Exploring Acts: Geographical Advances, Themes, and Salvation Perspectives - Paper Sample

Published: 2023-12-26
Exploring Acts: Geographical Advances, Themes, and Salvation Perspectives - Paper Sample
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Literature God Books
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1108 words
10 min read

The Theme of the Geographical/Ethnic Advance

Ger states that the “big idea” of Acts comes from an important opening passage in the book. This passage is about how Jesus was committed to his apostles, "… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Ger, 2004, 14). With this idea, the Holy Spirit tells the apostles to be messengers of the gospel. Luke geographically organizes his book using the divine apostolic commission.

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Many commentators have pointed out that Acts 1:8 is a kind of ‘Table of Contents’ for the book. To advance toward the "first geographic target," Jerusalem's events are put into motion in Acts 1:3-8:4. The disciples head toward Jerusalem before Pentecost. After Peter's sermon during Pentecost, thousands of followers are baptized and devoted to the apostles (Ger, 2004, 16). Ger says that it can be confidently assumed that there were over twenty-one thousand of Christ's followers by the point of Acts 4:4. The apostles begin to preach in Jesus' name in Jerusalem, and persecution of the church begins. The church is sent before the Sanhedrin three times at Jerusalem through the first seven chapters of Acts.

Development of the Themes Introduced in the First Seven Chapters

The theme of God's Providence

It is the greatest theme in the Book of Acts. At the beginning of the book, Jesus appears before the apostles and speaks about the “kingdom” of God (Baker et al., 2011, 25). The apostles believe Jesus will come back to rule Israel by ruling from Jerusalem to rule the world as the king, and they believe that they will rule in the earthly kingdom. God's kingdom represents the gospel's preaching. The kingdom will triumph because God is provident. The church that God is creating is unstoppable. The Sanhedrin cannot stop Peter, John, and Stephen from preaching because they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Ger, 2004, 20). The work of God is building God's kingdom through the Holy Spirit. Oppositions to the church are overcome as the gospel triumphs.

The theme of "Dual-Israel."This theme has two sub-themes. The version of Israel that rejects Christ makes the sub-theme "Unbelieving Israel." It has opposition to the cause of Christ throughout the book. Despite all the wonders and evidence of His son Christ, the truths, and those who lay down their lives, Israel continues to disbelieve God's offer to His people. The Sadducees and the Sanhedrin can be noted as opposing groups in the early chapters (Foss et al., 2010, 15). The primary agency for taking the gospel to the world is the New Israel. New Israel is the “remnant,” the name of the second sub-theme of the “Dual-Israel.” In the period of Acts, the same generation of Israel is a faithful Jewish remnant willing to accept their Messiah and receive the Holy Spirit, and a faithless majority, “Unbelieving Israel,” will cause God’s wrath to fall upon the nation.

Theme of Prayer

There are prayers seven times in the first seven chapters. Something miraculous happens when there is prayer. Prayer is how the will of God is unfolding. Prayer helped the apostles choose an apostolic replacement (Ger, 2004, 18). John and Peter healed a lame man during a time of prayer. Fellowship and devotion are augmented with prayer. It is through prayer that the spirit of God is poured out.

Theme of Suffering

The kingdom followers are law-abiding (Foss et al., 2010, 28). However, they are made to “suffer” when they speak in the name of Jesus (Ger, 2004, 19). Peter and John's first appearance before the Sanhedrin was because they preached at the temple about Jesus’ resurrection. The apostles' second appearance happened because they did not follow the order of the Sanhedrin from the first trial. The apostles were also flogged. Stephen was accused of blasphemy for talking about Jesus, and he was killed after his speech to the Sanhedrin (Baker et al., 2011, 26).

What Peter Believes His Audience Must Understand to be SavedPeter mentions Jesus to motivate people to repent. They are to understand Jesus is the Messiah in each sermon. In Acts 2, Peter says that people who call on the Lord's name, Jesus, will be saved (Ger, 2004, 22). So, the people who hear Peter ask what they should do. His answer to the people is definite; he teaches that what a sinner is believed to do to be saved is to “repent” and “be baptized” (Foss et al., 2010, 32). In Acts 3, when Peter was at the temple, he told the crowd to repent and turn to God and send the Messiah. During their first appearance before the Sanhedrin, Peter states that salvation is found by no one else but Jesus. Accordingly, during their second persecution, Peter mentions Jesus may bring Israel repentance and forgive sins (Ger, 2004, 31).

The Two Primary Recurring Themes in Stephen’s Speech

The first theme in Stephen's speech is that Israel is rejecting the leaders that God raises. Stephen makes an example of this theme by telling his audience about Moses's story (Foss et al., 2010, 12). The story of Moses is an account of Israel’s disobedience. God chose Moses to lead the nation of Israel. When the forefathers gave up on Moses, they gave up on Yahweh. It can be said that the present worshipers lose the truth about Yahweh when they refuse Jesus, who alone knows the Father (Foss et al., 2010, 14). Parallel to Moses, the apostles were chosen to be the "New Israel," and they were rejected by "Unbelieving Israel."

The second theme is that God cannot be limited to dwelling in just the temple (Ger, 2004, 16). This theme seems to quote Isaiah 66:1-2 and Psalm 103:19. Isaiah 66 stresses more appropriately the issue at hand in the speech, namely, Israel's disobedience in its rejection of the divine word, despite the prerogative of the temple. This theme links to Jesus' command for the apostles to bring God around the world (Foss et al., 2010, 34). The whole world is His temple, in which He is everywhere present, and He fills it with His glory. Those who worship in this 'house' and have rejected the one who knows God cannot provide worship acceptable to God.


Baker, Coleman A. Identity, memory, and narrative in early Christianity: Peter, Paul, and recategorization in the book of Acts. Pickwick Publications, 2011.

Foss, Michael W. From Members to Disciples: Leadership Lessons from the Book of Acts. Abingdon Press, 2010.

Ger, Steven. The Book of Acts: Witnesses to the World, Twenty-first Century Biblical Commentary Series. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004. I.

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