Sermon Bible Study Guides

in Acts

Acts 21:1-16 - 3rd September 2021

OBSERVATION
What does it say?

  1. Read Acts 21:1-6 (It may help you to read the previous chapter or two to catch up on what's been happening).
  2. What locations or settings are mentioned?
  3. Who is "we" in verse 21, 22, etc.?
  4. What other characters are mentioned? How are they described?
  5. What are repeated words/phrases?
  6. What problem arises in this narrative?

INTERPRETATION
What does it mean?

  1.  In verse 4, what do you think it means that "through the Spirit" they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem?
  2. Where else do we see Agabus in Acts? What was he doing? (see 11:28)
  3. Something about the prophecies from the disciples and Agabus was wrong because we also see the Spirit guiding Paul to go to Jerusalem (v. 14).
    1. Are these contradictions? How can we make sense of this?
    2. Is it possible that there is simply a mistake in the interpretation of the prophecy? 
    3. Does 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 help us here?
  4. Why was Paul so determined to go to Jerusalem?
    1. Do you think that Paul should have listened to the warnings?

APPLICATION
How should it change us?

  1. We see the love between Paul and the disciples at Tyre by their solemn goodbye.
    1. Do you have deep friendships with Christians, especially in our church?
    2. How can you make your Christian friendships deeper and more meaningful?
  2. Do you think the gift of prophecy continues to today? 
    1. Are your convictions based on experience, scripture, or something else?
  3. How do you see God's Spirit working in your life? (perhaps to convict, comfort, help, or guide you)
  4. How can we grow in our zeal for the Lord's will to be done, like Paul and the disciples in verses 13-14?
in James

Psalm 126 - 27th August 2021

OBSERVATION
What does it say?

  1. Read Psalm 126.
  2. What moods or emotions does the psalmist express? (look for emotional words or punctuation)
  3. What imagery does the psalmist use?
  4. Do you see any similarities between this Psalm and the previous Songs of Ascent? (Psalm 120, 121, 122, 123, 124)
  5. Are there repeated words or ideas?
  6. What contrasts do you see? (e.g. light and darkness)

INTERPRETATION
What does it mean?

  1. What event(s) do you think that the psalmist had in mind when he says "when the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion"?
  2. What do you think this expression means: "We were like those who dream"? What emotion does it convey?
  3. How is the blessing of Israel connected to the nations? (cross-reference Josh. 4:24, Ps. 96:10, Deut. 29:24-28)
  4. In verses 1-3, the Psalmist seems to be looking back at God's past restoration. How does the mood shift in verses 4-6?
  5. The Negeb was an arid, desert region in the southern part of Israel. What, then, do you think is the meaning of the simile in verse 4?
    1. How does this connect to the the imagery of "seed for sowing" in verses 5 and 6?
  6. Is there anything in this passage that points to or foreshadows truths of the gospel? (e.g. Has Jesus fulfilled any of the prayers or longings we see? Is there anything pointing to sin, judgment, salvation, God's love, etc.? )

APPLICATION
How should it change us?

  1. How have you seen "great things" has the Lord done in your own life?
    1. Does this encourage you to pray?
    2. Does it give you joy that is seen by others?
  2. In Christ we have been saved, but we are still waiting for His return and our salvation being complete.
    1. How does this connect with the prayer in verse 4? 
    2. How can you be praying for restoration for yourself and for one another?
  3. What do you think it looks like for Christians to "sow" through tears and weeping?
    1. Do we know that things will always get better? That what makes us sad today will be gone tomorrow or next week or next year?
    2. What does it mean for Christians, then, to "reap with shouts of joy"?
    3. How does the hope of heaven encourage you to endure suffering today?

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