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Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for November 29, 2015

Teaching God’s Word         Acts 18: 1-11, 18-21a

Focal Outline:           Acts 18: 1-4                            They worked together

                                    Acts 18: 5-11                          Proclaiming the word

                                    Acts 18: 18-21a                      Paul said farewell

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. For Paul and his team of missionaries, there was no finish line to run toward. No check-list to finish.
  2. Paul knew that it was important to surround himself with people who shared his values and interests.
  3. When Paul had resistance at Corinth, and got fed up with the people there, he could have quit. He didn’t.
  4. Creating relationships is crucial, even when we know we may only be somewhere for a short time.


Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. When you are faced with something that has no discernable ending, what can motivate and focus you?
  2. What kind of balance, challenge and nurture does your environment provide?
  3. What keeps you hanging with your faith? Your church? Your commitments?
  4. Why should we invest so deeply in relationships, even in those situations that seem only temporary?


Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]


Everyone’s job is no one’s job. I used to work with a pastor who said this a lot. His point, of course, was that if someone specific wasn’t assigned a task, or if no one took ownership of a task, it was far less likely to get done. Same thing for many of us, probably, with jobs that have no defined ending. No finish line. This is the challenge that Paul and the other earliest apostles took on with the spread of Christianity.

One could be satisfied to suggest that each stop they made, each church they started, had a set of tasks. They would teach or preach until the message had been communicated. Perhaps there were a certain number of responses they were hoping for as a goal (probably not). Or, maybe a defined number of weeks was their measuring stick. Then, they moved on. But, the job would never be done.

What moves you forward with a commitment? What keeps you coming back time after time to do a job that will never be finished? I have told you in the past that a wise, older minister gave me sage advice. He told me that in order to survive in ministry, I would have to make peace with the impossibility of the task. Well, first I had to ponder what “impossibility of the task” meant. But, he was right. Ministry is never done at the end of the day, the end of a year or at the end of a career. What keeps you obedient and faithful to God’s calls?

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. Is there one thing that you would say you have made your largest life investment in achieving? What would that be? What kept you going?


  1. Who is the friend who most helps you to grow in your faith? Why does that particular person seem to be the one who nudges you forward? Enjoy the sharing within your group.


  1. Even when he was only stopping somewhere for a short time, Paul seems to have built deep and lasting relationships? Why has God built the world seemingly to revolve so much around relationships?


  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p92 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. How do you treat goals that do not have a defined end? Why?




Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Scripture Context” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the focal passage using a variety of teaching methods…


           Acts 18: 1-4                            They worked together

In v1, what has just happened in Athens? (see p98) What do we learn about his new friends in v2? In v3-4, what kind of lifestyle and work did Paul set up there in Corinth?


Acts 18: 5-11                          Proclaiming the word

How would you describe the action between Paul and the Jews in v5-6? Why did Paul react as he did? In v7-8, what helpful factors does Paul have to work with here? What are the promises God makes to Paul in v9-10? What responses in v11 do we see from Paul to the vision?


Acts 18: 18-21a                      Paul said farewell

What leads Paul to leave in v18? What do you learn about Paul in v18? What is this “vow” he has taken? (Nazirite Jew) On the way to Syria, in v19-21a, what leads Paul back to a synagogue? Why do you think he declined to stay with the Jews there after his invitation to stay?


  1. On p99 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Through close relationships with people whose goals and beliefs are similar to ours, we find the support and encouragement we need to continue becoming the people God wants us to be.” How does this relate to Paul’s story? What can you draw from this for your own unfolding story?


  1. How does Ac 18: 24-28 relate to this passage? How about Mt 28: 19-20?


  1. On p103 our lesson writer says “Creating relationships is challenging when we know we will only be part of a community for a short time.” Paul has much to teach us in the simple act of his relationship-building. Wherever he went, he built an ever expanding network of friends. What can you learn from this quality?


  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour opens with a telling result from a U.S. survey on preaching. On p65, what are some unanswered questions about Priscilla and Aquilla? On p66, how did Paul fulfill Jesus’ advice from Mt 10:14? On p67, what did Paul do during 18 mos. at Corinth?


Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. Think about your closest and most supportive friends. Name who they are this week, giving thanks.
  2. Pray that God will work through your friendships to help you become a more committed disciple.
  3. Like Paul, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk with and get to know the people who cross our paths. Who knows what God might have in store for you—and how relationships may facilitate that faithful experience?


  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p97 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. What might have happened to the future of Christianity if Paul had given up easily in the face of negative responses?


People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

Uniform 11-29-15