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New Testament Survey: Acts of the Apostles



They aren't the same men. Oh, sure. They look the same. They have the same names, same faces, same mannerisms. They look the same . . . but they aren't the same. On the surface they appear no different than before: Peter is still arrogant and impulsive. Nathanael is still reservedly reflective. Philip is still calculating. John still lives up to his nickname, son of Thunder.

But there's something different about them. They aren't the same men you read about in the Gospels. They are the same ones . . . but they aren't the same.

You'll see it. As you read, you'll see it. In their eyes. In their voices. In their passion and compassion. They're the same . . . but they've changed. As you read, you might wonder, are these the same guys? The ones who doubted in Galilee? The ones who argued about who's the greatest? The ones who ran from Jesus in the Garden? Is this Peter, the one who denied Him three times? Are these the same men?

The answer is no. They are not the same. They are different. They have stood face-to-face with God! They have sat at the feet of the resurrected King! They have listened to His words, tried not to stare at the nail holes in His hands and feet. They have experienced His deep love for them as He calmed their fears, excused their doubts, and forgave their denials.

Within each of these men dwells a fire — a burning passion — not found anywhere else or in anyone else on earth. The Father has forgiven them. The Son has loved them. The Spirit has filled them. They most definitely are not the same!

And because they are different, the world is different!

Read their adventures and be encouraged. Read their adventures and be listening. What God did to them and through them, He longs to do for each of us too!

Portions of the above excerpted from "Experiencing the Heart of Jesus", Max Lucado Devotional Bible New Century Version, copyright 2003, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The book of Acts is the only history book in the New Testament. It records events after Christ's ascension, which include the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, early Church government, and the missionary journeys of the Apostles [especially those of Peter and Paul].

The following maps may be helpful for your study of the geographical locations of events in the book of Acts.

Paul's First & Second Journeys

Paul's Third Journey & Journey to Rome

Jesus' last recorded words have come to be known as the "Great Commission" (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). This book of Acts (or more precisely "The Acts of the Apostles"), written by the Greek physician Luke, is the story of men and women who took that commission seriously and began to spread the news of the risen Savior everywhere they went.

The book can actually be divided into three sections:

  • Witness in Jerusalem (1:18:4)

  • Witness in Judea and Samaria (8:512:25)

  • Witness to the "end of the Earth" (1328)

Each section focuses on a particular audience and key personality or a significant phase in the expansion of the Gospel message. While the apostles are mentioned collectively at several points, this book is primarily a record of the acts of Peter (12) and of Paul (1328).

The resurrected Savior, of course, is the central theme of the sermons and defenses in Acts. The Old Testament Scriptures, the historical Resurrection, the Apostolic testimony, and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit all bear witness that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. (See Peter's sermons in 2:22-36 and 10:34-43.)

TO WHOM: All believers, although the book is specifically addressed to Luke's friend, Theophilus.
PURPOSE: The book concerns what Jesus continued to do and teach after His ascension through His spiritual Body, the Church (Acts 1:1-2).
Acts 1:8"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Acts 4:12— "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: The true evidence of the Holy Spirit is His directed power — power to carry the Gospel throughout the known world.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Peter, Paul, Silas, Barnabas, John Mark, Philip, Stephen, Ananias and Sapphira, Dorcas, Cornelius, Felix, Agrippa.


Part One: The Witness in Jerusalem: 1:1-8:4

  1. The Power of the Church: 1:1-8:4
    1. Prologue to Acts: 1:1-2
    2. Appearances of the resurrected Christ: _______________
    3. _____________________________________________: 1:9-11
    4. Waiting for the Spirit: _______________
    5. _____________________________________________: 1:15-26
    6. _____________________________________________: 2:1-4
    7. Speaking with other tongues: _______________
    8. Peter explains Pentecost: 2:14-41
      1. Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32: _______________
      2. Peter speaks of the fulfillment of prophecy: _______________
      3. Peter challenges the listeners to repent and be baptized: _______________
    9. Practices of the early Church: _______________
  2. The Progress of the Church: 3:1-8:4
    1. Peter heals the lame man: _______________
    2. _____________________________________________: 3:12-26
    3. Peter and John are arrested: _______________
    4. Peter preaches to the Sanhedrin [highest court]: _______________
    5. Sanhedrin warns Peter not to preach: _______________
    6. Apostles pray for boldness: _______________
    7. Early church voluntarily shares everything: _______________
    8. _____________________________________________: 5:1-11
    9. Apostles perform many miracles: _______________
    10. Apostles are persecuted: 5:17-42
      1. Apostles miraculously freed from prison: _______________
      2. Apostles preach to the council: _______________
      3. Apostles are beaten: _______________
    11. Apostles appoint Deacons: _______________
    12. Stephen is martyred: 6:9-7:60
      1. Stephen brought before the council: _______________
      2. Stephen preaches to the council: _______________
      3. Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of God: _______________
      4. The council members stone Stephen: _______________
    13. Saul begins his persecution of the Church: _______________

Part Two: The Witness in Judea and Samaria: 8:5-12:25

  1. The Witness of Philip: 8:5-40
    1. Philip witnesses to the Samaritans: _______________
    2. The response of the Samaritans: _______________
    3. Peter and John's work in Samaria: _______________
      1. The coming of the Holy Spirit: _______________
      2. Simon the Sorcerer: _______________
      3. Warning to Simon the Sorcerer's response: _______________
    4. Philip witnesses to the Ethiopian official: _______________
    5. _____________________________________________: 8:36-39
  2. The Conversion of Saul: 9:1-31
    1. Saul is blinded and converted: _______________
    2. Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit: _______________
    3. _____________________________________________: 9:20-22
    4. _____________________________________________: 9:23-31
  3. The Witness of Peter: 9:32-11:18
    1. Peter heals Aeneas at Lydda: _______________
    2. Peter raises Dorcas from the dead: _______________
    3. Peter witnesses to Cornelius: 10:1-11:18
      1. Cornelius sends for Peter: _______________
      2. _____________________________________________: 10:9-22
      3. Peter witnesses to the Gentiles: _______________
      4. Cornelius & other Gentiles converted and speak in tongues: _______________
    4. Peter defends his ministry to the Gentiles: _______________
  4. The Witness of the Early Church: 11:19-12:25
    1. The witness of the Antioch church: _______________
    2. The persecution by Herod: _______________
      1. _____________________________________________: 12:1,2
      2. Peter miraculously released from prison: _______________
      3. Herod blasphemes and dies: _______________

Part Three: The Witness to the End of the Earth: 13:1-28:31

  1. The First Missionary Journey: 13:1-14:28
    1. Barnabas and Saul leave Antioch: _______________
    2. Ministry at Cyprus: _______________
      1. _____________________________________________: 13:4,5
      2. Controversy with Bar-Jesus: _______________
    3. Ministry at Antioch: _______________
      1. Paul preaches on first Sabbath: _______________
      2. _____________________________________________: 13:44-50
    4. Ministry at _______________: 13:51-14:5
    5. Ministry at _______________: 14:6-20
      1. _____________________________________________: 14:6-10
      2. The people worship Paul and Barnabas: _______________
      3. _____________________________________________: 14:19-20
    6. Ministry on the return trip: 14:21-25
    7. Report on the first missionary journey: _______________
  2. The Jerusalem Council: 15:1-35
    1. Debate over Gentiles keeping the Law: _______________
    2. ____________________________________________________________: 15:6-11
    3. Paul and Barnabas testify: _______________
    4. James proves Gentiles are free from the Law: _______________
    5. The Council sends an official letter: _______________
    6. Report to Antioch: _______________
  3. Second Missionary Journey: 15:36-18:22
    1. The argument: _______________
    2. Ministry at _______________: 16:1-5
    3. Ministry at _______________: 16:6-10
    4. Ministry at _______________: 16:11-40
    5. Ministry at _______________: 17:1-9
    6. Ministry at _______________: 17:10-14
    7. Ministry at _______________: 17:15-34
    8. Ministry at _______________: 18:1-18
    9. Ministry at _______________: 18:19-21
    10. Jerusalem and Antioch: 18:22
  4. Third Missionary Journey: 18:23-21:14
    1. Asia Minor: _______________
    2. Ministry in _______________, 3 years: 18:24-19:41
      1. ______________________________: 18:24-28
      2. John's disciples receive the Holy Spirit: _______________
      3. _____________________________________________: 19:8-10
      4. Miracles performed at Ephesus: _______________
      5. Timothy and Erastus sent to Macedonia: _______________
      6. Demetrius causes problem at Ephesus: _______________
    3. Ministry in Macedonia and Greece: _______________
    4. Ministry in Troas: _______________
    5. Ministry in Miletus: _______________
    6. Tyre: Paul warned about Jerusalem: 21:1-6
    7. Ministry in Ptolemias: 21:7
    8. Ministry in Caesarea: 21:8-14
  5. The Trip to Rome: 21:17-28:31
    1. Paul witnesses in Jerusalem: 21:15-23:32
      1. Paul conforms to Jewish customs: _______________
      2. Paul is arrested: _______________
      3. Paul defends himself to the crowd: _______________
      4. Paul defends himself to the Centurion: _______________
      5. Paul defends himself to the Sanhedrin: _______________
      6. _____________________________________________: 23:12-22
      7. Paul is rescued from the Jews: _______________
    2. Paul witnesses in Caesarea [in Philippi]: 23:34-26:32
      1. Paul is tried before _______________: 23:34-24:27
      2. Paul is tried before _______________: 25:1-22
      3. Paul is tried before _______________: 25:23-26:32
    3. Paul witnesses in Rome: 27:1-44
      1. Paul witnesses during the shipwreck: _______________
      2. Paul witnesses on Malta: _______________
      3. Paul witnesses in Rome: _______________

Further Study
In the following chart, write and study some of the miracles recorded in the book of Acts.
[Note: This chart is for your convenience. It does not necessarily contain the correct number of rows for all the miracles recorded in Acts.]

Study the sermons in the book of Acts. Use this chart to record your studies.
[Note: This chart is for your convenience. It does not necessarily contain the correct number of rows for all the sermons recorded in Acts.]

Study the prayers recorded in the book of Acts. Use this chart to organize your studies.
[Note: This chart is for your convenience. It does not necessarily contain the correct number of rows for all the prayers recorded in Acts.]

Study the life of the Apostle Paul using the following outline:

  • Paul's early life: Acts 22:3

  • Paul's persecution of Christianity: Acts 8:1-4; 9:1-2

  • Paul's conversion: Acts 9:3-21

  • Paul's early years of service: Acts 9:22-31; 11:22-30

  • First missionary journey: Acts 13:1-14:28

  • The Jerusalem Council: Acts 15:1-35

  • Second missionary journey: Acts 15:36-18:22

  • Third missionary journey: Acts 18:23-21:27

  • Paul visits Jerusalem, is arrested, and is sent to Caesarea where he remains in custody under Felix for two years, then appeals to Caesar: Acts 21:17-26:32

  • The journey to Rome by sea: Acts 27:1-44

  • Paul's first Roman imprisonment (two years): Acts 28:1-31

  • Paul's final travels: Romans 15:28

  • Paul's second Roman imprisonment and martyrdom: II Timothy 4:6

Life in the first Church was:

  • Confessing: 2:4

  • Convicting: 2:7

  • Converting: 2:37

  • Consistent: 2:42

  • Continuing: 2:46

  • Communing: 2:46

  • Contagious: 2:47

The following summary will help you remember the content of the book of Acts.

  • Person: Jesus Christ

  • Power: Holy Spirit

  • Preachers: Peter, Paul, Stephen, Philip

  • Places: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the world

  • Program: Extension of the Gospel message

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