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LDS New Testament Notes 12: Acts 1:1–9:43

LDS New Testament Notes 12: Acts 1:1–9:43

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Published by: Mike Parker on Jan 16, 2011
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New TestamentWeek 12: Acts 1:1–9:43
1)
Introduction.a)The Acts of the Apostles is a “part two” of the Gospel of Luke. Together they are called
 Luke-Acts
by scholars. b)As with Luke, both books are
anonymous
—the author does not identify himself.However, it is certain that the same person wrote both books.i)Tradition affirms that the two books were written by Luke the physician (Colossians4:14) who was a “fellowlabourer” with Paul (Philemon 1:24).
1
The most intriguingsections of Acts are the so-called “we-passages”
2
which imply that the narratorhimself was a companion of Paul on some of his voyages.c)Both Luke and Acts are addressed to a man named Theophilus (“loved of God”—Luke1:3; Acts 1:1), who was probably Luke’s patron who sponsored the writing of the twomanuscripts.i)Acts 1:1–14 also contains an introduction that recaps and expands on the end of Luke. Together the two books make up more than a quarter of the New Testament.
3
d)Acts is Luke’s account of the taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.i)It begins with the ascension of Christ after his 40-day ministry (c.
 A 
.
D
. 30) and ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome (c. A.D. 62).ii)It is not a comprehensive history of every major event, but instead Luke’s account of key moments in expansion of the gospel. It spends a lot of time focusing on themissionary journeys of Paul (chapters 9, 11–14, 15–28), probably because Luke hadfirst-hand knowledge of these incidents and believed Paul to be important.e)Dating Acts is difficult because of its ending. The traditional date for Luke is
 A 
.
D
. 80–85, which would mean Acts would have been written within the same time frame or very soon after it.i)But if Acts was written over 20 years after Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (28:16–31) why did Luke end there? Why didn’t he finish the story by telling us if Paul ever gothis hearing before the emperor? Why didn’t he tell us of Paul’s later ministry andmartyrdom? These questions make up the strongest argument that Luke finished writing Acts in
 A 
.
D
. 62, and therefore Luke’s Gospel was written in the late 50s.
4
ii)Those who hold to the later date have responded that Luke might have intended Actsto be the second part of a three-part work, and that part three—which would havecovered Paul’s later ministry—was never written, perhaps because Luke himself wasmartyred.f)Themes (these are listed on the handout).
1
Luke’s name in Greek is
λυκας
(
lucas
). KJV Philemon 1:24 translates this literally instead of Anglicizing it as it does inColossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11.
2
See Acts 16:10–17; 20:5–15; 21:1–18; 27:1–28:16.
3
Luke has 19,482 Greek words, and Acts 18,451. Of the 138,020 words in the New Testament, Luke-Acts comprises 27.5%.(See link in footnoteError: Reference source not found.)
4
Daniel B. Wallace of the Dallas Theological Seminary argues for the earlier date here:
http://bible.org/seriespage/acts-introduction-outline-and-argument
. Wallace is part of a minority of conservative scholars who hold to this view.
© 2011, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
 
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Acts 1:19:43Week 12, Page 2
i)
The spread of the gospel throughout the world.
At the beginning of Acts Jesus tellsthe apostles, “ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (1:8). Acts lays out thefulfillment of this commandment:(1)Chapters 1–7 describe the preaching of the apostles and the growth of the churchin Jerusalem.(2)Chapters 8–12 focus on the spread of the church to other parts of Judea, toSamaria, and to nearby Syria.(3)Chapters 13–28 deal with the expansion of Christianity to “the ends of the earth,”through Asia Minor, Greece, and eventually to Rome.ii)
Witnesses of Christ.
Jesus’ commissioning of the apostles as witnesses of him (1:8) isfulfilled as they testify as eyewitnesses his resurrection.
5
iii)
The growth and organization of the Christian church.
Acts recounts thedevelopment of a primitive church organization, with Peter and the apostles at thehead.
6
iv)
 Persecution and martyrdom.
The gospel does not spread without opposition, andLuke recounts the difficulties the early Christians faced, including the death of several prominent leaders (7:54–60; 12:1–2) and the persecutions Peter, John, andPaul encountered. v)
The Temple.
Luke’s gospel begins (1:5–23) and ends (24:53) at the JerusalemTemple. In Acts the Temple continues to play a significant role in the early Christiancommunity: Luke describes the apostles teaching, meeting, and healing thereregularly.
7
g)We’re going to look at the opening portion of Acts topically, rather than in a strictchronological fashion. We’ll start by examining the structure and organization of theChristian church, and then look at the accounts of Peter, Stephen, Philip, and Saul.
2)
1:1–4. Luke’s salutation to Theophilus (compare Luke 1:1–4).a)1:2. Note that Luke states right up front that just because Jesus has ascended intoheaven doesn’t mean his disciples are on their own. He continued to lead his followers by giving revelation to the apostles.i)Luke is going to develop on that theme by giving examples of how the Lord did this.
3)
Church organization.a)1:15–26. Matthias is chosen as Judas’ replacement.i)This event demonstrates that the twelve apostles were not a one-time organization, but a revealed order to be perpetuated.(1)1:22. The replacement for Judas was to be chosen from among those who had been with Jesus from the first, but this was not a
 perpetual 
requirement. Forexample, Paul did not meet that requirement, and yet he was an apostle.
8
5
See Acts 1: 22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39–42; 13:30–31.
6
See Acts 1:15–26; 2:41–47; 4:32–5:11; 6:1–8; 15:1–22.
7
See Acts 2:46; 3:1–11; 5:12, 42; 21:26.
8
See Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1–2; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1.
© 2011, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
 
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Acts 1:19:43Week 12, Page 3
(a)However it is clear from the context that the replacement be someone who was known to the apostles and was reliable, and not just a stranger.
9
(2)1:26. The exact nature of 
lots
is unknown, but it appears to be a way of making adetermination by chance, like with modern dice.
(a)It’s possible that the lots cast here were used by the apostles to determinerandomly who should fill Judas’ position. If so, they probably expected thatthe Lord would control the outcome and indicate His choice (1:24).(b)But it appears that
each
of the eleven apostles cast a lot, rather than one lot tomake the decision. This could therefore mean that they each cast a
ballot 
withtheir choice, with the results of the vote falling on Matthias.(c)In any case, the apostles had already chosen two candidates and prayed thatthe Lord’s will would be done in deciding who would receive the appointment(1:23–25). b)4:32–5:11. The believers have all possessions in common.i)4:32, 34–35. The phrases “neither was there any among them that lacked” and“distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” show that theinfant church was effective in pulling off the law of consecration, at least initially.
ii)4:36–37. A positive example: Barnabas. (He will later become very important in thestory of the spread of the Church.
)iii)5:1–11. A negative example: Ananias and Sapphria. Their transgression was notgreed,
 per se
, because participation in the Christian community was voluntary.Rather it was their conspiracy to deceive the apostles.(1)5:4b. “Thou has not lied unto men, but unto God.” Peter and the apostlesrepresented God as the administrators of his kingdom. (Compare D&C 1:38;21:4–5.)c)6:1–7. Seven are appointed to minister in temporal affairs.i)A conflict arises between the
Grecians
(or
 Hellenists
) and the Hebrews in Jerusalem.The Hellenists were Greek-speaking Jews who had adopted Greek thought, customs,and lifestyle, as well as the Greek language.
The Hellenists believed that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food (KJV “ministration”).ii)The apostles resolve the problem by having the Hellenists select seven of their ownto see to the duty. (One of them, Nicolas, was a
 proselyte
—a Gentile who had
9
This precedent continues in the Church today: New members of the Quorum of the Twelve are typically chosen from theSeventy or the Presiding Bishopric. These brethren are a “known quantity,” in that the leaders of the Church have seen them inthe performance of their duties and know their reliability ahead of time.
10
All four gospel writers note that the Roman soldiers cast lots to see who would receive Jesus’ clothing after he had beencrucified (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24).
11
The other two scriptural communities that successfully managed to live consecration were Enoch’s city (Moses 7:18) andthe Nephites following the visit of the Savior (4 Nephi 1:3).
12
Barnabas will later play important role in introducing the converted Saul to the apostles at Jerusalem (9:27), as theleader of the mission to Antioch (11:19–26) and the relief mission to Jerusalem (11:27–30), in Paul’s first missionary journey (13:1–14:28), at the Jerusalem Council (15:2, 12). He is referred to as “beloved” of the apostles (15:25).
13
The Hellenists were the descendants of Jews that settled in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, but had since scatteredthroughout the Roman Empire. In the early 3rd century 
B
.
C
. Jews moved into Egypt in large numbers, where they became amajor segment of the population. Estimates are that the Jewish population in Alexandria reached nearly one million by thefirst century 
 A 
.
D
.
© 2011, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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