The community of the eleven, introduced by name, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, the women and the brothers of Jesus, stay in the upper room and devote themselves to prayer — Peter takes the initiative as the leader of the group in the choice of a replacement for Judas Iscariot.
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The Twelve is reconstituted upon the election of Matthias — In fulfillment of Jesus' promise, the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Speaking in tongues, the visible manifestation of this gift, draws reactions of wonder, amazement, doubt and mockery from the crowd.
Peter addresses the people and interprets the event in the light of Jesus' resurrection. His proclamation and call to repentance brings about the conversion of three thousand people — The remarkable increase in the number of believers is followed by a summary description of the life of the community — The communal life of the believers is characterized not only by prayer but also by the teaching of the apostles, the fellowship and the breaking of bread. Community solidarity is expressed in the sharing of meals and of possessions.
The dynamic impact of the reception of the Holy Spirit is vividly illustrated. From an inconspicuous group gathered in the upper room, the believers now gather in the temple. They begin to witness to Jesus through their communal life and through the signs and wonders of the apostles.
The witness of Peter and John is dramatically portrayed in the events that follow — The healing of the lame in the name of Jesus — 10 provides the occasion for Peter's proclamation.
His teaching in the temple draws the attention of the temple authorities. Peter and John are arrested, imprisoned and brought to trial.
The Book of Acts
The trial becomes another opportunity for Peter to bear witness to Jesus — They are released without punishment after being warned no longer to speak or teach in the name of Jesus Peter and John return to the community and their prayer for boldness is granted with a new outpouring of the Spirit — A second portrait of the community of Jerusalem — 35 signals a stage in the development of the community. The focus is on the unity of heart and soul of the community manifested in the sharing of possessions. The apostles continue their witness to the resurrection of the Lord and take on the role of administrator and distributor of community property.
Barnabas' sale of his property is a positive example of the practice of communion of goods. It is done according to the spirit of the community — 37 whereas the act of Ananias and Sapphira is tainted with dishonesty — Their deceit threatens the unity of the community and the credibility of the apostles. Both incur death as punishment when they persist in their deceit even after Peter confronts them. The story of Ananias and Sapphira provides a transition from the theme of communion of goods to the wonders and signs of the apostles, the focus of the third description of the community of Jerusalem — This is followed by another dramatic presentation that parallels the plot of Acts 4.
This time, not only Peter and John, but all the apostles arouse the jealousy and opposition of the high priest and the Sadducean party. They are arrested but are miraculously released by an angel. They are found by their captors in the morning teaching in the temple, are again arrested and then brought to trial — The scene before the council becomes another opportunity to bear witness — Heeding Gamaliel's advice, the council releases the apostles after being beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus — The episode ends with the picture of the apostles joyfully and boldly proclaiming Jesus as the Christ Judea and Samaria.
The transition from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria is provided in the story of the Hebrew and Hellenist widows, the institution of the seven deacons and the ministry of Stephen — The increase of the disciples also leads to a problem. A conflict ensues because of the neglect of the Hellenist widows in the daily distribution. This is solved by the community through the institution of the seven deacons among whom are Stephen and Philip — 7. Stephen and Philip will be instrumental in the spread of the mission to Judea and Samaria.
Stephen's preaching before the council leads to his martyrdom and the disciples are scattered because of the persecution that follows — ; — The scattered disciples continue to preach the word. Philip converts many in Samaria through his preaching and miracles — 13 and baptizes an Ethiopian eunuch — The Samaritan converts receive the Holy Spirit when Peter and John, who are sent by the Jerusalem community, lay their hands on them. Another significant development is the conversion of a persecutor, Saul, who becomes an active preacher after his conversion — When his life is threatened, he escapes and comes to Jerusalem.
Barnabas brings him to the apostles. Saul continues to preach in the name of the Lord and is sent off to Tarsus when his life is again threatened. Peter, on the other hand, is also drawing converts in Lydda, Sharon and Joppa — To the end of the Earth. The conversion of Cornelius — 49 is an interesting development because it opens the way for the mission to the Gentiles.
The story is narrated three times — 18; — The story shows how God directs the progress of the Christian movement and how Peter becomes instrumental in the conversion of the first Gentile. The event leads to a conflict as Peter is questioned by the circumcision party. Peter's report to the Jerusalem community silences the objection — The episode is followed by a reference to the martyrdom of Stephen that results in the geographical spread of the Christian message and the formation and growth of the community in Antioch where the believers are first called Christians — The role of Barnabas and Saul in this community and the relation of this community to Jerusalem are also noted — The Jerusalem community experiences famine and persecution.
James is killed and Peter is arrested. Peter is then miraculously delivered from prison and justice is served when Herod dies — Missionary expansion begins with the sending — 3 of Barnabas and Saul, who becomes known as Paul They carry the word of the Lord to Asia Minor — and returning to Antioch, they report missionary success among the Gentiles.
The issue of circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic law raised by some men from Jerusalem is resolved in a meeting in Jerusalem. After Peter, Barnabas and Paul narrate what God has done through them among the Gentiles — 12 , James gives his judgment. The decision not to require the Gentile converts to be circumcised is accepted. Easy to understand and assimilate. Pastors and teachers will love this commentary. Witherington has written several socio-rhetorical commentaries; this is one of the best. Barrett takes a moderately critical position, but discerning readers will find much to appreciate.
His comments are insightful and provide some real jewels, particularly in the realm of theology. Is it worth it? Lagniappe: There is an abridged single volume that does away with most of the technical comments, but I recommend getting the two-volume set. My final recommendation is by F. Bruce was an excellent historian, and his overview of the early church reflects that. Did I miss a commentary you are interested in? Drop me a line. These are not the only resources I am familiar with—these are just my favorites.
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Next: Recommended commentaries on Romans. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4. Keywords: Acts, apostles, curse, Coptic, magic, papyri. Bar-Jesus Acts Open in a separate window. Comparative analysis Historical sources such as papyri, defixiones , amulets, ostraca and inscriptions provide valuable insights into the practice of cursing in ancient Mediterranean societies.
Simon magus Acts 8. Accusation against behaviour 8. Verdict and accusation against motivation 8. Instruction to repent and accusation of demonic influence. Accusation against behaviour and implicit verdict. Footnotes 1. I cite the NRSV throughout.
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References Primary Sources Audollent Auguste. Betz Hans Dieter. Grese William C. Meyer Marvin W. Preisendanz Karl. Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die griechischen Zauberpapyri 2 vols. Henrichs Albert, editor. Secondary Sources Aune David E. Barrett C. Bauernfeind Otto. Bohak Gideon. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1. Brashear William M.
Bruce F. Carter CharlesW. Conzelmann Hans. A Commentary on Acts of the Apostles trans. Limburg James, Kraabel A. Thomas, Juel Donald H. Derrett J. Downing F. Gerald, Dunant Christiane.
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Dunn James D. Faraone Christopher A. Frankfurter David. Gager John G. Garrett Susan R. Gaventa Beverly Roberts. Graf Fritz.
Haar Stephen C. Simon Magus: The First Gnostic? Berlin: Walter de Gruyter;.
Haenchen Ernst. The Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary trans. Havelaar Henriette. Heintz Florent.
Book of Acts of the Apostles
Jervell Jacob. Johnson Luke Timothy. Jordan D. Keener Craig S. Klauck Hans-Josef. McNeil Brian, translator. Larkin William J. Malina Bruce J. Marguerat Daniel. Ogden Daniel. Park Hyung Dae. Finding Herem? Parsons Mikeal Carl. Pervo Richard I. Reimer Andy M. Richter Reimer Ivoni. Maloney Linda M. Ritner Robert K. Segal Alan F. Smith Jonathan Z. Spencer F. Strelan Rick. Thomassen Einar. Versnel H. Witherington Ben.
Related The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary
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