top of page


Read Acts 21 1-3

Acts 21:1 -3

After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.

  • The Book of Acts could be classified as the sequel to what book?

  • Who is the author?

  • What is the key verse?

  • What do we know about the farewell to the Ephesian elders?

  • How might Paul and the other travelers felt about leaving?

  • How might Luke know this information first hand?

Read Acts 21:4-6

4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.

  • What does Prophesy mean here?

  • Whose word is this from?

  • How might Luke know this information first hand?

  • What happens with the entire congregation as the result of this message?

Read Acts 21:7-9

7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

  • What does Prophesy mean here?

  • Describe the father of these daughters. What are his character traits?

  • To live we must die; and to lead; we must follow in the kingdom’s paradigm. How is paradigm represented here?

  • How is this represented in your life today?

Read Acts 21:10-13

10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’ ” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

  • God was speaking to Paul through this man named Agabus. How would we respond to God’s direction knowing there is trouble and difficulty ahead?

  • How do the congregation of believers respond?

  • What does this verse tell us about what God had already spoken to Paul?

    • In Acts 9:15-16 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

  • Why was Paul adamant about going to Jerusalem despite multiple warnings from God-followers?

  • What did the group of believers finally resign to doing?

  • When the decision is difficult and the word or circumstances seem to be conflicting for us what do we do?

Read Acts 21:15-20

15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly. 18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20After hearing this, they praised God.

  • What type of update is Paul providing and to whom?

  • What is he trying to let them know?

Read Acts 21:20b- 22

And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22 What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.

  • What is the conflict/argument about that is taking place?

  • How can we compare this argument to the arguments we sometimes have within the church regarding grace and works?

  • What are some examples of the identity issues that are taking place then as they do now with political parties, socio -economic status, clothing etc?

Read Acts 21:23- 26

23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. 25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.” 26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.

  • Where are these rituals and customs originating?

  • What does this group believe Paul is telling them?

  • What do they do as a result?

  • What does Paul do?

  • How do we know if Paul is responding the right way or not?

  • What would you do? What do you do when you have peer pressure around you to do something or to be someone or say something that isn’t necessarily wrong, but it isn’t reflective of the Gospel?

Read Acts 21:27- 30

27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.) 30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him.

  • In the end what is the irony of the accusation against Paul?

  • Does living by a principle guarantee a particular response from society?

  • What are some of the reactions of society where you have lived by a principle, but it hasn’t made you popular?

Think on This…

What is God’s plan for humanity? Why should understanding this drive us to continue to live principled Gospel-centric lives no matter how society might respond?


bottom of page