Day 1: Acts 12:6-14:20
Day 2: Acts 14:21-28, Galatians 1:1-3:23
Day 3: Galatians 3:24-6:18, Acts 15:1-21
Day 4: Acts 15:22-17:15
Day 5: Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11
Day 6: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23
Day 7: Acts 18:24-19:20, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3:23
- (Acts 15) Why we eat shrimp and still have a sexual ethic with specific restrictions.
- (Acts 15:20-21) “But that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every sabbath.” Commentators suggest that these two dietary restrictions may still be in force, at which point we should not be eating blood sausage or rare steak. The passage seems to indicate that part of the reason for prohibiting these things specifically is a sensitivity to Jewish brothers and sisters who are very aware of Moses. These two dietary restrictions are really never expounded on, outside of the passages dealing with food offered to idols, but sexual immorality receives clear definition and instruction in multiple passages throughout the New Testament, and remains God’s basic standard.
- (Acts 16:3) “Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.” Timothy’s circumcision after the decision of Acts 15? Again, Paul had a very specific strategy in dealing with the Jews, especially non-Christian Jews; in light of Timothy’s half-Jewish heritage, his being uncircumcised would hamper his ability to move around within the Jewish people group. Paul never requires his Gentile friends to be circumcised. I think this was a strategic move given that Timothy was already publicly identified as part Jewish, part Greek.
- (16:10) “Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Apparently Luke joined the group in Troas.
- (Acts 16:16-18) “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour.” See also 2 Thess. 2:9 re: lying wonders. Paul doesn’t accept whatever testimony for Christ. He was able correctly to identify that this girl had a spirit that needed to be dealt with, and was not going to be an enhancement to his proclamation of the gospel. In general, we see a lot of discernment between Jesus and Paul over signs and wonders—both of them freely admit that people will do miracles that are deceptive and designed to lead people away from Christ, even under the pretense of being from Christ. We need to have that kind of discernment as well.