Introduction to the Study of Acts
Welcome to this exciting Bible Study of Acts. This web page contains lesson plans for a multi-week study of your choice.
A full chapter by chapter study would take more than six months, so feel free to select from our available lessons below.
The Book of Acts, above all else, is a story about the church…and what a story it is!
Beginning with a bang, or rather with a “sound like the blowing of a violent wind” (Acts 2:2), Luke narrates how the church in Acts was dramatically born on the day of Pentecost (2:5-41).
Afterwards, he shares how an empowered band of Jesus’ disciples were suddenly thrust into a religious, political and social drama that would reverberate from the temple of Jerusalem to the capital of the Roman empire itself (1:8; 28:30-31)!
” And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (Acts 2:3-4)
Steps to Prepare for Your Study
The following steps will be helpful in getting the most from your Bible Study of Acts.
- If you are leading this study on the Acts of the Apostles, I would encourage you to complete our Guide for Bible Study Leaders. It provides a helpful orientation to our lesson plans as well giving you some important guidelines for maximizing the impact of your Bible study.
- Read an introduction to the Book of Acts in a study Bible, Bible dictionary or one-volume commentary (you can check out my Bible Study Tools page for some of my best recommendations). A small investment in your personal study library will yield rich dividends as you seek to know God’s word.)
- Study the Acts outline. Notice where the natural divisions occur.
- Read the Book of Acts through in several sittings.
- Keep a notebook handy with pencil to jot down questions, ideas and applications as you study Acts.
- Read the short background information for Acts below.
- Optional: To really jump ahead in your study of this wonderful book, complete our How to Study a Book of The Bible lesson using the Acts of the Apostles as your subject.
You can view an outline of Acts online by clicking on the separate links below:
- Part 1 – The Church In Jerusalem (Chapters 1-7)
- Part 2 – The Church in Judea and Samaria (Chapters 8-12)
- Part 3 – The Church in Gentile Territories (Chapters 13-21)
- Part 4 – Paul’s Trials and Voyage to Rome (Chapters 21-28)
Background Information for Bible Study of Acts
It is useful to make some preliminary points on Acts in order to highlight the importance of this book in the New Testament.
#1 – Acts is the only book in the New Testament to present a “history of the church”
Were it not for acts we would have very little to go on regarding the initiation, expansion and development of the New Testament church. In addition, we would know very little about Peter or Paul’s missionary movements or ministries.
#2 – Acts is the second of a two-part volume called Luke-Acts
When you think of Acts, you should think of Luke’s gospel. They were written by the same person (and to the same person). The author (whom we will designate as Luke) skillfully connected the story of Jesus with the story of Jesus’ followers. The result is work of art that spans two novels. The Book of Acts is the exciting sequel that comes after the blockbuster Gospel of Luke.
#3 – Acts is the connecting link between the gospels and the epistles
The Acts of the Apostles connects the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus with the faith communities that came after Jesus. Acts explains what happened after the Great Commission (Matt 28) and provides the background to the different letters that were written to various faith communities.
#4 – Acts provides incredible detail on Paul’s life and ministry
In Acts we have an independent witness of Paul’s life prior to his conversion and a great deal of material on his various church planting missions.
Reading Acts 17, for example, we get a sense for how the church was founded in the city of Thessalonica, which in turn helps us in reading 1 Thessalonians. Acts provides other details that prove useful in reading several of Paul’s letters (e.g. Philippians, Corinthians, Ephesus, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus).