View Full Version : Discussion Acts era bible study-Lessons 1 thru 5

Apr 16th 2009, 06:10 PM

Author Unknown at this time.

(Although diligent effort has been made to present Bible truth in this study, it was prepared by fallible man. The reader is admonished to remember the commands of 1Thessalonians 5:20 to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" and 2Tim 2:15 to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.")


Introduction to the Book of Acts

What the disciples knew
The kingdom age
Acts 1 Restore the kingdom? The promise of the Father
Acts 2 Gift of the Holy Spirit, Church begins
Acts 3 "Guided into all truth"
Acts 4 Peter before the Sanhedrin
Acts 5 Spiritual discernment and judgment
Healing, Etc. For whom? When?
Acts 6 Filled with the Spirit
Acts 7 The Sanhedrin
Acts 8 Baptism, verse diagraming
All references of baptism
1Peter 3:21
Simon the sorcerer
The Ethiopian eunuch
Water baptism cannot be for salvation
Acts 9 (Saul/Paul)
Acts 10
Acts 11 (Barnabas)
Acts 12 (Easter)
Acts 13 (Paul's first missionary journey)


When studying the scriptures, there are four important points to keep in mind. Neglect of these points has lead to much confusion and false doctrine. Careful application of these precepts, on the other hand, will help open the Holy Scriptures for a clearer understanding of God's will.

Sometimes men's words or thoughts are recorded in the scriptures. At other times it is God who is speaking and, yet at other times, it may be Satan's words that are recorded in the scriptures.

In some instances, men are used to speak on God's authority, for example the apostles Paul.
1 Corinthians 14:37.
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
In other cases, man is recorded as speaking on his own authority, such as Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes, where he records man's observation rather than God's revelation.
Ecclesiastes 1:12-13
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
See also, Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 where Solomon records what he sees as a man as opposed to Philippines 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:8 and 12:2-3, where Paul is inspired of God to record God's revelation on the subject.

Of course, when God's words are quoted in the scriptures, He speaks on His own supreme authority. However, when Satan is quoted, we must take note, for he is a deceiver and sometimes outright contradicts God or may use scripture out of context.
Genesis 3:4-5
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Matthew 4:6-7
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.


No one is foolish enough to think that they ought to build an arc because the Bible says so in Genesis 6:14. All are wise enough to read the context and see that it was Noah to whom this command was written. However, multitudes of people neglect to read the context on a variety of other subjects and vainly attempt to make application of portions of God's word that are not directed to them. The question of the Sabbath Day is a case in point. Note God's word to ISRAEL in the first reference.
Exodus 31:13
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
And God's word to the CHURCH in these references.
Colossians 2:16-17
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Galatians 4:10-11
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.


Today, it is our privilege and responsibility to witness to relatives, neighbors and acquaintances for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
However, in the beginning of the "kingdom age," when the Lord Jesus is ruling and reigning here on the earth, there will be no need to witness to our neighbors for they will actually see Him.
Jeremiah 31:34
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus we see that the context of any given verse is of utmost importance. In addition, if we intend to find the will of God on any particular subject, we must consider all He has revealed to us on that subject. We must allow the Bible to interpret or explain itself rather than relying on tradition or human reasoning.

With these precepts in mind, may the Lord bless you as you study His word with a determination to better know Him and His will for your life today.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Introduction to the Book of Acts

I. TITLE "The Acts of the Apostles", or simply, "Acts"

An early Greek manuscript simply placed the title (praxeis, doings) Acts on this book. It has been suggested the title "Acts of the Holy Spirit" would be more accurate because of the many references to the person and work of the Holy Spirit in matters of directing the early church. Note the following outstanding examples:
The coming of the Holy Spirit...1:5, 8; 2:1-4.
The filling of believers with the Holy Spirit...4:31.
The sin of lying to the Holy Spirit...5:3,9.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit before death...7:55
Receiving the Holy Spirit by the Samaritans...8:17
The Holy Spirit guiding Philip...8:29
The Holy Spirit comforting the church...9:31
The receiving of the Spirit by Cornelius, etc....10:44
The call of Paul and Barnabas by the Spirit...13:2
The guidance of the Spirit at Jerusalem...15:28
The Holy Spirit directing Paul...16:6-7
The receiving of the Spirit by the 12 disciples...19:6
The Holy Spirit makes overseers...20:28
The Holy Spirit prophesying...21:11
The final words of the Holy Spirit...Isa 28:25


The human writer, inspired of the Holy Spirit, was Luke. See and compare Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1. the apostle Paul refers to him as "Luke, the beloved physician" in Colossians 4:14. Luke was obviously a companion of Paul's during a large part of his travels as recorded in the book of Acts. See these passages which use the personal pronoun "we," 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16. Luke proves to be an able historian and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit writes an orderly record of the important events about which God wanted us to know.


The book of Acts was apparently written as a second treatise to Theophilus shortly after the book entitled Gospel of Luke had been completed. It was sent at the end of the "two years" of Paul being kept in his own hired house in Rome. The seemingly abrupt close to the book of Acts suggests there was no more to be written at that time, and moreover, the theme God wanted covered was finished. This was approximately 60 -62 A.D.


A thorough understanding of the Book of Acts, and those books written during the Acts period, is essential for a clear comprehension of God's order for us today. For many hundreds of years the nation of Israel had been the people of God's choice.
Romans 9:4-5
Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises; Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.*
However, when their long awaited Messiah came, their sin hardened hearts rejected Him and thus the 'kingdom age,' promised and described in the old scriptures, which He had offered to them. Notice the progression in the following verses:
Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,Repent:for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 12:28
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Matthew 21:43
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
On the cross, the Lord prayed for Israel's forgiveness (Luke 23:34, Acts 3:17). In addition, the Jews at the time of the physical ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ were dispersed over the Mediterranean area. They had not been fully evangelized and made aware that their Messiah had come in fulfillment of O.T. prophesy.

The Book of Acts covers the time period when God was completing the evangelizing of the Jewish nation relative to their Messiah and their 'kingdom age' hope (which included the gospel of personal salvation), AND, the building of a new, un-prophesied (Ephesians 3:5-6) company of people from all nations called the church or body of Christ. In so doing, the book also serves as a bridge between the Gospel records and the Epistles of the apostles.

The revelation of the church, its members, functions, doctrines and destiny was gradually revealed by God through the Acts period. Most importantly the book records the transitional nature of the development of the church from the time of Judaism beginnings in Jerusalem to the assemblies of primarily Gentiles scattered throughout the Roman Empire. There was gradual failure to win the Jews both in the homeland of Palestine and of the dispersion, but increasing success among the Gentiles. During this transition from Israel under the Law to the church under grace, there were two legitimate walks for believers. The Christian Jew continued to observe the law while the Christian Gentile "observed no such thing" (Acts 15).

The Divinely directed refusal to impose the Mosaic Law System upon the Gentile converts, as settled in Acts the 15th chapter, is probably the most important doctrinal issue of the revelation.

The Bible student who sincerely wants to know the will of God for his life will "rightly divide the word of truth" (2Timothy 2:15) being careful not to apply to the church age today types, shadows or ceremonies simply because they were observed during the Acts period.

*Nevertheless, personal salvation has always been available to ALL mankind. See John 1:9, 3:16, 12:32 and Acts 17:24-30 for example.


A simple 12 point outline of the book of Acts is as follows (by chapters):
Chapters 1 and 2 - Pentecost and the early beginning of the church.
Chapters 3 through 5 - Early ministry of Peter and communal fellowship of the church.
Chapters 6 through 7 - Ministry and stoning of Stephen.
Chapter 8 - Samaritans and ministry of Philip.
Chapter 9 - Conversion of Saul.
Chapter 10-11 - Conversion of Cornelius.
Chapter 12 - Deliverance of Peter from prison.
Chapters 13 and 14 - First journey of Paul.
Chapter 15 - Conference at Jerusalem.
Chapters 16 through 18:22 - Second journey of Paul.
Chapters 18:23 through 21:27 - Third journey of Paul.
Chapters 21:28 through 18:28 - Paul's imprisonment and journey to Rome.
What the disciples knew at the opening of the Book of Acts
They were to observe the law of Moses (Matthew 23:1-3) while they went into all the world and to all nations *, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Note that a Mosaic system will be observed during the millennium or kingdom age:

Passover: Luke 22:14-18; Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25

Sabbath: Exo 31:16-17; Isa 66:23

Temple Service: Ezek 40-48

The Jews, as a nation, had been forgiven for the crucifixion of Christ, their Messiah (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17-26; Acts 13:46). In addition, not all of the Jews now scattered over the Mediterranean area had been evangelized during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus. God, in His mercy, was continuing to extend to them the kingdom hope of the nation of Israel (See Romans the 11th chapter.)

They were to receive the Holy Spirit internally (John 7:37-39). He would teach them all things (John 14:26). He would remind them of the Lord's previous teachings (John 13:7), while He guided them into all truth (John 16:12-13), which at the time of the Lord's earthly ministry they were not able to bear.

The Lord had promised to go and prepare a place for them, then return and receive them unto Himself (John 14:1-6).

The Lord had for 40 days "opened their understanding" of the O.T. scriptures (Luke 24:45), speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

The Lord was going to build something He referred to as "my church [Greek: ekklesia...ek=out of, klesia=calling]" (Matthew 16:18). They were not as yet told of whom it would be comprised nor how it would function.

There were only two classifications of people in their thinking at this time, the Jews and the Gentiles. (By the end of the Book of Acts, there would be a third, the Church.)

The "Kingdom Age" was the grand hope of Israel.
*Judging by the actions of the apostles in the first 9 chapters of the Book of Acts (Acts 11:19), the special revelation to Peter in Acts 10, the order of peoples stated by the Lord in Acts 1:8, and the statement "beginning at Jerusalem" of Luke 24:47, the apostles evidently believed there was to be a national order to their teaching...the Jews first, then the Samaritans and finally the uttermost part of the earth. This would be particularly fitting for the preaching of the kingdom hope. The ultimate fulfillment of this will be during the "Tribulation."


The kingdom age or millennial reign of Christ here on the earth was, and still is, the grand hope of the nation of Israel. Following are some of the aspects of this yet future age.
Luke 1:30-33 with Ezek 37:24-25
Matthew 25:31-34
Isaiah 9:6-7
Jeremiah 23:5-6
Hosea 3:4-5
Isaiah 24:23
Isaiah 11:6-9
Isaiah 35:1-10
Isaiah 60
Daniel 2:34-35 and 44
Isaiah 2:1-5
Isaiah 24:23
Isaiah 11:11-12
Isaiah 60:15-21
Jeremiah 23:7-8
Jeremiah 30:1-9
Jeremiah 31:7-8; 10; 27-37
Ezekiel 20:33-44
Ezekiel 34:16-31
Ezekiel 36:6-30
2Samuel 7:10
Zechariah 12:6-9
Revelation 20:1-3
Note the hope of this church age is not here on earth, but our catching away to meet Him in the clouds.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.