Group discussion questions Must speaking in tongues accompany every conversion? (Acts 2) How many times a week should Christians meet together (Acts 2:46)? How often should Christians take the Lord’s supper? Is it right to have musical instruments in the church? Should Christians worship each day at the Jewish temple? Do I receive the Holy Spirit after baptism or before?
What is the Genre of Acts? Prescriptive or descriptive? Prescriptive: Jesus Christ is the only Savior 4:12. Huge question? What is doctrine and what is narrative? How do you view the book?
Volume 2 of Luke Author and purpose: “Former book”…implies that there was a prior volume: Luke. Luke was a physician and co-worker of Paul (Col 4:14). Date: Depends on the dating of the third gospel. (no later than 60) “We sections” indicates that Luke was part of the narrative (16:10-17; 20:5-21:28; 27:1-28:16) Title: Only one of the original 12 is dealt with in detail (Peter). The work of Paul was Apostolic also, and continued the work done by the original twelve. Characteristics and Importance: Historically significant (it mentions over 30 countries, more than 50 towns or cities, islands, one hundred persons, geography, local politics, customs, seafaring, and first century Mediterranean world generally.) Theologically significant: Speeches and sermons make up 1/5 of the book. Literary Features and Structure: Wide ranging vocab… It divides into two main sections: (Taken from Acts 1:8);Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (1-12); The ends of the Earth (13-28)
Outline of Acts 1-7: The witness to Christ in and around Jerusalem (1:1-7:60) Intro and instructions (1:1-8) The Ascension (1:9-11) The Selection of Judas’s Replacement (1:12-26) Pentecost: Emergence of the Church (2:1-47) First Encounter of the Church with the Religious Leaders (3:1-4:35) Ananias and Sapphira: A case of Discipline (4:36-5:16) Second Encounter of the church with the Religious leaders (5:17-42) The Seven Servants: An Example of Problem Solving (6:1-7) Stephen: Fatal Clash with Judaism (6:8-7:60)
Initial witness to Christ in and around Jerusalem (1:1-2:47) Acts picks up where Luke left off. Jesus left his own personal presence (Lk 24:49; Jn 14:16) Jesus left standing orders with the disciples (1:6-8) The Ascension and promise to return 1:11. The first Christian Pentecost (1:12-2:47) Spirit is associated with the announcement of the Gospel. NOTE the reference to Joel 2:28…the last days have come upon us…and how do we know…the Spirit is here.
Spreading the Message, Gathering Opposition (3:1-7:60) Miracles and Message Crippled beggar is healed (3:8) Passing shadow of an apostle heals a man (5:15) Disciples did the works Jesus had done. Jewish priests were coming to Christ (6:7) Preaching is also key (3:19-23) Even on Trial Peter & John repeat the message of Jesus (4:12). They never stopped teaching and proclaiming Jesus (5:42). Christian Community: growth and social cohesion. People actually lived with the needs of others in mind rather than selfishness. Daily distribution of food to widows (6:1) Conflict Jesus promised that persecution would follow them (Jn 15:20) Acts 7 highlights the conflict with the first martyr. Piper, Let the Nations be Glad, 99-102
Outline The Witness to Christ in Judea and Samaria (8:1-12:25) Saul the Persecutor and Philip the Evangelist (8:1-40) The conversion of Saul (9:1-31) Peter's Ministry in Judea (9:32-11:18) The Antioch Church: Barnabas' Ministry (11:19-30) Peter's Miraculous Deliverance (12:1-25)
Perspective of Acts 8-12 Focus on individual persons: Saul, Philip, and Peter. God is interested in all persons; Jews and Greeks alike.
Minor figures in the Plot of Acts. Philip (8:5-13, 26-40) Philip was in charge of the food given to widows in Acts 6:5; and he fled to Samaria following the persecutions in Jerusalem. He was one of the first to take the gospel outside of Jerusalem. Gospel is now preached to the Samaritans. (cf. Jn 4) Persecution was the "seed" that pushed the gospel out of Jerusalem. Philip's converts: Simon the sorcerer, and the Ethiopian official. Known in the church as Philip the evangelist (Act 21:8)
Minor figures in the Plot of Acts The Ethiopian Eunuch (8:26-40) Philip is prompted by the Spirit to leave Samaria and travel toward Gaza. the treasurer for the African Kingdom of Ethiopia. Reading the Isaiah scroll; suffering servant (Isa 53). The Gospel spreads again…possibly for the first time in Africa Ananias (9:10-19) We learn about Ananias because of his encounters with Paul. (9:1-2). Met Saul in Damascus, and restored his sight. Note that the first time Ananias sees Saul he embraces him with the title "brother" (Acts 9:17).
Aeneas (9:33-35) Connected to Peter's ministry He had been paralyzed for 8 yrs. Tabitha (9:36-42) Lived in Joppa She was a saintly woman who died Simon the Tanner (9:43; 10:6, 17, 32) Peter lodged in his house while at Joppa (9:43). Vision happens here Cornelius (10:1-11:18) Roman Centurion Barnabas (11:22-30) Son of encouragement We first met him selling his property and giving to the church (4:37). He is the key figure for the spread of the Gospel in Antioch. associates with Paul after his conversion. (9:27) Agabus (11:28) Predicted the famine in the Reign of Clauduis (A.D. 41-54) Instructs the church to give to the needy. James the Brother of John (12:2) Inner 3 and part of the 12 Jesus predicts that he will be killed by execution (Mt 20:23). He is the first of the 12 to die for the faith
Minor players who disbelieved. Simon the Sorcerer (8:9-25) Has magical powers and notices a power greater than that which he wields. Simon offered Peter and John money if they would share their Apostolic powers with him. His name became synonymous with Heresy in the 2nd century. Herod Agrippa I. (12:1-23) Persecutor of James (12:1-4) Brother of Herodias who engineered John the Baptist's death. He executed the guards who watched Peter escape from Jail (12:19). He was called a "god" and reveled in the crowds praise.
Major Players in the Book John (8:14-25) The apostle the son of Zebedee the "beloved" accompanies Peter to Samaria Note that the Samaritians received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:17) This is the last time he is mentioned by name in Acts.
Peter (8:14-25; 9:32-43; 10:1-11:18; 12:3-18) Peter plays one of the leading roles in this section of Acts. Receives the vision on the Tanner's roof top. Goes to visit Cornelius at the prompting of the Spirit. "God does not show favoritism" New converts did not need to adopt Jewish social customs. God intervenes for Peter and busts him out of Prison.
Saul (8:1-3; 9:1-31; 11:25-30; 12:25) He presided over Stephen's stoning Persecuted the followers of the way. He is confronted with Jesus on the road to Damascus. (He is an Apostle untimely born.) He preaches the new found faith in Damascus. Escapes a plot to kill him by fleeing to Arabia. 3yrs after conversion he visits Jerusalem Withdraws from Jerusalem to Caesarea and on to Tarsus (his home). He is recruited by Barnabas for missionary duties to the church at Antioch. Delivers the collection for the needy Christians in Judea (famine visit)