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Book of Acts - Course B

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The Preaching Trips Continue - Acts 18:1-20:12
Lesson 4


Introduction:

Our last lesson ended with Paul in Athens. Although Athens was one of the few cities where no persecution of Paul is described, nevertheless he traveled on to Corinth (see map).


I. Conclusion of the Second Trip - Acts 18:1-22


Preaching in Corinth

>>> Please read Acts 18:1-8. <<<

*1&2* Whom did Paul meet in Corinth? Answer: At Corinth Paul met ______ and ______.

*3* What did Paul share in common with them? (a) they came from Athens, (b) they made tents, (c) they were Greeks, (d) none of these. Answer: ______.

*4&5* How does v8 describe the conversion of the Corinthians? Answer: Hearing, they ______ and were ______.

Comments: Corinth was a major trade center, known for wickedness and immorality. There Paul found a Jew named Aquila and his wife Priscilla, who had been forced to leave Rome. Paul stayed and worked with them, since they were tentmakers like Paul.

Paul often worked at a trade to provide his income, but his teaching showed that this arrangement was his own personal choice. At times he also received financial support from churches, and he taught that preachers do deserve to be supported financially for their work. Supporting preachers so they can devote their time to preaching is a major responsibility of local churches. See 1 Cor. 9:4-14; 2 Cor. 11:7-9; Phil. 4:14-18; 1 Tim. 5:18; Luke 10:7.

As elsewhere, Paul preached in the synagogue till the Jews opposed the teaching. Then he turned to the Gentiles, teaching in the home of a man named Justus. Even the ruler of the synagogue was converted. Verse 8 summarizes the conversion of the Corinthians. They heard the gospel, believed, and were baptized, exactly like Mark 16:15,16 teaches.

The Conversion of the Corinthians - Acts 18:8

Hearing

Belief

Repentance

Confession

Baptism

Result

v8

v8

   

v8

 

>>> Please read Acts 18:9-17. <<<

*6* What assurance did God give Paul about preaching (vv 9,10)? Answer: God said no one would ______ Paul.

*7* What happened to Paul, when the Jews accused him? (a) he was beaten, (b) he was imprisoned, (c) he was released, (d) all of these. Answer: ______.

Comments: God appeared to Paul in a vision to assure him that, unlike other cities, no one here would harm him, so he should speak boldly. As a result, Paul was able to stay in Corinth 1 1/2 years.

The Jews did attempt to turn Roman authorities against Paul by accusing him of teaching contrary to the law. But the ruler Gallio refused to judge the case, because it involved accusations of violation of Jewish law, not Roman law. This time the attempted persecution backfired!

The Return to Antioch

>>> Please read Acts 18:18-22. <<<

*8* Where did Paul stop on his return trip to Antioch? Answer: Paul stopped to preach briefly in the city of ______.

*9&10* Whom did he leave in that city after he left? Answer: When he traveled on, he left ______ and ______ behind.

Comments: After further teaching in Corinth, Paul left to return Antioch in Syria, taking Aquila and Priscilla with him. He had made a vow, which was a special promise made to God (the gospel nowhere requires the making of vows, but apparently it does not forbid them either).

On the way, they stopped at Ephesus in Asia Minor (see map). Receptive people there wanted Paul to stay. But he was determined to travel on to be in Jerusalem for an upcoming feast (presumably as an opportunity to teach). So he left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus and sailed on to Caesarea. He then went up to Antioch, completing his second trip.


II. Correction of Apollos - Acts 18:23-28


>>> Please read Acts 18:23-28. <<<

*11* What kind of man was Apollos? (a) a Jew, (b) an Alexandrian, (c) eloquent, (d) mighty in the Scriptures, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*12* What information did he lack? Answer: He only knew the baptism preached by ______.

*13&14* How was he corrected so he understood more perfectly? Answer: He was taught more accurately by ______ and ______.

Comments: After visiting at Antioch, Paul began his third preaching trip, returning to strengthen disciples in areas of Asia Minor where churches already existed. Meanwhile, an important event is recorded that occurred in Ephesus.

A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus and began preaching in the synagogue. He was zealous and knew some things about Jesus, but all he knew about baptism was John's baptism. Aquila and Priscilla explained the truth to him more fully. John's baptism is discussed again in Acts 19.

Note here that women can have a useful role in teaching; however, other verses show that God has placed limits on their teaching of men. Women are responsible to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5) and children (Proverbs 31:1; 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:5). However, they must not teach men in any manner that involves authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11,12), nor may they speak at all when the local church is together in one assembly (1 Corinthians 14:23,26,34,35). The case of Priscilla, however, shows they may also help men learn the truth, provided they do not lead the study and do not speak in the church assembly (see also John 4:28-30,39,42).

After leaving Ephesus, Apollos went to Achaia (the region including Corinth), where he effectively taught the truth.


III. Paul at Ephesus - Acts 19


Twelve Disciples Immersed Again

>>> Please read Acts 19:1-7. <<<

*15* What baptism had these men received? (a) John's baptism, (b) fire baptism, (c) New Testament baptism, (d) Holy Spirit baptism. Answer: ______.

*16* John's teaching said people should believe on whom? Answer: John preached about one to come after him, who was ______.

*17* Note Romans 6:3,4. How does our baptism relate to Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection? Answer: We are ______ into Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

*18* What happened to these men? (a) they were baptized, (b) Paul laid hands on them, (c) they spoke in tongues, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

Comments: Continuing his third journey, Paul arrived at Ephesus. There he found twelve men who had received only John's baptism. He explained that John's work prepared for someone who would come after him. His baptism looked forward to Jesus and His death.

When John preached, the gospel of the New Testament was not in effect, since Jesus had not yet died (Heb. 9:16,17). When the gospel did come into effect (Mark 16:15,16), people who are baptized must first believe Jesus has been raised from the dead (Rom. 10:9,10). They are then baptized into Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3,4; Col. 2:12). So, whereas John's baptism looked forward to Jesus' death, baptism today must look back to His death, burial, and resurrection. As are result, forgiveness of sins through Jesus' death is actually granted to us when we are baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16).

Some people today still claim to be baptized with John's baptism, but this passage shows such a baptism is no longer valid. Such people need to be baptized Scripturally, like the twelve men did here.

This shows that some "baptisms" are not Scriptural, so some people need to be baptized properly. According to Ephesians 4:4-6, there is only one true baptism, like there is only one true Heavenly Father, one true faith, etc. But there are many false gods, false faiths, and incorrect baptisms. People who were baptized incorrectly need to receive the one true baptism. This includes people who received sprinkling or pouring, instead of being buried or immersed (see Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; John 3:23; Acts 8:38,39; Mark 1:9,10; Hebrews 10:22). Likewise, people who were baptized as babies need to hear the gospel, understand it, believe, repent, and confess Christ, then be baptized based on their own commitment to the Lord (Mark 16:15,16; John 6:44,45; Acts 2:36,41; Galatians 3:26,27; Acts 8:12; 2:38; Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:35-39).

These twelve men had faith in Jesus and were even baptized by immersion in water. They were baptized again, because their immersion was for the wrong reason. Likewise, many people today have been taught they were saved simply by believing, so baptism is just a sign they are already saved. Or for whatever reason they may not have realized that the purpose of baptism is to receive forgiveness by Jesus' blood (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21). All such people are like the twelve men in this story. They were not baptized for the proper reason, so they need to be baptized Scripturally.

After baptism the men received the Holy Spirit and tongues through the laying on of an apostle's hands. As in Acts 8:14ff, only apostles could impart the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. But there are no apostles today (see notes on Acts 1:21,22), so no one can receive these gifts today. The gifts pertained to the age when the Bible had not been completed, and their purpose was to deliver and confirm the word. Now that the message has been perfected (completely revealed, recorded, and confirmed), those gifts are not needed, so they have ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-10).

Paul's Miracles and Their Effect

>>> Please read Acts 19:8-20. <<<

*19* How long did Paul continue preaching in Ephesus (v10)? Answer: Paul preached in Ephesus for at least (give a number) ______ years.

*20* What miracles did he do? Answer: He healed people who were sick or had ______ spirits.

*21* What happened when other men tried to cast out demons? Answer: (a) they were overpowered and beaten by the man who had the demon, (b) they became famous faith healers, (c) they became fabulously wealthy, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*22* What did converted people do with books of magic? (a) kept them, (b) sold them, (c) destroyed them, (d) gave them away. Answer: ______.

Comments: Again Paul taught the Jews in the synagogue until they rejected the truth. Then he left, separating the disciples, and used the school of Tyrannus to meet and teach people. He taught there two years.

He also again did miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons. Even pieces of cloth that he had touched had power to heal. Obviously the cloth itself did not heal, but God's power healed using the cloth as a point of contact. The same is true spiritually of baptism. The water has no power to forgive sins. But it is a point of contact, so that when one is immersed in water, Jesus' blood forgives his sins (see verses above).

And once again we see a true prophet doing true miracles, as contrasted to false prophets, who claimed the power to do miracles but did not really have it. (See also Acts 8:5-13; Acts 13:6-12; Exodus 8:17-19; 1 Kings 18:20-40; Daniel 2.) Various men, including seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out demons, even attempting this in Jesus' name. But they failed miserably. The failures of modern faith healers may be less spectacular, but their miracles also lack the characteristics of Bible miracles for the same reason: they do not have true power from God. The power to do true miracles came only from God and served to confirm the word. As discussed above, this power is no longer needed, so it has ceased.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about whether miracles and direct revelation still exist today, please see the links at the end of this lesson.)

The contrast between true teachers and false teachers brought many people to faith in Jesus. They repented and brought forth the fruits of repentance. This involved turning from the Occult with its magical powers. Note again that the Occult is shown to be contrary to Jesus' teaching.

People who turn to the Lord must cease the practice of sin. This included destroying possessions that had no purpose except to practice or promote sin. People did not sell or give these possessions away, so they could influence other people into sin. They destroyed them. Many people today should do the same with their instruments of sin (Acts 26:20).

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the occult and witchcraft, please see the links at the end of this lesson.)

A Riot at Ephesus

>>> Please read Acts 19:21-29. <<<

*23* What famous temple was at Ephesus? (a) a Mormon temple, (b) the temple of Diana (Artemis), (c) a Catholic cathedral, (d) all of the preceding. Answer: ______.

*24* Who began the commotion that led to the riot? Answer: The trouble was begun by a silversmith named ______.

*25* How had these men gained their prosperity? Answer: They made money by making silver shrines or images of ______.

*26* Why did they object to Paul's preaching? Answer: Paul taught that things made with hands are not ______.

Comments: Opposition to Paul's preaching came next from Gentile idol worshippers. Ephesus was the location of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the temple of the goddess Diana. It was a source of great pride and wealth. The silversmiths, who made images to Diana, became angered because Paul taught people to avoid idolatry. They caused a commotion that led to a riot. When people will not honestly consider the evidence, they often become angry when their religion is opposed. But they become especially upset when truth hits their pocketbook!

>>> Please read Acts 19:30-41. <<<

*27* Why did Paul not speak to the people? Answer: Paul was urged not to speak by the ______ and province officials.

*28* What did the city clerk say the silversmiths should do (v38)? Answer: He said they should take their case to the ______.

Comments: As the riot escalated, Paul would have made a defense, but friends urged him not to. The people were so irrational that most did not even know the cause of the riot. The Jews, who also opposed idolatry, offered a man to make a defense, but that led to two more hours of riot!

Finally the city clerk quieted the people and warned that there was no cause for a riot. If the silversmiths had a complaint, they should take the matter to a lawful court. But he urged them to avoid riots, which were very upsetting to the Romans. He then dismissed the meeting.


IV. A Visit at Troas - Acts 20:1-12


The Journey to Troas

>>> Please read Acts 20:1-6. <<<

*29* Where did Paul's traveling companions wait for him (v5). Answer: Paul's companions went ahead and waited at ______.

*30* After traveling five days, how long did Paul stay at Troas? Answer: After arriving at Troas, Paul waited (give a number) ______ days.

Comment: These verses relate to an event discussed in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8 and 9; and Romans 15:25-28. Paul had urged churches to send funds to help needy members in the church in Jerusalem. Paul was here visiting the churches involved, then he and messengers appointed by the churches took the funds to Jerusalem (see 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 and Acts 24:17). Acts 11:27-30 recorded a similar case.

The Meeting at Troas

>>> Please read Acts 20:7-12. <<<

*31* When did the disciples break bread? (a) on the first day of the week, (b) seventh day of the week, (c) once a year, (d) once a month. Answer: ______.

*32&33* What else happened on this day (see Mark 16:9; 1 Cor. 16:1,2)? Answer: On the first day of the week Jesus ______ and the church gathered the ______.

Comments: This passage tells when the church had the Lord's supper. The "breaking of bread" in v7 refers to the Lord's supper, as in Matt. 26:26; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23,24 (it cannot be a common meal, since this was a worship meeting and Paul had already taught not to eat common meals in worship meetings - 1 Cor. 11:17-22,34).

Note the importance of the first day of the week in the gospel:

Passage

Event

Mark 16:9

Jesus' resurrection

John 20:19

Jesus' first appearances

Acts 2:1 (a first day of the week
-- Lev. 23:15,16)

Coming of the Holy Spirit, first gospel sermon,
and the beginning of the church

1 Corinthians 16:1,2

Church collection

Acts 20:7

Lord's supper

Old Testament example shows that God always gave a time for His authorized memorial feasts. If a feast was to be on a certain day of a certain month of the year, it was an annual feast (Ex. 12:6,14,24ff). If it was on a certain day of the month, it was monthly (Ezek. 46:1,6). If it was on a day of the week, it was weekly. This is the case of the Lord's supper.

Note the parallel to the Old Testament seventh-day sabbath:

Ex. 20:8,10 - Remember the sabbath (7th day) to keep it holy.
Acts 20:7 - Come together on the 1st day of the week to break bread.

The church should continue steadfastly in the Lord's supper (Acts 2:42). The church assembles regularly (Heb. 10:25), and the Lord's supper is eaten in church assemblies (1 Cor. 11:17-34). The church collects its funds on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1,2), and we have the Lord's supper likewise on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

We conclude that the first day of the week has special meaning to Christians. We should meet each first day to remember Jesus' death in the Lord's supper, just as Israel observed the sabbath each seventh day. Miracles confirm revelation, and Paul's teaching at Troas was confirmed by the resurrection of Eutychus from the dead.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the proper day for partaking of the Lord's supper, please see the links at the end of this lesson.)

Personal application questions:

(These questions are for you to ponder. Your answers will help us understand your thinking, however they will not affect your "score.")

*34* What does the church you attend teach about the purpose of baptism? __________

*35* When does the church you attend have the Lord's supper? __________

When you have carefully studied this lesson and written down answers to all the questions, click on this link to submit your answers.

(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999 (click for copyright information)

Topics for further Bible study

Does the Holy Spirit Guide Men Directly and Do Miracles Today?
The Occult, Witchcraft, & Psychics
Divine Authority vs. Human Authority in Religion
On What Day Should We Have the Lord's Supper?

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