Questions for Acts 17
Read or listen to “The End of Ignorance”
Paul ended up in Athens because he had to flee for his life in Berea, which means, he found himself in a situation for which he didn’t plan. Rather than grumble about his circumstances, we see that Paul, burdened by the ignorance of the Athenians, began teaching the gospel in the synagogue and in the marketplace. Paul was determined to stay on mission, even in a cultural situation far from ideal. What can we learn from this subtle part of Acts 18? What are some of the ways that we are personally distracted from our mission to make Jesus known? How might we reconsider these distractions in light of God’s sovereignty and our calling to make disciples?
Ignorance was the problem in Athens. They were “religious” but they did not know God. It is interesting, therefore, that along with Paul’s corrections, he still affirms the pieces of their worldview that are right. They were right to know there is someone out there bigger than what they experienced. They were right to think that this something is near. What are some of the ways of thinking among our unbelieving friends that we might affirm? What are is the top three corrections that we would need to make in how they conceive of God? Which of these corrections have impacted us to most personally?
Living in ignorance is living the the dark. Jesus came, though, to bring us out of the darkness. The age of ignorance is over. How does this impact the way we live in this world? What does it mean to walk in the light. Consider Ephesians 5:8–16,
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Questions for Acts 18
Read or listen to “Keeping Speaking”
Paul worked as a tentmaker in Corinth. We get the sense from Acts 18 that he only had a chance to teach the gospel in the synagogues on the Sabbath — that’s one day a week of “ministry” compared to six days a week of work. It must have seemed like he was making minimal, slow impact, but we know that the gospel took root in Corinth. How does this encourage us in mission faithfulness? How does the colloquialism “Slow and steady wins the race” apply to mission?
Pastor Michael encouraged us not to underestimate the power of own stories when we are sharing our faith with others. What are some of the personal reason that you believe Jesus is real? When did your heart come awake to him? How might you tell that to someone who doesn’t know him?
Discouragement is a real thing, even in the life of the apostle Paul. What are some of the ways that you are discouraged right now? Or in what ways do you tend toward discouragement? How is this discouragement impacting your relationship with Jesus and others?
For more on how to use these questions, check out the introduction.