Paul and Barnabas Worked Within
Different Cultures

God sends some workers to start congregations
among people of other cultures.

Those who teach children should read study #76 for children.


1.    Prepare your heart with prayer and the Word to send trans-cultural workers.

Prayer: “Lord, you give apostles to our congregations. Teach us and them to love people of other cultures and to work for you among them.”

Background. In the Bible, non-Jewish people are called Gentiles. Both the Old and New Testaments promised that all Gentile peoples in the world would hear the Good News about Jesus.

·         Find in Acts 14:8–14 what can happen if we do not understand other people’s culture. Find what Paul and Barnabas did to show God’s power. (14:8–10)

·         Who the Lyconians thought cured the lame man. (11–12)


The Lyconians tried to sacrifice to Paul & Barnabas as to gods.


·         What the people wanted to do for Paul and Barnabas. (13)

What Paul and Barnabas had to explain to them. (14–15)

Find in Genesis 12:14 God’s unchanging purpose for all peoples, nations, tribes and cultures. (Answers follow each question.)

·         Where God told Abraham to go. (Verse 1)

·         What Abraham was going to become there. (2)

·         What groups of people would be blessed in relation to Abraham. (3)

·         What Abraham did so that God’s promise would be fulfilled. (4)

Find in Galatians 3:8–14 how the promise made to Abraham is fulfilled:

·         What God wanted to do for Gentile people of all the different culture groups? (3:8)

·         What must Gentiles do in order to be blessed by God? (9)

·         What did Christ do so that people can be blessed without keeping Jewish laws? (13)

·         What aspect of the blessing promised to Abraham do believers in Christ of all nations now receive through faith? (14).

Find in Acts 10:11–28 what must be the attitude of those who work with another culture group:

·         What Peter heard though a vision from God. (10:11–16)

·         How the Holy Spirit wants us to act when we have an opportunity to work with another culture group. (18–23)

·         What our attitude should be towards ourselves when we work with another culture group. (24–27)

·         What our attitude should be towards culture groups that our own culture dislikes. (28)

Find in Acts 15:1-31 how several churches worked together to solve cultural differences. (See the last part of section 3.)

2.    Plan with your co-workers the coming week’s activities

Identify the various culture groups residing in your town and region.

Discuss which groups are the more neglected by Christian missions and congregations. How are those groups similar to your culture, and how are they different?

Find out important information about each of those culture groups:

·         How many people are in the group?

·         What proportion of them are Christians?

·         How many Christian congregations and cell groups do they already have?

·         What missions and congregations, aside from your own, could work with the culture group with your cooperation?

·         How are the beliefs and customs of the group similar to yours? Different from yours?

Discuss and plan:

·         Which workers in your congregation could be sent by it to work with each of the neglected culture groups. (Who has the ability and desire to work with other cultures?)

·         Who will coach them in their work?

·         How will they be supported in that work? Can some of them be self-supporting, as Paul was, when he made tents in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3)?

·         When will your congregation send them?

Arrange to supply coaching and Paul-Timothy materials to the coaches.

3.    Plan with your co-workers the up-coming congregational worship

Choose any of these activities that fit current needs, and for which you will have time.

Tell or act out what you studied under Part 1 above, and ask the same questions:

·         What happened in Lystra when Paul and Barnabas worked there (Acts 14:8-14).

·         What God promised Abraham concerning all nations (Genesis 12:1-4).

·         How we receive God’s Holy Spirit because of this promise (Galatians 3:8-14).

·         How God changed Peter’s view of a culture group that the Jews disliked (Acts 10:11-28).

Explain from Acts 15 why Christians of Jewish culture thought that Gentiles had to adopt Jewish customs before they could be saved, and how they solved this problem:

·         The elders of several congregations met with the apostles to discuss the disagreement.

·         Peter told how Cornelius’ group received the Holy Spirit without becoming like Jews (15:8–9).

·         Barnabas and Paul reported how God did miracles for Gentiles (verse 12).

·         James concluded that Gentiles must not be made to change their culture in order to become Christians (verse 19).

Let anyone who has worked recently with another cultural group tell what God is doing with it.

Have the children present what they have prepared.

To introduce the Lord’s Supper read Isaiah chapter 53.

Have the believers form small groups to intercede for other culture groups to be saved and for workers to take the Good News to them.

Memorize together Revelation 7:9.