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Acts 21:1-26

Gray Area #1: The Mission and Your Mission (Acts 21:4, 10-14)

Gray Area #2: Participation and Permission (Acts 21:17-26)

  • James is the half brother of Jesus and Apostle at the church in Jerusalem. He is also the author of the book of James
  • Paul’s vow was likely a vow to restore ceremonial purity to be admitted into the temple (Numbers 6:9-10; 19:12)
  • The 4 men had probably taken a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6:2-21)
  • What is Paul doing here?
    • Obedience to James (Hebrews 13:17)
    • Doing anything short of sin to reach people with the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)

Big Idea: Have grace in the gray.

7 Questions to help decide what to do when I’m in the middle of a gray area decision?

  1. What do I do in the gray areas?
  2. Will it benefit me spiritually? (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  3. Will it bring bondage? (1 Corinthians 6:12)
  4. Will it defile God’s temple? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  5. Will it cause anyone to stumble? (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:8-9)
  6. Will it help the cause of evangelism? (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)
  7. Will it violate my conscience? (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 10:25-29)
  8. Will it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)


Extra Notes:

  • Acts 21:8 Philip the Evangelist
    • not the apostle: Unlikely Peter would be called to Samaria in Acts 8 if Philip the Apostle was already there?
    • described as one of the original 7 deacons to distinguish him from the apostle
  • Acts21:9 – 4 unmarried daughters who prophesied
    • Women can receive all of the spiritual gifts as well.
    • cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 – he places prophecy as #2 under apostleship then tells them to “desire the higher gifts”.
    • cf. 1 Corinthians 11:5 – describes how a woman should pray or prophesy in the church implying that women will prophecy in the church