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

  1. Goal One

    1. Read Acts 16:16-18. Was this slave girl a witness
      for Jesus?

      1. Did Paul and Silas appreciate this “witness?”

        1. What kind of tone do you think she used?

        2. 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.)

      2. 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.)

        1. Have you ever found in your witnessing
          that one of the devil’s helpers is trying
          to antagonize you?

        2. Is there a lesson in witnessing here that
          even true messages can be inappropriate
          and inspired by the devil?

    2. Let’s read on. Read Acts 16:19-22.

      1. What kind of a dispute did the owners have
        with Paul and Silas?

      2. What kind of dispute did they say they had
        with the disciples?

        1. 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!)

        2. Did you notice they had an appeal to
          patriotism? (Verse 20-21: “These Jews …
          us Romans”)

      3. 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?

        1. Was Paul’s action intended to be a
          witness to this slave girl?

          1. Was it intended to be a witness to

          2. What would those who witnessed this
            conclude about the authority of

      4. Why do you think the owners did not stop the
        slave girl from harassing the disciples

        1. Did they deserve what they got?

    3. 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

    4. 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

      1. Were fellow prisoners the only ones who were
        listening to Paul and Silas praying and
        singing? (Apparently the guard had been
        listening too.)

      2. If the guard heard enough to know to ask to be
        saved before the earthquake, why did he wait
        until after?

        1. Is there a lesson here in witnessing for

        2. Is there a difference between knowing and
          being convicted of something?

      3. What is necessary to bring someone from mere
        knowledge to conviction?

      4. What caused conviction to come on this guard?
        (He felt that Paul and Silas had saved his

    5. 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?

      1. Why did Paul and Silas refer first to Jesus in
        response to the guard’s question about how he
        could be saved?

      2. 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.)

  2. Conviction to Desire

    1. 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.”)

    2. 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

      1. 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?

        1. 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

        2. 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

  3. Desire to Action

    1. Why did the guard wash the wounds of Peter and
      Silas? (This shows his compassion and

    2. 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?

    3. Is this a “rule” of witnessing? Whenever you
      witness, should you give a “call” to action?

      1. If you say, “yes,” how important is the call?
        (The call is critical to turning desire into

    4. 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
      other people.)

    5. 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

  4. Next Week: Church Life and Witnessing.