Let us study together from the book of Acts
The Gospel Spreads to the Jews
Great Commission & Ascension of Jesus
Sermon at Pentecost
The First Church
Peter & John Heal a Paralytic Man
Ananias and Sapphira
The First Deacons
The Stoning of Stephen
Philip Teaches the Man from Ethiopia
Overview of the Book of Acts
The “Gospel of Luke” and the “Acts of the Apostles” are both parts of the same story with one following directly after the other. The two parts, or books, were written by Luke. Though he does not mention himself by name, the author is undoubtedly Luke, physician and frequent traveling companion of the apostle Paul. Both were addressed to a man named Theophilus.
TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
The book ends abruptly with Paul under house arrest awaiting trial in Rome (28:16,30-31). This may indicate that the book was written before Paul’s trial and eventual release. If the book was just before or after Paul’s release, then it was likely written around 63 A.D. from Rome.
PURPOSE OF THE BOOK
The inspiration and preservation of the book would indicate an important future role in the providence of God. Based on its content, the following purpose of this book:
The value of Acts is also seen in that it provides the historical framework for the epistles found in the New Testament. From Romans to Revelation, names, places, and events are mentioned upon which
light is shown by the historical account of Acts. Without Acts, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John would be left without a satisfying answer to the question, “What happened next?”
THEME OF THE BOOK
The book begins in Jerusalem and ends at Rome. It describes the establishment and growth of the Lord’s church throughout the Mediterranean world through the work of the apostles and other Christians under the direction of the Holy Spirit. We read their sermons and see the conversions which resulted as they carried out the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16). We learn how local churches were established, and much of their work, worship and organization. But mostly we see the faith and efforts of those charged to be witnesses of the Lord and of His resurrection from the dead. An appropriate theme of this book might therefore be:
KEY VERSE: Acts 1:8
Puzzles for the month
We have created different variety of Puzzles: Crossword, Word Search, Jigsaw, Quiz etc.. to learn and understand the bible verses and topics. All puzzles are mobile friendly and has a unique feature that enables multiple people to solve a puzzle simultaneously.
If you really want to exercise your brain, then you must try to solve these puzzles:
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Bible stories from Acts 1 - 8
Summary of each chapters of Acts 1 - 8
Luke begins his second book to Theophilus by alluding to the first (the gospel of Luke, Lk 1:1-4). He briefly reviews what occurred during the forty days between the resurrection and ascension of Christ (cf. Lk 24:1-53). Special attention is given to the Promise of the Father regarding the apostles being baptized by the Holy Spirit, who would empower them as witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem, Judea,
Samaria and even to the end of the earth (1-8).
The ascension of Jesus is then described (cf. also Lk 24:50-51), along with the promise of His return by two men in white apparel standing by (9-11). Obeying the command of the Lord, the apostles return to Jerusalem, where they wait and continue in prayer along with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (12-14).
During this time, Peter addresses the (120) disciples regarding Judas who betrayed Jesus. Both the fall and replacement of Judas were foretold by the Spirit through the mouth of David, so Peter proposes guidelines for nominees to take the place of Judas in the apostolic ministry of being a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. Two men are selected for consideration, and following prayer for the Lord to show which of the two He has chosen, lots are cast and Matthias is numbered with the eleven apostles (15-26).
Ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, on the Jewish feast day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is poured out as promised. With the sound of a rushing mighty wind, and with tongues of fire appearing above their heads, those filled with the Holy Spirit begin to speak in other tongues (1-4). Devout Jews visiting from other countries are attracted and amazed as they hear wonderful works of God proclaimed in their own languages (5-13).
Peter, standing with the rest of the apostles, explains that what has happened is a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28-32), who foretold that God would pour out His Spirit in the last days (14-21). He then preaches Jesus of Nazareth to the crowd, reminding them of His miracles, their involvement in His death, and proclaiming that God raised Him from the dead. As proof for the resurrection, Peter offers three lines of evidence: 1) the prophecy by David, who foretold of the resurrection (Psa 16:8-11); 2) the twelve apostles as witnesses; 3) the Spirit’s outpouring itself , indicative of Christ’s exaltation and reception of the promise of the Spirit from the Father. In conclusion, Peter pronounces that God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ (22-36).
Cut to the heart, the people ask the apostles what they should do. Peter commands them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and gift of the Holy Spirit. With many other words he exhorts them to be saved, and about 3000 souls gladly receive his word and are baptized (37-41).
Thus begins the church in Jerusalem, which continues steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and prayers. Signs and wonders are done by the apostles, while the believers display their love and devotion through acts of benevolence and frequent worship. They enjoy the favor of the people, and the Lord adds to the church daily those being saved (42-47).
The chapter opens with Peter and John going to the temple where they encounter a man lame from birth begging for alms at the gate called Beautiful. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter commands him to rise up and walk. Taking the lame man by the right hand and lifting him up, the man is healed instantly and completely. Walking, leaping, and praising God, he accompanies Peter and John into the temple to the wonder and amazement of the crowd (1-11).
On Solomon’s porch, Peter explains that the healing occurred by faith in the name of Jesus. God has glorified His Servant Jesus, the Holy One and the Just, the Prince of life, whom they denied and killed, but whom God raised from the dead as witnessed by Peter and John. While their crimes were done in ignorance, even foretold and fulfilled by God, they are commanded to repent and turn. Those that do are promised to have their sins blotted out and experience other blessings from Jesus who will remain in heaven until the times of restoration of all things. Those who do not heed Jesus will be utterly destroyed as foretold by Moses (cf. Deu 18:15,18-19). As sons of the prophets, and of the covenant God made with Abraham to bless all families through his seed (cf. Gen 22:18), to them first God has sent Jesus to bless them in turning them away from their iniquities (12-26).
The first case of persecution against the church is described in this chapter. Peter and John are put into custody because their preaching on the resurrection of Jesus disturbed a number of the religious leaders (in particular the Sadducees who denied any resurrection, Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8). In spite of this, the number of men who believed came to be about five thousand (1-4).
After a night in jail, Peter and John are brought before the council, including the high priest and members of his family. Challenged to explain themselves, Peter proclaims the healing was done by the name of Jesus Christ, the very one they crucified yet whom God raised from the dead and who has now become “the chief cornerstone” (Psa 118:22), and in whose name alone salvation is now available. Amazed at Peter and John’s boldness, and unable to deny that the lame man had been healed, the council sends them outside and confer among themselves. They decide to prevent the spread of the apostles’ doctrine by threatening Peter and John not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. The apostles respond that they must speak what they have seen and heard. The council, unable to do anything more at this time because of the people, simply threaten the apostles once again and let them go (5-22).
Returning to their companions, Peter and John report what has been said. Prayer is offered, asking for boldness in view of the persecution foretold in Psalms 2:1-2, and for signs and wonders to continue in the name of Jesus. At the conclusion of the prayer, the place where they prayed was shaken and all were filled the Holy Spirit, emboldening them to speak the Word of God (23-31)
The chapter ends with a description of the continued growth of the church, with the oneness of the brethren and the empowered testimony of the apostles to the resurrection of Jesus. The great liberality continues, meeting the needs of the saints. One example in particular is noted, that of Barnabas, whose work is featured later in the book ( Act 11:22-30; 13:1-15:41), and whose liberality stands in stark contrast to what takes place in the next chapter (32-36).
In contrast to the remarkable liberality in the church as described in the previous chapter, we are now told of the example of Ananias and Sapphira. A husband and wife who sold a possession, they tried to mislead the apostles that they were giving the entire proceeds. Confronted one at a time by Peter and found guilty of lying against the Holy Spirit, they both fall dead, bringing great fear upon all (1-11).
Highly esteemed among the people, the apostles continue doing many signs and wonders among the people and in the temple (Solomon’s Porch). Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers, who then brought the sick out into the streets on beds and couches, that perhaps the shadow of Peter might fall on some of them. A multitude from the surrounding cities brought those who were sick and tormented, and everyone was healed (12-16).
Once again the high priest and those of Sadducees are filled with anger. They have the apostles placed into custody. During the night, an angel of the Lord frees them and commands the apostles to continue to teach in the temple. In the morning when the council convenes, the prison is found secure but empty. When told that the apostles are teaching in the temple, officers are sent to bring the apostles peacefully to the council. When the high priest charges them of disobeying the command not to teach in the name of Jesus (4:18), the apostles reply “We ought to obey God rather than man.” They further proclaim that God raised Jesus (whom the council had murdered) and has exalted Him to be Prince and Savior who offers repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. To this the apostles claim to be witnesses, along with the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him (17-32).
Infuriated, the council plots to kill the apostles. However, one in the council, a Pharisee and highly respected teacher of the law by the name of Gamaliel (cf. 22:3), advises the council to leave the apostles alone. Based upon the history of other “movements” that had failed, Gamaliel reasons that if the apostles were doing the work of men, it would come to naught. But if it was the work of God, the council could do nothing to stop it and would only be fighting against God. The council is willing to heed his advice, though the apostles are beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus before being released. The apostles leave the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame in the name of Jesus, and continue right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ every day in the
temple and in every house (33-42).
As the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied in number, it is not surprising to read of problems increasing as well. This chapter describes problems from within and without the congregation.
Hellenists (Jewish Christians who adopted Grecian culture) complained that the Hebrews (Jewish Christians who sought to preserve Jewish culture) neglected their widows in the daily distribution (cf. 2:44-45; 4:34-35). The apostles, desiring not to be distracted from their own work, summon the disciples and charge them to select seven men whom the apostles might appoint to take care of this responsibility. Seven are selected by the people and appointed by the apostles through prayer and the laying on of hands. With the problem solved, the word of God spread and the number of disciples multiplied greatly, including the obedience of many priests (1-6).
Stephen, one of the seven, began doing many wonders and signs. Opposition arose from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen who disputed with Stephen. Unable to resist the Spirit and the wisdom of which he spoke, they resorted to false witnesses to stir up the people, elders, and scribes. Brought before the council, Stephen was charged with blasphemy against the temple and the law of Moses. The chapter ends with the council looking at Stephen, seeing his face as the face of an angel (7-15)
The previous chapter ended with Stephen before the Sanhedrin council facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple and the Law (cf. 6:13-14). Chapter seven contains Stephen’s defense to these charges, and the account of his martyrdom.
Stephen responded by reviewing the call of Abraham and God’s promise to him and the nation of Israel. He then described how God used Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them for forty years through the wilderness. Yet Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom God gave the Law. Not only in the incident involving the golden calf, but throughout their wilderness wanderings Israel continued to worship false gods (cf. Amo 5:25-27). Turning to the matter of God’s dwelling place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (cf. Isa 66:1-2). He concluded by charging the council of resisting the Holy Spirit just like their ancestors, for as their fathers persecuted and killed the
prophets who foretold the coming of the Just One (Christ), so they became His betrayers and murderers. Indeed, they were the ones who have not kept the Law (1-53).
Cut to the heart, those in the council gnashed at Stephen with their teeth. Full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God with Jesus standing at His right hand. Upon telling the council what he saw, in rage they cast him out of city and began stoning him. The witnesses who brought the false charges laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul (later known as Paul, the apostle). As Stephen was stoned, he called upon Jesus to receive his spirit, and to not charge his murderers with his death. In this way Stephen became the first martyr for Christ (54-60).
Following the martyrdom of Stephen, the church in Jerusalem was severely persecuted. Prominent in leading the persecution was young Saul, going so far as to enter homes and dragging men and women off to prison (1-3).
This led to the dispersion of the church throughout Judea and Samaria, though the apostles remained in Jerusalem. Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word, including Philip (one of the seven men selected to help needy widows, cf. 6:5). Preaching Christ and performing miracles, many Samaritans believed and were baptized, including a sorcerer named Simon. When the apostles heard that the Samaritans had received the Word, they sent Peter and John to impart the Spirit through the laying on of hands. When Simon tried to buy the ability to impart spiritual gifts, Peter strongly rebuked him and told him to repent and pray for forgiveness. Peter and John eventually made their way back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans (5-25).
Philip was then told by an angel to go along the road between Jerusalem and Gaza where he saw a man reading in his chariot, who happened to be a eunuch and treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. Told by the Spirit to overtake the chariot, Philip heard him reading from the prophet Isaiah. Invited to explain the passage in Isaiah (cf. Isa 53:7-8), Philip proceeded to preach Jesus to him. When they came to some water, the eunuch requested to be baptized and Philip did so upon hearing his confession of faith. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit caught Philip away and the eunuch resumed his journey with great joy. Philip was later found at Azotus, and continued to preach in the cities until he came to Caesarea (26-40).