Friday, April 13, 2012


We're quickly moving through the New Testament, into Acts.  This book is accepted to be authored by Luke (of the Gospel of Luke) and details the earliest history of the church.  Imagine if you will, a church made of of (first) predominately former Jews, many of whom continued observing the laws and customs of that group.  Add into this the newly "christianized" gentiles who were outside the "law" and without a history of its customs.  All led by the 12 original disciples (Judas having been replaced by Matthias early in the book) and then adding other leaders including perhaps the most "famous" one for today's Christians, Paul.  Must have been a bit similar to today's denominational "differences" that often surface when we get so focused on being "right" that we forget that most important command -- love your neighbor as yourself.  Sounds simple in theory, but then as today, it's much more difficult in practice (at least for me!).
So here's some interesting facts/information about Acts (written perhaps around 60AD):
From an historical standpoint, Acts provides us a wonderful description of the early church.  Without it there'd be less of a starting point to understand how it developed.  It also allows the "leaders" to be human -- they have questions, they sin, they are not perfect -- they are just as we are.
A good deal of the book details Paul's ministry -- we see this in our chronological reading in that we switch to/from Paul's epistles to/from Acts.  However, we note that the author did not seem to have access to the letters themselves -- no where are they quoted within Acts.  In the days before copy machines, this makes sense!
Another aspect that I find particularly comforting is the assurance within the book that Jesus came for both Jew and Gentile.  Yes, the Jews are God's chosen people, but our God is so loving that he sent his son for the non-Jew as well.
The Holy Spirit is also a primary focus of the book -- it resides within the believer.  It is a comfort to me to know that the Holy Spirit is with me always both for comfort and as a reminder when I am tempted to fall to sinfulness.
In any event, I hope you continue to journey through the Bible and that what little information I can share will help in a small way!