1. What do you remember about the occasion when you received your first Bible?
- A hand-me-down KJV, full of Old English words, red lettering, pictures, and maps.
- A youth or student edition, given to me for Confirmation Class.
- A gift Bible, signed and given by __________.
- My military issued New Testament.
- I wish someone would have given me one.
To travel from Jerusalem to Ethiopia, one had to pass through the Nubia Desert via the Gaza Road. This well-trafficked road saw half the known world cross over it en route to Egypt and Ethiopia. The trip was dangerously long. The eunuch traveling this route was Chancellor of the Exchequer of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. The king and queen were thought to be too sacred for travel abroad, so sent a royal representative instead. A eunuch was a castrated male, thus of no threat to the king’s harem. In visiting Jerusalem representing the hierarchy of Ethiopia, the eunuch might well have been curious about the King of the Jews. Philip also traveled south on this road, having just spread news of King Jesus to cities in Samaria north of Jerusalem (Acts 8:5-13). We pick up the story of Philip and the Ethiopian on their way south of Jerusalem.
Have someone read Acts 8: 26-40. Have a second person read Isaiah 53, which is what the eunuch was reading when Philip catches up with the chariot to interpret ancient prophecy for the man.
Finding My Story in God’s Story
2. What could the royal eunuch be searching for on this exhausting journey filled with peril?
- He wanted to compare gods of Ethiopia vs the God of Israel.
- He was curious about Jewish customs, standards, and ethics.
- He was not looking for conversion but for a diversion.
- He was reading the scroll of Isaiah that had been used for preaching at worship.
- When in Jerusalem, one can’t help but be curious about historic and spiritual things.
3. Why do you suppose God chose Philip?
- Philip was dedicated to Jesus’ teaching and knew the OT prophecy in question.
- Philip was intentional about networking and willing to reach out to strangers.
- Philip was a social butterfly, willing to talk with anyone about anything.
- Philip could run fast enough to catch up with the chariot on the Gaza Road.
- Philip was running checkpoint on the Gaza Road and stopped all comers.
4. Where had Philip gained his experience and instruction to bear witness for Jesus?
- In Jerusalem, listening to eyewitnesses about the death and Resurrection of Jesus.
- In Samaria, where miracles of healing and other signs confirmed God’s witness.
- While on the move for God, listening to an angel for further directions.
- He had been reading the same passage in Isaiah only the day before.
5. What was your reaction upon learning that the Ethiopian eunuch asked to be baptized?
- Good for him, way to trust and obey this rite of passage.
- I’m surprised at such urgency; surely baptism can wait.
- Curious, as I do not see the purpose or need for baptism.
- Signed, sealed, and delivered from past sin—now ready to witness in Ethiopia.
- Other _________.
6. When and how do you study the Bible?
- Only in church, using the pew Bible.
- Here in this group, using online Scripture.
- At home, every morning, with a Bible I mark-up.
- I listen to an audio Bible while doing something else.
- I journal and take notes as I read the Bible.
7. In reading the Bible for yourself, how does that make you feel?
- Excited, ready to apply and spread the Word.
- Bored and sleepy; it makes for good bedtime reading.
- Guilty; I can hear former pastors preach it.
- Confused; I need help understanding it.
- Other ________.
8. Who has been your mentor or wingman, helping you gain greater biblical knowledge?
- Priest or pastor.
- Church elder or spiritual director.
- Men’s fellowship group.
- My spouse or partner.
- Podcasts and blogs I get on the Internet.
- Other ________.
9. How could your small group or men’s fellowship be an evangelism network for you? Pray for God to direct you to next steps and lifelines of Scripture, as you bear witness for Jesus wherever you go.