We recently studied how the Apostle Paul entered into Pisidian Antioch and left with a great result of the local disciples sharing the word of God throughout the region. Here is what we discussed.
First, we read Acts 13:13-52 and then asked five questions, answering the questions separately and then discussing our separate responses between us back in a group setting. Here are the questions that we asked along with my ideas for each of the answers:
Where do Paul and Barnabas go when they entered into Pisidian Antioch? Why do they go there?
Paul and Barnabas enter into the synagogue. There are probably a few reasons that they do this:
- Paul believes that the Gospel must first go to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.
- They know that there will be Jews in the synagogue who are interested in learning more about the things of God.
- They are wanting to tell the Jews about Jesus and start the process of making disciples. Paul and Barnabas believed that this would be an optimal place to start that process.
What does Paul speak about in the synagogue? Why does he speak about this?
Paul starts his narrative of the Israelite people with the exodus from Egypt and continues to tell the story that the Jews would already know. However, he doesn’t leave them there. Instead, he continues the story with the part that they don’t know by speaking about John the Baptist, who called people to repentance, and Jesus, explaining that he fulfilled the scriptures that the Jews read in the synagogue on every Sabbath day.
By speaking in this way, Paul starts with what the people already know. He tells them the story of the Jews to get them thinking about their own past, but then he tells them the rest of the story and explains that the future has come, even now. Jesus Christ is the Messiah that they have been waiting for. He has been here already and now they must follow him!
How do Paul and Barnabas spend the majority of their time while they are in Pisidian Antioch? How do you know? Why do they do this?
In verse 43, it says this:
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.Acts 13:43
While the text records what Paul said as he preached in the synagogue, taking up the majority of the space on the page in chapter 13, the majority of the time that Paul and Barnabas spend in Pisidian Antioch is spent in encouragement, and presumably in teaching and discipling the new believers who are now following them.
Paul and Barnabas know that they don’t intend to stay for a long time, so they needed to make disciples who would stay there in that city and continue the work that they started. Of course, they couldn’t have known that they would soon be persecuted and chased from the town as a result of the jealousy of the Jewish leaders, but their strategy has been to enter into the new locations, preach and make disciples, and continue on to the next location, leaving behind disciples that will continue the work of spreading the Gospel.
As a result, to follow through on this strategy, during the rest of the days of the week outside of the time that they are preaching and teaching in the synagogue, Paul and Barnabas are spending their time discipling the new believers.
Where do Paul and Barnabas go after the Jews refuse to believe and send them out of the synagogue? Why do they do this?
Paul tells the Jewish leaders that, because they have not considered themselves worthy of the Gospel, they will now go to the Gentiles.
Paul understands that the Gospel is for everyone. Previously, the Jews were God’s chosen people and believed that God was only the God of the Jews. They didn’t realize that God wanted to use the Jewish people to reach the rest of the world, bringing the nations to him. Paul understands this and so, while he went to the Jews first with the good news of Jesus, he also went to the Gentiles to take the message also to them. By sharing the message that the Gentiles can know God through Jesus Christ, Paul brings God even more glory, unifying these different groups of people under the lordship of Jesus.
What was the positive result of Paul and Barnabas’s work in Pisidian Antioch? How did that happen?
Paul and Barnabas won new believers from amongst the Jews and the Gentiles and then continued to encourage and teach these new believers, leaving behind disciples of Jesus. This resulted in verse 49 which says that the word of the Lord spread through the whole region!
Put it into practice
At the end of our time and then in the following meeting, we focused on two questions that we wanted each person to consider, develop an answer, and respond to:
First, we see that Paul evangelized and then took those disciples and continued to teach and encourage them. How can we develop a strategy to do the same? How can we connect our evangelism to our discipleship efforts?
Second, how can we teach and disciple others to learn to do the same?