BibleProject Luke-Acts Series - Lesson 8

Paul's Missionary Journeys (Acts 13-20) - BibleProject

In this lesson, you'll explore the life and travels of the Apostle Paul as he spread the good news about Jesus throughout the Roman Empire. Paul's mission took him to cities filled with diverse cultures and religions, where he preached in both Jewish synagogues and bustling marketplaces. As you delve deeper into the lesson, you'll see that Paul's message was met with a range of reactions, from belief to violent opposition, as it challenged Roman culture and the political order. Despite the hardships he faced, Paul remained driven by his faith and the transformative power of Jesus' message, which created new communities of believers living under Jesus' rule. The lesson concludes by examining Paul's decision to go to Jerusalem and the consequences he faced there.

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Taught by a Team
BibleProject Luke-Acts Series
Lesson 8
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Paul's Missionary Journeys (Acts 13-20) - BibleProject

BP160-08: What was it like for the apostle Paul to travel around the Roman Empire announcing the good news about the risen Jesus?

I. Paul's Mission and the Context of His Travels

A. The Roman Empire and its cities

B. Diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and religions

C. The Israelites and their unique beliefs

II. Paul's Travels and Methods

A. Paul's home base in Antioch

B. Three road trips throughout the empire

C. Preaching in Jewish synagogues and city marketplaces

III. Reactions to Paul's Message

A. Belief and disbelief among the Jews

B. Misunderstandings and opposition in the marketplace

C. Threat to Roman culture and political order

IV. The Impact of Paul's Message

A. Transformation and new communities

B. Living like Jesus as king

C. Paul's motivation and hardships

V. The Final Section of Acts

A. Paul's growing reputation

B. Decision to go to Jerusalem

C. Consequences in Jerusalem

  • In this lesson, you learn about the events surrounding Jesus' birth in the Gospel of Luke, the humble beginnings that foreshadow his kingdom, and how his arrival signifies a world order turned upside down, exalting the poor and humble.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus' ministry, his teachings on freedom and radical living, the appointment of his twelve disciples, and his role as the ultimate prophet, as portrayed in the Gospel of Luke.
  • Through Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, you learn how his teachings and parables challenge traditional values, create communities of love and forgiveness, and demonstrate God's mercy for all, even those who have strayed from the path.
  • Through Jesus' final week in Jerusalem, you'll discover his prophetic protest, arrest, and crucifixion, highlighting his innocence and unwavering love for humanity, as he ushers in a new future for Israel and all people.
  • In this lesson, you learn about Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension as depicted in Luke's Gospel, revealing the transformative power of his message and the necessity for a new understanding of his kingdom, ultimately setting the stage for the continuation of the story in the Book of Acts.
  • In the Book of Acts, you learn about the fulfillment of God's promises through Jesus, the significance of Pentecost, and the challenges faced by early followers of Jesus. As you explore the events and stories in Acts, you will gain insight into how Jesus' kingdom continued to grow despite persecution and adversity.
  • Through the stories of unexpected converts, Saul's transformation, and the formation of the church in Antioch, you'll learn how the Jesus movement expanded from a small group of Jewish followers to a multi-ethnic community spreading throughout the world.
  • By studying the Apostle Paul's life and travels, you'll gain insight into his dedication to spreading Jesus' message throughout the Roman Empire, despite facing opposition and hardship, and how his teachings transformed people's lives and created new communities of believers living under Jesus' rule.
  • This lesson explores Paul's journey to Jerusalem and Rome, where he faced trials and imprisonment but continued to spread the good news of Jesus' kingdom. You will gain insight into the transformation of Saul into Paul, his mission to unify diverse communities, and the open-ended conclusion of Acts, which invites participation in the ongoing growth of Jesus' kingdom.

BP160-08 - Paul's Missionary Journeys (Acts 13-20)

During the first century, most people around the Mediterranean Sea lived in densely packed cities, all ruled by the Roman Empire. Each city was a diverse blend of cultures, ethnicities and religions. And because of this, there were all sorts of temples for offering sacrifices to all sorts of gods. And each person had their own portfolio of gods that they gave their allegiance to. But, in every city you would also find a minority group who would not worship any gods, but their own: the Israelites, also known as, the Jews. They claimed that their God was the one true creator and king of the world. Now all these cities were connected by a network of roads built by the Roman Empire. And so, it was easy to move around, to do business and even spread new ideas. Now one person familiar with these roads was the Apostle Paul. He spent the second half of his life traveling from city to city, announcing that Israel's God had appointed a new king over the nations. This king was not like anyone who had come before. Right! Most kings ruled with aggression or power. But this new king rules with self-sacrifice and love. His name is Jesus. And Paul is his herald, who is inviting all people to live under this king's rule. The stories of Paul's travels and how people receive this message, that is what the third part of Acts is all about. For some time, Paul's home base had been in the city of Antioch. And from there, he and his co-workers went out on three road trips, traveling by land and by sea to strategic cities throughout the empire. In each city, Paul's custom was to go first to the Jewish synagogue where his people gathered. He would start teaching and showing how the messianic king promised in the Hebrew Scriptures is Jesus of Nazareth. And some believed this news. Others didn't. And still others thought this message was so misleading and dangerous, they would incite riots to kick Paul out of town. And so that's when Paul would take to the bustling city marketplace. He would set up a shop there to make and sell leather tents to cover his travel expenses. And here, Paul kept sharing the news about the risen King Jesus with anybody who would listen. He was often misunderstood as just promoting a new god. One time, he prayed for a sick person. They were healed. And everyone around thought he must be a Greek god that came down to visit them. But Paul insisted there is only one true God and he was his servant. This message often stirred up opposition and more riots, and he got beaten, even thrown in jail. Why such a strong reaction? Well, the worship of the gods held together Roman culture. They believed the gods kept their cities safe. And the temple worship of the gods was a huge part of their economy. Paul was not just adding Jesus as a new god to the list. He was saying all other gods are powerless, even a sham! So, he is undermining their way of life. Yes, and more than that. When Paul announced Jesus as a new king, he would call him "Lord" or "Son of God", the very titles people used to refer to the Emperor of Rome. So, Paul's message could easily be heard as a threat against the entire political order. Why would anyone join this movement? I mean, It sounds dangerous. Well, people were captivated by the story of Jesus and how his love created communities where all people were treated as equals, regardless of ethnicity, gender or economic status. These people formed new families that would eat together. They lived sacrificially and took care of their poor. They lived like Jesus actually was the king. Right. And so, in every city where Paul announced the message about Jesus, people were being transformed by God's Spirit to become new kinds of humans. So, Paul would stay in that city and teach them the way of Jesus. And then, he would leave for a new city. This was a difficult life. Paul had to endure a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. Yeah, and he did so because he believed that his own hardships were a reenactment of Jesus' suffering and death for others He said it was God's own love that drove him to share the story of Jesus, no matter the cost. After his third road trip, Paul's reputation had grown. He had made many new friends, but had also made many new enemies that he would be wise to avoid. But Paul did not avoid them. His next stop was Jerusalem, a city full of people who wanted him arrested, even dead. And so, why he goes to Jerusalem and what happens when he gets there? That is what the final section of Acts is all about.