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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts

16. SILAS - a team man

"Judas... and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers" (Acts 7:59).

Luke introduces Silas as another minister produced by the growing Jerusalem church. His ministry expanded as he teamed up with the apostle Paul.

Consider the person
The decision of the Jerusalem council on the issue of the law and circumcision was communicated to the churches in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia by Silas and Judas Barsabbas. They returned with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch and, as prophets, encouraged the church through their ministry before completing their mission and returning home to Jerusalem (Acts 15:22-33). When Paul had a sharp disagreement with Barnabas over John Mark, he chose Silas as his new missionary companion and travelled north. Barnabas took John Mark and retraced the steps made on the first missionary journey (see Acts 15:36-41). Silas supported Paul through Syria, Cilicia, Phrygia and Galatia. In Macedonia he began to share in the joys and trials of apostolic ministry at Philippi. His Roman citizenship was made know here (Acts 16:12-40; cf. 22:28).

Study the Scriptures
Consider Silas' relationship and experiences with Paul. He ministered with the apostle in Philippi and shared a prison cell with him (Acts 16:19-40). In Thessalonica and Berea they experienced persecution (Acts 17:1-13). When Paul left for Athens, he was left with Timothy to support the new work (Acts 17:13,14). Later, rejoining Paul in Corinth, he shared the good news that the young Thessalonian church was thriving in spite of continued opposition. Silas and Timothy worked with Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor.1:18,19). Paul refers to Silas (Silvanus) in his letters (2 Cor.1:19; 1 Thess.1:1; 2 Thess.1:1). He may have been his secretary. Peter made use of his professional ability as a scribe (1 Pet.5:12).

Ask questions

1. Paul and Barnabas risked their lives for the gospel (Acts 15:26). Can the same be said of Silas? Consider Acts 16:19-26 and 2 Cor.1:19.

2. Peter introduces Silas as 'a faithful brother' (1 Pet.5:12). How does he illustrate faithfulness? He is recognised as a leader in Acts 15:22.

3. In what sense was Silas a team man? Did team ministry mature his abilities and advance the work of God?

4. How does Silas compare with Barnabas as Paul's missionary companion?

Apply some thoughts

1. The Jerusalem church was a healthy church – it gained converts and produced ministers, supporting new churches with its best men. How virile is our church?

2. Be prepared to challenge Silas-type believers in your church with a ministry call.

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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