Paul’s First Missionary Journey – Part 2 (Acts 13 & 14)
Welcome to Lesson 13 in your Bible Study of Acts.
In this lesson we want to delve more deeply into Acts 13 and 14 and Paul’s first missionary journey.
Before looking more closely at particular narratives, it is perhaps helpful to set some context for this part of Acts.
Acts 13 marks the beginning of the gospel being preached to a purely Gentile world. The Book of Acts records three missionary forays by Paul: One to the region of Galatia (Acts 13 and 14), one to Europe (Acts 16-18) and one to Asia Minor (Ephesus) (Acts 19).
Preaching to different audiences
In Acts 13 Paul preaches the gospel to a Jewish audience, while in Acts 14 he does the same for a Gentile audience.
Read these speeches in Acts 13:14-40 & 14:14-17
- Aside from the difference in length between the two speeches, how else do these speeches differ? How is Paul’s preaching to Jews distinct from his preaching to Gentiles? Pay particular attention to the elements, citations and narratives in one that are missing in the other.
- What accounts for the differences in style and content of the two speeches.
- In Romans 1, Paul comes down pretty harshly on the Gentiles saying they are worthy of God’s wrath, that they’ve exchanged the truth for a lie and that God has given them over to degrading passions. What is Paul’s message in 14:15-17? What accounts for the difference in his message?
- Are there different “audiences” in your social context? How would you need to craft the gospel message in order to make it understandable and effective to these different audiences?
The man who was lame in Lystra (Acts 14:8-10)
This story is very similar to Peter healing a lame man in the themple in Jerusalem (Acts 3).
Read Acts 14:8-10
- How does v. 8 describe the lame man’s condition. What do you suppose life would be like for someone who has never walked before? Think about what the implies for everyday duties and chores.
- Verse 9 says Paul fixed his gaze on this man and when Paul “saw” that the man had faith to be cured, he instructed him to stand up. What did Paul “see” in this man to know that he had faith to be healed?
- The gospels speak of those who were healed because of their “faith”: (a) the woman with a flow of blood (Mat 9:22); (b) the two blind men (Mat 9:29) and (c) the Caananite woman (Mat 15:28) to name a few. The gospels also speak of miracles that were not performed because of a lack of faith (see Mat 17:20; 8:25; 15:28). What do you make of these verses in light of the lame man in our Acts 14 story?
- Do we have a part to play in our own healing or lack of healing in our churches?
- Is there an active ministry of healing within your church? Why or why not?
- Have you personally been a witness to a miraculous healing? Describe. If not ever, would you point to a belief, a particular context (i.e. church practice) or plain lack of interest as the reason for this?