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October 2012: Terra Periculosa - Exploring Dangerous Places

Acts 8 with 'Transforming Bible Study' approach

Leader’s notes:

Welcome everyone and invite people to sit and make themselves comfortable in the space. (Don’t go round to do intros as time will be too short)

Invite people to centre/pause and be quiet for a minute

Ask someone to read the passage - all of Acts 8

Lead discussion with these questions as the basis...

  • Who were Samaritans? How were they and their faith perceived by Jews?
  • Who were Ethiopians? How were they perceived by Jews? How were eunuchs and others with disability perceived in that culture?
  • What did the law say about interactions with these non-Jews? How do you imagine it felt to go against this?
  • Can you think of things that Jesus said and did in relation to Samaritans, and other outsiders?
  • What do we know about Philip? Why does Philip associate with such people? Where do we first encounter him in Acts? Do you think it makes any difference that he is a foreign Jew?
  • Who are such people in our society today? How might we relate to them? What are our fears?
  • Is there a part of you that is a Samaritan or eunuch or Ethiopian? Is there a part of you that is a law abiding Jew?
  • What is the Holy Spirit saying to us?

Write an imaginative encounter with a contemporary equivalent of a Samaritan or Ethiopian eunuch. Include the Holy Spirit as an active participant. (There is unlikely to be time so give people the instruction slip to take with them. They can begin and carry on in their own time.)

[Useful references: Good Samaritan, Deut 23:1, Lk 17:11-17, Is 56:3-5, Is 45...]

[Needed: question sheet, pens, takeaway slips and sheets of paper for creative dialogue]

Acts 10 - Peter and Cornelius

Read the passage from the perspective of 'Cornelius'
When have you been the 'Outsider'
As the 'Outsider' when have you had to ask for help?
What impact did it have on the relation with the other person?
Find a 'Peter' and discuss

Read the passage from the perspective of 'Peter'
When have you been the 'Insider'
As the 'Insider' when have you been asked for help?
What impact did it have on the relation with the other person?
Find a 'Cornelius' and discuss

Acts 17 – Paul in Athens

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, 'Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, "To an unknown god." What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "In him we live and move and have our being"; as even some of your own poets have said,

"For we too are his offspring."

Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.'


When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, 'We will hear you again about this.' At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

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