“Unit 19, Day 1: Acts 13–14,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 19, Day 1,” New Testament Study Guide
Paul (formerly called Saul) embarked on his first missionary journey with Barnabas as his companion. They preached the gospel and established branches of the Church amidst continued persecution. When the Jews refused to receive the word of God, Paul and Barnabas focused on preaching among the Gentiles.
The following scale represents the amount of opposition a person might encounter when trying to live the gospel. One end of the scale represents no opposition, and the other end of the scale represents constant opposition.
Write the name Moses in the place on the scale that you think demonstrates the level of opposition Moses faced. Do the same for Joseph Smith and for Nephi. Based on the opposition you have received as you have tried to live the gospel, where would you write your name on the scale?
Every disciple of Jesus Christ will encounter opposition at different times and at different levels in his or her life. As you study Acts 13–14, look for principles that can help guide you when you encounter opposition in your efforts to live righteously.
In Acts 13:1–2 we learn that as certain prophets and teachers were gathered in Antioch, they received direction from the Holy Ghost that Saul and Barnabas should be called to preach the gospel together.
Before this mission call, Paul had spent the time since his conversion learning the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Galatians 1:17–18) and then teaching and preaching the gospel in Damascus, Jerusalem, Tarsus, Syria, Cilicia, and Antioch (see Bible Dictionary, “Paul”). Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus who had converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Acts 4:36).
We learn in Acts 13:3–6 that after Saul and Barnabas were set apart for their mission, they traveled from Antioch to the island of Cyprus and preached in a synagogue in the city Salamis. From there they traveled to the other side of the island to the city Paphos.
Read Acts 13:6–8, looking for what happened when Saul and Barnabas arrived in Paphos.
Read Acts 13:9–12, looking for what happened to Elymas (called Bar-jesus in Acts 13:6), the sorcerer and false prophet. You might consider marking how witnessing God’s power influenced a Roman deputy, Sergius Paulus, in verse 12.
One principle we can learn from Acts 13:9–12 is that the power of God is far greater than the power of the devil. Consider writing this principle in your scriptures next to these verses.
- Respond to the following in your scripture study journal:
Explain how understanding that God’s power is far greater than the power of the devil can help you as you face opposition in your life.
List two or three situations in which remembering this principle could help you.
Think of a mistake you have made that you wish you could go back and erase. Sometimes the opposition we face occurs because of our own sinful choices. As you study Acts 13:14–43, look for a principle that can help you overcome this kind of opposition.
Acts 13:14–37 records that Paul and Barnabas left Cyprus and sailed to Pamphylia, which was on the southern coast of present-day Turkey. For some unspecified reason, one of their traveling companions, John Mark, decided to leave them and return home. On the Sabbath, Paul stood before the men at the synagogue in the city of Antioch in Pisidia and recounted Israelite history, including bondage in Egypt, obtaining the promised land, God’s calling of King David, and the coming of a Savior through the seed of David. Paul then taught about the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
Read Acts 13:32–33, looking for what Paul taught about Jesus Christ. You may want to mark in your scriptures what he taught about the Savior.
Read Acts 13:38–39, looking for what blessing Paul taught we can receive through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
From Acts 13:38–39 we learn the following principle: We can be forgiven of our sins and justified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The word justified, as used in verse 39, means “to be pardoned [or forgiven] from punishment for sin and declared guiltless” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Justification, Justify,” scriptures.lds.org). When a person is justified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, his or her relationship with God is again made right.
As you read what Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about what it means to be justified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, mark the blessings that he said come through repentance: “Jesus suffered and gave His life to atone for sin. The power of His Atonement can erase the effects of sin in us. When we repent, His atoning grace justifies and cleanses us (see 3 Nephi 27:16–20). It is as if we had not succumbed, as if we had not yielded to temptation” (“That They May Be One in Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2002, 71).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What must we do to be forgiven of our sins and justified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
Who are some people from the scriptures who were forgiven of their sins and justified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
If you have access to a Church hymnbook, sing or read the first two verses of “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193). As you sing or read, look for how the writer of the hymn expressed his gratitude for the Savior’s Atonement and forgiveness.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What feelings do you have toward Jesus Christ when you think about how His Atonement makes it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins?
Please follow any promptings you may have received from the Holy Ghost to help you receive forgiveness and justification through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:40–43 explains that after Paul’s sermon, many Gentiles asked him to teach again on the following Sabbath.
On the next Sabbath day nearly the entire city came to hear Paul and Barnabas teach the word of God.
Read Acts 13:44–52, comparing the attitudes and actions of the Jews and the attitudes and actions of the Gentiles as they came to hear Paul and Barnabas speak. The “devout and honourable women” mentioned in verse 50 were those who were highly regarded in their community.
Note that the Joseph Smith Translation of Acts 13:48 clarifies that “as many as believed were ordained unto eternal life” (Joseph Smith Translation, Acts 13:48 [in Acts 13:48, footnote a]). The word ordained in this verse could imply that they were converted and took the steps necessary to gain eternal life. Those steps would include baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, obedience, and enduring with faith to the end.
Why do you think the Lord allows good people to experience difficult trials?
As you study Acts 14, look for a principle that can help you understand how to answer this question.
Acts 14:1–21 describes some of the tribulations that Paul and Barnabas endured as they continued to preach. Read the following passages, looking for what tribulations the missionaries faced, and consider marking them in your scriptures:
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What thoughts might you have had if you had been with Paul and Barnabas during these trials?
Read Acts 14:22, looking for what Paul taught about tribulation.
From this verse we learn the following principle: As we faithfully pass through tribulation, we will be prepared to enter the celestial kingdom.
Ponder blessings that have come to you or to people you know as you or they have faithfully passed through tribulations. In what ways do you think faithfully enduring trials can prepare us for the kingdom of heaven?
Choose a principle you have learned as you studied Acts 13–14 that will help you most during trials. Write the principle you chose on a small note card or piece of paper. Consider placing it where you will see it often (a mirror, your school locker, or some other place you often look) to provide strength and encouragement as you face tribulation.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Acts 13–14 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: