Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 14-16
DAY 1 – Acts 14:21-28 – Pray for Courageous Church Leaders who have been attacked
DAY 2 – Acts 15:1-21 – Pray for Church leaders to listen to each other well
DAY 3 – Acts 15:22-35 – Pray for us not to make it difficult for non-believers turning to God
DAY 4 – Acts 15:36-16:10 – Pray for a New Generation of Church Leaders
DAY 5 – Acts 16:11-15 – Pray for women believers and leaders
While we are not gathering in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.
- Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
- Paul and Barnabas have already been to Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra; and were nearly killed in each place. Why do they return? Why do they go back to such dangerous places?
- How do you strengthen and encourage believers? Who is strengthening and encouraging you? Who are you strengthening and encouraging? How is this connected to appointing elders? Why does Paul appoint elders rather than congregational election?
- What is Paul’s relationship with Antioch Church? Why does Paul give a report? Is he bragging? How can we tell testimonies of God’s ministry through us without bragging?
- Why are Paul and Barnabas in “sharp dispute and debate” over circumcision? What do the opposition want happen and why? Why can Gentiles be saved without being circumcised and becoming Jewish, if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Christianity really just the fulfillment of Judaism?
- What kinds of “laws” do people try to require of Christian converts today if they are “really saved”? What is the role of obedience in salvation? Why do Christians not obey all the Old Testament regulations? Why do Christians obey Christ’s commandments?
- If you are a parent, how did you make your decision to circumcise or not circumcise your sons?
- How would you summarize Peter, Paul, and Barnabas’ arguments that the Gentiles do not need to be circumcised in order to be acceptable to God? How do you recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in others? How can you tell if God has accepted a person?
- What should we NOT do as a church according to James (vs 19)? What things does Oakland do right now that “make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God”? What traditions, programs, events, etc. make it difficult for non-believers who are turning to God to enter in and belong at Oakland?
- Why does James still tell Gentiles to abstain from 3 things in verse 20? What would these hurt?
- What does the Church leadership do to share their decision? Why do they send extra people and a letter? Verse 28 says “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us”? How are these things different but connected? How can you tell what seems good to the Holy Spirit? Is it just a democratic vote or is there something more supernatural than that?
- Don’t you want to be part of the Antioch church?
- What do 15:36-41 teach you about the church? Is she perfect? Who was wrong?
- What stands out to you about Timothy? Are both of Timothy’s parents believers? How might this encourage you if you’re in a mixed-faith marriage? How might Timothy encourage you if you are a child of mixed-faith parents? Should Christians intermarry with non-believers? What do we sacrifice by doing so? Should people who become believers after marrying, divorce their unbelieving spouse?
- Who kept Paul from preaching in Asia? When have you been kept in check by the Holy Spirit? How did you know it was the Holy Spirit? How is the Spirit related to Jesus (vs7)? Does the Spirit still do these kinds of things?
- Why does Paul head for a leading city? Should Christians focus extra effort on metro areas? Why do they go to a “place of prayer” instead of a synagogue?
- What can you deduce about Lydia? How wealthy is she? Who opens her heart? Who opened your heart? Who opens anyone you share with’s heart? How can this humble and encourage us?