Study Text: Acts 13:1-12
Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What is the best description of how you organize your day? a) I plan my work and work my plan. b) I have set goals for the day that are addressed as circumstances allow. c) I play it by ear, taking one crisis at a time. Explain.
2. List some parts of your daily routine. How do you deal with interruptions to that routine?
Read Acts 13:1-5.
1. Review Acts 11:19-26, noting the positions Barnabas and Saul (Paul) held in the Antioch church. How would their daily routines change after accepting the assignment given by the Spirit in Acts 13:2? Why did they accept that assignment?
2. Summarize the backgrounds of each of the three men on this mission team. (See Acts 4:36, 37; 12:5, 12; 22:3; Galatians 1:14). How might these experiences have prepared those on this team, what they did, and where they went?
Read Acts 13:6-8.
3. Notice that the opposition Paul and Barnabas faced was not from those claiming to be secular. From what we read in these verses, how might Elymas have described his religious beliefs? How might he have been like those today who claim no organized religion, but describe themselves as “spiritual?”
4. What do these verses tell us about the power and person of Sergius Paulus? How would you relate the interaction of the missionaries, Elymas, and Sergius Paulus to what Paul wrote some years later about spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-12)?
Read Acts 13:9-12.
5. The word “Bar” in a Jewish man’s name means “son of.” Paul made a play on words to distinguish between how Elymas was commonly named (v. 6) and the sorcerer’s true nature (v. 10). From Paul’s words, try to explain why Paul’s name for Elymas was more appropriate. Why is it important for us to point out the differences between those who just claim to be “sons of Jesus” and true followers of Christ?
6. What lasting impact did the confrontation between Paul and Elymas have on the citizens of Paphos long after Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark had sailed away? How do you determine when to have a confrontation that may become messy and when to simply walk away?
7. After this account, the Bible refers to Saul as Paul (v. 9). As missionary trips continued, why might the Roman name of Paul have been used rather than the Hebrew name of Saul? When might we make slight adjustments in our word choices to be more effective in sharing the gospel?