Welcome to Acts and the Pauline Epistles – Day 2 of our New Testament Overview
Today we’re going to take a look at the book of Acts and also at the Pauline Epistles. If you’re not sure what the Pauline Epistles are, don’t worry! We will cover that together.
A month or so ago, I began hearing the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. What I heard, I tried to ignore. I know we’re not supposed to ignore God; it’s just that every time He asks me to do something for Him, I tend to balk first thinking I’m unqualified. For many years, I let that fear of not being good enough keep me from living my life fully. But I’ve worked so hard to trust completely and say yes to Him no matter what He asks me to do.
This time, I was being called to begin teaching others all I’ve learned about the Bible in the last 15 years I’ve been studying it. I thought I couldn’t be hearing correctly, but I tentatively set out to share what I’ve learned. I’m a teacher in my ‘day job’, so I knew that teaching Scripture would strengthen my own knowledge as well. I’m continuously learning new things, finding new meaning and more depth, and applying His Word to my life. As I share with you, please remember that I’m right there with you growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ, too.
The book of Acts called to me first, and I wrote a beginner’s study looking at the basics of the chapters, what occurs in each, and how to apply these principles to your daily life. Now, I want to look further at Acts and since we are introduced to Paul there, it makes sense to also talk about the Pauline Epistles next.
Acts of the Apostles
Acts was believed to be written by Luke as a 2nd part to his Gospel
It was written in the A.D. 60’s (You can read more thoughts on this here.)
Originally, the Gospel of Luke and Acts were one book which told of the beginning of Jesus’ life on earth and went all the way through the spreading of the church. In the second century, the books were separated with the Gospel of Luke being kept with the other Gospels and Acts following John as it taught the ‘next steps’ of the church after the Gospels.
The Purpose of Acts
*to give an historical account of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message
*to defend Christianity
*to show us how the church is to act
*to encourage us to spread the message of Christ
Four main sections:
1. The Church In Jerusalem (Chapters 1-7)
2. The Church in Judea and Samaria (Chapters 8-12)
3. The Church in Gentile Territories (Chapters 13-21)
4. Paul’s Trials and Voyage to Rome (Chapters 21-28)
While Acts begins by telling mostly of Peter as the church leader, it introduces eventually to Paul who was sent out from Jerusalem to spread the Gospel to faraway places.
Paul traveled to the major cities of the Roman Empire and was able to reach many people from all over. In each city, Paul planted churches. He stayed with them until they were able to function without him. As he traveled, he wrote letters to the churches addressing any questions or concerns they had. Paul instructed the churches through his letters.
Over time, Paul’s letters became canonized, which means they were believed to be divinely inspired.
Paul’s letters are called the Pauline Epistles. As a reminder, epistle means letter.
The Pauline Epistles
Of the 21 Epistles in the New Testament, Paul wrote 13 of them. Nine of the epistles that Paul wrote were written to churches and four of them were written to individuals.
The Epistles written to churches are:
The Epistles written to individuals are:
Each of Paul’s letters was written uniquely for the church or individual it was written to. The letters help us know today how to apply the Word to our lives and live accordingly. As we move deeper into studying scripture, it’s important we discover the author’s intent for his audience. When we learn the intent, we can look at how it applies to us today. This has been the best way I’ve found to study the Bible and learn how it’s specifically relevant to my life.
Previously, I mentioned there are 21 Epistles in the New Testament and Paul wrote 13 of them. In Part 3 of our New Testament Overview we’ll look at the other 8 which are called the General Epistles.
Read more here:
If you have questions about this lesson or have information about Acts and/or the Pauline Epistles, please share in the comments below.
Acts in 30 Days | Bible Study and Reading Guide
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