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.
Modern readers often think of biblical Greece and Macedonia as the same country. In general, however, it’s more accurate to think of biblical Macedonia as being the northern part of modern Greece, and biblical Greece as being the southern part of modern Greece. The second part of the Second Missionary Journey began when Paul left Macedonia and entered Greece.
Paul’s first stop in Greece is a famous tourist stop now, just like it was then. When Paul entered Athens, he surely must have been disappointed. What was once a magnificent city had greatly deteriorated both in its infrastructure and its intellectual vitality.
The Golden Age of Athens was about 480-404 BC. During this time, Athens was a leading city-state, had a strong military, built massive temples and public buildings, and led the world in philosophy and art. Rome defeated Greece in 146 BC at the Battle of Corinth. From that point on, Rome sacked the country and reduced it to a shadow of its former self.
Paul’s second stop in Greece was Corinth. Corinth had been a great rival of Rome before Rome destroyed it in 146 BC. Understanding its geographical importance, Rome rebuilt Corinth in 44 BC and made it a provincial capital.
In Paul’s time, Corinth was an active trading center, well-known for providing all earthly pleasures to its many visitors and sailors. Corinth’s many social excesses would wend their ways into the church and cause problems that Paul would have to address for many years.
In Corinth, Paul made close friends with two people who would greatly affect the growth of the Christian Church. Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers, like Paul. Paul took the opportunity to influence the people he worked with. It seems like he had matured when it came to building and maintaining relationships.
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