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Acts – Part 1

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Acts was written as a continuation of the Gospel of Luke to record what the Holy Spirit was doing through the lives of followers of Christ in the early church. The gospel spread ethnically from Jews to Gentiles, and geographically from Jerusalem to the rest of the world.



Part 1

I. Introduction

A. Applying Transitional Narratives (What would you do with…?)

1. Paul’s haircut/vow in Cenchrea (Acts 18:18) – Transitional

2. The plan regarding sacrifices (Acts 21:20-24) – Ambiguous (misguided? Same as above?)

3. Choosing “deacons” and helping widows (Acts 6:1-7) – One of many possible examples of larger, timeless principle

B. Timeline of the Writing of Acts

1. Late 50’s, early 60’s: If Mark here, Luke-Acts written no later?

2. A.D. 62: end of events narrated in Acts

3. Late 60’s, or 70’s: If Mark here, Luke-Acts later?


II. An Outline of Acts

A. Introduction: Founding the Church (1:1-2:41)

B. Part One: Christian Mission to the Jews (2:42-12:25)

1. The Church in Jerusalem (2:42-6:7)

2. The Church in Judea, Galilee and Samaria (6:8-9:31)

3. Advances in Palestine and Syria (9:32-12:25)

C. Part Two: Christian Mission to the Gentiles (13:1-28:31)

1. Paul's first journey and the Apostolic Council (13:1-16:5)

2. Paul's second and third journeys (16:6-19:20)

3. Paul's final travels to Jerusalem and Rome (19:21-28:31)


III. Fixed Points in the Chronology of Acts

A. Ascension and Pentecost [A.D. 30] Acts 1-2

B. Stoning of Stephen and conversion of Saul [A.D.32 or 33]

C. Paul's first Jerusalem visit [C.A. A.D. 35]

D. Death of Herod Agrippa I [A.D. 44] Acts 12

E. Height of famine in Judea [A.D. 46] Acts 11:27-30

F. First missionary journey, Apostolic Council, and second missionary journey (1+ years in Corinth) [A.D. 49]

G. Gallio in Corinth [A.D. 51-52] Acts 18:12

H. Third missionary journey [A.D. 52-55]

I. 3 years in Ephesus [A.D. 53-56]

J. Return to Jerusalem/arrest and imprisonment under Felix (2 years) [A.D. 57-59]

K. Accession of Festus [A.D. 59] Acts 24:27

L. Two years in Rome [A.D. 60-62]


IV. Exegetical Notes on Acts 1-2

A. 1:7 – more teaching against date setting

B. 1:8 – key outline of contents of Acts

C. 1:9-11 – exaltation thus far incomplete

D. 1:20 – does not lead to apostolic succession

E. 1:26 – "casting lots" and meaning of "apostles"

F. 2:4 – filling of Spirit as repeated activity

G. 2:6-11 – tongues here neither "glossolalia" nor "xenolalia"

H. 2:17-18 – gifts clearly egalitarian

I. 2:42 – four key elements of what church is to do

J. 2:43-47 – Marx's mistakes: legislate and leave God out


V. Patterns of Salvation in the Book of Acts (or so they appear at first!)

A. Acts 2:38 – belief, baptism, Holy Spirit

B. Acts 8:4-25 – belief, baptism [gap] Holy Spirit

C. Acts 10:44-48 – Holy Spirit [gap] belief, baptism

D. Acts 19:1-7 – belief – baptism, Holy Spirit


VI. A Chiasm in Acts 2:38?

A. Repent

1. Be baptized

2. In the name of Jesus

B. Forgiveness


VII. Exegetical Notes on Acts 3:1-6:7

A. 3:6-10 – interesting interplay in holistic healing

B. 3:21 – against too imminent an eschatology

C. 4:12 – what it does and doesn't prove

D. 4:13 – what the words "do" and "don't" mean

E. 4:19-20 – a key paradigm

F. 4:23-31 – a remarkable prayer

G. 5:1-11 – first and last comments most important?

H. 5:39 – Gamaliel as an errant speaker

I. 6:1-6 – timeless vs. timely "deacon" principles

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