The Book of Acts

The Book of Acts cover art
Instructor: Dr. Hans Bayer
Lessons: 3
Forums: 3
Discipline: New Testament
Course Group: Gospels and Acts

The Book of Acts, also called "The Acts of the Apostles," is the companion volume to the Gospel of Luke. It records the establishment of the early church under the leadership of the Apostles, and the activity and growth of the church during the middle of the first century.

In the modern church, Christians often turn to the book of Acts to explore questions related to the charismatic gifts, and to investigate different matters related to church government and authority. These concepts are certainly talked about in the Book of Acts. But what was Luke's main point as he wrote this book? What big picture did he try to give readers as a context for understanding these secondary matters? What was the main thing he wanted his readers to learn and to do?

Course Goals:

  • Introduce viewers to the background and primary message of the Book of Acts.
  • Summarize the structure, content, original meaning and modern application of the Book of Acts.

85 min.

Lesson 1: The Background of Acts

Investigates the author, historical setting, and the theological background of the book of Acts.
61 min.

Forum 1: The Background of Acts

A companion video to lesson 1 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Why focus on Luke as the author of Acts?
  • Why should we trust church tradition about Luke's authorship?
  • Why do people question Luke's authorship?
  • What if Luke didn't write Acts?
  • How do we know Luke was a Gentile?
  • How does the historical setting help us understand Acts?
  • From whose perspective should we read Acts?
  • How did the Roman Empire influence daily life?
  • Was the church being persecuted when the book of Acts was written?
  • What do modern historians think of Luke's work?
  • Did Josephus depend on Luke?
  • Was Christianity attractive to the socially disenfranchised?
  • What does creation have to do with salvation?
  • Is the world becoming less sinful?
  • Why does Luke refer to Old Testament characters?
  • What's the relationship between Israel and the church?
  • How similar were the messianic groups in Luke's day?
  • Why should we focus on the kingdom of God?
61 min.

Forum 1: The Background of Acts

A companion video to lesson 1 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Why focus on Luke as the author of Acts?
  • Why should we trust church tradition about Luke's authorship?
  • Why do people question Luke's authorship?
  • What if Luke didn't write Acts?
  • How do we know Luke was a Gentile?
  • How does the historical setting help us understand Acts?
  • From whose perspective should we read Acts?
  • How did the Roman Empire influence daily life?
  • Was the church being persecuted when the book of Acts was written?
  • What do modern historians think of Luke's work?
  • Did Josephus depend on Luke?
  • Was Christianity attractive to the socially disenfranchised?
  • What does creation have to do with salvation?
  • Is the world becoming less sinful?
  • Why does Luke refer to Old Testament characters?
  • What's the relationship between Israel and the church?
  • How similar were the messianic groups in Luke's day?
  • Why should we focus on the kingdom of God?
80 min.

Lesson 2: Structure and Content

Examines the structure and content of Acts by looking at the ways Luke organized his material, and at the message he intended to teach.
67 min.

Forum 2: Structure and Content

A companion video to lesson 2 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Can supernatural events happen in real history?
  • Are there dangers in interpreting and applying narratives?
  • What strategies did ancient writers use to communicate?
  • Why is Christianity so interested in history?
  • Why were the apostles' words so important?
  • Why are the summary statements in Acts so important?
  • How did internal growth and tension interact?
  • What are some practical strategies for interpreting Acts?
  • Is the book of Acts a success story?
  • How can Acts encourage Christians who suffer?
  • What is the significance of Stephen's speech?
  • How far should we go in pursuing reconciliation?
  • How important is it to understand Luke's context?
  • Do our circumstances reflect God's approval or disapproval?
  • Why can't we just do what the Bible says?
  • Is Jesus a significant character in the book of Acts?
  • If the gospel is so simple, why is interpretation so complex?
67 min.

Forum 2: Structure and Content

A companion video to lesson 2 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • Can supernatural events happen in real history?
  • Are there dangers in interpreting and applying narratives?
  • What strategies did ancient writers use to communicate?
  • Why is Christianity so interested in history?
  • Why were the apostles' words so important?
  • Why are the summary statements in Acts so important?
  • How did internal growth and tension interact?
  • What are some practical strategies for interpreting Acts?
  • Is the book of Acts a success story?
  • How can Acts encourage Christians who suffer?
  • What is the significance of Stephen's speech?
  • How far should we go in pursuing reconciliation?
  • How important is it to understand Luke's context?
  • Do our circumstances reflect God's approval or disapproval?
  • Why can't we just do what the Bible says?
  • Is Jesus a significant character in the book of Acts?
  • If the gospel is so simple, why is interpretation so complex?
87 min.

Lesson 3: Major Themes

Explores the three major concepts that Luke addressed as he unfolded the unhindered spread of the gospel of God's kingdom in the days of the early church.
64 min.

Forum 3: Major Themes

A companion video to lesson 3 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • How should Christians think of the Holy Spirit?
  • What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
  • What are the last days?
  • What is life like in the overlap of the ages?
  • How do we draw modern application from narrative texts?
  • How does the modern church relate to the apostles?
  • Was Paul a legitimate apostle?
  • Do the apostles have authority over the modern church?
  • How did special revelation impact the apostles' ministry?
  • In what sense is the church necessary?
  • How should we live in anticipation of Jesus' return?
  • Was character or experience more important for church officers?
  • Why did the apostles take joy in their suffering?
64 min.

Forum 3: Major Themes

A companion video to lesson 3 of the same series that asks the following questions:
  • How should Christians think of the Holy Spirit?
  • What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
  • What are the last days?
  • What is life like in the overlap of the ages?
  • How do we draw modern application from narrative texts?
  • How does the modern church relate to the apostles?
  • Was Paul a legitimate apostle?
  • Do the apostles have authority over the modern church?
  • How did special revelation impact the apostles' ministry?
  • In what sense is the church necessary?
  • How should we live in anticipation of Jesus' return?
  • Was character or experience more important for church officers?
  • Why did the apostles take joy in their suffering?