[Lesson 11] Acts 13:1-14:28
The First Missionary Journey
Beginning with chapter 13, we move into a new phase of the fulfillment of Acts 1:8, moving out into all the Roman world. Peter has disappeared and Paul is the main character from now on. Also, Christianity's base of operation shifts from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Do you like to travel? If so, you’ll enjoy our whirlwind itinerary with Paul and Barnabas as they explore far away places looking for those whose hearts yearned to know God. But traveling also requires stamina, flexibility and a sense of adventure. And you never know if a new destination will fulfill your expectations. One place that promised “miles of uncrowded beaches” turned out to be a naval gunnery range. Paul and Barnabas probably felt like they were target practice on this journey. Follow along on the map and pray for God to guide you through this lesson. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to put into practice at home.
Read Acts 13:1-3
After Barnabas and Paul took Antioch’s gifts of famine aid to Jerusalem, they returned to Antioch with John Mark. (12:25)
1. A. What were some signs of spiritual health there in the Antioch church?
B. (Digging Deeper) What can you learn about the nationalities or backgrounds of the pastoral staff? What does this teach us about the kind of leadership God desires in His church? (13:1)
C. Barnabas and Paul had been a part of the congregation in Antioch for over a year. (11:25, 26) They were enjoying success there and may have been expecting to remain for many years. Who interrupted their ministry in Antioch and gave them a special assignment? (13:2b, 4a)
D. The average American moves every 3 years. In your opinion, what are valid reasons for relocating? invalid reasons?
E. Are you willing to go wherever God sends you? Why can moving around be so difficult? Share your struggles and/or victories with relocating.
F. What part did the church play? (13:3) Do you think some of the believers there resisted letting Barnabas and Paul go? What are the lessons for us?
Read Acts 13:4-52
FIRST STOP: SALAMIS ON THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS (by way of Seleucia, the name of the harbor in Antioch.)
2 . A. Where was Barnabas from? (4:36) Where did God send them first? What does this teach us about the character of God?
B. Where did Paul and Barnabas generally go first to proclaim Christ? (13:5, 14b; 14:1a)
C. Who did they bring with them on their trip? (13:5b)
ON TO PAPHOS, THE CAPITAL CITY OF CYPRUS.
3. A. Describe the two men they encountered at Paphos. How were they different? (13:6b-7) (Note: "Bar" means "Son of.")
B. How did Elymas Bar Jesus react to his bosses' hunger for Paul's message? What did Paul know about this sorcerer? (13:8-10)
C. Now we observe Paul's first apostolic miracle. What was it? How was it symbolic of the spiritual state of many Jews and the nation Israel at that time? How did the proconsul respond? (13:11, 12)
D. (Digging Deeper) What may have been on Paul’s mind as he was used as God’s instrument to blind Elymas? (Acts 9:1-18)
ON TO THE CITY OF PERGA.
4. A. Who deserted them there? Where did he go? (13:13)
B. We aren't sure why John Mark retreated, but it easily could have been due to the hardships of the trip. Have you ever lived out of a suitcase for an extended period of time? What is the longest distance you have walked? Have you ever served as a missionary even for a short term? If so, please share your experiences.
ON TO PISIDIAN ANTIOCH, A SOUTHERN CITY IN THE ROMAN PROVINCE OF GALATIA (Note: Sixteen towns were named Antioch after an official's father.)
5. A. What invitation was extended to Paul and Bamabas at the synagogue? Who did Paul specifically address? (13:15-16)
B. This sample sermon is similar to Peter's sermons which we studied earlier. However, Paul concludes with an additional truth. What is it? (13:39)
C. (Summit) The doctrine of justification is included in Paul’s conclusion. What is justification?
D. (Digging Deeper) Compare 12:25 and 13:7 with 13:42. See also 13:9 and 16. What has changed? In your opinion why? What do you make of 15:2?
E. How was Paul's message received? (13:42-44)
F. Why did many of the Jews change their mind? (13:45) Who would Paul and Barnabas turn to as a result? How did they respond? (13:46-48)
G. Generally, how effective was their ministry to the Gentiles in this section of the country? (13:49) Nevertheless, how did the Jews harass them? What was the disciples' attitude? (13:50, 5 1)
H. Have you ever been “kicked out”? Put yourself in Paul’s place. Why do you think they kept going?
Read Acts Chapter 14
ON TO ICONIUM.
6. What pattern was repeated here that we just observed in Pisidian Antioch? (14:1-7) How would you have felt when this happened a second time?
ON TO LYSTRA, ANOTHER CITY IN GALATIA.
7. A. Describe Paul's miracle in Lystra. (14:8-10)
B. (Digging Deeper) Compare 14:8-10 with 3:1-9.
C. The Lystrians reacted to this miracle like typical pagans of that time. What did they want to do? What do you learn about their religious beliefs? (14:11-13, 18)
D. How did Barnabas and Paul exhibit their displeasure? (14:14)
E. In 14:15-17, Luke records a sample sermon preached to a purely Gentile audience. From this message and Romans 1: 19-23, how do pagan people become aware of the true God? What can you learn about witnessing from Paul's various messages and strategies?
F. Who had followed Barnabas and Paul? What did they try to do? How do you think Paul was feeling during the process? Why did they fail? (14:19, 20)
ON TO DERBE, ANOTHER CITY IN GALATIA.
8. How successful was their time in Derbe? (1 4:20b, 21 a)
9. (Summit) Make a Chart to show the places they visited. What happened at each stop? How were they received? What significant events occurred? What observations can you glean from your chart?
DOUBLING BACK THROUGH LYSTRA, ICONIUM, PISIDIAN ANTIOCH AND PERGA.
10. A. Outline the steps of their follow-up program. How did they ensure that the churches they had planted would continue? (14:22, 23)
B. Sometimes Christians see people come to faith but then abandon them. How important is nurturing and training new converts?
C. Were you discipled tenderly? If so, what did it mean to you? What often happens when new believers are abandoned?
BACK HOME TO ANTIOCH.
11. A. Despite all the opposition and hardships, what was the heart of the mission report? (14:27)
B. This first missionary journey lasted about a year and a half in which they covered over 700 miles on land (by foot) and over 500 miles by sea. What did they do now? (14:28) In your opinion, why?
C. What have you learned from Paul’s first missionary journey that could help you serve God faithfully wherever He chooses to send you?