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BIBL 102 (Fa '14) T11a - Acts

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Hartmut Scherer

on 8 November 2014

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Transcript of BIBL 102 (Fa '14) T11a - Acts

Introduction
(Adapted from Zondervan Academic Resources for "Grasping God's Word)
http://www.openresources.org/wp-content/themes/tma/images/latest/Acts470.jpg
Four accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, one story of the birth and growth of the early church
Descriptive
– early church valuable
and inspiring, but not
necessarily binding on us
“Acts” for short
Acts: a sequel to Luke
Luke produced a single work in two parts: Luke-Acts.
Definite overlap between the ending of Luke and the beginning of Acts
What Jesus began to do during his earthly ministry he now continues to do through his Spirit-empowered followers.
What kind of book is Acts?
Luke shapes his story for theological purposes.
Look for repeated themes and patterns
(= single most helpful guideline)
Why did Luke write Acts?
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
– Luke 1:1-4
Luke’s purposes/themes:
Holy Spirit
God's sovereignty
Church
Prayer
Suffering
Gentiles
Witness
Spirit Church Gospel World
How is Acts
organized?

In the very last verse of Acts, we find Paul in a Roman prison, but the gospel of Jesus Christ marches on … “without hindrance” (last word in the Greek text).
Acts 1-6

"in Jerusalem"

Peter
Acts 7-12

“in Judea and Samaria”

mostly Peter;
Paul (ch. 9)
Acts 13-28

“to the ends of the earth”

Paul
Grasping the message of Acts
We read Acts in the much the same way that we read the Gospels
One major interpretive challenge:
Acts is normative so that the church in every age should imitate the experiences and practices of the early church.
Normative
Acts is merely descriptive of what was valuable and inspiring in the early church, but not necessarily binding on us today.
Descriptive
OR
I suggest that we interpret Acts as both normative and descriptive.
The difficulty is knowing what is normative and what is merely descriptive.
Guidelines for discerning what is normative:
Look for what Luke intended to communicate.

Look for positive and negative examples in the characters of the story.

Read individual episodes in light of the overall story.

Look to other parts of Acts for clarification.

Look for repeated patterns and themes.
Title?
“The continuing acts of Jesus by his Spirit through the apostles and other early Christian leaders”
Unique interpretive challenges
Normative
– the church in every age
should imitate the
early church
Luke intended to link these two books together
Compare Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1-2
Thematic and structural parallels between the two books
Both historian and theologian?
Acts is a story that focuses on key church leaders.
Acts is theological history.
As a historian Luke composes a reliable record of what happened in the move of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome.
As a theologian, Luke tells the story for the purpose of advancing the Christian faith.
How do we find theology in a story?
Ask the standard story questions
Pay attention to clues and instructions from the author
Look carefully at direct discourse
Acts as a comprehensive discipleship manual?
Luke shows believers that what God promised in the OT and fulfilled in Jesus, he now continues to work out through his church.
Acts 1:8 holds the key to understanding how Luke organizes his story of the triumphant expansion of the gospel from Jerusalem (heart of Israel) to Rome (heart of the empire).
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