Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


15. Acts 8–12

Discussion Questions

  1. What changes in perspective do you see in Acts 8–12 when compared with Acts 1–7?
  2. Contrast the contributions made by Philip, Ananias, and Cornelius.
  3. What explanation can be given for the fact that Tabitha had both an Aramaic and a Greek name?
  4. Compare the responses to the gospel made by Simon the sorcerer and Simon the tanner.
  5. Describe the contribution to early church growth made by John, Peter, and Paul.

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one of the following minor figures: Philip, the Ethiopian eunuch, Ananias, Aeneas, Tabitha, Simon the tanner, Cornelius, Barnabus, Agabus, and James the brother of John. Give each group a piece of paper with one of these names on it and have them keep this a secret. Have the groups play charades, acting out the occupation of the of individuals.
  2. Select a team of four students to debate the issue of whether Simon the sorcerer ever truly converted to Christianity. Allow fifteen minutes for this presentation to the class.
  3. Divide the class into groups of three to five. Have each group find a practical application for today from the stories of each of the following:
    a. Philip
    b. Ethiopian eunuch
    c. Ananias
    d. Tabitha
    e. Simon the tanner
    f. Simon the sorcerer
    g. Herod Agrippa
    h. Saul
  4. Divide the students into groups of five. Have each group select one of the people from Acts 8–12. Have them make a chart illustrating the following things: the geographical location of the work of the person, the key Scripture verses, the major contribution of the person, and what contemporary Christians can learn from the life of this person. Present the findings in a five-minute presentation to the class.
  5. Divide the class into groups of six to eight and have each group prepare and present a twenty-minute round table discussion of how the minor figures in Acts 8–12 affected the scope of the foundation of the early church.
  6. Divide the class into groups of three to five. Have each group plan to make a teaching device that can help children learn about the minor figures in Acts 8–12. Have them go to a church where there are underprivileged children and teach the lesson with the device. Present the device to that church and report to the class about how the device was used.