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Bible Highlights from the Book of Acts
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Introduction: The purpose of Bible Highlights: the Bible tends to be repetitious and not always chronological. Therefore, Bible Highlights can help you get a sense of the Big Picture by scanning for key sections that are needed at a particular point in your Bible study and teaching. However, the complete Bible should always be used in conjunction with Bible Highlights, and always takes priority over anything you may read in Bible Highlights.
Bible Highlights are under construction. If a book you want to visit is not complete, visit this resource later. Click for an index of books completed to date.
Scriptures used are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 1987 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All scripture verses should be read within the context of the whole passage: who said it, to whom was it said, why was it said, what happened before and after. Therefore, verses should be studied within their context.
This website is built on the following givens:
The God of the Bible is the CEO of the entire universe. There is only one God and He is the God of the Holy Bible.
Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God.
The only way to escape the death penalty for sin is to personally accept Jesus as your Sacrifice. He died on the cross as the Lamb of God. Now everyone who accepts Him as their sin sacrifice can have eternal life.
converse is true. If you reject or ignore the Lamb of God as your mandated
sin sacrifice, you will spend eternity in Hell.
The Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God.
The Bible has never been in proven conflict with scientific fact. The Bible is not a history book nor a work of science. However, the latest scientific and archeological discoveries are in perfect harmony with what the Bible has said from Day One.
Table of Contents for Bible Highlights from Acts of the Apostles
of completed books of the Bible:
Acts [Under construction]
Highlights from the Book of Acts
My Introduction to the Book of Acts.
The Books of Luke, as well as Acts, were written by a Greek physician who took great pains to research the facts very carefully and report them accurately. Luke never met Jesus but when he learned about Him, he was determined to get His story right.
Luke's introduction to the book of Acts
AC 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Your second book should be the book of Acts. This book gives an excellent summary of the history of the early Christian church.
AC 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
AC 1:7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
AC 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
AC 1:10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
The Rapture will happen before the Tribulation when the Dead in Christ shall rise first and those who remain will rise to meet the Lord in the air. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
AC 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus-- 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."
AC 1:18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
AC 1:20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " `May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " `May another take his place of leadership.' AC 1:21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
AC 1:23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
The apostles jumped the gun and selected Matthias as a replacement for Judas, the traitor.
However, God, in His wisdom, would select a different man, in the 9th chapter.
AC 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
In the Old Testament, Pentecost celebrated the giving of the Law, the 10 Commandments, on Mt. Sinai. Here in Acts, Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit on the 50th day following the Resurrection of Jesus.
This event was signified by a violent wind, tongues of fire, and speaking in other languages through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jews from other countries could understand the Galileans
AC 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
AC 2:13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine. "
Many Jews from all over the world were in Jerusalem because of the Feast of Weeks. They were amazed that they could understand the Galileeans as they praised God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
However, there were some wise guys in the crowd who thought they were drunk.
Peter preached and 3,000 got saved
AC 2:40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Before he was filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter denied Jesus three times during His trial. After he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he preached such a powerful sermon, 3,000 seekers flocked to the altar!
We will break away from our study of the Book of Acts and fast forward to 1 Corinthians 14.
In the Bible, speaking in unlearned languages is reported but never commanded and it is never forbidden. This is a scriptural fact.
By the time the church at Corinth was organized, Paul was having trouble with certain Christians who took pride in being able to "speak in unlearned languages". Already, they had forgotten that the miracle was in the hearing and not the speaking. This problem caused him to write what we now know as 1 Corinthians 14.
1CO 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
1CO 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
1CO 14:13 For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
1CO 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
1CO 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"
1CO 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
1CO 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,
1CO 14:36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38 If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. 1CO 14:39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
In this chapter, we learn the following facts: Paul ranks the gift of prophecy (spiritual instruction) above the ability to speak in unlearned languages.
V. 1-6. Paul could speak in many languages, perhaps because he had studied them. But, he said that 5 words in a known language are worth more than 10,000 words in unknown languages.
V. 18-19. Unlearned languages should not be spoken in church at all unless someone is available to translate into a known language. What would be the point?
V. 27-28. Praying or singing in unlearned languages is also not useful.
V. 14-15. Speaking in unlearned languages was useful at Pentecost. However, if it is done in church, unbelievers will think it is crazy.
V. 22-25. It is wrong to forbid someone else to speak in unlearned languages.
V. 39. We must assume, however, the rules for worship given here will be obeyed. All parts of a worship service should make sense to everyone who attends.
V. 40. The real language miracle on the Day of Pentecost was in the hearing and not in the speaking.
Now back to the Book of Acts as Bible Highlights continues:
Holy Spirit Communism
AC 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Political Communism is a world wide failure. However, Holy Spirit Communism is a different situation. In V. 44 we read the believers had everything in common. In V 45 we see them selling personal belongings and giving to those who needed food, clothes, and shelter. In V 47, the Lord approved of what they were doing and their number increased as people came to accept Jesus as their Lamb of God.
Better than gold or silver
AC 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
AC 3:6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
As Peter and John were walking into the temple, they met a beggar who was born lame. He asked the apostles for a donation, but Peter said he would give the beggar something better than money. He would give him the ability to walk, something he had never done.
I like the word instantly in V 7. The beggar was not rehabilitated through a long process of physical therapy. He was healed instantly.
More Holy Spirit Communism
AC 4:36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
AC 5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
AC 5:3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
AC 5:5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
AC 5:7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."
AC 5:9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
AC 5:10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, saw Barnabas get positive recognition when he sold a field and gave the money to charity. So they decided to do something similar. However, when they brought the money to the apostles to be distributed to the poor, they withheld some of the proceeds for their own use.
Of course Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and knew instantly that they were dishonest and were lying to God. The result was death for both of them.
Ananias and Sapphira may have brought eventual failure to Holy Spirit Communism.
AC 5:12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
AC 5:17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 "Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
The apostles worshipped on Solomon's Porch of the temple and many miraculous healing were performed. Then people placed sick people on the sidewalk so Peter's shadow would touch them as he passed.
The high priest and his associates fell into a jealous rage and had the apostles locked in prison.
However, an angel opened the doors of the jail and told the apostles to go back to the temple courts and continue their preaching of life in Jesus.
The wisdom of Gamaliel
AC 5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
AC 5:40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
When Peter told the Jewish leaders he had to obey God rather than humans, the leaders were furious and wanted to kill the apostles. However, Gamaliel was smarter than the rest and said if what the apostles are doing is of human origin, it will die a natural death.
However, if what the apostles are doing is of God, there is nothing we can do to stop it.
Stephen, the first martyr
AC 7:51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."
AC 7:54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
AC 7:57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. AC 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen was a Godly man and very active in the early church. When he was arrested, he launched into a detailed sermon that pointed out that all through the Old Testament, the Jews had mistreated the prophets of God, even to the point of crucifying the Messiah.
However, the Jews became so enraged they dragged him out of the temple and began to stone him to death.
Just as Jesus had done, he asked God to forgive his accusers for their sin of murder.
Then he died, the first martyr of the Christian church.
Saul [later known as Paul] helped launch persecution against the church
AC 8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
AC 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
The day Stephen was stoned to death, Saul [later known as Paul] watched over the coats while the furious Jews killed Stephen by stoning. The persecution that came after the stoning scattered Christians over Judea and Samaria.
Phillip preached in Samaria and the people there were glad to hear the gospel of Jesus. Sick people were healed and demon possessed people were delivered.
The conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus
AC 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
AC 9:5 "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6 "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
AC 9:7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
AC 9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.
AC 9:11 The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."
AC 9:13 "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
AC 9:15 But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
Saul went to such extremes to persecute the Christians that he asked the high priest for warrants so he could imprison any believers he found in Damascus. In V 2, Luke used the term Way to describe Christians. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
As Saul was traveling to Damascus, a bright light shone down heaven and a voice asked why he was persecuting the Christians.
Saul asked, who are you, Lord. Saul already knew who was spreading the light all around him.
Saul was struck blind and had to be led by the hand for the rest of his journey to Damascus.
When the Lord directed Ananias to go to Saul and heal his blindness, he was afraid because he knew Saul's reputation. The Lord told him Saul had been selected for great things in the Kingdom.
Saul starts to preach about Jesus
AC 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
AC 9:23 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
AC 9:26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
AC 9:31 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.
After his conversion, Saul was as eager to preach the gospel as he had been to stamp it out. The Jews in Damascus were angry and plotted to kill him. But friends learned of the plot and helped him escape from Damascus by lowering him from a window in the city wall by using ropes and a basket.
When he got to Jerusalem, the disciples feared him because of his reputation. However, Barnabas stood up for him and convinced everyone that Saul really was converted.
Tabitha raised from the dead
AC 9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!"
AC 9:39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
AC 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
The primary purpose of divine miracles is to give God the glory. The secondary purpose is to alleviate loss. In this story of Tabitha being raised from the dead, the woman is brought back to life so she could continue her good works. V 42 shows the primary purpose. People all over the area believed Jesus is the Lamb of God, and therefore received eternal life.
Kill and eat
AC 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
AC 10:14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
AC 10:15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
AC 10:16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
AC 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
This story told Peter as well as all of us that the Gospel is not restricted to Jews but is equally available to gentiles. The "whoever" of John 3:16 excludes no one.
As an aside, the Law of God as given to Moses kept the Israelites alive while tramping around in the desert for 40 years. Medieval Europe would have been well advised to live by Moses' Law when faced by the black plague.
Disciples were first called "Christians" at Antioch
11:26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
The term Christian was first used in Antioch, a gentile city where Paul and Barnabas ministered.
AC 12:1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
AC 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. AC 12:6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.
AC 12:8 Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
AC 12:11 Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."
AC 12:12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!"
AC 12:15 "You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel." AC 12:16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.
AC 12:18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there a while. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply.
Herod put Peter in prison until he could be tried. He was asleep between two guards with more guards at the doors of the prison. Of course angels care nothing for prisons, iron gates, and guards.
The church was holding a prayer meeting, asking God to help. When Peter knocked on the door of the house where the prayer meeting was held, the servant girl who answered the door had a hard time of convincing the prayers that their prayer had been answered.
This part of the story is both sad and ludicrous.
Unfortunately, the guards who did not stop the unstoppable were executed for dereliction of duty.
AC 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.
AC 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " `I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "
AC 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
When Paul and Barnabas drew a large crowd, the Jews became jealous. This is the same kind of insidious jealousy that filled the hearts of the Jews in Jersualem the week Jesus was killed. However,
Paul told them they had a first chance at the truth but rejected it. Now it was the gentiles' turn. Paul deliverately keyed on the major population centers in his evangelism and let the truth radiate out to the surrounding communities.
The freedom of the Jerusalem council
AC 15:1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
AC 15:5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."
AC 15:6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
AC 15:12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.
Some Jewish zealots traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch and wanted the new Gentile Christians to follow the law of Moses. So the church appointed Paul and Barnabas to lead a delegation to go up to Jerusalem and put this questions to the church leadership there.
At the meeting of the council, some rigid Jews said Gentiles must be circumcised according to the law of Moses.
Peter addressed this question by saying we should not put a burden on Gentile Christians that Jews had trouble bearing.
James, the brother of Jesus, was the pastor of the Jerusalem church and carried quite a bit of weight in the fellowship of believers.
A very important letter
AC 15:19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."
AC 15:22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
Greetings. AC 15:24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul-- 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.
This letter must have lifted a load off the minds of the Antioch Christians. In V 29, they were advised to avoid food offered to idols.
Eating food offered to idols became a growing problem in the early church. Gentiles who worshipped idols would take meat into the idol's temple so the idols would have something to eat. Of course, none of the meat was touched so the "used" meat was sold in the meat markets at a bargain price. Frugal housewives saw this as a bargain, but James and others saw this as a possible stumbling block for new Christians, so they were advised against it.
They were also advised against drinking blood or eating animals who were strangled instead of dying at the point of a a knife.
The early Christians were also advised to avoid sex outside the bounds and bonds of a legal marriage.
Nothing was said about circumcision.
Paul and Barnabas part company
AC 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
AC 16:1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
When Paul and Barnabas split up, Paul chose Silas as his fellow missionary and they traveled from church to church helping old converts and finding new ones on a daily basis.
In Lystra, Paul recruited Timothy who was the son of one his earlier converts, who was a Jewess.
Paul's Macedonian call
AC 16:6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
AC 16:11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
AC 16:13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Twice Paul's inclination to take the Gospel into new areas was thwarted by the Holy Spirit. Then he had a dream of a man calling to him, "Come over into Macedonia and help us. Then Paul realized why the Holy Spirit had said no on two occasions; He wanted them to go to Macedonia.
While there, he met Lydia, a woman who worshipped God but who may not have known about Jesus. She was saved at a riverside prayer meeting. She and her whole household were baptized. Lydia was an entrepreneur who sold purple cloth in her business. Purple cloth was valuable in the ancient world, and the dye itself came from shell fish.
She begged Paul and company to stay in her home and they agreed.
Another miraculous jailbreak for Paul
AC 16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. AC 16:19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
AC 16:22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
AC 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
AC 16:29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
AC 16:31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family.
AC 16:35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." 36 The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."
AC 16:37 But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."
AC 16:38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.
As Paul and Silas were going about their business, a demon-possessed fortune teller began to follow them and proclaim that they were here to preach the truth about Jesus. After a while this became a nuisance and Paul ordered the demon to leave the girl. However, after the demon left, the girl was unable to tell any more fortunes and her agents became angry at the loss of money.
One note about the demon-possessed fortune teller: Fortune tellers are still around. Most are fakes but if you ever hear of one who is real, know that the fortune-telling ability is coming from a demon. Click to download a free e-book titled Demon Possessed Handbook
A riot ensued with Paul and Silas charged before the magistrates of some ridiculous offenses.
The Magistrates ordered that Paul and Silas to take off their clothes and submit to a beating with rods. Then, they were ordered to be locked in the inner prison with their feet in stocks, as illustrated below.
Paul and Silas responded by holding a hymn sing. Suddenly the prison was shaken with a big earthquake. To this point it could be natural. However, the prison doors flew open and everone's shackles and stocks were unlocked and it became supernatural.
The jailer was so worried he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, knowing that the Roman reward for losing all his prisoners would be execution.
But Paul assured the jailer that the entire prison census was present and accounted for and that there was no need for drastic action.
The jailer was so impressed he asked how he could get what Paul and Silas had. Paul said, "Just salute Jesus as your Lamb of God and coming King!"
The jailer took Paul and Silas to the prison infirmary and applied first aid to the wounds on their backs. Then he took them home with him and gave them a midnight snack.
The jailer was overjoyed because he and his whole family became born again Christians that night.
The next morning, the magistrates ordered that Paul and Silas be released and sent on their way. But Paul said, "Not so fast. You beat us Roman citizens publicly and without a trial."
The magistrates realized they had violated the Roman constitutional rights of Paul and Silas so they rushed to the prison and escorted them out.
Paul and Silas cause trouble in Thessalonica
AC 17:1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, " he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
AC 17:5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
When the missionaries got to Thessalonica, they preached in the Jewish synagogue for three Sabbaths. As both Jews and Gentiles began to turn to Jesus, the leaders of the synagogue became jealous and rounded up a bunch of riff raff and caused a riot. They went to Jason's house, where Paul and Silas were staying. When they couldn't find them there, they took Jason and some followers before the city officials charging that Paul and company were preaching against Caesar because they claimed that Jesus was King of the Jews. Jason and company had to post a bond before things settled down.
Paul and the unknown god
AC 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
AC 17:24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 `For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.'
AC 17:29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
AC 17:32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
According to Wikipedia, the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. When Paul addressed the Areopagus, he complimented them on their religious nature but told them that the Unknown God was not unknown but really the Almighty God of the Bible.
Some men of the Areopagus believed and some sneered. However, we was able to plant the seed of the Gospel in an area where the truth could spread out over a large area. Converts at Athens included Dionysius and Damaris.
Riot in Ephesus
AC 19:23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."
AC 19:28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
AC 19:32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
AC 19:35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
A silversmith named Demetrius was worried that the teachings of Paul would cut into his idol making business. He made his living creating idols of the goddess Artemis. At a meeting of the craft guild, he stirred up the craftsmen and they began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ehpesians." But the city clerk told everyone to simmer down or whey might all be called up for disturbing the peace.
The clerk also told the craftsmen that there were legal procedures if Demetrius or anyone else had a beef against Paul or anyone else.
A long semon that killed a man
AC 20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.
10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
This may be the early beginnings of a church that worshipped on Sunday, as many of us do until this day. Usually Paul met with people in a synagogue on the Sabbath [Saturday].
Paul knew he would be leaving tomorrow, so he had a lot of material to cover. The service took place in a third story room and many olive oil lamps were burning. A fellow named Eutychus sitting in a window and fell sound asleep during Paul's long sermon. While asleep he fell from the third story window and was declared dead. Since there were many lamps burning in the room where Paul was preaching, Eutychus may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning before he ever hit the ground.
The real story here is that God raised up Eutychus through Paul's praying.
By the way, Paul went on preaching until dawn.
Paul, the Roman citizen
AC 21:27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, "Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.)
AC 21:30 The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. AC 21:33 The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. 35 When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. 36 The crowd that followed kept shouting, "Away with him!"
AC 21:37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, "May I say something to you?" "Do you speak Greek?" he replied. 38 "Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?" AC 21:39 Paul answered, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people."
AC 21:40 Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: 1 "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense."
AC 22:2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: 3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
AC 22:21 "Then the Lord said to me, `Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' " AC
22:22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"
AC 22:23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?"
AC 22:26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. "What are you going to do?" he asked. "This man is a Roman citizen."
AC 22:27 The commander went to Paul and asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I am," he answered.
AC 22:28 Then the commander said, "I had to pay a big price for my citizenship." "But I was born a citizen," Paul replied.
AC 22:29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. AC 22:30 The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.
AC 23:1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!"
AC 23:4 Those who were standing near Paul said, "You dare to insult God's high priest?" AC 23:5 Paul replied, "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: `Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.' "
AC 23:6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead." 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
AC 23:9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. "We find nothing wrong with this man," they said. "What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?" 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
AC 23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."
The book of Acts clearly shows the same kind of controversy and jealousy that killed Jesus.
In this passage, some Jews from out of the area saw Paul in the temple and thought he had brought Gentiles there with him. They raised such a ruckus that Roman soldiers had to come and settle the fuss.
When the Romans were ready to flog Paul in the barracks, he told them he was a Roman citizen who had not been tried. Was this legal?
The commander was alarmed that Paul was a multilingual Roman citizen and agreed to allow Paul to speak to the people and explain himself in front of the Sanhedren, the Jewish court.
Paul coyly brought up the ancient controversy between Parisees and Sadducees. [23:8] The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
Now the ruckus became so violent, the commander feared for Paul's life so he put him in protective custody.
However, the Lord told Paul he would not only have a chance to testify in Jerusalem, he would testify in Rome, too.
Paul almost persuades King Agrippa to become a Christian
AC 25:23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high ranking officers and the leading men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: "King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send on a prisoner without specifying the charges against him."
AC 26:1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 "King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
AC 26:4 "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? AC 26:9 "I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.
AC 26:12 "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
AC 26:15 "Then I asked, `Who are you, Lord?' " `I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16 `Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
AC 26:19 "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen-- 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." AC 26:24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."
AC 26:25 "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."
AC 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"
AC 26:29 Paul replied, "Short time or long--I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."
AC 26:30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 They left the room, and while talking with one another, they said, "This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment."
AC 26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
The Romans in Caesarea and Jerusalem were accosted by the Jews with complaints about Paul and his teaching about Jesus. However, when the leaders listened to Paul, they could not come up with a succinct legal complaint to forward on to Caesar in Rome.
While Paul was testifying before King Agrippa in Caesar, the king said in V 28 KJV,
"Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." This statement has given rise to the altar song modern Altar Song, Almost Persuaded. [YouTube video by Josh Turner.]
After all was said and and done, King Agrippa told Festus that Paul could be set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.
AC 27:27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved." 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.
AC 27:33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food--you haven't eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head." 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
AC 27:39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
AC 27:42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.
While sailing across the Adriatic Sea to Rome, Paul and his fellow travelers encountered a storm at sea. As the sensed they were approaching land they hit a sand bar and the ship began to break apart. Paul had encouraged his fellow travelers to eat some food and warned them to all stay with the ship and they would all be saved. The centurion told the swimmers to jump overboard and swim for it. The nonswimmers floated to shore on planks and parts of the wrecked ship.
One way or the other, they all reached land safely as Paul had promised.
Paul and the viper of Malta
AC 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
AC 28:7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
It was a cold and rainy night when Paul and company landed on the island of Malta. The islanders welcomed the shipwreck survivors and built a fire. As Paul was helping by gathering brushwood for the fire, a viper bit him on the hand and hung on. The islanders said Paul must be a murderer because he escaped the sea but Justice would not let him go free. But Paul showed no ill effects of the snake bite and shook if off into the first, so then the islanders thought he was a god.
The shipwreck victims were entertained at the estate of the governor. While there, the governor's father was sick with diarrhea and a fever. Paul prayed for him and he was healed.
Then the rest of the islanders brought their sick people to Paul and God healed them, too.
When Paul and company was ready to sail on for Rome, the grateful islanders gave them a great non voyage party.
Paul preaches at Rome
AC 28:11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
AC 28:17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar--not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain."
AC 28:21 They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect."
AC 28:23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
AC 28:26 " `Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."
AC 28:27 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'
AC 28:28 "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"
AC 28:30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rome was to be the last stop in his missionary journeys. The Roman officials gave him an appartment with a guard to make sure he didn't wander too far off the reservation.
First, Paul called together the Jewish leaders in Rome and reviewed his problems with the Jews in his travels thus far. The Jewish Romans said they had not received any bad reports on his ministry.
Then Paul called together a larger group of Jews and he preached to them about salvation through accepting Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God.
Paul held camp meeting in his home for two years. He preached Christ boldly and no one stopped him.
Then as now, some accepted the truth, but others walked away unconvinced.
The author of the Bible Highlights is G. Edwin Lint
He has a broad knowledge base and extensive training, and experience. His formal education includes Bachelor of Science in Bible and Bachelor of Theology degrees from the Allentown, Pennsylvania campus of Houghton College; Master of Arts in educational supervision and administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.
He has 36 years of professional education experience with state certification as: Elementary teacher Elementary supervisor Supervisor of curriculum and instruction Elementary principal Special education teacher Supervisor of special education. His professional experience includes 2 years as elementary teacher at Cedarville, NJ, 8 years as teacher, supervisor of special education, and director of education at the Vineland [NJ] State School, 10 years as Assistant superintendent for Rehabilitation Services, and unit manager at the Laurelton [PA] State School, and 15 years as Special Education Adviser for the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg.
Throughout his secular career, he has remained active in Christian service in a variety of capacities: Sunday school teacher Sunday school superintendent Teacher trainer Director of Christian education Choir member, choir director Orchestra member (playing trumpet and tuba) Member and manager of a regional Gospel singing group Owner of a Gospel music store Representative for the Pennsylvania Council on Alcohol Problems Interim and supply pastor.
For over 37 years he has worked as a part -time Gospel DJ. In 1971, he earned an FCC Third Class License with Broadcast Endorsement by passing the written examination. During 1973-1997 he produced and hosted a Gospel music radio program: Gospel Caravan. His program was on Internet radio via streaming audio 2000 through 2009. Ed Lint claims that his most important credential is "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my sin sacrifice. He is my Lamb of God and coming King. The Holy Spirit fills me. He gives me power to live a successful Christian life and protects me from Satan and his demons."
He retired in 1994 and has been an educational consultant and primary author of DiskBooks Electronic Publishing. He has the following publications in the Kindle Store:
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PennSTAR Master Curriculum, 591 pp
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ublishing Your Book via Kindle Direct Publishing, 28 pp Remembering 1952 Sunbury Camp 25 pp Sunday Seminars, 53 pp
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