The Book of Acts is a good place to begin reading the Bible because it describes the first Christians telling others about Jesus Christ. This is where all of us start as Christians - with other Christians telling us about Jesus!
The Book of Acts is the continuation of the Gospel of St. Luke. Luke was a physician (Colossians 4.14) who accompanied Paul in his mission work. He wrote in excellent Greek, and he shows a good knowledge of the Old Testament. It was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and before Paul's death (A.D. 66-68) and the persecution of Nero (A.D. 64).
The purpose of the book was to give an account of the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to the end of the earth (1.8). It explains the transition from Peter and his ministry to Israel to Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles.
1. Witness in Jerusalem (1.1-6.7)
2. Witness in Judea and Samaria (6.8-9.31)
3. Witness to the Ends of the Earth (9.32-28.31).
40 days of infallible proofs... Wait for the promise of the Father-the Spirit... Witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, ends of the earth... Ascension Mt of Olives... Upper Room Prayer... Judas replaced by Matthias, chosen by lot.
Pentecost... Rushing wind... Divided tongues as of fire... Spoke with other tongues... People hear in their own languages... Joel-Last Days, Spirit... Jesus crucified but raised acc to prophecy - David; Repentance, Baptism, Holy Spirit... Receive word, baptized 3,000... Continue in Doctrine, Fellowship, Breaking Bread, the Prayers... Signs & Wonders... Communal Life
Note: What is Speaking in Tongues? In different places and times Christians praised God in an unknown language. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 13.1. Not all Christians spoke in tongues, but for those who did, it was a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit. For the Jewish disciples, it became a sign that Gentile believers also had the Holy Spirit. This was important because in the early Christian church the Jewish believers sometimes had difficulty seeing the Gentiles as true and equal believers in Christ.
Healed crippled man at Temple... Preached faith in Jesus, condemned but risen, Moses' Prophet Deut 18.18, Samuel, Abraham's Blessing Gen 22.18... Jesus sent to you first (Israel) to turn you from your iniquities.
5,000 believe... Peter John arrested, testify to Psalm 118 rejected stone... Uneducated but had been with Jesus... Released, commanded not to teach in the name of Jesus... Prayer for boldness and signs and wonders... Sold possessions, Barnabus, All in common
Ananias and Sapphira hold back, lie and die... Preaching at Solomon's Porch, many healed, Peter's shadow... Apostles imprisoned, angel releases... 5.29; Jesus murdered, exalted to give repentance and forgiveness to Israel... Gamaliel's advice, Apostles beaten, worthy to suffer for Christ, preaching and teaching Jesus as Christ.
Greek widows neglected... Twelve summon multitude for approval... Seven deacons... Close to prayer & word... Libertines argue with Stephen... Brought to Council... False accusations... Face of an angel
Stephen's Testimony: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph... Joseph and patriarchs brought back from Egypt... Moses, The Prophet like Moses, The Tabernacle, Solomon's Temple, Most High not in temples, Resisting the Holy Spirit, Persecute the prophets, Angered hearers, Vision of Jesus at the Right Hand, Clothes at the feet of Saul, Stephen prays for their forgiveness.
Great persecution… Jerusalem church scattered… Philip preached Christ, healed, exorcised in Samaria… Simon the sorcerer believes… Peter & John pray for the Holy Spirit… Simon offers money to bestow Holy Spirit… Peter rebukes & Simon repents… Philip preaches Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch (Isa 53) and baptizes.
Saul meets Christ on the road to Damascus... Ananias baptizes Saul and he preaches Christ.... Jews attempt to kill him.... Saul goes to Jerusalem and argues with Greeks... the church-peaceful, edified, multiplied in the comfort of the Holy Spirit... Peter heals Aeneas at Lydda... Peter raises Dorcas "Tabitha arise."
Cornelius, centurion, devout, feared God, gave alms, prayed always… Angel of God-send for Peter… Peter's vision of the sheet with animals in Joppa… Peter goes to Caesarea… Unlawful for Jew to keep company with Gentile… Cornelius had fasted and prayed till the ninth hour… Peter-No partiality, accepts those who fear God and work righteousness-They knew the preaching of Jesus-Whoever believes in Him receives remission of sins… Holy Spirit falls, Gentiles speak with tongues… They were baptized.
Circumcision party objects to Peter eating with Gentiles… P recalls what happened, P remembers promise of the bap of the H Sp promised by Jesus, God has granted grace to the Gentiles… Those scattered from persecution preached to Jews only, but some to Greeks in Antioch, many believe… Barnabus sent to affirm, then goes to Tarsus to get Saul… They taught for a year in Antioch, disciples first called Christians at Antioch, Agabus prophecies world famine in the days of Claudius… Disciples send relief to Judea according to ability by Barnabus and Saul.
Herod kills James, brother of John and pleases the Jews… Peter arrested, constant prayer for him by church, angel frees him… Peter comes to house of mother of John Mark, Rhoda is astonished… Herod put guards to death, Herod struck down by angel of the Lord because people said his was the voice of a god… Word of God grew and multiplied, Saul and Barnabus return from Jerusalem and take John Mark.
Prophets and teachers at Antioch, praying and fasting… Holy Spirit said set apart Barnabus and Saul, preached in Cyprus… Elymus the sorcerer tries to prevent Sergio Paulus from believing… Saul-also called Paul- rebukes, "deceit and fraud-son of the devil" blinded… Antioch in Pisidia, synagogue, Paul preaches, history of Israel, Jesus is son of David, Psalm 2, Isaiah 55.3, Psalm 16, resurrection, Warning of Habakkuk 1.5… Gentiles beg for more, whole city comes to hear, Jews envious, Isaiah 49.6 Gentiles glad… those appointed to eternal life believed, Jews persecute, Paul goes to Iconium.
Synagogue Jews and Greeks believed at Iconium… Unbelieving Jews oppose… Signs and wonders… Attempted stoning, fled to Lystra & Derbe… Cripped man healed… People call B Zeus and P Hermes, want to sacrifice…. P says they are men who serve the Creator… Jews from Antioch and Iconium come, Paul stoned but not dead… Preaches the Gospel in Derbe… Returns to Lystra, Iconium & Antioch strengthening the souls… Appointed elders in every church, prayed & fasted… Passed through regions of Pisidia & Pamphylia… Preached in Perga… Sailed from Attalia to Antioch… Reported that the Lord opened the door of faith to the Gentiles and stayed a long time in Antioch.
Men from Judea teach necessity of circumcision… Paul & Barnabus debate, Report to Jerusalem… Pharisees say circumcision and keeping Torah necessary… Peter says we are saved by grace… James quotes Amos 9.11-12 "Gentiles called by My name..." Abstain from idols, immorality, strangled, & blood… Letter to Antioch with Judas & Silas… Paul & Barnabus split over John Mark… Paul takes Silas on 2nd Missionary Journey.
Paul circumcises Timothy at Derbe/Lystra and takes him along... Paul tries to go to Asia... Vision of Macedonian man... Lydia & household baptized at Philippi... Paul casts out demon from girl... Masters start uprising... Paul & Silas beaten and imprisoned... Jailer and family baptized... Paul demands apology and is released.
Synagogue at Thess… Messiah had to suffer, die, rise and is Jesus… Some persuaded, many Greeks… Unbelieving Jews attack house of Jason… Paul & Silas to Berea Synagogue… Receive word… Thess Jews come… Paul to Athens, Tim & Silas stay… Synagogue & Marketplace... Eipcurean & Stoic Philosophers... Areopagus... UKNOWN GOD... Creator... Should seek Him... Commands to repent... Some mocked, some believed.
Paul to Corinth, Finds Aquila & Priscilla, Reasons in the synagogue… Opposed & blasphemed, Turned to Gentiles-Justus, Crispus, ruler of syn believes… Vision: I have many people in this city, Continued 1.5 years teaching word of God… Gallio won't hear complaints of Jews. But they beat Sosthenes, ruler of the syn… Paul left P&A at Ephesus and went to Caesarea/Antioch/Galatia/Phrygia strengthening disciples… Apollos at Ephesus. Instructed by P&A about baptism… Goes on to Achaia. Shows Jesus is the Christ.
Apollos at Corinth, Paul to Ephesus, Didn't know of the Holy Spirit? 12 baptized in Jesus, spoke in tongues... Reasoned in the syn 3 months. Some hardened. Went to school of Tyrannus. Taught 2 years... Paul performs miracles. Seven sons of Sceva, Jewish priest, try to exorcise in the name of Jesus. Attacked by demoniac. Magic books burned. Word of the Lord grows… Demetrius made shrines to Diana. Stirs up crowd. "Great is Diana (ESV Artimus) of the Ephesians." People confused, City Clerk: Go to the courts.
Paul encourages in Greece, Troas, Several accompany, “we” passages begin… Weekly Communion, Eutychus falls & is healed… Heading to Jerusalem, Miletus-Exhortation to Ephesians Elders… Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus… Whole counsel of God declared… Commend them to God and to the word of His grace… Work hard to help the weak, more blessed to give than to receive.
Chapter 21 - Paul Goes to Jerusalem
Landed at Tyre and stayed with disciples 7 days… Warned through Spirit not to go to Jerusalem, Men, wives and children see them off; Caesarea, House of Philip, Four Virgin Daughters Prophesy, Agabus prophesies deliverance to Gentiles, People cease warning, The Lord's will be done… Jerusalem Paul meets with James and Elders… Concerns of Law Keeping Believers… Paul goes to Temple for Vows, Riot, Arrest… Paul speaks in Hebrew
On the steps of the barracks Paul speaks in Hebrew... Tells of the Damascus conversion, while praying in the Temple he is told by God to go to the Gentiles... The commander prepares to scourge, Paul appeals to his citizenship... The commander calls the Sanhedrin.
Paul divides the Sanhedrin by speaking about the resurrection...The Lord tells Paul he must testify in Jerusalem and Rome... Paul's nephew hears of a plot to kill Paul and goes to the commander... The commander sends him to Gov. Felix where he can be accused by the Jews and judged.
The High Priest brings an orator named Tertullus to accuse Paul of being a troublemaker... Paul defends himself that he was not causing a tumult... Felix and his wife Drusilla hear him speak of righteousness and self control... Felix is troubled, procrastinates two years, leaves Paul in prison to please the Jews, is succeeded by Porcious Festus.
High Priest accuses before Festus, cannot prove charges… Festus recommends trial in Jerusalem… Paul appeals to Caesar… King Agrippa and Bernice visit Festus… Festus asks Agrippa to hear Paul because he can't form any charges against him to send him to Caesar… Certain questions about Jesus who died but Paul affirmed to be alive.
Agrippa hears Paul… Paul on trial for promise made to the OT fathers… Paul tells how he persecuted Christians, voted for their deaths, forced them to blaspheme, the Damascus Road conversion and commission… Agrippa asks if Paul is mad with learning… No. Words of truth and good sense… Agrippa almost converted…No charges established.
Paul is taken on the Journey to Rome with a centurion named Julius… Aristarchus of Thessalonica accompanies along with Luke… Sailing is difficult because of winter… Paul warns of shipwreck… Visited by an angel. 14 days no food… Break bread… Ship runs aground and begins to break up… Some want to kill the prisoners… Centurion intervenes… Swimmers swim… The rest float on planks.
People of Malta are kind… Kindle a fire in the rain… Snake bites Paul… Superstitious ones think Paul a murderer… Doesn't die… Think he's a god… Publicus entertains 3 days… Paul heals his father… Other diseases healed… Christians meet them as they approached Rome… Paul allowed visitors… Paul calls the leaders of the Jews and persuades from Moses and the Prophets all day… Some believe… Paul ends with Isaiah 6, keep preaching but they won't believe… Paul says that salvation comes to the Gentiles… Paul preaches for two years from a rented house.
Peter Preaching on Pentecost
Martyrdom of Stephen
Saul, Blinded from the movie
A.D. Kingdom and Empire