Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


16. Acts 13–28

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Illustrate how God showed that his love was not limited to one race or ethnic group
  • Outline the content of Acts 13–28
  • Trace the first missionary journey
  • Identify the significance of the second missionary journey
  • List the highlights of the third missionary journey
  • Discuss events in Paul’s life after his arrest in Jerusalem

Chapter Summary

  1. Acts 13–28 makes the point that God’s love is for all who will respond to the gospel, not for any one race or ethnic group.

  2. At least three missionary journeys were undertaken by Paul, and each began in the city of Antioch in Syria.

  3. The first missionary journey went from Syrian Antioch to Cyprus to Perga in Pamphylia to Galatia and back to Syrian Antioch.

  4. Some Jews could not accept that salvation was a free gift of God’s grace; they insisted that to be acceptable to God one must establish one’s righteousness through Jewish beliefs and customs.

  5. The Jerusalem Council provides an important record of how an issue should be debated and settled; the result was the clear establishment of the authentic gospel early in the growth of the church.

  6. The principle that gentile Christians should forgo their own freedom in the interest of cultural sensitivity when this could be done without theological compromise was suggested by James. Peter and Paul had already endorsed the same principle.

  7. The second missionary journey opened a ministry in Europe.

  8. At Ephesus on his third missionary journey, Paul began his longest continuous ministry in a single location.

  9. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea, and his case was heard by Felix, Festus, and Herod Agrippa II. He appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome.

  10. Paul’s imprisonment in Rome gave him the opportunity to spread the gospel there.

Study Questions

  1. What is xenophobia? What do the Old Testament, Jesus, and Acts 13–28 have in common in the way they address this problem?

  2. What role did Antioch play in the life of Paul and the early church?

  3. What issue did the Jerusalem Council debate? How should we apply its decisions today?

  4. What effect did the spread of the gospel have at Ephesus?

  5. How did Paul, a prisoner, know that he would eventually reach Rome?

  6. How did Paul’s appeal to Caesar both save and trap him?

  7. For what reason, in Paul’s own view, was he “in chains”? What reasons might others give?

  8. In what sense did Paul’s arrival in Rome represent a fulfilling of what God told Ananias in Acts 9? How many years passed between Paul’s conversion and his arrival in Rome?