This is the final chapter of the book of Acts, but not of the acts of God, which go on to this day. Paul gets bitten by a poisonous snake, shakes it off, is unharmed, and then God works healing through his hands. They finally reach Rome, where Paul is at liberty to preach the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus go through a storm and shipwreck. An angel stands before Paul and promised everyone safety. When they followed his directions, they safely reach an island.
Paul delivers a speech before Agrippa and Festus, in Caesarea. Paul recounts his testimony on the road to Damascus. Festus reacts and calls him crazy. Does Paul want to convert him? Agrippa and Festus conclude that Paul is innocent, but he had appealed to Caesar, so the trials go on.
Paul defends himself before Festus, King Agrippa II, and his sister Bernice against the accusations of the Jerusalem establishment, who stood around Paul. He was calm and forceful in his defense. He appealed to “lord” Caesar.
Paul defends himself before Felix at Caesarea. He is kept in custody, discussing with Felix, righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come. Felix is succeeded by Porcius Festus.
Paul appears before the Jewish High Council, a Roman commander rescues him, Jesus personally appears before Paul, a plot by assassins is foiled, and he is taken to Caesarea, where he had landed earlier.
Paul delivers his defense (apologia) to the crowds who were demonstrating against him. It is a masterpiece.
This chapter has all sorts of prophetic words about Paul going up to Jerusalem. He arrives there. The chapter also sees James, the (half-)brother of Jesus, tell Paul to go along with a vow to be a good witness to the law-keeping converts to the Jesus Movement, which he did. A riot promptly beaks out when he is spotted in the temple. In v. 16, Paul’s third missionary journey comes to an end, and his journey to Rome via Jerusalem begins in v. 17.
Paul is on his way to Jerusalem. But first he forms a team, sees a boy named Eutychus survive a fall, and delivers his very moving farewell to the Ephesian elders. This chapter also begins Paul’s journey to Jerusalem (20:16 to 21:17). Please see the timeline table that harmonize Acts 18-25 and Paul’s epistles
Paul is in Ephesus and prays for twelve disciples who need the fullness of the Spirit, seven Jewish exorcists get pummeled, a demonstration erupts because of the goddess Artemis and Paul’s monotheism and the gospel. The fifth “panel” is in this chapter. Also see the ministry timeline set in a convenient table.
Paul finishes up his second missionary journey in v. 22 and begins his third in v. 23. In this chapter, his ministry in Corinth and Ephesus takes center stage. Priscilla and Aquila make their appearance, so does the powerfully effective speaker Apollos, who received more theology about God and the fulness of the Spirit.
Paul is still on his second missionary journey, along with his team, minus Luke, who will rejoin them in Troas (20:5). The Bereans were nobler than the Thessalonians because the Berans searched the Scriptures. Paul preaches his famous discourse to the Areopagus council.
Paul begins his second missionary trip, with Silas. The Spirit leads Paul and Silas not to go into two big regions but to go to Macedonia; the salvation of Lydia and her household; the deliverance of an oppressed girl; a beating, Paul and Silas singing and praying in prison; an earthquake; and a jailer’s and his household’s salvation. Timothy and Luke join Paul’s team.
The council in Jerusalem decided on how Gentiles could be saved. They held to four requirements, which were designed for peaceful fellowship between Messianic Jews and converted Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas split up. After this, Paul and Silas begin Paul’s second missionary trip, all the way to Acts 18:22. And Barnabas and Mark make a second team. Included: Timeline table of Paul’s journey coordinated with his epistles.
This chapter ends Paul’s and Barnabas’s first missionary journey, but not before Paul gets stoned and taken for dead. This chapter includes preaching, a healing miracle, and other signs and wonders. He tailors his message for towards pagans for the first time; then he is challenged by opponents.
This chapter is clearly transitional. In their first missionary journey, Barnabas and Saul go beyond Israel and Antioch and head westward. It includes worshipping and praying and personal prophetic words and spiritual warfare. It has Paul’s first recorded sermon, a masterpiece. This is Paul’s and Barnabas’s first missionary journey (to 14:28). Table: Paul’s travels which is coordinated with a timeline.
James, son of Zebedee, is executed; Peter escapes miraculously from jail; Rhoda’s exuberance, and Herod Agrippa’s sudden death.
Peter explains his eating with Gentiles, Agabus and his team of prophets appear and predict a worldwide famine, and the disciples are first called Christians in Antioch, and Barnabas and Saul are commissioned to bring relief to Jerusalem Christians.
This chapter is the most important one in all the Bible for the description of including the Gentiles into the New Covenant community of God. This transition could happen only through Peter.
In this chapter: Saul’s conversion and Peter healing Aeneas and raising Tabitha from the dead. Thus, Saul and Peter are paired together in different storylines, and clearly Peter is in the lead, for now.
In this chapter, because of the persecution of the Messianic Jews, they have to flee Jerusalem. Philip reaches out to Samaritans, and then to the Ethiopian Treasurer. Philip then gets snatched away by God and ends up at Azotus and preaches the gospel in that region.
Stephen’s speech begins the slow transition from dependence on the temple and towards a more global outreach. God does not dwell in temple buildings made with hands. Stephen is martyred.
The Hebrew and Greek widows complain about distribution of resources. The apostles appoint seven servants to handle the issue. Certain members of a synagogue oppose Stephen and drag him before Caiaphas the high priest.
Ananias and Sapphira are instantly judged. God through the apostles worked many signs and wonders, and the people greatly honored the Messianic community. Some feared to join, but others did. Peter’s shadow was cast on them and miracles happened. The council arrested the apostles and put them in prison, but an angel released them. They went into the temple and preached but were rearrested. Gamaliel gave his speech urging caution about executing them. The apostles were flogged and released but never stopped preaching.
The council (Sanhedrin) arrest Peter and John and the healed man and threaten them. The two apostles say they must obey God instead of man. They return to the Christian community and report what happened. The whole community pray for boldness and share everything in common. The place where they met was shaken, and they are again filled with the Spirit.
The disabled beggar is healed at the gate called Beautiful. Peter, along with John, preaches the second recorded sermon, which is a great overview of OT Scriptures and themes proving Jesus is the Messiah.
The Holy Spirit arrives with great power at the festival of Pentecost. Peter preaches the first sermon after the birth of the church. He tells the Jewish pilgrims that they must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Three thousand souls were added to the church. Then the earliest community shared everything in common, and more people were being saved.
Luke addresses Theophilus, to whom he dedicated his second volume. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. He commissions disciples to go beyond Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. He ascends into heaven. Matthias is chosen to replace Judas.
How closely and often do Acts and Paul’s epistles agree? Fifteen tables, plus two bonus tables, in this post, laying out the parallels.
Is the book of Acts historically reliable, in comparison to its own Greco-Roman writing culture? Many tables are included, to answer the question.