Introduction: Have you ever wondered exactly how you should
approach converting unbelievers? Should you hope to catch
their interest in the future by talking about Revelation?
Should you point of the important differences between your
church and others? Should you start out with the benefits
of being a Christian? Should you start out with important
doctrines? Let’s see what the Bible teaches us on this
- Goal One
- Read Acts 16:16-18. Was this slave girl a witness
- Did Paul and Silas appreciate this “witness?”
- What kind of tone do you think she used?
- Would it have been better if she had gone
ahead of them like an announcer, instead
of following them? (By following, she
sounds like a heckler.)
- Why did the evil spirit cause this girl to
shout out this true message? How was the devil
benefitted by this? (It could have been that
the devil wanted it to appear that Paul’s work
was somehow associated with fortune telling.
It could also have been that the devil simply
wanted to annoy Paul and Silas.)
- Have you ever found in your witnessing
that one of the devil’s helpers is trying
to antagonize you?
- Is there a lesson in witnessing here that
even true messages can be inappropriate
and inspired by the devil?
- Let’s read on. Read Acts 16:19-22.
- What kind of a dispute did the owners have
with Paul and Silas?
- What kind of dispute did they say they had
with the disciples?
- Why did their complaint differ from their
actual concern? (They did not want to
complain about a petty money issue. They
had to show it was not the money, but the
principle of the matter!)
- Did you notice they had an appeal to
patriotism? (Verse 20-21: “These Jews …
- Why did Paul perform this miracle of casting
out the evil spirit from the girl? Because
the slave girl wanted it, or because he lost
his temper, or neither reason?
- Was Paul’s action intended to be a
witness to this slave girl?
- Was it intended to be a witness to
- What would those who witnessed this
conclude about the authority of
- Why do you think the owners did not stop the
slave girl from harassing the disciples
- Did they deserve what they got?
- Read Acts 16:23-24. What kind of prisoners did the
guard believe that he had in Paul and Silas?
(Dangerous. Both his instructions and his actions
in putting them in an “inner cell” and putting
them in stocks showed that he thought they were
- Read Acts 16:25-30. We now come to the heart of
our study on witnessing. How do you explain that
the guard asked about salvation at this point in
time? There is no indication he knew anything
about these two disciples other than they were
- Were fellow prisoners the only ones who were
listening to Paul and Silas praying and
singing? (Apparently the guard had been
- If the guard heard enough to know to ask to be
saved before the earthquake, why did he wait
- Is there a lesson here in witnessing for
- Is there a difference between knowing and
being convicted of something?
- What is necessary to bring someone from mere
knowledge to conviction?
- What caused conviction to come on this guard?
(He felt that Paul and Silas had saved his
- Read Acts 16:31. Consider the various approaches
to witnessing. How would you describe the approach
of Paul and Silas to this guard? Why didn’t they
first explain Jesus’ teaching ( Matthew 25:36)
about prison ministries?
- Why did Paul and Silas refer first to Jesus in
response to the guard’s question about how he
could be saved?
- Our lesson suggests that, like Paul and Silas,
our first step in witnessing is to tell others
about Jesus. Why should our “goal one” be to
start with Jesus instead of the distinctive
doctrines of the church or some aspect about
Christian living? (Telling a person about
Jesus and what He has done for us creates the
“guard situation” — people realize their life
has been saved by Jesus.)
- Conviction to Desire
- Read Acts 16:32-34. Were Paul and Silas teaching
the guard and his family doctrines? (It seems at
least some doctrines were taught because the text
says they taught the “word of the Lord.”)
- Is the sequence here is important? The guard did
not ask how to be saved based on the praying and
singing (v.25) of Paul and Silas. The earthquake
motivated him (convicted him) to ask how he could
be saved. It was after he asked to be saved that
the disciples taught the word to him. Why, as a
practical matter, is it that approaching people
first with Jesus and not doctrines is the best
- If you were able to show someone the truth of
a doctrine in the Bible, why would they not
follow that truth? Isn’t our job to show
people that they should follow clear teachings
of the Bible?
- Has there ever been some Biblical action
that you know you should take in your
life, but you do not take it? What
reasons might you have for not doing
something the Bible commands? (Mere
knowledge, mere understanding, is not
enough for most people. They have to have
a desire to do something. Generally,
people “desire” not to follow some
doctrine that requires a change in their
- What is the best way to create a desire
in someone to obey the teachings of the
Bible? (People are motivated by love,
they are motivated by appreciation. When
a person understands the cross, and what
Jesus suffered for them, they understand
His love and that motivates them. The
love and sacrifice of Jesus softens the
heart of the unbeliever. This guard
believed the disciples had saved his life
and that motivated him to be willing to
- Desire to Action
- Why did the guard wash the wounds of Peter and
Silas? (This shows his compassion and
- The guard and his family were then “washed”
(baptized) by the disciples. After we teach a
person about Jesus, and they are motivated to
believe, should we suggest that they be baptized?
- Is this a “rule” of witnessing? Whenever you
witness, should you give a “call” to action?
- If you say, “yes,” how important is the call?
(The call is critical to turning desire into
- As you look back at this story, what were the most
critical facts that caused the story to happen?
(Casting out of the evil spirit and the earthquake
were the critical “event.” We should not leave
this story without, once again, recognizing the
critical role the supernatural, the Holy Spirit,
has in setting up the background facts for
witnessing. The work of the Holy Spirit, coupled
with faithfulness of Paul and Silas, converted
this guard and his family (and who knows how many
- Friend, do you see how this works? Our witnessing
must first start with Jesus. That will melt the
heart of the individual so that they will be
inclined to obey the doctrines. However, we need
to be alert to help move individuals from mere
knowledge and conviction to doing something about
it! Will you agree to carefully consider your
approach to witnessing so that you can be a better
- Next Week: Church Life and Witnessing.