Reaching Out

Section VII

I. Introduction
A. Title. The book is called “Acts” or “The Acts of the Apostles” because it contains an account of some of the apostles. In fact, the work is given in detail of only two of the apostles, Peter and Paul.

B. Writer. The authorship of Acts is ascribed to Luke for these reasons:
1. It is addressed to Theophilus, Acts 1:1, to whom the writer had formerly written a record of the life of Christ, Luke 1:3. The Gospel of Luke is the only record that meets this condition. 
2. The two books are similar in style.
3. After the thirteenth chapter, the pronoun “we” indicates that the writer was a traveling companion of Paul. From Paul we learn that Luke was with him part of the time (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phil. 23).

C. Date. Luke probably wrote the book of Acts from Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment. It records 33 years of Christian history reaching from Tiberius Caesar to Nero, Roman emperors. Since the story ends abruptly without giving an account of Paul’s death or release, it is thought that the apostle was still a prisoner (Acts 28:30-31). The book was probably written about 63 A.D.

D. Purpose. Acts is a continuation of the author’s former treatise (Luke), and records the birth, growth, and development of Christianity after the ascension of Jesus. It shows how the apostles carried on the work commanded by Jesus of evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8). The book is the best available commentary on the great commission of Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47.

II. The Church in Jerusalem (1:1-8:4)
A. Introductory Statements (1:1-26)
1. The two treatises (1:1-2)
2. The “forty days” (1:3-5)
3. The promises of the Spirit and the ascension (1:6-11)
4. The names of the Apostles; tarrying in Jerusalem (1:12-14)
5. The place of Judas Iscariot filled (1:15-26)

B. The Church in Jerusalem Established (2:1-47)
1. The advent of the Holy Spirit – Apostles filled (2:1-4)
2. The multitudes amazement (2:5-13)
3. Peter’s Sermon (2:14-40)
4. Effect of the Sermon and the Progress of the Church (2:41-47)

C. The First Persecution Against the Church (3:1-4; 31)
1. Lame man healed by Peter (3:1-10)
2. Peter’s second sermon from Solomon’s porch (3:11-26)
3. Peter and John arrested (4:1-4)
4. Peter’s defense (4:5-12)
5. A private conversation (4:13-17)
6. Apostles forbidden to preach any more (4:18-22)
7. Report of the two apostles and the prayers for them (4:23-31)

D. Progress of the Church and the Second Persecution (4:32-5:42)
1. Unity and liberality of the church (4:32-37)
2. A crisis in case of severe discipline; Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-11)
3. Prosperity of the church is increased (5:12-16)
4. Apostles imprisoned and released (5:12-16)
5. They are brought into court (5:21-27)
6. Accusation and defense (5:27-32)
7. Saved from death by Gamaliel (5:32-42)

E. Further Progress of the Church and Third Persecution (6:1-8; 8:4)
1. Seven faithful men appointed to administer to needs of neglected widows (6:1-7)
2. Stephen arrested and falsely accused (6:8-15)
3. Stephen’s sermon (7:1-53)
4. The death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (7:54-8:4)

III. The Spread of the Gospel in Judea, Samaria and Adjacent Region (8:5-12:25)
A. The Labors of Philip the Evangelist (8:5-40)
1. The church established in the city of Samaria (8:5-13)
2. Peter and John sent to Samaria from Jerusalem (8:14-17)
3. Simon the sorcerer’s evil proposal (8:18-24)
4. Philip converts the Ethiopian Eunuch (8:26-40)

B. The Conversion of Saul of Tarsus and His Early Labors (9:1-31)
1. The journey to Damascus and experience on the road (9:1-9)
2. His baptism by Ananias (9:10-19)
3. He preaches Christ in Damascus (9:20-22)
4. His flight from Damascus (9:23-25)

C. Labors of the Apostle Peter, Gentiles Baptized (9:31-11:18)
1. The church enjoys peace for a while (9:31)
2. The apostle Peter comes to Lydda (9:32-35)
3. Called to Joppa, raises Tabitha (9:38-43)
4. Cornelius, a Gentile, sends for Peter (10:23-33)
5. Peter’s vision and his directions to go to the house of Cornelius (10:9-23) 
6. The meeting of Peter and Cornelius (10:23-33)
7. Peter’s sermon to the uncircumcised Gentiles (10:34-43)
8. The conversion of Cornelius and his household (10:44-48)
9. Peter reproved for these proceedings, makes his defense in Jerusalem (11:1-18)

D. The Church Founded in Antioch of Syria; Another Persecution in Jerusalem (11:19-12:25)
1. The beginning of the work in Antioch (11:19-21) 
2. Jerusalem sends Barnabas to Antioch (11:22-24)
3. Barnabas brings Saul from Tarsus to help in Antioch (11:25-26)
4. Antioch sends Barnabas and Saul to Judea to relieve famine (11:27-30)
5. James the brother of John is beheaded by Herod, and Peter is imprisoned (12:1-11)
6. Peter freed from prison, and guards are slain (12:20-25)

IV. Missionary Journeys Among the Gentiles (13-21)
A. The First Missionary Tour (13-14)
1. Barnabas and Saul set apart to the work (13:1-3)
2. Their labors in Cyprus (13:4-12)
3. Their journey from Paphos to Antioch (13:13-15)
4. Paul’s sermon in Antioch (13:16-41)
5. Immediate effects of the sermon (13:42-43)
6. Later effects, second Sabbath day (13:44-49)
7. Persecuted, they depart to Iconium (13:50-52)
8. Events in Iconium (14:1-7)
9. Labors and results in Lystra (14:8-20)
10. Return to Antioch (14:21-28)

B. Controversy on Question of Circumcision (15:1-35)
1. Beginning of the controversy (15:1-5)
2. Apostles and elders meet in Jerusalem (15:6-29) – [a] Speech by Peter (6-29);[b] Speeches by Barnabas and Paul (12-13); [c] Speech by James (14-21); [d] Decision of the Apostles and elders (22-29)

C. Paul’s Second Missionary Tour (15:36-16:40)
1. Change of companions and beginning of the journey (15:36-41)
2. The churches of the first tour are revisited (16:1-5)
3. Preaching in Phrygia and Galatia, and the call to Macedonia (16:6-10)
4. Preaching in Philippi, conversion of Lydia and her household (16:11-15)
5. Paul and Silas are scourged and imprisoned (16:16-24)
6. Conversion of the jailor and his household (16:25-34)
7. The prisoners are released (16:35-40)

D. Other Labors of the Second Journey in Macedonia and in Greece (17:1; 18:22) 
1. Journey to Thessalonica, preaching in the synagogue (17:1-4) 
2. Persecution in Thessalonica (17:5-9)
3. Flight to Berea, then to Athens (17:10-15) Silas and Timothy tarry behind
4. Paul begins the work in Athens (17:16-21)
5. His discourse on Mars Hill (17:22-31)
6. The immediate effects of his speech (17:32-34)
7. Paul begins the work in Corinth (18:1-4)
8. Arrival of Silas and Timothy – breach with the Jews (18:5-11)
9. Paul is arraigned before Gallio (18:12-17)
10. 1st and 2nd Thessalonians written during his stay in Corinth on second tour
11. Paul’s return to Antioch in Syria (18:18-22)

E. Paul’s Third Missionary Tour (18:23-21:16)
1. His second visit to Galatia and Phrygia (18:23)
2. Apollos in Ephesus and Achaia (18:24-28)
3. Paul reaches Ephesus and baptizes the twelve after further teaching (19:1-7) 
4. He preaches in the synagogue and in the school of Tyrannus (19:8-12)
5. Exorcists exposed, and books of magic burned (19:13-20) 
6. Paul forms a plan for future journeys (19:21-22) 
7. He writes 1st Corinthians 
8. The mob of the Silversmiths (19:23-24)
9. The mob dispensed by the town clerk (19:35-41)
10. Paul’s second visit to Macedonia and Greece (20:1-3) 
11. He writes 2nd Corinthians
12. He goes to Corinth for three months, where he writes Galatians and Romans (Acts 20:2-3)
13. Paul’s journey from Corinth back to Troas (20:3-6)
14. A Lord’s Day meeting in Troas (20:7-12)
15. The voyage from Troas to Miletus (20:13-16)
16. His address to the elders from Ephesus (20:17-38)
17. Parting from the elders (20:36-38)
18. Agabus prophesies of Paul’s imprisonment in Jerusalem (20:10-14) 
19. His journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem (20:15-16)

V. Paul’s Imprisonment at Caesarea and Rome (21:17-28:31)
A. His Imprisonment in Jerusalem (21:17-23:30)
1. His reception in Jerusalem, and the advice of the elders (21:17-25)
2. Paul is assailed by the mob and arrested by the chief captain (21:26-36)
3. He obtains permission to address the mob (21:37-40)
4. His speech to the mob (22:1-12)
5. The immediate effect of his speech (22:29)
6. He is brought before the Sanhedrin (22:30-23:10)
7. He is encouraged by a vision (23:11)
8. A conspiracy against Paul formed and exposed (23:12-22)
9. He is removed under guard to Caesarea (23:23-35)

B. His Imprisonment in Caesarea (24:1-26:32)
1. His accusation before Felix (24:1-9) 
2. Paul’s defense (24:10-21) 
3. Felix’s decision and his motive for making it (24:24-27)
4. Paul preaches to Felix and Drusilla (24:24-27)
5. Paul’s trial before Festus (25:1-12)
6. His case stated to King Agrippa (24:13-22)
7. Paul’s case publicly stated (25:23-27)
8. His defense before Agrippa (26:1-29) 
9. Immediate results of his speech (26:30-32) 
10. Though it is uncertain that Paul wrote Hebrews, advocates of his authorship often suggest that he wrote it during his two years’ imprisonment in Caesarea, which was not far from Jerusalem and the land of the Jews.

C. Paul’s Voyage to Rome (27:1-28:16)
1. The company, the ship, and the route (27:1-2)
2. The voyage from Caesarea to Fair Havens (27:3-8)
3. Discussion about continuing the voyage (27:9-12)
4. A vain attempt to reach Phoenix (27:11-20)
5. Paul predicts the safety of all (27:21-26)
6. The sailors cast anchor and attempt to abandon ship (27:27-32)
7. Paul comforts the crew, and the ship is lightened (27:33-38)
8. Ship is wrecked, but the men escape (27:39-44)
9. Kindness of islanders, the bite of the serpent (28:1-6)
10. Paul’s usefulness at Melita (28:7-10)
11. The voyage completed (28:17-31)

D. Paul’s Prison Labors in Rome (28:17-31)
1. Obtain an interview with the leading Jews in Rome (28:17-22)
2. A second interview with the Jews (28:23-28)
3. Duration of the imprisonment, and continued labors (28:30-31)
4. He writes Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. Evidence that these three, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon were written and sent at the same time is found in the fact that Ephesians and Colossians were carried by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21-22) (and Col. 4:7-8); Philemon was carried by Onesiums (10-12). These messages traveled together (Col. 4:9).

VI. After Paul’s First Imprisonment
A. His release from the first Roman imprisonment has been accepted by the majority of Bible scholars. No formal charges against him are recorded in Acts. His letters from Rom implied his confident expectation of release. Incidents recorded in Timothy and Titus implies an extension of his life beyond the two years in Rome in Acts 28.

B. He revisits Ephesus and Macedonia, and writes 1st Timothy (1:3).

C. Probably preached in Crete, leaves Titus there, and on his way to Nicopolis writes his epistle to Titus (1:2; 3:12).

D. Second Roman Imprisonment, and the writing of 2nd Timothy, his last epistle, in approximately 67 or 68 A.D. Thought to have been executed at the command of Nero outside the city of Rome in the month of May or June.

Copyright ©