Friday, December 23, 2011

Bible Study: The Acts of the Holy Spirit - A Study of the book of Acts - Chapter 11

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapters 10 & 11 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

11:1-3 – Peter was being criticized for ministering to uncircumcised gentiles.

11:4-8 – God made all animals clean for eating. Previously, He declared certain animals unclean. See Leviticus 11. Making all animals clean enabled Jews to share meals with gentiles and increased opportunities to minister.

11:4-14 – Peter shared what God taught him with others by giving his testimony.

11:10 – Why did Peter see the vision 3 times? The symbolic meaning of the number 3 is holiness.

11:11-14 – God provided confirmation of what He showed Peter in the earlier vision.

11:15-18 – God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to the gentiles, also. The Jews listening to Peter praised God for this.

11:19-22 – How would the Jerusalem church react to the news about the increase of believers in Antioch? Why would they send Barnabas, an encourager, to the new believers since the Lord’s hand was on them and their numbers were increasing?

11:19 – the scattering brought the message to the places God wanted His message delivered to.

At this point, the disciples were still only delivering the gospel to the Jews.

11:20 – what is the Good News? Can you articulate what you believe to share your faith with others. Take a moment to contemplate, and perhaps write out, what you would say.

11:23-24 – Barnabas’ ministry of encouragement added large numbers to the believers in Antioch.

11:25 – Barnabas went looking for Saul. So, Saul was already known among the believers as a believer. Since Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit, he may have seen Saul’s spiritual potential and wanted to encourage it.

11:26 – Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch and they taught the believers together for a year. They probably taught them how to live and share their faith. For the first time, believers are called Christians. It’s a nickname. How do we receive nicknames? How do we create them for others? What do you think this particular nickname said about the people who were called Christians?

11:27-28 – Agabus was a prophet from Jerusalem who accurately predicted that there would be a famine throughout the Roman world.

11:27 – You always come “down” from Jerusalem regardless of the direction you are traveling because Jerusalem is a city on a hill. Conversely, to get there, you always go “up”.

11:29-30 – Because of Agabus’ prediction, Saul and Barnabas assumed the ministry of delivering donations to the brothers in Judea for famine relief.

11:29 – a concern for the welfare of others is a mark of Christian maturity.

Notice that the mere prediction of famine was enough to motivate the disciples to help.

Notice also that their aid was targeted to other believers. How can we put this example into practice in our own lives? Should we ignore the needs of non-believers?

• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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