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Introduction to Acts of the Apostles III

Jun 02, 2017 03:33 AM EDT


The Book of Acts can be roughly divided into two paragraphs and six paragraphs. First, let's look at the Acts in two paragraph category. The first half of Acts, chapters 1-15 is not based on Luke's own experience but on the records of the Church of Jerusalem. And the second half, chapters 16-28, recorded what Luke had experienced on his mission trip with Paul. That is why we can divide Acts into two big paragraphs.

Since the Early Church emphasized the record, the records of the church were recorded in detail. The record of Acts chapters 1-6 are about the mother church, Jerusalem Church. And 8:26-40, 9:31-10 are the records of the Church of Caesarea. And chapter 11, 19-30, and 12-14 is the record of Antioch church. Thus, the first half of the book of Acts is a collection of records of the churches of Jerusalem, Caesarsa, and Antioch.

Later, chapters 16-28 are the recordings of Luke's experiences with Paul. 16:10-17, 20:5-6, 21:1-18, 27:1, 28:16 says "we" which means Paul and Luke. Based on Luke's direct experience and indirect experience, we can divide the book of Acts into two paragraphs.

The standard for dividing the book of Acts into six paragraphs is the expansion of the gospel and the church. According to this criterion, the Acts of the Apostles are divided into six chapters, 1:1-6:7, 6:8-9:31, 9:32-12:24, 12:25-16:5, 16:6-19:20, 19:21-28:31. Each paragraph is concluded with the phrase that the Word of God has become prosperous and the mission history is expanding.

The first paragraph is from 1:1 to 6:7, and concluded with "So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." It mainly includes the ascension, the meeting at Mark's upper room before Pentecost, the choice of Matthias, Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the naissance of church, the ministry of Peter and John, the record of the Early Church, Peter before the Sanhedrin, and the death of Ananias and Sapphira, the choice of the seven deacons, and the rapid growth of Jerusalem Church. Even we could see the incredible history that the priests who were against Jesus obeyed to the gospel.

The second paragraph is 6:8-9:31 and ended with "Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord." It records Stephen's martyrdom and persecution for the Early Church, the spread of the church to Samaria caused by that, and the dramatic conversion of Paul.

The third is from 9:32 to 12:24, where Peter preaches the Gentile, Cornelius, and the gospel spread widely into the Gentiles and Antioch church was built. The word "Christian" first came out here. Luke records "the word of God continued to increase and spread" and described the strength of the gospel spreading out to the Gentiles.

The fourth is until 16:5, and it mainly records the first mission journey of Paul, the history of expansion of church, and diffusion of the gospel to Asia such as evangelism in Galatians. It concluded with "So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers."

The fifth is 16:6-19:20; it records the history of the pioneering churches of Europe such as Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus through the second mission journey of Paul. In particular, Paul's dedication and inspirational mission work is revealed well here. Luke records the wonderful spiritual history of the time, saying "the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power." It tells us that the gospel has been passed over Asia and even to Europe, and a great expansion of mission has occurred and the church has been built up in many places.

The sixth is from 19:21 to 28:31, which records Paul's third mission journey until he arrived to Rome. And the record after the arrival in Rome is left; this is not about the story of Paul's evangelism, but the trial and judgment for Paul. However, in his imprisoned status, Paul preached the gospel vigorously, and Luke records that "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ". It is that the tribulation and persecution, and nothing else, can stop the gospel and the Holy Spirit's history, which stretched from Judea to Asia, from Asia to Europe, and now to the center of the world, Rome. It is now our responsibility to carry this gospel to the ends of the earth. Our entire mission is the same as writing the 'Post Acts'.

The book of Acts tells us the beautiful and fierce life of faith of the apostles who tried to fulfill the Great Commission, which was like the last will of Jesus, and the way of suffering in them. They were very small and illiterate with the weakness of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, with the sacrifice and tears of Christ, and with the love of God in mind, they expended the Kingdom of God greatly. We, too, should become witnesses of the resurrection through the cross of Christ, and preach the gospel to the ends of the earth like the apostles. And let's walk the beautiful path of apostles they walked on.