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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Acts of the Apostles

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Frameworks: Acts 12


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation.)

v.1-5 Peter put in Prison & the Church prays

v.6-11 An Angel releases him from prison

v.12-18 The church struggle to believe his release

v.19-23 Herod's Death

v.24-25 Barnabas and Saul Sent Off


v.1-5 Peter put in Prison & the Church prays


v.1  It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.

v.2  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.

v.3  When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

v.4  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

v.5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.


[Passage Synopsis: Yet again, for a third time, Peter is put in prison [see 4:3 stayed in overnight, and 5:18 when an angel let them out].



v.6-11 An Angel releases him from prison


v.6  The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.

v.7  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.

v.8  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.

v.9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

v.10  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

v.11  Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”


[Passage Synopsis: Herod has already had James executed and intended a public trial for Peter and again an angel releases him. What is amusing about this incident is the detail of the angel waking him etc., and then, below, the church being unable to believe the answer to their prayers.



v.12-18 The church struggle to believe his release


v.12  When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

v.13  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door.

v.14  When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

v.15  “You're out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

v.16  But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

v.17  Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

v.18  In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.


[Passage Synopsis: After this escape, Peter leaves town.]



v.19-23 Herod's Death


v.19  After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

v.20  He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply.

v.21  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people.

v.22  They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.”

v.23  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.


[Passage Synopsis: Herod departs for his other home in Caesarea and when he foolishly receives the accolade of the people he dies.]



v.24-25 Barnabas and Saul Sent Off


v.24  But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.

v.25  When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.


[Passage Synopsis: Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem to Antioch.


It might at this stage be helpful to identify the structure of the recent chapters:


Ch.9 - Saul comes to the Lord and is taken by Barnabas to Jerusalem. Meanwhile Peter is preaching around Judea.

Ch.10 – Peter is called to Caesarea to meet Cornelius and the Gentiles become part of the church

Ch.11 – The church in Antioch in the north is established and grows

Ch.12 – Peter is imprisoned and miraculously released (again!). Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch.


The scene is thus set for the church to burst out of the area, in the form of Saul and Barnabas being sent out from Antioch (ch.13) on what becomes their first missionary journey and the book ceases to follow Peter and now will follow Saul who will be renamed Paul (Acts 13:9). Peter will only be mentioned once more in the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15).]



Continue to chapter 13