New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation - Lesson 2

The Gospel is Proclaimed

Dr. Schreiner was not able to record this lecture for the class, but he provided a transcript that we were able to read to create an audio recording. 

Acts Chapter 1 is an account of Pentecost and the first times the apostles proclaim gospel publicly.

Thomas Schreiner
New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation
Lesson 2
Watching Now
The Gospel is Proclaimed

A. Preliminary events: promise of witness 1:1‑26

B. Witness begins: Pentecost and fellowship 2:1‑47

C. The witness in the temple and before the Council 3:1‑4:31

D. The witness of the early church's way of life 4:32‑5:16

E. Apostles arrested: second witness before religious leaders 5:17‑42

  • Acts is a continuation of the gospel of Luke, which is a historical account of the life and ministry of Jesus. Acts begins with the 40 days that Jesus was on earth after his resurrection, and continues with his ascension and the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church.

  • Dr. Schreiner was not able to record this lecture for the class, but he provided a transcript that we were able to read to create an audio recording. 

    Acts Chapter 1 is an account of Pentecost and the first times the apostles proclaim gospel publicly.

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. (Begins on page 6 of the outline)

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. Steven’s speech and Paul’s conversion are significant events.  (Begins on page 6 of the outline under Acts: Outline Summary, point I, F.) (43:40)

  • Description of the expansion of the gospel to the gentiles.

  • Beginning in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul calls us to watch for the second coming of Jesus by being aware that there will be a great falling away from the faith in the body of Christ and the Lawless One will appear. When God calls us, his calling creates life. (43:16)

  • God chose not the wise, powerful or noble, but the foolish, weak and despised so that we would know that our relationship with God is based on what Christ did, not what we do. Paul boasts in the power of God, not the wisdom or eloquence of his arguments. The only way we know about God is when the Spirit reveals him to us.

  • The core problem of the Corinthians is pride. God turns everything for our benefit, even things that cause pain or death. The fight of faith is to believe this, even when circumstances are difficult. Only God can judge a person’s relationship to God. (43:36)

  • It’s better to be cheated than to take a fellow believer to court. If you are a fully devoted follower of Christ, your behavior will show it. (44:35)

  • Paul believes in cultural flexibility and contextualization. Paul uses the example of a race as a picture of be motivated to live well. He is saved and needs to live in a way to be saved. Whether or not to eat meat offered to idols is still a significant issue in some cultures. (41:23)


  • Audio content is missing at this time for 1 Corinthians chapters 12-16, 2 Corinthians and Romans chapter 1.

    However, a transcription and outline for this material is provided.  

  • The first of a three-part overview of Paul's epistle to the Romans.
  • Romans 4 tells us what kind of faith Abraham had that was saving faith. You are not saved by working for God, but by believing in God. Hope is confident, sure expectation. Paul’s main rhetorical question is, “Can the law transform us?” His implied answer is "no!" (43:03)

  • The law doesn’t give life because commands don’t transform us. Romans 8 says we need the Spirit to transform us. The witness of the Spirit that we are his children is a mystical sense and evidence of our obedience. Paul says all the promises for relationship to God are for the gentiles as well as the Jews. God is in charge of everything. (44:25)

  • Christ is the very image of the invisible God. He partakes of his essence. Jesus is preeminent, because he’s God and he’s the reconciler of all things. Jesus is Lord of Creation and Lord of the Church. Paul calls the Philippians to unity. (46:43)

  • Summary of main themes in Ephesians. The first three chapters communicate who and what we are in Christ. Chapters 4-6 is the practical outworking. Paul equates maturity with doctrinal purity and stability, not being swayed by every idea. The Christian life isn’t mathematical because it’s a relationship with the Spirit. (43:54)

  • Your view of authorship of biblical documents and how you translate those documents depends quite a bit on your presuppositions. Some people think that because of the vocabulary and the way some subjects are addressed in the Pastoral epistles that Paul did not write them. However, others are convinced that Paul wrote them and offer responses to objections that others have raised. (42:24) This lecture was given by a teaching assistant of Dr. Schreiner's because he had planned to be out of town.

  • God wants to work in our hearts so we are full of love for him and others. Paul gives his testimony as an example that anyone can be saved. God desires to save all, and he elects some. Elders are described as people of character who lead and teach. In Titus, the ethical exhortations are anchored in the gospel. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the gospel.

  • We should think of Hebrews as a sermon. The warning passages are exhortations following theological teaching. It was probably not written by Paul. The book was written to Hebrew Christians to warn them against committing apostasy.

  • Christ is more important than Moses. Warning passages encourage us not to drift away or harden our hearts. Since Jesus was fully human, he experienced the full range of temptation, but never gave in. (43:55)

  • The main points in the book of Hebrews beginning with chapter 6. Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek because he was superior to the Levites. Christ’s sacrifice is better than the animal sacrifices because it is once for all. The sacrifices are good because they are a shadow and an image of what is coming, but the sacrifices are temporary and imperfect. (43:55)

  • The author of Hebrews concludes by exhorting people to put into practice the theological truths he has just explained.

  • Defining questions about the content and origin of the epistle of James. (43:01)

  • Summary of the teaching of James on justification and wisdom. (41:58)

  • Peter’s call to look forward to our future inheritance and live as God’s people. (42:35)

  • Flow assignment 1 Peter 2:18-25

    Peter calls followers of Jesus to persevere by responding to suffering in a godly way. (44:48)

  • Concluding verses in 1 Peter and the epistle of 1 John. The purpose of John’s epistles is to give people assurance of their faith.

  • God has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

  • The purpose of Revelation is to encourage suffering saints. (44:47)

  • This lecture was cut short because of technical difficulties during the recording. The audio covers point III. Visions of God, points A and B, beginning with Revelation chapter 4. The next lecture begins at point IV. The Seven Seals, point D.

  • Main ideas in Revelation chapters 6-13.

  • Summary of the last days of judgment and then the creation of the new heavens and new earth. The time for this lecture was shortened to give students time to complete an in-class evaluation. (30:15)

A study of the Acts to Revelation in the framework of the history of the early church. We are missing a few lectures that we hope to record the next time Dr. Schreiner teaches the class. These include lecture numbers 2 and 11, the lecture covering Acts chapters 16-22 and 1 Thessalonians, and the lecture covering Revelation chapter 6.

You may download Dr. Schreiner's complete course outline By clicking on the Resource link and then the Class Outline link. An outline for each lecture displays when you click on the Outline tab on each lecture page.

Dr. Schreiner has developed a system for exegesis. The "Flow and Tracing" handout gives you some information about how he does it. Some lectures include audio of Dr. Schreiner applying this method to specific passages. Dr. Schreiner recommends that you read the chapter in his book, "Interpreting the Pauline Epistles" along with this handout before you try this process.

Dr. Thomas Schreiner
New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation
The Gospel is Proclaimed
Lesson Transcript


This is the 2nd lecture material for the online series of lectures on New Testament Survey by Dr Thomas Schreiner. Dr. Schreiner was not able to record this lecture for the class, but he provided a transcript that we were able to read to create an audio recording. 

Recommended Reading includes: Article on Divorce and Remarriage – Craig Blomberg, Trinity Journal, 1990; The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris; Are there Two Will in God by John Piper; Two views on Women in Ministry by James Beck and Craig Blomberg; Word Bible Commentary: Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46, by William D. Mounce and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, by Wayne Gudem and John Piper (article by Vern Poythress entitled, ‘The Church as a Family’)

(Any slides, photos, notes or outlines that the lecturer refers to should be downloaded separately. If they are not available, you may be able to find something similar using the Google© search engine.)

The Gospel is Proclaimed in Jerusalem 1:1-6:7

We have the Gospel being proclaimed in Jerusalem in Acts 1:1-6:7, and in these five sections we see Jesus before he leaves the earth providing further instructions on the coming Holy Spirit. We have the experience at Pentecost with three thousand people turning to Jesus. We then see the disciples boldly proclaiming the power of God through miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit evident in their lives. In those short few days, the church has grown by leaps and bounds. People were being baptized in the Holy Spirit as they believed.  

A.Preliminary Events: The Promise of the Holy Spirit 1:1-26

Here is the text of Acts chapter 1.

I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.a 3 After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.a

While he wasa with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise.b “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”a

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.a 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”a

After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them.a 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.”a

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.b 14 They all were continually united in prayer,b along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.c

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters—the number of people who were together was about a hundred twenty—and said, 16 “Brothers and sisters, it was necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David foretold about Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.a 17 For he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.”a 18 Now this man acquired a field with his unrighteous wages. He fell headfirst, his body burst open and his intestines spilled out.a 19 This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that in their own language that field is called Hakeldama (that is, “Field of Blood”). 20  “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:    Let his dwelling become desolate;   let no one live in it;a and   Let someone else take his position.b,c

“Therefore, from among the men who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us—from among these, it is necessary that one become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

So they proposed two: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.a 24 Then they prayed,a “You, Lord, know everyone’s hearts; show which of these two you have chosen to take the placea in this apostolic ministry that Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lotsa for them, and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles.

In the Prologue we have the address to Theophilus, but Acts was obviously intended for all believers. We have already commented that Peter was very much in the forefront of the first twelve chapters with Paul taking over after that. We eventually have Paul conversion and his first, second, third and fourth missionary journey, and his imprisonment in Rome. Some of the themes include the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to witness, a growing community of believers from Jews, Gentiles and even Samaritans, and lastly, we see increased persecution as the Word is preached. We can break this down into Acts 1:1-5, 6-11, 12-14 and 15-26. Or we can separate this chapter into topics: Prologue, Christ Appearances, His Ascension, Anticipation of the Holy Spirit and the Appointment of Matthias.

So we have Jesus revealing himself to the Apostles. The appearance in verses 4-5 was an example of one of his appearances. As in the Book of Luke, Theophilus is addressed in Acts as the receiver of the Book. In Luke he is called most excellent Theophilus but not here in Acts. Jesus advises the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes. This is also mentioned in Luke 24:49. He calls this the Father’s gift and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As mentioned in the last lecture, they first thought the Kingdom of Israel would be restored but this wasn’t to be. Jesus simply tells them that they were not to know the times or dates of this but instead redirected their thoughts back to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that they would receive power and that they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Jesus wanted them to understand what was going to happen after he left them. It wasn’t important to know when the Kingdom of Israel would be restored.  So we have the disciples: Peter, John, James and Andrew along with Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James and Simon and Judas, son of James with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus was gathered together praying.

B. Witnessing begins: Pentecost and Fellowship 2:1-47

Pentecost was an annual Jewish Feast, held every fifty days after Passover. It was a commemoration of giving of the Law of Moses, thanksgiving to God for the harvest and an offering of the first fruits of the grain harvest. The Old Testament background for this comes out Deut 16:9-12 and other Old Testament verses.

There are really three major points in chapter 2: the coming of the Holy Spirt, Peter preaching to everyone in a message with 3,000 people being saved and finally the Fellowship of Believers. So we have the coming of the Holy Spirit on people from Cappadocia, Egypt, Libya, Rome along with Jews and proselytes. This was an incredible miracle, remembered today as one of the most celebrated events in the history of the church. This enabled everyone to speak in someone else’s language. People were dumbfounded as to what was happening until Peter explained. First, he assures everyone that no one had been drinking.  He quotes Joel in explaining that God promised that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. So the time of Pentecost had fully come. It was the time of God’s introduction and start of the Age of the Spirit. In 2:2, there came a noise from heaven like a violent rushing wind. This is similar to Genesis 3:8 and the Old Testament word ruah is used of breath, wind, and Spirit. In the New Testament pneuma is used for wind and the Holy Spirit. Filling implies a daily Christlikeness. It is the spiritual empowering for effective ministry for everybody.

He said that God promised wonders in heaven and signs with blood and fire and smoke. The sun would even turn to darkness and the moon into blood. He introduces Jesus as being from Nazareth, accredited by God through miracles, wonders and signs. I believe that Peter included this description in order to relate the Holy Spirit being part of the trinity connecting God to Jesus and to John. He explained that God has raised Jesus from the dead quoting the Scriptures from David as speaking for God. This was done to further link Jesus to prophecy and explained that Jesus was now in heaven at the right hand of God as that was prophecy confirmed. Peter explained that Jesus was both Lord and the Messiah and challenged them to repent and be baptized.  Three thousand people were saved that day and thus the beginning of the church. So afterward, everyone devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, and the breaking of bread and prayer. And the church increased.

So in summary: the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s message with 3,000 people saved and continued fellowship. But the prophecy of Joel may be considered in perhaps two parts. The first part of the last days was happening then with the pouring out of the Spirit with the second part of wonders in heavens being for a later time. This is not clear because the great and glorious day of the Lord can be considered as being then and it can also be considered as the future. I think the application of calling on the Lord was for then and for the future, especially in regard to the return of Jesus.

C. The Witness in the Temple and Before the Council 3:1-4:31

The following chapter and verses can be divided up into Peter healing the lame beggar, and then speaking to the onlookers. And then Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin and then a time of praying. I find it interesting that now that the Holy Spirit has come to the apostles, we see them acting with power and authority, which we haven’t seen before. It was mentioned earlier that when Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, they performed miracles but little else was said about it. Jesus was always criticizing them for their lack of faith.

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple for the time of prayer at three in the afternoon. A man who was lame from birth was being carried there. He was placed each day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so that he could beg from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money. Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

So Peter gave him the ability to walk. This was instantaneous with the man jumping up and walking. This happened near the gate on the eastern side of the temple, facing the Mount of Olives. Here, the use of the word ‘name’ is a Hebrew idiom which speaks of one’s character. So this miracle drew the attention of Jewish worshippers, and because of this, people started to gather around the man and Peter started to preach a message seeing the opportunity to share the good news.

This would be the second sermon of Peter for the new church. The message included who Jesus was and why he came. You killed Jesus, Peter exclaimed but God raised him up from the dead. Again Peter placed Jesus as being foretold from the Prophets as being the Messiah. The key verse of the message was, ‘repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.’ We see that repentance is absolutely necessary as it shows a willingness to change; it is both human and God’s gift. Peter continued describing who Jesus was and why he came.  Peter linked this to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob showing that Jesus’ ministry and the Gospel were directly connected to the Covenant God and its people. It was the true fulfillment of Judaism. We see that the early sermons in Acts present Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament promise and prophecies. So the church had increased to five thousand men. We are not sure if this number included the three thousand that were saved when the Holy Spirit came or the five thousand were the increase since the three thousand were saved. This number did not include women and children.

But it was then the temple guard and the Sadducees seized Peter and John and so they were brought before the elders and teachers of the law under the high priest Caiaphas. Note that the Sadducees were rich, political leaders of the Sanhedrin and denied the theological concept of resurrections in general. Here we are told that Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit started to preach to them. Boldly he proclaimed without fear of what had been done. The leaders saw their boldness, the same they had seen in Jesus. They knew that they had been with Jesus. In the end they did nothing because all the people were praising God for what had happened. The healed man was standing right in front of them and they saw what had been done. So the last point in this section shows them returning praising God for what he had done. It is here that they prayed that God would stretch out his hand to heal and perform those signs and wonders that he promised. This is further evident that these signs and wonders were possible for their present day. It says again that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God. I don’t think this was another filling as such but a confirmation of the Pentecostal filling of the Spirit they had already experienced.

D. The Witness of the Early Church Way and Life 4:32-5:16

This section can be further divided into the sharing of Possessions, the fate of Ananias and Sapphira, and the last section with the Apostles performing Signs and Wonders. 
‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was on them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made to every man according as he had need.’

So they felt and acted like a family, it was voluntary and mutual, and love and concern were the motive behind it all. Interestingly at a later time, this church became very poor materially. Yet, there was a feeling of responsibility for one another and there were many who had freely given and shared with those in need. This was all love in action. In different ways, the church has continued to do this down the ages. Individuals have given to the church and in turn, the church has helped the needy. So we have an account where Barnabas, a Levite from Cyprus sold some land and gave the money to the apostles. This could have encouraged Ananias and Sapphira to do the same thing. Interestingly the full Hebrew name of Ananias would have been Hananiah which means YHWH is gracious and Sapphira’s name meant beautiful. Basically Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Apostles about the amount of money they received for the land. Their lie was actually to the Holy Spirit, not to the apostles. It was their money in the first place and they could have done whatever they wanted to with it. They could have only given half of it and kept the other half. It was their decision. It would have been better for them to have kept all the money. So why did they lie? Was it that Barnabas received such high praise in what he did and so Ananias and Sapphira wanted that same praise? However, this is only conjecture. We must be sure of our own actions, that we don’t seek praise for the things that we do for God. It is God who should receive praise for it. Ananias and Sapphira’s actions were truly misguided. Was it the devil that put this thought into their minds, most likely? Some commentaries say that they lied to look spiritual in front of others. So this ‘generous act’ was done with a bad motive.  And this warns us to commit our ways and actions to God continually, to examine ourselves making sure our thoughts and ways are in line with God at all times.

The apostles continued performing great miracles daily as they preached the Gospel. But we are reminded, for some reason though I am not sure, that false messiahs and prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive as shown in Matthew 24:24. And this has happened and is happening today. We are to be aware that everything that barks like a dog may not be a dog. But these miracles of the time confirmed the Christian message, which was so radically different from that of Judaism. We see that their number grew constantly, a somewhat summary statement that is typical of Luke’s writing. Positively, the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives was so evident that we see in Acts 19:12 that when even handkerchiefs or aprons touched people, their diseases left them along with evil spirits. This was a particular culture that understood that God was powerful; it was a culture that believed in miracles because they had read accounts of it from the prophets of old. The miracles reinforced the truth of the Gospel and the compassion of God. I was a missionary in Egypt many years ago. I remember my colleague and I were walking along one of the pedestrian overpasses in Cairo one day. Seeing the poor helpless people sitting with broken and crooked arms and legs along with the smell of urine and defecation made me so sad and a bit sick. I wished that I could have commanded them to walk in Jesus’ name right then and there, and shared with them the healing power of Christ and what the Holy Spirit could do in their lives, but it was not meant to be.

E. Apostles arrested: Second Witness before Religious Leaders 5:17-42

‘Then the high priest and his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. Go, stand in the temple courts, he said, and tell the people all about this new life in Jesus.’

The guards found the Apostle preaching the Gospel as they were directed by the Angel. What a sight! Again, they were taken before the high priest. Interestingly in verse 28, he said, ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet you have filled the whole of Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ Of course, they were guilty of killing Jesus and they knew that. But the apostles would not let up; again, they spoke with the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming Christ to the Sadducees. Peter seemed to have become the spokesperson for the apostles at that time. They replied that we must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead – whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his right hand as Prince and Savior so that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. The metaphor, ‘right hand’ is an anthropomorphic phrase for a place of power and authority. We must remember that God does not have a physical body as he is an eternal Spirit. They continued, ‘We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’ They were furious after hearing these things and wanted to put them to death. But Gamaliel, a Pharisee calmed everyone down by telling them that there were others who made noises of the same nature and it passed. So the Sanhedrin had them flogged and sent them away. The Apostles rejoiced to be counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus. But they continued preaching and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus in all of Jerusalem. What a great testimony! May we be the same, Amen!