Inductive Bible Study: Acts 20:1-6

This week I want to share a brief moment from my sojourn in Acts.

I’ve been reading Acts for the past 2 months or so. While it’s full of incredible miracles and an amazing example of steadfastness under pressure — truthfully, Acts isn’t my favorite of the book in the Bible.

The matter-of-factly writing and the focus on the actions didn’t appeal to me as much as the poetic language of apocalyptic prophesy or the wisdom filled parables of Christ.

But one morning during devotion, the Lord brought to light the importance of Acts. By His Spirit, He placed an understanding on my heart. An understanding that I had not been looking enough at the actions of the apostles in relation to my own ministry.

The moment He opened my eyes to this, my experience through Acts completely shifted. This IBS is the first one I’ve done in Acts after that shift.

Photo by Matthieu Da Cruz on Unsplash

Paul in Macedonia and Greece
Acts 20:1 here we resume with Paul as he fled from the riot in Ephesus. Before leaving he encouraged the church there in a way that was probably very loving.

Acts 20:2-3 Paul and his team went to Greece where he spent 3 months. There, a group of Jews plotted against him. Once they did this he left for Syria by way of Macedonia.

Acts 20:4 Paul brought a number of disciples. They had come from many countries he had visited, including Derbe, Thessalonia , Trophimus, and Asia.

Acts 20:5-6 these guys went ahead in Troas. Paul and his current team (with Timothy and Luke) arrived a few days later.

Who was present in this scene?
Paul
Timothy
Luke
Sopater the Berean
Aristarchus the Thessalonian
Secundus the Thessalonian
Gaius of Derbe
Timothy of Derbe
Tychicus of Asia
Trophimus of Asia
Jews in Greece

What was going on?
Encouraging
Plotting
Sailing
Waiting

Where did this take place?
Ephesus
Greece
Syria
Troas

When did this take place?
After the death and resurrection
After the salvation of Paul
Before Paul returned to Jerusalem

How did things happen?
Traveling and talking to churches that had already been established.

Why did these things to take place?
To encourage existing churches in the faith.

Keywords and Phrases
3x days
2x Encourage
2x sail

Uproar
Farewell
Depart
Plot

Theme
Paul and his team of disciples from many churches were in a season of traveling to existing churches to encourage the body of Christ. Along the way, Jews in these towns often plotted against them. Once people started to uproar, Paul and the team would get back on the road.

Photo by Matthieu Da Cruz on Unsplash


Interpretation
Paul’s ministry in this season marks a shift from the first part of acts. In early acts, he was primarily sharing the gospel and planting churches. His team was much smaller and the Jews did not rise up against his presence so quickly.

Now he has a large team of people from many of the cities he had planted churches in. With this team he is spending time visiting existing churches that have been planted and he is encouraging them. He’s doing more traveling now, and it seems like he is staying in these places for less time.

Application
Apply the heart of this reading with rigid honesty
There is a time for traveling and sewing seeds of the Word of God. There is a time for watering the seeds have sprouted. I have never travelled for the sake of encouraging those who have turned to the faith, to be honest.

What will you change in light of this scripture?
I will start traveling to encourage friends who have turned to the faith. The purpose of my travels now should be singularly for ministry — either sewing or watering.

Now you try 🙂

I’m pretty new to doing these Inductive Bible Studies to be completely honest. But the Lord has put it on my heart to share the things he’s teaching me with you. If you have a completely different understanding of these scriptures or a different way of applying them to your life please drop a comment, I’d love to get your perspective.

As always, If you’ve been encouraged by any of the Bible studies or resources here, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly Bible studies.

Love you fam,

Marcus

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