Ancient history. Speeches take up an avg of 1/4 of a narrative in this genre (and Acts). Speeches couldn't be reconstructed as they were given, they're made up to fit the character of the speaker & occasion. Skewed by the author's preferences.
Thematic method in Acts
Christianity fulfills scripture, continuity w/Judaism, Jesus the rejected prophet, gospel given to Gentiles as a result, Jew & Gentile alike through repentance/forgiveness, delay of the End, unity of the church/apostles, God directing it all.
Opening of Acts
Dedicated to Theophilus, begins w/Jesus' appearances for 40 days after He rose, the receipt of the Holy Spirit, the end is not immanent, but spread the Gospel with urgency. Jews convert, opposition arises, and the Message is taken out of Palestine.
Themes in Peter's Opening Speech
The fulfillment of Scripture: Jesus, Judas and now also the movement AFTER Jesus. Continuity with Judaism & God's behind it. Christianity didn't begin after His death, but with His whole life.
They cast lots and Matthias is chosen, and he had been a witness of everything from the baptism to resurrection.
The Apostles' Role in the Early Church
Teachers, miracle workers, edify & testify to resurrection, organize & run the community, distribute funds, care for the needy, make key decisions affecting all churches.
Major Controversy in Acts
Paul & Barnabas confronted by those insisting on Gentile circumcision. They go to Jerusalem & meet with the Apostles + James. Paul held the minority view that prevailed. The apostles are unified in their judgment.
By Peter directly after the Holy Spirit given. They are given "tongues like fire" & are called drunk. This fulfills Joel. Jesus was made Lord & Messiah, who you killed. They feel guilty & are told to repent, be baptized, receive Spirit
View of Salvation in Acts
Salvation comes through repentance and forgiveness of sins and is a gift to both Jew and Gentile, who are made equal in God's sight through this salvation
Persecution in Acts
Stephen is the first martyr. The Jews aren't just disobedient, but actively reject the Gospel. Persecution begins in Jerusalem and spreads. Saul of Tarsus participates & stoning Stephen.
"Defense" using reasoning. Paul gives Apologetic speeches to the Jews in Rome. Themes: He's done nothing against the Jews or their customs and still practices, he was found innocent by Rome, his current problems are the fault of the Jewish leaders.
Why Paul is Arrested in Acts 21
He's accused with bringing a Gentile (Trophimus) into the Court of Israelites in the Temple. He was there performing a sacrifice of cleansing. He's beaten by the Jews but saved by the Roman guard
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