365 Challenge – Acts

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Dear 365 Readers,

The New Testament divides neatly into two nearly equal sections.  The first consists of four gospels that tell about Jesus’ life on earth.  The second, beginning with Romans, concerns the churches that sprang up after Jesus left.  In between stands the book of Acts. If you are reading the 365 Bible challenge with us, you started Acts this past weekend.

Acts gives us the transition from the life of Christ to the new church.  It introduces Paul and explains how a minority religion crossed the sea to Rome, the capital of the ruling empire.  The reader of Acts will visit key cities sprinkled throughout the Mediterranean, meet the principle leaders of a new movement, and get a taste of the types of problems the will preoccupy early churches.

The book opens in Jerusalem, during the Pentecost holiday.  Jesus’ last recorded words on earth are in Acts 1:8 “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts faithfully follows this outline:  The first seven chapters show the church in Jerusalem, the next five chapters are in Judea and Samaria, and the remainder of the book follows the spread of the gospel to the outposts of the Roman empire.  mapcitiesinacts

In Acts you will meet Peter and Paul, read a series of 18 speeches, and encounter all kinds of exciting events like riots, prison breaks, and shipwrecks.  It reads like a novel, wherever the disciples went the action swirled.  If you can, try to link visits to each city with later letters written to the church in that city.  It’s interesting!

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