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.
After the Council at Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas continued to be concerned about the continuing discipleship of the Gentiles they had converted, as well as being enthusiastic about spreading the Gospel further, so they decided to return to many of the places they went on their First Missionary Journey. They had a specific goal of sharing the letter from the Christian leaders proving that new converts to Christianity did not have to follow the laws of Moses.
Their trip did not get started as they had hoped. Paul and Barnabas had an argument over John Mark joining them again. Paul was adamantly against that because John Mark had abandoned them on the First Missionary Journey. Consequently, Paul took Silas and continued with the original plan, while Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyprus. Their dedication to spread the Gospel was more important than their personal differences.
This is the last mention of Barnabas in Acts. It is possible that God wanted Paul and Barnabas to part for at least two reasons. By splitting, they could present the Gospel to twice as many people. Also, John Mark very likely needed a tremendous amount of training before he could reach his full potential. John Mark’s successful missional life indicates that Barnabas provided that training. The mention of Barnabas in 1 Corinthians 9:4-6 indicates Barnabas was still active as a preacher into the mid-50’s AD.
There are two parts in this video episode that need special attention. First, the Bible says very little about Silas, but this video episode is written to give Silas a very definitive personality that may conflict with many people’s preconceived notions.
Second, the video shows Luke first meeting Paul at Troas, at which time and place he is converted to Christianity. Acts 16:10 is the very subtle passage that provides the basis for the storyline, the first of the “we” passages, where Luke’s narrative goes from “they” to “we.” The Bible does not specify whether this is the first time Luke met Paul, whether Luke was already a Christian, or if this is the time Luke became a Christian.
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