The Book of Acts: Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (concluded)
IV. At Athens, 17: 16-34.
A. His First Labors, vv. 16-18:
1. Athens’ idolatry:
a. What did Paul observe while he waited for Silas and Timothy?
1) What is meant by “wholly given to idolatry”?
2) Was Athens more idolatrous, and therefore worse, than other cities?
b. What is meant by “his spirit was stirred us him”?
1) Does this refer to pity for the Athenians?
2) Or does it refer to zeal for the name and service of God?
3) Why was his spirit stirred in him?
2. His disputations in the synagogue and the market:
a. Judging by the word “therefore,” what was the reason for and the subject of these disputings? v. 17.
b. Why then did he dispute in the Jewish synagogue?
1) Are the Jews in the same class as the Athenians here?
2) Were they also given to idolatry? Explain.
3) Is there any further mention of the Jews in this narrative?
4) Is there any indication of positive fruit among the Jews?
c. In the market:
1) What was this “market”?
2) What kind of people did Paul meet there, Jews or Gentiles?
3) With what did the people at Athens occupy themselves? v. 21.
4) What philosophers did Paul encounter?
a) Who were the Epicureans?
b) Who were the Stoics?
5) What was their reaction to Paul? v. 18.
a) What is meant here by “babbler”?
b) Did they mean to charge Paul with idolatry?
c) What especially was the reason for this reaction?
1. Why would the preaching of Jesus occasion this?
2. Especially, why would the preaching of the resurrection occasion this? Does this refer only to Jesus’ resurrection, to the resurrection of His people, or to the general resurrection of the dead? Was this thought of the resurrection foreign to Greek philosophy?
6) What, v. 27, was God’s purpose in arranging the time and place of the nations of men?
a) Is this the purpose of His counsel or the purpose of His command?
b) Does this indicate an attitude of grace on God’s part to men in common?
c) Was this purpose reached by men? Gould it be reached? Why, or why not?
7) In what sense is God not far from anyone of men, vv. 27, 28? Why is this mentioned?
8) What Greek poets does Paul quote? v. 28.
a) Was this poet a child of God?
b) Does Paul agree with this quotation or not?
c) Why does he quote from a pagan poet? What does this quotation prove?
d) Was Paul trying to compromise with Greek philosophy”
e. Conclusion, 29-31:
1) What is the meaning of v. 29?
a) What is the reasoning of this verse?
b) Is this merely philosophical reasoning, or does the apostle say something here which the Athenians could not escape in their consciences?
c) To which commandment is this conclusion related?
d) Can it be said that Paul condemns the Athenians out of their own mouth?
2) Concerning vv. 30, 31:
a) What is the meaning of “this ignorance”? Is it intellectual or spiritual?
b) What is the meaning of “God winked at”? cf. Acts 14:16. Does God wink at sin? In what sense? Does this mean that God does not judge the wicked who have not the gospel? Does v. 30 refer to a common grace?
c) What is the connection between God’s righteous judgment and “that man whom he hath ordained”?
d) What is the connection between the command to repent and the judgment mentioned in v. 31?
e) How does the raising of Christ from the dead give assurance of God’s judgment of the world by Him?
f) What element in these verses shows conclusively that Paul does not compromise at all with Greek philosophy in his preaching at the Areopagus?
C. Fruit, vv. 32-34:
a. What was the great stumbling-block in Paul’s preaching? Why?
b. What was the overwhelming reaction? Was there any fundamental difference in the two reactions mentioned in v. 32?
c. Was Paul allowed to finish his speech?
a. Were there many who believed?
b. Why are Dionysius and Damaris mentioned?
c. Did this believing reaction manifest itself at the Areopagus already?
d. Was there ever a congregation at Athens?
VII. At Corinth, 18:1-17.
A. Preliminary Labors, 1-4:
1. Describe Corinth as to: location, history, character.
2. Aquila and Priscilla, vv. 2, 3:
a. Who are they and where did they come from?
b. Why had they left Italy? When was this expulsion by Claudius?
c. Were they already Christians when Paul met them?
d. What brought Paul into their company?
e. Why did Paul busy himself in a secular trade? Cf. II Cor. 11:8, 9 and II Thess. 3:8.
3. His early labors, v. 4:
a. Where did Paul begin his labors at Corinth?
b. When did he labor?
c. Who were the objects of his labors?
d. What did he do? What does “persuade” mean? About what did Paul “reason” with them?
B. A Year and a Half of Labors, 5-11:
1. Who joined Paul at Corinth? v. 5.
a. What is the meaning of “was pressed in spirit”?
b. What did the arrival of Silas and Timothy have to do with his being “pressed in spirit”? Cf. II Cor. 11:8, if.; Phil. 4:15; I Thess. 3:6, if.
c. What did Paul now do? Is there a difference between the labor of v. 5 and those of v. 4?
2. Paul turns from the Jews, vv. 6-8:
a. What was the reaction of the Jews at Corinth? Why did this reaction come at this stage?
b. What is the meaning of “he shook his raiment”?
c. What is the meaning of Paul’s announcement to the Jews? Why did he turn to the Gentiles? Were they any better? How does Paul’s method and attitude compare with the methods of modern evangelism? Did Paul use the “right approach” with respect to the Jews?
d. To whose house did Paul go and labor?
1) Was he Jew or Gentile?
2) Why did Paul labor so near the synagogue?
3) Is this Justus possibly the Gaius of Romans 16:23 and I Corinthians 1:14?
e. Who are mentioned in v. 8 as believing?
1) Is it significant that Crispus was chief ruler of the synagogue? Why?
2) Where else is he mentioned?
3) Did Paul have much fruit when he turned to the Gentiles?
3. The vision Paul receives, vv. 9-li;
a. What was the occasion of this vision?
b. Who spoke to Paul?
c. What command was given to Paul?
d. What assurance did Paul receive?
1) Did the Lord promise that no attempt would he made to hurt Paul?
2) What is the meaning of “1 have much people in this city”? Why was this a source of comfort and encouragement?
e. As a result of this vision, what did Paul do?
C. Opposition, vv. 12-17;
1. Who was Gallio?
a. What was his position?
b. When did he occupy this position?
c. What is his reputation in secular history? Does the record of Acts support this reputation?
d. Why did the Jews want a judgment from Gallio?
2. Gallio’s judgment of the case;
a. What was the Jews’ charge? To what law do they refer?
b. Does Paul gain opportunity to speak? Vhy not?
c. What is Gallio’s opinion? Was it correct?
d. Was this proper justice?
e. What was the Lord’s purpose in this?
2. The beating of Sosthenes:
a. Who was Sosthenes?
b. Why did the Greeks beat him?
c. What was Gallio’s attitude to this? Was this proper justice?
d. What must have been the effect of this affair upon the Jews and upon their attitude over against Paul and the brethren?
VIII. Return, 18:18-22.
1. Who accompanied Paul? How far?
2. What did Paul do at Cenchrea? Why?
3. Where did Paul visit on his way home?
a. What did he do here?
b. What was the reaction?
c. What did Paul promise them?
d. Why did he leave?
4. Where did Paul go upon arrival at Caesarea? Why?