Acts is the story of the church on mission. Our Lord gave us the mission to be his witness in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. We often break up the book of Acts according to these natural developments. In Acts 1-8 we find the church on mission to Jerusalem, chapters 9-14 Judea and Samaria, and then 14 to the end of the book the remotest parts of the earth.

But with any man designed outline there are limitations. What we do see is the mission to make disciples and plant churches expanding region by region. In our current study God has directed Paul’s missionary team to head to southern Europe. As they were obedient congregations were established in Greece. Even so the mission isn’t complete. There is much of the Roman empire that had yet hear the good news.

God in his sovereign direction will lead the Apostle Paul to proclaim the gospel to kings and those in authority—all the way to Rome.

In our study this fall we observed the church “On Mission to Europe.” It began with a conflict that divided the missionary team, thus multiplying their missionary outreach. Barnabas headed to Cyprus and again to Syria. Paul went back to Galatia, and then by God’s direction he traveled to Europe.

We find Paul spending over two years in the city of Ephesus. This was a very productive ministry. The whole region around this city was exposed to the good news of Christ. Ephesus became one of the hubs of Christianity alongside Jerusalem and Antioch.

Click on the tabs below to jump to that chapter of the study guide

  • Warm Up:

    1. How has your understanding of the faith grown? Who or what was significant in this development?

    Read: Acts 18:18-19:10

    2. What do we know about Pricilla and Aquila? What was Paul’s relationship with them? (Acts 18:1-3, 18-19, 26)

    3. Explain Paul’s approach to preaching the gospel when he came to a new community. How was he initially received in Ephesus? (vs.19-20)

    4. Identify the various locations where Paul stopped. What was the nature of his ministry there? (vs.21-23)

    5. Who was Apollos? What was his background? How would being raised in Egypt prepare him for cross-cultural ministry? (v.24)

    6. What were Apollos’ strengths and weaknesses? (v.25)

    7. What can we learn from Pricilla’s and Aquila’s ministry to Apollos? (v.26)

    8. When Paul arrived back in Ephesus, what question does Paul ask the disciples he found? How do their answers show a relationship to Apollos? (Acts 19:1-3)

    9. How did the Jewish people view John the Baptist? (Matt. 21:25-26)

    10. What is the difference between John’s baptism and that of Christ? (v.3-4; Mark 1:4-5; Rom 6. 3-5)

    11. How did God give evidence of their filling of the Holy Spirit? What would this communicate to their Jewish friends? (v.6)

    12. How did Luke describe Paul’s ministry in Ephesus? How is it an example for us today? (vs. 8, 10)

    13. How were those who rejected the gospel described? What does this tell us about those who have heard the good news and yet don’t follow Christ? (v.9)

    14. Pricilla, Aquila and Paul helped complete what was lacking in others faith and understanding. Describe an opportunity you had to help another grow in his or her faith?

    For your prayer time: Thank God for those who helped you to grow in your faith and fill in what was lacking in your understanding. Pray that God will use you to help another in a similar way.

  • Warm Up:

    1. What evidence do you see that we are in a spiritual battle? Do you see it lessening or worsening?

    Read: Acts 19:11-20

    2. God used the gift of tongues to authenticate the gospel (v.6). Now what kinds of miracles were identified? How would this give the gospel message authority? (vs. 11-12)

    3. What was wrong with the understanding of the Jewish exorcists? Where does the power come from to confront the spiritual realm? (v.13)

    4. What do we learn about the seven sons of Sceva. . . their background, etc.? (v.14)

    5. How did the evil spirit react to their efforts to invoke the name of Jesus whom Paul proclaimed? What do we learn regarding the power of “incantations?” (vs. 15-16)

    6. Describe the power of the evil spirit who possessed this man. Why was it unusual? (v.16)

    7. How did the news of this encounter impact the people of Ephesus? Explain why. (v.17)

    8. What impact did this event have on those who were believers? Why? (v.18-19)

    9. Why is it important for believers to deal with their disobedience to God before we can expect the community around us to take the gospel seriously?

    10. When those who practiced magic arts burned their books, what were they saying by their action?”

    11. Devine “magic” as used here in this story.

    12. Why did Luke add the value of the books that were burned? How much would that have been worth today?

    13. What do we learn about repentance from this passage?

    14. How is the ongoing ministry of Paul described in verse 20?

    For Your Prayer Time: Thank God that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world” and that we do not need to fear Satan’s realm and power. Ask God to help you to see the spiritual battle we are in.

  • Warm Up:

    1. How has God used a time of trial to bring about change in your life or your direction?

    Read: Acts 19:21-41

    Previously we learned about the growing spiritual awakening in Ephesus that was propelled forward after the report about the sons of the Jewish high priest named Sceva.

    2. How was the spiritual dynamic described? (v.20)

    3. How was God moving in the heart of Paul? Where does he desire to go? What did he want to accomplish? (v.21)

    4. What steps did Paul take to follow his plan? What value would this have for his coming visit? (v.22)

    Most of the conflict that surrounded Paul as he proclaimed Christ was centered around the unbelieving Jews.

    5. Who does Luke identify as the ringleader of this current conflict? Who was he? What was his role in Ephesus? (v.23-25)

    6. What was Demetrius’ underlying issue with Paul? (v.25-27a)

    7. How does Demetrius cloak his complaint with Paul using religious and political terms? (v.27)

    8. What was the reaction of the tradesmen? The city? When they didn’t find Paul, who did they drag into the theater? (v.28-29)

    9. Paul was no stranger to these kinds of conflict. What advice was he given? Who encouraged him? (vs. 30-31)

    10. As the crowds converged in the theater, what was the nature of the gathering? How did it progress? (v.32-34)

    11. Who was Alexander? Why did the Jews put him forward to speak to the crowd? (v.33)

    12. How did the town clerk calm the crowd? Summarize his basic points. (v.35-40)

    13. How does the clerk describe Gaius and Aristarchus? How does their character speak for itself? (v.37)

    14. How did this conflict push Paul to move forward with the plan God laid on his heart? (20:1)

    For Your Prayer Time: Thank God that He directs your steps and that he causes all things to work together for your good. Pray for those you know who are going through times of trail—that God would use it in their lives.

  • Warm Up

    1. Describe a time in your life when you saw significant spiritual growth. What led to this growth?

    Read: Acts 20:1-16

    2. What event pushed Paul to begin his journey back to Jerusalem? (19:21-22, 23ff)

    3. Describe the different times when God has used persecution in the book of Acts to advance the gospel.

    4. What was the focus of Paul’s visits to the churches in Macedonia? Why is this type of ministry important? (v.2)

    5. Describe the plot of the Jews in Greece? How did their plot relate to his plan to travel by sea to Syria? (v.3)

    6. What can we learn about the men who were traveling with Paul? How would Paul use their time traveling together? (v.4-6)

    7. What time of year was Paul traveling? What is the significance of the days of Unleavened Bread to the Jews? To Christians? (v.6)

    8. In Jewish culture the sabbath began at sundown and continued until sundown. How would this help to explain the setting when Paul spoke to the church in Troas? (vs. 7-8)

    9. What do we learn about the early church’s worship and gatherings from verse 7? Why would the church gather on the first day of the week and not the sabbath?

    10. What drama takes place in the middle of Paul’s speech? How would this event impact the church? (v.9-10)

    11. What all happened between midnight and daybreak? Why did they meet for such a long time? (v.11-12)

    12. What value does sharing meals together (breaking bread) have for the church?

    13. Speculate a bit. . . What kinds of things do you think Paul might have been sharing with the church at Troas? How would these be an encouragement to them?

    14. Why didn’t Paul stop over at Ephesus, especially after spending about three years in ministry there? (v.16)

    For Your Prayer Time: Thank God for the people God has put in your life to help you grow spiritually. Pray for those in your circle of influence (your oikos), that God would use you to lead them to the truth.

  • Warm Up

    1. Describe a goodbye that was filled with emotion. What was the occasion? Why was it difficult?

    Read: Acts 20:16-38

    Paul has his sights set on being in Jerusalem on Pentecost. In a layover in Miletus he calls for and meets with the elders of the church at Ephesus. Here he encourages and admonishes them regarding the future.

    2. How does Paul describe his ministry among the people at Ephesus—his faithfulness. . . His message? (vs. 18-21)

    3. How was the Holy Spirit involved in Paul’s decision to go to Jerusalem? What can we learn about the Spirit’s leading in our lives? (vs. 22-23)

    4. What motivates Paul to push forward, even though he is promised imprisonment and affliction? (vs. 24-25)

    5. How does Paul express the seriousness of his responsibility to present Christ and his faithfulness in this proclamation? (vs. 25-27)

    6. What encouragement does Paul give the elders? How is/was the Trinity involved? (v.28)

    7. What dangers will the church face? How can the elders protect the church from these dangers? (vs.29-31)

    8. How have you seen these types of issues creep into the church in America? In the local church?

    9. How is Paul’s admonition for the elders to remain alert connected to his own example of ministry? What does that teach us regarding the elder’s responsibility? (v.31)

    10. Where will these elders find strength to serve well? What does this teach us regarding our own spiritual growth and strength? (v.32)

    11. How was Paul’s pattern of working with his hands to provide for the needs of his team an example? Who are we to assist? (vs. 33-35)

    12. What do we learn about Paul’s compassion and relationship with these men? Why is relational involvement critical to ministry to people? (vs. 36-38)

    13. Through this study how has God encouraged and lead you in your ministry to others?

    For Your Prayer Time: Thank God for the men God has raised up as elders in our church. Pray that they would lead well by keeping a careful eye on what is taught and happening within the church. Pray also that you can deepen your relationships with those God has placed in your circle of influence (your oikos) to share Christ.