Apostle Paul: Passionate Discipleship

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by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
JesusWalk Bible Study Series
11 lessons, 2019

Detailed Outline

Theological and Practical Themes
1. Saul of Tarsus Meets Jesus (Acts 8:1-9:18, 33 AD)
  1.1. Background
    The Jewish Diaspora
    Tarsus, Paul's Birthplace
    Roman Citizen
    Pharisee and Son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6)
    Hellenists vs. Hellenizers
    Hellenists in the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Acts 6:9)
    Brought Up in Jerusalem, Studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)
  1.2. Conversion of Saul
    The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:1)
    Sparking Intense Persecution of the Church (8:1, 3)
    The Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-8)
    Full-Stop (Acts 9:9)
    Ananias, the Obedient Servant (Acts 9:10-18)
    Ananias Ministers to Saul (Acts 9:17-18)
  1.3. Righteousness by Faith (Philippians 3:3-11)
    Legalism and Boasting (Philippians 3:5-7)
    Righteousness through Faith (Philippians 3:9)
    Righteousness Received by Faith
    Your Faith in Jesus
    Lessons for Disciples
2. Paul in Arabia, Tarsus, and Antioch (Acts 9:19; 11:19-30; 11:35-13:3, 33-46 AD)
  2.1. Paul in Damascus and Arabia (Acts 9:19b-25, 33-35 AD)
    Preaching in the Synagogues (Acts 9:20-22)
    Escape from Damascus (Acts 9:23-25)
    Saul's Sojourn in Arabia (Galatians 1:15-17, 33-35 AD)
    Paul's Visit to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18-24; Acts 9:26-30, 35 AD)
  2.2. Paul's Sojourn in Tarsus (Acts 9:30; Galatians 1:21, 35-45 AD)
    Revelations in Cilicia
  2.3. Paul Ministers in Antioch (Acts 12:19-30, 45-48 AD)
    The Gospel Reaches the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:19-21)
    Missiological Principles
    The Gospel Explodes among the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:19-21)
    Barnabas Is Sent to the Gentile Believers in Antioch (Acts 11:22-24)
    Barnabas Seeks Out Saul in Tarsus (Acts 11:25-26)
    Prophecy of Widespread Famine (Acts 11:27-28)
  2.4. Paul and Barnabas Carry a Gift to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30, 46 AD)
    Meeting with Leaders of the Jerusalem Church (Galatians 2:1-5)
    Paul's Conflict with Peter at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-16)
    Sent out from Antioch (Acts 13:1-3)
  2.5. Gifts and Calling
    Paul Is an Apostle
    Paul's Ministry as a Sacred Trust
    Spiritual Gifts Are Given to All Believers
    Our Spiritual Gifts Are Given to Us in Trust
    Completing the Task (Acts 20:24)
    Lessons for Disciples
3. Paul in Cyprus, Antioch of Pisidia, and Galatia (Acts 13-14, 47-49 AD)
  3.1. The Apostolic Team (Acts 13:4-12)
    John Mark
  3.2. Cyprus
    To the Jew First, and Also to the Greek (Romans 1:16)
    The Proconsul and the Jewish Sorcerer (Acts 13:6-12)
    Power Encounters
  3.3. Ministry in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 14:14a, 47 AD)
    Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13; 14:25)
    Antioch of Pisidia
    Sharing the Gospel in the Synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:14-41)
    Teaching Those Who Respond (Acts 13:42-43)
    Salvation by Grace (Acts 13:43)
    Continuing or Abiding in the Grace of God (Acts 13:43)
    Huge Response Prompts Rejection by the Jews of Antioch (Acts 13:44-52)
    Persecution from the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 14:50-52)
  3.4. Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 14:1-21, 48 AD)
    Iconium (Acts 14:1-6)
    Signs and Wonders in Iconium (Acts 14:3)
    Lystra (Acts 14:6-20a)
    Gospel Presentations to Gentiles (Acts 14:15-17; 17:16-34)
    Contextualizing the Gospel
    Paul Is Stoned (Acts 14:19-20)
    Derbe (Acts 14:20b-21a)
  3.5. Discipling and Establishing Leadership (Acts 14:21b-23)
    Strengthening the Galatian Churches (Acts 14:21-22)
    Discipling Rank Pagans in a Christian Lifestyle
    Appointing Leaders in the Galatian Churches (Acts 14:23)
    Return to Antioch (Acts 14:24-28)
    A Door of Faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:28)
    Lessons for Disciples
4. Law, Grace, and the New Israel (Acts 15:1-35, 49 AD)
  4.1. Judaizers in Antioch and Galatia
    Teaching Circumcision in Antioch (Acts 15:1, 5)
    Judaizers in the Galatian Churches
    A Different "Gospel"
  4.2. The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-35, 49 AD)
    Peter's Testimony of the Holy Spirit at Caesarea (Acts 15:7-11)
    Barnabas, Paul, and James (Acts 15:12-18)
    Rules for Gentiles (Acts 15:20-21, 28-29)
    'Clean' Food and Circumcision Are Not Required
    Official Condemnation of Judaizers (Acts 15:24)
  4.3. Salvation by Grace
    Grace in Acts
    Grace, charis
    Salvation by Grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    Working Our Way into God's Good Graces (Ephesians 2:9)
    This Not from Yourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    Other Pauline Passages on Grace
  4.4. Predestination (Acts 13:48b)
    Predestination and Evangelism
  4.5. The New Israel of God
    The Promise of the Gentile Salvation
    The Mystery of Gentile Salvation
    Christ Breaks Down the Division between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22)
    All Israel Will Be Saved (Romans 11:26)
    The New Israel
    Unity in Christ, Not in Practices or in Emphasis
    Lessons for Disciples
5. Paul in Macedonia (Acts 15:36-18:22, 49-50 AD)
  5.1. Re-forming the Apostolic Team
    Controversy with Barnabas over Mark (Acts 15:37-39)
    Silas (Silvanus), Missionary Partner
    Strengthening the Syria, Cilicia, and Galatian Churches (49-50 AD)
    Lystra, Derbe, and Iconium (Acts 16:1-5)
    Young Timothy Joins the Apostolic Team (Acts 16:1-3)
    Finding God's Will (Acts 16:6-10)
    Luke the Beloved Physician (Acts 16:10)
  5.2. Philippi (Acts 16:12-40, 49 AD)
    Lydia (Acts 16:14-15)
    Establishing the Philippian Church
    Financial Partnership with the Philippian Church
    Exorcism of a Slave Girl (Acts 16:16-19)
    Thrown into Jail (Acts 16:19-40)
    The Power of Praise (Acts 16:25; Philippians 4:4-9)
  5.3. Ministry in Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:1-15, 49-50 AD)
    Synagogue in Thessalonica
    Success and Persecution (Acts 17:4-9)
    Affection for the Thessalonian Believers
    Berea (Acts 17:10-15, 50 AD)
  5.4. The Message of the Cross
    Preaching the Cross in the Synagogue at Thessalonica (Acts 17:2-3)
    Christ, and Him Crucified (1 Corinthians 1:21; 2:2)
    The Message of the Cross
    Lessons for Disciples
6. Paul in Greece (Acts 17:16-18:22, 50-52 AD)
  6.1. Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)
    Dialoging in the Marketplace, the Agora (Acts 17:17-18)
    Paul at the Areopagus (Acts 17:19-21)
  6.2 How God Judges Those Who Have Never Heard
    God Is Close to All (Acts 17:27-28)
    Overlooking Past Ignorance (Acts 17:30)
    Preaching the Resurrection (Acts 17:31-34)
  6.3. Ministry at Corinth (50-52 AD; Acts 18:1-22)
    The Tentmaking Trade
    Paul's Work Ethic
    Paul's Example of Hard Work (Acts 20:34-35)
    Bi-Vocational Ministry
    Aquila and Priscilla
    Every Sabbath in the Synagogue (Acts 18:4)
    A House Church Next Door to the Synagogue (Acts 18:7-8)
    House Churches
    Encouragement in a Time of Fear (Acts 18:8b-11)
    Jewish Attack before the Proconsul (Acts 18:12-18)
    "I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:10b)
    Paul's Jewish Vow (Acts 18:18b)
    Strengthening the Church at Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2-4)
  6.4. Resurrection
    Resurrection in Early Preaching
    Resurrection and the Greeks
    Paul's Teaching on Resurrection in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15)
    Resurrection at Christ's Coming (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
    Be Steadfast, Immovable, Always Abounding (1 Corinthians 15:58)
    Lessons for Disciples
7. Paul in Ephesus (Acts 18:23-19:41, 52-55 AD)
    Strengthening All the Disciples (Acts 18:23)
    Ephesus (52-55 AD)
  7.1. The Ministry of Apollos (Acts 18:24-19:1-7)
    Apollos, a Native of Alexandria (Acts 18:24-28)
    Divisions in the Corinthian Church (1 Corinthians 1:11-12; 3:3-6)
    Formal Greek Rhetoric vs. Rabbinical Disputation
  7.2 Paul's Ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19)
    John the Baptist Followers in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7)
    Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
    Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
    Ministry in the Synagogue at Ephesus (Acts 19:8-9)
    Rejection in the Synagogue (Acts 19:8a)
    School of Missions at the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9b-10)
  7.3. Power Evangelism in Ephesus
    Extraordinary Miracles (Acts 19:11-12)
    Exorcism by the Seven Sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-17)
    Burning Occult Books (Acts 19:18-19)
    The Ongoing Power of God in Ephesus (Acts 19:20)
    Resolving in the Spirit (Acts 19:21-22)
    Timothy and Erastus Sent to Macedonia (Acts 19:22)
  7.4. Handling Persecution and Pressures
    The Silversmith Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41)
    A Quick Trip to Corinth and Possible Imprisonment
    Victory and Opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9)
    Overwhelming Pressure in Ephesus (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
    Relying on God's Deliverance (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)
    Hard Pressed, but Not Crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
    Death in Us, Life in You (2 Corinthians 4:10-12)
    Intercessory Prayer (2 Corinthians 1:10b-11)
    Lessons for Disciples
8. Paul Fights the Good Fight of Faith -- Spiritual Warfare
  8.1. Understanding the Dominion of Darkness
    Satan's Dominion on Earth
    Usurped Authority
    Satan Is Still Dangerous
    The "God of this Age" (2 Corinthians 4:4)
    The Prince of the Dominion of the "Air" (Ephesians 2:2)
    Principalities and Powers (Ephesians 6:12)
    Satan's Limitations
    Understanding Opposition to the Gospel
    The Weapons of our Warfare
  8.2. The Gospel as a Spiritual Weapon
    Repentance as Spiritual Defense from Demonization (2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:25)
    Forgiveness as a Spiritual Weapon (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
  8.3. Praise and Prayer As Spiritual Weapons (Philippians 4:4-9)
    Rejoice in the Lord Always (Philippians 4:4-5)
    Cure for Anxiety (Philippians 4:6)
    God's Peace Will Guard Your Mind (Philippians 4:7)
    Think About These Things (Philippians 4:8)
    Put into Practice These Lessons (Philippians 4:9)
    Intercessory Prayer as a Spiritual Weapon
  8.4. Signs and Wonders and Exorcisms as Spiritual Weapons
  8.5. The Whole Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
    Relying on God's Strength (Ephesians 6:10-13)
    The Nature of the Armament (Ephesians 6:14-17)
    Lessons for Disciples
9. Paul Presses on to Jerusalem (Acts 20:1-23:35, 56-57 AD)
  9.1. Heading Home to Jerusalem (Acts 20:1-21:14)
    Paul Travels to Macedonia and Greece (Acts 20:1-4)
    Eutychus Raised from the Dead in Troas (Acts 20:6-12, 57 AD)
    Worship on the First Day of the Week (Acts 20:7a)
    Meeting the Ephesian Elders on the Beach at Miletus (Acts 20:13-17)
    Disciples in Tyre, Ptolemais, and Caesarea (Acts 21:3-6)
    Female Prophets (Acts 21:8-9)
    The Prophecy of Agabus (Acts 21:10-14)
  9.2. In Jerusalem (Acts 21:15-23:11)
    Paul Meets with James and the Elders of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 21:15-26)
    A Riot in the Temple (Acts 21:27-36)
    Paul Testifies in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1-22)
    Paul Appears before the Sanhedrin and Chief Priests (Acts 22:30-23:11)
    The Power of a Christian Witness (Acts 23:11)
    Plot Against Paul's Life (Acts 23:12-35)
  9.3. Crucified with Christ -- Address to the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20:17-38)
    Bound in the Spirit (Acts 20:22-23)
    Finish the Race, Complete the Task (Acts 20:24)
    How Precious Is Your Life to You? (Acts 20:24a)
    Christ's Calling for You (Acts 20:24b)
    Declaring the Whole Gospel (Acts 20:25-27)
    A Charge for the Shepherds of God's Flock (Acts 20:28-31)
    Watch Out for Savage Wolves Who Steal Sheep (Acts 20:29-31)
    I Commit You to God and the Word of His Grace (Acts 20:32)
    Paul's Example of Integrity, Hard Work, and Giving Freely to Others (Acts 20:33-35)
    Lessons for Disciples
10. Paul's Imprisonment, Release, and Death (Acts 24-28, 57-65 AD)
  10.1. Imprisonment in Caesarea (57-59 AD)
    Trial before Governor Felix (Acts 24)
    Charges against Paul
    Paul's Hearing before Governor Porcius Festus (Acts 25:1-12)
    Paul's Hearing before King Agrippa and Bernice (Acts 25:13-26:32)
    Should Paul Have Appealed to Caesar?
  10.2. Voyage to Rome (59-60 AD)
    Shelter at the Island of Crete (Acts 27:7-15).
    The Storm and Shipwreck (Acts 27:13-44)
    Healing Ministry in Malta (Acts 28:1-10)
    On to Rome (Acts 28:11-16)
    Paul Preaches to the Jews in Rome (Acts 28:17-29)
    Jewish Unbelief (Acts 28:25-28)
    Structure of the Book of Acts
    All Israel Will Be Saved (Romans 11:25-32)
    Paul's First Imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:30-31, 60-62 AD)
  10.3. Paul's Release in 62 AD
    Paul's Ministry from 62 to 64 AD
  10.4. Paul's Final Days and a Christian View of Death
    Rome Burns, Christians Are Blamed
    Enduring Hardship (2 Timothy)
    Paul's Loneliness at the End (2 Timothy 4:9-11, 16-18)
    The Time for My Departure Has Come (2 Timothy 4:6)
    Finishing the Race Well (2 Timothy 4:7)
    The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
    Paul Dies, 64-65 AD
  10.5. At Home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
    Longing for Home (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
    The Problem with the Doctrine of 'Soul Sleep'
    Walk by Faith, Not by Sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
    The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)
  10.6. To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain (Philippians 1:19-25)
    Rejoicing that Christ Will Be Exalted (Philippians 1:18b-19)
    To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain (Philippians 1:20-21)
    To Be with Christ Is Far Better (Philippians 1:22-26)
    Lessons for Disciples
11. Paul's Passion: Knowing the Exalted Christ
  11.1. Christ Appears to Paul
    Paul's Revelations
  11.2. The Exaltation of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11)
    In Very Nature God (Philippians 2:6a)
    Not Clinging to Equality with God (Philippians 2:6b)
    Emptied Himself (Philippians 2:7-8a)
    Obedient to Death on a Cross (Philippians 2:8b)
    Exalted to the Highest Place (Philippians 2:9-11)
  11.3. The Supremacy of Christ (Colossians 1:15-20)
    Christ is Supreme (Colossians 1:18d)
    The Fullness of God Dwells in Him (Colossians 1:19)
  11.4. "In Christ" -- Union with Christ
  11.5. A Passion to Know Christ (Philippians 3:7-14)
    Knowing Christ Jesus My Lord (Philippians 3:8b)
    Knowing Christ Intimately (Philippians 3:10-11)
    Running Flat Out in the Race (Philippians 3:12-14)
    Straining Towards the Finish Line (Philippians 3:13d)
    Your Passion and Mine
    Ranger Walks
    Lessons for Disciples
Appendix 1. Participant Handouts
Appendix 2. Chronology of Paul's Life
Appendix 3. Were the Prison Epistles Written from Ephesus?
Appendix 4. Metaphors of Salvation

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