Here are the answers for the Bible study for the November Devotion “Giving Out of Our Poverty” in The Encourager’s Devotional Series.
Read Acts 16:1-17:15, which tells of Paul and his team’s first missionary journey to Macedonia.
From Acts 16, list the troubles that Paul and his team experienced in Philippi:
- They were harrassed by a girl who was possessed by a demon (vv. 16-18).
- They were stripped and beaten (v. 22).
- They were put in prison (v. 23).
What did Paul and Silas do while in prison (v. 25)? They prayed and sang hymns.
What miracles occured in Philippi (vv. 18, 26)? A demon was cast out. An earthquake shook the doors off the prison, allowing Paul and Silas to escape.
What good results came in Philippi (vv. 15, 33)? Lydia and her household were baptized. The jailer and his family were baptized.
Why did the slave girl’s owners oppose Paul and Silas (v. 19)? They did not want to lose the income they received due to her possession.
Why were Paul and his team also opposed in Thessalonica (17:5)? Some of the Jewish people were jealous.
Why were the Jews in Thessalonica jealous (17:4)? because many were choosing to follow Christ through the teaching of Paul and Silas
What happened to Jason and others simply because they were associated with Paul (17:5-9)? Their house was attacked. They were brought before the authorities.
How were Paul and his companions received in Berea (17:11,12)? with eagerness
Who made trouble for Paul in Berea and finally drove him out of Macedonia (17:13)? the Jews who came after him from Thessolonica
Acts 18-20 tells of Paul’s further travels back and forth through Macedonia and Greece. Notice that his traveling companions now include several Macedonians (19:29 and 20:4, note Berea and Thessalonica are part of Macedonia). Who are they? Gaius, Aristarchus, Secundus and Sopator
Acts 16:40 says, “After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them.”
Acts 20:1 says that after a riot in Ephesus, Paul “sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia.”
How likely are you to encourage others when you are experiencing troubles of your own?
Fill in the blanks from Acts 20:23-24: “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardship are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
How might working with someone who had an attitude such as this inspire the Macedonians to give sacrificially and to strive to encourage others even though they had reason to be discouraged themselves?
Fill in the blanks from 2 Corinthians 8:1-12. It says that the Macedonians, even in the most severe trial, had overflowing joy and that even in extreme poverty they were rich in generosity.
How likely are these things to be said of you?
Do you consider it a privilege to share in service to the saints as the Macedonians did, or does it seem more of a drudgery at times?
How much do you “excel in this grace of giving”?
Paul said you can “test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others” (8:8). How do you compare with the earnestness we see in Paul and the Macedonians?
Think on the example of Christ we see in our text, who “though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (8:9).
Take a moment to pray, thanking Christ for the sacrifice He made for us: leaving the majesty of heaven for the poverty of earth so that we earthly beggars might be made heirs of heavenly riches. Pray that He might help you be more like Him. Pray specifically for any convictions that came as you answered the questions in this meditation section or in the devotion.
Read again the end of this month’s devotion. List here any ways you may want to “stretch yourself beyond your abilities” this month.
What specifically do you want to do in response to this month’s devotion?