“Unit 20, Day 1: Acts 20–22,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 20, Day 1,” New Testament Study Guide
Paul preached the gospel in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), and while he was in Miletus, a city near Ephesus, he warned of a future apostasy and encouraged priesthood leaders to edify Church members. He then traveled to Jerusalem, where he was persecuted and arrested. While standing on the steps of the Antonia fortress (a garrison where Roman troops stayed), Paul shared his conversion story.
Think of a time when you had to leave your family, friends, or other people you care about for several days, weeks, or months.
What kinds of feelings did you or those you were with have before you left?
What did you say to each other before parting?
During Paul’s third missionary journey, he spent time in Macedonia, Greece, and Asia Minor (see Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul,” in the Bible appendix). During this journey, he felt impressed to return to Jerusalem. As he traveled, he stopped to preach and say good-bye to Church members along the way. The night before his departure from Troas, Paul spoke with the Saints long into the night.
Read Acts 20:9–12, looking for what happened to a young man named Eutychus after he fell asleep during Paul’s sermon. Consider marking in your scriptures what Paul did to show love and concern for Eutychus.
How were Paul’s actions like those of the Savior during His ministry?
As part of his third missionary journey, Paul spent about three years in Ephesus laboring among the people there. In Acts 20:13–17 we learn that on his way to Jerusalem, Paul paused in Miletus, just outside of Ephesus, and sent word for the Church leaders of Ephesus to meet with him.
Read Acts 20:18–23, looking for what Paul explained about his missionary service.
Paul stated that he “kept back nothing that was profitable” (Acts 20:20) from those he taught. Notice in Acts 20:21 how Paul taught that which was most profitable—he testified that everyone needed to repent and have faith on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
According to verses 22–23, Paul was willing to face whatever afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem. He was particularly susceptible to danger in Jerusalem, where the Jewish leaders viewed him as a traitor because of his efforts to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, one of the reasons Paul was willing to go to Jerusalem was because the Spirit of the Lord had directed him to do so.
From Acts 20:24–27, we learn that true servants of the Lord faithfully perform their duty, and in doing so they feel joy. You may want to write this truth in your scriptures or your scripture study journal.
Ponder what it means for you to give your all in the service of God.
How can you apply this principle in your own life?
- Think of a time in your life or in the life of someone you know when you or the other person chose to serve the Lord with all energy and strength and experienced great joy. Briefly describe this experience and the lesson you may have learned from it in your scripture study journal.
Paul visited Church leaders of Ephesus for the last time before departing for Jerusalem. If you were in Paul’s position and knew that you would not see these Church leaders again, what advice would you give them before you left?
Read Acts 20:28–31, looking for Paul’s warnings to these Church leaders.
Paul used wolves as a metaphor for unfaithful Church members and people who would deceive faithful Church members.
In Acts 21:1–10 we learn that Paul continued his journey toward Jerusalem and stopped in different regions to spend time with Church members along the way. When he stopped in the city of Tyre, some disciples—evidently concerned for Paul’s safety—advised him not to go to Jerusalem (see Acts 21:4).
In Caesarea, a prophet named Agabus prophesied concerning what would happen to Paul in Jerusalem.
Read Acts 21:11, looking for what Agabus prophesied would happen to Paul in Jerusalem. The word girdle refers to a belt.
Read Acts 21:12–14, looking for how Paul and his companions responded to the prophecy.
What stands out to you about Paul’s response?
Not all servants of the Lord are asked to sacrifice their lives. However, true servants of the Lord are willing to do God’s will regardless of the personal cost.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What kinds of sacrifices might you be asked to make as a servant of the Lord?
When have you been willing to do God’s will regardless of the cost to you? Why were you willing to do that?
In Acts 21:17–40 we learn that Paul arrived in Jerusalem and gave a report of his missionary labors to local Church leaders. He went to the temple, and when a group of Jews who knew him from his missionary journeys saw him, they proclaimed that Paul was a false teacher who taught against the law of Moses and unlawfully brought Gentiles into the temple. Because of this accusation, a mob removed Paul from the temple and began beating him. Roman soldiers intervened and carried him away to be tried, and Paul asked the soldiers if he could speak to the people.
To be converted means to be changed. Think about how water can be converted or changed so that it can be used for different purposes. (For example, water can be converted to ice or steam.) Ponder the kinds of changes that conversion to the gospel brings.
Read Acts 22:1–5, looking for how Paul described himself as he spoke to the Jews from the stairs of a castle in Jerusalem.
Read Acts 22:6–21, in which Paul tells his conversion story. Then match the following questions with their correct answer by putting the letter of the correct answer in the blank space next to the question. (After you are done, check your answers with those given at the end of the lesson.)
Paul listened to and obeyed the words of Jesus Christ and began to change. In Galatians 1:17–18 we learn that after his remarkable vision, Paul spent three years in Arabia, which would have been a good time of spiritual preparation and growth, before returning to Damascus and then going to Jerusalem to meet with Peter.
Think about how drastically Paul’s life changed as a result of his conversion to the Savior. Paul’s conversion teaches us that as we obey the words of Jesus Christ, we can become fully converted.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, explained how our obedience to the words of Christ relate to true conversion:
“True conversion is more than merely having a knowledge of gospel principles and implies even more than just having a testimony of those principles. It is possible to have a testimony of the gospel without living it. Being truly converted means we are acting upon what we believe and allowing it to create ‘a mighty change in us, or in our hearts’ [Mosiah 5:2]. …
“… Conversion takes place as we are diligent about saying our prayers, studying our scriptures, attending church, and being worthy to participate in temple ordinances. Conversion comes as we act upon the righteous principles we learn in our homes and in the classroom. Conversion comes as we live pure and virtuous lives and enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Conversion comes as we understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, acknowledge Him as our Savior and Redeemer, and allow the Atonement to take effect in our lives” (“Be Ye Converted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 76–78).
- In your scripture study journal, write a letter to yourself about what you can do to become truly converted to the Savior.
In Acts 22:22–30 we learn that after Paul related his conversion story, his audience declared that he should be put to death. Paul was brought before the chief captain of the Roman army in Jerusalem, who decided that Paul should be scourged, or whipped, a tactic normally used to humiliate and obtain information from criminals. However, when the Roman officers learned that Paul was a Roman citizen, they decided not to scourge him and instead brought him before the Jewish governing council, the Sanhedrin. It was against Roman law to bind or scourge a Roman citizen who was “uncondemned” (Acts 22:25).
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Acts 20–22 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: