Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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Acts 15

1 - Some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you can't be saved."

2 - Therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small discord and discussion with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and some others of them, to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.

3 - They, being sent on their way by the assembly, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers.

4 - When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all things that God had done with them.

5 - But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

6 - The apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter.

7 - When there had been much discussion, Peter rose up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News, and believe.

8 - God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us.

9 - He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

10 - Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 - But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are."

12 - All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them.

13 - After they were silent, James answered, "Brothers, listen to me.

14 - Simeon has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 - This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,

16 - 'After these things I will return.I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen.I will again build its ruins.I will set it up,

17 - That the rest of men may seek after the Lord;all the Gentiles who are called by my name,says the Lord, who does all these things.Amos 9:11-12

18 - All of God's works are known to him from eternity.'

19 - "Therefore my judgment is that we don't trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God,

20 - but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.

21 - For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

22 - Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers.

23 - They wrote these things by their hand:"The apostles, the elders, and the brothers, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings.

24 - Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law,' to whom we gave no commandment;

25 - it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 - We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth.

28 - For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things:

29 - that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell."

30 - So, when they were sent off, they came to Antioch. Having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter.

31 - When they had read it, they rejoiced over the encouragement.

32 - Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them.

33 - After they had spent some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brothers to the apostles.

34 - But it seemed good to Silas to stay there.

35 - But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 - After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing."

37 - Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, with them also.

38 - But Paul didn't think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and didn't go with them to do the work.

39 - Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus,

40 - but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God.

41 - He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.

Acts Images and Notes

The Book of Acts

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 9:3-6 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Acts in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Luke by El Greco 1605
Painting of St. Luke by El Greco - 1605

Introduction to The Acts of the Apostles

Brief Summary. Jesus rose again, he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued with power from on high, power to be his witnesses unto the ends of the earth. When the feast of Pentecost had fully come, the church was born and God poured out his Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. This began a fire which was spread throughout the whole world, Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and all who believe can be saved. This was the message of the gospel in the Book of Acts, and God confirmed his word with signs following. The church in Jerusalem had taken their time in fulfilling the commands of the Lord to go into all the world beginning in Jerusalem and Samaria and even to the uttermost parts of the earth. God called a man named Saul who was a persecutor of the church to be the hero in the Book of Acts. God would change his name to Paul the Apostle, and it was through Paul that the message of Christ would spread to the farthest parts of the known world. The Book of Acts records three of Paul's missionary journeys by which the church was established, the people of God, the Christians who would change the world.

Summary of The Book of Acts

Contents. The Book of Acts clearly focuses on the beginnings of the church, and two people… The apostle Peter, and the one who actually possessed the courage to go to the farthest parts of the known world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, his name was Paul the Apostle. The Gospel spread from Israel, northward to Antioch, and then westward to Asia Minor, Greece, and finally Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire.

The first 12 chapters of the book of Acts deal with Peter, and the remainder of the book, the last 16 chapters is devoted to the apostle Paul.

The major areas of history with which the author has dealt are :
1) The establishment and progress of the church at Jerusalem until the dispersion which arose at the time of Stephen's death (Acts 1-7);
2) The preaching of the gospel to the surrounding area, including its introduction to the Gentiles (Acts 8-12) ;
3) The preaching tours of Paul and the struggle to define the church's position with regard to the law of Moses (Acts 13:1-21:16); and
4) Paul's imprisonment, which began in Jerusalem and was concluded in Rome (Acts 21:17-28 :30).

Audience. The book of Acts is addressed to Theophilus, usually thought to have been a Gentile who was interested in learning more of Christianity and whose name suggests may have been a symbol of all lovers of God.

Authorship. Luke wrote the Book of Acts and the Gospel of Luke and he dedicated his work to a man named Theophilus as mentioned in the summary of the book of Luke. Luke was a companion of Paul on his missionary journeys, and in many parts of the book of Acts it says "we" did this or that (Acts 16:10-17:1; Acts 20:5-21:17; and Acts 27:2-28:31). These Scriptures indicate that Luke joined and left the missionary party on several occasions and that he accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome. Paul's calls Luke his companion in Colossians 4:14, Philemon 1:24, and 2 Timothy 4:11. The medical language in Luke and Acts gives credence to Luke "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14) as the author of Acts. The early Church writers unanimously agreed that Luke was the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts, for example Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Tatian, and Irenaeus.

Date. Scholars agree that Acts was written around 62 or 63 AD. It is interesting to note that Luke never intimated the event of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD within the book of Acts. Jerusalem is pictured as a currently thriving center of Judaism, with the temple service and sacrifices being carried out in a normal manner. After 70 AD everything changed and it would have been obvious if Luke had written Acts after 70 AD. Luke concludes Acts with Paul in Rome living in a hired house, and awaiting trial before Caesar (Acts 28:30). This would have been 61 or 62 AD obviously before the great persecution of Christians by Nero and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Place Written. Most scholars believe that the place of the writing of Acts was in Rome. The whole book is an account of the advance of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome and the last events described take place in Rome.

Historical Accuracy. As has been noted in the introduction to Luke, the historical accuracy of the writings of Luke, once questioned widely, has now received extensive substantiation; there is little reason to suppose that the events took place in any way other than that described by Luke.

The Value of Acts. The Book of Acts is of great value to the Christian for many reasons. When Jesus commission His disciples to go into all the world, Acts informs us of the very events of the early Church in carrying out that commission. It tells us of their relationship to one another and to their other co-workers as they dealt with the various problems which faced the young church. It tells of the introduction of Christianity to the Gentile world and of the struggle for unity between Jew and Gentile.

Outline of the Book of Acts

The Gospel is Preached From Jerusalem to All Judea - Chapters 1-7
The Gospel is Preached in Samaria - Chapter 8
The Gospel is Preached to the Gentiles - Chapters 9-12
The Gospel is Preached to the Ends of the Earth - Chapters 13-28

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Acts Resources

Map of New Testament Israel
Map of the Roman Empire
Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey
Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey
Map of New Testament Cities
Map of the 7 Churches of Revelation (Asia Minor)
Map of the Roman Empire In the Time of Jesus
Map of Asia in Roman Times

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Voyage to Rome (61 A.D.) - This map reveals the journey of the Apostle Paul to Rome in 61 AD. Paul had appealed to Caesar in Caesarea (Acts 24-25), his goal was to spread the Gospel of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire all the way to her great capital, Rome. He demanded that his case be heard by the Roman Emperor. According to the Book of Acts, after his shipwreck on the Island of Malta (Acts 28) he came to Italy and was put on house arrest for two years (Acts 28:30). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Greece This map reveals the cities within Greece in the ancient world during the first century A.D.,The map includes the principal cities of Greece like: Athens, Corinth, and Thessalonica, and provinces like Macedonia and Achaia. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Italy - This map reveals the cities within Italy during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principle cities of Italy like Neapolis and Rome. Follow the path of the Apostle