24. PAUL - an apostle
"Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him,
he brought him to Antioch" (Acts 11:25,26).
The second part of Acts concentrates on the ministry of Paul, the
apostle to the Gentiles. For the Christian faith he was the right
person, in the right place at the right time.
Consider the person
Although Saulus Paulus was a Jew through and through (Phil.3:5,6), his
Hellenistic background (Acts 21:39), including his Roman citizenship
(Acts 22:28), enabled him to relate to Gentiles. As a Hellenistic Jew
he could become all things to all men (1 Cor.9:20,21).
Study the Scriptures
Study Paul, the man, his message and his ministry on his first
missionary journey (see Acts 13:1 – 14:28). Note these highlights: Paul
ministered at Antioch with Barnabas (11:26ff.). While waiting on the
Lord the Spirit called them to a special mission (13:1-3), which took
them first to Cyprus, the home of Barnabas (13:4). John Mark, cousin of
Barnabas was their attendant. The first outstanding missionary story
involves Sergius Paulus, the local proconsul, who came to Christ as
Paul dealt with the opposition of Elymas by the power of the Spirit
(13:6-12). Later, in Pisidian Antioch, Paul ministered in the local
synagogue with the result that "the word of the Lord spread through the
whole region" (13:14-50). At Iconium Paul and Barnabas ministered in
the synagogue. The Lord confirmed the word with miraculous signs and
wonders (14:1-5). Opposition drove them on to Derbe and Lystra. In
Lystra, a crippled man was healed in an open-air meeting. Here the
apostles were greeted as gods, but once they denounced this
deification, Paul was stoned and left for dead (14:6-20)! Retracing
their steps, the apostles strengthened the believers, appointing elders
in each church. Back home in Syrian Antioch they gave a report of their
mission to the local church (14:21-27).
1. Study Paul's conversion and sense his destiny (Acts 9:1-20;
22:3-16; 26:13-18). How does his call compare with that of Moses
(Ex.3:1-10) and Jeremiah (Jer.1:5,10)?
2. Consider the story of some modern Christian leaders you
have read about. How does their call and ministry compare with Paul's?
3. Does God have a special plan for all our lives?
Apply some thoughts
1. Evaluate our 24 studies in the Acts. What lessons have you
learnt from them?
2. Consider how Paul featured in some studies.
3. At a later date consider Paul's second and third missionary