5-Minute Bible Studies

DETERMINATION– A Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Craig E. Beckley
Bible Teacher, Moores Hill, Indiana

August 1, 2003


DETERMINATION vs. Faintheartedness

Purposing to accomplish right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.

Acts 20:16

For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it be possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

Paul, the Apostle, lived a life full of determination, before and after he met the Lord. He was a zealous Pharisee and was known to be ruthless in tracking down Christians to be punished for their heresy. After his conversion, we see a man determined to do what God wanted him to do, to the best of his ability.

We see in this scripture that Paul is determined to get to Jerusalem by the feast of Pentecost. He had brought the gospel to the Ephesians and they were very dear to him. Ministering there the first time had almost cost him his life, in the riots. Now we see that he is so determined to get to Jerusalem that he will only stop by the dock and asks that the Elders come for a short meeting with him.

He informs them that this would be the last visit he would make to them and they wept at the thought of not seeing Paul again. Still, Paul was determined to get to Jerusalem.

The ship stopped at Tyre to unload, and Paul found some believers there. They tried to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem, but he was determined to get there.

At Caesarea, Paul stayed at the house of Phillip, the Evangelist, one of the first Deacons, and a prophet told Paul that we would be bound and suffer, if he continued to Jerusalem. Upon arrival in Jerusalem, Paul is there almost a full week before he is arrested and bound as the prophet has said.

At this point, one might be thinking, why didn’t Paul stay out on the mission field instead of going through hardships in Jerusalem, which would limit his ministry for some time to come? Because, Paul was determined to be obedient to God in the simple things. He simply knew that he was to be at Jerusalem, and he would let nothing stand in his way to be obedient. Weeping, crying, prophetic utterance and the begging of travel companions could not dissuade him from achieving the goal he felt God had given him.

What was the outcome of Paul’s determination? He was able to witness to the civil authority of both Rome and Israel, which no one else could have done. The Government paid his way to Rome and he began ministering there in complete freedom for two years.

God blessed Paul because he was determined to serve Him. He would not let the difficulties keep him from doing what he felt God had told Him to do. Could he have won more souls for the Kingdom if he had not gone to Jerusalem? Only God can answer that. Was God able to accomplish things for the kingdom that no one but Paul could? The answer is obviously yes!

How steadfast is your determination to do what God has told you to do? Are you affected by circumstances that are boring? Unpopular? Below you abilities? Not as productive as you could be? Then now is the time to realize that God has a plan for you and you are in it! Determine in your heart to be obedient, as Paul was. There could be harder times ahead, but the rewards are “out of the world”!

Here are five “I will” principles to practice in order to incorporate the character trait of determination into your life (write these on a poster, board or overhead transparency).

  1. I will set goals.
  2. I will make sure my goals are right.
  3. I will ignore distractions.
  4. I will not be discouraged by others.
  5. I will face problems head-on.

Closing #1: Let’s dialog about it with one another.

  • Shift the group into small discussion groups of 3-4.
  • Encourage groups to list the hindrances in their own lives to practicing determination in their families and with acquaintances.
  • Ask groups to share their feelings with whole group.

Closing #2: Let’s close in silent prayer, ask God:

  • To forgive you for things in your life that cause you to focus on yourself instead of the needs that are around you.
  • To show you how to practice determination I your life.
  • To make you aware of opportunities to grow in this character trait.


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

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