When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us Acts —2. Luke wasn't a simple historian writing about the birth of the church. He was a hands-on participant! The Gospels tell the story of Jesus's ministry, death, and resurrection.
The Epistles are letters written to various first-century churches and individuals. Acts plays a pivotal role as the linchpin between those two elements. It's in Acts that we discover how God's plan of salvation would play itself out in the world. We witness the impact of Christ's death and resurrection as the gospel unfurls.
And as it spreads, churches are planted, the Epistles stand as records of the work God was doing in individual congregations. If you read at an average pace, the Book of Acts can be read in a little over two hours. It's relatively short and action-packed, so it's easy to miss that it covers more than 30 years of church history. The Gospel of John records a critical discussion between Jesus and His disciple:. All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me.
Read Acts 2:47 Using Other Translations
None of you asks me, "Where are you going? But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned John — This advocate that Jesus is talking about is the Holy Spirit.
We see the fulfillment of this promise in the second chapter of Acts as the Spirit is poured out on Jesus's followers in Jerusalem. And it's just as exciting and as dramatic as you might expect:. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
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Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them Acts —4. The night Jesus was arrested, He took the disciples to pray with Him, but they were too tired to keep watch. Then when the authorities take Jesus captive, the disciples scattered, frightened for their lives.
In all the excitement, Peter famously denies three times that he even knows Jesus. The whole crucifixion has such an impact on Thomas that he demands proof before he's willing to believe that Jesus has been resurrected.
Book of Acts: Christ's Church Grows as the Gospel Spreads
Of course, spending time with their resurrected Savior had a big impact on the faith of all the disciples, but their most dramatic change occurs after the Spirit comes. Immediately following the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts 2, there's a lot of confusion. All of the sudden a bunch of disciples from the Galilean region are praising God in languages previously unknown to them. It must have sounded chaotic because people start ridiculing them by saying they're drunk Acts Peter, who up till now has mostly been known for putting his foot in his mouth , stands up and addresses the crowd.
And what comes out is a sermon so powerful that over 3, people respond to the gospel and get baptized. Acts's story really begins with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Peter's dramatic sermon; the result is a flame that spreads all across the Roman Empire. After the church is planted in Jerusalem, the believers are spiritually empowered and guided from there into "Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" Acts This, in a nutshell, is the entire theme of Acts.
Even though Acts talks about the work of the disciples, it's the Holy Spirit that's center stage. It's through the Spirit's empowerment that the disciples have the vision, courage, and motivation to grow the church—despite heavy opposition and persecution. We also witness opposition to Peter as he's imprisoned Acts —18 and flogged Acts But even in all of this, Peter still rejoices that he's worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ Acts About halfway through Acts, the focus starts to shift to Paul and his missionary journeys. More about that soon! We don't know a lot about Stephen, but Acts does tell us that the disciples ordained him as a deacon in the early church:.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.
We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them Acts —6. Stephen gets dragged before the Sanhedrin the Jewish tribunal for blasphemy against Moses and Yahweh. When asked if the charges were true, Stephen gave a beautiful and impassioned defense of Christianity Acts — As noted above, many believe that Jesus declined to answer their question.
More than that, had they been wrong in their belief that the kingdom would be restored to Israel, Jesus would have corrected them. The fact that he did neither strongly indicates that he endorsed their prophetic perspective.
Or so some say. A closer look at the larger context of Acts 1 will indicate, on the other hand, that Jesus did in fact answer their question, but in a way that they did not anticipate. Although the connection between the two is not as explicit as one might hope, it is hard not to conclude that the coming of the kingdom is in some sense directly related to if not identified with the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and the globally expansive evangelistic work to which Jesus commissions them in Acts When the disciples asked their question in v.
But contrary to what many think, Jesus did not avoid answering their question. Robertson explains:. So, unquestionably, Israel would be a primary participant in the coming of the messianic kingdom. At the same time, the domain of this kingdom cannot be contained within the Israel of the old covenant. Rather, he is declaring that he will indeed restore Israel, but by a means and in a way that they cannot begin to imagine.
But might it be that his answer is actually found in v. Or, as Alan J. He was also indicating. Israel was being restored through the resurrection of its Messiah and the forthcoming gift of the Spirit. Consider, for example, three phrases in Acts , each of which reflects the wording in Isaiah that looks forward to a future salvation and restoration of Israel.
The restoration of the kingdom is even now occurring as the church extends the influence of the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is not endorsing their anticipation of a geo-political restoration of the nation Israel to earthly preeminence either now or in an alleged future millennium. He is declaring rather that the way in which God will bring his kingdom purposes to prophetic consummation is through the Spirit-empowered growth and expansion of a multi-ethnic spiritual body, the Church, the true Israel of God.
It covers hundreds of controversial subjects with amazing unity. It is the best-selling book of all time and is now available in nearly three thousand languages. How were the sixty-six books chosen? The canon was the standard that all scriptural books were required to meet. What Is Inspiration?
Biblical inspiration may be defined as God's superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities and even their writing styles , they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs. Inspiration means that "the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of Scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written.
The word inspiration literally means "God-breathed" in the Greek. And because Scripture is breathed out by God, it is true and inerrant. Consider the following syllogism: Major Premise: God is true Romans Minor Premise: God breathed out the Scriptures 2 Timothy Conclusion: Therefore, the Scriptures are true John As illustrated above, the inerrancy of Scripture can be inferred by premises that are themselves taught by Scripture. We read in Scripture that truth is an attribute of God Jeremiah ; John ; ; , and that God speaks truthfully--that is, He does not lie Numbers ; 1 Samuel ; Titus ; Romans We also are told that Scripture is "breathed out" by God 2 Timothy The Word of God, then, is true John ,17; cf.
Psalm ; ; ; Revelation ; The Holy Spirit is the Agent of Inspiration Second Peter tells us that "prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The human wills of the authors were not the originators or the carriers of God's message God did not permit the will of sinful man to divert, misdirect, or erroneously record His message.
God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word. Interestingly, the Greek word for "moved" in 2 Peter is the same word found in Acts The experienced sailors could not navigate the ship because the wind was so strong. The ship was being driven, directed, and carried about by the wind. This is similar to the Spirit's driving, directing, and carrying the human authors of the Bible as He wished.
The word is a strong one, indicating the Spirit's complete superintendence of the human authors. Yet, just as the sailors were active on the ship though the wind, not the sailors, controlled the ship's movement , so the human authors were active in writing as the Spirit directed. Indeed, many Old Testament passages quoted in the New Testament are said to have the Holy Spirit as their author, even though a human prophet actually spoke the words in the Old Testament see Mark ; Acts ; ; Hebrews ; Likewise, we read in Acts "And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
And again, we read in Acts "When they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers" emphasis added.