Have you ever been the object of someone’s ridicule, disdain or hatred because of something that wasn’t even true or accurate about you or your beliefs? Why do you think Paul begged the Roman commander to let him speak to those who had just attempted to beat him to death? What can we learn from this as we interact with those who strongly oppose Christianity and its ethical implications for life?
How does Paul’s speech show his desire to build bridges and connect with his audience? As you think about sharing the truth of Christianity and your testimony with others, what points of contact and common experiences can you use to build a bridge and connect with them?
Despite Paul’s best efforts to ritually observe the law and to “become a Jew in order to win Jews” (I Cor. 9:20), his Jewish audience was infuriated by the fact that God was reaching out with his love to Gentiles through Paul. As you look at our culture today, what aspects of the Gospel tend to incense people in our world? Is it possible to preach the genuine Gospel without offending people?
By most accounts, Paul’s speech here went over like a lead balloon with his audience. How should we respond when even our most gracious and sensitive attempts to proclaim the truth are met with ridicule and hostility? How is God’s care and sovereign control over Paul’s life seen here despite the less than warm welcome he received from his fellow Jews?