"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Thirteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To trace the route of Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey 2) To give special attention to their evangelistic methods and message 3) To notice that people judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, not God; and that people ordained for eternal life are those with good and noble hearts, willing to listen and heed the gospel SUMMARY With his attention now on the ministry of Paul, Luke narrates the beginning of Paul's first missionary journey. It started with the call of the Holy Spirit, who instructed the prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch of Syria to separate Barnabas and Saul for the work He has called them. With fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands, the two men were sent out on their journey (1-3) Sailing from Selucia, they arrived at the island of Cyprus, the home country of Barnabas (cf. 4:36). Assisting them was John Mark (Barnabas' cousin who had joined them earlier, and was later the companion of Peter and author of the gospel of Mark; cf. 12:25; Col 4:10; 1Pe 5:13). Here they began what Luke later describes as Paul's custom: preaching in the synagogues of the Jews (cf. 17:1-3). Starting in Salamis, they made their way to Paphos, where they met the sorcerer Elymas Bar-Jesus along with the proconsul Sergius Paulus. When Sergius wanted to hear the Word of God, Elymas tried to prevent Barnabas and Saul from speaking. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Saul rebuked the sorcerer and rendered him sightless. Astonished at the power behind the teaching of the Lord, Sergius believes. From this point forward, Saul is now called Paul and also became the more prominent member of the missionary team (4-12). From Cyprus they sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem (later causing contention between Paul and Barnabas; cf. 15:36-40). Arriving in Antioch of Pisidia, they attended the synagogue of the Jews on the Sabbath. Invited to speak, Paul preached Jesus by first reviewing the history of Israel from the Exodus to the time of David. Noting God's promise concerning the seed of David, Paul summarized the ministry of John the Baptist and then introduced Jesus as the Savior who was crucified, buried and raised from the dead, and seen by eyewitnesses. Offering further evidence of the resurrection from Old Testament prophecy, Paul proclaimed forgiveness of sins through Jesus with a warning against unbelief (13-41). The response was positive, especially among the Gentiles, and Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak the following Sabbath. When unbelieving Jews saw that the whole city came out to hear, they were filled with envy and opposed the things spoken by Paul. Declared themselves unworthy of eternal life, Paul turned his efforts toward the Gentiles who were much more receptive. The word of the Lord spread through the region, but eventually Paul and Barnabas were forced to leave and thus went to Iconium. Their work in Antioch was not in vain, for left behind were disciples filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (42-52). OUTLINE I. DEPARTURE FROM ANTIOCH OF SYRIA (1-3) A. PROPHETS AND TEACHERS AT ANTIOCH (1) 1. Barnabas, Simeon (called Niger), Lucius of Cyrene 2. Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod), Saul B. BARNABAS AND SAUL SEPARATED AND SENT (2-3) 1. As the prophets and teachers ministered to the Lord and fasted 2. The Holy Spirit commands that Barnabas and Saul be separated for His work 3. With fasting, prayer, and laying on of hands, Barnabas and Saul are sent away II. MINISTRY ON THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS (4-12) A. JOURNEY TO SALAMIS (4-5) 1. Sent out by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul go down to Seleucia 2. From Seleucia they sail to Cyprus and arrive at Salamis 3. In Salamis they preach the Word in the Jewish synagogue, assisted by John Mark B. CONFRONTATION AT PAPHOS (6-12) 1. Crossing the island of Cyprus they arrive at Paphos 2. There they encounter Elymas Bar-Jesus, a sorcerer and false prophet a. The proconsul, Sergius Paulus, wanted to hear the Word of God b. Elymas sought to keep him from hearing Barnabas and Saul 3. Saul (who is also called Paul from this point forward) confronts and confounds Elymas a. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul looked at him intently and saw that he was full of deceit and fraud b. Calling him a son of the devil and enemy of righteousness, Paul charged him with perverting the ways of the Lord c. Paul then foretells his blindness by the hand of the Lord, which happens immediately 4. Seeing what happened, Sergius Paulus believes, astonished at the teaching of the Lord III. PREACHING IN ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA (13-52) A. FROM CYPRUS TO ANTIOCH, BY WAY OF PERGA (13-14) 1. Setting sail from Paphos, they arrive in Perga of Pamphylia 2. At Perga, John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem 3. From Perga, they come to Antioch of Pisidia B. THE FIRST SABBATH IN ANTIOCH (14-43) 1. Visiting the synagogue, they are invited to address the people 2. Paul's sermon to the men of Israel and those who fear God a. He reviews Israel's history from the Exodus to the time of David b. He proclaims Jesus as the seed of David who was introduced by John the Baptist c. He preaches the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus d. He offers evidence for the resurrection: eyewitnesses and messianic prophecies e. He announces forgiveness and justification available through Jesus Christ, not the law f. He warns them not to despise the wonderful work of God 3. The response and follow up to his sermon a. The Gentiles beg that he will preach the same to them on the next Sabbath b. Many Jews and devout proselytes follow Paul and Barnabas, who persuade them to continue in the grace of God C. THE SECOND SABBATH IN ANTIOCH (44-49) 1. Almost the whole city gathers to hear the Word of God 2. The Jews become envious, and begin contradicting and blaspheming Paul 3. Paul and Barnabas boldly rebuke the Jews for rejecting the Word, and turn to the Gentiles as commanded by the Lord 4. The Gentiles rejoice, many believe, and the Word of the Lord is spread throughout the region D. PERSECUTION AND EXPULSION TO ICONIUM (50-52) 1. The Jews stir up devout and prominent women and chief men to persecute and expel Paul and Barnabas from their region 2. Shaking the dust of their feet against them, Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium 3. The disciples, meanwhile, are filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Departure from Antioch of Syria (1-3) - Ministry on the island of Cyprus (4-12) - Preaching in Antioch of Pisidia (13-52) 2) Who were the prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch? (1) - Barnabas, Simeon (Niger), Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, Saul 3) Who told them to send Barnabas and Saul on their journey? (2) - The Holy Spirit 4) What activities helped to prepare them for their mission? (3) - Fasting, prayer, the laying on of hands 5) From what city did they disembark, and to where did they sail? (4) - Selucia; the island of Cyprus 6) Where did they first preach? Who was with them? (5) - Salamis - John (Mark); cf. 12:25 7) At Paphos, who wanted to hear the Word of God? Who sought to prevent him? (6-8) - Sergius Paulus, proconsul - Bar-Jesus, a Jewish false prophet, also known as Elymas the sorcerer 8) What did Saul do to Elymas? What affect did this have on Sergius Paulus? (9-12) - Caused a dark mist to fall on him, resulting in blindness - Caused him to believe, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord 9) Setting sail from Paphos, where did they go? Who left when they arrived? (13) - Perga in Pamphylia - John, who returned to Jerusalem 10) Where did Paul and Barnabas go next? What did they do on the Sabbath day? (14) - Antioch of Pisidia - Attended the synagogue 11) Invited to speak, what periods of Israel's history did Paul first review? (15-22) - The exodus, wilderness wanderings, the judges, the kings Saul and David 12) Skipping from David to his descendant Jesus, whose ministry does Paul review? (23-25) - That of John the Baptist 13) Focusing on the word of salvation, what does Paul proclaim concerning Jesus? (26-30) - His death, burial and resurrection 14) What evidence does Paul provide for the resurrection of Jesus? (31-37) - Testimony of witnesses - Testimony of scripture 15) What does Paul preach in the name of Jesus? (38-39) - Forgiveness of sins - Justification not provided by the Law of Moses 16) With what does Paul conclude his sermon? (40-41) - A warning against unbelief, as forewarned in the Scriptures 17) Who begged to hear more the next Sabbath? (42) - The Gentiles 18) Who followed Paul and Barnabas? (43) - Many of the Jews and devout proselytes 19) What happened on the next Sabbath? (44-45) - The whole city came to hear the word of God - Envious Jews began to contradict and blaspheme, opposing Paul 20) What did Paul say of those who rejected the gospel? (46) - They judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (i.e., not God, cf. 1Ti 2:3-4; 2Pe 3:9; Re 22:17) 21) What happened next, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah? (46-48) - Paul turned to the Gentiles, many who gladly received the word 22) What sort of people were ordained to eternal life and thus believed? (48) - Those glad to hear and glorify the Word (i.e., those of good and noble hearts, willing to receive the seed of the gospel which produces faith, cf. Lk 8:15; Ac 17:11; Ro 10:17) 23) What two opposite effects did Paul's preaching have in Antioch? (49-50) - The word of the Lord was spread throughout the region - Persecution by the unbelieving Jews forced Paul and Barnabas to leave 24) Where did Barnabas and Paul then go? What about the disciples left behind? (51-52) - Iconium - They were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Twelve OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To note the martyrdom of James, and the miraculous release of Peter from prison 2) To review the untimely death of Herod, and the continued success of the word of God SUMMARY This chapter records the efforts by King Herod to harass the church in Jerusalem. This Herod was Agrippa I, son of Herod Antipas (who beheaded John the Baptist, Mt 14:1-12), and grandson of Herod the Great (who slew the infants at Bethlehem, Mt 2:1-16). Successfully killing James the brother of John with the sword, Herod had Peter arrested and imprisoned, intending to bring Peter before the people after the Passover. Herod's plans were thwarted when an angel of the Lord freed Peter from prison. After meeting with brethren at the home of Mary, mother of John Mark, Peter sent word to James and the brethren of his miraculous release. When Peter was not found in the prison, Herod had the guards examined and executed. Herod then went down to Caesarea (1-19). While at Caesarea, the people of Tyre and Sidon came to Herod to appeal for peace. When he gave them an oration, the people praised his speech as "the voice of a god and not of a man." Failing to give glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck Herod and he died. The word of God, however, grew and multiplied. Barnabas and Saul, having completed their ministry to the saints in Judea (cf. 11:29-30), returned from Jerusalem to Antioch accompanied by John Mark. At this point in Luke's narrative of the history of the church, the focus turns from the ministry of Peter to the ministry of Paul (20-24). OUTLINE I. THE PERSECUTION BY HEROD THE KING (1-19) A. JAMES KILLED WITH THE SWORD (1-2) 1. Herod begins to harass some from the church 2. He killed James the brother the John B. PETER ARRESTED, FREED BY AN ANGEL (3-19) 1. Peter seized during the days of Unleavened Bread a. Since Herod saw that it pleased the Jews b. Intending to bring Peter before the people after Passover 2. Peter released by an angel a. Constant prayer was being offered by the church b. Though bound with chains between two guards, with more before the door c. An angel stands before Peter, along with a shining light d. The angel strikes Peter on the side, and raises him; chains fell off e. Told to gird himself, tie his sandals, put on his garments, and follow f. Thinking it was a vision, Peter follows the angel past the guards and into the city 3. Peter rejoined with his brethren a. He realizes that the angel has delivered him from Herod b. He comes to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, where many are praying c. He is first left standing at the door by Rhoda, then astonishes the brethren when they come to the door d. He relates what happened, sends word to James and the brethren, and departs 4. Peter's release causes a stir a. Herod is unable to find Peter b. Herod examines the soldiers and has them put to death c. Herod leaves Judea and goes to Caesarea II. THE DEATH OF HEROD THE KING (20-25) A. HIS LAST ORATION (20-22) 1. The people of Tyre and Sidon appeal for peace to Herod through Blastus, the king's aide 2. On a set day, in royal apparel and on his throne, Herod gives them an oration 3. The people praise him as having the voice of a god and not of a man B. STRUCK DOWN BY AN ANGEL (23) 1. An angel of the Lord strikes him immediately because he did not give glory to God 2. He is eaten of worms and dies C. WORD OF GOD CONTINUES (24-25) 1. The word of God grows and multiplies 2. Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem with John Mark, fulfilling their ministry REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The persecution by Herod the King (1-19) - The death of Herod the King (20-25) 2) How did Herod begin to harass the church? (1-3) - By having James the brother of John killed with the sword - By having Peter put in prison 3) When was Peter imprisoned? When did Herod intend to present him to the people? (3-4) - During the Days of Unleavened Bread - After Passover 4) How did the church respond to Peter's imprisonment? (5) - They offered constant prayer to God in his behalf 5) How was Peter bound, the night before Herod intended to bring him before the people? (6) - With two chains between two soldiers, and guards before the door of the prison 6) As the angel freed Peter and led him out of the prison, what was Peter thinking? (7-9) - That he was seeing a vision 7) After the angel led Peter into the city and then left, what did Peter come to realize? (10-11) - The Lord had sent His angel to deliver him from Herod and the expectation of the people 8) Where did Peter first go? What were the people there doing? (12) - The house of Mary, mother of John Mark - Praying 9) Who answered the door? How did she react? (13-14) - A girl named Rhoda - She recognized Peter, but in her excitement left him standing at the door 10) What did the people think she had seen at the door? (15) - Peter's angel 11) After they finally went to the door and let him in, what instructions did Peter give? (16-17) - To tell what happened to James and the brethren 12) When Peter was not found in the prison on the next day, what happened? (18-19) - There was a big stir among the soldiers - Herod had the guards examined, then executed 13) Where did Herod then go? Who came with an appeal for peace? (19-20) - From Judea down to Caesarea - The people of Tyre and Sidon 14) When Herod gave them an oration, what did the people say? (21-22) - "The voice of a god and not of man!" 15) What happened to Herod? Why? (23) - An angel of the Lord struck him, so that he was eaten by worms and died - Because he did not give glory to God 16) Despite Herod's effort to harass the church, what was the result? (24) - The word of God grew and multiplied 17) Who returned from Jerusalem, and whom did they bring with them? (25) - Barnabas and Saul, having fulfilled their ministry - John Mark
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Eleven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To glean from Peter's own account of the conversion of the household of Cornelius, what was the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles 2) To note the beginning of the Lord's church in Antioch, and the early ministry of Barnabas and Saul SUMMARY The apostles and brethren in Judea soon heard of the Gentiles' conversion. When Peter returned to Jerusalem, brethren who were "of the circumcision" (i.e., Jewish Christians) took issue with his eating with uncircumcised men. Peter carefully explained the sequence of events, including the vision in Joppa and the manner in which the Spirit fell upon the Gentiles as he began to speak to them. The baptism of the Spirit on the Gentiles was understood to indicate that Gentiles were now allowed to hear the words of salvation, and that they could repent in order to have life (1-18). Luke then records how the gospel spread from Jerusalem to Antioch. Those scattered after the persecution of Stephen (Ac 8:1,4) included men from Cyprus and Cyrene who began preaching Jesus to the Hellenists (Grecian Jews). When a great number believed and turned to the Lord, the news was soon heard by those in the church at Jerusalem. Barnabas was sent to Antioch, and rejoiced in what he saw. He first spent sometime encouraging them by himself, but later went to Tarsus to find Saul. For a full year they worked together with the church in Antioch and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch, and in hearing from the prophet Agabus that there was going to be a famine, they displayed their Christ-like character by sending relief according to their ability to brethren in Judea. This they did, sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (19-30). OUTLINE I. CONVERSION OF THE GENTILES DEFENDED (1-18) A. PETER CHALLENGED BY JEWISH CHRISTIANS (1-3) 1. Apostles and brethren in Judea hear that Gentiles received the Word of God 2. Peter challenged upon his return to Jerusalem a. Those of the circumcision contend with him b. They accuse him of eating with the uncircumcised B. PETER RECOUNTS THE GENTILES' CONVERSION (4-18) 1. He explains the events in the order in which they occur a. His vision in Joppa with the sheet and the unclean beasts b. The voice from heaven: "What God has cleansed you must not call common." c. The arrival of men from Caesarea at the conclusion of the vision d. The Spirit telling him to go with them, accompanied by six brethren e. How Cornelius was told to by an angel to send for Peter who would tell him words by which they would be saved f. How as he began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as upon the apostles at the beginning 2. Peter's reaction to the events a. He remembered the Lord's promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit b. He reasoned that if Gentiles received the same promise as they did when they believed, who was he to stand in God's way? 3. The reaction by those who heard Peter's account a. They became silent, and then glorified God b. They concluded that God has granted Gentiles repentance to life II. THE MINISTRY OF BARNABAS AND SAUL (19-30) A. THEIR WORK IN ANTIOCH (19-26) 1. Those scattered by persecution preach the word a. They travel as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching only to the Jews b. Some from Cyprus and Cyrene preach to the Hellenists in Antioch 2. They enjoy great success in Antioch a. The hand of the Lord is with them b. A great number believe and turn to the Lord 3. Barnabas arrives in Antioch a. Sent by the church in Jerusalem b. Glad to see the grace of God c. Encouraging them to continue with the Lord with purpose of heart d. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith e. A great many people are added to the Lord 4. Saul arrives in Antioch a. Brought from Tarsus by Barnabas b. Assembling with the church for a whole year, teaching a great many people c. The disciples are first called Christians in Antioch B. THEIR WORK IN JUDEA (27-30) 1. Prompted by prophets coming from Jerusalem to Antioch 2. Agabus shows by the Spirit that there will be a famine 3. The disciples determine to send relief to brethren in Judea 4. They send it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Conversion of the Gentiles defended (1-18) - The ministry of Barnabas and Saul (19-30) 2) What had the apostles and brethren in Judea heard? (1) - That the Gentiles had received the word of God 3) When Peter returned to Jerusalem, who contended with him? Why? (2-3) - Those of the circumcision (Jewish Christians) - Because he had eaten with the uncircumcised 4) How did Peter recount the events that had happened? (4) - In order from the beginning 5) What happened while Peter was praying in Joppa? (5) - In a trance he saw a vision with an object like a great sheet let down from heaven 6) What did he see as he observed it closely? (6) - All kinds of animals, creeping things and birds 7) What did a voice tell Peter to do? How did Peter respond? (7-8) - "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." - "Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth." 9) What was Peter then told? (9) - "What God has cleansed you must not call common." 10) How many times was this repeated? (10) - Three times 11) What happened at that very moment? (11) - Three men stood before the house, having been sent to him from Caesarea 12) What did the Spirit tell Peter to do? Who went with him? (12) - To go with them, doubting nothing - Six brethren 13) Upon arriving at the man's house, what was Peter and his companions told? (13) - How he (Cornelius) had seen an angel, was told to send to Joppa for Peter 14) What was Cornelius told Peter would tell him? (14) - Words whereby he and his household would be saved 15) What happened as Peter began to speak? (15) - The Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household, as upon the apostles at the beginning (Ac 2:1-4) 16) What did that bring to Peter's remembrance? (16) - Jesus' promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:5) 17) What conclusion did Peter draw? What did those who heard him conclude? (17-18) - Who was he to withstand God? - God has granted Gentiles repentance to life 18) What did those who were scattered after Stephen's death do? (19) - Traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching to Jews only 19) What did some from Cyprus and Cyrene do when they came to Antioch? (20) - Preached the Lord Jesus to the Hellenists (Grecian Jews) 20) What was the response? (21) - A great number believed and turned to the Lord 21) What did those in Jerusalem do when they heard the news? (22) - Sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch 22) When Barnabas saw what happened, what was his reaction? (23) - He was glad, and encouraged them to continue with the Lord with purpose of heart 23) What kind of man was Barnabas? What kind of results accompanied his ministry? (24) - A good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith - A great many people were added to the Lord 24) Who did Barnabas go to find in Tarsus? What did the two men do? (25-26) - Saul - Returned to Antioch and assembled with the church for a year, teaching many people 25) What were disciples called for the first time in Antioch? (26) - Christians 26) Who came to Antioch from Jerusalem? What did one of them show by the Spirit? (27-28) - Prophets - Agabus showed that there would be a great famine throughout the world 27) What did the disciples decide to do? How did they do it? (29-30) - To send relief to the brethren in Judea, according to their ability - They sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Ten OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To study the conversion of Cornelius and his household, the first Gentiles to obey the gospel 2) To note the need for religious and devout people to be saved, despite their good works 3) To ascertain the purpose of the Holy Spirit falling upon the Gentiles, based on the context SUMMARY Up to this time, the gospel had been preached only to Jews (also Samaritans, who shared a Jewish ancestry). With the conversion of Cornelius and his household, Gentiles were now granted repentance that leads to eternal life. Because the Law of Moses for generations had forbid socializing with Gentiles, it took a series of miraculous events to help Jewish Christians realize that they should no longer consider those of other nations as common or unclean. We are told about Cornelius, a Roman soldier in Caesaria who was extremely religious. His fervent prayers and charity to the poor, though not saving him, were noticed by God. In a vision, an angel of God instructed him to send men for Peter who would tell him what he needed to do (1-8). As Cornelius' men were on their way, Peter had a vision in which the Lord told him to kill and eat unclean animals. When he refused, Peter was told what God has cleansed no one should call common or unclean. As Peter contemplated the vision, the Spirit told him that three men will seek him with whom he should go without doubting. The men arrived and informed Peter about Cornelius. The next day, Peter and some brethren from Joppa accompanied them back to Caesaria (9-23). When he arrived, Peter found a waiting audience in home of Cornelius. Cornelius fell down and worshipped at Peter's feet, but was kindly rebuked for doing so. Peter then explained how he has learned not to call any man common or unclean, and Cornelius related his vision and charge to send for Peter. Now that Peter was there, Cornelius along with his family and friends were ready to hear the things Peter had been commanded by God to say (24-33). Perceiving that God was no respecter of persons, but now accepts people from every nation who fear Him and works righteousness, Peter proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. He summarized the ministry of Jesus in Judea, His crucifixion, and His resurrection from the dead, who was seen by witnesses who ate and drank with Him. These same witnesses were commanded by God to preach that Jesus was ordained to be the Judge of the living and the dead. Also, the prophets bore witness that those who believed in Him would receive remission of sins (34-43). As Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the word. The Jewish brethren who had accompanied Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles as evidenced by their speaking in tongues. Peter saw the clear implication of these events, that Gentiles could also be baptized (cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 8:12,35-38). Thus he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (44-48). OUTLINE I. CORNELIUS SENDS FOR PETER (1-33) A. CORNELIUS AND HIS VISION (1-8) 1. Cornelius introduced a. A certain man in Caesarea, centurion of the Italian Regiment b. A devout man who feared God with all his family c. Who gave alms generously and prayed always 2. Cornelius' vision a. About the ninth hour of the day he sees an angel of God b. Who tells him his prayers and alms have come up for a memorial before God c. He is told to send for Peter, who is lodging with Simon the tanner in Joppa 3. Cornelius' action a. Calls for two of his servants and a devout soldier b. Tells them what happened and sends them to Joppa B. PETER AND HIS VISION (9-23) 1. Peter has a vision a. The next day Peter goes to the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour b. Hungry, he falls into trance while food was being prepared c. He sees a great sheet bound at the four corners 1) Descending down to the earth 2) With all kinds of animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds d. He is told to kill and eat 1) He protests that he is never eaten anything common or unclean 2) He is told "What God has cleansed you must not call common" e. This was done three times, and then it was taken back into heaven 2. Peter summoned to Caesarea a. As he wondered what the vision meant, the men from Cornelius arrive b. The Spirit tells Peter to go with them, doubting nothing c. Peter hears their story about Cornelius, and provides them lodging d. The next day Peter leaves with them, accompanied by some brethren C. PETER MEETS CORNELIUS (24-33) 1. Cornelius welcomes Peter a. Waiting for Peter with family and close friends b. Falling down at Peter's feet, he is told to stand up 2. Peter explains his presence a. It was unlawful for a Jew to keep company with those of another nation b. But God has shown him not to call any man common or unclean c. So he came without objection, and is ready to hear why they sent for him 3. Cornelius recounts his vision a. Which occurred four days previously, while he fasted and prayed b. When he was visited by a man in bright clothing and told to send for Peter c. So they are all present to hear whatever God has commanded Peter to say II. THE CONVERSION OF THE GENTILES (34-48) A. PETER'S SERMON (34-43) 1. Introductory remarks a. He sees that God shows no partiality b. In every nation whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by Him 2. The ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus a. God sent Jesus, Lord of all, to the children of Israel, preaching peace (as they know) 1) Beginning from Galilee after the baptism of John 2) Proclaiming throughout all Judea b. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power 1) Who went about doing good 2) Healing all who were oppressed by the devil 3) Witnessed by Peter and those who came with him c. God raised Jesus from the dead 1) Who was killed by hanging on the tree 2) Raised the third day, and shown openly to witnesses chosen before by God 3) Who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead 3. Concluding remarks a. Peter and others were commanded to testify that Jesus was ordained to the Judge of the iving and the dead b. All the prophets witness to Jesus, that through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins B. THE HOLY SPIRIT FALLS ON THE GENTILES (44-48) 1. The Holy Spirit's action a. He fell upon all those who heard the word b. Those of the circumcision who believed were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also c. They heard them speak with tongues and magnify God 2. Peter's reaction a. Questions whether anyone can forbid water baptism for those who received the Spirit just like they have b. Commands them to be baptized in the name of the Lord c. Invited to stay a few days REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Cornelius sends for Peter (1-33) - The conversion of the Gentiles (34-48) 2) What position did Cornelius hold? (1) - Centurion of the Italian Regiment 3) List the qualities that characterized Cornelius (2) - A devout man who feared God with all his household - Who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always 4) What did the angel of God say to him about his prayers and alms? (3-4) - They have come up for a memorial before God 5) Why was he told to send for Peter? (5-6) - Peter would tell him what he must do (KJV) (i.e., to be saved, cf. Ac 11:14) 6) What happened the next day as Peter was praying? (10) - He fell into a trance 7) What did he see? (11-12) - Heaven opening and a great sheet descending, filled with all kinds of animals, insects and birds 8) What did a voice tell Peter to do? How did Peter respond? (13-14) - "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." - "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." 9) What was Peter then told? (15) - "What God has cleansed you must not call common." 10) How many times was this repeated? (16) - Three times 11) When the men from Cornelius arrived, what did the Spirit say to Peter? (19-20) - "Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them." 12) What did the messengers tell Peter regarding Cornelius? (22) - He was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon Peter and hear words from him 13) When Peter went with the messengers from Cornelius, who accompanied him? (23) - Some brethren 14) When Peter arrived, who did Cornelius have waiting for him? (24) - His relatives and close friends 15) When Cornelius met Peter, what did he do? How did Peter respond? (25-26) - Cornelius fell down at Peter's feet and worshiped - Peter lifted him up, telling him that he also was a man 16) What did Peter say had been unlawful for a Jewish man? (28) - To keep company with or go to one of another nation 17) What did Peter say God had shown him? (28) - Not to call any man common or unclean 18) After recounting his vision to Peter, what did Cornelius tell him? (30-33) - "We are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God." 19) What two things did these circumstances lead Peter to conclude? (34-35) - That God shows no partiality - In every nation whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by Him 20) What does Peter say about the preaching of Jesus? (36-37) - That God sent Him from Galilee to proclaim peace throughout all Judea 21) What does Peter say about the miracles of Jesus? (38) - That God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power to do good 22) What does Peter claim for himself and others to be in regards to such things? (39) - Witnesses of all that Jesus did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem 23) What did the Jews do to Jesus? (40) - They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree 24) What did God do? (41) - Raised Jesus on the third day 25) To whom did Jesus appear after His resurrection? (41) - To witnesses chosen before God - To those who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead 26) What did Jesus command His witnesses? (42) - To preach and testify that Jesus was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead 27) What did the prophets bear witness to regarding Jesus? (43) - That through His name, whoever believes in Jesus will receive remission of sins 28) While Peter was still speaking, what happened? (44) - The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word 29) Who was astonished by this? Why? (45) - Those of the circumcision who believed, who had accompanied Peter - Because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also 30) How was the outpouring of the Spirit manifested? (46) - They spoke with tongues and magnified God 31) What was Peter's conclusion from this sequence of events? (47) - "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" 32) What did Peter command the Gentiles? (48) - To be baptized in the name of the Lord
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Nine OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To study the conversion of Saul, comparing Luke's account in this chapter with Saul's own words recorded later on in chapters 22 and 26 2) To note two miracles by Peter, and the affect they had on many people who heard about them SUMMARY Not content with persecuting Christians in Jerusalem, Saul received permission from the high priest to seek out those of the Way in Damascus and bring them bound to Jerusalem. It was near Damascus that Saul was blinded by a vision of the risen Jesus. Told to go into Damascus for further instructions, Saul was led blind into the city where he waited for three days, neither eating nor drinking (1-9). The Lord then appeared to a disciple named Ananias and sent him to restore Saul's sight and tell him what he would do as a chosen vessel for Christ. With his sight restored, Saul was baptized and resumed eating. For some days Saul remained in Damascus and began immediately preaching in the synagogues that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, to the amazement of those who knew that he had come to the city to arrest Christians (10-19). After many days had passed (during which Saul apparently spent about 3 years in Arabia, cf. Ga 1:17-18), Saul barely escaped a plot to kill him by the Jews in Damascus (cf. 2Co 11:32-33). He went to Jerusalem where after Barnabas spoke in his behalf he was accepted by the brethren. Another plot by the Jews to kill Saul prompted the brethren to bring him to Caesarea and send him on to Tarsus. The churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria then enjoyed peace and grew as they walked in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (20-31). Luke then records two miracles performed by Peter. The first in Lydda, where Peter healed Aeneas, a man paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. This led many in Lydda and Sharon to turn to the Lord. In nearby Joppa, a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) became sick and died. Having heard that Peter was in Lydda, the disciples sent for him to come without delay. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, leading many people in Joppa to believe on the Lord. Peter then remained in Joppa for many days, staying with Simon, a tanner (32-43). OUTLINE I. CONVERSION OF SAUL (1-31) A. THE APPEARANCE ON THE ROAD (1-9) 1. Saul granted authority by the high priest a. While aggressive in persecuting disciples of the Lord b. With letters to the synagogues in Damascus c. To find those of "the Way" and bring them bound to Jerusalem 2. The Lord's appearance on the road to Damascus a. Approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven shone around him b. Falling to the ground, he hears a voice: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" c. When he asks, "Who are you, Lord?", he is told: 1) "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." 2) "It is hard for you to kick against the goads." d. When asked what to, he is told: 1) "Arise, go into the city." 2) "You will be told what you must do." e. His companions stand speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one 3. Saul's arrival in Damascus a. Getting up, he sees no one b. His companions lead him by the hand into the city c. There he waits for three days, without sight, neither eating or drinking B. THE ARRIVAL OF ANANIAS (9-19) 1. The Lord appears in a vision to Ananias, a disciple in Damascus a. Instructed to go to house of Judas on the street called Straight 1) Where Saul is praying and has seen a vision in which Ananias restores his sight 2) Ananias is reluctant, knowing of Saul's persecution of the saints b. Ananias is commanded to go, for Saul is a chosen vessel 1) Who will bear the Lord's name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel 2) Who will be shown how many things he must suffer for His name's sake 2. Ananias goes to Saul a. Laying hands on Saul as he explains his purpose in coming 1) That Saul might receive his sight 2) And be filled with the Holy Spirit b. Saul's sight is immediately restored, and is baptized c. He resumes eating and spends some days with the disciples C. THE MINISTRY IN DAMASCUS (20-25) 1. Saul immediately preaches Christ as the Son of God in the synagogues a. To the amazement of all who heard and knew his background 1) How he destroyed those in Jerusalem who called on His name 2) How he came to Damascus to bring them bound to the chief priests b. He increases in strength 1) Confounding the Jews who dwelt in Damascus 2) Proving that Jesus is the Christ 2. Saul is forced to leave Damascus a. After many days, the Jews plot to kill him b. When the plot is revealed, they watch the gates day and night to kill him c. The disciples help Saul escape at night by letting him over a wall in a basket D. THE VISIT TO JERUSALEM (26-31) 1. Saul joins himself to the disciples a. Though at first they were afraid and did not believe him b. Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them: 1) How he had seen the Lord on the road, who spoke to him 2) Of his bold preaching in Damascus c. Saul is accepted and circulates freely among the disciples in Jerusalem 2. Saul is forced to leave Jerusalem a. He speaks boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus 1) Disputing against the Hellenists 2) Who attempt to kill him b. The brethren learn of the attempt to kill Saul 1) They bring him down to Caesarea 2) They send him to Tarsus II. MIRACLES OF PETER (32-43) A. THE HEALING OF AENEAS (32-35) 1. Peter comes to the saints in Lydda 2. He meets Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for eight years 3. Peter tells him that Jesus Christ heals him, and he arose immediately 4. All who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord B. THE RAISING OF DORCAS (36-43) 1. At Joppa, a certain disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) dies a. A woman full of good works and charitable deeds b. Her body was washed and laid in an upper room c. Two men were sent to Peter in nearby Lydda 2. Peter raises Dorcas from the dead a. He is brought to the upper room, where weeping widows showed garments by Dorcas b. Sending the widows out, Peter kneels down and prays c. Telling her "Tabitha, arise", she opened her eyes and sat up d. Peter presents her alive to the saints and widows e. As it became known throughout Joppa, many believed on the Lord 3. Peter remains in Joppa with Simon, a tanner REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Conversion of Saul (1-31) - Miracles of Peter (32-43) 2) What was Saul doing when he went to the high priest? (1) - Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord 3) What did Saul get from the high priest? (2) - Letters to the synagogues of Damascus, authorizing him to arrest and bring those of "The Way" to Jerusalem 4) As Saul came near Damascus, what happened? What did he hear? (3-4) - Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven - Falling down, he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5) When he asked "Who are You, Lord?", what was he told? (5) - "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." 6) What did Jesus tell Saul to do? (6) - To go to the city, where he would be told what to do 7) How did the men with him respond to what was happening? (7) - They stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one 8) How was Saul led into the city? What did he do for three days? (8-9) - By the hand, for he was blind when he arose from the ground - He did not eat or drink, and remained without sight 9) To whom did the Lord appear in a vision? (10) - A disciple at Damascus named Ananias 10) What did Jesus tell him to do? (11) - To go to the street called Straight - To inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul 11) What had Saul been doing during this time? What had he seen in a vision? (11-12) - Praying; a man named Ananias laying hands on him that he might receive his sight 12) Why was Ananias hesitant to go? (13-14) - He had heard what Saul had done to the saints in Jerusalem, and why he had come to Damascus 13) What did the Lord say about Saul to reassure Ananias to go to him? (15-16) - Saul is His chosen vessel to bear His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel - He will be shown how many things he must suffer for the Lord's sake 14) When Ananias laid his hands on Saul, what did he say as to why the Lord sent him? (17) - That Saul might receive his sight - That Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit 15) What happened immediately thereafter? (18) - Something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight returned - He arose and was baptized - He was strengthened when he ate 16) What did Saul then do? (19-20) - He received food and was strengthened - He spent some days with the disciples at Damascus - He immediately began preaching in the synagogues Christ as the Son of God 17) What was the reaction of those who heard him? (21) - They were amazed, for they knew what he had done in Jerusalem and why he came to Damascus 18) As Saul increased in strength, what did he do? (22) - He confounded the Jews in Damascus, proving that Jesus was the Christ 19) After many days had passed, who plotted to kill Saul? How did he escape? (23-25) - The Jews, who watched the gates day and night - The disciples let him down through the wall in a large basket 20) When Saul came to Jerusalem, what did he try to do? What was the reaction? (26) - To join the disciples; they were afraid of him, for they did not believe he was a disciple 21) Who brought him before the apostles? What did he tell them about Saul? (27) - Barnabas; how Saul had seen the Lord who spoke to him, and how Saul preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus 22) What was Saul then permitted to do? (28) - To be with the disciples, coming in and going out 23) What did Saul do while at Jerusalem? What then happened? (29-30) - He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed with the Hellenists - An attempt was made to kill him, but the brethren took him to Caesarea and sent him on to Tarsus 24) What was the condition of the churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria at that time? (31) - They had peace and were edified - Walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied 25) Where did Peter go and what did he find there? (32-33) - He went to Lydda where he found Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for eight years 26) What did Peter do and what was the result? (34-35) - He healed him in the name of Jesus, all in Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord 27) Who died at Joppa, and what did the disciples there do? (36-38) - A disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas), a woman full of good works and charitable deeds - They washed her body, laid her in an upper room, and sent two men for Peter 28) When Peter arrived, what did he see and what did he do? (39-41) - Widows weeping in the upper room, showing the garments Dorcas made - He sent the widows out, knelt and prayed, and then said "Tabitha, arise" - After she opened her eyes and sat up, Peter called the saints and widows back into the room and presented her alive 29) What happened when this became known throughout all Joppa? (42) - Many believed on the Lord 30) What did Peter then do? (43) - Stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, a tanner
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Eight OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To note the spread of the gospel into Judea and Samaria, as foretold by Jesus (cf. Ac 1:8) 2) To review the conversions of the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch 3) To examine the apostolic ministry of imparting the Spirit through the laying on of hands SUMMARY Following the martyrdom of Stephen, the church in Jerusalem was severely persecuted. Prominent in leading the persecution was young Saul, going so far as to enter homes and dragging men and women off to prison (1-3). This led to the dispersion of the church throughout Judea and Samaria, though the apostles remained in Jerusalem. Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word, including Philip (one of the seven men selected to help needy widows, cf. 6:5). Preaching Christ and performing miracles, many Samaritans believed and were baptized, including a sorcerer named Simon. When the apostles heard that the Samaritans had received the Word, they sent Peter and John to impart the Spirit through the laying on of hands. When Simon tried to buy the ability to impart spiritual gifts, Peter strongly rebuked him and told him to repent and pray for forgiveness. Peter and John eventually made their way back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans (5-25). Philip was then told by an angel to go along the road between Jerusalem and Gaza where he saw a man reading in his chariot, who happened to be a eunuch and treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. Told by the Spirit to overtake the chariot, Philip heard him reading from the prophet Isaiah. Invited to explain the passage in Isaiah (cf. Isa 53:7-8), Philip proceeded to preach Jesus to him. When they came to some water, the eunuch requested to be baptized and Philip did so upon hearing his confession of faith. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit caught Philip away and the eunuch resumed his journey with great joy. Philip was later found at Azotus, and continued to preach in the cities until he came to Caesarea (26-40). OUTLINE I. AFTERMATH OF STEPHEN'S DEATH (1-4) A. THE CHURCH PERSECUTED (1-3) 1. Saul consents to Stephen's death 2. A great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem a. Christians scattered throughout Judea and Samaria b. Except the apostles 3. Stephen buried and lamented by devout men 4. Saul makes havoc of the church, imprisoning men and women B. THE CHRISTIANS PREACHING (4) 1. Those scattered abroad went everywhere 2. Preaching the word II. CONVERSION OF THE SAMARITANS (5-25) A. PHILIP AT SAMARIA (5-13) 1. Preaches Christ to them 2. Multitudes give heed to the word, seeing the miracles he did a. Casting out unclean spirits b. Healing the paralyzed and lame c. Creating great joy in the city 3. Background on Simon the sorcerer a. Previously practiced sorcery, astonishing the people, claiming to be great b. To whom people gave heed, calling him "the great power of God" 4. Many Samaritans converted a. Believed Philip preaching concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus b. Were baptized, both men and women 5. Simon also believes and is baptized a. Continued with Philip b. Amazed with the signs and miracles that were done B. PETER AND JOHN AT SAMARIA (14-25) 1. Peter and John sent to Samaria a. By the apostles at Jerusalem b. Who heard the Samaritans received the word of God 2. Peter and John impart the Holy Spirit a. Praying for the Samaritans, for they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus b. Laying hands on them, whereby they received the Holy Spirit 3. Simon tries to buy the gift of imparting the Spirit a. He saw that it was imparted by the laying on of the apostles' hands b. He offered Peter and John money for the same gift c. Peter strongly rebukes Simon 1) For thinking the gift of God could be purchased with money 2) He had no part in this matter, for his heart was not right in the sight of God d. Peter counsels Simon 1) To repent and pray for forgiveness 2) For he is poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity 3) Simon pleads with Peter to pray for him 4. Peter and John return to Jerusalem a. After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord b. After preaching the gospel in many of the villages of the Samaritans III. CONVERSION OF THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH (26-40) A. PHILIP SENT TO THE EUNUCH (26-29) 1. An angel of the Lord tells Philip to go south toward Gaza 2. In a desert area he sees a man in a chariot a. A man of great authority 1) A eunuch from Ethiopia 2) In charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of Ethiopia b. A religious man 1) Had traveled to Jerusalem to worship 2) Reading from Isaiah on his return home 3. The Spirit tells Philip to overtake the chariot B. PHILIP PREACHES JESUS TO THE EUNUCH (30-40) 1. Philip approaches the eunuch a. Hears him reading from Isaiah - Isa 53:7-8 b. Asks him if he understands what he is reading c. The eunuch desires help in understanding the subject of the passage 2. Philip preaches to the Eunuch a. Beginning with that scripture, He preached Jesus to him b. Coming to some water, the eunuch requests baptism c. Baptism requires faith in Jesus, which the eunuch confesses d. Both go into the water, and Philip baptizes the eunuch 3. Following the baptism a. The Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away so the eunuch saw him no more b. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing c. Philip was later found at Azotus, and preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Aftermath of Stephen's death (1-4) - Conversion of the Samaritans (5-25) - Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch (26-40) 2) Who consented to Stephen's death? (1) - Saul 3) What happened at that time? What was the result? (1) - A great persecution against the church - The church was scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, except the apostles 4) What was Saul doing? (3) - Making havoc of the church, dragging men and women off to prison 5) What did those who were scattered do? (4) - They went everywhere preaching the word 6) Who went to Samaria and preached Christ to them? (5) - Philip (cf. Ac 6:5) 7) How did the multitudes respond? Why? (6) - They heeded the things spoken by Philip - Because of the miracles he did 8) What kind of miracles did Philip perform? (7) - Casting out unclean spirits, healing the paralyzed and lame 9) Who had the Samaritans previously heeded? (9-11) - Simon the sorcerer 10) What things did Philip preach that the Samaritans believed? (12) - The kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ 11) How did the Samaritans respond to Philip's preaching? (12) - With faith and baptism 12) Who else believed and was baptized? (13) - Simon the sorcerer 13) Who was sent to Samaria by the apostles? Why? (14-16) - Peter and John; that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit 14) How was the Holy Spirit imparted to the Samaritans? (17-18) - By the laying on of the apostles' hands 15) What did Simon try to do? (18-19) - Purchase the ability to impart the Spirit by the laying on of hands 16) Why did Peter refuse and then rebuke Simon for his offer? (20-23) - Thinking that the gift of God could be purchased with money - His heart was not right; he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity 17) What did Peter tell Simon to do in order to be forgiven? What did Simon ask? (22) - To repent and pray; for Peter to pray for him 18) As Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, what did they do? (25) - Preached the gospel in many of the villages of the Samaritans 19) Where was Philip told to go next? Who told him? (26) - To go south along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza; an angel of the Lord 20) Who did Philip see? What was the man doing? (27-28) - An Ethiopian eunuch, the treasurer of Queen Candace - Returning from Jerusalem where he gone to worship, sitting in his chariot and reading from Isaiah 21) Who told Philip to overtake the chariot? (29) - The Spirit 22) When Philip heard him reading, what did he ask? How did the eunuch respond? (30-31) - "Do you understand what you are reading?" - "How can I, unless someone guides me?" 23) Where in Isaiah was the eunuch reading? (32-33) - Isaiah 53:7-8 24) What did the eunuch want to know? (34) - Was Isaiah writing of himself, or some other man 25) Beginning from that passage, what did Philip preach? (35) - Jesus 26) When they came to water, what did the eunuch ask? How did Philip respond? (36-37) - "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" - "If you believe with all your heart, you may." 27) How did Philip baptize the eunuch? (38-39) - They both went down into the water, Philip baptized him, they both came up out of the water 28) What happened when they came up out of the water? What did the eunuch do? (39) - The Spirit caught Philip away, so the eunuch saw him no more - He went on his way rejoicing 29) Where was Philip found? What did he then do? (40) - Azotus; preached in all the cities until he came to Caesarea
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Seven OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To review Stephen's defense to the charge of blasphemy against the temple and the Law 2) To note the remarkable manner in which the first martyr for Christ died SUMMARY The previous chapter ended with Stephen before the Sanhedrin council facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple and the Law (cf. 6:13-14). Chapter seven contains Stephen's defense to these charges, and the account of his martyrdom. Stephen responded by reviewing the call of Abraham and God's promise to him and the nation of Israel. He then described how God used Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them for forty years through the wilderness. Yet Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom God gave the Law. Not only in the incident involving the golden calf, but throughout their wilderness wanderings Israel continued to worship false gods (cf. Am 5:25-27). Turning to the matter of God's dwelling place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (cf. Isa 66:1-2). He concluded by charging the council of resisting the Holy Spirit just like their ancestors, for as their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets who foretold the coming of the Just One (Christ), so they became His betrayers and murderers. Indeed, they were the ones who have not kept the Law (1-53). Cut to the heart, those in the council gnashed at Stephen with their teeth. Full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God with Jesus standing at His right hand. Upon telling the council what he saw, in rage they cast him out of city and began stoning him. The witnesses who brought the false charges laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul (later known as Paul, the apostle). As Stephen was stoned, he called upon Jesus to receive his spirit, and to not charge his murderers with his death. In this way Stephen became the first martyr for Christ (54-60). OUTLINE I. STEPHEN'S DEFENSE (1-53) A. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH ABRAHAM (1-8) 1. The call to leave Mesopotamia 2. The sojourn in Canaan 3. The promise of possession to his descendants 4. The covenant of circumcision 5. His descendants: Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs B. THE PATRIARCHS SOJOURN IN EGYPT (9-16) 1. Joseph sold into Egypt, becomes governor 2. Jacob and his sons move to Egypt during the famine 3. The patriarchs buried in Canaan C. GOD'S DELIVERANCE OF ISRAEL BY MOSES (17-36) 1. The children Israel in Egypt become slaves 2. The work of Moses, deliverer of Israel a. Raised by Pharaoh's daughter b. Kills an Egyptian, but despised by his brethren c. Flees to Midian where he lives for forty years d. The Lord appears to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai e. Returns to Egypt, delivers Israel and brings them into the wilderness D. ISRAEL'S REBELLION AGAINST GOD AND MOSES (37-43) 1. Moses is the person: a. Who said God would raise up another prophet like him b. Who spoke to the Angel on Mount Sinai c. Who received living oracles to give to Israel d. Whom the fathers would not obey but rejected 2. Israel is the nation: a. Who turned back into Egypt in their hearts b. Who pressured Aaron to make a golden calf c. Whom God gave up to worship the host of heaven for forty years in the wilderness 1) They may have offered sacrifices to the Lord 2) They also worshiped Moloch and Remphan - cf. Am 5:25-27 E. GOD'S TRUE TABERNACLE (44-50) 1. The fathers of Israel had the tabernacle of witness a. In the wilderness, built according to the pattern shown Moses b. Brought into the promised land by Joshua 2. They also had the temple a. Asked for by David, who found favor before God b. Built by his son Solomon 3. Yet the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands a. For heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool b. His hand has made all these things - cf. Isa 66:1-2 F. ISRAEL'S RESISTANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (51-53) 1. Stephen charges the council of resisting the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did 2. Their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets, so they have killed the Just One 3. They received the law, but did not keep it II. STEPHEN'S DEATH (54-60) A. THE REACTION OF THE COUNCIL (54-58a) 1. Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth 2. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven a. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God b. He tells the council what he saw 3. In response, the council: a. Cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears c. Ran at him with one accord, and cast him out of the city B. THE STONING OF STEPHEN (58b-60) 1. The witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of Saul 2. They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God a. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" b. "Lord, do not charge them with this sin" 3. Having said this, he fell asleep (i.e., died) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Stephen's defense (1-53) - Stephen's death (54-60) 2) When did God first appear to Abraham? (2) - In Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran 3) What did God tell Abraham to do? (3) - Leave his country and relatives, and go to a land that He would show him 4) Where did Abraham finally settle? (4) - Canaan (New Testament Palestine) 5) Who did God promise to give the land to? When? (5-7) - The descendants of Abraham - After they lived in a foreign land 400 years, following which God would judge that nation 6) What covenant did God give Abraham? (8) - The covenant of circumcision 7) What was the lineage of Abraham leading to the formation of the nation of Israel? (8) - Abraham begot Isaac - Isaac begot Jacob - Jacob begot twelve sons, who became the twelve patriarchs of Israel 8) What bad and good thing happened to Joseph? (9-10) - He was sold into Egypt by his brothers - Pharaoh made him governor over Egypt 9) What resulted in the rest of Jacob's family moving to Egypt? How many? (11-15) - A famine; 75 people 10) Where was Jacob and his sons eventually buried? (16) - Back in Canaan 11) Who eventually led Israel out of Egyptian bondage? (17-36) - Moses 12) Who did Moses tell the children of Israel would eventually come? (37) - A prophet like himself (cf. Deut 18:15) 13) What two examples does Stephen provide of Israel's disobedience? (38-43) - Their worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai - Their worship of Moloch and Remphan throughout their forty years in the wilderness 14) What two dwelling places did Israel have for God? (44-47) - The tabernacle built by Moses; the temple built by Solomon 15) Yet what did God say through the prophet Isaiah? (48-50) - The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands 16) How did Stephen describe the religious leaders of the council? (51) - Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in hearts and ears 17) What did he accuse them of doing? In what way? (51-52) - Always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did - By murdering the Just One (Jesus), as their fathers killed the prophets who foretold His coming 18) What final charge did Stephen accuse them of? (53) - Receiving the law by the direction of angels, but not keeping it 19) How did those who heard this react? (54) - Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth 20) Filled with the Holy Spirit, what did Stephen see? (55-56) - The glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God 21) How did the council then act? (57-58) - Cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and cast Stephen out of the city 22) What did they then do? At whose feet did the witnesses lay their garments? (58) - They stoned Stephen; a young man named Saul 23) As Stephen was stoned to death, what two things did he pray? (59-60) - "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."; "Lord, do not charge them with this sin."
Husband and Wife in the Quran
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The Islamic world has not distinguished itself over the centuries in its respect for and kind treatment of women (Austen, 2012; Thompson, 2011; Kotz, 2009; “Melbourne Islamic…,” 2009; “Missouri Couple…,” 1991; “Father of…,” 2008; Schoetz, 2008; “Raped…,” 2007). This observation is unprejudiced and hardly novel. Around the world for centuries, Islamic women have endured a subpar status with Islamic men. As General George S. Patton observed, having witnessed the impact of Islam on the countries of North Africa during World War II:
One cannot but ponder the question: What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing. Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity (1947, p. 43, emp. added).
No doubt 7th and 8th century Arabian culture contributed to Muhammad’s view of women. However, the Quran stands on its own for its advocacy of female inferiority. For example, in Mohammed Pickthall’s translation of the Quran, Surah 4:34 reads:
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great (emp. added).
A host of Islamic translations confirm this translation. The words in bold in Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation are rendered: “refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly).” Ahmed Raza Khan’s translation reads: “sleep apart from them, and beat them (lightly).” Maududi has “remain apart from them in beds, and beat them.” Wahiduddin Khan “refuse to share their beds, and finally hit them.” Shakir has “leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.” Sarwar reads: “do not sleep with them and beat them.” Saheeh International reads: “forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.” Qaribullah and Darwish have: “desert them in the bed and smack them (without harshness).” Qarai reads: “keep away from them in the bed, and [as the last resort] beat them” (Tanzil Project, 2007-2014).
Observe two startling realizations from this passage:
(1) The Quran explicitly gives sanction to Muslim men to beat their wives. Some translators try to soften the directive by inserting qualifiers like “lightly” (Ali, Raza Kahn) and “without harshness” (Qaribullah and Darwish), but the Arabic text is unqualified. In stark contrast, the Bible, while assigning differing roles and responsibilities based on gender, nowhere suggests that men have a right to inflict physical punishment on women. The intimidating, overbearing role of men in Islam is proof that the religion was invented by a male.
(2) The command to banish a wife to a separate bed implies at least three concepts that cast Islam and the Quran in an unfavorable light.
First, the Bible and the Quran contradict each other on this point. Paul instructed the Corinthian Christians:
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, emp. added).
The Quran says a man may sexually banish his wife, without her consent, as punishment for displeasing him. Yet Paul said a married couple is not to refrain from sexual relations except bymutual consent, and then only for a brief period. One cannot take the position that the Quran and the Bible are both from God. They contradict each other on many matters. Insisting that these differences are due to the Bible having being corrupted is an untenable and unsubstantiated explanation (Miller, 2005, p. 89; Miller, 2013).
Second, when one weighs both the Bible and the Quran’s portraits of deity, it quickly becomes self-evident to the unbiased observer which of the two books portrays the inspired view of women. The Bible contains the fair, compassionate, majestic perspective in taking into account both marriage partners as equals. As Peter stated so eloquently: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Both male and female were made in God's image (Genesis 1:27).
Third, observe further how the Quran exposes its human origin, demonstrating that it came from man, not God. Women are “wired” differently from men. They have one-tenth the testosterone of men (“Testosterone,” 2011). To suggest that a man could punish his wife by the cessation of sexual relations with her is undoubtedly written from the perspective of a man, and not from the vantage point of most women.
Comparing the Bible with the Quran is a useful exercise. The process calls the inspiration of the Quran into question. At the same time, the Bible’s superiority is reinforced.
Austen, Ian (2012), “Afghan Family, Led by Father Who Called Girls a Disgrace, Is Guilty of Murder,”The New York Times, January 29, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/world/americas/afghan-family-members-convicted-in-honor-killings.html?_r=0.
“Father of Slain Teen Girls Upset That Daughter Dated Non-Muslim, Police Records Show” (2008), Associated Press, January 9, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/01/09/father-slain-teen-girls-upset-that-daughter-dated-non-muslim-police-records/.
Kotz, Pete (2009), “Faleh Almaleki Runs Over Daughter in Attempted ‘Honor Killing,’” True Crime Report, October 30, http://www.truecrimereport.com/2009/10/faleh_almaleki_runs_over_daugh.php.
“Melbourne Islamic Cleric Says its OK to Rape Your Wife,” (2009), Herald Sun, January 21,http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/rudd-condemns-rape-in-marriage-cleric/story-e6freol3-1111118630585.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25:89-95,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=572&article=433.
Miller, Dave (2013), “Has the Bible Been Corrupted?” Apologetics Press,https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=4649.
“Missouri Couple Sentenced to Die In Murder of Their Daughter, 16” (1991), The New York Times, December 20, http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/20/us/missouri-couple-sentenced-to-die-in-murder-of-their-daughter-16.html.
Patton, George S. (1947), War As I Knew It (New York: The Great Commanders, 1994 edition).
“Raped ‘for reading Holy Bible’” (2007), News.com.au, April 17,http://www.news.com.au/national/raped-for-reading-holy-bible/story-e6frfkp9-1111113353497.
Schoetz, David (2008), “Daughter Rejects Marriage, Ends Up Dead,” ABC News, July 7,http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=5322587&page=1.
Tanzil Project (2007-2014), http://tanzil.net/#4:34.
“Testosterone” (2011), Lab Tests Online, American Association for Clinical Chemistry,http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/testosterone/tab/faq.
Thompson, Carolyn (2011), “Jury Convicts Muslim TV Exec of Beheading Wife,” Associated Press, February 9, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/07/closing-arguments-begin-new-york-beheading-murder-trial/.