New Testament

Gospels and Acts of the Apostles

In what ways did Paul and his companions meet opposition?

Some people did not agree with their message about the gospel. Some people were open to the message, but twisted it to suit their agenda. For instance, when Paul and Barnabas visited Iconium, a city in what is modern-day Turkey, many people—both Jews and Gentiles—converted to Christianity. Even so, some Jews and Gentiles were hostile to Paul and Barnabas. The oppositionists attempted “to mistreat them and stone them.” (NIV, Acts 14:5) Paul was beaten and imprisoned several times throughout his ministry.

At first, the people of Lystra, a city in what is modern-day Turkey, welcomed Paul and Barnabas’ message eagerly. The people of Lystra became so excited that they thought because Paul and Barnabas healed a crippled man, they were the gods Zeus and Hermes. Paul and Barnabas set the people straight, but “scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.” (NRSV, Acts 14:18) The people of Lystra proved fickle. When some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and slandered Paul and Barnabas, the people of Lystra took Paul outside the city and stoned him. They thought they killed him, but he rallied and continued traveling with Barnabas.

Then in Philippi, a city in Greece, Paul and Silas met a girl who had a spirit of divination. She was the slave of people who made money with her fortune-telling. The girl followed Paul and Timothy around, exclaiming: “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” (The Message, Acts 16:17) The girl did this over and over. Paul tried to ignore her but he became annoyed. He turned to her and addressed the spirit in her: “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” (The Message, Acts 16:18) The spirit went out of the girl right then. When the girl’s owners realized that the fortune-telling spirit—and thus their way of making money—was gone from her, they had Paul and Silas brought before the authorities. The crowd and the authorities attacked Paul and Silas, and beat them. Then they had Paul and Silas put in prison.


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