lesson
8

Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

Better than silver or gold
Acts 3:1-26 

warm up
 
   1. If you had lived in the first century, what would it take to convince you that a true miracle had taken place? 
   2. How would you feel if you had been lame since birth and suddenly were able to walk? What would be the first thing you would do?
   3. Notice in this story that the miracle was:
      [  ]
[  ]
[  ]
Instant. (Not a gradual improvement.)
Whole. (Complete and not partial.)
Well documented. (Not open to the possibility of being faked. This man was known to have been lame since birth.)
wise up

The story starts with empathy! Vs. 1-7
   1.
In this story, what was better than silver and gold? Where were Peter and John when this miracle occurred? How long had the lame man had his affliction? How old was he? (Acts 4:22.) Can something like that be faked for that length of time? 
   2.
You can only imagine how many people walked by this man refusing to look at him. He was always there. Always begging. Many perhaps thought that if they looked the other way, maybe he wouldn't beg them. But Peter and John wanted to make eye contact. (Vs. 4). You can imagine the excitement as this man anticipated an alms (charitable gift.) 
   3.
Read Vs 6-7 again. Do you think this man was surprised at what happened? Did the healing depend upon his faith? Did it meet the criteria mentioned in the warm up as a true and unquestionable miracle? Why or why not?

The story continues with excitement! Vs. 8-11
   1.
What did this man who was healed keep doing? You have to wonder how long it was before he finally sat back down to rest. Why did the people come to Peter and John according to verse 11. 
   2. Do you think the healed man was grateful? What makes you think that? What was the response of the people?

 The story ends with evangelism!  Vs. 12-26
   1.
 Do you see any similarities in this chapter and that of Acts two? (What caused the people to come together to listen to Peter in both of these chapters?) Peter used this opportunity to preach about Jesus? Notice that Peter makes certain that his audience gives credit to God for the miracle (Vs. 12-13).
   2. What was it that Peter and John had to give these people that was "better than silver or gold?" 
   3. As you follow the sermon of Peter, notice the contrasts and how personal Peter gets in Vs 13-15. See the chart below: 

God

Ye

glorified his son Jesus  delivered him up to be killed

Pilate

Ye

tried to release Jesus refused that he be released

and killed the Prince of life

   4. Do you think Peter was getting too personal in making the accusation that they had "killed the Prince of life?" (Discuss why Jesus can be referred to as  the Prince of life? Cf., I John 1:1-5 etc.)  In Vs. 16, was it the name of Jesus or faith in his name that enabled this man to be healed?  Cf., Acts 19:13-17 where some foolishly thought by simply saying the name of Jesus they could cast out devils. Discuss whose faith in the name of Jesus made this miracle possible (the healed man or the apostles? Explain your reasons.) 
   5. After being so accusatory toward his audience, Peter's words softened as he explained that he knew that they and their rulers did it out of ignorance. And in their ignorance they fulfilled God's prophecy. (Vs. 17-18.) How might we account for such an abrupt change in Peter's tone? Do you think that Peter possibly saw expressions of pain in the faces of his audience? 
   6. Notice that Acts 3:19 and Acts 2:38 are very similar texts. Once again at the end of Peter's sermon he begins to explain the first "acts" to be taken toward a better life. It is interesting to place these two verses side by side :

Acts 2:38 Acts 3:19
1 Repent 1 Repent
2 and be baptized 2 and be converted 
3 for the remission of sins 3 that your sins may be blotted out
4 and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost 4 when (so that) the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord
Cf. Acts 26:20 "repent and turn to God"

   7. What does the expression: "Until the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his prophets..." (Vs 21) mean? What are some of the things mentioned by Peter in Verses 22-26 that had to be fulfilled? Moses said that God would raise up a prophet "like unto me." As time permits discuss some of the similarities between Jesus and Moses that prove that he is that prophet that Moses spoke of.

wrap up

   1. Had Peter been able to complete his sermon, he would have exhorted them as he did in Acts 2:40. But he was interrupted by the enemies of the truth as we will see in chapter 4. 
   2. Still Peter and John were able to explain enough in connection with the miracle that had been witnessed to cause many to believe. (Acts 4:4.)

Assignment

  Please read Acts 4:1-12 for next week   copyright 2001