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Chuck Smith :: Study Guide for Acts

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ACTS 1: THE ASCENSION OF JESUS

v. 1-2 The book of the Acts of the Apostles was written by Luke, the beloved physician. He also wrote the Gospel of Luke. Both books are addressed to Theophilus ("lover of God").

v. 3 2 Peter 1:16.

v. 4-5 We don't have to attain a certain degree of holiness to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (Acts 8:15-17; John 7:37-39).

v. 8 The word "power" comes from the Greek word dunamis which also means "dynamic "The Holy Spirit gives us the power to be a witness of who God is.

Before we were Christians the Holy Spirit was with us (Greek: para), convicting us of sin and drawing us to Christ. Once we became Christians the Holy Spirit was in us (en), dwelling in us (John 14:17; 1 Cor. 12:3, 6:19). The third experience of the Holy Spirit is when He comes upon us (epi) and overflows in our lives.

v. 11 Jesus went to heaven in a body and will return to earth in a body ("in like manner").

v. 14 This is the last mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

v. 20 Peter quoted liberally from the Psalms with knowledge and understanding.

v. 21-22 These are the requirements for apostleship.

v. 24-26 After the Holy Spirit came upon the Church, the believers didn't have to cast lots to determine the will of God because the Holy Spirit directed them. In the Old Testament the people often went to the priests who would cast lots for direction from God. David used to have the priests cast lots before every battle.

ACTS 2: THE FIRST GOSPEL MESSAGE PREACHED

v. 1 The Feast of Pentecost celebrated the harvest. The people offered the first fruits to God.

v. 4 The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live the life that God wants us to live. Other religions tell men to live a good life but give them no power to do so. The Spirit gives us the ability to speak in tongues, but we have the control of when and how loudly to speak.

v. 11 The Christians were praising God in various languages. When we speak in unknown tongues we're speaking to God.

v. 14 When Peter stood up to speak he spoke to the people in a known language. Those who were speaking in other tongues probably stopped so the message could be heard.

v. 16-21 Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32 as the scriptural basis for what was taking place. God's Word must be the basis for our faith and practice. Experience alone is not a solid basis for our faith. The events described in Joel are to take place in the last times just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for the Church until Christ returns.

v. 23 God sent Jesus to die for us.

v. 24 The resurrection of Christ is the heart of the Gospel message.

v. 27 When Jesus died, His soul went into hell (hades) for three days and three nights. He preached to the captives there (Matthew 12:40; Isaiah 61:1; 1 Peter 3:18-19).

v. 28 1 Corinthians 13:12.

v. 37 This was the first message preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The effect was that men's hearts were convicted ("pricked").

v. 38 Infant baptism cannot save, since baptism follows repentance.

v. 42 The four activities of the early Church were:

(1) Bible study,

(2) fellowship,

(3) ordinance of Lord's supper,

(4) prayer.

v. 47 The Holy Spirit adds to the Church those He chooses. It is not the work of the Church to increase its membership.

ACTS 3: THE LAME MAN HEALED

v. 1 The "ninth" hour is three p.m.

v. 2 "Lame from his mother's womb" indicates a congenital malformation.

v. 7 Luke, as a physician, gives a medical description of a lame man's healing.

v. 12 The men of Israel should not have been surprised that their God could heal a man, since He had done so many miracles for their nation. But they had lost the awareness of the power and might of God. Also, they were ready to honor a man for the healing rather than giving the glory to God.

v. 13 "Son" in the Greek is "servant" (Isaiah 53). Peter's message is made up largely of quotes from the Old Testament. Peter knew the Scriptures well. The man God uses is:

(1) not seeking his own; he has come to the cross and committed himself,

(2) thoroughly knowledgeable in God's Word,

(3) a man of prayer.

v. 15 "Prince" is also translated "Author."

v. 16 There is power in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13). Peter didn't even take credit for the faith that worked to heal the man, for he recognized that Christ deserved all the glory.

v. 17 Luke 23:34.

v. 22-25 Peter again quotes freely from the Scriptures.

ACTS 4: THE PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

v. 1-2 Though the Pharisees were the instigators of Christ's death, the Sadducees were the persecutors of the early Church. The Sadducees were materialists and didn't believe in spirits or resurrection, and the Church was preaching resurrection through Christ.

v. 8 The Holy Spirit gave Peter the courage to speak boldly to the religious council.

v. 19-20 The laws of God always supersede the laws of man.

v. 29 The Christians prayed for boldness to continue witnessing rather than for an end to the threats.

v. 32 "One soul" refers to the Christians being of one mind. They had all things in common ("in fellowship")

v. 34-37 This communal living isn't the same as the atheistic communism of today. The Christians chose to give up their personal possessions and to share among themselves. This choice perhaps wasn't inspired by the Holy Spirit, because serious financial difficulties resulted for the church in Jerusalem.

ACTS 5: THE APOSTLES GO TO PRISON

v. 3-4 These verses are used as proof texts to support our belief that the Holy Spirit is God, the Third Person of the Trinity.

v. 5-10 The environment of the early Church was so pure that the Holy Spirit purged the leaven.

v. 13 People became a bit leery of the apostles when they heard of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.

v. 15 The people had made Peter's shadow a point of contact for the release of their faith.

v. 17 The high priest was a Sadducee. "Indignation" would be better translated "jealousy"

v. 19 God doesn't always deliver us from difficult circumstances, but, in this case, He did deliver them from prison.

v. 28 It is glorious that Jerusalem was filled with the doctrine of Christ. The people had asked for Jesus' blood to be upon them when they sought His crucifixion (Matthew 27:25).

v. 29 "Ought" would be better translated "must."

v. 30 The shape of the cross Jesus died upon may not have been the T shaped cross, as the Greek word used in the gospels can mean "post" or "pole. "

v. 32 The obedience required to receive the Holy Spirit is to repent

v. 34 Gamaliel was one of the most respected Jewish teachers of his day. Paul the apostle was one of his young students.

ACTS 6: THE ACCUSATION OF STEPHEN

v. 1-5 The "Grecians" in Acts were those Jews who practiced Grecian culture rather than orthodox Judaism. The deacons chosen were Grecian Jews.

ACTS 7: THE WITNESS OF STEPHEN

v. 8 The 12 patriarchs were the beginning of the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel.

v. 9-10 Though it appeared that Joseph was forsaken by God because of all the trials he had to endure, God was with him and was working things out for his good.

v. 17 The "promise" is that the children of Israel would leave Egypt to return to the land God had promised to them.

v. 26-28 Stephen pointed out that even Moses was rejected by the children of Israel and was cast out from them when he first visited them. The Jews later had a great reverence for Moses.

v. 34 God sees and hears when we suffer and He will come to our aid.

v. 38 The "church in the wilderness" was the tabernacle. The "lively oracles" are the living Word of God.

v. 39-43 The people turned away from Moses again.

v. 45 "Jesus" is a reference to Joshua from the Old Testament. (Jesus is the Greek word for Joshua.)

v. 51 The true circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh alone.

v. 52 The prophets of the Old Testament were speaking of Jesus.

The Jews wouldn't receive the words of the prophets and persecuted them (John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7.)

v. 53 The Jews believed they were properly following the law of God.

v. 58 Saul was renamed Paul.

v. 60 Stephen "fell asleep" because a Christian goes to be with Jesus when he leaves the earth and doesn't "die" in the sense that a non-Christian does. (John 11:25,26; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4.) The Christian moves to a new home.

ACTS 8: PHILIP'S MINISTRY

v. 1 Saul's consent to Stephen's death implies that he was voting for the stoning as a member of the Sanhedrin. As a member of the Sanhedrin he had to be married, but the Bible doesn't mention his wife.

v. 4 The persecution of the Church only served to expand it as the people were scattered to various places.

v. 5-7 Philip, like Stephen, had been faithful in waiting on tables and now God used him for bigger things.

v. 8 Great joy always comes with revival.

v. 15-17 The Holy Spirit was indwelling the believers but hadn't yet come upon them. Philip's ministry was evangelism but probably didn't include the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

v. 18-24 This was the first time that someone tried to buy position and power in the Church, but the Church was still pure enough to resist this temptation.

v. 26 Philip could have waited for God to explain why he was to leave Samaria in the midst of a great revival and go out to the desert, but he simply obeyed God and took the first step.

v. 27-28 The relation between Israel and Ethiopia dates back to the Queen of Sheba's visit with King Solomon. The eunuch was searching for spiritual answers. God saw his heart and sent Philip to help him. God will always meet the need of a searching heart.

v. 29 This was the second step Philip was directed to take.

v. 32-35 The passage from Isaiah 53:7-8 was a prophecy about Jesus Christ (John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7.)

v. 38-39 It appears that this baptism was a full immersion into the water, symbolizing the burial of the "old man".

ACTS 9: THE CONVERSION OF SAUL

v. 5 The Holy Spirit had been pricking and goading Saul's conscience.

v. 6 Saul was instantly converted. The first step Saul was told to take was to go into the city.

v. 7 The men with Saul could hear the sound of a voice but couldn't distinguish the words.

v. 9 These three days of blindness must have been difficult for Saul while he reassessed his life and his new commitment to Christ.

v. 11 Saul's prayers now had a new meaning as he truly communed with God.

v. 15 God had thoroughly prepared Saul for the work He had for him to do. Born in Tarsus, Saul was a Roman citizen with the right to appeal to Caesar. The culture in Tarsus was predominately Grecian, so Paul learned to understand the Greek mind. Then Saul's parents sent him to school in Jerusalem, so Saul had an education in Jewish religion and culture as well.

v. 22 Saul left for Arabia for three years immediately after his conversion. (Galatians 1:17-18)

v. 27 Barnabas means "the son of consolation" (Acts 4:36), and here he shows himself to be aptly named.

v. 32 Lydda is the present Israeli city of Lod.

v. 40 Peter sent everyone out of the room before he prayed for Dorcas to be revived.

ACTS 10: PETER VISITS CORNELIUS

v. 4 God had taken note of the prayers and offerings Cornelius had made.

v. 9-22 God was beginning to break down the walls of prejudice in Peter.

v. 28 The Jews would not eat or lodge with Gentiles.

v. 35 The "fear" of the Lord is to hate and depart from evil and to do righteousness.

v. 42 Jesus is the Judge and the standard of righteousness by which all are to be judged.

v. 44 Here the Holy Spirit fell on the people before they were baptized in water. God demonstrated that He doesn't follow any set pattern.

v. 45 The Jews were amazed that God poured out His Spirit on the Gentiles too.

ACTS 11: PETER'S VISION, AND THE GOSPEL SPREADS

v. 2 "Contended" means "criticized"

v. 4-11 The fact that Luke here repeated the story of Peter and the Gentiles demonstrated the importance of the event to the Jews, who had previously thought that the Gospel was only for the Jews.

v. 12-17 Peter explained that the Spirit told him to go to Cornelius; it wasn't Peter's idea to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.

v. 18 More walls of prejudice were broken down as the other Jewish Christians realized that the Gospel was for everyone.

v. 20 The Grecians were again the Jews who were following and practicing the Greek culture.

v. 22 Barnabas was a brother with a ministry of bringing people together.

v. 23 The gift of exhortation is very important in the Body of Christians to encourage the believers in the practical application of spiritual principles.

v. 25 At this point Saul had been a Christian for nine years, but he had dropped out of sight for a while. If Barnabas hadn't sought him out and exhorted him to go to Antioch, perhaps Saul wouldn't have had the ministry he did.

v. 26 The term "Christian" was first used by the world to designate the followers of Christ. Though the world applied the name in derision, the Christians liked the term and began to use it.

ACTS 12: KING HEROD MOVES AGAINST THE CHURCH

v. 1 This King Herod is Herod Agrippa 1. He was half-Jewish, so he often tried to ingratiate himself with Jews.

v. 2 This James was one of the sons of Zebedee.

v. 4 The word "Easter" is the King James translation of the word "Passover". The Easter holiday originated as a pagan holiday featuring colored eggs, to celebrate the new beginnings of spring (fertility).

v. 6-7 One chain was customary, but Peter was under double guard. The angel hit Peter on the side to awaken him.

v. 9 Peter thought he was dreaming or seeing a vision.

v. 11 Peter suddenly realized that he was indeed awake and had actually been freed from prison by the angel.

v. 12 This John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. He was the nephew of Barnabas and went on the missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas.

v. 17 God delivered Peter at this time because He still had work for Peter to do. Our lives are in God's hands, and He takes us home in His own time.

ACTS 13: THE FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY

v. 1 The prophets were itinerants, traveling from church to church. The teachers were usually settled in one area. Manaen had been part of Herod's household.

v. 2 We have a blessed privilege to minister to the Lord.

The direction of the Holy Spirit probably came through the prophets who were there.

v. 4 How wonderful that the Holy Spirit was guiding the expansion of the Church, rather than men directing it.

v. 5 John Mark went along as a servant to Paul and Barnabas.

v. 7-8 Rulers often had wizards to advise them.

v. 9 Paul means "little one."

v. 13 It upset Paul that John Mark left them to return home.

v. 22 God called David a man after His own heart, because David sought to fulfill God's will.

v. 30 Once again, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central theme of the message.

v. 35 "Suffer" means "allow "

v. 38 The forgiveness of sins is necessary if we're to have fellowship with God.

v. 39 We're justified through Christ no matter what we've done. It's just as if we had never committed a sin.

v. 48 It's not up to us to prove the truth of salvation to people. God ordains those whom He wants to save, so the pressure isn't on us to convince people. We're to present the love and truth of the Gospel to them, and the Holy Spirit does the work in their hearts.

v. 52 Joy is an accompanying emotion when God's Spirit is working.

ACTS 14: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

v. 1 Paul and Barnabas went to the Jews first with the Gospel.

v. 8 "Impotent in his feet" means that the man was lame.

v. 9 The Holy Spirit was working in the man's heart, giving him the gift of faith.

v. 15-17 Paul's messages to the Gentiles were on a spiritual level they could understand. He spoke of the evidences of God in nature.

v. 19 The same people who wanted to worship Paul a few days before decided to stone him after the Jews stirred them up. It's possible that Paul experienced death at this time, for he later described a time when he didn't know if he was dead or alive and was caught up to heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

v. 26 This was the end of the first missionary journey.

ACTS 15: A MEETING OF THE CHURCH ELDERS

v. 1-5 Circumcision symbolized the cutting away of the flesh-dominated life in order to lead a spirit-dominated life. The Jews felt very strongly about circumcision. Many believed that to be a Christian one had to convert to the practices of Judaism (such people were known as Judaizers). Christianity might have become another Jewish sect if the Judaizers had prevailed.

v. 6 This first meeting of the Church elders to decide the Gentile question was very important for setting policy for the teaching of new converts.

v. 13 This again is James, the half-brother of Jesus, also known as James the Just and leader of the church in Jerusalem.

v. 14-15 What Peter had said about the work of God among the Gentiles was confirmed by Scriptures (Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25).

v. 18 God is omniscient.

v. 19-20 This decision is an excellent example of the word of wisdom being

spoken through James.

v. 28 This verse confirms the fact that the Holy Spirit was operating in James to bring forth the word of wisdom.

v. 29 The eating of blood was the eating of meat from animals that had been strangled and were left with the blood in them rather than being butchered and bled. The Jews were meticulous about eating only kosher meat. This rule would make it easier for the Christian Jews and Gentiles to eat together. The elders didn't need to cover all the law because much of it would naturally be obeyed by those who loved God. They sought to settle the questions that could bring the Jews and Gentiles into a closer fellowship in Christ.

v. 39-41 The contention between Paul and Barnabas resulted in two missionary teams going out.

ACTS 16: PAUL CALLED TO MACEDONIA

v. 3 Paul wanted to tutor and train Timothy in the ministry but had him circumcised to avoid problems with the Jews.

v. 6-7 The Holy Spirit forbade them to preach in Asia and wouldn't allow them to go to Bithynia. He dealt strongly with Paul because Paul was such a strong-willed man.

v. 10 Luke begins to use the pronoun "we" because he joined Paul's missionary journeys at this point. Some think perhaps Luke was the man Paul saw in the vision, while others speculate that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" required constant attention of a physician.

v. 13 Ten men were required to form a synagogue, so not even ten Jewish men were in the area.

v. 14 Those who dealt in purple were of the wealthy classes.

v. 15 Lydia was a clever saleslady.

v. 25 The prayer and praises of Paul and Silas in their difficult circumstances put us to shame when we complain to God over petty things.

v. 31 Paul wasn't saying that the jailer's family would be saved if he alone believed, but that the children under the age of accountability would be saved through their father's faith while others would have to believe for themselves (1 Corinthians 7:14).

v. 37-38 A Roman citizen wasn't to be beaten by the authorities unless he was judged and condemned.

ACTS 17: PAUL'S MESSAGE ON MARS HILL

v. 2-3 Paul explained that the Messiah had to suffer and die, but that He would eventually set up the Kingdom of God. The Jews had great difficulty reconciling the prophecies that spoke of the Messiah, for some prophecies told of His suffering while other verses prophesied of the Kingdom He would establish.

v. 6 We are "turned upside down" when we're born again, for we now give the higher place to the spiritual part of our nature rather than to the flesh.

v. 7-8 This situation marked the beginning of the Roman government's displeasure with the Christians.

v. 9 The "security" was a fine that Jason was forced to pay.

v. 10 Berea was a small town off the beaten track.

v. 11 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

v. 18 The Epicureans lived for pleasure. The stoics believed that everything happened by fate and that one should accept whatever happened without emotion.

v. 22 "Too superstitious" would be better translated "very religious."

v. 24 The Athenians believed that the gods dwelt in the temples that had been built for them.

v. 25 The temple which Israel built for God was simple and natural, so that people were aware of God's presence when they entered and not the beauty of the building.

v. 27 "Haply" means "by chance."

v. 28-29 Man was created in the image and likeness of God, so we are His offspring. We become like the God we serve (Psalm 135:15-18).

v. 30 "Winked" means "overlooked." "Repent" means "have another mind" or "turn."

v. 32 Some people rejected Paul's message, while others postponed making a decision.

v. 34 Some people accepted Paul's message. The Areopagite was one of thirty judges set over Athens. A woman in the company of men would not have been an honorable woman, for the honorable women in the Greek culture stayed at home. God reaches to people from the highest and the lowest walks of life.

ACTS 18: PAUL'S VISIT TO CORINTH

v. 1 Corinth was a busy port and a wicked city.

v. 3 The rabbis were to learn a trade so they wouldn't have to accept money from the people. Thus, Paul learned a trade.

v. 7 "Joined hard" means the house was right next door to the synagogue.

v. 9 These visions that Paul received were important in the direction of his ministry.

v. 12-16 Gallio was newly appointed by Rome. He was an honest magistrate and interested in properly administering Roman justice.

v. 17 Sosthenes probably took over the synagogue when Crispus became a Christian. Gallio wouldn't let himself become involved in the Jew's disputing because it wasn't under his jurisdiction.

v. 21 It is good to make our plans subject to the will of God (James 4:15).

v. 25 Apollos didn't know yet about the work of the Holy Spirit, but he taught what he knew.

v. 26 "Perfectly" means "completely."

v. 27-28 Apollos went to Achaia and watered the seeds that Paul had planted in the hearts of people.

ACTS 19: AN UPROAR IN EPHESUS

v. 1 Paul now watered the seeds that Apollos had planted.

v. 2 Paul probably noted that something was lacking in the body of believers in Ephesus.

v. 9 "Divers" means "many." Christianity is described as "that way" or "the way" throughout the Book of Acts.

v. 11 The special miracles were a sign of Paul's apostleship.

v. 12 The "handkerchiefs" were sweatbands that tied around the forehead. The people activated their faith at the point of contact when Paul's articles were placed on them. The articles themselves had no power to heal but triggered the release of faith.

v. 14 The seven sons of Sceva were exorcising evil spirits in the name of Jesus "whom Paul preacheth". They didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus.

v. 23 "That way" again refers to the way of life the Christians practiced in following Jesus.

v. 27-28 Demetrius and the other idol craftsmen were afraid that they would lose their business if the people converted to Christianity and left the worship of other gods.

ACTS 20: PAUL'S MESSAGE TO THE CHRISTIAN ELDERS

v. 1 Macedonia was the northern part of Greece.

v. 2 Paul's plan was to collect an offering from the Gentile churches to help the suffering church in Jerusalem. The area then known as Greece was the area around Corinth.

v. 4 Several men from the various churches were accompanying Paul, probably carrying the offerings from their individual churches, to present to the church in Jerusalem as a sign of Christian love and solidarity.

v. 6 Luke uses "we" to indicate that he also accompanied Paul.

v. 7 The early Church believed that Sunday was the best day to observe communion, since Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday. Jesus didn't specify how often to have communion or what day was best to gather for worship. Anything practiced so often that it becomes a ritual grows meaningless. We want our worship to be deeply felt in our hearts.

v. 8 The "lights" in the room were candles. They probably made the room very smoky and stuffy.

v. 9 Eutychus was probably sitting in the window to get some fresh air, but the gases and smoke from the candles were probably escaping out the window too, so he fell asleep. He fell out the window backwards into the courtyard three floors below the upper room where they were meeting.

v. 12 God preserved the life of the young man, to the comfort of all the Christians gathered there.

v. 19 All our work and service should be done as unto the Lord. Knowing we are working as unto Him makes many tasks more bearable.

v. 20 Paul's preaching was by word and example.

v. 23 "Abide" means "await".

v. 24 Paul wasn't moved from following God's will by the afflictions he had to endure. He was willing to serve God faithfully until he'd finished the work God had for him to do on the earth. Paul's ministry was to testify of the good news (gospel) of God's grace.

v. 26-28 Paul had shared and taught everything God had put on his heart to tell them, so he had done his duty toward them. Now they were responsible to God for the flocks of God in their churches (Ezekiel 3:18, 19). The Holy Spirit and not men on a board or committee had made these men the elders in their churches. The continuing obligation of the elders and pastor of a church is to feed the flock of God. We only grow by feeding on the Word of God. This verse speaks of Jesus as God, for Jesus purchased the Church with His own blood.

v. 29 There are still wolves going around trying to draw lambs away from the flock in order to devour them.

v. 31 Paul was upset when he thought of men coming in and tearing up the work that had been done.

v. 32 God's Word is able to build and strengthen us and to bring us into the inheritance.

ACTS 21: PAUL ARRIVES IN JERUSALEM AND IS ARRESTED

v. 3 "Unlade her burden" means "unload her cargo."

v. 4-5 Wherever we go, when we find Christians we find family, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

v. 8 This is the same Philip who was one of the original seven deacons chosen to resolve the Grecian dispute (Acts 6:1-6) and later used mightily as an evangelist (Acts 8).

v. 11 Paul was continually warned by the Holy Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.

v. 15 "Carriages" here means luggage or baggage.

v. 20 Many of the Jewish Christians were still carefully practicing the

ordinances of the law.

v. 24 Paul was asked to conform to the Jewish laws for purification and to pay for four young men's sacrifices also.

v. 26 Paul graciously complied with the request of the Church elders in order to avoid upsetting or offending anyone.

v. 29 Paul hadn't taken Trophimus into the temple as the Jews falsely assumed he had.

v. 32 The Jews stopped beating Paul when the Roman soldiers arrived.

v. 34 The "castle" was a fortress.

ACTS 22: PAUL'S MESSAGE TO THE JEWS

v. 14 God has chosen us to know His will, see Jesus, and to hear God's Word.

v. 17-18 This refers to Paul's visit to Jerusalem three years after his conversion and after his stay in Damascus.

v. 24 The Romans solved many crimes when they questioned the prisoners during a beating (scourging).

v. 28 The chief captain had purchased his Roman citizenship, but Paul was born a citizen.

v. 29 The Roman citizens were well-protected by Roman law. No one wanted to be found guilty of violating the rights of a Roman citizen. Roman citizens were not even to be bound except under certain conditions.

v. 30 The chief captain wanted to learn what the Jews were accusing Paul of doing.

ACTS 23: PAUL SPEAKS TO THE SANHEDRIN

v. 1-3 Paul had a zeal for righteousness and the law. He knew that it was unlawful for someone to order him to be slapped, yet they were judging him by the law they did not keep.

v. 5 Paul apologized to the high priest because it was against the law to speak evil against him. There is a hint here that perhaps Paul's "thorn in the flesh" that he referred to in his epistles was an eye disease. Certainly Paul should have recognized Ananias, for Paul had worked closely with him in the days when he was still prosecuting the Church.

v. 11 Paul could easily have been discouraged at this point because his great dream of preaching to the Jews had proved to be disastrous. Paul had been warned by the Lord about going to Jerusalem, and none of the Christians there stood by him. Still, Jesus told him to be cheerful, for a witness had been preached. Our job is only to bear witness. The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and brings people to repentance. We don't have to worry about seeing results, as long as we have done our part.

v. 16-21 God often works in our lives in such a natural way that we don't realize something supernatural is happening.

v. 23 Paul was conducted from Jerusalem with a guard of 470 soldiers. The Roman government took excellent care of its citizens.

v. 31 Antipatris was about 25 miles from Jerusalem through the Judean hills.

v. 32 The way from Antipatris to Caesarea was less dangerous to travel, so only the cavalry escorted Paul on this stage of the journey.

ACTS 24: PAUL'S DEFENSE

v. 2-3 The Jews hated Felix, a former slave and a wicked man.

v. 5 The charges against Paul were serious. He was a "pestilent fellow" which means "a man who is stirring up insurrection." Tertullus claimed that Paul was going from place to place inciting the Jews.

v. 10 Paul showed his knowledge of Roman law when he made his defense.

v. 14 Paul believed everything the prophets had foretold.

v. 17 Paul had collected money from the Gentile churches to help the Jews at the church in Jerusalem, because they were living in difficult, turbulent times.

v. 22 "That way" again refers to the Christian faith.

v. 24 Felix and Drucilla were living in open adultery, but Felix apparently had a hunger for God since he asked Paul to tell him about his faith in Christ.

v. 25 The Christian walk of righteousness and self-control is very reasonable.

v. 27 These two years in custody was a time when Paul could relax from his busy and trying life. He was a political pawn used by the rulers to please the Jews.

ACTS 25: PAUL APPEALS TO CAESAR

v. 10-11 Paul appealed to Caesar since he wasn't getting fair treatment from Festus.

v. 13 Bernice was a sister to Drucilla and Agrippa. The power of the Herodian kings was greatly diminished, but Agrippa and Bernice still paid this courtesy call to the new governor.

v. 20-27 Festus would look bad as a judge if he sent Paul to Caesar without any clear charges against him. Festus hoped that Agrippa would be able to come up with some charges if he listened to Paul.

ACTS 26: PAUL SPEAKS BEFORE AGRIPPA

v. 3 Agrippa was part Jewish and was trying to get along with the Jews

under his rule. He was a scholar of Jewish law and culture in order to better deal with the Jews. Paul probably hoped that Agrippa would be converted to Christianity when he heard the Gospel.

v. 5 "Straightest" means "strict."

v. 6 The "hope of the promise" was the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies concerning the Messiah.

v. 8 We often carry over our human restrictions and limitations to our concept of God. Nothing is too difficult for God!

v. 10-11 Paul confesses his persecution of the Christians.

v. 13-17 Paul's conversion was one of the most dramatic, for he turned completely around from persecuting Jesus to following Him.

v. 18 Paul's ministry to the Gentiles was:

(1) To open their eyes. This indicates that Satan has blinded the eyes of unbelievers to the truth. We need to ask God to bind the work of Satan in their lives (2 Corinthians 4:4)

(2) To turn them from darkness to light. The flesh-dominated man walks in the kingdom of darkness. When he is born again and spirit-dominated, he walks in God's light (Colossians 1:13)

(3) To turn them from the power of Satan unto God. We are to lead unbelievers from the control of Satan to the control of God.

(4) To tell them that the inheritance we have by faith is eternal life.

v. 20 When a person is born again, evidences in his life of a change of heart and a turn to God should be present.

v. 24 Paul was a scholar, so Festus told him that too much knowledge was forcing him to lose touch with reality.

v. 26 Paul began to address King Agrippa again, probably sensing that Agrippa was more receptive to his message.

v. 28 Agrippa's response was more of a question than a statement of his attitude.

ACTS 27: THE PERILOUS JOURNEY

v. 1 Augustus was the title of Caesar. A centurion of Augustus' "band" was one of the elite soldiers of the Roman army All centurions in the New Testament were outstanding men, and Julius was among them.

v. 3 Julius was kind to Paul in allowing him to see his friends.

v. 7 "Suffering" means "allowing."

v. 8 The city of Lasea was very small and the sailors would be bored there.

v. 9 The "fast" that year took place between October 10-17, so it was a dangerous time to sail.

v. 12 The sailors wanted to winter in Crete since it was a bigger city.

v. 17 They would bind the ship tightly to hold it together during the storm.

v. 20 They were probably all gloomy and seasick at this point.

v. 22-26 Paul brought consolation and hope to the men through his faith in God.

v. 28 At fifteen fathoms they knew that they were closer to shore.

v. 30 The sailors were planning to flee in the lifeboat while pretending to be dropping the anchor.

v. 31-35 Paul had taken control of the situation.

v. 36 Paul's encouragement gave them all hope.

ACTS 28: PAUL REACHES ROME

v. 1 "Melita" is the island of Malta.

v. 2 "Barbarous" refers to people who don't speak Greek, not that they were primitive or uncultured. It was still cold and rainy.

v. 4-6 Apparently the snake that bit Paul was very poisonous, because the people expected Paul to swell up and die.

v. 13 Puteoli was the best port near Rome (100 miles away), connected to Rome by the Appian Way.

v. 15 The Christians traveled thirty to forty miles out of Rome to welcome Paul.

v. 17-19 Paul wanted the Jews to know that he was not there to make an accusation against them to Caesar, but that he was a prisoner because of his belief in the Messiah.

v. 26-27 Romans 11:25

v. 30-31 "Hired" means "rented"

Paul was chained to a soldier day and night. Each soldier assigned to Paul probably received a heavy witness about Christ. Paul's confinement to Rome for two years gave him the opportunity to write his epistles to the churches. Luke ends the story here. Secular history says that Paul was freed by Caesar as there were no real charges against him. Paul went back to Ephesus, where he lived until he was again arrested. This time Caesar had Paul beheaded.


Used With Permission

© The Word For Today. We thank Chuck Smith, The Word For Today and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for their permission to utilize this work.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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