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Acts of the Apostles

Course 23600
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. Daniel E. Hatfield


Instructor

Dwayne H. Ewers, Sr.


SBTS Box 1299
Acts of the Apostles
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Course 23600
Fall Semester of 2005; Norton 206, 5:45-7:00 p.m., Tues/Thur
Daniel Hatfield, Vice President for Student Services (502-897-4201)
Rick Mansfield, Garrett Fellow; rmansfield@mac.com (502-387-6414)

Description

This course is an introduction and exposition of Acts in view of the literary genre, historical
context and theological themes. Students demonstrate in writing their understanding of the
material, as well as their interpretation of the contents and its application for ministry. The
primary textbook is Acts of the Apostles by John Polhill (NAC), with supplemental reading in F.
F. Bruce’s commentary (NICNT).

Requirements

The semester grade is determined from five hundred possible points using the following scale—
A/93-100, B/82-92, C/71-81, D/60-70. Students maintain a notebook of class notes and
commentary summations that follow the outline (100). The final exam is comprehensive (200),
and all class materials may be used. A research project (200) is submitted and briefly
summarized in class. Whether exegetical or topical, it should not exceed twenty total pages,
including footnotes or endnotes that document the use of multiple scholarly sources, i.e.
commentaries and journals (cf. The Southern Seminary Manual of Style).

Class Calendar

Aug 16/18 Introduction Oct 11/13 Acts 13:1-15:35


Aug 23/25 Acts 1:1-5:42 Oct 18/20 Acts 15:36-19:41
Aug 30/01 Acts 1:1-5:42 Oct 25/27 Acts 15:36-19:41
Sep 06/08 Acts 6:1-9:31 Nov 01/03 Acts 20:1-
28:31
Sep 13/15 Acts 6:1-9:31 Nov 08/10 Acts 20:1-
28:31
Sep 20/22 Acts 9:32-12:25 Nov 15/17 Off
Sep 27/29 Acts 9:32-12:25 Nov 22/24 Thanxgiving
Oct 04/06 Acts 13:1-15:35 Nov 29/01 Finals

This syllabus is intended to reflect the course accurately, though the professor reserves the right
to modify any portion as deemed necessary due to circumstances that change during the term.
Acts
Fall 2005
Tuesday August 16, 2005
Introductory Matters to Acts
In the NT, Luke is the largest book and Acts is the 2nd largest book. Together they
comprise about 20% of the NT. Luke plus Pauline literature is about 40% of the NT. According
to sheer volume and quantity, Luke has more material. This makes him a unique contributor,
especially since he is a gentile.

The theme of Acts, generally, has been called the history of the Apostles. This is
somewhat of an overstatement seeing has how there are really on two major Apostles mentioned
(Peter and Paul.) Peter extends the missionary frontiers from Jerusalem to Samaria to the ends of
the earth. In reality Peter’s progression is Jews, half-breeds, gentiles. Paul is the Apostle to the
gentiles, but Peter breaks down that barrier. Paul takes the message of salvation from the gentile
world to the capital of the known world – Rome. In that process, we see that pagan faiths are
conquered by the Gospel.
Another general theme has been the history of the two churches – the Jerusalem church
and the Antioch church. Is it a history of two churches? Jerusalem is pretty much blend. They
are not all Jews and not all speaking Aramaic. It is composed of three distinct people groups.
There is a leadership group. There is a Judaizer group (the villains of the narrative). Then there
is a third group called the Hellenists. They have immigrated to Jerusalem from outside the
boundaries of Palestine and have converted to Judaism.
Then there is Antioch. It is distinct because it has none of the advantages. It is formed
on the run. It is comprised of refugees who have fled the persecution in Jerusalem. It is even
more mixed than the church in Jerusalem. They speak different languages and include gentiles.
They are the first truly blended church. Antioch provides a model for evangelism and
missionary efforts.

The progression of the gospel itself in Acts. The author is not interested in a biography
of Peter and Paul, he is not interested in a history of the two churches, but he is interested in is
the progression of the gospel (how the gospel moves in the book). It moves from a center in
Jerusalem with classic Jews to Hellenistic Jews, then to Samaritans, then to God-fearing gentiles,
then to pagan gentiles with an epicenter located in Rome. In this progression, there are two
features that fuel it. The Holy Spirit is primary and secondary is prayer. The progression is not
limited. It is not just men, women are included; it is not just the wealthy, the poor are included,
etc.

Acts is filled with speeches. They are formal speeches and they all have a historical
function in three ways: (1) they all offer some form of summary, (2) there is some instructive
element – they all edify, and (3) there seems to be a preparative purpose – they will help move
forward. If you like rhetoric, you can get into what kind of speeches each speech is. There are
some categories to the speeches: missiological speeches, apologetic speeches (Paul in ch 24-26),
persuasive speech, and declarative speeches.
The plan and purpose of the book. Acts is known as the 2nd volume of Luke so we would be
wrong to not read it in concordance with Luke. What helps us to assess the plan and purpose of
the book is the ending. What is anti-climactic is the fact that someone may assert that the book is
biographical in nature. That is not the case at all. He ends it that way on purpose, according to
Dr. Hatfield. Mark’s gospel do not have an ending. As in the case with Mark, Luke-Acts ends
so that believers may be energized to get out there and finish the task. Luke uses the ending,
“preaching the gospel unhindered,” as a summary somewhat to show that the gospel will not be
hindered in its movement, ultimately.

Luke as historian/Acts as history. He declares that he seeks to give a systematic account


of the events. See Acts 1:1-4. In any event, he is a pioneer in the history of the church. He is
arguably the earliest church historian. It is helpful for us to make sure that we understand that
history is not biography. Biography can contain history, but history is not biography.

Luke as an apologist. Some have argued that Luke is very much like an attorney. He is
making a case against paganism and Judaism and against false charges against the faith. There
are some who will draw parallels between the life of Jesus and the experience of the churches. If
Luke is an apologist, than Luke might be making that case. In that regard, we would hearken
back to Luke 4:25-27. What is interesting, as an apology, is what Luke does to draw parallels
between Peter and Paul. They are put in tandem like bookends. Peter heals a lame man in
chapter 3, Paul will do the same thing in chapter 14. Peter heals by means of a vessel (shadow)
in chapter 5, Paul does so by a handkerchief in chapter 19. Peter exercises in chapter 5, Paul in
chapter 16. Peter recessitates Dorcas in chapter 9, Paul in chapter 20 does Eutychus. There is a
repudiation of witchcraft in 8 and 13. Both men have miraculous escapes from prison in 12 and
16. We see the Holy Spirit enter the lives of others through their hands. Also, there is a divine
revelation for the gentile ministry in chapter 15 for Peter and chapter 22 for Paul.

August 18, 2005


Luke also fits the profile of a theologian. Luke develops doctrine just a John. His
theological orientation is around revelation. What is unique to Luke is the gospel as the
completion to the divine plan of God. Matthew does this, but it is more citation oriented (“it is
written”). Luke does not tag it this way. In this regard, we know Abraham in the desert to exile
to David to the Prophets. The tag line is Joel 2:28-32. This passage is referenced in the NT
more than once. The first time we encounter this passage is at Pentecost in Acts 2:16. As far as
Christology, Jesus is the Lord, Son of God, and the means for salvation and forgiveness. In
Luke’s Gospel and in Acts particularly, Jesus is the object of faith and prayer. As far as
pneumatology, Luke shows the Holy Spirit as the promise presence that is poured out. It is
imparted to followers and believers. He see this particularly with the emphasis of baptism and
laying on of hands. There is a unique function of the Spirit in Acts – testifying to the Son of
God. He is drawing attention not to Himself, but to Jesus as Lord and means of salvation. As far
as ecclesiology – the church will be the earthly organ of the people of God; that is the people of
God that is wrought by the Holy Spirit. When the church speaks – it matters. We see this
particularly at the Jerusalem Conference in Acts 15. The church will observe Apostolic teaching
– this is the measure of orthodoxy. Another characteristic of the church is the communion that
they share. They share in their prayers and in their dinners and in their resources/economy.
They church is avidly and actively communal. The administration of the church – what is the
organization? In Acts, the administration of the church is conducted by the Apostles. But as
they fade, we see presbyters and elders emerge.

Luke also speaks of missiology. Acts is more self-intentionally missiological. There is


almost an outline for mission at the beginning and then the book follows it. It has a premise – 1st
to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. In 13:47; 15:16; Luke 4:25-27, this premise is mentioned. This
can all be traced back to Amos 9:11. As far as Soteriology, there is not much more that can be
said. But, Acts will tell us that the gospel is a blessing by means of forgiveness and repentance
in faith. This is summarized in Acts 20:21. There is in this a punctiliar exclusivity – 4:12. The
cross and the resurrection in presumed and then preached. Last, eschatology. The eschatological
premise of Acts is that the end is unknown. There is a debate about just how emanate the 2nd
coming is to be. However, what ever the case, the believers are called to vigilant. Luke 21:36
gives the admonition and then we see it lived out in Acts with Peter and Paul.

Paternity. There is always internal and external evidence. In terms of the external
evidence, we see Luke identified as a companion of Paul. Paul refers to him in his own letters –
which is both internal and external in terms of evidence. All the early heavy hitters affirm Luke.
The question then comes, “where did he write it from and to whom did he write it?” Most think
it came from Rome because that is where he ended up. Some think Antioch (Syrian Antioch).
Really, it is hard to know.

Vocation. Do you think Luke was a Physician? The argument is strictly based on Col
4:14. If you take this away – what else is said about Luke? Chapters 27 and 28 is the mother
load of singular references. All of those terms are of a nautical nature. The other vocation could
be an attorney, or a man of letters. This man was educated – it is obvious. He knew the art of
persuasion and rhetoric. A third thought is that by trade he was a physician. It is a myth that he
has more interest in medical issues. It is not so much medical as it is detailed. The only reason
he is considered a physician is because of the Colossians passage. The GK word literally means
healing or someone who is a nurse mate. The most likely option is that he is a man of letters.

Style and language. Luke has this classical Greek style. He uses the optative mood. He
also has a distinct syntax and a very broad vocabulary. This is exemplary of his rhetoric training.
Clearly, as well, Luke understood Hebrew. However, he uses the LXX very well. He might be
a Hellenistic Jew, but he is most likely a Gentile. Luke has great fluidity and continuity. Luke is
a great storyteller.

Who is Theophilus? Theophilus is a name, but it is highly symbolic as “God-lover.” It


might suggest a more Gentile orientation.

Pauline passages that identify Luke: 2 Tim. 4:11; Col 4:14; Philemon 24. Also note the
“we passages”. Acts 16; Acts 20-21; Acts 27-28. All three of these have in common maritime
voyages. The only time he uses the first person singular is in the prologue. The companions that
are mentioned in the “we passages” are consistent with the companions in Paul’s letters.

Date. The argument for Markan priority is based on the Q document. Marakan priority
is self-evident, but this does not necessitate a Q document. Literature grows, it does not reduce.
The only other way to get around Markan priority is that all three had the same sources and
coincidentally Mark wrote more concise. Luke/Acts was written after Mark and dates to as early
as mid 60’s after Paul’s death and as late as the early 80’s. The reason for a post-Pauline date is
that it is inconceivable that there is a gospel under Paul’s nose that he does not reference. It
might also be added that the death of Paul is presumed in the book of Acts. Notice Acts 20:25.
Given Paul’s plans to go to Rome and the fact that he is in Ephesus (which is a stop over place
on the way home), it seems that Luke knows that Paul will not survive this ordeal.

In summary: we have the end of Acts with the gospel being triumphant. Theophilus is an
idealized listener and this is an early history of the church traced through the two pillar apostles,
Peter and Paul, there is now a natural stopping point with the imprisonment of Paul which leaves
an urgency for the spread of the gospel.

Comparison of Luke/Acts as a 2 volume work:


Prologue Prologue
Origins of X (1-4) Origins of Church (1-2)
Witnesses of X (4-9) Witnesses for X (3-12)
Discipleship in route (9-19) Travel to make disciples (13-19)
Events (19-24) Events (19-28)

August 23, 2005


The Prologue
• The prologue introduces us to look and sets the context for the rest of the book.
• This is a nice, neat seg way from the Gospel to the Acts Narrative.
• It connects the resurrection and ascension back to John Baptist.

The Ascension
• Should the disciples have even raised the question from v. 7? The disciples still seem to
suffer from some misunderstanding about the true ministry of the Son. He answers them
in a way in which implies rebuke (it is none of your business).
o The end times are not our call!
• V. 8 would give us some cause to see why they do not “get it.” They do not yet have the
Spirit.
• There will be a marked changed from before and then after the Pentecost in the disciples.
• Also, Jesus tells them that they will receive power beyond their own capabilities to
complete their task.
• Also, Jesus says that you will be my witnesses (martyrs).
o The word martyr there, while it is used, doesn’t really mean martyrdom just yet.
It will gain that meaning form the rest of the book.
o This also implies an apostolic testimony. The pronoun in the GK is helpful. We
will be witnesses for Christ, of Christ, and about Christ. The genitive is explicit
here.
o This is the genesis of the apostolic tradition.
• The Ascension itself:
o This is the last resurrection appearance before the ascension.
o The exaltation is described for us in a similar manner as a birth narrative.
o The disciples have their eyes fixed on Jesus. The cloud lifted Him up out of their
sight. He was literally taken from them – the Father brought Him home. He did
not remove Himself. Jesus is a recipient of divine activity here.
o It is almost funny that the angels simply just show up. Perhaps at this point, Jesus
had disappeared from their sight so the angels question as why they are starring
into the sky. Their exhortation echo the apocalyptic teaching of Jesus in Luke 21.

Going to the Upper Room


• This is just a brief moment. The room is about one kilometer from Mt. Olivet to this
upper room.
o Is this the same upper room as the last supper? It is possible, but it is not
described the same way in the GK.
o All the original witnesses are there (minus Judas, obviously). This included “the
women” and Mary and Jesus’ brothers. His sisters would have presumably been
with their own families. “The women” is just an anonymous group of women.
o They are in unity in prayer. They are in “one accord.”

The Election of Matthias


• This is v. 15-26.
• Now we see Peter as emerging as a leader/spokesman.
• He says and deals with the problem of Judas. He gives a description (unkind) of Judas.
• V. 18 is parenthetical and is explanatory of Judas. This is only place that we have this
information.
• The citations here come from Psalm 69 and Psalm 109. Peter is dealing with an apostolic
vacancy.
o Now, was Judas’ vacancy brought about by his betrayal or by his death?
o After the death of James in ch. 12, he is not replaced.
o This might help us with our answer – Judas is viewed as an apostate.
• What are the requirements for the replacement?
o A witness from the beginning.
o There is a reference to the procedure from Proverbs 16:33.

The Pentecost
• 2:1-13
• There is the descent of the Spirit in v. 1-4
o This is a completion of the prophecy found in Leviticus.
o This is 50 days after Passover. This was also the most light-hearted of all the
festivals. Also called the Feast of Weeks.
o There is this loud noise of the Spirit. It came from a mighty wind that filled the
room in which they were sitting.
o The Spirit is like a wind – which resonates with Ezekiel 37:9. It is like a fire,
which has already been mentioned in Luke 3:16.
o Now the Holy Spirit is also described as Flames of this Fire. The flames are
personified. This echoes, in a creative way, like the Spirit descending upon Jesus
like a bird.
o Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a flame, but it is certainly like a flame.
Maybe this is as close as we can describe in the human tongue.
o There is a phonetic spectacle. People are speaking in other tongues (languages).
The Gk really indicates “another kind of tongue.”
• In Jerusalem, there are many different peoples there.
o They are there for the festival – which is normal.
o What is not normal is that each one heard them speaking in their own language.
o When they heard them speaking, the people did know what they are doing (they
gave praise to God). There was communication taking place.
o Each one is hearing in his own language (own dialect).
o The pilgrims who are described seem to represent Judaism. Some wonder if the
people in 9and 10 are connected to the 10 missing tribes. No connection needs to
be made. Simply, the Diaspora is collected.
o Who is filled with the Spirit? The followers of Jesus and devote Jews from every
nation that were in Jerusalem for the Feast.
o This is the miracle of speech.

August 25, 2005


Acts 2:14-40
• Something remarkable happens. A well intention but compulsive bumbler becomes a
mighty, articulate preacher. This is the emerging or the coming out party of Peter. He
now takes the place of the fist hero of the church.
• Peter is now speaking to everyone involved at the Pentecost event. The event drew a
crowd. How? Were they at the Temple? We don’t know. But we do know that a crowd
was drawn together.
• He begins as if he is speaking to the mockers. However, it becomes clear as he
progresses that he is addressing the whole crowd.
• Then he moves to Jesus:
o He introduces what just happened (v. 14-21). He says, “This is that.” His cue is
Joel 2:28-32. This is not the first time we have heard it. He also quotes from Joel
3:1-5.
o A summary of the ministry of Jesus with spiritual proofs (v. 22-28). He talks
about His powerful works which are a sign of the new kingdom. He quotes Psalm
16:8-11.
o V. 29-36 – Peter speaks of the exaltation of Jesus. Here, he offers a contrast with
David. There is no empty tomb. There is no ascension to the right hand of God.
Here he quotes from Psalm 110:1. In v. 36, a key pivotal point, Peter says “let all
the house of Israel know that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – the Jesus
whom you crucified.” The words Lord and Christ are rich and tie in the with OT
imagery as to who the Savior is.
o The final verses (v. 37-40) Peter makes a call to repentance that sounds very
much like Jesus Himself and even John the Baptist. Here he advocates Baptism
specifically in the name of Jesus and with the gift of the Holy Spirit. His call to
repentance is not like John the Baptist in that it is a call to contrition, but one of
repentance.
o In summary, after the introduction, you killed Him, God raised Him, now repent.
• At Pentecost we see repentance, baptism, and then the Holy Spirit. At Samaria, we see
belief, baptism, and then the arrival of the Holy Spirit with the hands of Peter. Then there
is Cornelius who believes, receives the Holy Spirit, and then is baptized. Then last,
Ephesus. We see there repentance, belief, and the Holy Spirit which is exactly like
Pentecost. This is how they flow from the narrative.

Acts 2:41-47
• This is a key summary statement in which a whole time period is reduced to a paragraph.
It is, however, our best snapshot of the early church.
• There are four points to Luke’s summary:
o There is an emphasis on the Apostolic teaching. Paul refers to this in 1
Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 3. What the believers received is evangelical
nutrition from the Apostles. It is not from the horse’s mouth so to speak. The
Apostles preserve the teachings of Jesus.
o There is a response to the sermon of fear, or awe as the NASB states. This is a
reverberating effect of Pentecost that is described. This fear is a reverence and
respect.
o This increase in numbers of the saved is a growth according to the divine will.
The numeric increase, a significant increase, is the Lord’s doing. Make no
mistake about it – the early church grows.
o The fellowship (koiania). The common fellowship. There are three things that
are mentioned regarding their fellowship:
 Material things/Resources. These are personal possessions. We do not
use ownership. They were stewards of the things they shared.
 Bread. This would indicate a meal. The breaking of bread is not just the
ceremonial Lord’s Supper, but their sharing of meal time.
 Prayer. The prayer that they share can be just two people gathered
together to pray, but the prayer would indicate some worship in that the
prayer is organized and coordinated. It is a gathering of saints.

August 30, 2005


• As we are looking at this about the koiania, what strikes you? The breaking of bread is
like a daily ritual. This would probably indicate fellowship meals. They are together in
the same as the Greek says. This is also distinct from socialism in that there is an
absence of two things: (1) requirement for participation and (2) communal living.
• In looking at 4:32-5:11, this is a bookend narrative that describes all things in common.
At the end of the bookend, we see two stories that are in tandem. The background of the
story is Jesus’ teaching on giving in the Sermon on the Mount.
o Barnabas (4:32-37).
 The church made contribution and distribution as any had need. This is
based on a biblical godly stewardship that recognizes true ownership – it
all belongs to God.
This is not an obligatory system – it is voluntary. Resources were
garnered and deployed.
 The “poster boy” for this generosity was Barnabas (son of conciliation).
He has legal property that he sells and distributes the funds.
o Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-11).
 The death of Ananias has notes of irony (his name means God is
generous).
 The problem with Ananias is that he is pretending he gave the whole
amount.
 Satan is mentioned in v. 3 where Ananias lied to Peter. Satan is a liar, this
is helpful for us to remember here. Sometimes we see Satan’s first duty as
accuser, but his case is always based upon half-truths and out-right lies.
 His premature death is equitable with what we read in James 5:20 and 1
Cor. 11:30 that death is a result of sin.
 The question that is hard to answer is whether or not Ananias and
Sapphira are indeed believers.
 Sapphira’s name means beautiful She might have been a real babe. She is
in cahoots with her husband. There is a dramatic declaration from Peter
and shock from everyone else.
 Her death is affirming Ananias’ death. She gets the same penalty.
 In the context of this story, we encounter the word “church” used in Acts.
This might be nothing, but this word is distinct from synagogue. This is
an assembly, one that is beckoned out.
 This harkens back to 2 Samuel 6. It is to show what is profane and what is
consecrated.

Chapter 3:1-11
The healings and their consequences.
• They were at the temple at the 9th hour. This is one event where John is a major player as
well.
• They were at the gate called Beautiful which led into the court of women and the court of
Gentiles. This is the entrance by the eastern wall and sometimes called the golden gate.
• The man is clearly congenitally lame.
• The miracle is declared and is an example of the great powerful works that was
mentioned in 2:43.
• What we will follow is the discourse of Peter which is v. 11-26. By this Portico
Solomon, he will give a homily and essentially, he talks about the Isainic suffering
servant.
• Peter ties the miracle to Jesus Himself.
• Paul will have a same miracle in Lystra later in the book.

September 1, 2005
** Notes from Matthew P. Ewers. I was present in class, just did not have any “juice” to run my
laptop!
Peter’s 2nd Sermon – Acts 3:11-26: Isaiah 52 and 53 are mentioned in reference to the suffering
servant. The baptism, the Passover, and the Transfiguration are themes referenced in this
sermon. The historical antecedents are intriguing, where Peter harps upon the rejection of Jesus
and the witness of his resurrection. There are references to Old Testament Christology, where
Jesus is described as holy and just: He is the author of salvation. See Hebrews 2:10. To be an
author in this sense is to be a leader or pioneer. But we know him to be the carrier, or
embodiment of salvation. Author is simply an image that is helpful but not exhaustive. He will
be absent until his resurrection in the body, as seen in verse 21. Until the completion of creation
as said by the prophets, Jesus resides in heaven. We have a vivid image of Jesus as the exalted
Lord – his exaltation. This is the flipside of his incarnation. He rules from on high. Peter also
affirms Moses, in verse 22. The quote here comes from Deuteronomy 18. But is this not
reducing Jesus to just a prophet. Jesus does have a prophetic function and it is appropriate to
describe him this way. As he completes OT Scripture through being a prophet, he fulfills the
role of being the role of the voice of God to his people and he has a grave destiny (v23, 24).
Verse 25 shows that the promise of Genesis 12:18-22, the blessing through the seed of Abraham,
has been fulfilled. Lastly, the privilege and responsibility sent Jesus first to “you.” This shows
the privilege and the responsibility to the Jews. Peter is underscoring the prophetic function of
the Messiah but no limiting him to a prophet. There is a blame element in the first paragraph,
which is a bit of the theme: you killed him, God raised him, repent.

Acts 4: verses 1-4: there is another remarkable revival campaign, without the benefit of
Pentacost. The arrest of Peter is legal as the Temple officials have the authority to do it, if they
think it is a violation of Temple standards. It was a legal arrest, and the Sadducees, who are the
rich people of Jerusalem’s society, facilitate it.

Verses 5-12: in your face dialogue. Peter is in the presence of the Supreme Court of Israel, with
High Priests, Scribes, and Emeritus members of the council. This is the same council seen later
in Acts. Peter is inspired according to the moment, as seen in Luke 12:11 and 21:15. The words
are supplied and he knows what to say because the Spirit speaks through him. He equates the
healing with Christ and credits it to Christ and his power. He speaks against the people who are
culpable for the crucifixion of Christ. See verse 10, where this are specific descriptions given.
Any misunderstanding is eliminated. Peter then quotes Psalm 118, which is spoken by Jesus in
Luke 17. This is a lesson about salvation through architecture. They knew that passage and
imagery as they were students of the Law and Prophets. The summary statement about the
exclusivity of the gospel is given in verse 12.

Verses 13-22: look at the word boldness in verse 13, which is confidence in the NASB. A word
study from AT Robertson would indicate audacity, courage that is audacious. This is not
necessarily risky because it is not reckless. Their boldness is even noted by their adversaries.
This word boldness is very important in the Book of Acts. There is no argument that the
adversaries offer. They do not refute the evidence and do not refute the message, which is
startling to them. They simply attempt to silence it because of the politics. They are worried
about the influence. They saw the connection with Jesus and they could not deny the man
standing before them. They do not debate the facts, evidence, and conclusion, they simply seek
to silence them. They attempt to censor them. It is also worthy to note that they are startled by
the capabilities of these two fisherman. They are somewhat impressed that these two average
Joes are so good at talking to them on their level. The response of the disciples: they are not
defiant, but they tell the Sanhedrin the truth. In other words – what would you do if you were in
their shoes? You be the judge. Their response is an implicit warning – you will hear from us
again. The true believer in Christ is irrepressible.

Verse 23-31: this is the trembling meeting. There are four points to make about this:
1. Peter and John give a report of their own. The congregation is united in prayer and
purpose. The liturgy of this meeting hearkens to Exodus 20, Psalms 146, and Isaiah 42,
and even a use of Psalm 2:1, which is quoted in v 25, 26. This report is the key here, that
the two disciples do not just keep this to themselves. They give an account of progress to
the body of Christ. That would include the 5000 that are mentioned. We see in the
reporting process, unanimity and prayer.
2. Jesus is described as the anointed as the holy servant, and there is reference to the service
of disciples, to the followers of the disciples, in contrast to the kings and governors like
Pilate. Jesus is the holy servant and he is the anointed and they are servants of the holy
servant in contrast to these adversaries.
3. There are two references to boldness. Again this same word occurs. They are at some
risk here, and we notice that their prayer is not to be rescued or preserved or comforted.
Rather, their prayer is for boldness and for healings and signs and works and that
everything would be by their hands in his name – as a testimony. They simply pray for
boldness in their ministry and they express what kind of ministry that will be with
healings and signs and works.
4. The response to this prayer is like another Pentacost. When they pray, the place they
were gathered was shaken. They had tremors. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke with boldness. Their prayers were answered. The filling of the Holy Spirit is
a reaffirmation of what has already happened. And, it is tied to their speaking with
boldness. That is why they were able to speak with boldness. They themselves might
falter, but the Spirit gives them the boldness which they need and had just petitioned.
The shaking in the room:
a. It is like a tremor out of Exodus 19 and Isaiah 6.
b. The tremor is associated with the presence of God.

September 6, 2005
Acts 5:12-42
1. 5:12-16
a. There is a respectful but distant regard of the people to the disciples. There is not
an implication of intimacy. Just a genuine respect of the power they yielded.
b. This is a summary statement and introduces the story that is about to follow.
2. 5:17-24
a. There is a prison escape. This is the 2nd time we have seen an imprisonment (see
4:18 – this is a reference that they might be in prison).
b. The escape is not explained in terms of mechanics – only that an angel liberates
them. They are not merely being rescued; they have an assignment to teach in the
Temple (see v. 20).
3. 5:25-32
a. Who are the captain and the officers? See v. 24 – he is the temple guard. There is
no reference to chains here as in a Roman prison. Also see 4:3.
b. They had been arrested with some care. They bring them forward with a tentative
nature, it seems.
c. Peter counter accusses in v. 29. This is basically a Proverb. It is a proverbial
answer.
d. V. 30-32 is a minimal summary of the kerygma.
i. The passion of Jesus.
ii. His ascension.
iii. Pentecost.
iv. The witnesses (v. 32).
e. The reference to hanging Him on a tree literally means to strangle. It is consistent
with the penalty for blaspheme in Deut 21:22-23.
4. 5:33-42
a. One of the few times we see people happy to take a beating
b. This Gamaliel was mentioned by Paul in 22:3. His council about Peter and John
is consistent with what he taught in Rabbinic studies. He reviews some recent
farses. In other words – there is a precedence of his council. He is basing his
argument on the sovereignty of God.

Acts 6:1-8:3
1. 6:1-7
a. There is a linguistic and cultural problem in the early church.
b. The Hellenistic Jews needed some help. We know from ch. 2 that they are
sharing resources, but here we learn there are a lot of widows. This makes sense
given demographics and everything.
c. At this point, we come upon some ministry of the church. This ministry is
presumed to be appropriate – there is no debating as to whether or not they are
going to have it. The debate is over the Apostles’ involvement. The Apostles
come to the conclusion that this takes away from their true ministry.
i. We cannot draw from this that these are deacons. These 7 might
represent prot-deacons. The remedy for the Apostles is to have 7 helpers.
Exodus 18:7-23 might tie in here. The 7 are all in common of the
language they speak. This is very targeted ministry
d. We are introduced to Steven and Phillip both. Then we have stories about Steven
and Phillip that follow.
i. About both the men:
1. Steven is full of the Spirit
2. Phillip – we know nothing.
e. There is a ceremony that authorizes these men. This ceremony is a transference
of responsibility.
f. There is another summary in 6:7.
i. The Word of God increased.
ii. The number of disciples increased greatly.
iii. In roads being made into the Temple precincts.
iv. Things are so great the Apostles are distracted.
2. 6:8-15
a. Steven’s character, faith, and his works are exceptional.
b. His preaching is fairly radical with respect to the Jewish institutions. He is very
confrontive. He speaks with wisdom maybe even beyond what he knows
because the Spirit is giving him utterance.
c. The accusations are distorted by the elders and the scribes. They can’t win the
debate so they set up false witnesses.
d. V. 14 is not so much of a lie as it is a half-truth. Half-truths are more dangerous.
However, notice the way it ends – he has the face of an angel (See Ex. 34).
3. 7:1-8
a. We have here a review of the patriarchal epoch. There is no apology here about
the charges. He really doesn’t even answer the charges. The story is to explain
and justify. His entire argument answers the charges. It is an apology for the
faith.
b. He begins with the pilgrim’s of Israel worshiping without a holy place and advise
against earthly ropes.
c. One of his thesis statements is that God is not restricted to a single place. This
would have been greatly received among the Hellenists; not so well-received
among the Jews in Jerusalem. He is not telling the Jews anything new regarding
this – see Amos and Hosea and their prophecies concerning the temple.
d. He sets himself up to be repudiated among the messengers of God. He lines
himself up with that paradigm.
4. 7:9-19
a. God is not bound by the Temple.
5. 7:20-29
a. Moses before – later we will see Moses after.
6. 7:30-34
a. Moses’ calling.
b. Men and women took off their shoes out of respect of the host. This was the
least Moses could do.
7. 7:25-43
a. The Israelites in the desert.
b. Moses himself gave the promise of another prophet who would have similarities
with him.
c. The word assembly in v. 38 is the word, “church” in the GK.
d. He was rejected by his own even though he was chosen to rescue them. Moses
anticipated this other prophet who would endure similar pilgrimage.
e. He is a founder of a spiritual worship. Moses is associated with spiritual worship
as its founder. Yet here is this tragedy of idolatry in his own midst. The holiness
of God is in His presence – not in His shrine. We are dependant upon His
presence for His holiness. God is not restricted to a location.
8. 7:44-50
a. This is a review of the tabernacle, the ark, and the temple. He quotes from Isa.
56 about it being man made and providing God a place. In spite of this portable
pavilion they had in the wilderness, they were still disobedient to prophets and
correct worship in the Holy Spirit.
b. Stiff-necked is seen in Hebrews 9-10.
9. 7:51-53
a. There is the application of the personal condemnation for their rebellion. They
are assassins and rebels. They should have known better.
b. You now have betrayed and murdered…..He ties it back into Jesus.
c. It seems that Steven sounds a lot like Peter. You killed Him, God raised Him,
now repent.
10. 7:54-8:1
a. We see the rage of the crowd because of his words of tying the whole Mosaic
motif back to Jesus Christ.
b. He now has a vision that verifies his prophetic inspiration.
c. Jesus is enthroned in exaltation.
d. Now the hostile Jews are really angry. They cover their ears. They take him out
and stone him.
e. Lev. 24, Deut 13 & 17 is where this prescription of punishment comes from.
Why did they go through Romans for Jesus’ persecution. There seems to be a
mob rule at play which is an illegal behavior.
f. Steven’s response reminds us of Jesus in Luke 23.
g. In spite of this brutal death – he is serene and tranquil.
h. Jesus has an organized death march and Steven has a mob rush.
i. We are introduced to Saul here as well. His function is unclear, though he is
some sort of enabler or catalyst.

September 8, 2005
1. 8:1-3
a. This is our first introduction to Saul.
b. Steven, literally, he was put to sleep. This is euphemistic for “he was killed.”
There is not much to make of it other than the fact that in the Bible it is unusual.
We understand this euphemism in context.
c. A great persecution began against the church. This is not a sudden change, but
rather an explosion of developing dynamics. Steven’s death was an introduction
of what was to become great.
d. What follows is a describing of a dispersion. This is somewhat of a new
Diaspora. There is the permanency of the 12 in Jerusalem, but then everyone else
is scattered (active form so they dispersed).
e. Saul was dragging people off and putting them in the Sanhedrin prison.
f. John the Baptist, Jesus, and now Steven have their burial described. This is not
unique to the Old Testament, but it is in the New Testament.
2. 8:4-13
a. There is a campaign by Phillip in v. 4-8. This is the evangelism in Samaria.
b. We know about Phillip from the list in Ch. 6. He is one of the 7 Hellenist helpers.
He is 2nd on the list so now that Steven is dead he is #1. The dispersion has
occurred and in the process Phillip has moved out to Samaria. All we know is
that the events surrounding him in ch. 8 are provoked by the death of Steven.
c. We are told about his message and his signs. This has been applied to Peter and
Steven as well.
d. V. 12 tells us there were baptisms.
e. Then there is this little peculiar reference to Simon the magician (who is really a
warlock). He is not an astrologer, but a brew master.
3. 8:14-25
a. V. 25 concludes with a summary that the campaign continued. Evangelistic
outreach continued in Samaria.
b. V. 18-24 is about the scandal of the warlock. This is where we get the word
Simony in church history.
i. Simon treated divine power as if it were a food choice in a buffet line and
not given by God’s authority.
ii. His assumption is offensive. Peter smacks him down and treats him like
an unbeliever. V. 20 is in the optative.
iii. V. 23 however, would indicate the real crime. He is in the gall of
bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.
iv. You can make a case that he is a believer who has made a grotesque error.
However, look at v. 22 and v. 24, which look like he has no clue as to
what repentance and salvation are.
c. V. 14-17
i. Why did they receive the Spirit from Peter and John and not at baptism?
1. Jerusalem has sent Peter and John to ratify what has happened. It
is an extension of Solomon’s Portico. We will see this again at
Antioch with Barnabas. The reason they send emissaries is
because they may have been uncomfortable with what has
happened. This was a direct result of the dispersal after the stoning
of Steven. So they send Peter and John, #1 and #2. They do not
delegate – they themselves go. Peter and John place hands upon
them. Peter compares himself as the pioneer among the gentiles
(Acts 15:7). Paul titles himself as the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul is not claiming primacy, put importance or longevity.
2. Different sequences in baptismal element:
a. Pentecost
i. Repent
ii. Baptism
iii. Holy Spirit
b. Samaria
i. Belief
ii. Baptism
iii. Holy Spirit (delayed arrival by hands of Peter)
c. Cornelieus
i. Belief
ii. Outpouring of the Spirit
iii. Baptism
iv. ** This will become normative
d. Paul in Ephesus
i. Repentance/Belief
ii. Baptism
iii. Holy Spirit
3. The key element is the role of Peter.
4. 8:26-40
a. The Holy Spirit is presumed to be operative and there is no more valedictions
from and Apostle.
b. The Eunuch is a God-fearer. He is on his way to Jerusalem in a chariot (he was of
high standing).
c. This Eunuch is making a trip into Jerusalem for worship. He is a God-fearer. He
is so wealthy that he has his own scroll of Isaiah. He is making this long trip just
to stand in the court of the gentiles.
i. Background about Eunuch – Deut 23:1
d. Isaiah 53 is the background to what the Eunuch is reading.
e. He addresses Jesus as the suffering servant.
f. Having presented the gospel to him, using Isaiah, now the Eunuch asks to be
baptized. Like the Samaritans he wants to be baptized as part of his testimony.
g. The HS removed Phillip from the scene. This is like 1 Kings 18, 2 Kings 2, and
Ezekiel 3 & 8. He is relocated in another Hellenistic area. The prophets are
located by divine providence is our only explanation for this removal.

September 13, 2005


1. 9:1-9
a. V. 1-2 describe this authorized expedition.
i. He has letters of extradition which is remarkable. See Numbers 25 and 1
Kings 18-19. There is also a description similar in 1 Maccabbees.
ii. He goes to the northern frontier to the province of Syria. It is just to the
NE of old Israel. He is own the way when the events take place.
b. V. 3-7
i. Describe the encounter with the light and the voice. These are the two
operative words.
ii. It will be described as the middle of the day in ch. 26, but we do not know
that here. There is the glow of the heavenly light that flashed. There is
the voice from the heavens. In Ch. 26 we learn that the voice is speaking
in Hebrew.
iii. Saul – what does the name Saul mean?
iv. Why are you persecuting me? Jesus is not asking for knowledge. He is
asking Saul to consider his own motivation.
v. Who are you “sir?” I am He who you are persecuting is the answer. This
gives us the basis for Paul’s theology on the body of Christ that will be
fleshed out in Paul’s epistles.
vi. We know that the companions are mute and catatonic. In ch. 26, they fall
to the ground after standing speechless and in the 2nd version, it says that
they do not hear the voice. We are led to believe that they heard sound,
but did not understand it – the dialogue was private between Saul and
Jesus.
c. V. 8-9 tell us of his entrance into Damascus, in which he was blind.
i. 3 days without eating or drinking, or even seeing.
ii. This is a serious fast.
2. 9:10-19
a. Dr. Hatfield believes that this gives us a clue to the thorn in the flesh we hear
about from Paul later. It almost has to be vision related.
b. Ananias is instructed and sent by the Lord in a vision. There is a connection of
prayers and visions in the first and second versions of this story.
c. The prophetic message in which Ananias delivers.
i. It is echoed in Gal 1;12, 16.
ii. Saul is a chosen instrument.
iii. There is some awareness of the actions that he has done against the saints.
iv. He is a chosen instrument and he must suffer. The suffering will not be
from what he causes but from what he endures in the name of Jesus.
d. V. 17-19
i. The grand old prophet in the OT tradition places hands on Saul.
ii. It is not an apostolic act – but a healing act.
1. He recovers his sight and receives affirmation from the Lord
through the hands of Ananias.
2. Ananias is the 1st to call him a believer by calling him a brother.
iii. We do not know who baptized Paul. There were believers in Damascus
and they had standing to baptize him.
3. 9:20-31
a. V. 20-25
i. This is immediately after his conversion and baptism and physical
recovery. He is still zealous and preaching.
ii. V. 20-22 – he preaches in various synagogues. It might imply a regional
itinerant work. Paul notes in Gal 1 how he was a surprise to the people in
the synagogue.
iii. He calls Jesus the son of God – which is the only time this particular title
of Jesus is used in the book of Acts.
iv. Son of God – how did the Jews hear this? Saul clearly believes that Jesus
is the Son of God. How did he unpack it though? Probably would have
seen it as a messianic title as it is in Daniel.
1. V. 21 and 22 are a hint at what they thought. He confounded the
Jews. He did this based on Scripture.
v. The word, proving, literally means to put together. 17:2; 18:28; 26:22 this
word is found as well.
vi. There is an emotional escape found here.
1. From an adult perspective, this is a humiliating experience. It is a
type of Mosaic escape. In this instance, it was a personal threat,
not a general one.
vii. Is there a time lapse in between his conversion and 9:23 (many days
passed).
1. Where does the trip to Arabia he mentions in Gal 1 and 2 Cor 11
fit in?
b. V. 26-31
i. He visits Jerusalem and Tarsus.
1. This return to Jerusalem Paul himself describes as happening years
later in Gal 1:18. The question is that are these the same visits?
ii. He is introduced to the Apostles and Barnabas is his rescuer.
1. This is the 2nd time we have met him in the story. The 1st time he
stood in contradiction to Ananias and Sapphira.
2. Barnabas testified to his boldness. This is an Acts word here.
Same word as found in other places.
iii. Paul says that he was well-known in Jerusalem. They were afraid of him,
but he was well known. This we get from Gal 1. He also says there that
he is unknown in Judea.
iv. The Hellenists were of the same adversaries of Steven. It makes since
they would want to kill Saul as well.
v. V. 31 is a summary verse. It speaks of the church dispersed in Israel.
They were happy days. It was peaceful and was being built up or being
constructed as the GK would say. The peace was a direct result of the
conversion of Saul.

Peter and the Gentile Mission


1. 9:32-43
a. We are north of the Gaza strip in Modern Israel.
b. This is Peter’s miracle healing, so to speak. There are two miracle healings that
validate his ministry.
c. Peter went here and there – he is sort of itinerant. This is somewhat picking up the
story from ch 8 with Phillip. It would appear that he is doing gfollow-up,
discipleship work.
d. This story about Aeneas is similar to Luke 5.
e. Next is the resuscitation of Tabitha. She is dead just like Lazarus. She is dead. Her
name is translated between the Hebrew and the Greek. Tabitha and Dorcas. They
are making preparations for her internment and they ask Peter to come, he is about
18 KM away. The miracle is the same regardless of her status. The actions are the
same as Jesus’ with the daughter of Jiarus. He stays with Simon the tanner. He is
staying with an unclean man. They might be a notch above the tax collectors.
f. This (hanging out with a tanner) is a helpful prelude to Chapter 10. However, Peter
would probably acknowledge that hanging out with Simon was his limit.
2. 10:1-8
a. He was a centurion, commander of 100 soldiers. It was a significant leadership
role.
b. He is described as a god-fearer. This kind of reminds us of the centurion to
encounter Jesus who is the 1st gentile to encounter Jesus which is recorded in
Luke’s gospel.
c. He is a pious man. He observes the hour of prayer as designated. Everything about
him is favorable.
d. He is visited by an angel. Parallels to this are seen in Acts 5:19; 8:26; 12:7-11, 23;
27:23. All of these deal with a vision of an angel.
e. V. 4 “memorial” this is his prayers and offerings routinely offered. This is curious
that he also offered offerings. We do not know where it went (temple/synagogue)
but they were giving. It is described as smoke rising from a burnt offering in
Deuternomy.
f. As a response, he receives specific instruction on how to seek Peter. He begins a
journey that is about 45 KM by modern reckoning which is a long day’s ride.

September 15, 2005


3. 10:9-16
a. There is a synchronization of the travelers and the others. We are given time pegs.
The 6th hour is time for hunger. Not everyone eats at noon though. It is also a time
of prayer – which is why Peter went to the roof. His vision, however, is related to
food.
b. It is a vision like others in Acts (2, 8, 9, and 10 – also another reference to this
vision in 12).
c. The vision is of a linen or a sheet. A large linen used like a veil or a sail. It has
four borders or corner. Literally points. In it he sees three classes of animals right
out of Genesis 6. Birds, reptiles, and hoofed animals.
d. Peter’s refusal is based on Levitical law, but comes from Ezekiel 4:14 which is
based on Leviticus 11. The voice from heaven explains in v. 15 after a 2nd time,
“what God has cleansed you must not call common.” It is a rebuke of sorts.
e. There is an annulment of the Levi tic restrictions here. The point is that the animals
is cleansed. One again, it took Peter 3 times to get it. The fact that he has a three-
fold pattern of resistance is interesting.
4. !0:17-23
a. Peter is perplexed. He has this instruction and explanation by the Spirit.
b. The arrival shows a correspondence and a communication. Peter shows hospitality
and was a gracious host. They are gentiles. We must give credit to Peter.
5. 10:24-33
a. We noted Peter’s resistance and yet he was a gracious host. Now he is a recipient
of gracious hospitality. We learn that there are 6 other people in the encounter
(Acts 11:12).
b. We learn that this was a 2-day visit, but this makes sense because of the distance.
Upon his arrival, he was startled to be greeted like a deity. Cornelius begins to
worship at Peter’s feet as if he is the epiphany in Cornelius’ vision.
c. There are many people waiting for Peter and the emissaries of Cornelius’.
d. Two things Dr. Hatfield finds interesting:
1. V. 28 – Peter insults them, sort of.
2. Visions are being used of God missiologically. Is this God’s way of ice-
breaking in the Muslim world? This is not God’s way of modus operandi,
but the question is raised is this a paradigm for missions? No, this is not a
paradigm of operation in Acts, but it does show us how God can intervene
when human barriers seem unbreakable.
6. 10:34-43
a. The theme of the sermon is that God does not accept anyone who is not reverent or
just, but further defines that as those who are only reverent or just in Christ.
b. He reviews and summarizes the Apostolic Kerygma.
c. He concludes with the punch line that He is ordained as the one to judge the living
and the dead. Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness in His name.
d. This offer of salvation has been opened wide. This is the key focus for Peter.
Everyone, Jew and Gentile.
7. 10:44-48
a. This is presented in Acts as the gentile Pentecost. It is a direct line between the 2.
b. We have to answer the question, what about the Ethiopian Eunuch? He is not a
Samaritan, he is a gentile. Several answers:
1. The events are not chronological. The problem is that the Eunuch happens
on the heels of the Samaritans with Peter and John in Samaria.
2. For whatever reason, the Ethiopian is grouped with the Samaritans or the
Israelites, geographically speaking.
3. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned with the Eunuch and this is intentional.
The outpouring of the Spirit comes later.
c. At Cornelius’ conversion, while Peter is still preaching, the believers who
accompanied Peter (Jewish Christians) are astounded to see the gift of the Spirit.
They know it is the Spirit because they speaking in tongues and knew that they
where extolling God.
1. There is a difference from Pentecost. There is no dialectical hearing.
2. Peter is present in both epiphanies. Even at Samaria as well between the
previous two.
d. The baptism is linked immediately, which is different than Pentecost. There is a
presumption that they were all baptized (2:41), but the word baptism is not used.
e. This event will be recounted in 11 and 15. We will skim that part when we get to it.
The reason uses the space on the papyrus to tell the story again is to underscore the
importance of the event.
8. 11:1-18
a. We here this group called the circumcision party. In the GK, it is literally the ones
who originated with circumcision.
1. We see them more organized and legalistic in Galatians.
2. The ones with Peter in 10:45 are qualified as believers. The ones here in
11 are not. This makes a very significant difference here.
3. The context is growing more adversarial. Look at ch. 15 and then see
them in Galatians.
4. They are also mentioned in 21:20 ff. This is a commentary about their
mindset about what is going on.
b. V. 1-3 – They complain.
1. Why did you enter their house and then eat with them. This is a political
problem. We do not know the time lapse for sure, but this is a trigger of
Steven. If we were sensitive to their point of view, we would wonder if
they were worried about bringing problems on their head in Jerusalem.
2. Peter’s response seems to indicate that they were resisting the admission
of gentiles into the body of Christ.
c. V. 4-17
1. Peter reviews what happened in ch. 10.
2. He links it, explicitly, to Pentecost. This is very important.
d. V. 16-18
1. Application of the link to Pentecost.
2. Peter quotes Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:5.
3. He also references Pentecost in the application as well.

September 20, 2005


e. V. 19-30
1. Antioch is called the mission base for the gentile work by FF Bruce.
2. V. 19-21 Gentile Evangelism
1. It is directly linked to the dispersion from the persecution of
Steven.
2. This is a Christian dispersion – not Jewish.
3. Now the Cornelius has been converted, he is the bell weather of
the gentiles. We will be resuming the narrative as if we just
concluded 8:4. See 8:4 to 11:19
4. There is no reference to the evangelization to the east and to the
south. The church grew this way – it is just not narrated in the
book of Acts for us.
5. We see the gospel being dispersed and Paul is not the one carrying
the banner to places for the first time. Paul is a proto-type, but not
necessarily the first.
6. Antioch was a cosmopolitan city in Psidia. It was the site of many,
many Jews and proselytes.
a. The evangelism is principally conducted among
Hellenists though.
b. They do not seem to be indigenous to Antioch.
c. There were some who were from Cyprus and Cyrene.
i. Cyprus is the homeland of Baranbas.
7. A large number of people there believed. The hand of the Lord
was upon them.
a. The hand of the Lord is a metaphor. It means the
leadership of the Lord or the Holy Spirit.
3. V. 22-26
1. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas. Why? He is a little more
equipped to handle Hellenists. Look at his background. He is an
Hellenistic Jew who has a Greek background. He is not a
Palestinian boy, so to speak.
2. The MO of the church in Jerusalem is consistent.
a. They sent Peter and John to Samaria.
b. They send Barnabas to check things out in Psidian
Antioch.
3. V. 23 – he celebrated the grace of God.
4. The church in Jerusalem grew previously, and now that the hand of
the Lord is with the Antioch church, it grew.
5. Barnabas also recruits Saul.
a. This is a bold move.
b. Barnabas was the one who welcomed Saul in Jerusalem.
c. Paul, like Barnabas himself, was bilingual, bicultural, and
thoroughly versed in the Greek ways.
6. They (Barnabas and Saul) stayed in Antioch for a year.
a. This was Saul’s “apprenticeship.”
b. He is no longer a learner, but a doer.
7. First time Christian is used in v. 27. It is a natural fit in a gentile
context. It is the domianative suffix of the word Christ.
8. Believers in the book of Acts are called:
a. Disciples – 6:1
b. Saints – 9:13
c. Brothers – 9:30
d. Faithful ones – 10:35
e. Christians – 11:27
f. Nazarites – 24:5
4. V. 27-30
1. The offering that they are speaking of is Paul’s motive to return to
Jerusalem.
9. 12
a. The events focus on the events of Herrod Argippa as it relates to Peter.
b. v. 1-4
1. Herrod Agrippa created a hostile environment.
2. He literally tries to cast his hands upon them – i.e., not just arresting them
but trying to harm them.
3. Exegetically, we ask if they are concurrent or consecutive with the events
of Antioch. They seem to concurrent, but we can’t fully answer that
question.
4. There is a horribly sad reference to the death of James. See Mark 10:39
5. Peter is arrested and James is murdered. There is no explanation of the
motive of either except that the Jews hated them.
6. This is an anti-Chrisian bias and is began with the Temple officers. There
is no evidence that Peter bothered Herrod, politically. Only that his
supporters hated Peter. He is in the tower of Antonio during Passover like
Jesus and Paul will be there as well in Ch. 21-22.
7. There is an angle-ophony. After Peter’s escape, the angel disappears.
Everything that happened was real It was not a dream.
1. He wakes up by a little touch. He wakes up and puts on his outer
garment and ties his sandals. He walks right past the guards. The
image is not that the guards are sleeping, but they do not perceive
him.
2. He passes through an iron gate that is opened.
3. The only explanation is that it is God’s intervention.
8. Peter does the reasonable thing. He seeks refuge with the church.
1. The church is gathered to pray for Peter’s release.
2. They get their answer while they are gathered praying for him.
3. Peter and Rhoda. She is a little bit of an airhead. She recognizes
Peter’s voice and runs back in without opening the door.
4. There is an incredulous reaction by the people that they think she is
crazy.
5. Then they give an explanation – it is his apparition, his angel. This
is a reference to Gen 48; Daniel 3 and Daniel 6,
6. Is this the Mary the mother of John Mark.
a. The verses that relate to John Mark:
i. 12:25; 13:5 ff; 15; Colossians 4 and Philemon; 2
Timothy; 1 Peter 5 (this is where we learn that he is
the cousin of Barnabas).
7. If he departed and went to another place then it had to be outside of
the area of Jerusalem and possibly outside Judea.
8. Peter is now no longer the head of the church in Jerusalem. His
ministry is now outside of Jerusalem.
9. He gives instructions to tell James (James the brother of Jesus) and
the brothers. He is now in charge of the Jerusalem Baptist Church.
10. This reference that acknowledges James as leader of the church,
according to Dr. Hatfield.
11. Now we follow with the death of Herrod – which is a good thing.
12. There is another angel of the Lord that comes to Herrod – but
instead of releasing him, the angel kills him.
13. V. 22 is the blasphemy and Herrod agrees to it. It is a gruesome
death. It is a deserved and vile death.
14. There is another brief summary.
a. Herrod was an impediment just as Saul’s was of Steven.
15. Then we are reintroduced to Paul and Barnabas.

Chapter 13
We seem to pick up the narrative from 11:30. It just kind of skips chapter 12.
1. 3:1-3
a. There is a list and given the order of pecking, so to speak, the last name is of some
importance – hence Saul.
i. Is Lucius Luke the gospel writes? We do not know.
ii. The list is important. However, the two most important are Barnabas and
Saul (1st and last).
iii. They were chosen while they were worshipping and after fasting and
praying. The Holy Spirit then spoke.
1. They are in the process of worship (offering service). This is not
casually or accidentally.
2. They have fasted in preparation for the worshipping. Then they
would feast. This is not a legalistic fast.
3. They Holy Spirit now speaks in a way in which they all
acknowledge. They all have the same conviction.
4. The Lord says “mark a horizon” around Saul and Barnabas for I
have called them out.
5. They fasted, prayed, and then sent them out.
6. God asked them to sacrifice their best, so there was some
consternation it seems. It was a process of making sure they heard
it right. The stakes are high and the risks are great.
iv. Notice also they “sent them away.”
1. The word literally means relinquish or divorce. They were
releasing them without getting them back. They did it because it is
God’s will and they were to be obedient and faithful.
b. 3:4-12
i. Some have wondered if he took his name from his first convert.
1. Paul seems to have been his Roman name anyway. He was a
citizen of Rome.
2. This is not his first convert, it is just the first we have on record in
Acts.
ii. He goes to the synagogue first.
iii. The events in the town of Paphos in Cyprus involve the town sheriff and
his jester so to speak.
1. This parallels with Peter in ch. 8 with the magician.
2. There is a spiritual angel on the curse. He does in order for the
man to gain spiritual sight. Is Paul giving the man the benefit of
his own experience in Damascus.
3. Sergiuis responds in belief – the magician did not at that time at
least.

September 22, 2005


c. 3:13-15
i. This sets the context for the sermon.
ii. This is also where we get into the North Galatia and South Galatia debate.
1. The North Galatia theory is strange. It is popular with the
Germans and the liberal commentators. It complicates things
because they make an argument based on silence.
2. The South Galatian theory ties into the book of Galatians itself.
This being in terms of where he was and could have been. The
routes in that territory match up with this and the ailments that
were possible confirm this.
3. What is Galatia? It is a little bit fluid. Is Galatia a district or a
region? This is the concept of the two theories.
iii. John Mark does not seem to be present. The team now is Paul and
Barnabas.
1. It might indicate something more than we see, but it would seem
that the leadership has emerged.
2. It is Paul and his company – yet John Mark now departs.
iv. John Mark’s departure:
1. If we did not have anything later, we would not make much of this.
2. Yet we know from later that there was some disagreement.
3. Was he homesick, too young, physically ill, unwilling to continue?
We don’t know.
d. 3:13-43
i. The physical appearance of Paul in the synagogue is the only time that we
have a sermon of Paul speaking in a synagogue.
1. This might explain the length of this sermon.
2. Also notice the Jewishness of it – he is seated!
3. All the other times he is in a gentile context.
4. Also, waving his hand – he does it before Felix and at his arrest.
a. Peter does this in ch. 12 after his arrest.
b. There must have been some significance of this.
ii. The sermon divides into three parts:
1. v. 17-22 – Paul’s summary of the history of the nation of Israel.
2. v. 23-37 – fulfillment in Christ.
a. Here we find a bit of an outline of the kerygma.
i. We have seen a similar kerygma in ch. 10
b. He makes a tie to David.
3. v. 38-41 – This is where he makes a call to faith.
a. Jesus is a completion and we must repent.
e. 3:44-52
i. He is invited back. That is good.
ii. The Jews got upset about it. The enthusiastic response is a motivator for
the Jewish leaders.
iii. Paul offers another discourse and offers support for the mission to the
gentiles.
1. Why here and why now? The synagogue must have had a high
number of gentiles.
iv. In Psidian Antioch there is multiple converts and multiple adversaries.
1. Now the adversaries include the first of the city and the women.
This would be the leaders of the community. What they women
have to do with this is not clear – but they were singled out here.
They would also presume to be gentiles.
v. They do squeeze out Paul and Barnabas.
1. There is a correlation that leads us to believe that the work is
ongoing and Paul and Barnabas literally pushed them out of town
while the work was going on.
2. Shaking off the dust…
a. This is out of the OT and this is to be seen as a testimony.
b. It is not the spiritual equivalent of flipping them the bird.
c. They even clarify why they are shaking off the dust of their
shoes.
2. 14:1-7
a. Missiological miscommunication in Lystra.
b. Now, Paul and Barnabas are not just pushed out of town. There is a plot to kill
them by stoning them.
c. This is the 1st time we see a reference of the Apostles outside of Jerusalem.
i. Is this the Apostolic teaching?
ii. Is this Apostle – the missionary?
iii. We will see this again in 14:14
1. Luke includes Paul and Barnabas in the apostles here – as a
missionary. This effects out understanding of Ephesians 3.
d. Back to the original issue of rejection.
i. The believing Jews…
1. Some believed, but also some did not.
ii. We see that as the response gets greater, so does the resistance. Greater
success – greater danger.
3. 14:8-18
a. The event begins with a miracle. It is a parallel of Peter. He simply declares the
healing and it happens.
b. What follows is a classic example of the necessity to know the home culture and
home language.
i. They speak their own language. They identify them as Mercury and
Jupiter. Hermes and Zeus.
ii. Why these two deities? Why now?
1. From the poet Obed, there was a myth circulating in that area that
Hermes and Zeus showed up in the area and were mistreated by the
townspeople. They did not recognize them. That is why they were
mistreated. So Hermes and Zeus went back to Mount Olympus
and cast down fire and flood.
2. The local priest is not going to let this happen again. So he begins
to offer a sacrifice to them.
3. They rip their garments for two reasons:
a. They were blaspheming – so it was appropriate to do this as
a Jew.
b. They were showing the gentile pagans that they were real
people, of flesh, and not gods as they had supposed.
c. Paul’s sermon is Monotheism 101.
i. The benevolence and providence of God is evident in nature.
ii. Turn from these empty vanities. “This is a bunch of bull,” is basically
what he is saying.
4. 14:19-28
a. The Jews that come to kill them have traveled all the way from Psiadian Antioch
and Iconium.
b. Imagine people going through this much trouble to get you. This is a very hostile,
anti-social people. They have soldiered to do this. They have recruited others for
support of their cause. Bottom line – this is a remarkable effort.
c. Paul mentions being stoned in 2 Cor. 11:25. He mentions the hardships to
Timothy in 2 Timothy that would indicate that Timothy was in Derbe, or Lystra,
but Derbe is more likely.
d. Dr. Hatfield argues that this is a miracle of resuscitation. Paul is not comatose, he
is dead.
i. Paul gets up as if nothing has happened. He arises unharmed.
ii. Paul goes back to the city the next day. Not only that, he goes back into
every city that he had been in.
e. The pivotal passage is in v. 22
i. It is necessary to enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations.
1. Make a tie in with the prophecy of Ananias in Acts 9:15-17.
2. If Paul has any thoughts at all laying on the ground it is, “I should
have known!”
3. He can speak with authority because he has suffered.
f. The report at Psidian Antioch.
i. The report shows some reflection and rest. There is an accounting.
ii. The reports will lead to a sequence of events that will follow in Jerusalem.
5. 15:1-5
a. The context of the counsel.
b. There is a provocation of the Judaizers.
i. Their issue is with the ethos of Moses.
ii. They disturb the believers all over.
iii. The Jerusalem church will say that are not authorized. However, they go
back over Paul’s route. Then they go up to Jerusalem to raise this
question.
iv. Paul and Barnabas are having a heroes welcome back.
c. Who are the Judaizers?
i. Jews – v. 1
ii. Party of the Pharisees – v. 5
iii. Seem to be associated with James the brother of Jesus – Paul makes this
connection in Galatians 2. They are false spies.
d. They introduce a soteriological problem and an ecclesiological issue.

October 4. 2005
6. 15:6-29
a. The context of the meeting itself:
i. Is this a private or public meeting? There is a reference to convocations in
scripture. It does not seem to be a congregational assembly because the
leaders and elders came together.
ii. It is however, in some sense, a public event in that the church new about
it.
iii. The point is – it is a leadership conference.
b. This is the last appearance of the Apostle Peter. This is his swan song so to
speak.
c. It is the last appearance of the Apostles as a group. James is not there, it is only
11. James was martyred in chapter 12. This is the last time the Apostles as a
group convene as an entirety.
d. It is James who gives the speech to the elders. He has clearly emerged as a
prominent leader of the Jerusalem church.
e. The theme of the conference is ecclesiology and soteriology.
i. Ecclesiology, how will believers be integrated in the church.
ii. Soteriology, what must a person due to be saved.
f. The discourse of Peter:
i. He has been the advocate of missions and the facilitator of previous
meetings.
ii. Here he seems to have interrupted his ministry just like Paul and
Barnabbas. He was chosen by the Jerusalem church to evangelize
Gentiles. If this is the case, he would not be around Jerusalem. This,
playing devil’s advocate, could be a inference to Cornelius.
1. Dr. Hatfield thinks he was speaking of Cornelius.
iii. Peter asks a rhetorical question which is accusative in nature. The yoke is
an onerous weight.
iv. He does use the phrase, “saved by grace.” This is found in verse 11.
v. One thing that Peter does well, he uses “we” (1st person plural) in his
disputation.
g. Next is Barnabas and Paul.
i. This is not narrated, it is simply noted.
ii. They give witness to the signs and wonders that verify their work.
h. The summary of James
i. He is respected among the Jews not really for what he says here, but
elsewhere in Acts (see 12:17; 21:18-24).
ii. Gal 1 and 1 Cor 15, from Paul’s perspective, James is somewhat tied to or
connected loosely with the Judaizers. They think they have a friend in
James.
iii. He almost starts out at the beginning as if no one has heard a word that
anyone else has said.
iv. The vocabulary is very similar to James 2.
v. He references Amos 9:11-12 and Isaiah 45:21.
vi. He links gentile mission activity with OT Scripture.
vii. He makes a motion for a decree that will complete Peter’s challenge.
Peter’s rhetorical question is answered by James.
i. The Letter
i. James comes through this ordeal with flying colors.
ii. He uses two military images here:
1. He is sorry they disconcerted them – they have been bothered by a
diversionary tactic.
2. He is sorry that they unsettled their minds. It means to subvert. It
can mean to loot, pillage or plunder; even to suffocate.
iii. Some have argued that they things they ask are a compromise. However
they are more ethical requirements than stereological requirements.
1. They are all in the category of abstentions. There are three things:
a. Anything that pertains to idols.
i. This was the religion of all gentiles. They were
much more prone to idol worship and this must not
be wed to the faith.
b. Anything that is of sexual immorality.
i. Again, as a culture, they were far less likely to be
sexually inappropriate. In the gentile culture,
sexual immorality was a way of life.
c. Meat that has not had the blood drained.
i. This is a matter of fellowship. If they are going to
eat meat that is horrific to Jewish partners, then they
do not respect their Christian brethren. These are
unities for the body of Christ.
2. The leadership of the Holy Spirit over the essentials.
a. They are doing this because it is the right thing to do under
God’s guidance. It is obligatory.
3. Nothing of this decree is ever mentioned in Paul’s or Peter’s
letters.
7. 15:30-35
a. The epistle has been sent to Antioch and going out from there.
b. Silas (v. 32). Who is he? Is this the same guy mention in 1 &2 Thessalonians, 2
Corinthians, and 1 Peter? Probably so.
c. In 16:7, we will be led to believe that he is a Roman citizen. He is clearly
equipped like Judas and Barnabas to go into gentile territory. He speaks the
language and personally knows the culture.
d. The church in Antioch receives the news with great joy. They considered
themselves to be “paracleted.”
e. Now we have a renewal of a mission trip. This is the 2nd missionary journey of
Paul.
8. 15:36-41
a. Barnabbas’ real name is Judas also.
b. There is an agreement between the missionaries about the destination, but in
disagreement about the personnel.
c. Barnabas takes up for his nephew (Col 4). Paul chooses Silas.
d. Paul did not think that John Mark should be allowed to rejoined to their team. He
had withdrawn from them.
e. Like Peter, Barnabas is a little more comfortable doing home missions. We are
led to conclude that Barnabas stays there.
f. Paul and Silas are not just missionaries, but messengers (with the letter) as well.
Silas is uniquely qualified. He is a lot like Barnabas in that he represents
Jerusalem, but relates well to gentiles.
9. 16:1-5
a. They are retracing their steps. Timothy is from either Derby or Lystra, which
would mean that he might have witnessed the stoning of Paul in that area. His
mother and grandmother were likely converted by Paul’s ministry in that area.
b. Timothy now becomes his apprentice. Eunice (mother) Loida ( grandmother).
c. His father is gentile and we do not know whether he was a believer of unbeliever.
d. His uncircumcision made him an apostate, he was still technically a Jew.
e. He was not circumcised for soteriological reasons – it was missiological and
ecclesiological. Paul circumcises him only so he could have a ministry among the
Jews. He is not to be compared to any gentile believer at this point.
f. There is a summary – the churches were strengthened and increased daily. The
point is that there was a positive result of the decree.

October 6, 2005
10. 16:6-10
a. Referenced by Paul in 1 Tim 1:6; 4:18.
b. They are prohibited in going into Mysia, Bythinia, and Phrygia. The Spirit did
not permit them – simple as that. There is nothing wrong or inappropriate about
these places, they are just not right for the time so to speak. This is good advice
for our ministries. Sometimes, it is a matter of what is “yes.”
c. In v. 10, it now changes from 3rd person singular and plural to 1st person plural.
The “we” passages.
11. 16:11-15
a. This is a detailed description, as is the case with all the “we” passages. He is
always giving a sailor’s point of view.
b. This is a Roman point of view with Roman populations and Roman boundaries.
c. So when he gets Philippi, it seems that he goes to work. The language indicates
that it was time to stay.
d. They follow their normal patters, going to the synagogue on the day of rest.
When their was no synagogue, the people who were Jewish would gather and
seek a pastoral setting. (See v. 13).
e. It is at this place that Paul would consider people to be prime prospects. This is
where we find Lydia. To be the front person of a business as a woman was
unique. Unique in that she was a woman gentile god-fearer who fronted a
business. Oh yeah, also add to the fact that she is either a widow or a single
woman.
12. 16:16-24
a. This girl, by vocation is a sooth-sayer. She has spirit of diviniation. She is like a
gypsy fortune teller. She made money for herself, but also for her owner
(employer).
b. This is demonic.
c. The missionaries are rounded up, charged, and imprisoned.
d. Notice here that the “we” passages stopped.
i. Either look was not charged or he left or something.
ii. If it is not we he is not there.
e. The owners/employers bring erroneous charges.
f. Why did the crowd join in with these men? Was it the mob affect? Why the
sudden hostilities? Perhaps we should not be surprised based on past events
(Derby and Lystra).
g. There is a bit of spontaneous combustion it is all about economics. We will see
this again in chapter 19.
h. There is a hearing before the magistrates (at least two). They tore the prisoners
garments, had them beat, and cast them into prison.
13. 16:25-34
a. The reason for some of the behavior of the magistrates was politically motivated.
Paul and Silas were outsiders and Jewish.
b. We know it is Paul and Silas in jail, but the Bible was “all.” It makes you wonder
exactly who all is there.
c. There is a godly earthquake like with Peter in 5:19 and 12:6-10. It is the exact
same thing.
Paul and Silas are joyfully singing at the time of the earthquake. This is a joyful
testimony. The earthquake concords with their singing and praying.
d. The jailer is asleep – which tells you the other prisoners are not complaining
about what they are hearing from Paul and Silas.
e. We are often taught that Paul and Silas did not leave – but none of the other
prisoners left.
i. Were they not able to leave? It says all the doors were opened.
Everyone’s chains were loosened.
f. The jailer would much rather kill himself than be killed.
g. How do Paul and Silas know he is about to kill himself? They call out to him.
h. The jailer responds to this plea (we are hear do not harm yourself).
i. He then asks the great soteriological question (what must I do to be saved?)
j. They lead him outside and then there is a role reversal in v. 29-30. The prisoner
leads the jailer to freedom – they bring him out of the prison.
k. V. 31-34 tells us the evangelical message and the happy response.
l. V. 33 is a Jesus like response. The jailer serves the prisoner after they liberated
him.
m. There was an immediate baptism.
n. He puts food before them just like in the Psalms.
14. 16:35:40
a. Paul is not a sissy. He picks his moments to use his power and his perks. There
is a contrast between Philippi and Thessalonica.
b. There is a sudden change of minds on the part of the magistrates. Their treatment
of Paul and Silas was not even legal to treat non-Roman citizens that way; much
less Roman citizens.
c. Paul rebukes them, rightly, for their legal misconduct. He stays on task. They
had condemned Paul and Silas without investigating. Then he plays his high
trump card – he is a Roman citizen.
i. We are left to wonder why he did not mention it earlier.
d. HE demands that they publicly escort him out of the city. He does not do this for
his sake, but the sake of the believers that will be left behind. The Christians that
are left behind are not criminals and the magistrates must recognize that.
e. There is a supplicant response on the part of the culpable.
f. On the way out of town, they had a farewell party at Lydia’s.
g. Phil 4:3, there is some speculation that Luke stayed here. The “we” passages do
not resume until chapter 20. That would be after the 3rd missionary journey.
15. 17:1-9
a. This is on the Via-Ignatia – it is still there today.
b. They are in the capitol city – it is a free city.
c. He mentions the soteriology again, it is a little bit more passion oriented.
d. The believers are Jews, God-fearers, and major women.
e. This prompts a reaction of resentment on the part of the Jews.
f. The Jews were a prominent group in that city and resented the pilfering of the
people in their synagogues.
g. They recruited people from the market-place, which might indicate people who
made their means through illegal means.
h. They reach associates of the missionaries. They get Jason – not intending to.
They originally wanted Paul and Silas. We do not know where they were – we
are not told.
i. The political hacks are now hearing accusations of sedition. Paul and Silas are
preaching against Ceasar – which is against the Empire. This is the same charge
of Jesus before Pilate.
j. They are accused of Messianic militants trying to change the world.
k. There is a charge here against Jason in particular. He has aided and abided these
traders.
l. They financially penalized the believers – trying to get the missionaries to leave.
m. That is why Paul does not publicly fight the enemy – it is not his neck on the line.
It is the other believers and he can’t fight that battle.

October 11, 2005


16. 17:10-15
a. They immediately go to a synagogue. At this synagogue, there were more noble
Jews who were able to receive them with eagerness.
b. They were examining the Scriptures. This is a penetrating study – mining the
Scriptures. They had serious discussions.
c. There are gentile believers, men and women, nobles, and then the rank and file as
well.
d. Verse 13, this is sort of like Lystra. There is a parallel pattern.
e. The brethren again, just like at Thessalonica and Damascus, hustle Paul out of
town for their own protection.
f. This is an unusual leg of the journey. Paul is not in his usual methodology. He is
alone here – there is no partner. He will be reunited with Timothy and Silas in
Macedonia.
g. Notice the speculation as to when he would have written 1 Thessalonians.
17. 17:16-34
a. Athens was the seat of the culture. It was the home to democracy, education,
literature, art. It was the site of the Parthenon. It was home to Socrates, Plato,
Aristotle, and it was full of idols. Hermes was the more favorite, he was the
messenger God.
b. Verses 16-18
i. Notice the beginning the ministry of Paul within the synagogue.
c. Verses 18-21
i. This is the early dialogue and is somewhat Socratic. He makes note in his
dialogue with the Epicureans, that he says about his idle babbling. This is
a bit of reference that they were so stupid that they would eat their seed for
planting like a dumb animal. The Athenians were not going to waste their
seed on them.
ii. The Athenians looked as if everybody else in the world were idiots. They
were elitists.
iii. Paul was supposedly preaching of foreign divinities.
d. Verses 22-31
i. The dialogue.
ii. The Stoics and Epicureans were alike in some manners. They eliminated
fear and pain at both extremes. Reason produces order.
iii. The Areopagus was located on Mount Aries next to where the Parthenon.
The court was surrounded by idols. There was a rich tradition of dialogue
there. In is not remarkable or out of line for Paul to be invited to speak.
iv. There is five different headings of Paul’s speech:
1. He introduces monotheism at the beginning. This reminds us of
what he says at Lystra, but this is less contentious. There is one
God and we know this One God through the evidence of creation
itself.
2. He uses that altar TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
3. There is an affirmation of God as author of life. They would have
loved the idea of authorship. Reference Titus 1:12. This is a quote
from a Greek poet. This is one of the best theological statements a
pagan ever made.
4. He affirms God is the judge of life. God does not only create and
give life, but He will judge life through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul
makes a reference to the Day of the Lord (v. 30-31). He ties it
directly to Jesus regarding the resurrection.
5. Verse 31 shows the introduction of Jesus by character. He
introduces Jesus in eschatological terms. This is the Jesus of
judgment and the resurrection. He sort of skips over the cross.
e. Verses 32-34
i. First there is mockery of Paul because of the scandal of the resurrection.
They find it ludacris that anyone is raised from the dead.
ii. There are two converts mentioned by name. Dyoniusius and Damaris.
iii. Notice also that the response is not as low as we think – there were others
with them. There is something good that happens here.
18. 18:1-11
a. Corinth is the capitol of Achaia. It was a commercial city and it was a fortress on
the isthmus. There was a temple there to Aphroditus and Venus, the goddesses of
love and beauty.
b. At the foot of the temple mount was another temple (more important temple) to
another god which was the god of the mariners.
c. The city of Corinth was not just defined by the highways as well. It had two
major highways going through it. It was a thoroughfare for Rome.
d. When Paul arrives straight from Athens he meets a Jewish couple. Aquilla and
Priscilla. The name Aquilla does mean eagle. He is from Pontus. He has
recently arrived from the motherland of Italy. He is with his wife Priscilla. They
are fleeing from the edict of Claudius (about 49 or 50 AD). This reference is the
lynchpin for all the dating that is done for the journeys.
e. This couple are bi-vocational workers with Paul. This is the context that we learn
pointblank that Paul was a tent-maker. This would have been a specialty from
Tarsus. He specialized in waterproof tents.
f. He mentions this practice about being bi-vocation in his letters to 1 Thessalonians
2:9, 1 Corinthians 9, and 2 Corinthians 11. This couple evidently has a same faith
and similar background to Paul.
g. They worked with tents and in the synagogue.
h. In the preaching of the synagogues the attendance grows and so to the
speculations.
i. Paul cursed the blasphemers. What kind of curse is this? This comes out of the
OT and has precedence in the NT. This curse is like a branch that breaks, but
from now on Paul will go to the gentiles.
j. Then we come to Titius Justus. It is a variation of the name Titus. He lives in the
house beside the synagogue. Crispus is the ruler of the synagogue. He is either
the custodian or the head Pharisee.
k. There is once again a conversion of the entire household.
l. The moment that is particularly curios is the vision. This is a revelation to Paul.
He gets a direct word of commendation from the Lord. We will see something
similar in chapter 23 and 27. This is a mandate. Keep on speaking, don’t be
afraid, and don’t start to be silent. No one will attack to harm you (he would not
suffer any damage). I have many people in this city. His protection is localized
within this city and at this time. In 1 Corinthians 2:3, Paul mentions the threats
that were made here.
m. This is when he writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

October 13, 2005


19. 18:12-17
a. We have an event which we are not really sure where it fits in the year and six
months that he is in Corinth. We know that this event happens within those 18
months.
b. Then we run into Gallio. We know he ruled from July to October in 51 AD from
archeological evidence. These Jews protest that Paul is deceiving men contrary to
the law. Jewish law is implied here. The other charges against Paul were charges
of sedition. The Jews had tried to have the Romans enforce their law.
c. What of Sosthenes? Why did they beat him? We do not really know.
20. 18:18-23
a. He makes a brief stop in Ephesus on his way back to Antioch. However, he went
to Jeruslem first. Then, from Antioch, he retraces his routes from his first and
second journeys.
b. He takes Priscilla and Aquilla with him. We do not know how this came about or
their place in the ministry. See 1 Corinthians 16:19 for more information. He
takes Priscilla and Aquilla to Jerusalem and Antioch.
c. In Ephesus, he has a positive contact, much like Berea. So much so, that they
wanted him to stay longer, but he can’t. He says he will come back. He is
already making his plans for a third missionary journey.
21. 18:24 - 19:1-7
a. Here is one of the few places where we see a bifurcation.
b. Notice the two stories deal with the absence of the Holy Spirit or at best an
incomplete knowledge. They only know the baptism of John.
c. Paul went back to his sending base, so he is absent at the beginning of the story.
d. Apollos was a Hellenistic Jew. He was from Alexandria. He is well informed in
Scripture and informed in the way of the Lord. He is ignorant about Christian
baptism though, only knowing the baptism of John.
e. He spoke accurately, at least partially, of Jesus (again, he did not know of the
Christian baptism).
f. Apollos is perhaps an itinerant merchant.
g. Why is he not baptized? He had the Spirit. See verse 25.
h. In verse 27, he gets a letter of recommendation because he being sent to Achaia,
or Corinth.
i. We are almost led to believe that he is continuing Paul’s work. See 1 Corinthians
3:6, 22; 4:9; 16;12.
j. 19:1-7 is another instance of the baptism of John. Apollos has already left with
the letter when Paul gets back to Ephesus. Paul then finds some disciples there.
k. The role of John the Baptist is renewed by Paul. It is strange that this portion of
Luke’s Acts has more in common with the gospel of John than with his own
Gospel.
l. Some have argued that this is the only rebaptism that we have in the New
Testament. These guys know nothing of the Holy Spirit or Christian baptism.
m. Peter in 8 and now Paul in 19 validate belief by their hands accompanied by
glossilia.
22. 19:8-10
a. His 3rd missionary journey is less mobile. There is a growing tendency to stay put
and develop headquarters. The 1st is at Antioch. The 2nd heads out to Corinth and
is there 18 months. The 3rd is centered around Ephesus.
b. This is a sweeping statement. What does he mean by Asia? Probably the
province and not the territory.
c. The situation takes a lot longer time to deteriorate than as in other places.
d. This passage also contains a 2nd reference to “the Way.”
e. Tyrannus is either the owner or the teacher of the hall. Basically, it is a school.
He evidently gave Paul a place to work.
f. We are told that Paul spent up to three years in Ephesus. At least 2 years and 3
months. All things included, it could have been a 3 year process. See Acts 20:31.
What is peculiar is that so little is told about it. Other trips that were much more
brief, we are given much more content.
23. 19:11-20
a. This story begins with the powerful works by the hands of Paul. This story is in
line with the woman with the issue of blood. This also parallels the story of
Peter’s shadow. This shows the might work of God through Paul on the mission
field. The question is how much this type of signs and wonders are operative
today in our own ministry.
b. The seven sons of Sceva. Sceva is a hight priest. They were doing what other
itinerant exorcists had been doing – they are not unique. Ephesus was a mother
load of the magical arts, including those of the Jewish persuasion. It was famous
for pharmacology and superstitious spells.
c. Luke 9:49 must be considered. This rejection has happened before.
d. The sons fled out of the house naked and wounded as a result of the counter-
attacks. What is the message that is received by this tragic, comic incident? It is
a matter of spiritual warfare – do our enemies know us? The more intense the
evangelism, the more violent the opposition. Another good that comes from this
is that it is a great form of evangelism.
e. V. 19 is a public act of repentance and indeed a witness as well. They count the
value of what is burnt and it is a lot of money.
f. V. 20 is a summary. There is great progress because they did the right thing.

October 18, 2005


24. 19:21-22
a. This is a plan to go to Rome.
b. We learn something of the role of Timothy with Paul on this 3rd missionary
journey.
c. Timothy and Erastus
i. 1 Cor 4 and 1 Cor16 (Timothy).
ii. Romans 16 and 2 Timothy 4 (Erastus).
d. There is a plan that is in place here that is led by the Holy Spirit.
e. There is a broader missiological strategy here which is based on setting up
headquarters in major metropolitan areas.
25. 19:23-41
a. Artemis is the Greek word for the Latin Diana, the goddess of fertility.
b. The protest begins in the temple and moves to the amphitheater. It is huge and
seats about 25,000. It is still there.
c. Gaius and Aristarchus are caught, Paul is not.
d. These Asiarchs are political operatives from the empire. They had no official
politic against Christianity. They were probably polytheists.
e. There is a comical confusion based on an anti-Semitic sentiment.
f. Alexander is perhaps the same guy mentioned in 2 Timothy 4, however this is a
very common name and it could not be.
g. There is an anti-climatic ending to the big riot. The leader of the administration
tells everyone to settle down – they are at an illegal meeting. He is speaking with
the voice of Rome.
h. These men are exonerated because they have done nothing against the empire. He
essentially says that they have a right to believe differently, as long as they do not
harm us. This council is a lot like what Gamaliel stated to the Sanhedrin.
26. 20:1-6
a. The believers protected him in Ephesus and his time has come to leave. He will
go back to Jerusalem and hopefully make it to Rome.
b. He retraces his step of his 2nd missionary journey. It is a 3 month return trip.
c. Notice the we passages. Luke is back. They are on a boat.
d. There is this farewell tour.
e. In 1 Cor 16, Paul seems to date this as the summer of 55 AD. He also kind of
says in 1 Cor 16 and in Romans 15 that this trip was a one year process.
f. He spends 3 months in Greece and Achaia. He could have written 2 Corinthians
at this time.
g. In all of the description, you will see that he makes a 3rd visit to Corinth (2
Corinthians 12/13).
h. Some will also say that Paul wrote Romans at this time here in 20:1-6.
i. There are abundant details.
j. Why all these companions? He has not traveled like this before. What we might
deduce from what Paul says about his travels is that it seems that these guys are
helping him bring back the offering to the Jerusalem churches. They are
representatives of the mission field back home so to speak.
27. 20:7-12
a. This is a common meal along with the Eucharist that they are partaking of.
b. Eutychus has been working all day and is now sitting through a long meeting. It
was humid, hot, and he was fatigued listening to a monotone Paul. Eutychus
means lucky – notice the irony. He seems to be dead and a resuscitation miracle
happens. Paul doesn’t seem to learn his lesson. He continues his message.
c. They took the lad away alive and they were comforted.
28. 20:13-16
a. Ephesus had a port. The port today is now a wheat field.
b. The better port, the more practical port was down in Miletus. Paul’s discourse is
v. 17-35.
i. Luke tells us about the journey from Troas to Miletus.
ii. Paul took the land route by the Agean. There was less risk on land than on
sea. He may also have more follow-up to do.
29. 20:17-35
a. 17-21
i. This is a retrospective review of his ministry with them. This is the only
Pauline discourse in the book of Acts to believers. It has in it themes that
similar to his letters.
ii. This is his farewell to the Ephesian church, but also to the Agean gentile
churches of his 2nd and 3rd journeys.
b. 22-24
i. Paul speaks of personal concerns. He is disquieted about the chains and
afflictions that are awaiting him.
ii. It is the ministry that matters not so much the minister. The priority is the
gospel, not self-preservation. This is not a new theme with him.
c. 25-31
i. This is an exhortation particularly to these elders. This is his last contact
with them.
ii. He makes a reference to bishops here. The Holy Spirit makes them
bishops.
iii. It seems that the overseer and the elder and the pastor are all in the same
criteria. They may have nuances, but they are all the same. They are to
guard the flock or pastor the flock.
iv. The church will be attacked from outside by wolves and inside by heresy.
v. The presbuteros need to watch these two enemies.
d. 32-35
i. This is the last, final exhortation. They are a little more general.
ii. It is very much a doxology.
iii. The edification of the church.
1. He is focused on building up the church.
iv. A negative confession.
1. This is a mandate to support the weak.
2. I covet no one’s silver or gold. These hands supported themselves.
3. One must help the weak.
4. The negative confession is about what he did not take.
5. The positive confession is that manual labor is a sacrifice that is
offered.
6. Paul quotes a proverb from Jesus’ lips that is not found in the
gospels.
30. 20:36-38
a. This scene would make a great movie moment. It is emotional and tearful. It is
an emotive farewell.

October 20, 2005


31. 21:1-6
a. He visits believers evangelized by Hellenists. This is a reference to the dispersion
after the stoning of Steven.
b. Everyone counsels him not to go to Jerusalem.
32. 21:7-16
a. These events start with a encore appearance of Phillip (from chapter 8).
b. Now Phillip is back at home in Caesarea with his four prophetess daughters. This
is a tie in with the prophecy motif.
c. The word that Agabus prophesies is the same word he has already received.
d. Paul is committed to the will of the Lord. There are similarities in Luke with this:
i. Luke 20:22
ii. Luke 22:42
e. In Cyprus, he is receiving gentile hospitality. This points back to Ch. 9, 17. and
18.
33. 21:17-26
a. This will end the we passages until they resume in chapter 27.
b. Also, this will begin a 12 day ordeal. This is the 12 days of Paul. It is a stretch to
equate the days of Paul in Jerusalem with the days of Jesus in Jerusalem.
c. What is not mentioned is the presence of other apostles. Have the other apostles
left? Some have speculated that this indicates a time lapse that is very consistent
with the idea that the apostles have already died.
d. There are some complaints against Paul by the Jews who are zealous for the
tradition of Moses.
i. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 9:20.
ii. Paul had to pay the expenses for four men to take a Nazarene vow. This
would be seen as an act of piety by Paul. The Nazarite vow is found in
Numbers 19.
iii. Paul would be found as verified in the eyes of the judaizers.
34. 21:27-36
a. Paul is in the temple and he has been charged with bringing a gentile male into the
court of Israel. The people who recognized him were Asiarchs. The recognized
Trophimo and presumed he was a gentile. This truth is, this had not happened.
They either were mistaken or had made a false claim. The perception of having
defiled the court of Israel was the same as having actually defiled it.
b. The Romans get a hold of them in the court of gentiles. Note the irony. Paul a
good Jew is being rescued by the Romans in the court of the gentiles.
c. The shutting of the doors is seen in connection with Luke 21:6.
35. 21:37-40
a. This is the context of the speech.
b. He asks permission to speak Jews in Greek from the Roman empire. When he
speaks to the Jews, he speaks in Aramaic.
c. The Roman actually thought Paul was an Egyptian. He thought he was Egyptian
because of his appearance. His clothing and his shaved head.
36. 22:1-21
a. Verses 1-5 are his bio.
b. Verses 6-11 describe the Damascus road account.
i. His companions did not hear Jesus’ voice.
c. Verses 12-16 Paul describes Annanias’ prophecy.
d. Verses 17-21 tell us something we did not know.
i. It follows the model of Isaiah 6.
ii. It seems to be a portion of his first visit to Jerusalem. The context of this
vision is Acts 9:20. This is not the same as the Damasus encounter (which
Paul calls a resurrection appearance.)
iii. He also acknowledges his own culpability for the death of Stephen.
iv. Paul also says he was sent to the gentiles (the magic word for this crowd)
37. 22:22-29
a. The crowd explodes. It makes sense the word gentile would provoke them. Look
at why Paul was arrested anyway!
b. The crowd is like a child throwing a tantrum. This was culturally appropriate.
c. The plan to examine Paul was through scourging. Very much like Jesus. It is the
same language as when Paul was in Philippi. They don’t have to do this to Paul –
they have interpreters who could understand the crowd. They wanted to penalize
Paul because they presume Paul was guilty of something.
d. This leads us to some funny dialogue – is it lawful to beat a Roman citizen (Acts
16 as well).
e. The commander is incredulous probably because of his prejudice. He was anti-
Semitic. He had bought his citizenship under the reign of Claudius.
f. Paul has a cultural superiority to this commander because he was born a Roman
citizen, he did not have to buy it.
38. 22:30-23:10
a. Paul is 2 for 2! Two days in a row the Romans have to bail him out.
b. The high priest is Ananias (23:1-5)). He orders a slap purely to insult.
c. Paul calls him to the mat from Ezekiel and tells him he is so empty that there is
nothing there (whitewashed). Similar to being an empty glass.
d. Then, Paul says he did not recognize the high priest. Paul is saying that his
behavior is unrecognizable of being a high priest.
e. Paul throws out the hot-button issue between the two major groups that were
present, knowing that the resurrection would get them going.
f. The Pharisees then take up for their old buddy.
g. Paul proudly heralds his heritage as a Pharisee here.
39. 23:11-35
a. Concerning verse 11, reference 19:11. After Jerusalem, Paul must also see Rome.
b. The Lord appears to him in 23:11 in which he receives affirmation from the Lord.
c. 9:29; 18:9; 22:17; chapter 16 and later in chapter 27 all concern the appearance of
the Lord.
d. There is a plot to kill him and vows to accomplish by over 40 people who were
exactly like Paul before his conversion.
e. Their plan is uncovered by Paul’s nephew who was between the ages of 15-30.
Probably younger.
f. Lysias is the commander and he has a great plan. He sends Paul under escort to
Felix. It is quite a Felix.
g. V. 25-30 is a bit self-indulgent of Claudias Lysias. He tells Felix he is innocent of
all charges.
h. Under Roman obligation, he had to pass Paul up the chain of command, not
down, even though he thought Paul was innocent.

October 25, 2005


40. 24:1-9
a. We are in the palace of Felix. He was an emancipated slave by the mother of
Claudius.
b. There is a discourse here of Tertullas against Paul.
i. He was a pest
ii. He was a ringleader of the Nazarites
iii. He was a profaner.
c. This is such a detailed verbatim by Luke that some have suspected that he was
there although the “we” is not present in the text.
41. 24:10-21
a. The sequence of twelve days.
i. We are now at the 12th day.
ii. The first is his arrival
iii. His 2nd is meeting with James
iv. Days 3-9 entail the ceremony of purification.
v. The 10th day is the day of tumult and the outbreak of the riot. This would
include his defense before the Sanhedrin.
vi. The 11th day is the discovery of the plot against his life and his trip
vii. The 12th day is his arrival in Caesarea.
b. Paul’s affective explanation and negation of his charges.
i. See 2 Tim 4:6.
ii. He cheerfully makes his defense
iii. He mentions the Way. He is not a part of the sect or party. He is
worshiping the ancestral God.
iv. He has the same hope of the resurrection in the just and the unjust. Paul
begins with the resurrection.
c. There is a recounting of the offering.
i. Paul calls it alms.
ii. Whether this is for the offering for the saints in Jerusalem or the paying
for the vows it is not for sure. It probably all the same, which he calls a
spiritual debt.
iii. Some have speculated that Felix holds him for two years because he wants
a bribe. This might make sense for why else would Paul speak of the
offering to him?
d. He contradicts the accusers in respect to the temple.
i. He dares them to make any ethical charges against him.
42. 24:22-23
a. This would seem to be a period of investigation for further consideration of the
case.
b. Felix wants to hear the testimony of Lysias because his name has been mentioned
by the accusers.
43. 24:24-27
a. Notice the politics
b. Felix come down with his wife Druiscilla. She is the younger daughter of
Aggripa I. But Felix, the fiancé, refused circumcision. So then she was promised
by her brother. Essentially, there is political football.
c. Felix is a good politician that knows his people, but he is going to take a stand in
which he will go no further.
d. Felix is interested in godly things, but he is not a follower.
e. The flip side is that he only wants to be a student up to a certain point and then he
wants to be a benefactor. He just wants a tip.
f. You have to think about this…..Paul refused…..for two years.
g. There is the torture of access. He is so close, but he is not there. One word and
Paul could go to Rome like he wants.
44. 25:1-5
a. New guy – Festus.
b. This is a political change. It might be due to Felix being unethical, but it was
really a more positive appointment of Festus. So he visits Jerusalem.
c. There are 5 months that we can document from now, until 28:7. The best guess is
that we are now at approximately 59 AD.
d. The chief priests immediately seize their opportunity with Festus to renew their
complaint against Paul.
e. They make a shrewd request. They don’t ask for a retrial, they are smarter than
that. Instead, they request a change of venue, “let us retry him!”
f. Festus, through, responds in verse 4. Let their authorities go down with me. At
this point, it is noticed that Festus did not bite. He smelled the rat.
45. 25:6-12
a. The ace of spades is now being played. It had not been necessary – but it is now.
b. What the Jews did not want to happen has happened. It is the same old charges –
new trial.
c. Festus made a move to placate the Jews. He can see that it is headed in the same
direction under Felix so he makes the suggestion to make Paul move to the Jewish
court in Jerusalem (the Sanhedrin).
d. No one is able to use me as a favor for others is what Paul says. His remarks are
piercing.
e. The implication is that he ought to be tried as a Roman citizen, not as a Jew. Paul
blatantly tells Festus that even he knows that Paul is innocent.
f. There has been no threat with penalty so he appeals to Ceasar. Why appeal to
Caesar now?
i. It looks like Festus is yielding to Jewish pressure so Paul needs to get
himself to Rome.
g. There is a subterfuge with Festus that he is seemingly scheming with the Jews to
get Paul out of his hair.
h. Paul has legally taken Festus off the hook.
46. 25:13-22
a. This is the set up here for the next events.
b. Felix gives his own self-serving account.
c. The officials here were hated by the Jews because of their incestuous relationship.
Agrippa II goes with Titus who will become a future emperor. They have power
though!
d. Paul is talking to a couple of sleeze-bags. This is not what you may call a
winning circumstance.
e. Festus gives his recount of the discourse. Festus asks for their help (thinking that
they are Jews and will give him help). Yet they are outcasts themselves, like
Paul.
47. 25:23-27
a. This is comical.
b. The whole thing begins with pomp and circumstance, a ceremonial introduction.
c. The military is in its place.
d. This all sets up Paul to speak.
48. 26:1-3
a. This is very polite. The truth is that Agrippa II was not an expert at all.
b. Agrippa and Bernice should have been astute, but not so.
c. Do not forget to see the irony.
49. 26:4-8
a. Paul goes back to the resurrection of the dead. Notice that there is almost a focus
on the resurrection at the exclusion of the cross. Now, you cannot include
everything theologically, but Paul is doing this intentionally and has been since
his arrest.
b. He represents himself as being in the lineage of the fathers.
c. The hope of the resurrection was his first point.
50. 26:9-11
a. He reviews his epoch as a zealous persecutor.
b. This is the 2nd version of Paul’s persecution that we have heard from his own lips
so it is the 3rd account of it in Acts.
51. 26:12-20
a. Here Paul reviews his heavenly vision. He goes back to the Damascus road and
its repercussions
b. He equates this with his missionary vision.
c. This is a prophetic work consistent with Jewish OT.
d. Paul describes himself as one who is in charge of a prophetic work. He is a
servant and a witness of the Lord.
52. 26:21-32
a. The conclusion proper of his speech (v. 21-23)
i. This is only a brief reference. He moves immediately to the help from
God. The Gospel has continuity with everyone, including gentiles (Isaiah
49:6).
ii. Immediately, it would seem that his conclusion has been interrupted.
However, he was probably finished anyway.
b. The dialogue with Festus (v. 24-29)
i. Festus is interrupting. Paul was talking to Agrippa and Bernice.
ii. Festus is not being rude, it is his court. The point is that it is not Agrippa
and Bernice who respond, but Festus who responds incredulously.
iii. Festus calls him a maniac. He is basically calling Paul delusional.
iv. Paul states that he is not manic, he is speaking the sober truth.
v. Then he turns to King Agrippa. He asks Agrippa if he believes the
prophets. How is he going to say no? He cannot!
vi. There is some true politics being played by Paul when he appeals to the
prophets with Agrippa. He is asking for common ground.
vii. Paul not only makes an appeal, but returns to his very purpose. That is
“why he is under arrest.” He is under arrest for Christ.
c. The consensus (v. 30-32)
i. This is one of the most disingenuous remarks in the whole book.
1. This man would have been set free had he not appealed to Caesar.
2. Paul would have been appealing to Nero!

October 27, 2005


53. 27:1-12
a. We have here a graphic narrative and a lot of ancient navigation that reminds us
of Jonah and Homer at the same time.
b. A storm at sea was, by all historians of literature, was considered the 2nd most
popular motif in all of literature.
c. Once again, the we passages have begun again in earnest. The we passages will
continue until the end of the book.
d. This is Luke and we need to remember that he is traveling with Aristarchus.
e. We must note the Providence of God, or divine will. Luke does not degenerate to
the perspective of fate or destiny.
f. In spite of the improbabilities or the difficulties, they arrive.
g. He goes from Caesarea to Myra and then to Crete.
h. The fact that there is military personnel on the vessel would mean that it would
have been a government controlled vessel. Even though it is civilian led, it is
serving a military purpose.
i. Paul gives wise counsel in v. 9-12 and it is rejected. It is not rejected
disrespectfully, but rejected out of concern for time of the trip.
j. It was late in the dangerous era (Sept – Dec). Most did not navigate in this time.
k. This is after Yom Kippur which is estimated to be just after the 5th of October in
AD 59.
l. Naturally, the centurion took the advise of the captain.
54. 27:13-26
a. V. 13-20
i. Grave danger is described. They are facing hurricane winds and in
desperation that pitch their cargo and some of the apparatuses. They are
stuck in the sea, unable to navigate.
b. V. 21-26
i. Paul says, “I told you so.”
ii. This is yet another angelic visitation. We do not, however, have the full
version, Paul has summarized it.
iii. Paul is offering a revelation, not an opinion. Revelation comes on the
previous night.
iv. Divine providence will not be frustrated. This is his theme as well in
27:43 and 38:5.
v. He is basically giving them good news, but the good news is that they are
fortunate enough to be with those whom God protected. This is the
reverse of Jonah. Genesis 18:26-32 has a similar theme.
vi. I have faith in God is what Paul says. I will be delivered and you are with
me therefore you will be delivered, but will have to run on the ground to
be delivered.
55. 27:27-38
a. Their cargo was wheat (v. 38). Up until now they had hoped to preserve it but
they could do that no longer.
b. By any reckoning, how in the world is it that Paul is saving the day. Paul is the
one who is saving the day for the captain and the centurion.
c. Some of the sailors are wanting to get out of there. This should be seen as
indicative of how bad it is.
d. They take anchor in the middle of the night.
e. There is a radical reaction. The solider removes the opportunity for anyone to
escape.
i. He has made a decision that it is all or nothing.
f. Paul gives council about nourishment. It is a reference to a proverb in 1 Samuel
14 and 2 Samuel 14 and of Jesus in Luke 12:7 and 21:18. This is due to the
sovereignty and omniscience of God.
g. He takes now the bread, after the proverbial guarantee. Is this the eucharist or
Eucharistic? No, it is Eucharistic elements, but it is a meal. They have not eaten
for 14 days.
h. The spiritual memory of what is happening:
i. This is part of giving thanks. This is a private and public moment. He
privately gives thanks to the Lord in worship and does it publicly for the
benefit of a witness.
i. The number 276. Some have always tried to make something of this. The point
is that it is a big ship.
56. 27:39-44
a. This bay is still there. It is a nice tranquil bay, but this passage illustrates the
danger of it.
b. Notice the plan of the soldiers to kill the prisoners. This is because they did not
want to loose their own lives. This is not really vicious or a life boat ethic. They
are just saving their own necks.
c. The centurion stops it b/c he is motivated to save Paul. It is a return favor you
could say.
d. This is another example of his hardships and escapes. He mentions it in 2
Corinthians.
57. 28:1-10
a. Paul has a heroic experience. God’s hand protected him.
b. It begins with a fire and serpent.
i. Paul shows a diligent humility. He is helping with the fire just like
everyone else. He is a worker and not above the welfare of others.
ii. This lethargic viper is awakened by the heat. No one wants to be bitten by
a snake, venomous or not.
iii. There is a bite and the proverb of the Barbarians. The bite is a penalty of
the goddess of justice. It is a superstition, not out of stupidity, but what
they believed in their pagan religion.
iv. This is similar to what happened in Lystra where they interpret Paul
according to their local religion.
v. They change when he survives. He is not even bruised.
c. Paul has a miraculous ministry that is summarized in 4 verses (6-10). He is on the
clock all the time. He has a captive audience. To him, Malta is another mission
center. He has hospitality from chief Publius.
d. Chief Publius seems to have had a bout with dysentery. There is something called
the Malta Fever that comes from a microbe in the milk of the goats on Malta.
e. There are prayers for healings and they happen by God through the hand of Paul.
f. They make a request at the time of departure. They put on board whatever they
needed. They were blessed only through the ministry of the gospel.
58. 28:11-15
a. They leave according to the wind on a passing vessel. This would have been
approximately February of 60.
b. He encounters some brothers at this principal port that is near the bay of Naples.
c. There is an official welcome from a delegation that escorts him to Rome. This is
remarkable that a delegation greets him in a place where he has never been.
d. Paul reaches his goal in v. 15.
59. 28:16-29
a. We have his ministry in Rome.
b. It starts in v. 16 because we learn there he is under house arrest. He is charged to
the quarters of the officials who have liaison duties with the court of the emperor.
c. We estimate that this is the spring of AD 60. This was around when Nero went
bad.
d. His first meeting with Jewish leaders is narrated in v. 17-22. He could not go to
the synagogue, but the synagogue comes to him. This is an interesting twist.
e. The resurrection once again takes center theme as it has in the last half of Acts.
f. The Jews had heard unfavorable rumors about the Sect (the Christians).
g. In the 2nd meeting, they have a discourse about the resurrection of Christ. Here,
the gospel divides.
h. When they disperse, Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9-10. This would have been an
appropriate quotation concerning the ministry of the gospel here.
i. Verse 28 is a declaration of his gentile mission. This is his last recorded words.
He ends it this way, after quoting from Isaiah 6:9, that the gentiles will listen to
him.
j. The last two verses are a summary of the whole book. It is not about Paul
anymore.
i. It has to be 62 AD before anything else is going to happen to Paul.
Historically, this is when Nero went crazy. This would fit in with other
chronology of secular events.
ii. Tradition is that Paul died under Nero in Rome around 64 AD in the
aftermath of the fire in Rome that was blamed on Christians.
iii. The ending is accurate with 2 Timothy.
iv. Two grammatical issues
1. With total openness (or boldness). Same word throughout Acts.
2. Without hindrance. The irony is that a prisoner is free to
evangelize. Even in chains, the gospel cannot be bound.
k. Also notice v. 29 – it is not in the original. It does not add or take away from the
text.
THE MISSIOLOGICAL SPEECHES OF PAUL
IN THE BOOK OF ACTS

__________________

A Paper

Presented to

Dr. Dan Hatfield

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

__________________

In Partial Fulfillment

Of the Requirements for 23600

__________________

by

Dwayne H. Ewers, Sr.

Box 1299

November 3, 2005
THE MISSIOLOGICAL SPEECHES OF PAUL IN ACTS

Introduction

The New Testament books of Luke and Acts are full of speeches. From John the Baptist1

and Jesus (Luke 4:16-30) in the Gospel of Luke to Peter (Acts 2:14-40; 3:11-26), Steven (Acts

7:2-53), and Paul2 in the book of Acts, the books of Luke and Acts are full of speeches,

intentionally. From Luke’s record of Paul’s speeches in the book of Acts, one can gain a

missiological understanding of the church’s duty in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus

Christ and the advancement of His kingdom. This paper will seek to exposit the three main

missiological speeches of Paul in Acts and then attempt to apply them to the church’s practice of

missiological principles, at home and abroad, today.

Overview of Speeches in General in Acts

It has been noted by Dr. John Polhill that there are twenty-four speeches in the book of

Acts. Eight are made by Peter, nine by Paul, and seven by various other personages.3 That being

said, one can do the math and note that there are twenty-eight chapters in the book of Acts and,

as mentioned above, there are twenty-four speeches. That is almost one speech per chapter in

this New Testament book. The importance of speeches in the narrative of the early history of the

church is of immense importance. Dr. Polhill also instructs that the vocabulary and style of the

1
Luke 3:7-14 (All Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise
noted.)
2
Acts 13:16-41; 14:14-17; 17:22-31; 20:17-35.
3
Polhill, John B., Acts: New American Commentary, Volume 26, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992),
43.
speeches in Acts are uniform, that they tend to follow a common outline, and that they all show

their interdependence.4

These facts would logically indicate a few things. One, the writer of these speeches is the

same writer for each of them. In other words, in this case, Luke records each of these sermons in

his fashion under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the immediate benefit of Theophilus and

the everlasting benefit of God’s saints. Every word is not recorded from each of these sermons.

This is not only noted by commentators, but even by Luke himself concerning Peter’s first

sermon (Acts 2:40).5 The second thing that these facts would logically indicate is that Luke

seems to be showing that the speeches are to point toward something beyond themselves.

Namely, these speeches point to the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ through the

preaching of His exclusive gospel.

When it comes to the speeches of Paul in the book of Acts, one can tell that “Paul was no

doubt Luke’s hero.”6 Nine of the twenty-four speeches are made by Paul and out of all the

persons who make speeches in this narrative, Luke spends the most time with Paul. One can be

fairly certain of this knowledge because of the “we” passages that the book of Acts contains.

According to Edgar Goodspeed, Luke himself saw the “extension of the movement [the gospel

of Jesus Christ] from Asia Minor to Macedonia and Achaea, and finally followed its progress to

Rome itself.”7 One can see why Paul might take precedence within the speeches of Acts. Luke

4
Polhill, Acts, 45.
5
Ibid., 45.
6
Bruce, F.F., Acts: New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s
Publishing, 1988), 15.
7
Goodspeed, Edgar J., The Story of the New Testament, (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1952),
71.
was present with Paul more than he was present with the other speech makers.8 Luke records

three major speeches of Paul’s in the book of Acts, one on each of his three missionary journeys.

Each of these speeches are to different peoples in different contexts. Again, these are the

speeches that this paper will seek to understand and apply.

Analysis of the Speeches

To analyze the speeches, an exegesis of each of the three main speeches mentioned above

is necessary. Then, a comparison and contrast of the speeches will be provided.

Exegesis

Acts 13:16-41. This is the first major speech of Paul recorded by Luke in the book of

Acts. It occurs in what we now know as his first missionary journey in the town of Psidian

Antioch. This speech in the synagogue of Psidian Antioch is not the first activity recorded from

this first missionary journey, nor does this speech produce the first recorded converts of Paul on

his first missionary journey. It is interesting that while Paul proclaimed “to the Jew first and then

to the Greek” (Romans 1:16; 2:10) his first convert is shown as the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a

gentile.9 However, the sermon that he preaches in Acts 13:16-41 would have lasting

implications for both new believers (Acts 13:42-43) and for the persecution and advancement of

the church (Acts 13:44-52).

In overview, Paul had this to say in this first sermon. The nation of Israel was chosen by

God and then exiled in Egypt. Yet the hand of the Lord brought them out and the nation of Israel

rebelled against their deliverer and thus spent time in the wilderness. God never breaks a

covenant with Himself so He gave them the Promised Land through the conquest of Canaan.

8
While Paul’s speeches might take precedence, Luke certainly does not place Paul’s speeches over against
any of the other speeches in the book. They are each alike apart of the holy canon of Scripture. For a concise
discussion on this subject see Polhill Acts page 46-47.
9
Acts 13:6-12. It can be said that even in this instance, Paul went to the Jewish synagogue first, Acts 13:5.
There was a period of Judges until Israel wanted a king, which God gave them Saul. David,

another king of Israel after Saul, was a man after God’s own heart and was promised that one of

his descendants would sit on his throne in ruling power. God fulfilled His promise in the person

of His Son Jesus Christ, preached by His predecessor John the Baptist, whom He sent to the

Jews. Yet, the Jews rejected Him (and thus the Prophets who foretold of Him) and crucified

Him. Yet, as proof of His Messianic office, God raised Him from the dead and this was proven

by the resurrection appearances of Jesus the Christ. In Christ, God fulfilled the promises from

old; their [the Jews] Bible, the Old Testament, supports this and now they must respond in

repentance and faith.

It has been said that verses 17-22 “correspond to an ancient confessional summary.”10 If

this is indeed the case, one can imagine why Paul started here instead of starting at creation as he

will in Acts 17. Bruce has also suggested that the main events listed in verse 17-22 are a sort of

an Old Testament kerygma. This is indicative from the rest of Paul’s speech because the entirety

of the language seems to point to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is taking the Old Covenant and

pointing to the New Covenant. An Old Testament kerygma would help do just that. Whether it

is an ancient confessional or a kerygma, God’s purposes, and thus Paul’s, are accomplished.

In verse 16, Paul is said to have “motioned with his hand.” This is for either one of two

reasons, perhaps both. First, this is a natural tendency when one is preparing to talk before a

large crowd. Something must signal to the crowd that the sermon, in this case, is going to begin.

Second, it could be that this was a custom within the Jewish synagogue for the same reason as

10
Bruce, 254.
stated above.11 When the reading of the Scripture text was over, the one who would expound the

text might have signaled to the crowd so that they could pay attention to what he had to say.12

Paul addresses the crowd as, “men of Israel and you who fear God.” This would have

been the correct and fitting address in the synagogue. Paul was probably referring to

Deuteronomy 1:31 in verse 18 when speaking of God supporting them in the wilderness. In

Deuteronomy 1, God is depicted by Moses as carrying the nation of Israel through the

wilderness. Paul references Deuteronomy again in verse 19 when speaking of the seven nations

that were conquered in the conquest (Deuteronomy 7:1).13

From there, Paul moves to the giving of the Judges and then to the kings of the nation of

Israel. Interestingly, as Dr. Polhill points out, no teaching in Paul’s sermon is “dwelt upon until

we get to David.”14 It is in David that Paul expounds his description of the events. This is

mainly do to the fact that Paul would use David to run straight to Christ. Paul, in this transition

from the Old Testament kerygma to the New Testament gospel, wanted to stress David.15

We would note in verses 24-25 that Paul picks up with what seems to be some sort of

early Church kerygma. Peter starts this early Church kerygma with John the Baptist as well

(Acts 10:37). John the Baptist pointed to Christ, this is Paul’s point in verses 24-25.16

In verse 26, Paul begins teaching that the promises in the Old Testament are now fulfilled

in Christ. In other words, this Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, is “who you have been waiting on,” so

to speak. Paul uses another address to the crowd to regain their attention. He addresses them

similarly to the beginning of the sermon, “Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family and those who

11
Note especially Acts 21:40 where Paul performs a similar gesture. He is not in the synagogue, but is
speaking to a thoroughly Jewish audience.
12
Daniel E. Hatfield, “Acts 13:13-43.” Classroom lecture, 2005 – 23600 Acts of the Apostles, 22
September 2005. Photocopy.
13
Bruce, 255.
14
Polhill, Acts, 300.
15
Ibid., 300.
16
This was Peter’s point as well in Acts 10, however he makes it more subtly than Paul.
fear God.” Actually, Paul probably never lost their attention, this new address was to signal that

what he was about to say was of great importance to them. While they new most of what he had

said up to this point, what he was about to say would be somewhat foreign to their ears, not to

mention offensive to some.

Paul says very boldly that this message of salvation found in the person of Jesus Christ

was sent to them and them specifically. Paul roots the fulfillment of Christ’s coming not in His

incarnation but in His death and resurrection. Paul even hinted that all of what was done to

Christ, both His death by the hands of the Jews and His resurrection by the strong arm of God,

was “carried out in accordance with Scripture.”17 The word hinted is used because it is not

explicitly mentioned but evident by Paul’s quotation of several Old Testament passages of

Scripture. He quotes Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10.18

After returning to David, once more, to show that David was not resurrected and Christ

was (in essence showing the supremacy of Christ over David), Paul then moves to an appeal.

“Everything that has been said up to this point leads to an announcement of the gospel and a plea

for personal response.”19 For Peter, Stephen, Paul, and the Bible as a whole, the gospel is never

separated from a plea for personal response. As a matter of fact, the gospel demands a response;

it is inherent in the gospel message. Paul ends his synagogue message with a quotation from

Habakkuk 1:5. This Old Testament prophet warned that if the nation of Israel did not obey the

Word of the Lord then destruction was imminent. Paul asserts that nothing is different. As Dr.

Polhill comments, warning and instruction go together.20

17
Bruce, 259.
18
Psalm 16:10 was quoted by Peter in his Pentecost sermon (see Acts 2:27).
19
Boice, James Montgomery, Acts: An Expositional Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997),
240.
20
Polhill, John B, Paul and His Letters, (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Homan Publishers, 1999), 90.
Acts 17:22-31. This is the second major speech of Paul recorded by Luke in the book of

Acts and this speech occurred on Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul has left Jerusalem and

returned to Antioch with the decree of the Jerusalem council concerning the soteriological and

ecclesiological decisions of the council.21 Antioch, in turn, sent the missionaries out to

strengthen the churches with the news of the council and to advance the kingdom of God. They

returned to the churches from the first missionary journey and then went to other places like

Philippi where the Jailer was converted and to Thessalonica where Jason was beaten and then to

Berea and then to Athens, the philosophical capitol of the world at that time.22 It is in Athens

where Paul is amazed at their concern to have all their bases covered concerning worship of

deities and enters into his “Aereopagitica” as it has been called.23

In overview, Paul preaches his sermon to the philosophers in this manner. God can be

known. He created the world and He created life. Our entire existence is found in Him so He

should be sought out by all men in all places. For there is a time of judgment coming based on

the perfection of His glory as found in His only Son, Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the

dead.

This is a concise speech, existing only ten verses in the English translation, yet no other

ten verses has received so much attention and commenting.24 He is standing before the

Areopagus. It is unclear as to if this is a hill or some sort of judicial court; it can mean both.25 It

does not really matter for this discussion because the fact is that Paul, whether he be on a hill or

in a court, is preaching to people who need to hear the gospel. Paul addressed his sermon to “the

21
Daniel E. Hatfield, “Acts 17:22-31.” Classroom lecture, 2005 – 23600 Acts of the Apostles, 11 October
2005. Photocpy.
22
Reymond, Robert L. Paul Missionary Theologian: A Survey of His Missionary Labours and Theology,
(Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland, 2000), 160.
23
Bruce, 332.
24
Ibid., 333
25
Polhill, Paul and His Letters, 209.
men of Athens.” Exactly who are these men? It is known from Acts 17:18 that there are two

groups of philosophers, the Stoics and the Epicureans.

The Stoics believed that God was totally immanent in the world and that man became

virtuous through knowledge.26 The Epicureans believed that matter is eternal and the universe is

mechanically material. Since the universe is material and there are no supernatural beings to

appease or fear then life should be lived to gain the most pleasure as possible.27 There may have

been others there that held to other philosophical positions, or at the least denied the deity of

Jesus the Christ. One can already began to see how this is going to guide Paul’s comments.

It is noteworthy that Paul did not condemn the Athenians right away for the religious

practices. Yet, Paul did commend them, sort of, for being religious. The reasons behind Paul

doing this will be discussed later. For now, this is all part of Paul’s introduction of his theme,

which according to Dr. Polhill is the ignorance of pagan worship.28 Paul addresses a statue that

he saw as he was passing through their streets with the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”

It is true that this statue has not been found but there is record of ones like it.29 It is thought that

when destruction came to the city by different armies that these armies toppled the statues of

their worship and in the rebuilding of the city if the deity’s name could not be ascertained, the

above inscription would be placed on the statue for fear of not worshiping the god it was built

for.30

After gaining the attention of the men of Athens by addressing their ignorant worship,

Paul begins his sermon by speaking of the One, True, and Living God. This is an appropriate

26
Elwell, Walter, Ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001) 1150-
1151.
27
Ibid., 381.
28
Polhill, Acts, 370.
29
Boice, 297.
30
Bruce, 335-336.
starting point not only from a theological and missiological perspective, but also from what the

philosophers would have expected. They wanted to hear Paul and what he had to say (Acts

17:20-21). In addressing the Triune God, Paul teaches them that God cannot be contained by

human hands or anything built by human hands. This would have spoken directly to their

worship of pagan statues so Paul cannot be condemned for not speaking against this statue he

used to launch into his sermon.

Paul also states that God does not need anything because as Creator He is indeed giver of

all. This too would have been foreign to their ears. While this concept, God needing our

worship or service, may be found in Greek thought, it was also evidently present in Jewish

thought which the prophets condemned.31 Next, Paul, rapidly, moves to the particular of

creation, God is creator of the entirety of the human race and has set their boundaries.32 Paul

then asserts that because God is creator of the universe and life and breath, then man has an

obligation to seek after Him. God created us and it is the proper response of the creature to seek

after his Creator.33 This would have made sense, whether adhered to or not, to both the Stoics

and the Epicureans. It would have made sense to anyone familiar with Greek Tragedy. When

Paul says that we must seek after God, he uses the same word that Homer uses to describe the

Cyclops seeking out Odysseus in the cave.34 Again, humanity has a duty to grope after God.

In verse 28, Paul is seen directly dealing with Greek poets. Some applaud Paul here and

others condemn him, but it is believed that Paul knew that Scripture would not mean anything to

the Athenians and he thus must appeal to them on their own terms.35 This will be discussed later

from both perspectives, but it is of this student’s opinion that Paul was acting in accordance with

31
Isaiah 1:11-20; 42:5; Psalm 50:7-15
32
Bruce, 337.
33
Polhill, Acts, 375.
34
Boice, 298-299.
35
Polhill, Acts, 375-376.
his conscience here. Then in verse 29, Paul returns to his beginning theme, which is the

ignorance of pagan worship. Humanity is not to worship some image formed by human hands in

the likeness of the “Divine Nature,” as Paul says. Humans are to worship the God of the

Universe who created life and breath and in Whom we move and breathe and live.

Paul then calls for a response in verse 30-31. The basic idea is that if ignorance of God

“was culpable before, it is inexcusable now.”36 One must agree with Calvin, who states, “he

maketh mention of the last judgment, that he may awake them out of their dream. For we know

how hard a matter it is for men to deny themselves. Therefore, they must be violently enforced

unto repentance, which cannot be done better than when they be cited to appear before God’s

judgment-seat, and that fearful judgment is set before them, which they may neither despise nor

escape.”37 Again, speech after speech, we see that the gospel is not propagated without a calling

for response. Indeed, propagation of the gospel has not occurred unless a plea for response has

been issued.

Acts 20:17-35. This is the third major speech of Paul and occurs on his third and final

missionary journey. Paul is in route to Jerusalem when he has traveled from the region of

Macedonia to Troas to Miletus where he sends for the elders of the church at Ephesus. This

speech is unique from the other two in that he is not addressing Jews who have rejected Christ or

pagan gentiles who do not acknowledge Christ, but he is addressing the church and exhorting

them to keep advancing the cause of Christ. This speech is known as his farewell to the

Ephesian elders and Paul basis it on his own conduct while among them and his prayers for them

36
Bruce, 340.
37
Calvin, John. Commentary Upon the Acts of the Apostles, Volume XIX, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker
Books, 2003), 175.
as well as giving them a charge.38 This speech is also referred to as an example of Paul among

Christian audiences.39

Paul mostly appeals to his example before them. He tells the elders that he served them

in humility amidst tears while facing the plot of persecution by the Jews (Acts 17:19). However,

Paul also tells the elders that he does “not consider his life of any account as dear to” himself

(Acts 20:24). In this, Paul seemingly puts forth his own life and ministry as an example for the

Ephesian elders to follow. In verses 25-27, Paul bids the Ephesian elders farewell. It is thought

that Paul never returned to this part of the world although there is some speculation that he

returned after his first Roman imprisonment; it is safe to say that this cannot be known for sure.40

Regardless of his possible return, Luke indicates that for all that Paul knew, he was leaving a

region of God’s earth that he had spent the better part of seven or eight years ministering in.41

Acts 20:28-31 give the reader of Luke’s second work a glimpse into the heart of a true

pastor. Paul’s command to the elders to be on guard against false teaching is rooted in his own

conduct among them as he described in verse 26-27. After his pastoral exhortation, Paul once

again returns to his conduct among them. He reminds the elders that he supported himself and

his colleagues with his own hands so as not to be a burden to them. Perhaps Paul is reminding

them as an example as to how their conduct is to be among the very people they now are

ministering to. It is interesting that Paul leaves them with the words of Jesus, which are not

found in the canonical Gospels.42 As will be discussed later, this should be understood as a

missiological concept the church should adopt.

38
Boice, 343.
39
Bruce, 388.
40
Polhill, Paul and His Letters, 314.
41
Bruce, 391.
42
Bruce, 395.
Comparison and Contrast of the Speeches

There are many similarities, differences, and points of connection within the three

speeches above. By way of comparison and in overstating the obvious, the speeches were made

by Paul and recorded by Luke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Each speech has a high

concern for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the confidence in that glorious gospel of God’s grace

to meet the needs of even the vilest sinner, whether he be Jew or Gentile. There is a sense of

urgency within the Apostle who proclaims the gospel of God. Also along that same note, the

message is unchanging. There was a length of time between the sermons that were preached by

Paul. Granted it was not necessarily a long time; however, the message is consistent.

By way of contrast, each message was preached in a different location to a different

audience. On the first missionary journey, Paul proclaimed the gospel in the synagogue to Jews

and God-fearers. On his second journey, Paul is seen reasoning with the Athenian philosophers

at the Areopagus. And yet on his third journey, Paul is seen on his way back to Jerusalem,

stopping to strengthen elders of a church that he perhaps spent the most time at. So Paul as

preached to Jews and gentile God-fearers, gentile pagan philosophers, and to the church who is

charged to continue the ministry.

The last speech, to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, is perhaps the most unique. It is

unprecedented in the book of Acts in that Paul is never recorded addressing the church and

giving them a charge to carry on the work of evangelism such as is recorded in Acts 20. It is also

unique in that it is this speech that most closely identifies with the letters of Paul, especially the

Pastoral Epistles.43

43
Polhill, Paul and His Letters, 314.
Missiological Truths Found in the Speeches

It goes without saying that Scripture is relevant to ministry today. As a matter of fact,

much of what the church practices is rooted in how the church is formed in the books of Acts.

So how does Paul’s preaching apply to the 21st Century Church today? Are their either explicit

or implicit references to missiological principles in these speeches? These are the questions that

will guide what is said in the coming pages. Among other principles that are present in these

texts, eight will be discussed here.

Principle Number One

Preaching the gospel message is a necessity to the advancement of the kingdom of God,

both in the time of Paul and in within the present church ministry today. This principle is

evident in all three texts mentioned above (as well as in other speeches within Acts). Those

making the speeches, or sermons, had an utmost confidence in the message they were sent to

proclaim. This is very much in line with what John Broadus wrote in his infamous book on

preaching,

Preaching must always be a necessity, and good preaching a mighty power. In every age of Christianity
since John the Baptist drew crowds into the desert, there has been no great religious movement, no
restoration of Scripture truth, and reanimation of genuine piety, without new power in preaching, both as
cause and effect.44

There has not been a great movement in the history of the church that has had preaching

as a cause and yet the movement has affected the church’s preaching. This is evident within the

book of Acts. The great events in the book of Acts are surrounded by sermons from God’s

messengers. One could also say that as the history of the church progressed, so did the

development of the preaching. Evidence of this would in fact be the Jerusalem Council and the

edict that resulted.

44
Broadus, John A. A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, (New York, NY: Hodder and
Stoughton, 1898), 3.
Principle Number Two

The Old Testament kerygma and the New Testament gospel both show God’s deliverance

of an undeserving people. In other words, from Paul’s own words, “preach the whole purpose of

God” (Acts 20:27). The idea of deliverance was a very common idea among the Jews who Paul

preached to. They would have had immediately in mind the Exodus and God’s deliverance of

their people. Yet, pagan gentiles would have also understood the concept of ultimate

deliverance. This is what human nature ultimately is striving for in all of its vain philosophies,

deliverance from something or someone. For humanity to know that they are okay in the end is

the end result of most empty and deceitful philosophies that humanity has devised.

The whole purpose of God, as Paul proclaimed, shows that He is redeeming His people

unto Himself.45 The whole history of salvation is about how man fell and is now incapable of

standing before God, correctly, and how God gave a law that would be a school master unto us to

guide us and point us to His Son, Whom would be His law keeper as well.46 This is the message

that is to be proclaimed by the church today. God is the law giver, but He is the law keeper

through His Son, Jesus the Christ, and He is redeeming His people unto Himself through the

cross work of Jesus.

Principle Number Three

Unashamedly and boldly proclaim the exclusive gospel of God’s grace. Their was no

doubt that Paul and other New Testament speech makers believed that theirs was the only

message, the only gospel, the only good news, that had the power to save. From Paul in front of

the Psidian Antioch synagogue in Acts 13 to Paul at the culmination of his gentile preaching in

45
Note passages such as 2 Corinthians 5 and Ephesians 1.
46
Note passages such as Galatians 3 and Romans 5.
Acts 17, the gospel message, at its heart, is unchanged, unadulterated, and exclusive. Simply, it

is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone that is able to forgive sins and bestow eternal life.

The point for the church today is that an exclusive gospel is not a diminished gospel. Just

because a gospel does not include or take into consideration other possible ways to the same

result does not mean it is inferior. Exclusivity is not to be seen as negative, but a positive

demonstration of the supremacy of God and His redemptive activity. We are bearers of this

message of God’s redemptive activity. George Peters has said rightly, “We are witnesses of

Christ; we are ambassadors of Christ; we are preachers of the gospel of God and bearers of

God’s message to mankind.”47

Principle Number Four

Immediate condemnation of mere spirituality is not a necessity. It very well could be a

“bridge” to communicate the gospel as Paul did in Acts 17:20-35. Paul did not walk into the

Areopagus and immediately condemn the Athenians for their false idols and ignorant worship.

While their ignorant worship was a topic of conversation in Paul’s address, immediate

condemnation was not given. This is perhaps an intriguing thought concerning today’s

missiological practices.

The church should not expect for non-Christians to have it right. The church cannot

expect for pagan thinkers to worship correctly. For that matter, most Christians who should have

a biblical worldview do not and therefore do not worship correctly. Thus, the church expects

something of non-Christians that she does not expect from herself. When a Christian encounters

a person who seems to be spiritual, the Christian does have an obligation to reprove what is

wrong, but not necessarily before he or she were to use the mere spirituality of the unconverted

47
Peters, George W. A Biblical Theology of Missions, (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute of Chicago,
1972), 160.
for capitulating the gospel in manner in which the unconverted can understand. Granted, there

will come a point when the false belief must be condemned, but that moment does not have to

come immediately upon the learning of it.

Principle Number Five

In the proclamation of the gospel to non-theistic thinking people, creation is a good place

to start. There are many reasons for this principle. Among others, non-theistic thinkers have it

wrong from the beginning. They cannot answer, correctly, the question, “how did I get here?”

Thus, creation is a good place to start. Another reason to start is that after creation, the Fall

occurs, thus providing why the default position of condemnation rather than salvation is the

correct position. If the church is to indeed proclaim the whole counsel of God, creation is then

the perfect starting point.

Principle Number Six

Appealing to audiences on their own terms is a permissible, though not always viable,

way of introducing the gospel. Paul’s approach in Acts 17 to the Athenian philosophers has been

brought into question by Paul’s critics. It has been recognized that Paul does not explicitly

mention the cross as he does in other speeches.48 His speech has even been called a failure.49

All of this suspicion is a result, for the most part, of Paul’s quoting of a Greek poet in his speech

and appealing to their spirituality without immediately condemning it.50

It is for certain that Paul could not go into the Areopagus and proclaim a same, or similar

for that matter, sermon in the style of Acts 13 in the Psidian Antioch synagogue. As far as the

overarching style of all his speeches, Paul did address each audience in a way such as the hearers

could understand. He did nothing different in Athens. He appealed to the Athenian philosophers

48
Polhill, Paul and His Letters, 212.
49
Bruce, 334.
50
Polhill, Acts, 377.
in a way in which he they could benefit from a gospel presentation. Agreement with James

Montgomery Boice is a necessity when he says, “I do not know whether it is proper for scholars

to criticize the apostle Paul at that point or not, but I know that I am not going to criticize him.”51

So one would have to say based on Paul’s speeches in Acts, indeed the totality of

speeches in Acts, that appealing to an audience based on their own terms is at least a permissible

act if not a viable way of introducing the gospel into pagan cultures.

Principle Number Seven

It is important to exhort and encourage fellow believers and fellow churches to continue

the ministry of proclamation of the grace of God. Paul’s speech in Acts 20 is possibly one of the

most encouraging and exciting passages in this short history of the church presented by Luke.

From time to time, fellow believers in Christ need to be exhorted to continue their task, to stay

the course. Indeed, from time to time, entire churches need to be exhorted to remain faithful to

her God ordained purpose. Paul provides a wonderful example for the type of pastoral

encouragement that must take place. An appeal to a holy example and an exhortation, with an

implicit warning, to be on guard concerning the gospel “once for all handed down to the saints”

(Jude 3) contains the essence of any pastoral exhortation that is worthy of a believer committed

to the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Principle Number Eight

Principle eight is more of a proposal for thought than a hard and fast principle. Should

Paul’s final exhortation to the Ephesian elders, “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” be

seen as a missiological principle? If so, this principle would have a profound impact on our

missiological thinking. We are commanded in the Scriptures to “let our light shine before men

in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven” (Matt.
51
Boice, 300.
5:16). There are numerous passages in the New Testament that are referred to as the one another

passages, in which we are to do one to another.52

One could certainly make the exegetical case that these one another passages are to be

done one to another within the church and that the good deeds that we are to practice according

to Matthew 5:16 are to be done to the church, but that does not seem to be the whole overarching

idea the New Testament presents. So this brings up another question. If it is more blessed to

give than to receive, how much do should be given? Is there a line at which giving is cut off?

Perhaps at the point of giving away what one would need for basic survival? Even then, is that a

completely biblical thought in accordance with what Paul would say in Philippians 4:13?

The reader would certainly acknowledge that there are many questions raised and few

answers provided. Ultimately, and concisely, when opportunities present themselves, the

believers should adopt the practice that is more blessed to give than to receive, even to the point

that our earthly resources are used to the extent that God would use them. Certainly, He will

supply the needs of His children as He sees fit, all in accordance with the accomplishment of His

purposes and His will.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the church has a duty to study the revelation that God has given her with

the intent of honoring their Bride-groom with unselfish, unwavering, undivided devotion to

advance His kingdom based on the principles that He gave her. Studying the speeches in Acts,

and specifically those of Paul, is a way to put into practice what the church preaches.

52
Not an exhaustive list, but note passages such as Gal. 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10, 5:5; John 15:12, 17; 1 Thess.
4:9, 2 John 5, Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 12:25; James 5:16; Heb. 3:13; Col. 3:13.
ACTS (23600) FINAL EXAM

Sermon on Acts 2:1-13 – Pentecost


The Spirit Came Down…
Acts 2:1-13
Read Text: Acts 2:1-13 (NASB)

Opening Illustration: Being a book lover, and in a family of book lovers, it is always
interesting to hear the conversations on Christmas morning. I love to tell my dad and my
brothers about the books I received. This past Christmas, Jennifer purchased for me several
books (including a couple of sets) on or by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, my favorite preacher. As
usual, about lunchtime rolled around which meant that everyone by now had finished opening up
gifts in all the time zones my family is strung out in. So I began to make the phone calls. We
cannot wait to tell each other what we received.

Today we are looking at the birth of the church through the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit
was given and then the disciples told about it. They gave witness. The rest of their ministry
would be giving witness unto God, Three in One, Eternal, True, and Sovereign.

Context:
• It is safe to say like one commentator, “Everything in chapter 1 is preparatory to the great
outburst of the Spirit who poured upon the praying band of believers at Pentecost.”
o Jesus is recorded in the Gospels as saying that He must go for the Comforter to
come.
o Jesus told them in Acts 1:5 that they would receive the Holy Spirit “not many
days from now.”
o The event today is the promised One of God, the Comforter, the Paraclete as He is
known. The event of Pentecost is the birth of the Church by the reception of the
Spirit.
• Some introductory notes as to the name of Pentecost.
o Pentecost did not derive its name from this event.
o The event of Pentecost took place when the Jews and God-fearers from all over
the countryside were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Pentecost or what was
even known as the Feast of Weeks.
 This was the 2nd of the three greatest feasts in the Jewish calendar. It was
right in the middle of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.
o Jews traveling from other countries to be in Jerusalem during one of the feasts
each year would have traveled to the Feast of Pentecost more likely because of the
weather conditions at the time of this feast versus the weather conditions at the
time of Passover.
 In other words there would have been more people from more places at
the Feast of Pentecost.

CPS: This morning, we want to discern from the birth of the Church how we too operate under
the same Holy Spirit.
Outline:
1. The Gift of the Spirit (v. 1-4)
a. This Gift was a Fulfillment of Prophecy (v. 1)
b. The Gift has a Miraculous Manifestation (v. 2-3)
c. The Gift was a Filling and an Empowering (v. 4)
2. The Witness of the Spirit (v. 5-13)
a. The Witness had a God-Appointed Setting (v. 5-11a)
b. The Witness had a God-Appointed Positive Affect (v. 11b-12)
c. The Witness had a God-Appointed Negative Affect (v. 13)

The Contributions of a Study in Acts to the Understanding


of the Mission Responsibility of the Church.
A study in the book of Acts affords many things for those seeking to understand how the
early church operated and why they operated the way they did. It is of this student’s opinion that
an in depth study in Acts must be done in order to truly understand what the 21st Century church
is to do and how the 21st Century is to accomplish its task. Why do I believe that? I believe that
whole-heartedly because it is evident from just a casual reading of the book of Acts that the
gospel, and thus the Church who is to guard and proclaim that gospel, is adaptable to any culture.
This would be speaking of even the many different cultures present in this westernized American
context which most people look over.

The list that this student has compiled is by no means exhaustive; also, the Scriptural
proofs that may be afforded for each principle is by no means every example that might be found
in Acts. This student will also confess that there is desire to elaborate more on this topic for
personal study but is unable to do so because of time constraints. This task is a might
undertaking to be done exhaustively. The principles below provide a general view of the mission
responsibility of the Church as understood in the book of Acts:

1. Believers in Christ are undoubtedly called upon to be witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.


This principle is clear from Acts 1:8 where Jesus himself tells His disciples that they are
to be His witnesses. This principle is also seen in Acts 2:32 and 4:33, both in the
preaching of Peter. Another verse where this principle is found is in Acts 5:32.

2. Everything that the church does is to be bathed in prayer. Just after the ascension of
Jesus Christ, we find the small band of disciples devoted to prayer. We are also given a
snapshot of the early church activity at the end of Acts 2. In verse 42, we see the church
there devoted to prayer. When Peter was imprisoned in Acts 4, we see the church
praying. When Paul leaves the Ephesian elders for the last time, he kneels down and
prays for them. From the beginning to the end, we see prayer as a central priority to
church activity.

3. Bold, biblical preaching is a necessary, God-ordained function of the church. One can
take any speech in the book of Acts and see how the message of God’s good news was
proclaimed with boldness. Indeed, this student believes that each of the speech makers
that are recorded in Acts knew whole-heartedly that the preaching of the gospel was the
God-ordained way that those without Christ were to come to God. It was the preaching
of the gospel of the kingdom of God that was the God-ordained method of hearing and
believing then and still is now.

4. There must be a recognition that God will accomplish His purposes through believers,
even using miraculous means. Certainly God used non-miraculous means to accomplish
his purposes. We see both of these at work in two consecutive verses in Acts 2:23-24.
The Jews put Christ to death through non-miraculous means, yet God miraculously raised
Him from the dead. Many times walls fell down in prisons and people just simply found
their way out of prisons so that the proclamation of God’s gospel could continue. People
were brought to the apostles to be healed and in one case in Acts 5, bodies were laid out
in the street that just a shadow of the apostles might fall upon the sick and they would be
healed. Whatever the means, God will accomplish His purposes for His glory.

5. The Gospel is to be proclaimed, even in the midst of opposition. Time and time again,
bold believers are told to be quiet. Yet they still proclaim. They could not help but speak
of the things they have seen and heard. Paul was beaten and thought to have been dead
(and very well may have been dead), yet he was brought back to still proclaim the
excellencies of His Master who called him out of the kingdom of darkness and into the
kingdom of Light. Also, it should be noted that if opposition drives the believer out of
one place, they must still proclaim wherever they may be located.

6. The 1st Century believers truly believed they had a compulsion, duty, or obligation to take
care of one another, albeit on a voluntary basis. This is something that they were to do
with a glad and sincere heart. This is intended to have both an ecclesiastical and
missiological element. Any compelling that they felt was a compulsion to serve Christ
through serving their fellow believers. This is stated to have an ecclesiastical element
because believers are to take care of their fellow believers. This is stated to have a
missiological element because we do this in service to Christ, yet outsiders should see
this as a testimony to God’s goodness to us.

7. The gospel must be guarded by those who love it. The apostles, when swamped with
other duties, appointed people to serve tables while they devoted themselves to the
teaching and prayer. Also, from Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, we see
that we are to guard the gospel and the church from savage wolves.

8. Even the vilest sinner can be saved. This is closely tied to the next principle, but this
student believes that Luke wanted his readers to understand this explicitly. The vilest
sinner, even one such as Paul, could become one of the greatest servants in the kingdom
of God by God’s grace.

9. The gospel breaks down all barriers. There is no where that the gospel cannot go or no
person that it cannot be communicated to. Even in a world that was divided by Jew and
Gentile and then further divided into sub-groups of each of the two above, the gospel is
not contained in geo-political barriers.
A Discussion of the Role of the Holy Spirit and Prayer in
the Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch.
The churches of Jerusalem and Antioch were two key outposts for the work and mission
of the early church. In many ways they are connected, but perhaps not any more deeply
connected than through the roles of the Holy Spirit and prayer in each of these churches.
Obviously, as one would notice from a casual reading of the book of Acts, there is more
information concerning the Jerusalem church and all of her activities than there is of the church
at Antioch.

First of all, the disciples were praying when the Holy Spirit descended upon them at
Pentecost. Indeed, one will find a couple of things most interesting. Prayer is seen as a central
priority in the church, both before and after Pentecost (Acts 1:14; 2:42). Also, the relation of
praying and then the activity of the church is intentional. It is not almost intentional, it is
intentional. It is no mistake that the disciples were praying when God sent His Spirit upon them
and the church was birthed. Secondly, the Holy Spirit, while not explicitly mentioned, is seen as
operative in both the speech makers (Peter, Stephen, and Phillip in the Jerusalem Church; Paul
and others in the Antiochan church), and in the speech hearers.

Thirdly, the believers are filled with boldness by the Holy Spirit at a “prayer meeting” in
Acts 4:31. Again, intentionally, the believers are praying for boldness and then the ground is
shaken as a sign of confirmation and validity of their boldness in Christ. Fourthly, it should be
noted from Acts 6:2-3 that when the apostles were doing something about the distractions they
were having, they stated that they need to devote themselves to two things: (1) prayer, and (2)
the ministry of the Word. There is no mistake about the word order. They had their priorities
straight.

Fifthly, the Holy Spirit empowered Stephen to endure martyrdom and as a matter of fact,
Stephen was praying while he was being killed. Sixthly, and lastly concerning the church at
Jerusalem, the entire ministry of Phillip in Acts 8 is to be seen as empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, all servants of Christ are empowered by the Holy Spirit, but especially so in Acts 8.
There is a providential overtone that is unmistakable in Acts 8 and the Holy Spirit is God’s agent
of accomplishing His purposes through His servant Phillip.

Concerning the church at Antioch, there is not as much information, but we see the same
principle and intention; that the Holy Spirit is operative in the midst of prayer. It is while the
church at Antioch is praying and fasting that the Holy Spirit tells them to set apart for the service
of God Barnabas and Saul, perhaps two of the greatest missionaries ever. Indeed, the church is
seen as praying over the two missionaries before they are sent off.

The 21st Century church would do well to learn from the principles found in God’s Word
and the examples of the churches at Jerusalem and Antioch. We cry out that we want the Holy
Spirit to work through us, yet we do not plead and cry out unto God to make His Spirit
accomplish in and through us His purposes. We must plead to a holy and righteous God to send
His Spirit to work through vile and filthy sinners saved by grace.
A Comparison of the Imprisonments of Peter and Paul.
As near as this student can tell, the biblical account for the imprisonments of both Peter
and Paul are two apiece. It is evident right off the bat that Paul spent much more time
imprisoned than Peter. However, Luke affords two imprisonments apiece in his narrative. Peter
was imprisoned in Acts 5:17-32 and in Acts 12:1-19. Paul was imprisoned in Acts 16:22-30 and
in Acts 21:27 through the end of the book. Each account will be analyzed with a comparison and
contrast following.

In Acts 5:17-32, Peter and the other apostles are seized by jealous Sadduccees and places
in a public jail. During the night, an angel of the Lord appears and opened the gates of the
prison. The Bible also describes the angel of the Lord as “taking them out” and giving them the
command to go back to the temple and tell the people the “whole message of this Life.” Their
obedience is evidenced by their action – they were at the temple at daybreak. When the prison
“escape” was discovered, the guards reported that the prison doors were locked and yet the
prisoners were not there. The accusers were fairly decent to the apostles upon finding them in
the temple teaching again, for fear that the people might stone the Jewish leaders for the results
of the prison escape. It is interesting that in the account the Jewish leaders did not question the
apostles about the escape, but the continued teaching in the name of Jesus. Later, after
Gamaliel’s council, the apostles were flogged and released.

In Acts 12:1-19, Peter was arrested because Herrod saw that James’ death had pleased the
Jews. So Herrod, evidently, was going to continue pleasing the Jews by putting to death others
of the Way. Peter, the night before his scheduled death, was under heavy guard, and an angel of
the Lord suddenly appeared and woke Peter telling him to wrap himself with a cloak and follow
Him. Peter thought he was seeing a vision and not living real events. The passed the guards and
the iron gate opened on its own. The angel departed from Peter when they were out in the
streets. When Peter had realized what had happened, he went to the house of Mary where the
church was praying for his release. It was here, that Peter reported to the church all that had
happened.

In Acts 16:22-30, Paul is now on his second missionary journey and is imprisoned in
Philippi. He and Silas were arrested after Paul destroyed the profit of some masters of a slave-
girl who had, presumably demonic, divination powers. The crowd is described as rising up
against them with the chief magistrates of the city. They beat them and threw them into prison.
They were under heavy guard and their feet were fastened with heavy stocks. It is around
midnight in a cold, dark, awful prison and Paul and Silas were worshiping God and singing
praises unto Him. There was a sudden earthquake that shook the foundation of the prison and
loosened the stocks of the prisoners. When this was discovered, the jailer, about to kill himself,
was made known by Paul himself that no one had gone anywhere as the jailer had suspected.
This is the point at which the jailer asks the grandest question, “what must I do to be saved?” At
their release, the magistrates tried to brush the situation under the rug, but Paul would not allow
it, seeing as how the magistrates had publicly beaten Roman citizens without sufficient reason.
Eventually, Paul and Silas left after visiting the home of Lydia.

In Acts 21:27ff, Paul is seized, once again appealing to his citizenry, shipped around to
different rulers, beaten, ship-wrecked, and ends up in house arrest in Rome. It is thought that he
stayed there in house arrest in Rome until his death at the hands of Nero somewhere around A.D.
66-68. By far, this is the most unique imprisonment in the book of Acts and for good reason.
This is the farthest that the gospel has progressed to this point in the narrative and to this point in
Church history. It would make sense then, in comparison and contrast, to limit the scope to the
first three imprisonments mentioned above.

One of the commonalities that is noticed in the reading of the events of the
imprisonments is that everyone, both Peter and Paul, were always placed under heavy guard.
This could be seen as a narrative tool of Luke to increase the miraculousness of the events. This
might be true. This could be part of it. However, it is also there to show that their escape was
not of their own power, but under the direct Providence of God. While Peter was flogged at the
end of his first imprisonment, Paul was beaten before his. Beaten publicly and as a Roman
citizen (something which Peter could not claim) this was not to be done without sufficient cause.

In both of Peter’s imprisonments, an angel of the Lord led him to safety. Also in both of
Peter’s imprisonments, Peter walked out of the prison – he left. Granted after the fist
imprisonment he was seized and brought back in front of his accusers, but during the
imprisonment, he left both times. During Paul’s first imprisonment, the gates were open and he
was able to leave, but did not. There was greater purpose for him staying in that situation. Also,
the gates were opened in Paul’s imprisonment not by an angel of the Lord, but by an earthquake
that seemingly did not damage to anything else in the city, not even any more damage to the very
building than was needed to open the gates.

Both Peter and Paul, according to early church historians, died a martyr’s death. This
would entail an additional imprisonment, at least for Peter anyway. There are similarities, many
in fact. However, their differences can only be accounted by their serving the grand purposes of
God.