paul is attacked by his own people and saved by the Romans. This situation might cause one to wonder where God was. However, God told Paul through the Holy Spirit that this was going to happen. How would those prophetic warnings now strengthen and encourage Paul?
- The commander assumes that because Paul is being attacked, he is the one who deserves to be arrested. He has Paul bound with chains and then tries to find out what Paul has done. What was the result? Since the commander could not get at the truth, what does he decide to do with Paul? How does the crowd react?
- Once again we see the Jews of Jerusalem attack an innocent man. (When was the first time?) How do you explain their extreme hatred of and desire to kill Paul?
- Before Paul is taken away, what does Paul ask the commander to let him do? If you were in Paul’s shoes, what would want to say to this crowd? What do you think Paul wants to say?
- Who does the Roman commander think Paul is? What is Paul’s response to this accusation?
- Paul has received permission to speak to the crowd. He is standing on the stairs to the Fortress of Antonia which overlooks the temple area. He motions to them with his hands until the crowd quiets down. Then, Paul begins to speak in Aramaic. What is Aramaic? Why would Paul choose this language to speak to the Jews?
- What is the significance of Paul’s addressing the crowd as “brothers and fathers”?
- Beginning in verse 3, Paul begins his defense by establishing his credentials as a Jew of Jews. What are his credentials? Who was Gamaliel? What was the significance that Paul was brought up in Jerusalem?
- Paul says that he was thoroughly trained in the law of their fathers. What does this mean? What does Paul mean when he says he was zealous for God?
- Interestingly, Paul uses his persecution of those who belonged to the way as proof of his identity as a Jew. What did Paul do? Who could testify to Paul’s actions? Why was Paul on his way to Damascus? How does this prove that he is a zealous Jew?
- Paul next relates what happened to him on the way to Damascus. In a way, we can say that he is giving his testimony. What strikes you most about Paul’s testimony? The crowd does not react when Paul mentions the name of Jesus. Why? According to Paul, those with Paul could not understand the voice of Jesus as He spoke to Paul. Why do you think this was so?
What does Paul reveal about Ananias? According to Ananias, what was Paul’s mission? Please be specific. In verse 16 what instructions did Paul receive?
Why do you think God had Paul do this? Beginning in verse 17 we learn something new. According to Paul he had a vision in which Jesus spoke to him again. What did instructions did Jesus give Paul? Why would the people not receive his testimony? What was Paul’s reply to the Lord?
Up to this time, the crowd had remained quiet, listening to Paul. Then, Paul shares Jesus’ next instruction. What did Jesus tell Paul Jesus was going to do? How did the crowd react? Why did these believing Jews react this way? Read carefully v.23. What was the crowd doing? Does this remind you of another Jewish mob? (See Acts 7:57-8:1.)
Why were the people throwing dust into the air?
What did the commander of the Roman forces decide to do with Paul? Why was he going to flog Paul? What do you know about being flogged? Verse 25 says that as Paul was being stretched out, he asked a question. What was that question? What was the Roman law about flogging a Roman citizen?
What does the centurion do when he learns Paul is a Roman citizen? The commander tells Paul that he had to pay a high price for his Roman citizenship. Paul says that he was born a citizen. What was the difference?
Why would the commander be afraid to harm Paul? After letting Paul go, what did the commander do? How do you think the chief priests and the Sanhedrin reacted to this order?
- Look back at Chapter 19 and summarize Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. What was his probable mood at the beginning of it (see 1 Cor. 16:8-9), and at the end?
- What was Paul’s message as he left Ephesus, and as he traveled through Macedonia toward Greece?
- Read verse 4 again. What is different about this journey?
Discuss the meeting on the eve of Paul’s departure from Troas. What does it tell us about the Christians of Troas? About Paul?
Do you think Eutychus was really dead? Or just knocked out? Does it matter?
What do these few verses tell us about Paul’s thinking at that time? Why is he skipping a stop in Ephesus?
How does Paul describe his activities during the time he spent at Ephesus?
What does he say about his reason for going to Jerusalem? What is it that is important to him?
What is the meaning of verses 26-27?
Read Revelation 2:1-7. Relate this to what Paul says in verses 28-31.
What is special about Paul’s leave-taking here, compared to other times and places?
What is the meaning of the second part of chapter 21:4?
In verses 5-6, does this also seem to be a final farewell, similar to that in Chapter 20?
Do you see similarities here between Paul’s determination and that of Jesus before He was crucified?
October 2nd – October 8th
- What do you think prompted Paul’s question in Acts 19:2?
- What type of Baptism had these disciples received? Acts 19 :2-4 What type of baptism have you received?
- What signs followed the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Acts 19:5-7
- Do these signs still follow the baptism of the Holy Spirit today? Discuss the different views of this.
- What was the main outcome of the opposition the gospel faced? Acts 19:9, Hebrews 3:12-19
- How can Satan harden our heart against the gospel?
- Was Paul effective at preaching the word? Acts 19:10
- Does God still do “unusual miracles” today? Acts 19:11-12
- Repentance means a turning around and forsaking things of the past. How did those who were repenting from magic repent? Acts 19:19-20
- Are there things that we should publicly repent of?
- Mention how opposition to the gospel was demonstrated? Acts 19:21-24
- How does opposition to the gospel manifest today?
September 25th – October 1st
- Here we read that Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth. What can you learn about Corinth?
- Verse 2 introduces us to Aquila and Priscilla. From these verses (and any other sources you might have) what do we know about this couple? Why do you think Paul went to see Aquila and Priscilla?
- Why do you believe the Bible records the fact that Paul worked at his trade as a tent maker?
- What did Paul do when the Jews opposed and abused him?
- Read carefully Paul’s response to these Jews in verse 6. What does he mean when he says that their blood is on their own heads and that he is clear of responsibility? (NOTE: Read Ez. 3:18-20)
- Paul then states that from then on he would go to the Gentiles. What do you think he means? Has he given up on the Jews?
- When Paul leaves the synagogue, where does he go? Why do you think he decided to stay there? When Paul spoke in the synagogue, he was opposed. Then he goes to the house of a Gentile and continues to teach and preach. What do you think the atmosphere was like in Titus’ house as compared to that in the synagogue?
- Why do you think the Jews rejected the message while many of the Corinthians believed?
- What do you believe the Lord meant when He told Paul that he had many people in Corinth? Do we think in this way about our own community? How should this bolster our faith and confidence in sharing the Good News of Jesus?
- Paul stays for some time in Corinth and then leaves for Syria. He takes with him Priscilla and Aquila. We also read that before he left, he had his hair cut off because of a vow he had taken. What can you learn about this?
- The three arrive in Ephesus and receive a fairly warm welcome. The Jews even ask Paul to spend more time with them, but Paul declines. Why? Remember, he stayed over a year and a half in Corinth.
- The scriptures tell us that some plant and some water, but God is the only One Who can make anything grow. How does Paul fulfill the call to plant and to water?
- We are now introduced to Apollos. Describe him. What were some of his strengths? Weaknesses? What was there about Apollos that caused Priscilla and Aquila to take Apollos into their home?
- In what way was Apollos a great help to the believers in Achaia?
- Chapter 18 is a chapter about relationships, about people working together and not in opposition to each other. How did these relationships help Paul? The church?
- Do you have a need for these types of relationships or do you prefer to “work” alone? Please explain.
- How can we nurture these types of relationships?
September 18th – September 24th
- Read Acts 17 as a group.
- What was Paul’s main preoccupation in the Synagogue? Acts 17: 1-4
- What reactions were aroused from Paul’s preaching of the gospel? Acts 17: 5-9
- Is it normal for some people to get upset by the preaching of God’s word?
- Have people ever got upset when you preached the gospel?
- What did the people mean when they said “These who have turned the world upside down”? Acts 17:6 How can we turn our world “upside down”?
- What good qualities can you see in the Bereans? Acts 17:11
- How can we imitate these qualities?
- What steps were taken to attack them and how did this affect Paul? Acts 17:13-15
- What reaction did the Athens have to the gospel? Acts 17; 16-21
- Do we still face this type of reaction to the gospel in our society today?
- What can you learn from Paul’s presentation of the gospel? Acts 17: 22-34
September 11th – September 17th
- Think about what it means for Faith Bible Church to be in it’s 39th year coming upon it’s 40th in 2017. What are the milestones you remember, maybe key dates or events? Talk about how God has faithfully helped FBC grow in different stages of the life.
- It seems that God is opening up a door for new growth. Talk about your first impressions as you’ve now heard about the facility opportunity down the hill. (Your leaders won’t have all the answers but will be able to get with the elders if there are things that need to be discussed)
- What are the things that scare you about this opportunity?
- What are the things that get you excited about this opportunity?
- What are the things that you may have questions about concerning this new opportunity?
- With new growth and expanding ministry opportunities comes greater need of commitment from Jesus Body. Talk about these different areas of commitment. How may the Lord be moving you in one, some, or all?
- Time / Energy
- Spiritual Development (Growing in your knowledge of God and His Word for more effectiveness in ministry)
- Membership at FBC (what does it mean to be a member and what are the benefits/responsibilities?)
- Spend some time praying for the future vision and direction of Faith Bible Church.
September 4th – September 10th
- Why did Paul want to retrace some of his steps from his first Missionary Journey? (15:36)
- What caused the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas? (15:37-39)
- Who did Barnabas take with him and why and where?
- Who did Paul take with him? (15:40, 22)
- Why did Paul circumcise Timothy (16:1-3) & not Titus? (Gal.2:5) (1 Cor.9:22)
- Why and how did God’s Spirit kept them from preaching in Asia and Bithynia? (16:6-8)
- Who joined up with Paul, Silas and Timothy in Troas? (16:10b)
- Who first became believers in Philippi? (16:12b-15)
- What is a spirit of python? (16:16)
- What was wrong with what the demonized slave girl/fortune teller was saying? (16:16-18a)
- Why and how did Paul finally deal with her? (16:18b) and how did her owners react? (16:19-21)
- Do you think she came to the Lord? Was this lowest-class slave accepted in the church?
- Why were Paul and Silas the only ones singled out? (16:19b, 22b-24a)
- What were Paul and Silas doing at midnight and how did their fellow prisoners react? (16:25)
- People need to hear both the MUSIC and the LYRICS of the GOSPEL (1 Cor.13:1)
- Some will like it, others won’t (1 Cor.2:14; 1:18; 2 Cor.4:3; 2:14-16)
- Why was the jailer going to kill himself? (16:26-17)
- What did the “blue collar” jailer do in response to what he had heard and seen? (16:29-34)
- What do people need to do to be saved? (16:31a)
- Does Paul’s answer to him apply to all saved people’s households? (16:31b)
- Where did the jailer take them and what did he then do for them? (16:32-33a)
- What happened after they had all believed? (16:33b)
- How did they all feel after that? (16:34)
- Why did the magistrate’s officers find Paul and Silas in jail the next morning? (16:35-36)
- What “card” did Paul play when told to leave the prison and town? (16:37)
- Paul and Silas “shone” in jail instead of complaining or arguing, holding out the word of life (Phil.2:14-16a) by showing the love of Christ to that demonized slave girl and that desperate jailer and his family
- The highest to lowest need to hear the Gospel and be welcomed into the Church.
- People of God: WE are the light of the world: let’s SHINE in the dark !
August 28th – September 3rd
- What group was troubling Gentile believers in Antioch & Galatia? (Gal.2:1-16; 1:7-8; 5:7-8,13)
- What were they demanding of Gentile believers? (15:1,5)
- How did PETER address this issue? (15:7b-10)
- How would Paul address this issue in his letter to the Galatians? (Gal.2:15,21; 3:1-2,10; 5:1)
- How did JAMES (Jesus’ ½ brother) address this issue? (15:13b-21)
- Peter had described how God was taking a people for Himself from the Gentiles (15:14)
- James quoted Amos 9:11-12 (15:16-17)
- Gentiles who bear My Name (Rm.11:25-26)
- Things that have been known for ages (Gen.12:2-3)
- He concluded that they shouldn’t make things more difficult for Gentile believers (15:19)
- He came up with some guidelines for Gentile believers to follow…
- so that they would put no ST__MBLING BL__CKS (1 Cor.10:33) in the way of…
- UNS__VED JEWS which might keep them from coming to Christ or
- S__VED JEWS which could cause more discord between Gentile and Jewish believers
- What were those guidelines ? (15:19-21): ABST__IN FROM…
- F____D polluted by idols (1 Cor.8:7-13; 10-25-32)
- S__XUAL immorality (1 Cor.6:18)
- M__AT of strangled animals BL____D (Gn.9:4 = long before the L__W came)
- so that they would put no ST__MBLING BL__CKS (1 Cor.10:33) in the way of…
- What were the contents of the letter they sent? (15:23b-29)
- Who besides Paul and Barnabas took the letter back to the church in Antioch? (15:22) S__LAS and J__DAS BARSABBAS = brother of Joseph Justus Barsabbas (1:23)
- How were the letter’s contents received in Antioch? (15:31)
August 21st – August 27th
- Read Acts 14 as a group. Discuss your first impressions and insights from this passage.
- This passage could basically be broken up into the themes of: Do Good, Be Humble, and Expect Opposition. Talk through where you see each of these themes appearing in the passage.
- The Apostles faced opposition at every turn of their journey. What kind of opposition to my faith in Christ have I experienced? Is that any fun?
- Am I at all like John Mark or Paul when facing persecution?
- How much of a “man pleaser” am I, really? (Gal.1:10; 1 Th.2:4-6)
- Am I ever swayed by the strong opinions of others on religious issues as Peter and Barnabas were? Or do I and can I stand strong like Paul?
- Am I at all swayed by the Prosperity Gospel’s false Gospel: no hardships, only victories for Christians?
- Do I ever fall back into the false notion that I can somehow be saved or sanctified by keeping some kind of religious rules or rituals? (Gal.3:1-3,10-14)
- Do I have a thorn in the flesh I want to be rid of?
- What areas have you maybe gotten a NO answer?
- Does your thorn keep you humble? Good- God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
- What areas have you maybe gotten a NO answer?
August 14th – August 20th
- Read Acts 13 together. What are your first thoughts as you’ve studied this passage?
- Who separated Barnabus and Saul for the work of God’s ministry? Acts 13:1-4.
- How should we get involved in the ministry today?
- Is an academic qualification essential for ministry?
- Would you say Paul’s judgement on the sorcerer was harsh? Acts 13:6-12
- Do you think Paul’s own experience influenced his action in Acts 13:11?
- How are we as Christians to discern the time to call for God’s judgement and the time for his mercy?
- When was Saul first referred to as Paul?
- Saul was a changed man. How has Christ changed your life?
- Was any reason give for John’s departure? Acts 13:5, Acts 13:13, Acts 15:36-38
- Paul’s sermon in Acts 13:13-41 shows his understanding and knowledge of the scriptures. Are you accustomed with the Old Testament? How is the Old Testament still relevant to us today?
- What was the outcome of Paul’s preaching? Is this just the minister’s job? Acts 13:42-52
- Are we seeing this kind of response today? What responsibility do we have in the church to make known the Gospel in this kind of way?
August 7th – August 13th
- Read Acts 12 together as a group. Share any insights or first time learning’s that you found as we studied this passage of Scripture.
- Share with the group how you have seen God work in your life. Do you have similar experiences as these three types of people?
- Peter – delivered from a trial
- Rhoda – jumping for joy at the sight of a miracle
- The House Believers – taking some time to believe or accept that the miracle has taken place
- What is our response to God when He answers certain prayers as a yes and certain as a no? If we were in the early church how might we have responded with James being killed, but Peter being rescued? What should our prayer always be (hint, Jesus prayed this)?
- No matter the persecution that takes place in the early church there always seems to be a consistent end result. What does the end of the chapter tell us this result was? Even in the midst of trouble we have today do you think the mission of God will multiply?
- When we see evidence or testimony of the work of God, especially in the midst of trial, how does that make you feel?
- Why is it so important for us to be connected to the Body of Christ?
- Do you think any of these people would have responded differently if they felt they had to live their faith as a lone gun? How so?