Small Group Studies

Underdog Week 6 Study


One of the most remarkable things about underdog stories is how the underdog perseveres even when all of the odds are up against them. These stories of grit, hard work, and talent are inspiring. To see anyone willing to face incredible odds and actually overcome them is moving. One of these remarkable underdog stories is the story of the apostle Paul, a man who never gave up, despite the many odds stacked against him.


Did you ever have an after-school activity that you quit? What was it, and why did you stop?


Bible Study Questions

1. How do people usually respond when they find themselves in underdog situations, and the odds are stacked against them? Why?


2. Read Acts 16:19-24. What odds did Paul have against him during this situation?

Acts 16:19-24

Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

3. Read Acts 16:25-38. What stands to you about Paul’s attitude and response to this trial he was facing?

Acts 16:25-38

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”

But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”

When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens.

4. What good did God bring through Paul’s underdog situation?


5. Are you currently facing a situation where all of the odds feel stacked against you? If so, what is it?

6. How do you see God bringing good out of this situation you are facing?

7. What habits and practices can you model after Paul’s responses to his own trials this week?



Throughout all of his difficult trials and circumstances, Paul continued to encourage and pour into the lives of others. Even from jail, he wrote encouraging letters. Who can you encourage and pour in to even through the struggles that you are facing? How specifically can you encourage and impact them? Make a plan for how you will encourage someone else even in the middle of your struggles and share it with your group.


Going deeper

As we look at Paul’s life, one thing that becomes clear is that he prayed. He turned to God in any and all circumstances. In fact, he instructed followers in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Prayer is a gift, and throughout Scripture, we find that God has always invited His people to communicate with Him. Let’s take some time to look at people throughout Scripture who prayed. With your group, look up the verses below and answer the following questions about their prayer:

When did they pray?
Why did they pray?
What did they pray?
What was the result of their prayer?

Please note that every passage of Scripture might not have a clear-cut answer. That is okay. If you do not see a clear-cut answer to one of these questions, simply answer “unknown.”

Read the following passages of Scripture and answer the 4 questions given above:

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

1 Kings 3:3-15

1 Samuel 1:9-18

Matthew 26:36-46

Ephesians 3:14-21

After reading these verses and studying what Scripture says about prayer, evaluate your own life. Answer the same questions for yourself that we asked about these people in Scripture who prayed.

When do you pray?
When you pray, why do you pray?
When you pray, what do you pray?
What has been the result of your prayers?
What practices and habits do you want to pick up from these people in Scripture who prayed?
What is one way that your group can hold you accountable this week to grow in prayer.

Prayer, the ability to communicate with and talk to God, is one of our greatest gifts. May we all be committed to prayer, at all times, in times of joy, sorrow, need, and praise. God has made Himself fully available to hear from us if we will turn to Him.


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John 10:27

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.