This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Paul on the Road to Damascus rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program. It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:
· A historical context for understanding the Bible story.
· A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.
· The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.
In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation. This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts. It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.
It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.
Note: This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders. Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.
Scripture: Acts 9:1-20
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” II Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)
· If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.
· Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.
Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud. Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.
Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study. Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.
In the book of Acts we find the “story of the church’s beginnings” (Wall, 3). The book is considered to be the second volume following the Gospel of Luke and is attributed to the same author. Luke is believed to have been an educated Greek who may even have been a traveling companion of Paul’s. The book was most likely written sometime between 70 and 100 AD (Willimon, 1).
Acts has aspects of many genres – history, biography, homily and apology – and so “is best regarded under the general category of theological narrative” (Gaventa, 2056). Acts is a story that proclaims to its readers the mighty acts of God in the life of the church and in the life of Christ’s disciples.
In his commentary Will Willimon offers the following outline of Acts:
2:1-9:43 Part One: Witness in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria
10:1-19:20 Part Two: Witness to the Gentiles
19:21-28:31 Part Three: The Final Journey
The theological themes of Acts are woven into a “master story about what God has done to bring salvation to the world.” The “themes are introduced into Acts by the story of the first Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit and are then developed within the rest of Acts” (Wall, 18). The following themes offer an outline of this master story:
An examination of the passages surrounding this story of Paul’s conversion reveals that the story “fits within a larger context of concern over dramatic conversions” (Willimon, 73). We are told of the conversions of Samaritans, Ethiopians, Saul, and Cornelius. There are three separate accounts of Saul/Paul’s conversion in Acts. The others are found in 22:3-16 and 26:4-23 and are recounted by Paul himself. According to Robert Wall “Acts is more interested in Saul’s calling than in his conversion, since it provides the impetus of his mission and the foundation of his future authority in the church (149).
How are the overall themes identified above addressed specifically in this passage?
Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop. As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces. Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.
Antioch Arcade: In Antioch Arcade the children will hear the story of Paul’s conversion as the ideas of change emphasized with a small science experiment. They will play a life-sized board game that will reinforce their knowledge of the story’s details. Finally, they will discuss the fact that Jesus changes us when we accept him and will focus on the concept of how the church teaches us to be disciples.
Apostles’ Playhouse: The children will learn about how Paul was changed on the inside by Jesus – he looked the same but believed and behaved in new ways. They will then explore through role playing ways that the church helps us do God’s work.
Creation Station: After hearing the story of Paul’s conversion, the children will create pastel pictures depicting the dramatic event. They will discuss how Paul was changed by his encounter with Jesus and how he became a friend of Jesus and the church instead of an enemy.
Good News: The children will draw journey maps that show paths that lead to Jesus as well as obstacles that take us away from him. They will talk about ways that their life or other’s lives might have been changed by God or by certain experiences.
Holywood: The children will review the lesson and the concepts by viewing a video that tells the story of Paul’s conversion. They will learn that Jesus can change people and that God calls us to use our talents to do good things.
Praising Puppets: The children will perform a play in which Paul is teaching others about his conversion experience while facing arrest. They will talk about how Jesus changes people who accept him and then prepares them to do work for God. They will learn about work that they can do themselves for God.
Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour. Have they been answered? Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?
Close the Bible study with a prayer.
Gaventa, Beverly Roberts. “Acts” The HarperCollins Study Bible NRSV.
Wayne A. Meeks et al. editors. (New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 1993).
Wall, Robert W. “Acts of the Apostles.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. X. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2002). (pp.3-36 and 146-155).
Willimon, William H. “Acts.” Interpretation. James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1988). (pp. 1-17 and 73-80).