If you missed my first What I’m Learning in the Bible post I am sharing what I am learning as our church studies through the book of Acts together over the next few months. I’m a little behind in blogging about my Acts studies but I have been keeping up with my readings. So really, this is my thoughts on last week’s reading.
As a reminder, I am 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.
We see the seven men chosen to serve because of the neglect of the widows. This passage reminds me that no one can do everything and each of us has a role to play in the church, in our own way. God uses all of us, even if we think that our service is mundane or nothing special.
And then we get to Stephen. He beautifully presents the story of the Old Testament because we cannot fully understand the message of Jesus without it. I love all of the parallels that he draws, showing the scriptures continually pointing to Jesus. For example, in speaking of Moses he says “He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand (Acts 7:25). He then goes on to describe how they have resisted the Holy Spirit and rejected Jesus (Acts 7:51-53).
As he was being stoned it struck me how Stephen followed Jesus’ example of forgiveness by asking God not to hold this sin against them (Acts 7:60).
The first verse of chapter 8 is really startling. “And Saul approved of his execution.” Saul was a student of Gamaliel from chapter 5. Saul’s ravaging of the church contrasts starkly with Gamaliel’s tolerance of the Christians. All this persecution scattered the church, which led to the gospel spreading.
I love this account of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip. The Ethiopian had been to Jerusalem to worship and was reading Isaiah when Philip met him. Philip tells him the good news about Jesus fulfilling those prophecies and the Ethiopian asks to be baptized. It’s such a beautiful story of someone responding to the gospel and immediately taking the next step in walking with Jesus. He didn’t have a huge background in the Bible, didn’t have to understand all the ins and outs of the scriptures. He heard the good news and believed. The gospel is for everyone, even those who are new to it.
Have any thoughts to share? I would love to hear them in the comments below!