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18. Acts 21:1-22:29

The First Day in Chains (Concluding the Third Trip)
Acts 21:1-22:29

Danger! Would you have risked returning to Jerusalem when everyone who loved you was warning you to stay away? Paul didn’t know what awaited him there, but he felt God leading and he was willing to follow no matter the threat. Does God need to develop boldness and courage in you? If so, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you from this passage exactly what you will need to live a bold and courageous life.

The First Day in Chains (Concluding the Third Trip)
Acts 21:1-22:29

Danger! Would you have risked returning to Jerusalem when everyone who loved you was warning you to stay away? Paul didn’t know what awaited him there, but he felt God leading and he was willing to follow no matter the threat. Does God need to develop boldness and courage in you? If so, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you from this passage exactly what you will need to live a bold and courageous life.

After saying goodbye to the beloved Ephesian leaders, Paul sailed back to Jerusalem, concluding his third missionary journey.

Read Acts 21:1-16

    LANDING AT TYRE IN SYRIA

    1. A. After spending only a week in Tyre, what kind of relationship did Paul establish with the Christians there? Describe their parting. (21:3-6)

    B. Why do you think they bonded so quickly? Have you ever hit it off with another believer so that intimacy soon resulted? If so, share the experience.

    DISEMBARKING THE SHIP AT CAESAREA

    In Caesarea, Paul stayed with Philip, one of the original seven deacons chosen in Acts 6:5.

    2. A. Who visited Paul there and what did he do? (21: 10, 11)

    B. What had the believers in Tyre also told Paul earlier? (21:4)

    C. How did people (and Luke) respond to the warning? (21:12) How did Paul respond? (21:13) What had Paul said earlier concerning the danger he faced in Jerusalem? (20:22-24)

    D. What did his friends say when Paul would not be dissuaded? (21:14)

    E. Paul and his friends agreed that the Holy Spirit promised suffering if Paul went to Jerusalem, but they differed concerning what Paul should do in light of the warning. Why do you think the Spirit repeatedly warned Paul of the danger ahead?

    F. Have you ever felt led to serve God in a situation that might become dangerous? If so, where? Did loved ones show concern for your safety? If so, how did you feel? What did you learn from this experience?

    G. Paul refused to heed his concerned friends' counsel. How do you evaluate advice from others?

Read Acts 21:17-26

    During his three journeys, Paul ministered primarily to Gentiles because they were open to the gospel. But now he has returned to the Jerusalem, where the Jews are focused upon their own people. Upon arriving, Paul reported the great Gentile harvest to the leaders of the Jerusalem church. (21:17-19)

    3. A. Although the leaders were pleased with Paul’s report, what was their main concern? (21:20)

    B. What false rumor had been circulating about Paul? (21:21)

    C. (Summit) By participating in purification rights was Paul undermining his message of salvation by grace alone? Was he acting like Peter did in Galatians 2:11-14? Why or why not? See I Corinthians 9:19-23 to understand his motivation.

    D. (Summit) How might Paul’s actions instruct you if you were going on a mission trip?

    E. What solution did the Jerusalem leaders suggest? What would this accomplish? (21:23, 24. If desired, see note on Nazarite vow, Lesson 15, following question 6A.)

    F. What assurance did the Jerusalem leaders give Paul concerning the Gentiles and the law? (21:25) For more information, see chapter 15.

    G. How did Paul demonstrate his desire to live in harmony with the church in Jerusalem? (21:26)

Read Acts 21:27-39

    4. A. Although Paul's action satisfied the Jewish elders, how did it get him into trouble with his enemies? What were their accusations? (21:27-29)

    B. Has anyone ever told a lie about you? If so, how does it feel to be accused unjustly?

    C. How extensive was the riot? What was the crowd doing to Paul? (21:30, 31a)

    D. Who rescued him? Envision the scene. (21:31b, 32)

    E. What did Paul's rescuers do first? second? (21:33) How would you have felt if you had been Paul?

    F. How did Paul escape being murdered? (21:34, 35)

    G. Have you been the victim of any violent act? Has anyone ransacked and burglarized your home? broken into your car? attempted to injure you or a loved one? If so, share your response. How did you feel?

    (Note: The soldiers mistook Paul for the leader of an Egyptian group of assassins called the Sikarion. This group hid small daggers called "sicas" in their robes and secretly stabbed political opponents. 21:38)

    H. What was Paul's incredible request in 21:39? What does this teach us about Paul?

Read Acts 21:40-22:21

    In his speech, Paul recounts his conversion experience which we studied thoroughly in Lesson 8.

    5. A. Instead of defending himself from false accusations (21:29) and misunderstandings (21:28), Paul explained how God brought him to faith. In your opinion, why?

    B. What did God do to win you that you might share to bring others to faith? Could you witness to someone who had attempted to harm you? Would you be willing to witness to men or women in jail or prison?

Read Acts 22:22-29

    6. A. Why did verse 21 cause the Jews to interrupt in rage?

    B. How did they exhibit their anger? (22:22, 23)

    C. Again the Romans rescued Paul. How did the commander propose to get the truth out of Paul? (22:24)

    D. What saved Paul this time? (22:25-29)

    7. A. (Summit) Compare Paul's final hours with the Ephesian elders with his time in Jerusalem in the hands of a murderous mob. Reread Acts 20:22-24 as you observe Paul's responses to his treatment by the mob and the soldiers, what can you learn about his character?

    B. How can we prepare now to face possible oppression and danger?

    C. (Summit) How did Jesus’ example prepare Paul for this day?

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it.

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Curriculum