Overview of Acts of the Apostles by Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton

“In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen (Acts 1:1)”

Happy New Year! I pray that your year has started with a focused direction for how and what your congregation would like to accomplish in 2023 through witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of the Bailey Institute Offerings, we begin our journey through the Acts of the Apostles. You may ask why we chose to blog about the Acts of the Apostles? If you remember, last fall, we blogged the gospel of John. We could have easily begun with a study of Luke-Acts. Instead of working through another synoptic gospel, we wanted to focus on a New Testament book that would challenge us to reflect deeply on the church and where we see ourselves as churches coming out of a Pandemic.

Some scholars speculate whether Luke is the writer of Acts. The argument that the same narrator must have written Acts depends largely on the claims that the gospel of Luke and Acts share “Common language, (2) consistent theology, and (3) an ignorance of a second-century corpus of Pauline letters.[i] In preparation to read Acts, you may want to spend some time reading the gospel of Luke.

Acts is the scriptural account of God’s redemptive promises, prophesied in scripture, being fulfilled. It catalogs the birth and beginnings of the church. Acts characterizes the coming of the Holy Spirit, idolatry, evangelism, mission, faith for new converts, and the economy of goods of a church that “holds all things in common.” Acts helps us to understand the relationship between the Jewish and Gentile nations, the restoration of Israel and the Jewish community in God’s plan of redemption, the salvation of the gentile community, and the resistance from some leaders in the Jewish community, as they held to their tradition and practices. The movement and progression of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome, where Paul ends his missionary pursuits, commands us to continue what Jesus began, to do and be his witnesses to the end of the earth. Because Acts helped to shape the identity of today’s church, it demands our attention, reflection, and response.

According to some scholarly interpretations, Acts can be read as history, literature, theology, and canon/scripture. While we note that history and literature are appropriate lenses for reading and interpreting scripture, for the purpose of our study, we will focus on reading Acts from a theological and scriptural framework. “Read as scripture, Acts provides an important element of a wider “canonical context”[ii] in which the faithful community gathers to reflect on those issues that either undermine or underscore God’s presence in today’s world.” We will submerge ourselves into the story in authentic ways, to help us to reflect on where the church is today. For example, reading this book, we wrestle with baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit, the role of the Holy Spirit, acceptance of women in ministry, homosexuality, and inclusion.

There will be times when a quote from the sources will better explain the content and meaning of the text. There will be other times when we will summarize and interpret the meaning according to these sources, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth.

Feel free to follow along this journey to study with us, keep a journal, write reflections and questions, and share your feedback. We will be using the following sources:  The People’s New Testament Commentary, and the New Interpreter’s Bible: Volume X. 

 

Schedule of the “Acts of the Apostles” Blog

January 30                        Acts Chapter One

February 6                        Acts Chapter Two

February 13                       Acts Chapter Three

February 20                      Acts Chapter Four

March 6                             Acts Chapter Five

March 13                            Acts Chapter Six

March 20                           Acts Chapter Seven

March 27                           Acts Chapter Eight

 

April 3                                 Break

April 10                               Break

 

April 17                               Chapter Nine

April 24                              Acts Chapter Ten

May 1                                  Acts Chapter Eleven

May 8                                 Acts Chapter Twelve

May 15                                Acts Chapter Thirteen

May 22                               Acts Chapter Fourteen

May 29                               Break

 

June 5                                Acts Chapter Fifteen

June 12                               Acts Chapter Sixteen

June 19                               Acts Chapter Seventeen

June 26                              Acts Chapter Eighteen

July 3                                  Break

 

July 10                                Acts Chapter Nineteen

July 17                                Acts Chapter Twenty

July 24                               Acts Chapter Twenty One

July 31                                Break – General Assembly

 

August 7                           Acts Chapter Twenty Two

August 14                         Acts Chapter Twenty- Three

August 21                         Acts Chapter Twenty-Four

August 28                        Acts Chapter Twenty-five

September 4                  Break – Holiday

 

September 11                  Acts Chapter Twenty-Six

September 28                Acts Chapter Twenty-Seven

September 25                Acts Chapter Twenty-Eight

 

 

[i] The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume X, pg. 7

[ii] Ibid., pg. 28.

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