Acts 11: Feast and Famine

What was the initial reaction when Jews heard that foreigners had accepted the news about Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:1 Soon the apostles and believers in Judea heard that foreigners had received the word of God.
11:2 The Jewish believers criticized Peter when he returned to Jerusalem,
11:3 saying, “Why did you enter the house of uncircumcised men and eat with them?”
King James
Acts 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
11:3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Jesus ate with sinners and foreigners (Matthew 9:10). Why was this such a problem now?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:2 The Jewish believers criticized Peter when he returned to Jerusalem,
11:3 saying, “Why did you enter the house of uncircumcised men and eat with them?”
Galatians 2:11 Later, when Peter came to Antioch, I had to confront him for something he should have known was wrong.
2:12 He was eating with foreigners until Jews sent by James from Jerusalem arrived. From the moment they walked in, he separated himself in fear of what they might think.
King James
Acts 11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
11:3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

When Peter told all that happened leading up to baptizing the foreigners, which parts of his story do you think most influenced the Jewish believers to change their minds?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:4 So Peter had to give them a chronological report of all that had happened.
11:5 “I was in Joppa, praying, when I fell into a trance and saw a vision. A large sheet was let down from the sky by its four corners and came before me.
11:6 I looked inside and saw all kinds of animals—wild beasts, reptiles, and birds.
11:7 I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat,’
11:8 but I said, “‘Oh no, Lord. I’ve never eaten anything but kosher food.’
11:9 The voice again spoke from the sky. ‘Anything I have cleansed is kosher. Do not regard it as unclean.’
11:10 The same vision came twice more, and then the sheet was lifted into the sky and disappeared.
11:11 At the same time, three men who had been sent from Caesarea were knocking on the door at the house where I was staying.
11:12 The Holy Spirit urged me to go with them without hesitation, so I and these six brothers went to the house of the man who had sent for us.
11:13 He said an angel appeared at his house, saying, ‘Send men to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter.
11:14 He will tell you how you and your household can be saved.’
11:15 While I was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, the same as happened to us at the beginning.
11:16 I remembered Jesus saying, ‘John baptized with water, and you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
11:17 Since God gave them the same gift as he gave us, how could I say no to their baptism and joining our fellowship?”
11:18 After hearing this, the men were satisfied and glorified God, saying, “Obviously, God has granted foreigners the opportunity to repent and receive eternal life.”
King James
Acts 11:4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,
11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
11:6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
11:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
11:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
11:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
11:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Of all the Jewish believers who left Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen, how many knew that God had an interest in non-Jews?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:19 During the persecution of believers when Stephen was stoned, disciples left Jerusalem for Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, where they spread the message of Christ only to the Jews.
King James
Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

If the Jewish believers knew nothing about Peter’s experience, why do you think some of them proclaimed Jesus to the Greeks?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:20 However, some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and proclaimed Jesus to the Greeks,
11:21 and the Lord was with them. Many foreigners believed and became followers of Jesus.
King James
Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

After Saul and others had ministered for so long in Antioch, why would there have been many more who believed after hearing those from Cyprus and Cyrene?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:20 However, some believers from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and proclaimed Jesus to the Greeks,
11:21 and the Lord was with them. Many foreigners believed and became followers of Jesus.
King James
Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

Why might church leaders in Jerusalem have thought it was important to send Barnabas to Antioch?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what was happening, Barnabas was sent to Antioch,
11:23 where he saw God’s favor among the people. Overjoyed, he encouraged them to faithfully trust the Lord.
King James
Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

What made the ministry of Barnabas so effective in causing many more to follow Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, strong in faith, so many more people became followers of Jesus.
King James
Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

Why did Barnabas think Saul was needed in Antioch?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:27 However, Barnabas brought him to the apostles, told them that Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and boldly preached Jesus in the synagogues there.
9:28 So he joined the apostles in ministry, going in and out of Jerusalem,
11:25 After that, Barnabas went to Tarsus, looking for Saul.
King James
Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

How did Barnabas know to look for Saul in Tarsus?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 9:30 When the threat became known, believers took him to Caesarea, where they put him on a ship bound for Tarsus.
11:25 After that, Barnabas went to Tarsus, looking for Saul.
King James
Acts 9:30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

What do you think Saul and Barnabas did at different meetings in Antioch?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:26 hen the two of them went to Antioch, where they met with the church for a year and taught many people. The disciples in Antioch were the first to be called Christians.
King James
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

To be Christian meant to be “a follower of Jesus,” and that called for doing what he would do. Who would have used Christian as a derogatory term? Why might they say acting like Jesus was foolish?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:26 Then the two of them went to Antioch, where they met with the church for a year and taught many people. The disciples in Antioch were the first to be called Christians.
King James
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

One doesn’t have to be a prophet to say there will be a flood or drought. Those times always come. What distinguished Agabus from weather forecasters who make calculated guesses?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:26 Then the two of them went to Antioch, where they met with the church for a year and taught many people. The disciples in Antioch were the first to be called Christians.
11:27 During this time, prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch.
11:28 Prompted by the Holy Spirit, the prophet Agabus stood to speak, saying a severe famine was coming upon the earth. This happened during the reign of Claudius Caesar,
King James
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
11:27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Today, economic conditions are much different from what they were in the first century. What forms of benevolence do you think was sent to Jerusalem? How significant might the giving have been?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:29 So the Christians in Antioch gave whatever they could and sent relief to their brothers and sisters in Judea.
King James
Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea.

How do you think the benevolence was gathered and distributed, from the giver to the final recipient?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Acts 11:30 Barnabas and Saul were chosen to take their collection to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem.
King James
Acts 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.