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The Acts of the Apostles




BOOK : Acts

Description : An account of the early years of the Church

Author: Luke, the physician, writer of Luke's Gospel

Date written : Probably somewhere between 63AD and 70AD

Chapters : 28



Brief Synopsis:

•  The ascension of Jesus and the disciples waiting for the Spirit to come.
•  The Day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to create the Church.
•  The activity of the early church and particularly of the apostle Peter.

•  The apostle Paul and the spread of the early church, concluding in Rome



Outline :


Part 1: Ch.1-12 Peter and the Beginnings of the Church in Palestine


1:1-9:31 Throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria
1:1-2 Introduction
1:3-11 Christ's post-resurrection ministry
1:12-26 The period of waiting for the Holy Spirit
Ch.2 The outpouring of the Spirit & Peter's first sermon
3:1-4:31 The healing of the lame man and the resultant arrest of Peter and John
4:32-5:11 The community of goods
5:12-42 The arrest of the 12 apostles
6:1-7 Problem of administrations & the Seven chosen to deal with it
6:8-7:60 Stephen's arrest and martyrdom
8:1-4 The scattering of the Jerusalem believers
8:5-40 Philip's ministry
8:5-25 In Samaria
8:26-40 To the Ethiopian eunuch
9:1-31 Saul's conversion
9:32-12:25 As far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch
9:32-11:18 Peter's ministry on the Mediterranean coast
9:32-43 To Aeneas and Dorcas
10:1-11:18 To Cornelius
11:19-3 The new Gentile church in Antioch (0)
Ch.12 Herod's persecution of the church and his subsequent death


Part 2: Ch.13-18 Paul and the Expansion of the Church from Antioch to Rome


13:1-15:35 Throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia
Ch.13-14 Paul's first missionary journey
15:1-35 The Jerusalem conference
15:36-21:16 Over to Macedonia
15:36-18:22 Paul's second missionary journey
18:23-21:16 Paul's third missionary journey
21:17-28:31 To Rome
21:17-23:35 Paul's imprisonment in Jerusalem
21:17-22:29 Arrest
22:30-23:11 Trial before the Sanhedrin
23:12-35 Transfer to Caesarea
Ch.24-26 Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea
Ch.24 Trial before Felix
25:1-12 Trial before Festus
25:13-26:32 Hearing before Festus and Agrippa
27:1-28:15 Voyage to Rome
28:16-31 Two years under house arrest in Rome



Some Key Verses:


John's philosophical descriptions of Jesus

1:1-2 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.


Jesus Ascends to heaven

1:6 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.


Jesus second coming spoken of by the angels

1:11 This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven


The Holy Spirit poured out on the believers and the Church created

2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues A as the Spirit enabled them.


Peter preaches the first sermon

2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem , let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.


Persecution moves believers away from Jerusalem

8:1,5 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem , and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria …. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.


Apostolic oversight sent to the expanded Church

8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.


Saul encounters Jesus and is converted

9:1-4 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus , so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem . As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"


As the Church expands Peter travels

9:31,32 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda.


The Holy Spirit comes on the Gentiles

10:44.45 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.


The Church spreads and is established and grows in Antioch

11:19-21 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia , Cyprus and Antioch , telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene , went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.


The prophets of Antioch send out Saul (Paul) and thus he starts his travelling ministry

13:1-4 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers….. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus



Concluding Comments


•  The story told in Acts is dynamic, a record of the working of the Holy Spirit, energising, equipping, enabling and empowering the believers so that the word was shared, miracles were performed and the church grew in numbers and spread.
•  Persecution in the early days of the Church only served to ensure the word was spread even more, and more and more people became believers.
•  Signs and wonders followed the word and the Holy Spirit took believers and used them to spread the word – see Philip and later Paul, Barnabas and Silas.
•  Persecution later on, of Paul and his apostolic team, only made them keep on moving and wherever they went and spread the word the Church was established.
•  Even through the turmoil of Paul's later ministry, the word of God was shared with rulers right up to Caesar's palace in Rome .



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