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Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 31, July 24 — 30
Acts 16–21 — “The Lord Had Called Us for to Preach the Gospel”

Acts 16 Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

Paul’s second missionary journey began about 15 to 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, lasted about three years, and is recounted in Acts 15:36, 40-41; Acts 16-17; and Acts 18:1-22:

  • Verses 1-3 Paul chose Timothy (Timotheus) as another missionary companion, who was raised by a Jewish mother and a Greek (gentile) father, and had not been circumcised. Paul himself had taught that circumcision under the law of Moses was no longer required, but Paul had Timothy circumcised, apparently as a missionary strategy, for they would be working among Jews (see 1 Corinthians 9:20).
  • Verses 4-10 Note in verses 4-5 the things Paul and others did for the church and its members. How did they know where to go and not go, according to verses 6-10?
  • Note that in verse 10 the narrative changes to first person (“we endeavoured to go”), because Luke—the writer of Acts—has now joined them as an additional companion.
  • Verses 14-18 What happened in Philippi (in modern-day Greece), in verses 14-15? Then what followed, in verses 16-18? (the cry of the “damsel possessed” in verse 17 can only be taken as a mocking of the missionaries).
  • Verses 19-24 Read about the great opposition that arose in verses19-24 (Silas had also joined Paul and the others). What was the reason for this persecution, according to verses 16, 19?
  • Verses 25-34 What amazing thing happened next, in verse 25? What did the Lord do, in verse 26? What was the remarkable result of all this, in verses 27-34?
  • Is there a hymn that always seems to lift your spirits and express your praise to God, as happened in verse 25?
  • Can you think of a time in your life when a bad situation ended up being for the good, as in verse 34?

Acts 17 Laboring Among the Greeks

  • Verses 1-8 Note Paul’s strategy (verses 2-3), and the results in Thessalonica (in Greece; verse 4). But the persecution is ever-present (verses 5-8).
  • Verses 10-13 Paul slips away into Berea (also in Greece; verse 10). What were the results of his teaching, in verses 11-12? But again, there is opposition (verse 13).
  • Verses 16-34 Paul’s stunning experiences continue as he and his companions fulfill their missions and ministries. Read the things that happened in Athens, in verses 16-34, noting the following helps:

–The Epicureans (verse 18) believed that life came by chance and has no purpose, therefore we should seek pleasure.

–The Stoicks (also verse 18) believed in a Supreme Power; that the human body must be ignored; and that we must accept all things as they are.

–Areopagus (verse 19) is known today as Mars Hill and is next to the Acropolis, which in Paul’s time was already over 1,000 years old.

–What were all the points of doctrine about God, that Paul taught in verses 24-29?

–Note that in today’s missionary lessons in Preach My Gospel, the first concepts taught in the first lesson include, “God Is Our Loving Heavenly Father” and “The Savior’s Earthly Ministry and Atonement” (see chapter 3, Lesson 1).

–Note also Paul’s consistent pattern, which today’s missionaries also follow: teach, testify, and invite.

Acts 18 End of Second Mission and Beginning of Third Mission

The end of Paul’s second missionary journey is found in verses 1-22 of this chapter. He left Athens and went to Corinth (about 50 miles away; verse 1):

  • Read what happened in verses 4-6, 8-9. Compare Paul’s statement in verse 6 to Jacob in 2 Nephi 9:44 (see also Jacob 1:18-19).
  • Also, compare the Lord’s words to Paul in verse 9 to His words to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:17, 19.

Paul’s third missionary journey began about 20 to 25 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and lasted about three to four years. It is recounted in Acts 18:23-28; Acts 19-20; and Acts 21:1-17:

  • Paul had returned to Jerusalem, then departed again, “strengthening all the disciples” as he went (Acts 18:23).
  • Read about Apollos, in verses 24-28. What scripture verses would you use in our day to help show that Jesus is the Christ?

Acts 19 A Riotous Protest Against the Truth

  • Imagine the difficulties of regulating the church in Paul’s day, with no modern means of transportation, communication, and publication. This is perhaps what led to the events in Ephesus (in today’s western Turkey), in Acts 19:1-6.
  • Note Paul’s ongoing strategies, in verses 8-10, and compare this to what the Lord said to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in D&C 71:1, 7-10.
  • Verses 11-12 tell of “special miracles” and healings by the hands of Paul. Also, despite Satanic opposition (verses 13-16), note the successes and sacrifices in verses 18-20.
  • Next, still in Ephesus, is the conflict between Paul and Demetrius that led to a great tumult (note that Diana—also known as Artemus—was a false goddess worshiped by both Greeks and Romans).
  • Read verses 23-27. What were Demetrius and the other craftsmen really worried about?
  • Read verses 28-29, 32-34. Fortunately, the crowd was settled and silenced by the “townclerk,” thus saving Paul (verses 35-41).

Acts 20 “Ye Shall See My Face No More”

  • Now in Troas (in today’s northwest Turkey), an unfortunate thing happened as Paul was preaching. Read verses 7-12.
  • Next, in Miletus (also in Turkey, a few miles south of Ephesus) Paul reviews his past labors and his future fate with some of the elders of the church. Read verses 17-27, 33-34. Which of these verses stand out most for you? Read also King Benjamin’s words in Mosiah 2:11-12, 14.
  • What counsel did Paul give these elders, in verse 28? What does it mean to “feed the church of God”?
  • Next, what does Paul prophesy in verses 29-30? How did the elders react, in verses 37-38? (See also Joseph Smith’s sentiments, in D&C 127:11-12.)
  • Read Paul’s profound parting teachings, in verses 32, 35.
  • Clearly, Paul knew of the ill fate awaiting him in Jerusalem (verses 22-23, 29) and then in Rome, but he continues to move forward.
  • What do you see in Paul’s teaching and leadership styles that you admire? What can you apply into your life?

Acts 21 “I Am Ready to Die”

In this chapter we see the conclusion of Paul’s third missionary journey, which will be followed by his arrest and trials in Jerusalem, and his subsequent journey to Rome, where he will die. As he traveled toward Jerusalem, church members in Tyre warned him (verse 4), which was repeated when Paul passed through Caesarea (verses 10-12). What was Paul’s response to them, in verse 13? Could you say what Paul said in verse 13?

The troubles begin in Jerusalem when certain Jews protest Paul’s presence at the temple (verses 27-28). What things happened next, in verses 30-40? It is not difficult to see the similarities in the successes and the subsequent ill treatment of Jesus Christ and of Paul.

Do you think we would be better off without our detractors and our persecutions? Why or why not? Have you experienced opposition when trying to share the gospel with others? Have you felt inspired as you shared gospel truths and testimony?

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