Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9 - Acts 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 18. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • After preaching in Athens, Paul goes west to the city of Corinth. There he spends time working in the as a tent maker (including with some new friends, Priscilla and Aquila) and preaching in the synagogue (kind of like church for Jewish people). But Paul has almost had it with Corinth and must be ready to give up, because God speaks to him in a vision and encourages him to keep going.
  • Paul later sails for Ephesus with his new friends. While in Ephesus, Paul starts another church. After this he sails to Israel and makes his way back to Antioch. This ends his second missionary journey.
  • Paul then sets out a third time to strengthen the churches he had started on previous journeys. At this point another apostle, Apollos, shows up on the scene. We're told Apollos knows the Scriptures, but only knew of the baptism of John. This may mean he knew a Savior was coming, but didn't know He had already come in Jesus. Or it may indicate He knew Jesus came, but had not heard of Jesus' death and resurrection. Priscilla and Aquila explain to him the way of God more adequately.  
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Priscilla and Aquilla are forced to leave their home in Rome, which must have been very upsetting. But it turns out because of that negative event they get to meet Paul, who helped grow their faith, and they got to meet Apollos, who they helped to grow in his faith.
  • Paul is doing all he can to help people know about Jesus and to advance God's Kingdom. We need to do the same. At one point we see Paul is apparently discouraged so God speaks to him (verses 9-10) re-assuring him and building up his resolve. We need to learn to go to God when we're discouraged rather than feeling defeated or quiting.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is a negative "event" in your life right now? How might God be able to use it for good? How can you seek the good in it and have a better attitude about it?
  • In what ways are you feeling discouraged or like you want to quit? What have you done with those feelings? Take them to God and seek his encouragement.