Unit 19, Day 4: Acts 18–19

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

Paul was rejected by many of the Jews in Corinth but had success there among the Gentiles. At Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla, a righteous married couple, instructed Apollos, a Jew from Alexandria, and helped him understand the way of God. Paul preached of the Holy Ghost, performed miracles, and avoided an unruly crowd in the theater at Ephesus.

Acts 18:1–17

Paul preaches in Corinth

  1. journal icon1.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What are some ways you have participated in the Lord’s work?

    2. b.

      What challenges have you experienced as you have tried to do the Lord’s work?

As you study Acts 18, look for a principle that can help you as you try to do the Lord’s work.

In Acts 18:1–5 we learn that Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth, where he taught in the synagogue. Read Acts 18:6, looking for challenges Paul experienced as he taught the Jews in Corinth about Jesus Christ.

What did Paul plan to do because the Jews in the synagogue rejected his message?

Read Acts 18:7–10, looking for what happened that may have encouraged Paul. Consider marking in verse 10 what the Lord promised Paul if he continued to preach the gospel in Corinth.

We can learn from these verses that if we live worthily, the Lord will be with us as we do His work. Consider writing this principle in the margin of your scriptures near Acts 18:9–10.

President Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson gave the following encouragement: “Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it” (“To Learn, to Do, to Be,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 62).

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Why is it important to know that the Lord will be with you as you do His work?

    2. b.

      When has the Lord been with you as you did His work? How did you know He was with you?

Acts 18:11–17 records that Paul continued to preach in Corinth for a year and a half. While he was in Corinth, certain Jews attempted to put him on trial for what he was teaching, but the legal deputy refused the case, thus fulfilling the Lord’s promise to Paul.

Acts 18:18–28

Aquila and Priscilla help Apollos understand the way of God

In Acts 18:18–23 we learn that a husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla, accompanied Paul to Ephesus. Leaving the couple in Ephesus, Paul traveled to the Jerusalem area and north to Antioch, where he concluded his second missionary journey. This missionary journey lasted three years. During this time Paul had traveled approximately 3,000 miles.

After some time, Paul departed Antioch and began his third missionary journey (see Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul”). On this journey he traveled once again over the areas where he had previously established branches of the Church, strengthening the disciples.

Read Acts 18:24–25, looking for what happened in Ephesus after Paul left.

What did Apollos already understand about “the things of the Lord” (verse 25)?

By “knowing only the baptism of John” (verse 25), Apollos lacked a complete understanding of Jesus Christ and His mission. Read Acts 18:26, looking for what Aquila and Priscilla did when they heard Apollos’s teaching.

The phrase “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (verse 26) means that Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos more about Jesus Christ and His gospel, which added to Apollos’s knowledge and understanding.

Read Acts 18:27–28, looking for evidence that Aquila and Priscilla helped Apollos understand the way of God more perfectly.

Acts 19:1–20

Paul bestows the gift of the Holy Ghost and performs miracles

As Paul began his third missionary journey, he traveled throughout the areas of Galatia and Phrygia (see Acts 18:23), and then he returned to Ephesus. Read Acts 19:2–6, looking for how Paul helped people in Ephesus to understand the way of God more perfectly.

Greek ruins

The ruins of the Greek theater at Ephesus, where the Apostle Paul preached

What doctrine did Paul help the disciples in Ephesus to better understand?

As you read the following statement, which was published under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, look for why these people in Ephesus needed to be rebaptized: “It seems … that some sectarian Jew had been baptizing like John [the Baptist], but had forgotten to inform them that there was one to follow by the name of Jesus Christ, to baptise with fire and the Holy Ghost:—which showed these converts that their first baptism was illegal, and when they heard this they were gladly baptised, and after hands were laid on them, they received the gifts, according to the promise” (“Baptism,” Times and Seasons, Sept. 1, 1842, 904).

From this experience we learn that to be valid, baptism must be performed by an authorized servant of God, and in order for baptism to be complete, it must be accompanied by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

Prophet Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that baptism must be accompanied by “the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands”: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 95).

In Acts 19:7–10 we learn that Paul continued to preach in Ephesus for more than two years. Read Acts 19:11–12, looking for what miracles God performed through Paul.

One doctrine we learn from this account is that one way God manifests His power is through His authorized servants.

Read Acts 19:13–16, looking for what happened when some men tried to cast out devils, as Paul had done.

Because the sons of Sceva did not have the priesthood authority to minister in the name of Jesus Christ, the evil spirit did not recognize or acknowledge their authority, even though they claimed to represent the Savior.

Read Acts 19:17–20, looking for what many individuals did after learning about this event. The phrase “curious arts” in verse 19 refers to sorcery and other evil practices.

How did these people show their faith in Jesus Christ?

We can learn the following principle from these verses: By confessing and forsaking evil practices, we show our faith in Jesus Christ.

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some sacrifices someone might need to make in order to forsake a sin he or she has confessed?

Ponder whether there are any sins the Lord wants you to confess and forsake. Choose to act on any promptings you may have felt as you studied this lesson.

Acts 19:21–41

Worshippers of the false goddess Diana speak against Paul and cause an uproar in the city

In Acts 19:21–41 we learn that some of the businesses in Ephesus were supported by the worship of the false goddess Diana. Because Paul preached against the worship of false gods, the craftsmen who created idols of Diana turned the people against Paul. The people took two of Paul’s companions and gathered in the city amphitheater, which could hold up to 24,000 people. Paul desired to speak to the crowd, but he was persuaded by some disciples and government leaders to not enter the theater. The town clerk eventually calmed and dispersed the people. Paul and his companions being protected is an example of how God’s work will continue despite wicked protests and persecutions.

  1. journal icon4.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Acts 18–19 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: