The Acts of the Apostles

This book might better be called The Acts of the Lord Jesus Christ through or in His disciples after He went to heaven.  It is a sequel to the Gospel According to Luke, written by the same “beloved physician” who accompanied Paul on part of his missionary trips.  (Some parts of Acts say “we”…)

The book has three parts (the outline of which is found in Acts 1:8):  Part I:  Beginning of the Church and its work in Jerusalem (Ch. 1-7).  The prominent person in this section is the Apostle Peter.  Part II:  The spread of the Church to Samaria; this represented a growth geographically and also religion-culturally.  The important person in this step was the deacon-evangelist Philip. (Ch. 8)  Part III:  World -wide evangelism; this section revolves around the person of the Apostle Paul, primarily to give us the background to him.  This explains why no report is made of missionary work going on in other directions at the same time, or even in the same area by others.  From other sources we know that the Church spread to the Orient, etc.

The book of Acts is” unfinished”; the “acts of the apostles” are still going on today.  The book concludes abruptly with the report of Paul’s arrival with the Good News at Rome, which was then the “Washington DC” of the world, the capital of the Roman empire.

An outline of this section is something like this (Ch. 9-28):  Chapter 9:  The conversion of Paul, author of Romans through Philemon.  Chapters 10-11:  The “conversion” of the Church to the idea of Gentile acceptance; the “capital” of the Church moves from Jerusalem to Antioch.  (“Conversion” completed in Ch. 15; Jerusalem Synod)  Chapters 13-14:  Paul’s first missionary journey, with Barnabas. These towns – Perga, Lystra, Derbe (from which Timothy came) – might be the churches of Galatia (though 14:6, 16:6 do not sound like it.  If Galatia was farther north, we do not know what churches Paul wrote the Galatian epistle to.)  Chapter 15:36 (poor chapter division here) to 18:22 (also poor break)Second Missionary Journey.  This took Paul (and Silas) into Europe (from which the gospel came to America!). Philippi (Converts; Lydia, jailer), Thes-Salonica (to whom Paul later writes his first 2 epistles).  Berea, Athens, Corinth (where he stayed 1 1/2 years); home via Ephesus (briefly).  Chapters 18:23-21:17  Third Missionary Journey.  No new places.  Stays 2 years plus at Ephesus.  Returns by land (to escape Jews) from Greece (south) through Macedonia (north); farewell to Ephesian elders as he goes by ship from Troas to Tyre; by land to Jerusalem.

We do not know how Paul was connected to the Colossians.  Colossians and Ephesus were in Asia (the province as well as the Continent).  The Seven Churches of Rev. 2,3 were also in Asia; the Apostle John seems to have been a kind of “bishop” to them, especially Ephesus.  Ephesus is the only church in Paul’s “7” as well as Revelation’s.

I, II Thess. written from Corinth (see above) after chased from Thessalonica.  Galatians; when, from where? depends on who the Galatians were.  Corinthians: written “ahead”, from Ephesus (see above) on 3rd journey.  Romans: written from Corinth in hope of going in person later.  Ephesians, Colossians (very much alike), Philippians: from prison. II Timothy; Paul back in prison, with his execution near at hand.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s