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Bible Studies

Acts of the Apostles
Lesson 6
The First Missionary Journey

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Acts 11:19 – 14:28

After the stoning of Stephen, persecutions forced many Christians to flee from Jerusalem. Some went to Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria and third largest city in the Roman Empire. They preached the Gospel there and gained many converts. Church leaders in Jerusalem heard of the success in Antioch and sent Barnabas there. Barnabas recruited Saul to help and they spent the next year teaching in Antioch.

The followers of Jesus were first called "Christians" at Antioch. Up until this time, they had been known as "The Way," "saints," "brothers" or "disciples." "Christian" may have initially been a derogatory term used by the Gentiles at Antioch, but Jesus' followers soon adopted it as their own.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas were commissioned and sent out on a missionary journey of perhaps two years to spread the Gospel message. At this time, Saul became know as "Paul." No one is sure why, but his Roman name Paul may have been better suited for a ministry to Gentiles than his Hebrew name Saul.

1. a) How did the persecutions of Christians actually help Christianity to grow and spread? (See Acts 8:1-8, 11:19-21, )
b) What is the proper Christian response to persecution or injustice? (See Matthew 5:10-12,10:23, Luke 6:27-29, Romans 12:17-19, 1 Peter 2:21-23, 3:9.)

2. How did the character of the Church begin to change at Antioch? (See Acts 11:19-21.)

3. Who was Barnabas? (see Acts 4:36-37, 11:22-26.)

4. a) Why had Saul (Paul) been in Tarsus?
b) How did he end up in Antioch? (See Acts 9:26-30, 11:25-26.)

5. a) Who was the James mentioned in Acts 12:1-3?
b) What role did he play in Jesus' ministry?
c) Why did King Herod kill him? (See Mark 1:16-20, 3:14-19, Matthew 17:1-5, Mark 5:35-39, 14:32-36.)

6. How were Peter's two escapes from prison similar? (See Acts 5:19-24, 12:6-11.)

7. Who was the James mentioned in Acts 12:17? (See Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, Acts 15:13, Galatians 1:19)

8. Who was the John Mark mentioned in Acts 12:12 and Acts 12:25? (See Colossians 4:10.)

9. Look at the map of the Paul's First Missionary Journey in the Introduction.
a) Where did Paul and Barnabas begin and end their journey?
b) What cities did they visit?
c) Where are those cities located in the modern world?

10. Where did Paul preach first when he arrived in a new city? (See Acts 13:5, 13:14, 14:1.)

11. a) How did the Jews respond to Paul's preaching?
b) How did the Gentiles respond to Paul's preaching? (See Acts 13:42-50, 14:1-5, 14:19-20.)

12. How did Paul and Barnabas support and nurture the Christian churches they had established along the way? (See Acts 14:21-23).

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