Acts is the history of the development of the first churches and the spread of Christianity. For about the first decade after the death of Jesus, Christianity existed almost exclusively among the Jews. The first part of Acts portrays the meaning of Christianity, how it was shared, and how it was lived out in a closed community of Jews whose common culture was based on the Old Testament.
After about the first decade, Christianity started growing in other people groups and cultures having beliefs and understandings quite different from the Jews. Much of Acts deals with keeping a consistent and complete Gospel message, how it is shared, and how it is lived out in different people groups and cultures. The lessons learned from Acts are applicable to modern Christians and churches, and are also essential when trying to understand Paul’s letters (which comprise much of the New Testament).
A purpose of the Acts Series is to tell some of the information of the book of Acts from different vantage points. Luke said that he made a careful investigation of the facts before writing Luke and Acts. His three primary sources of information probably were: his own experiences, written sources, and talking to people who were personally involved. Acts Series illustrates the stories that he might have heard from a dozen of the characters featured in his book of Acts.
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In his infinite wisdom, God had a plan in mind for Paul that no human could have envisioned. When Jesus first called Paul, he said Paul would proclaim the name of Jesus to the Gentiles and their kings. It was now time for Paul to fulfill that prophecy.
By the time of his final trip to Jerusalem, Paul had been a Christian for about twenty-five years. Even after that long period away from practicing Judaism, he still qualified to go into the Temple area and follow certain Jewish rituals. Apparently, he never gave up his desire to preach to the Jews about Jesus.
After a clash with the Jews, Paul was imprisoned by the Romans in Jerusalem, then transferred to Caesarea. He was kept in Caesarea for about two years before he was sent to Rome, a trip full of adventure and danger.
Paul was under arrest in Rome for about another two years. The Bible never says when Paul wrote his letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, but while some scholars believe Paul may have written one or more or those while imprisoned in Caesarea, others believe he wrote them in Rome.
Acts ends rather abruptly. When you read the last two verses of the book, pay attention to whether you perceive Paul was still in jail or if he had been released. Try to imagine why Luke ended Acts so abruptly when he had not been abrupt throughout the rest of the book.
Luke – Troy Powell
Peter – Francis Fuselier
Stephen – Jonny Gallegos
Philip – David Smith
Barnabas – Bob Hess
John Mark – Matthew Oakley
Holy Spirit – Garrett Schenck
Paul – Brian Shoop
James – Andy Axewell
Silas – Tony Schneider
Timothy – Paul Christian
Tabitha – Allyn Carrell
Lydia – Gayla Gower
Priscilla – La’Netia D. Taylor
Theophilus – Michael Page