Sunday, October 21, 2018

Study Questions from Acts Ch 6-7 from 10/21/2018

My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. Every Monday, I’ll post the questions we discussed the day before. I encourage you to jot your thoughts down.

On Wednesdays, I’ll post some of the comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at

Chapter 6 - V8-15

Where does this take place?

What's significant about the description of Stephen in v15?

Chapter 7 – Vv 1-53

The passage begins with a question you would expect. The next 52 verses are Stephen's response to the Chief Priest's question. Read the whole speech. Think about the organization of the defense and the examples used by Stephen.

V2-8: How does Stephen begin his speech?

Who is the first famous Hebrew to be described?


V9-19: In this "second section" of the speech, Stephen turns from Abraham to his descendants. Who is the key player here?


V20-43: Moses is the subject of "part three" of this speech. What highlights of Moses life are included?

What lowlights?

We got this far this week.

Look particularly at vv37-38. Why include those particular words? 

Do you think the audience changed its tone when it heard this? 

Why or why not?

V44-50: Stephen kind of picks up speed here. He condenses all the rest of Jewish history into this section. Why does he select the people, places, events, and Scripture he does?

V51-53: Since when in the speech has the Sanhedrin has been becoming less excited about Stephen's "defense?”

He really socks it to them here. What charges does he bring against them?

How is this speech different from one of Peter's sermons?

The reaction to Stephen's concluding remarks is severe. Why "gnash teeth"?

Why didn't they stone Peter?

How does Stephen respond?

What is the final reaction in the Sanhedrin's meeting place?
Which group would be "leading the charge" at this time? 

Who do we meet in v58?

Stephen's final words sound a lot like Who?

Why do you think that Luke, a doctor, used the term “he fell asleep”?

Friday, This week Expressions of Faith is Hearing

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Expressions of Faith. From Visions and Dreams to Reality

This is the last Expressions of Faith from Acts until the New Year. 
November will focus on thankfulness. December will focus on Jesus and Christmas.
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s [Dream]

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Peter at Cornelius’s House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[b] and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Acts 10:25-28*
In verses 1-22, Luke reports a vision and a dream.

That section ends with Peter agreeing to do something he considered a sin his entire life.

As a Jew, hanging around with Gentiles required cleansing rituals after physical or social contact with a Gentile.

The change starts in verse 24 when Peter provides lodging in the house he’s staying in for messengers from a centurion. They brought an invitation from Cornelius, the centurion, inviting Peter to his home.

Peter travels to Caesarea with the messengers.

After declaring his humanity, Peter enters the house where he encounters a large group of Cornelius’s friends and relatives.

He explains his change of heart and asks why he’s been called to the house.
Cornelius recounts his vision.
Peter explains the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit comes down on the group.

The Amplified Bible inserts “confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles” at the end of verse 45.

The believers traveling with Peter are shocked.

Peter realizes the significance of the event.

The story ends with a group baptism where the name of Jesus is exalted.

Thank God for being an inclusive God, not an exclusive God.

What did you learn about how God works in this chapter?

The next Expressions of Faith is Hearing 
This is a reprise of 2nd EoF I posted on 7/10/2015. The first posted EoF is Thanksgiving and it will reappear on the first Friday in November.

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