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[Lesson 14] Acts 17

Still on the Second Trip
Chapter 17

Traveling can bring out the best or worst in us. We learn more about Paul’s character, and our own, as we travel to three new destinations. Seek God’s direction as you begin your study.

Read Acts 17:1-9

    ON TO THESSALONICA (17:1)

    1. A. Paul presented a seminar to the Thessalonians over three Sabbaths. What was the main idea of his messages and what did he use to give his preaching authority? (17:2, 3)

    Still on the Second Trip
    Chapter 17

    Traveling can bring out the best or worst in us. We learn more about Paul’s character, and our own, as we travel to three new destinations. Seek God’s direction as you begin your study.

    Read Acts 17:1-9

      ON TO THESSALONICA (17:1)

      1. A. Paul presented a seminar to the Thessalonians over three Sabbaths. What was the main idea of his messages and what did he use to give his preaching authority? (17:2, 3)

      B. How was Paul's message received there? (17:4)

      C. Luke's details of Paul's ministry there are sparse. Fortunately, Paul wrote two letters back to Thessalonica within the year. What can you learn about Paul's visit and his relationship with this church from the following verses in I Thessalonians?

        2:1, 2

        2:7, 8

        2:9

        2:14

        3:6

      D. (Digging Deeper) Who helped Paul financially when he was in Thessalonica? (Philippians 4:15, 16)

      E. Why did the unbelieving Jews incite a riot? What lies did they spread? (17:5-8)

      F. Jason invited at least four strangers to stay in his home for an indefinite period of time. What kinds of trouble and expense was he risking? (17:5-9) Both Jason and Lydia from Lesson 13 are models of open hearts and open homes. What is the lesson for us?

      G. How did the magistrates ensure that Paul probably would not return? (17:9) (Note: Bond-posting meant that money was paid and would be forfeited in the event of a repeat offense.)

      H. (Summit) Read I and II Thessalonians, the letters Paul wrote from Corinth when he was unable to return to Thessalonica. What additional insight do you glean about the Christians at Thessalonica?

    Read Acts 17:10-15

      ON TO BEREA

      2. A. How did Luke describe the Bereans? What was their daily habit? Why were they so admirable? (17:11)

      B. (Digging Deeper) If you are presented with unfamiliar teaching, how can you test its validity? How can you be sure you aren't taken captive to heresy or foolish doctrine? (II Timothy 3:14-16, Galatians 1:8)

      C. The Bereans loved the Word. What do you enjoy about Bible study? How has Bible study affected your life? What are your goals? What hinders you?

      D. Who walked sixty miles from the big city of Thessalonica to the small town of Berea to oppose Paul? What does this reveal about his enemies? How can you tell that Paul has become their main target? (17:13-15)

      E. What happened to Paul’s team? (17:14)

    Read Acts 17:16-34

      ON TO ATHENS in the southern Greek province of Achaia. This city was a center of intellectualism with a famous university. Paul was alone.

      3. A. How did Luke describe Athens and its inhabitants? (17:16, 21, 23)

      B. Is your city "full of idols"? Is your life? Name idols people worship in our culture?

      C. Paul spoke both in the synagogue and the marketplace. (17:17) What two schools of philosophy did Paul encounter at the marketplace? What did these "intellectuals" think of Paul? Why? (17:18-20, 32)

      D. (Digging Deeper) The Epicureans believed that man's goal was pleasure and happiness, and that if gods did exist, they were not involved in human affairs. The Stoics felt that a sovereign directed history and mans' lot in life was simply to accept life as it came. What are some of the philosophies of our day? Why is it important that we understand them?

      These philosophers brought Paul to the Hill of Ares, the meeting place of the Council of Areopagus over religion and education in Athens. There they asked Paul to present his "new philosophy." (17:19, 20)

      4. A. What do you think was the purpose of Paul's opening statement? (17:22, 23)

      B. How did Paul describe God and His relationship to mankind? (17:24, 25)

      C. In verse 26, Paul spoke of God's creation and sovereignty. Why has God revealed Himself to man? (17:27)

      D. To substantiate his message, Paul quoted a well-known Greek poet. What was the quote and why do you think Paul quoted it? (17:28)

      E. According to Paul, if men are God's children, why is it foolish and unreasonable to worship idols? (17:29, Habakkuk 2:18)

      5. A. What did Paul call upon the Athenians to do? Why? (17:30, 3 1)

      B. Why do you think Paul waited to proclaim Christ until the end of his message? Why did he address the Athenians differently than Jews?

      C. What evangelistic principle did Paul model in his message and why is it important? Specifically, how could you apply this principle today? Give examples if you can.

      6. A. In what three ways did the Athenians respond to Paul's message? (17:32-34)

      B. Why do you think so few of these "intellectuals" came to faith? What is the value of head knowledge and scholarship? When is it an asset? When can it become a hindrance?

      (Note: There is no record of a church planting in Athens.)

      C. Are you intimidated by people you believe are intellectually superior to you? Do you let your lack of formal education hold you back? If so, what is the lesson for you from the Athenians?

      7. (Summit) On this leg of his journey, Paul visited three different towns with different cultures. Compare them. How did Paul tailor make his message for each audience? How can we become more sensitive as we witness to people of different mindsets and persuasions?

    Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Proverbs 1:7(NET Bible)

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Curriculum