Why Acts?

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Beginning September 14, 2008, Rush Creek Bible Church begins a Sunday evening Bible study series based on the book of Acts.  In some ways my plan for Acts is ambitious.   My plan is to teach through Acts, finishing in May or June of 2009.  Some people might describe this as a very long series, others  will say I am being extremely brief! That is the way it is with the book of Acts, since there is a great deal of information in the book about how we got from Jesus of Nazareth to Paul in Rome.

My goal for this blog is to post a “teaser” for Sunday night on the Thursday before, and a reflection from Sunday evening on the Monday after.  There is a link to the audio for the series on this page, as well as a link to the notes for the evening a in PDF file.  The comments section is open for your responses, questions, and observations. I look forward to any interaction that comes out of our study together.

The book of Acts is not a sequel.  Rather it is an continuation of the project Luke began in his Gospel.  The “whole story” is Luke-Acts, and if possible, we ought to read Luke-Acts as a single work.  There are themes which run through both books and there are elements in Acts which are anticipated by the gospel of Luke.  Rather than seeing Acts as a second thought (or worse, a sequel), Acts should be read as the second half of Luke’s explanation of how the Gospel went from Galilee, through Jerusalem, and then to the whole world, including Rome.

One example of the relationship between Luke and Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit.  In Luke 3 John the Baptist says that the one who will come after him will baptize with “fire and the Holy Spirit.” This baptism of the Holy Spirit dos not occur until Acts 2 when the Spirit descends on the Apostles “like tongues of fire.”

So, why the book of Acts?  There are number of reasons, but a major motivation is the frequent mis-application of the book of Acts in the church today.  We really do not know what to make of the book, so we make it into what ever we choose, often running rough-shod over what Luke actually says in the book.  In some ways the book is about the “origin of the church,” but there is more going on in the book than this.  People often have the mistaken idea that the book of Acts portrays the primitive church as an ideal we ought to try to recreate in our congregations today.  In most cases people have a single issue in mind and do not apply Acts to all their practice, resulting in some serious difficulties.

So how are we to use the book of Acts?  We will work on this a bit on Sunday, see you there.