Opposition and Deliverance

Study Guide

As the early church continues to grow, including people from all nations, persecution continues. Peter is imprisoned, fellow believers intercede on his behalf, and he is miraculously delivered. While the outcome for Peter in this circumstance is good, we know God does not always deliver his people from suffering. We do know his plan is good, and we must be utterly dependent on his wisdom.
  1. When Peter is imprisoned, the church gathers and expresses their dependence on God through prayer. Instead of viewing prayer as something on your to-do list, how can you develop a worldview of dependence on God? What steps do you need to take to humble yourself and express your need for God in everything?

  2. God creates highways to bring people into the body of Christ who are very different from the original group of believers, which creates some tension for them. How can you pursue people who are not like you who do not know God? In what ways can you intercede for them?

  3. Consider the idea that God is inscrutable—we cannot fully understand him and his ways. How does this idea affect you? What questions does it raise for you? What does your response reveal about your willingness to accept God on his terms?

Key Points
  • Peter and the leadership of the early church realize that God is bringing Gentiles into the body of believers, which creates tension for Jewish believers.

  • As the gospel takes root in foreign soil, the church in Antioch grows exponentially, creating access for all who believe in Jesus.

  • When Peter is imprisoned, the church is faithful to intercede for him. They are dependent on God for what they cannot do. We also should develop a worldview of dependence on God for all things.

  • Although both Stephen and James have died for the gospel, Peter is freed from prison, showing that we cannot know God or understand his ways.

  • God’s decisions and direction are informed by his infinite wisdom. While there is much in life we cannot understand—both good and bad—we can trust that God is working according to his good purposes.

Other Scripture References

Scripture: Acts 11:19-12:25