Read Acts Chapter 14
For a printable version of this study, click HERE
What stands out to you as you read this chapter?
Are there any words or phrases that you feel are key ideas in this chapter?
What other features do you wish you knew more about (culture, religion, customs, etc.) in order to help you understand this chapter?
How do you think this chapter fits in the larger story of Acts and the Bible as a whole?
ACT OUT: How does the Holy Spirit want to use this text in your life, for others or for yourself?
The power of God can all-too-easily be misappropriated or misunderstood. Back in Acts 8, Peter opposed Simon the Sorcerer who tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 13, Elymas, the sorcerer, tried to oppose Barnabas and Paul (and he was struck blind for a Mme). Here in Acts 14, the crowd in Lystra were determined to turn Barnabas and Paul into gods because the apostles had healed a crippled man. Though Paul vehemently urged them to worship none but the one true God (Acts 14:11-18), they persisted in their idolatry of God’s servants.
Why do we idolize gifted but flawed humans? It seems we are always looking for heroes, and we’d rather they be mortal like us instead of holy and beyond our control, like God. Ironically, Jesus Christ, whom Paul and Barnabas preached, is fully human as well as fully God! The Good News by which Paul and Barnabas planted churches, healed cripples, corrected heretics, and endured being stoned and left for dead was that God the Son had become human, suffered and died, then overcame death and all the power of sin and evil, and sent the Holy Spirit to empower his followers. This is the One True Hero in whose name Paul and Barnabas did miraculous signs and wonders (Acts 14:3). This doesn’t mean humans are unimportant; note the prominence of Paul as Luke changes the order of names in verse 21.
On the other hand, those who felt they had religious power and were threatened by the popularity of Paul’s preaching came all the way from Antioch and Iconium to try to stop it (Acts 14:19). Though human, Paul and Barnabas faced hardship in the power of God and went right back through the towns where they had been persecuted to establish churches (Acts 14:21-25). God’s power cannot be bought, only surrendered to in service and perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I surrender to your power in my life. In my weakness, show your strength!