Before we begin this chapter, let’s look at some “introductory” questions.
What are some of the characteristics that would define this unity?
How do disagreements in the church affect you?
What is the best way to deal with
What is the best way to deal with disagreements?
Do disagreements reflect a lack of unity? Please explain.
Now, let us look at chapter 15.
As we read and study this chapter, let us remember we are witnessing a
church that is growing.
Is this still an issue in the church today? Please explain.
The central issue was circumcision. Why was this so important to the Jews? Please list some scripture references if possible.
What do you believe motivated these men?
Without being judgmental, can you think of similar instances in the church today where we put “requirements” on people before they can be saved?
Have you ever felt, or do you now feel, that your salvation was more meaningful or certain if you did specific things or believed a specific way? Did this help or hinder your decision to become a Christian? Please explain.
Adhering to the law of Moses was a very important issue to the Jews. Are there any doctrines or beliefs that are vital to your faith?
What did Jesus have to say about the relationship between the law and salvation?
Is “legalism” still and issue in the church today? In what ways have you encountered this idea, if any?
Does this “sharp dispute” mean there was no unity in the church at this time? Please explain.
What did Paul and Barnabas do
while they were traveling to
What usually dominates our conversation, the good news of what Jesus is doing or sharp disputes? Please explain.
How did the brothers react to this news?
What two groups were they going to
What is the difference between an apostle and an elder? In other words, what is an apostle? What is an elder?
Do we still need apostles and elders in the church? Please explain.
What is the church body’s relationship with apostles and elders? And vice versa?
Why were they sent to
What three groups welcome them? (See verse 4)
Remember, Paul and Barnabas went
In verse 5, we learn that those who were speaking for circumcision were Christian Pharisees. How might you define a Christian Pharisee?
Do we still have “Christian Pharisees” in the church today? Please explain.
The comment has been made that we all, at one time or another, suffer from a Pharisaic attitude. What does this mean to you?
Do you agree?
How did you overcome this
attitude? Or, if you are still
dealing with it, what steps are you taking to overcome it?
How did you overcome this attitude? Or, if you are still dealing with it, what steps are you taking to overcome it?
What does it mean to you to discuss an issue?
What is the difference between a discussion and an argument?
What was Peter’s view on the matter?
What were his arguments to support his viewpoint?
Do you notice anything about Peter’s statement in verse 11? (Hint: About whom is he speaking?)
According to Peter, how are we saved?
What does this mean to you?
How do we know we are accepted by God? (See verse 8.)
Peter says that keeping the law was a yoke to both the Jew and the Gentile. What does he mean?
Compare this verse with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11:30. What makes one yoke a burden and the other light?
What does it mean to you to test God?
How do we test God today?
What does it mean to you to be saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?
How common is it for people to listen seriously to both sides of an issue before making a decision?
What can the church learn from this council?
What can you learn about James?
What was James’ view concerning the matter of circumcision?
How did James support his view?
Do the apostles submit to the decision of James the elder?
What, then, is the relationship between apostles and elders?
How can we make turning to God less difficult for people in our community?
What was James’ primary motivation?
What is the difference? In other words, why are these suggestions not a burden like circumcision?
Do we have certain “criteria” today that people must meet in order to turn to God? If not, should we? Please explain.
…from sexual immorality?
…from the meat of strangled animals?
Why are these four areas so
important that the
Should we still be preaching Moses?
How did they decide to send it?
Why did they send Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas to deliver it?
What can we learn about finding God’s will in the midst of disagreements?
We can see that the church in Acts 15 is still unified in the Lord. How can this be in light of the disagreement?
If you had been a Gentile believer
According to the letter, why were they sending the four leaders to them?
Verse 28 gives us insight as to why this situation did not divide the church. Who else was involved in deciding what should be said to the Gentile believers?
What part does the Holy Spirit play (or should He play) in our committee meetings and decisions?
Why did they react this way?
Where have we encountered these two areas before? (Hint: see .)
What is the relationship between prophecy and strengthening and encouraging others?
Have you ever been strengthened or encouraged by a prophetic word? If so, would you please share it?
Again, we see the importance of being sent. Paul, Baranbas, Judas, and Silas submitted to the leadership in the local church. What can we learn from this?
How important is it for us to “follow up” on those with whom we share the good news? Please explain.
Does the church do an adequate job of discipling new believers? If not, what can we do about it?
Why does Paul disagree?
What was the result of this disagreement? (See verse 39.)
What is the difference, if there is one, between this disagreement and the disagreement over circumcision?
Is this disagreement an indication that these men of God were not truly unified? Please explain.
If you had been a bystander listening to this sharp dispute between Paul and Barnabas, how would you have felt?
Read Rom. . How are verses 39-41 an example of the fulfillment of this verse?
Why do you think Barnabas felt so strongly about Mark that Barnabas would part ways with Paul? (Note: what is the meaning of Barnabas’ name?)
What was the final result of this dispute and separation? (Read Colossians 4:10)
What can we learn about solving disagreements?
What made the biggest impact on you?