“July 29–August 4. Acts 22–28: ‘A Minister and a Witness’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“July 29–August 4. Acts 22–28,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
“When we are on the Lord’s errand,” President Thomas S. Monson promised, “we are entitled to the Lord’s help” (“To Learn, to Do, to Be,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 62). We are not entitled, however, to a smooth road and an endless stream of successes. For evidence of this, we need look no further than Paul the Apostle. His errand from the Savior was “to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). In chapters 22–28 of Acts, we see Paul fulfilling this errand and facing great opposition—chains, imprisonment, physical abuse, a shipwreck, and even a snake attack. But we also see that Jesus “stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul” (Acts 23:11). Paul’s experiences are an inspiring reminder that when the Lord’s servants accept His call to “go … and teach all nations,” He will fulfill His promise to them: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19–20).
When Paul delivered the powerful testimonies recorded in Acts 22 and 26, he was being held prisoner by Roman soldiers. The people he spoke to had the power to condemn him to death. Yet he chose to boldly bear witness of Jesus Christ and “the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19) he had received. What inspires you about his words? Consider the opportunities you have to share your testimony. For example, when was the last time you told your family or others about how you gained your testimony of the gospel?
The book of Acts contains three accounts of Paul’s miraculous vision on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9:3–20; 22:1–21; 26:9–20). Each of these accounts is slightly different from the others, and some provide more detail than others. Because the accounts were told to different audiences for different purposes, it is reasonable that Paul chose to emphasize different parts of the experience for each audience.
Similarly, Joseph Smith recorded several accounts of his First Vision (see “First Vision Accounts,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org). The various accounts were given to different audiences for different purposes and provide insights that would not be available if only one account existed.
As Paul’s ministry clearly shows, difficulties in our lives are not a sign that God disapproves of the work we are doing. In fact, sometimes it is during the difficulties that we feel His support most strongly. It might be interesting to review what you’ve read recently about Paul’s ministry and list some of the things he endured (see, for example, Acts 14:19–20; 16:19–27; 21:31–34; 23:10–11; 27:13–25, 40–44). How did the Lord stand by him, and what does this teach you about your own efforts in the Lord’s service?
Throughout his ministry, Paul bore powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Many people accepted his witness, but not everyone did. As you read Acts 24:24–27 and Acts 26:1–3, 24–29, write words and phrases that show how the following Roman rulers in Judea reacted to Paul’s teachings:
While sailing to Rome to be tried by Caesar, Paul prophesied that “hurt and much damage” would come to the ship and its passengers (Acts 27:10). Read chapter 27 to find out how Paul’s shipmates reacted to his warnings. Do you find any lessons for yourself in their experience?
Have you ever reacted like any of these people when you heard the teachings of Church leaders? What are some possible consequences of reacting in these ways? What do you learn from these accounts about heeding the counsel of the Lord through His servants?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Before his conversion, Paul had a long history of offenses toward God. But because he was willing to repent, he was able to say, “Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (see also D&C 135:4). How can we rid our conscience of offenses toward God and others?
In these verses, what did the Lord call Paul to do? What opportunities do we have to do similar things?
Does anyone in your family like snakes? You may want to ask that person or another family member to tell the stories found in Acts 28:1–9. Your children might enjoy drawing a picture of these stories or acting them out. What lessons can we learn from these accounts? One might be that the Lord fulfills His promises to His servants. For example, you could compare the promises made in Mark 16:18 with their fulfillments in Paul’s experiences. You could also find in a recent general conference address a promise made by one of the Lord’s servants—perhaps one that is meaningful to your family—and display it in your home. How can we show our faith that this promise will be fulfilled?
Like the Church in Paul’s day (called a “sect” in verse 22), the Church today is often “spoken against.” When people spoke against the Savior and His Church, how did Paul respond? What can we learn from Paul’s experience?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.