Study Text: Acts 14:8-11, 19-23
Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What are some challenges to clear communication you may face when trying to explain something to . . . a know-it-all? a preschool child? a person under emotional stress?
2. How do you usually react when you do not feel that you are getting a point across?
Read Acts 14:8-11.
1. How can you tell when someone is really listening to what you are saying? From what you read in these verses, what might have indicated to Paul that his message was being heard and understood by the lame man?
2. A serious conversation that seems to be going in the right direction can go horribly wrong in an instant! Can you think of a time when that happened to you? Skim through the following verses (vv. 12-18) and summarize how Paul and Barnabas tried to get their presentation of the gospel back on track.
3. Take a moment to picture the emotions Paul and Barnabas experienced during this chaotic event and why they may have felt their efforts in Lystra had been fruitless. What evidence from Paul’s return to that city on his second missionary journey (16:1, 2) shows that the work in Lystra was far more successful than they could have imagined?
Read Acts 14:19, 20.
4. What appeared to be the motivation of Paul’s attackers from Antioch and Iconium? See 13:49, 50; 14:1, 2, 5. What examples from today’s headlines indicate that people still use violence to silence those with whom they disagree?
5. A lot seems to have happened in just one short verse (14:20)! What do you imagine that his fellow believers did for Paul, said to Paul, and advised Paul to do after he had survived this nearly life-ending attack? Why is it vital that believers gather around those who are persecuted for preaching the gospel?
Read Acts 14:21-23.
6. In your Bible underline this clause from verse 21: “they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch.” Think of some single-word character qualities of Barnabas and Saul that would lead them right back to where they were severely persecuted. What examples of these qualities do you see in modern missionaries?
7. Compare Acts 14:23 to Titus 1:5, 10, 11. How would Spirit-led elders within local churches be more effective in sustaining those churches than would Paul alone, being miles away?
8. The first missionary journey began and ended with leaders fasting and praying (Acts 13:3; 14:23). Set aside a time to fast and pray that missionaries you know have a faith that perseveres, even when they feel that they are not being heard.