They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47, NIV)
What a fantastic picture of what it looks like to be a part of a fellowship of believers!
As you look through the description of the early church, what aspects that are described match your own experience today? What are areas that look nothing like your life?
What does it look like to be devoted to one another in today’s church setting? How can we be more devoted to each other?
What specific ways can you make the description found here a part of your everyday church experience?
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.7-8, NIV)
We do not have to do this alone. Sometime you might need to wait on God, but he never sends you out without empowering you to go.
Why do you think people are so focused on when the end times will come? What might change if we knew the time of the end times? What would not change?
What things might you be able to do with the power of the Holy Spirit that you could never do on your own? How have you experienced the Holy Spirit guiding your life?
How can you be a witness of God today?
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.”
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Romans 12.1-2, NIV)
What would it have been like to pray in such a manner that the entire room in which you were in was shaken?
Peter and John actually rejoiced that they had been worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus and asked God to let them speak boldly, not in such a way so as to be effective without causing too much attention. How do you think you would have responded in a similar circumstance? What is the same and what is different about your response?
When have you been required to speak boldly, knowing that there would be some sort of repercussion if you did? How did you handle that situation?
What do you think is required of us to be so in tune with God in our prayers that something miraculous like the building being shaken might be a result? Why do we tend to assume that such an act is beyond possibility today?
1 Chronicles 11.1-12.18; Acts 28.1-31; Psalm 9.1-12; Proverbs 19.1-3
If I told you Paul welcomed all who came to him, boldly sharing the Good News, and no one tried to stop him, you probably would not be surprised. This just describes who Paul is, doesn’t it. But, if I told you that all of this happened while Paul was in prison, what would you think?
What does the reaction of the follower’s of David tell you about his standing among the people? Would you expect anything less from him?
What do you think you would have thought upon seeing Paul bitten by a poisonous viper, yet not facing any harmful effects from the bite?
During times of suffering and crisis, how has the Lord shown himself to have not ignored you?
People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord. When have you seen this to be a true statement about people?
1 Chronicles 9.1-10.14; Acts 27.21-44; Psalm 8.1-9; Proverbs 18.23-24
The book of Chronicles (the two parts are one continuous story) contains stories that are a repeat of things we have read in the books of Samuel and Kings. One of the questions we try to determine is why these stories are repeated and in what manner are they told with a different emphasis, so that we can determine the purpose of each of these books. To this end, Saul is said to have been killed due to his unfaithfulness of God. Why was he said to have been killed in 1-2 Samuel? Why the difference and do you think it is significant for understanding the purpose of the Chronicles?
What is the reason the people of Judah were exiled to Babylon? How does this impact our own understanding of God’s punishment today?
How did Paul go from being ignored when he gave recommendation on when to sail to someone that all of the crew and officers listened to and did what he said?
How do your children show you God’s strength?
There are “friends” who destroy each other. Why would we ever call these people friends in the first place?
1 Chronicles 7.1-8.40; Acts 27.1-20; Psalm 7.1-17; Proverbs 18.22
Paul has been promised he would have opportunity to share the gospel all the way to Rome, yet it seems at every turn there are obstacles thrown up to prevent that from happened. These are not just everyday, ordinary occurrences, but events such as shipwrecks that leave people feeling a loss of all hope. What do you think is going through Paul’s mind as he faces each of these challenges?
Why do you think the Chronicle writer lists out the number of warriors in each of the tribes mentioned in this passage?
Which makes more sense to listen to concerning the ability to sail: the captain and ship owner or Paul? Why do you think Luke (the writer of Acts) seems to indicate some surprise that Paul’s advice was not heeded?
How hard do you think it is to say to God, “If I have done anything wrong…” let them give me the punishment I deserve?
How is finding a wife finding a treasure?
1 Chronicles 5.18-6.81; Acts 26.1-32; Psalm 6.1-10; Proverbs 18.20-21
All along Paul’s journey from initial arrest to final imprisonment in Rome, we hear different officials comment: “He has done nothing worthy of arrest” or “He could have been set free, had he not appealed to Caesar.” Obviously, it is purely speculation, but how do you think the gospel spread would have been affected had Paul NOT appealed to Caesar and taken his trip to Rome?
We discover many capable warriors in the book of Chronicles, but also discover these same warriors were unfaithful to God. Why does it not matter how powerful you are if you are not faithful to God? How do we try to use our power to overcome faithfulness?
Why would it have been nice to have such a clear and specific call to ministry such as the one Paul had?
Why do you think the psalmist was facing God’s anger? Why do you think he deserved God’s compassion?
What are the consequences the one who loves to talk reaps?
1 Chronicles 4.5-5.17; Acts 25.1-27; Psalm 5.1-12; Proverbs 18.19
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a situation where you were being called upon to judge an incident in which you could find no wronged parties? (For some reason I can imagine a teacher would be put in this situation often with students.) Such was the position of Festus as he tried to determine a charge against Paul to send on to the Emperor. What is the best way to act in such a situation?
Why do you think the writer of the genealogy in 1 Chronicles chose to add more detail about certain groups of people (they were craftsman, they were potters, etc.)?
What does it tell you about the Jew’s charge against Paul that they tried to ambush and kill him at every turn rather than let Paul’s time in the court system run it’s course?
Why do people who take refuge in God have reason to rejoice?
How have you seen or experienced times when arguments separated friends? What are possible ways to resolve these separations?
1 Chronicles 2.18-4.4; Acts 24.1-27; Psalm 4.1-8; Proverbs 18.16-18
Because Christianity came out of Judaism, it is interesting the conflict or tensions between the Jewish people and their law and the Christians, or the Way as it is called here in Acts, and following Jesus. Depending on which side of the equation you stand–Paul’s or the Jews–dictates whether you think following both is even possible. Why is it so hard to mesh these two groups? Is it possible for both to coexist?
How do you think it would have felt to be a one line description in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles (the sons of so-and-so were these people and then the list moves on)?
Was Tertellus telling the truth, based on what you have read about the life and teachings of Paul?
Why is it so difficult for us to sit on something overnight, rather than immediately reacting in anger?
Flipping a coin can settle arguments. What do you think our relationships would look like if we resorted to this resolution technique more often?
1 Chronicles 1.1-2.17; Acts 23.11-35; Psalm 3.1-8; Proverbs 18.14-15
We do not know exactly how the Lord appeared to Paul in the night. My assumption would be that it was part of a dream, but there is nothing said about how this vision transpired. We also hesitate to say: “The Lord spoke to me.” People who make such claims are often deemed out of their mind. How can we know the ways in which God is leading us, if we do not have that certainty of him speaking to us? Or do we have that certainty?
What are we supposed to do with all of these names in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles?
What does it tell you about the relationship between Paul and the Roman commander that he was willing to listen to Paul’s nephew, per Paul’s instructions?
Do we have too many enemies? Or do we conform to the point that no one even notices us? Which should it be?
Why are intelligent people always ready to learn?