Why does Joseph Smith directly compare himself to Paul? What did he see in Paul’s experience that made him feel that the two held so much in common?
Come Follow Me
More Come Follow Me Features
This part of the New Testament has always been difficult for me to understand. The language of Acts, though not quite as complicated as some of Paul’s letters later on, seems a bit trickier than the straightforward plainness of the four Gospels. And yet, I’ve found a few things that have helped me along the way.
Preaching the gospel had been restricted during Christ’s ministry, with few exceptions, to the House and children of Israel. In a series of days on the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea—all that would change. It reminds us of a very special day in June of 1978—a day never to be forgotten. What we’re going to see in this week’s lesson is a series of amazing heavenly manifestations—but just as importantly—we’re going to see the precise timing of the Lord.
Our family has loved reading together in the book of Acts and learning how Christ's disciples figured things out for themselves after His resurrection. In chapter 12 we read of Peter’s capture and the prayers of the early Saints on behalf of their Prophet, having just witnessed the martyrdoms of James and Stephen.
What is this surprise in the nature of Paul that he can go from “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ” one day and be a submissive disciple of Christ the next? Of course, he had this stupendous vision on the road to Damascus, but is there something more we can learn about the life of Paul, itself, that can give us cues to his energy and passion?
As the number of disciples grew, the Twelve chose and set apart seven men to assist them in ministering to widows and those in need, two of whom were Stephen and Philip. “Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders among the people”. Certain men hired false witnesses to speak against Stephen, and he was tried before the Sanhedrin. They accused him of attempting to change the customs and rites of the law of Moses, and of threatening to destroy the temple.
Come, Follow Me for Families and Individuals: Lesson Helps for Acts 6-9, “What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?”
As Acts 6 begins, the Lord’s apostles recognize that with increased membership and growth, the Church needs additional support and leadership. Just as we, in the latter-day Church adapt to progress and circumstances, so did the early Church.