Bible Discussion — Acts 15-16

October 8, 2008, 2:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com moves on to the next two chapters of Acts.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
In Chapter 15, the church tackles the Gentile question, but in chapter 16, Paul still feels compelled to have Timothy (of mixed race) circumcised to avoid Jewish criticism. Then Paul visits Troas and the narrative changes to first-person, giving us a clue as to when Luke physically joined the group.

Connie:
In this corner, Peter, the leader of the Jews, overpressured by the masses over silly doctrinal annoyances. And in the white trunks, Paul coming out to fight for the Gentiles. We all know who’s going to win; we just wonder what all the fuss was to begin with. Peter should’ve been able to handle this in his sleep.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Josh:
Luke slips into the first-person plural perspective. I wonder how much he experienced firsthand, how much he witnessed, and how much was passed on to him. In chapter 16, “we” were met by the slave girl, but after Paul drives out the spirit, “they” were arrested and flogged. That\’s the way to do it, I suppose.

Steve:
Some men from the Jerusalem area set out on a long journey for the express purpose of trying to convince the new Gentile churches that their circumcision was required by the Law of Moses. Seems like a pretty clear-cut case of misery loving company.

Connie:
Paul wasn’t afraid of a fight. Once he got into it with Peter and won, it was all gravy after that. The next chapter begins with another argument, this time with Barnabas. It must’ve been a lonely time.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Steve: Thyatira
Connie: Council at Jerusalem
Josh: Things Strangled
David: The Residue of Men

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
David:
Vance McCollum once preached on Paul\’s vision of “one man” saying, “Please come and preach to us,” tying it to the conversion of the one man we know was saved there, the Philippian jailor. Who knows how much might rest on the salvation of one man.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Steve:
James provides an excellent example of how to handle difficult and thorny issues in the church. He summarized the issue, quoted Scripture to enlighten rather than to argue, was gracious in his solution and to his opponents, and didn’t fear compromise, believing that God could handle the details.

David:
One of the important things in this section is the decision of the early church that Gentiles need not obey the Law of Moses and be circumcised. As James said: “Why are we asking them to do something that neither we nor our fathers could do?”

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE?:
David:
Being believed on (16:31).

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Connie:
I love the section in chapter 16 where the jailer gets saved. It sounds normal to us, but think about it. He had nothing in front of him but death if he converted, yet he did so willingly and completely. We all need that kind of faith.

Steve:
I like Paul’s chutzpah, ordering the magistrates to come to the prison themselves and make a spectacle of his release. I think they deserved it, having saved the city from an earthquake-based prisoner release program.

Josh:
So Timothy had to be circumcised so he could deliver the news to others that they didn\’t have to be circumcised?

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Josh:
15:10-11 — “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

David; Connie; Steve:
16:31 — “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ ”

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Josh:
Our faith is most effective when lived out under duress.

 
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Steve:
How big was Timothy’s reward up there for what Paul put him through?

Josh:
How did the council decide which practices the Gentiles needed to observe?

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Josh:
In this passage we see that the church is a human institution. Divinely inspired and blessed, but still human. There are disagreements about ideology in Jerusalem, and personal differences between Paul and Barnabas. The former results in a compromise of sorts, while the latter causes a split. We are Christ\’s bride, but until we are fully restored, there will be some blemishes.

 
CONCLUSION:
Steve:
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, the church is finding its way. Soon Paul will find his way to many of the important towns whose letters make up the balance of the New Testament — and his skills at rhetoric get quite a workout.


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