Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Explore the Bible: Personal Study Guide: Acts 1-12: Spring 2016 by Vance H. Pitman (Editor), Dean Register

5 of 5 stars  *****

Reading the Bible is profound.  Studying sections of its contents with a group of Christians is eye-opening.  A deeper, fuller understanding of events during a time approximately 1500 years ago shed light on today's issues.

Acts is written, most likely, by the physician Luke, author of the third Gospel.  Acts is also evidently written as a sequel to the third Gospel.  The Gospels tell the story of Jesus's life and death.  Acts picks up where Christ ascends on the third day and includes the 40 days He spends with many people, most significantly, the apostles.  This time period also includes His ascension to heaven while leaving the Holy Spirit in His disciples and for all men and women who accept Jesus as Christ.

The purpose of Acts is to inform mankind about the beginning of God's mission, to spread His word to all corners of the world.  This starts with the Holy Spirit in the apostles who form the foundation of His church spreading far and wide - the church being the congregation, not the building.  Paul's story resides in Acts as well.  As a matter of fact, Luke writes in the first person plural when he joins Paul on his mission trips; I becomes we.

The story of the church is not relegated to that era of time.  The story of the people, places, persecutions, and persistence is being written today as it was then.  The Book of Acts: 1-12, ends with the two year imprisonment of the apostle Peter in Rome and his release by an angel right under the noses of the guards stationed there to assure his imprisonment.  Peter responds to the call from God and is guided to safety to influence many more before he meets his eventual earthly demise.  Peter's faith and obedience to God demonstrates a common thread that others show in this New Testament book, Acts.