1. A MIRACLE FROM GOD
a. Where did Paul go after Ephesus? Acts 20:1–5.
b. What happened on Saturday night when Paul was at Troas, as he preached in an upper chamber with many lights? Acts 20:6–12.
“Upon the last evening of [Paul’s] stay the brethren ‘came together to break bread.’ The fact that their beloved teacher was about to depart, had called together a larger company than usual. They assembled in an ‘upper chamber’ on the third story. There, in the fervency of his love and solicitude for them, the apostle preached until midnight.
“In one of the open windows sat a youth named Eutychus. In this perilous position he went to sleep and fell to the court below. At once all was alarm and confusion. The youth was taken up dead, and many gathered about him with cries and mourning. But Paul, passing through the frightened company, embraced him and offered up an earnest prayer that God would restore the dead to life. His petition was granted.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 391.
2. ON A MISSION FOR CHRIST
a. Why did Paul briefly separate from his fellow travelers? Acts 20:13.
“The ship on which Paul and his companions were to continue their journey, was about to sail, and the brethren hastened on board. The apostle himself, however, chose to take the nearer route by land between Troas and Assos, meeting his companions at the latter city. This gave him a short season for meditation and prayer. The difficulties and dangers connected with his coming visit to Jerusalem, the attitude of the church there toward him and his work, as well as the condition of the churches and the interests of the gospel work in other fields, were subjects of earnest, anxious thought, and he took advantage of this special opportunity to seek God for strength and guidance.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 391.
b. Where was Paul headed—and what did he do on the way? Acts 20:14–17.
c. What solemn message did Paul have for the Ephesians? Acts 20:18–27.
“Paul had not designed to bear this testimony; but, while he was speaking, the Spirit of Inspiration came upon him, confirming his fears that this would be his last meeting with his Ephesian brethren.”—Ibid., p.393.
d. What do pastoral leaders ever need to keep foremost in mind? Acts 20:28.
“He who holds the truth in unrighteousness, who declares his
belief in it, and yet wounds it every day by his inconsistent life, is surrendering himself to the service of Satan and leading souls to ruin.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 142.
“The church of God is purchased with the blood of Christ, and every shepherd should realize that the sheep under their care cost a priceless sum. . . . They should consider the sheep intrusted to their care of the highest value, and realize that they will be called to render a strict account of their ministry.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 125.
3. THE POWER OF THE TRUTH
a. Of what grave danger is the church to beware? Acts 20:29, 30.
“Never, never was there a time when the truth will suffer more from being misrepresented, belittled, demerited through the perverse disputings of men than in these last days. . . . The people are charmed with some strange, new thing, and are not wise in experience to discern the character of ideas that men may frame up as something. But to call it something of great consequence and tie it to the oracles of God does not make it truth. Oh, how this rebukes the low standard of piety in the churches. Men who want to present something original will conjure up things new and strange, and without consideration will step forward on these unstable theories that have been woven together as a precious theory, and present it as a life and death question.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1064.
b. How did Paul’s example and words reflect the teachings of Christ Himself? Acts 20:31–35.
“[Paul’s] toil-worn hands, as he presented them before the people, bore testimony that he was not chargeable to any man for his support. They detracted nothing, he deemed, from the force of his pathetic appeals, sensible, intelligent, and eloquent beyond those of any other man who had acted a part in the Christian ministry. . . .
“We do not think it is obligatory on all ministers to do in all respects as Paul did. Yet we say to all that Paul was a Christian gentleman of the highest type. His example shows that mechanical toil does not necessarily lessen the influence of anyone, that working with the hands in any honorable employment should not make a man coarse and rough and discourteous.”—Ibid.
c. What reveals how deeply the people were touched by Paul’s heartfelt appeals? Acts 20:36–38.
4. FEARLESS AND DETERMINED
a. As the missionaries journeyed, what warning came at Tyre—and what did they do before their departure from there? Acts 21:1–5.
b. Where did they go next? Acts 21:6–9.
c. Describe how another warning came to Paul—and the way he responded. Acts 21:10–14. How can his dedication inspire us?
“Paul attracted warm hearts wherever he went; his soul was linked to the soul of his brethren. When he parted with them, knowing and assuring them that they would never see his face again, they were filled with sorrow, and so earnestly besought him to still remain with them that he exclaimed, ‘What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?’ His sympathetic heart was breaking as he witnessed and felt their grief at this final separation. They loved him, and felt that they could not give him up. What Christian does not admire the character of Paul? Firm as a rock when standing in defense of the truth, he was affectionate and gentle as a child when surrounded by his friends.”—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1885.
“Keep the soul right. Let this be the language of the soul: I believe in God, in His providence, in the Bible, and in truth and clearness of purpose. I cannot, I will not, swerve one jot from my duty and the claims that the Lord has upon me. I cannot, I dare not, sacrifice in the least degree my vital interest in holy things in order to gain relief from the pressure of temporal embarrassment. I will wait any time; walk humbly with God; walk in meekness, in humility, in simplicity of soul till the Lord gives me success and victory in His own time and way.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 107.
d. When Paul arrived at Jerusalem, what news was brought to him? Acts 21:15–21.
5. PLACED IN SERIOUS DANGER
a. Explain the advice given to Paul and how he submitted. Acts 21:22–26.
“This concession was not in harmony with [Paul’s] teachings nor with the firm integrity of his character. His advisers were not infallible. Though some of these men wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, yet when not under its direct influence they sometimes erred.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1065.
b. Describe the disastrous result of this act—and how only Paul’s life was spared. Acts 21:27–32. How does history repeat itself?
“Elijah was declared to be a troubler in Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.”—The Great Controversy, p. 458.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When was the meeting on the first day of the week—and how do we know?
2. What does the apostle Paul teach me about guiding souls in the faith?
3. Explain the contrast between Paul and many professed preachers today.
4. Why was Paul such a devoted missionary and how can I be more like him?
5. How and why will the persecution like that against Paul soon be repeated?