October 18th

Acts 25-26

  • 25:7-12 – Like with Jesus, the Romans technically did not have to answer to Jewish law, but the Jewish leaders put a great deal of pressure on them to convict people for breaking their laws.
  • 25:22 – Agrippa was actually King Herod Agrippa, the last of the Herods
  • 26:4-8 – The Jews longed for a Messiah. This is what Paul is referring to in verse 6 when he talks about a promise they hoped in. Most Jews simply did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
  • 26:19-23 – Paul, having been a very devout Jew his whole life, knew all the prophecies and what faithful Jews believed. He is able to appeal to them using the testimonies of Moses and the prophets, whom the Jews greatly revered, to confirm what he was preaching.
  • 26:28-29 – Paul basically drops the mic here. He wants King Agrippa to become a Christian as well as everyone else within earshot.

26:32 – It is not absurd to think that Paul knew he could have gotten out of prison quicker if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, but did it anyway because his ultimate goal was to evangelize in front of more people, particularly those at the top

October 17th

Acts 23-24

  • 23:3 – “Whitewashed wall” is a metaphor for a hypocrite. Looks good on the outside, but who knows what it’s hiding.
  • 23:11 – God gives Paul a clear charge. He was faithful in sharing the gospel in Jerusalem even though it wasn’t well received and he should now do the same in Rome.
  • 23:16-35 – The Romans do not allow the Jews to kill Paul, but they also do not release him.
  • 24:22-27 – It seems as if Felix might come to faith based on Paul’s teachings, but it doesn’t seem that he does. Instead he leaves Paul in prison, which means he has now been in prison for 2 years.

October 16th

Acts 21-22

  • 21:10-14 – Though Christian persecution was rampant in Jerusalem, Paul knew he had to go there. All his companions tried to convince him not to, but he was well prepared to face persecution for the sake of the gospel.
  • 21:23-24 – These four men had taken the Nazirite vow. At some time before the vow they must have done something against the vow they were taking, which caused them to need to shave their heads and be purified for 7 days. Paul sponsors them financially.
  • 21:28-29 – It was illegal to bring a non-Jew into the temple and Trophimus was Greek. It seems that Paul did not actually do this and even if he had, according to the law, the people should have attacked Trophimus, not Paul.
  • 22:4-16 – Paul addresses his captors by sharing his conversion experience and why he switched from devout Jew who persecuted Christians to tireless Christian from a Jewish background.
  • 22:17-21 – The Jews in the synagogues knew Paul’s past and it seemed to be a barrier for some of them to believe what he now believed – that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, God sent him to the Gentiles.

22:25 – It was illegal to use whips to gain a confession from a Roman citizen. Clearly the powers that be were unaware of his citizenship.

October 15th

Acts 19-20

  • 19:13-20 – The Ephesians had seen Paul cast out evil spirits and some people wanted to do the same by using magic. It backfired and caused a lot more people to follow Jesus.
  • 19:23-27 – It is no new thing that people are persuaded to be unfaithful in order to secure or grow their finances.
  • 19:32-34 – A case of mob mentality.
  • 19:35-41 – The mob is disassembled, but the issue is not resolved.
  • In case you’re getting confused about Paul’s journeys – where he’s been and where he’s headed, here is a map of all of his travels (use saved pic instead of link). Oh, and who knew, but there’s a board game of Paul’s journeys as well, for some good old fashioned holy family fun.
  • 20:7-12 – Peter was able to raise Tabitha from the dead and Paul raises this young man. It seems like it was the right thing to do considering Paul had literally bored him to death.
  • 20:18-35 – Paul, on this his third of four journeys, knows his ministry on earth is coming to an end, but he is satisfied with his own willing to suffer persecution in order to share the gospel.

October 14th

Acts 17-18

  • 17:1- Thessalonica is where Paul sent the Letter to the Thessalonians. He did not visit all the churches he wrote to, but this is one he did.
  • 17:2-9 – Jason was a local believer who allowed Paul and Silas to stay with him. He was punished with a fine for hosting the apostles.
  • 17:11-12 – People weren’t simply believe blindly, but were studying the Scriptures to discern and it led them to the truth.
  • 17:22-34 – Paul’s address to the people of Athens is powerful and convincing, even quoting some of their culture’s writings. As was always the case, some were convinced and some were not.
  • 18:5-6 – It is common through out Jesus’ and Paul’s ministries that they try to share the gospel with the Jews but when rejected they offer the same message to the gentiles.
  • 18:7-11 – The faithfulness and hospitality of Titius and Crispus allow Paul to stay and minister in Corinth for a year and a half.
  • 18:12 – Macedonia was the northern part of Greece. Achaia was the southern part. Corinth was located in Achaia.
  • 18:14-15 – Like with Jesus, the Jews bring their complaints to the state official.
  • 18:17 – Sosthenes was the chief ruler of the Corinthian synagogue.
  • 18:24-28 – Apollos had not yet been baptized in the Spirit, and still needed a little refinement in his teaching. The believers took him under their wing to help him grow in his faith

October 13th

Acts 15-16

  • 15:1-11 – Some Jews, who had become believers, still felt the need to cling to the law and the sign that they were set apart. Peter urges them that the law had not worked for salvation and so it is the grace of Jesus alone that saves.
  • 15:19-21 – Peter makes it clear that Jesus didn’t abolish faithfulness and living to please God. There were still standards. It was just important to know that the law wasn’t a means of salvation.
  • 15:39-40 – Church disputes happen because we’re human. Like this one, God works good through our failures. Now there are two teams ministering instead of the one they had before.
  • 16:1-5 – Timothy became Paul’s protégé. Paul circumcised Timothy, even though it was no longer truly necessary, to give him credibility with those he would minister to.
  • 16:10 – Note that the narrator goes from being simply a narrator to a participant by starting to use “we”. This is to indicate that Luke, the writer of Acts, has joined the mission team.
  • 16:16-24 – Paul drives the evil spirit out of the young women, but her owners, who profited off that spirit are not pleased. They get others on board and beat and imprison the apostles.
  • 16:25-34 – Paul and Silas are miraculously released from prison, but they stay and end up converting the jailer.

October 12th

Acts 13-14

  • 13:16-25 – Paul sums up the grace of God and the failures of the Israelites from Jacob to John the Baptist.
  • 13:26-41 – Paul explains how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies the Jews read so frequently and longed to have fulfilled. He also warns them not to be the ones who fulfilled the prophecy that many people would not see and understand.
  • 13:44-47 – The Jews, who were jealous of Paul and Barnabas’ crowd, denounced what Paul was saying. Paul reminds them that Jesus came for them first but was rejected. The gentiles now had a shot.
  • 14:1-7 – Though the readings can be misinterpreted as such, the Jews weren’t bad. Throughout Acts, many come to faith. Some of the Jewish religious leaders, however, did oppose Jesus’ mission and ministry and cause problems.
  • 14:8-10 – Healings often happened because of faith. This one is simply because Paul saw faith in the crippled man.
  • 14:11-18 – The people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were their gods in human form. This, for obvious reasons, greatly distressed the men of God.
  • 14:19-23 – When Paul later writes about suffering for the sake of Christ, he is not speaking figuratively. He truly had suffered greatly to share the gospel.

October 11th

Acts 11-12

  • 11:2 – Yes, the “circumcision party” sounds like a terrible party, but this isn’t actually referring to a party with balloons and confetti. This is simply referring to a group of people who held to Jewish law and custom, but were believers in Christ.
  • 11:4-18 – It’s beautiful that these Jewish believers find great joy in God extending his grace and salvation to gentiles as well.
  • 11:26 – The term “Christian” means “little Christs”.
  • 12:3 – Passover was also when Jesus was arrested and killed.
  • 12:6-11 – A thrilling, 80’s, musical rendition of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNIO9KH3UC8.
  • 12:12-17 – They assumed that Peter would die in prison and were not expecting to see him.

October 10th

Acts 9-10

  • 9:2 – “The Way” is what early Christians were called.
  • 9:3-16 – Certainly there were many people who persecuted the early Christians. God had a specific purpose for Saul – to minister to the gentiles – so he converted him dramatically.
  • 9:20-22 – Saul’s conversion was so dramatic because he was well known for persecuting Christians. We know him as Paul, a faithful disciple, so it’s easy for us to believe what he says about practicing our faith, but those who had heard of him previously would have had a difficult time.
  • 9:26 – Sometimes the consequences of our previous sins linger.
  • 9:36-43 – Despite an unfortunate nickname, Tabitha was a great asset to those around her. She served and provided for those around her. Her resurrection also brought many people to faith.
  • 10:9-16 – Peter, though a dedicated follower of Jesus, was still culturally a Jew and still followed their laws. He feared eating something that was previously forbidden, but God made it clear that he was now allowed to.
  • 10:23-29 – Traditionally, a Jew wouldn’t enter the home of another people group. God made it clear to Peter that this was now ok and he no longer needed to keep these types of divisions.
  • 10:34-35 – Remember, Jesus explained that his first mission was to “the lost sheep of Israel” or Israelites who were not faithful. Peter continued that ministry, but now it is clear that ministry has been opened up to people other than the Israelites.

10:44-48 – The Holy Spirit coming to the gentile believers was even more proof than Peter’s words that salvation was available for all.

October 9th

Acts 7-8

  • 7:30-38 – Stephen continues to recount Moses’ journey and experience.
  • 7:39-50 – Stephen continues to describe times when the Israelites’ ancestors interacted with God. He highlights their unfaithfulness at times.
  • 7:51-53 – Stephen is addressing a Jewish audience, which is why he speaks of their fathers not listening to the prophets. Saying they have uncircumcised hearts and ears would directly accuse them of not being God’s people. Circumcision was part of their culture and identity as Jews.
  • 7:58 – This is the same Saul who becomes Paul. The Jews laying their garments at Saul’s feet shows that he was heavily involved in Stephen’s death.
  • 7:60 – Stephen was the first martyr for Christ.
  • 8:1 – The early Christians were scattered around 70 A.D. when the temple was destroyed.
  • 8:3 – Saul was a terrifying persecutor of Christians. He was a devout Jew.
  • 8:14-17 – It seems odd that the Samarians received Christ and chose to be baptized but weren’t able to have the Holy Spirit until the apostles came.
  • 8:26-38 – Philip was led into a clear evangelism opportunity by listening to the Spirit. We often wonder if we are supposed to share our faith or not in certain situations, but if we trust the Spirit to guide us, it will become clear.