Bible Study of Acts: Lesson 15 - Paul's Second Missionary Journey - Part 2

Bible Study of Acts – Lesson 15

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey – Part 2 (Acts 16-18)


Welcome to Lesson 15 in your Bible Study of Acts.

In this lesson, we want to take a closer look at Paul’s time in Philippi during the apostle’s second missionary journey.

If you recall, this was the first city in which Paul stopped after he received the vision from the man in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10).

Overview of Philippians Ministry

By way of overview, when Paul first arrived in Philippi, he shared the gospel with Lydia who promptly became a Christian.

Afterward, Paul and Silas had an altercation with a demon-possessed servant which landed them in a Philippian jail.  And angel opened the doors to the jail at night prompting the jailer to attempt to kill himself.  When Paul assured the jailer that all was right, they shared the gospel with the jailer and he and his family were converted that very same night.

Persecution and the Gospel

One of the things that becomes quite evident in Paul’s second missionary journey is the level of persecution that he endured throughout his trip.  (Of course, Paul was no stranger to opposition having already been stoned and left for dead in Lystra in his earlier mission (Acts 14:19)).  However, now it was a pattern that was repeated in every city in which he evangelized.

Read Acts 16:19-24; 17:5-10; 18:5-6; 12-13, 17

  1. List out the various terms that describe the injustices and afflictions that Paul and his companions endured as they shared the gospel in different cities.
  2. Why was there so much opposition to the gospel in the places where Paul preached? What groups were involved in the persecution and why those groups? What specifically were they opposing?
  3. Are you someone who shares the gospel openly?  Why or why not?
  4. Are you subject to censure, mockery or even persecution in your context (work, school, society) for sharing your views about God and faith?  Describe.
  5. Where does the type of persecution Paul endured take place now?

Lydia’s conversion

Read Acts 16:13-15

  1. Describe in your own words what takes place in this passage.  Who are the principle figures? What do they do and say?  Don’t forget that God is also a principle figure in this narrative.

The text states that “the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to the things that Paul was saying” (16:14).

  1. What does it mean that “the Lord opened Lydia’s heart”?
  2. Is God solely responsible for the salvation of individuals? or do humans also play a part?  Elaborate.

There are two very distinct ways of thinking of salvation in Christian theology.  One is that God is the complete author of salvation.  God elects who is to be saved and then makes sure that they respond to the offer of salvation.  In addition, he makes sure that they never fall away.

The other way is that God gives everyone a chance to respond via his grace.  Some reject this offer of salvation and others accept it.  But this means that just as you decided to accept God’s gift of eternal life you can also fall away at some point.

  1. Which of these ways do you believe Scripture teaches?  Can they both paradoxically be true?
  2. Does salvation (like the church) contain both divine and human elements? Elaborate using other scriptural passages.