My favourite Bible verse in the whole Book of Acts is Acts 17:6 and so let’s start there even through we will work our way from Acts 1:1 through to the end of the book. Acts 17:6, in my mind, summarizes the Book of Acts and gives us a short overview of what it is all about and what we can look forward to.
Acts 17:6 – second half – states: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here…”
The literal translation: “These men who have upset the inhabited earth have come here also”
New American: “These men who have UPSET THE WORLD…”
New Living Translation: “These men who have TURNED THE REST OF THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN are now here…”
New International: “These men who HAVE CAUSED TROUBLE all over the world…”
The early Church was known for causing or making trouble everywhere they went because they preached an alternative Kingdom and King. They had two themes to their teaching and preaching – the resurrection of Jesus (the Christ) from the dead and the establishment of this Resurrected Jesus as King of a new Kingdom that would cover the known earth. This was, of course, a threat to any established power structure – personal, town or city, province or empire.
This book is a summary of some of the activities of the early Church and the leaders of that Church. It is called The Book of Acts. The word “acts” is the word ‘praxeis’ and is a word used in ancient times to describe the achievements of great men. The Book of Acts does describe the achievements of basically two great men. The first is Peter (Acts, Chapters 1 to 12) and the second is Paul (Acts, Chapters 13 to 28).
However, although the Church knows this book as “The Acts of the Apostles” it could just as rightly be known as “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”. Thus, I refer to it as the “Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles” which allows the word ‘praxeis’ to be used still bearing its proper meaning.
So, we will be studying the work of the Holy Spirit as seen through the actions of the early apostles of the Church – the original 11 plus the replacement for Judas Iscariot as well as Paul an apostle who was, by his own admission, “born at the wrong time” or later than the originally twelve (1 Corinthians 15:8).
We will see – by looking at the lives of these very ordinary men – the Holy Spirit’s work of directing, controlling and empowering the ministry of the Church. The ministry of the Holy Spirit strengthened the Church and caused it to gain in numbers, spiritual power, and influence.
So, written by Luke the medical doctor – his second book to his friend Theophilus; the Gospel according to Luke being the first – we are in for an exciting time as we look back into the history of the Church and see the foundations being poured that allowed the early Church, without television, radio, the modern printing press, computers or air travel to “turn the world upside-down” and “cause trouble everywhere they went”.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
As a believer could you, in any way, be accused of “causing trouble everywhere you go” and thus “turning YOUR WORLD upside-down”?
Years ago I read a quote by a man who, at the time he said it, was Archbishop of Canterbury and thus head of the world-wide Anglican Church. William Temple said: “Everywhere Paul went there was either a riot or a revival. Everywhere I go, they pour tea!”
It was then that I determined that I would rather have either a riot or a revival and that I too was sick of the status quo (Latin for: “The mess we are in”). Since that time I have attenpted to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ – the Resurrected King and His Kingdom – and have at least had some moderate success in ‘troubling the waters”. I still long for the day when I can help to turn the world upside down (and thus right-side up) for Jesus Christ. That day is, I feel, soon to be upon us.
How about you?
Back to the Basics (Bible Blog) #1