Acts + Letters Lesson 12 Day 3

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Acts 15:12-21

Questions for Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 12

The controversy

6. Barnabas and Paul recap what God has done.

They shared the signs, wonders and miracles God worked through them among the non-Jewish people as proof that God “acknowledged these Gentiles as full partners in his work.” (David Guzik) “The Gentiles became fellow heirs with the Jews without becoming Jews.” (AWLC)

The sorcerer struck blind because he interfered when Paul shared the gospel with the proconsul. (Acts 13:11)

A man in the pagan city of Lystra who was lame from birth had never walked in his life. Paul saw the man had faith, so he shouted,  “‘Stand upright on your feet!’ He leaped up and walked.” (Acts 14:10)

Paul, stoned by the Jews and left for dead (he may have been dead), got up when the disciples gathered around him (no doubt praying) and went into the city. At the very least, he made a miraculous recovery. He and Barnabas left for Derbe the following day. (Footnote in Spirit Filled Life Bible)

A sign and wonder in my life

My daughter-in-law, too sick to be out of bed for ten years, continues to improve. It’s miraculous.

7. a. James, the half-brother of Jesus, offers his opinion.

Don’t burden the non-Jews who are turning to God.

Only these three things (and not the entire law of Moses):

Avoid food polluted by idols, sexual immorality, what is strangled, and from blood.

All four of the requested abstentions related to ceremonial laws laid down in Leviticus 17 and 18, and three of them concerned dietary matters which could inhibit Jewish-Gentile common meals. (Stott via Enduring Word)

James and the Jerusalem church ruled that faith alone in God’s grace produced salvation (Ephesians 2:8). The things listed in this verse aren’t essential for obtaining salvation. That would undo the point James had already made. But they felt it necessary to encourage the Gentiles toward a minimum standard of holiness, which they gave here. Holiness is a fruit and not the root of salvation (Romans 6:22). (AWLC)

b. James quotes a prophecy about Gentiles from Amos 9:11-12

In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.

c. James bases his decision on scripture.

The passage “says that salvation will come to the Gentiles. This demonstrates that what God did among the Gentiles had a Biblical foundation.” (Enduring Word)

He also refers to Simeon’s (Peter’s) experience with Cornelius. (Acts 10)

This was all part of God’s plan revealed in scripture.

8. Godly dispute resolution

All parties shared their story.

James listened until everyone finished, then gave his decision based on scripture.

“They couldn’t just agree to disagree on this issue, because it was at the core of what meant to be a follower of Jesus.” (Enduring Word)


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Scripture references taken from the public domain WEB translation unless we identify another source.

My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 12 Day 3