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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through ScriptureCovering Acts 13 – 15:29


Day One

Read Acts 13: 1-2

· V. 1 – From these names of the leaders in the Antioch church, you get a sense of the mobility of the 1stcentury Mediterranean world – people from all over have converged in Antioch. And the church partook of this cosmopolitanism and socio-economic diversity.


· V. 2 – “Worshiping the Lord… fasting…praying” – one of these we commonly don’t do. Wouldn’t want to be legalistic!


· V. 6 – “a man of intelligence” – what a word to capture this man’s character. It must mean something more than quick or knowledgeable.


· Did Tolkien draw his inspiration for Wormtongue from Elymas the magician?


Day Two

Read Acts 13: 13 - 43

· V. 13 – John [Mark] leaves the group, and this sets the scene for a later dispute. That dispute suggests that he abandoned the group when the going got tough. So, though so far Luke doesn’t refer to any danger on this trip, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any.


· V. 16 – “Motioning with his hand” – Luke’s purpose for including this intriguing detail? What do you think?


· You’ll see several times in Acts the Jewish habit of setting events into a historical context. And don’t overlook the various ways in the different sermons of recounting the nation’s history. For instance, in this one Paul chooses to begin with the stay in Egypt. And includes a protracted mention of John the Baptist. These details, and others, are not random additions, but deliberate choices of the speakers. Also deliberate choices: things that are left out. It’s our job as readers/interpreters to think through: why these particular details and not others?


· V. 26 – “Those among you who fear God” – these are Gentiles who’ve converted to Judaism.


· This sermon is another evidence that the predominant theme of the early Christians was specifically the Resurrection of Jesus. Quick test to discover if you’ve grasped some of the importance of the Resurrection: how many answers can you give to the question: what did the Resurrection mean?


Day Three

Read Acts 13: 44 - 52

· V. 45 – “Jealousy” – and not intellectual qualms etc – spurring opposition to the gospel. All too human! And we’ve seen this before! (Matthew 27:18; Acts 5: 17) The gospel often calls forth a power struggle. It presents the possibility that we will have to give up some kind of control.


· V. 48 – “As many as were appointed” – what does this mean?


· V. 52 – which disciples had these? Paul and Barnabas? The converts who they left among an antagonistic populace? In either case, it’s encouraging to see the presence of joy amidst the stress. Christians were/are/should be known for their spirits and emotions not being captive to their circumstances.


Day Four

Read Acts 14: 1-18

· V. 3 (v.2) – they encounter more opposition, but this time (as contrasted with the previous reading), they decide to stay. Formulas for decision-making don’t always transfer from one setting to the next.


· V. 6 – “Fled” – what an inelegant word for emissaries of the Almighty! But sometime the choice is between life and looking composed.


· V. 9 – “Seeing that he had faith to be made well” – now, what exactly does that “faith” look like? Perhaps something in the way that he attentively listened (v. 9). Faith and concentration go together. So do unbelief and distraction.


· I’ve never (yet) been mistaken for any of the gods in the Greek pantheon.


· V. 17 – One of the classic references to “common grace” – useful in evangelism.


Day Five

Read Acts 14: 19- 28

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

· V. 20 – is this a stretch: THE ENLIVENING FORCE that comes by being in the presence of God’s people. Gobble down that breakfast and then go find your church shoes.


· V. 22 – one way of strengthening and encouraging is drawing attention away from trials and to the perks of the Christian life. Another way is staring directly at the trial and confirming that trials are part of the terrain on the way to the kingdom. Both “techniques” are helpful at different times.


· V. 23 – “They had appointed elders” – since the Gospel had just recently arrived in these cities, we can imagine that these elders weren’t necessarily deeply knowledgeable of Christian doctrine. But they had the type of character so that they soon would be.


· Evangelism…follow-up with converts…organizing… reporting…rejuvenation by the fellowship of mature believers – all have their place in the work of the kingdom.


Day Six

Read Acts 15: 1-11

· V. 1 – Perhaps, from our vantage point, this contested point about “the custom of Moses” seems unbearably trite. Not so! Adding to the gospel, or setting the gospel into the prongs of a particular culture or atmosphere or cause or X… – dangerous!


· V. 7 – I take it that this council took place after Paul’s confrontation with Peter, recounted in Galatians 2. If that is the case, we have another example of Peter’s (through the Spirit) capacity for positive change. Speaking for myself: I’m not the type of wise person who normally gets things right the first time, but I hope I’ll be able/willing to change as needed.


· V. 10 – what is this yoke that “we’ve…been unable to bear”?


Day Seven

Read Acts 15: 12- 29

· V. 15ff – what a gift to have church leaders who adeptly apply the scriptures to the current situation.


· V. 20 – the few restrictions placed on Gentile believers have been variously understood. “From sexual immorality” needs no explanation. Perhaps the other three restrictions were to the end of not razzing or provoking Jewish Christians who would still be sensitive.?


· V. 23 – “to the brothers who are of the Gentiles…” do you start to realize how much of a reconstruction of theology/ worldview was required for this statement to be made?


· V. 26 – “who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – do you know any such? How about those who at least have upset their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?



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