Lesson 95: Acts 18–19
    Footnotes

    “Lesson 95: Acts 18–19,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

    “Lesson 95,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

    Lesson 95

    Acts 18–19

    Introduction

    Paul was rejected by many of the Jews in Corinth but had success there among the Gentiles. A righteous married couple, Aquila and Priscilla, helped Apollos understand the way of God. Paul preached of the Holy Ghost, performed miracles, and avoided an unruly crowd in the theater at Ephesus.

    Suggestions for Teaching

    Acts 18:1–17

    Paul preaches in Corinth

    Read the following questions aloud, and invite students to write their answers in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:

    • What are some ways you have participated in the Lord’s work?

    • What challenges have you experienced as you have tried to do the Lord’s work?

    Ask a few students to share their responses. Invite students to look for a principle as they study Acts 18 that can help them as they try to do the work of the Lord.

    Summarize Acts 18:1–4 by explaining that Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth, where he taught in the synagogue about Jesus Christ. (You may want to invite students to open to Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul,” and find Athens and Corinth.)

    Ask a student to read Acts 18:5–6 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for challenges Paul experienced as he taught Jews in Corinth about Jesus Christ.

    • What challenges did Paul experience?

    • What did Paul plan to do because the Jews in the synagogue rejected his message?

    Invite a student to read Acts 18:7–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened that may have given encouragement to Paul.

    • What happened that may have given encouragement to Paul?

    • According to verse 10, what did the Lord promise Paul if he preached the gospel?

    • What principle can we learn from these verses about what the Lord will do for those who worthily do His work? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we live worthily, the Lord will be with us as we do His work.)

    • Why is it important to know that the Lord will be with you as you do His work?

    Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

    President Thomas S. Monson

    “Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this … is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it” (“To Learn, to Do, to Be,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 62).

    • When has the Lord been with you as you did His work? How did you know He was with you?

    Summarize Acts 18:11–17 by explaining that Paul continued to preach in Corinth for a year and a half (and likely wrote his epistles to the Thessalonians during this time). While he was in Corinth, certain Jews attempted to put Paul on trial for what he was teaching, but the legal deputy refused the case.

    Acts 18:18–28

    Aquila and Priscilla help Apollos understand the way of God

    Summarize Acts 18:18–23 by explaining that a husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla, accompanied Paul to Ephesus. Leaving the couple in Ephesus, Paul traveled to the Jerusalem area and then north to Antioch. At Antioch, he concluded his second missionary journey, which lasted three years and covered about 3,000 miles (about 4,828 kilometers). After some time, he departed Antioch and began his third missionary journey, traveling to the branches he had previously established and strengthening the members.

    Invite a student to read Acts 18:24–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened in Ephesus after Paul left.

    • What happened in Ephesus after Paul left?

    • What did Apollos already understand about “the things of the Lord”? (verse 25).

    • What knowledge did Apollos lack? (By “knowing only the baptism of John” [verse 25], Apollos lacked an understanding of the fulness of the Savior’s gospel.)

    Invite a student to read Acts 18:26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Aquila and Priscilla did when they heard Apollos’s teaching.

    • What did Aquila and Priscilla do when they heard Apollos’s teaching?

    • What does it mean that they “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly”? (verse 26). (Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos more about Jesus Christ and His gospel, which added to Apollos’s knowledge and understanding.)

    Invite a student to read Acts 18:27–28 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for evidence that Aquila and Priscilla helped Apollos understand the way of God more perfectly.

    • What phrases in these verses indicate that Aquila and Priscilla helped Apollos understand the way of God more perfectly?

    Acts 19:1–20

    Paul bestows the gift of the Holy Ghost and performs miracles

    Explain that after Paul traveled to various places, he returned to Ephesus. Invite a student to read Acts 19:2–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Paul helped people in Ephesus to understand the way of God more perfectly.

    • What doctrine did Paul help the disciples in Ephesus to understand more perfectly?

    Invite a student to read aloud the following statement published under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and ask the class to listen for why these people needed to be rebaptized:

    “It seems … that some sectarian Jew had been baptizing like John [the Baptist], but had forgotten to inform them that there was one to follow by the name of Jesus Christ, to baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost:—which showed these converts that their first baptism was illegal, and when they heard this they were gladly baptized, and after hands were laid on them, they received the gifts, according to promise” (“Baptism,” editorial published in Times and Seasons, Sept. 1, 1842, 904; spelling modernized; Joseph Smith was the editor of the periodical).

    • Why did some of the people at Ephesus need to be rebaptized?

    • What truths about baptism can we learn from Acts 19:2–6? (Although students may use different words, help them identify the following truths: Baptism must be performed by an authorized servant of God. In order for baptism to be complete, it must be accompanied by the reception of the Holy Ghost.)

    Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

    Prophet Joseph Smith

    “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 95).

    Summarize Acts 19:7–10 by explaining that Paul continued to preach in Ephesus for over two years.

    Invite a student to read Acts 19:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what miracles occurred in Ephesus while Paul was there.

    • What miracles did God perform through Paul?

    • What truth can we learn from this account about what God does through His authorized servants? (Using their own words, students should identify a truth such as the following: One way God manifests His power is through His authorized servants.)

    Invite a student to read Acts 19:13–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when some Jews tried to cast out devils as Paul had done.

    • What happened when the seven sons of the chief priest tried to cast out an evil spirit?

    • Who did the evil spirit recognize? Who did the evil spirit not recognize?

    • Why did the evil spirit not recognize the sons of Sceva? (Because they were not authorized to minister in the name of Jesus Christ.)

    Invite a student to read Acts 19:17–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what many individuals did after learning about this event. Explain that “curious arts” (verse 19) refer to sorcery and other evil practices.

    • What did many people do after this event to show that they had faith in Jesus Christ? (They confessed and forsook their evil practices by burning their books associated with those practices.)

    • What principle can we learn from these verses about how to manifest our faith in Jesus Christ? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: By confessing and forsaking evil practices, we manifest our faith in Jesus Christ.)

    • What sacrifices might we need to make in order to forsake a sin we have confessed?

    Testify of the importance of manifesting our faith in Jesus Christ by not only confessing our sins but also forsaking anything that may lead us to return to those sins.

    Invite students to ponder whether there is anything in their lives that the Lord would want them to forsake. Encourage them to act on any promptings they may have felt during this lesson.

    Acts 19:21–41

    Worshippers of the false goddess Diana speak against Paul and cause an uproar in the city

    Summarize Acts 19:21–41 by explaining that part of the economy in Ephesus was driven by the worship of Diana, who was a false Roman goddess. Paul’s preaching against the worship of false gods caused craftsmen who made shrines and idols of Diana to turn the people against Paul. The people gathered in the city theater (which could hold up to 24,000 people) in confusion and uproar. Paul desired to speak to the crowd, but he was persuaded by some disciples and government leaders not to enter the theater. The town clerk eventually calmed the crowd, and they dispersed. Point out that Paul’s protection is an example of how God’s work will not be thwarted even in the face of wicked protests. (It was during this time in Ephesus [about A.D. 57] that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.)

    Conclude by testifying of the truths taught in this lesson.

    Commentary and Background Information

    Acts 18:11–12. Can someone be healed with a handkerchief alone?

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

    “Healings come by the power of faith; there is no healing virtue or power in any item of clothing or other object, whether owned by Paul or Jesus or anyone. But rites and objects may be used to help increase faith” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:169).

    Acts 18:18. “Having shorn his head … : for he had a vow”

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the following about this verse:

    “‘As an incentive to greater personal righteousness, it is a wholesome and proper thing for the saints to make frequent vows to the Lord. These are solemn promises to perform some duty, refrain from some sin, keep some commandment, or press forward in greater service in the kingdom. Thus Jacob vowed to accept Jehovah as his God and to pay an honest tithing (Gen. 28:20–22), and Hannah vowed to give Samuel to the Lord for his service. (1 Sam. 1:9–18.)

    “‘The saints should offer their vows both on the Lord’s day and on all days (D&C 59:8–12); and once offered, they are to be kept. (D&C 108:3; Num. 30:2; Eccles. 5:4–5.) …’ (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 825.)

    “What Paul’s vow was is not clear. From the fact that he shaved his head it is assumed he may have been following the Jewish custom where Nazarites are concerned. (Num. 6.) If so he was performing an unnecessary and improper rite, for the apparent purpose of humoring either the Jewish segment of the Church or prospective Jewish converts or both. Compare Acts 21:17–26” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:165).

    Acts 19:13. “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists”

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the following about false priests:

    “In imitation of the true order whereby devils are cast out of people, false ministers (having no actual priesthood power) attempt to cast them out by exorcism. This ungodly practice was probably more common anciently than it is now, because few people today believe either in miracles or in the casting out of literal devils. But over the years it has not been uncommon for so-called priests to attempt to expel evil spirits from persons or drive them away from particular locations by incantations, conjuration, or adjuration” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 259).