Today I want to begin a new blog series. It’s been I while since I have regularly shared what I’m reading in my Bible but we are beginning a new series at church on Acts and it feels like I great time to blog through what I’m learning and my thoughts on things as we work through it over the next few months.
I actually studied the book of Acts back in 2019-2020 through a Bible Study Fellowship group and really enjoyed it. As a side note, if you are looking for a local Bible Study near you I highly recommend their groups.
This go around I will be blogging through things as we go through them for church. We are using this ESV Acts Study journal. Basically it has scripture on one page and then a blank lined page next to it for taking notes.
This week we are taking a look at Acts chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2. Instead of dividing my thoughts by each individual chapter I am going to divide them up according to how our readings are grouped each week. This is why I am going to go through both chapter 1 and the first part of 2 instead of just doing Acts chapter 1 today. So let’s get started!
Alright, so Acts is officially called The Acts of the Apostles. I always like to look up and remind myself who wrote each part of the Bible. It is believed that Luke wrote the book of Acts in about AD 63.
I’m not going to really summarize what I read but more share some thoughts and things I feel like God is teaching me through the readings.
So Luke begins by referencing “the first book” (v. 1) and all that Jesus did and taught, culminating with His death, resurrection, and appearing to the apostles. He also references Jesus telling them to remain in the city to wait for the Holy Spirit (v. 4-5) and the ascension (v. 6-11).
It’s interesting to me that the beginning of Acts is very similar to the end of Luke but some of the words use differ. For example in referring to the Holy Spirit in Luke he describes it as “being clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) but in Acts he uses the phrases “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (v. 5) and “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (v. 8). They are not contradictory statements but rather I love how describing it differently helps to give us a fuller, richer picture.
The Ascension itself is described a little bit differently between Luke and Acts. Or I guess I should just say that different details are given in each. In Luke the account is a bit more succinct while Acts is more detailed. Acts mentions that a cloud took him out of their sight and two men in white robes staring next to them (v. 9-11). In Luke it says that He lifted up His hands to bless them and that He began to ascend while He was blessing them (Luke 24:50-51).
The whole men in white robes thing intrigued me so I decided to do some digging. I mean, knowing some Bible basics I obviously assumed these are angels but I want to understand why we assume that. So I ended up looking through some commentaries and basically I read references to angels that are very similar in John, Luke, and Acts. Most of these references refer to men in white or shining clothes, which was a common Jewish expression to signify angelic or divine messengers. In John 20 when they go to the tomb they find two angels in white and in Acts 10:30 Cornelius tells of how a man in shining clothes appeared before him. In Acts 11:13 Peter is explaining about Cornelius and he refers to this man in shining clothes as an angel.
Near the end of Acts chapter 2 they deal with the business of replacing Judas. Judas is just always such a sad figure to me. One detail that struck me in reading this section this go around was that Matthias, who was chosen in the end had been with them the entire time following Jesus along with them.
Acts 2: 1-13
Pentecost seems like one of those things where you really had to be there. I am sure that the words that we have describing it don’t nearly do it the justice of experiencing it in person.
Something that struck me this go around was the section of Acts 2:11-13. The people who gathered because of the loud sound said they heard them “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (v. 11). And then you see that the people had 2 responses: Some of them wondered what it meant and some of them said they were drunk.
This passage reminds me of a Charles Spurgeon quote: “The same sun which melts wax hardens clay. And the same Gospel which melts some persons to repentance hardens others in their sins.” The events at Pentecost were a mighty testament to God that caused genuine wonder and curiosity in some and yet others mocked it.
As you can see my thoughts are not necessarily cohesive but rather just me studying and sharing thoughts as I read. This coming week I’ll be reading Acts 2:14- 3:26. Please feel free to read along with me. I’ll be back to share my thoughts on next Monday.
Have any thoughts to share? I would love to hear them in the comments below!