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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through Scripture: Covering Acts 10-12

Day One

Read Acts 10: 1-33

· Like I, if you have a loved one in the armed forces, you’ll read the many “soldier passages” of the NT with special interest.

· V. 2 – “A devout man who feared God” – and yet who doesn’t have eternal life. Or you could also say, “feared God” and yet (fundamentally) is at enmity with God, as all who aren’t justified through Christ. So then, what does it mean to fear God?

· V. 3 – This story is just as much about Peter’s development as Cornelius’ conversion. When we pray for unbelievers, we should also ask for those believers around them to grow into effectively bearing witness.

· What was the point of the animals on the sheet coming down from Heaven?

Day Two

Read Acts 10:34 - 48

· V. 36 – How is the message of Jesus summarized?

· V. 41 – Another reference to eating and drinking. Thoughts?

· VV. 42-43 – What is the message that the eyewitnesses to the resurrection are to announce?

· V. 47: What is the condition for being baptized mentioned here?

Day Three

Read Acts 11:1-18

· V. 2 – If you do the hard, right thing, you can bet that fellow Christians will be singing your praises… or?

· Luke, the author of Acts, takes the trouble to “replay” the scene on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house via Peter’s testimony. Why do you think he does this? Do you see any difference between the two accounts?

· V. 18 – “They fell silent” – What a moment this is: will the Jerusalem church (HQ) accept the notion that Gentiles, as Gentiles, are coming into the people of God? A lot of tradition and history weighs against their consenting to this idea.

Day Four

Read Acts 11: 19-30

· V. 19 – What was the impetus here for the spreading of the gospel? Remember in Acts 1:8 when we hear about the disciples witnessing in ever expanding concentric circles? God makes sure that actually takes place!

· V. 20 – We met Hellenists in chapter 6. Remember, “Hellenists” are Jews who were heavily influenced by Greek culture. They were what the Pharisees were against, because the feared the potential dilution.

· V. 24 – How does the goodness of Barnabas come out here?

· V. 26 – Barnabas became something of a sponsor to Paul. He’s ok; he’s with me.

· VV. 27-30 – This collection from churches throughout Turkey (and eventually Greece) for the believers in Judea suffering from famine becomes the backdrop for 2 Corinthians 8-9.

Day Five

Read Acts 12:1-5

· A short passage for Sunday so you have time to locate your church shoes.

· V. 2 –This kind of thing has happened more than once: the wickedness of the state and the wickedness of some of the populace feed off each other.

· V. 5 – “But…” – the thing standing between Peter and his execution is the church praying. Corporate prayer makes a difference, and has even saved lives. Consider staying afterward next Sunday for Pizza and PrayerÔ

Day Six

Read Acts 12:6-19

· V. 7 – Ah, the tender ministrations of heaven.

· V. 14 – A fun, little detail that provides a feeling of genuineness to the account.

· V. 15 – I’ll not be the first to point out that we’re not the first generation who prays but secretly suspects nothing will come of it.

· Don’t miss the number of times that Luke in Acts refers to the church praying together.

Day Seven

Read Acts 12:20-25

· More signs of the famine (11:27, 28)

· Anger, power, self-conscious benevolence, adulation – a dangerous cocktail.

· V. 23 – I’ve thought of that phrase a lot: “because he did not give God the glory” – how earnest we should be about assigning the credit to God when things go our way. Not, just don’t be a braggart but go further and deliberately give the glory to God.. See Psalm 115: 1ff

· V. 23 – “Eaten by worms” – you’re welcome, elementary school boys, says Dr Luke. Those little boys love these kinds of gross details! The question is, were these worms already inside of him, and they gained the upper hand against Herod’s immune system in his moment of triumph? Or while the sounds of praise came to his ears, the worms also entered, a la the Scarab beetles in The Mummy?

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