WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, 2010
(Discuss these OVERVIEW questions both at the beginning of your study of Acts, and again after you’ve studied together all 28 chapters. Your answers may change significantly once you’ve looked more closely at the entire book.)
Startup: Get a mental picture in your mind of this book of Acts as a bridge between the gospels on one side, and the teaching books (the epistles) on the other. In your mind’s eye, what is the river which the bridge crosses? What is the land like on the gospel side? And what is the land like on the epistle side?
SEEING WHAT’S THERE
1. Look together at the following passages to learn more about Luke, the author of Acts: Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:9-11; Philem 23-24, and Luke 1:1-4.
2. In the following list of passages, notice the places where the pronoun “we” is used, indicating that Luke was present with Paul during the events described. What kind of interesting experiences did Luke get to share with Paul?—chapters 16, 20, 21, 27 and 28.
3. What do you know about what the world was like at the time this book was written?
4. Start scanning the book of Acts until you come to a verse that brings a question to your mind. What’s the question?
5. Begin scanning the book again until you come to a verse that gives you a smile or a sense of gratitude or joy. What is pleasing to you about this verse?
6. Make a list together of which chapters in this book involve Peter more than anyone else, and which chapters involve Paul more than anyone else. Since the other apostles were also at work at the same time as Peter and Paul, why do you think the Spirit of God has chosen to give us a book that centers only around those two men?
7. If this book of Acts were not included in the Bible, how would you describe what would be missing in the total picture of the Bible’s message?
8. Look also at the list of “Questions to Ask as You Begin Your Study of Each Book”.
CAPTURE THE ESSENCE
9. What previous impressions, if any, have you had about the book of Acts in regard to (a) its content, (b) its level of difficulty, and (c) its importance?
10. The book of Acts has been called “Power Unleashed,” “The Book of Christian Action,” and “The Gospel’s Momentum.” With that reputation for this book, what kinds of answers and guidelines and solutions would you like to gain as you examine it more closely?
11. In Luke 1:3-4, notice how Luke indicates the purpose for which he wrote his gospel. Compare that passage with the opening verses in Acts, where no such direct statement is given. If Luke had written a clear summary statement of the purpose for this book, what do you think it might have said?
12. Discuss how much you would agree or disagree with this statement: The book of Acts serves as a faithful and thorough guide for the church today and at all times.
FOR LIFE TODAY
13. If the book of Acts is a record of the birth of Christ’s church, and a dependable guide for that church today, then studying this book brings to the fore our own commitment to and involvement with the church. In a brief sentence or two, how would you summarize in practical terms your own commitment to the church, the body of Christ?
14. How can you ensure that your study of Acts is not merely theoretical and intellectual, but is instead truly practical and relevant? Talk together about this. What can you do to help keep the process alive and interesting?
FOR GOING DEEPER
As you watch the dynamic, Spirit-led growth of the church in Acts, remember the commands of the Lord Jesus that motivated the disciples onward. Look together at His strategic teachings in these passages—Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, and Luke 24:45-49.