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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts


24. PAUL - an apostle extraordinary


"Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch" (Acts 11:25,26).

Introduction
The second part of Acts concentrates on the ministry of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. For the Christian faith he was the right person, in the right place at the right time.

Consider the person
Although Saulus Paulus was a Jew through and through (Phil.3:5,6), his Hellenistic background (Acts 21:39), including his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:28), enabled him to relate to Gentiles. As a Hellenistic Jew he could become all things to all men (1 Cor.9:20,21).

Study the Scriptures
Study Paul, the man, his message and his ministry on his first missionary journey (see Acts 13:1 – 14:28). Note these highlights: Paul ministered at Antioch with Barnabas (11:26ff.). While waiting on the Lord the Spirit called them to a special mission (13:1-3), which took them first to Cyprus, the home of Barnabas (13:4). John Mark, cousin of Barnabas was their attendant. The first outstanding missionary story involves Sergius Paulus, the local proconsul, who came to Christ as Paul dealt with the opposition of Elymas by the power of the Spirit (13:6-12). Later, in Pisidian Antioch, Paul ministered in the local synagogue with the result that "the word of the Lord spread through the whole region" (13:14-50). At Iconium Paul and Barnabas ministered in the synagogue. The Lord confirmed the word with miraculous signs and wonders (14:1-5). Opposition drove them on to Derbe and Lystra. In Lystra, a crippled man was healed in an open-air meeting. Here the apostles were greeted as gods, but once they denounced this deification, Paul was stoned and left for dead (14:6-20)! Retracing their steps, the apostles strengthened the believers, appointing elders in each church. Back home in Syrian Antioch they gave a report of their mission to the local church (14:21-27).


Ask questions

1. Study Paul's conversion and sense his destiny (Acts 9:1-20; 22:3-16; 26:13-18). How does his call compare with that of Moses (Ex.3:1-10) and Jeremiah (Jer.1:5,10)?

2. Consider the story of some modern Christian leaders you have read about. How does their call and ministry compare with Paul's?

3. Does God have a special plan for all our lives?


Apply some thoughts

1. Evaluate our 24 studies in the Acts. What lessons have you learnt from them?

2. Consider how Paul featured in some studies.

3. At a later date consider Paul's second and third missionary journeys.






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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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