How to Read Acts
During the month of April, our church we will be reading through the book of Acts. Use this study guide to help you as you read through the book.
What’s Acts All About?
The book of Acts is all about the spreading of the good news of Jesus through the ancient world. The book picks up right at the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth as he ascends to heaven after his resurrection. This book is all about what happens when his followers take his good news to the ends of the earth.
The book follows the geography of the spreading of the gospel. Jesus tells his followers in the first chapter that they will be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The book follows that pattern as we watch the gospel spread.
The book focuses on Jesus’ 12 apostles and other disciples in Jerusalem for the first half of the book. The second half of the book focuses on the ministry and journeys of Paul. Yet, in the whole book, the main character is the gospel of Jesus as it goes forward changing lives, creating churches, and bring glory to Jesus Christ.
Outline of the Book
1 | Introduction & Jesus’ Commission
2–7 | The Gospel In Jerusalem
8–12 | The Gospel In Judea & Samaria
13–15 | Paul’s 1st Journey Through Asia
16–18 | Paul’s 2nd Journey Through Greece
18—21 | Paul’s 3rd Journey Around the World
21–23 | Paul Imprisoned In Jerusalem
24–26 | Paul Imprisoned in Caesarea
27–28 | Paul Imprisoned in Rome
Things to Look For
Look for God’s sovereignty at work. God is in control of where and how the gospel goes forward. He is even in control of the suffering and persecuting the believers face. Connect the sovereignty of God in the book with the events of your own life.
Look for the church and its mission. As the gospel goes forward it creates communities of Jesus followers that are called to share the good news in word and deed. Each church is called to join the mission of making disciples and being witnesses to Christ.
Look for a clash of kingdoms. As the gospel moves, it often faces opposition. The kingdoms of this world are resisting the coming Kingdom of God. But God’s Kingdom prevails through faith and Christ-like love.
Look for patterns of Jesus. Luke likes to present followers of Jesus with details from Jesus’ life. Notice how both Stephen & Paul are presented as living out the arrest, trial, and condemnation of Jesus. All believers are called to carry the story of Jesus (Luke 9:23).
Look for the Spirit of God at work. The same Spirit that was a work in Jesus’ ministry (see the book of Acts) is the same Spirit at work in the church empowering them to be faithful witnesses. Look for ways you see the Spirit working in your life today.
Look for transformed lives. The beauty of this book is that as the gospel moves around the world it begins new life and transformed communities. Be reminded of how the gospel has transformed your life.
Tips for Reading
Read one chapter each day to read the whole book in April. Read two chapters a day to read the book twice.
Get a good study Bible. There are lots of places, especially in Paul’s journeys. A Study Bible with good maps can help you keep it straight.
Read through the speeches in the book multiple times and notice how they are proclaiming the gospel and pointing people to faith in Jesus.
Use the book as a guide to pray for God to use you to be a Spirit-empowered witness to Jesus and the good news of his death and resurrection