Thinking on Scripture with Dr. Steven R. Cook
Introduction to Acts

Introduction to Acts

March 1, 2014

Steven provides introductory information for the book of Acts such as authorship, audience, date of writing, literary genre, theological importance, and purpose.  

Acts 1:1-11

Acts 1:1-11

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus appeared to His disciples numerous times over a forty day period, and His final instructions were for them to remain in Jerusalem for the special coming of the Holy Spirit so they would be empowered to serve Him as His witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:2-8; cf. Acts 10:38-42; 13:26-32, 38-39).

Acts 1:12-26

Acts 1:12-26

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that the apostles returned to Jerusalem as the Lord commanded, and then chose another apostle to replace Judas.  

Acts 2:1-13

Acts 2:1-13

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God poured forth His Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost just as He promised, and the church was born (Matt. 16:18; John 14:16-17; 16:7, 13; Acts 1:4-5).  In Acts 2 the church was purely Jewish, but Acts 8, 10 and 15 will reveal that Gentiles will have an equal place in the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:32; Gal. 3:26-28).  

Acts 2:14-24

Acts 2:14-24

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter gives an account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, showing its similarity with what was spoken by the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32).

Acts 2:22-40

Acts 2:22-40

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that many Israelites responded to Peter’s message about Jesus and changed their mind (i.e. repented) about their sinful rejection and crucifixion of Him and believed on Him as the Messiah and were baptized in water as a public expression of their faith.

Acts 2:41-47

Acts 2:41-47

March 1, 2014

About three thousand people believed in Christ as their Savior as a result of Peter’s preaching. They began devoting themselves to: 1) the apostle’s teaching, 2) fellowship, 3) the breaking of bread (i.e. the Lord’s Supper), and 4) prayer (Acts 2:42).  They were sharing their material goods and helping each other as needed, and were meeting and sharing meals “from house to house” (Acts 2:44-46).  It is important to realize that what we read in Acts is descriptive and not prescriptive.  As an historian, Luke reveals what happened in the early church, but does not prescribe it as a model to be forced upon churches everywhere.

Acts 3:1-26

Acts 3:1-26

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter and John healed a lame man for the purpose of drawing attention to Christ so others might turn to Him for salvation.  The healing was instantaneous.  Since the lame man had never known how to walk, the miracle related to the mind as well as the body.  There are cases in Scripture where God did not heal people and used sickness to His advantage (2 Cor. 12:7-10; Phil. 2:25-30; 2 Tim. 4:20; cf. 1 Sam. 16:14-16; 2 Ki. 13:14; 1 Cor. 5:5; 11:27-30).  In one instance, Paul advocated for a natural solution to an illness (1 Tim. 5:23).

Acts 4:1-12

Acts 4:1-12

March 1, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter and John are arrested and placed on trial before the religious leaders of Israel, specifically the Sadducees, for their healing of the lame man and their preaching the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 5:1-4, 8-10).  About 5000 respond positively to Christ and are saved, but a few leaders are negative and cause suffering.

Acts 4:13-37

Acts 4:13-37

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter and John spoke the Word of God with boldness in spite of the threats of persecution that came from the leadership of Israel (Acts 4:13-20). 

Acts 5:1-16

Acts 5:1-16

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God judged and disciplined Ananias & Sapphira for their carnal hypocrisy (Acts 5:1-11), and continued to work through His apostles to spread the gospel message (Acts 5:12-16).  

Acts 5:17-42

Acts 5:17-42

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that the Apostles were faithful to the Lord Jesus to obey His command to preach His message (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 5:20, 29, 42), even though they faced resistance and persecution for doing so (Acts 5:28, 40).

Acts 6:1-15

Acts 6:1-15

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that a problem arose within the church that threatened the teaching and preaching ministry of the Apostles.  The problem was resolved by the selection of seven spiritually mature men, one of whom became a public speaker and experienced conflict and persecution from outside the church.  

Acts 7:1-53

Acts 7:1-53

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Stephen gives a defense of his Christian ministry by showing from the OT Scriptures that Moses’ Law was not the final revelation from God, that the presence of God was not confined to the Jewish temple, and that Israel’s leadership was guilty of rejecting and killing God’s righteous Servant, Jesus Christ.

Acts 7:54 - 8:4

Acts 7:54 - 8:4

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Stephen is martyred by a religious mob that was stirred to hatred by his biblical speech.  Stephen threatened the theological presuppositions of his accusers as well as their religious authority.  The Sanhedrin could not refute the soundness of his biblical presentation, and would not humble themselves before God or His revelation.  Possessed with blinding religious arrogance that drove them to fury, they verbally began shouting at Stephen and physically covered their ears to keep from hearing his message; then, in rage, they drove him from the city and stoned him to death.  

Acts 8:5-24

Acts 8:5-24

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God’s gospel was spreading into the region of Samaria as Christ had prophesied in Acts 1:8 and Gentiles were being saved.  

Acts 8:25-40

Acts 8:25-40

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God continues to expand the gospel message beyond Jerusalem through His faithful servants.  

Acts 9:1-31

Acts 9:1-31

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Saul set out to destroy the church at Damascus, but the Lord stopped him, humbled him, saved him, and called him into Christian service.  There are four biblical accounts of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-18; 22:1-16; 26:1-18; Gal. 1:13-24).

Acts 9:32-43

Acts 9:32-43

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter traveled through Lydda and Joppa and performed miracles in order to draw attention to Christ so others might believe in Him and be saved.  

Acts 10:1-23

Acts 10:1-23

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God reveals to Peter that Gentiles and Jews are both equally acceptable to Him in Christ.  

Acts 10:24-48

Acts 10:24-48

February 2, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God sent Peter to preach the Gospel message to Gentiles who received the message and believed in Christ for salvation, received the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, and were baptized in water as a sign of their conversion.  

Acts 11:1-18

Acts 11:1-18

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Peter defends his divine call to present the Gospel to Gentiles to his Jewish Christian brethren who think he’s broken Jewish Law.

Acts 11:19-30

Acts 11:19-30

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that the Lord established the Church at Antioch and worked through Barnabas and Saul to grow them spiritually in anticipation of the missionary work He would perform through them.  

Acts 12:1-25

Acts 12:1-25

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God permitted Herod to kill James and arrest Peter, but the Lord rescued Peter because of prayer (Acts 12:1-17).

Acts 13:1-12

Acts 13:1-12

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that God is advancing the Gospel message through His church at Antioch, through Paul and Barnabas.  

Acts 13:13-43

Acts 13:13-43

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul and Barnabas shared the gospel message with Jews and Gentiles on their first missionary journey when they came to Pisidian Antioch.

Acts 13:44-52

Acts 13:44-52

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul and Barnabas were faithful to preach the word of God in spite of the opposition they received.

Acts 14:1-20

Acts 14:1-20

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul and Barnabas were faithful to preach the gospel throughout Asia Minor and Galatia in spite of persecution.

Acts 14:21-28

Acts 14:21-28

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul and Barnabas traveled back through the cities where they had preached the gospel and encouraged the new converts with biblical teaching to establish their faith.

Acts 15:1-12

Acts 15:1-12

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul, Barnabas and Peter defended the gospel of salvation by grace alone among the Gentiles against Judaizers who were teaching that salvation required circumcision and adherence to the Mosaic Law.

Acts 15:13-41

Acts 15:13-41

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that James affirms that circumcision is not necessary for salvation, and requests the Christians at Antioch abstain from Gentile pagan practices that offend Jewish Christians.  Subsequently, after the Jerusalem Counsel, Paul and Barnabas have a dispute concerning John-Mark that results in their ministry separation.  

Acts 16:1-40

Acts 16:1-40

January 4, 2014

The Central Idea of the Text is that Paul and Silas begin the Second Missionary 

Journey from Antioch, preaching the gospel message of salvation by grace

through faith in Christ.

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