November 20, 2022 – Acts 13

Lesson Date: November 20, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Acts 13:1-52

AIM: To lead students to discover the words of life Paul preached to the Jews and Gentiles, and to (a) examine themselves to be certain they have received everlasting life and (b) share those words of life with someone this week.


Before class: Read the notes on Acts 13 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Have some Gospel tracts available to give out at the conclusion of the lesson.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students if they remember the old hymn “Wonderful Words of Life.”  Tell them some of the words of that hymn include the following:

Christ, the Blessed One, gives to all

Wonderful words of life;

Sinner, list to the loving call,

Wonderful words of life:

All so freely given,

Wooing us to heaven.


Sweetly echo the gospel call,

Wonderful words of life;

Offer pardon and peace to all,

Wonderful words of life;

Jesus, only Savior,

Sanctify forever.


Beautiful words, wonderful words,

Wonderful words of life;

Beautiful words, wonderful words,

Wonderful words of life.

Ask: “What do think the hymnwriter meant by ‘wonderful words of life’?  What do you think those ‘words of life’ are?” (words about Jesus, that draw people to come to Him for salvation).

Tell the class in today’s lesson we will see that Paul preached “words of life” to Jews and Gentiles during his First Missionary Journey.  The title our lesson from Acts 13 is Words of Life.



  1. Review.
  2. Powerful Words.
    • Read Acts 13:1-3.
    • Explain that these verses mark the beginning of Paul’s First Missionary Journey.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, what were the prophets and teachers in the Antioch church doing?” (fasting and praying).
    • Ask: “What did the Holy Spirit tell them to do?” (set apart Barnabas and Saul for a special task).
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what did they do?” (laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them away).
    • Tell the students these verses record the Lord’s call of Barnabas and Saul to the mission field and the church’s commission of them to be Christ’s missionaries.
    • Read Acts 13:4-13.
    • Explain the following:
      • 4-6a – Barnabas and Saul sailed to Cyprus (locate on the Map) and preached the Word of God from one end of the island to the other.
      • 6b-8 – They faced opposition from a sorcerer, who was trying to prevent a Roman deputy from hearing about Christ.
      • 9 – This marks the first time Saul was called by his Roman name, Paul.
      • 10-12 – Paul rebuked the sorcerer, whom God struck with temporary blindness, and the Roman deputy believed Paul’s preaching and was saved.
      • 13 – Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark left Cyprus and sailed to Perga on the mainland of Turkey (locate on the Map), where John Mark left them and returned home to Jerusalem.
    • Summarize: The words of life Paul and Barnabas preached were filled with the power of God to save souls and to stop a demon-possessed sorcerer.
  3. Words About Jesus.
    • Read Acts 13:14.
    • Using the Map, explain that Paul and Barnabas left Perga and traveled about 120 miles north to the city of Antioch, in the region of Pisidia.
    • Ask: “Where did they go on the Sabbath day?” (to the Jewish synagogue: this is what Paul always did when he went to a new city).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:15.
    • Ask: “What happened?” (Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak to the people gathered in the synagogue.
    • Read Acts 13:16-22.
    • Explain the following:
      • Paul began his sermon by recounting Israel’s history from their captivity in Egypt until the time of the reign of king David.
      • Throughout the remainder of his sermon, Paul preached words about Jesus.
      • We will examine the sermon, section by section, to discover what he said about Jesus.
    • Ask volunteers to read the following verses, and then ask the appropriate questions:
      • Acts 13:23“What did Paul say about Jesus?” (He is the Savior).
      • Acts 13:24-25 – John the Baptist clearly said he was the forerunner of the Messiah.
      • Acts 13:26“What word did God send to the Jews?” (the word of salvation).
      • Acts 13:27“What did the Jewish people and rulers do to Jesus?” (they condemned Him to death).
      • Acts 13:28“In spite of His innocence, what did they do to Jesus?” (they demanded that He be crucified).
      • Acts 13:29“What happened after Jesus died?” (they took His body down from the cross and laid it in a tomb).
      • Acts 13:30-37“What happened next?” (Jesus arose from the dead and was seen alive by many people, in direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies).
      • Acts 13:38“What does Jesus provide?” (forgiveness of sins).
      • Acts 13:39“What else does He do for those who believe?” (He makes them justified before God, which the Old testament Law could not do).
      • Acts 13:40-41 – Paul warned the Jews in the synagogue not to reject Jesus.
    • Stress the fact that when Paul had the opportunity to preach, he didn’t tell funny stories or tell his listeners how to have a better life; he preached to them about Jesus.
    • Summarize: The words of life Paul preached were words about Jesus: who He was, what He had done, and what He could do for them if they would simply believe.
  4. Life-Changing Words.
    • Tell the students throughout the remainder of the chapter we will see the effect the words of life about Jesus had on various people.
    • Read Acts 13:42-43.
    • Ask: “According to verse 42, what happened when the Jews left the synagogue?” (the Gentiles asked Paul to speak the same words to them).
    • Ask: “According to verse 43, how did many of the Jews and religious proselytes react to Paul’s words about Jesus?” (they followed Paul and Barnabas, and continued growing in the grace of God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:44-45.
    • Ask: “What happened the next Sabbath day?” (almost everyone in the city came together to hear the Word of God).
    • Ask: “What happened when the Jews saw the crowd gathered to hear Paul?” (they became envious and spoke against Paul and his words).
    • Read Acts 13:46.
    • Ask: “What did Paul say the Jews rejected?” (the Word of God).
    • Ask: “By doing this, what did he say they judged themselves unworthy of?” (everlasting life; their rejection condemned them to hell).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Acts 13:47-49.
    • Ask: “How did the Gentiles respond to Paul’s words?” (many were saved and the Word of God spread throughout that region).
    • Read Acts 13:50-52.
    • Ask: “What did the Jews do?” (stirred up the influential people of the city and threw Paul and Barnabas out of town).
    • Ask: “How did Paul and Barnabas react to this bad treatment?” (they shook the dust of the city off their feet, went on to the next city, and they were filled with joy).
    • Tell the class that the words of life Paul preached in Antioch changed many lives:
      • Many Jews and Gentiles believed the Gospel and followed Christ.
      • Some of the influential Jews rejected the Gospel and ran Paul and Barnabas out of town.
      • Paul and Barnabas continued spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in other cities.
    • Summarize: The words of life Paul preached changed many lives: some came to faith in Jesus, while some hard-hearted people rejected the gift of everlasting life.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that the title of today’s lesson is Words of Life.  Throughout Acts 13, we have seen that Paul preached words of life to everyone he could, telling them about salvation through Jesus Christ.

  • On the island of Cyprus, his words were filled with God’s power to save a Roman official and to silence a demon-possessed sorcerer.
  • In Antioch, his words were all about Jesus. He told about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and that Jesus can forgive our sins and make us right with God.
  • Paul’s God-inspired words had so much power that lives were dramatically changed: many Jews and Gentiles received Christ and were saved, but some Jews rejected Jesus and the salvation He offers.

Remind the students that those who “were ordained to eternal life believed” in Jesus and were saved (v. 48) , while others rejected the Gospel message, making themselves “unworthy of everlasting life” (v. 47).

Ask: “Which of those descriptions best fits you?  Have you believed the words of life about Jesus and received everlasting life, or have you rejected Jesus and the life-changing words about Him?”

Ask everyone to be honest with themselves and with God.  Encourage any who might not be saved to repent of their sins and trust Jesus for salvation today.

Ask: “Do you know anyone who needs to hear the words of life about Jesus?  If so, will you make an intentional effort to share the Gospel with that person this week?”  Encourage those who are saved to share the words of life with others.  Voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Acts 13:47.  Offer to stay after class and talk to anyone who has questions about salvation.  Offer Gospel tracts to those who might like to use them to witness to others.

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