The Book of Acts

These 31 sessions taught by Dr. Paul Benware in a Sunday school class setting provide an in-depth study of the book of Acts.

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Study 1

This introductory study not only looks at the author, date and other background matters, but also focuses on four important background scriptures from the gospels. These scripture truths from the life of Christ are significant in an understanding of the Book of Acts.

Study 2

This second study in background material to Acts looks at the transitional nature of Acts as a key to understanding the events and history of this book. It also deals with four scriptures that emphasize the new working of the Holy Spirit in the age of the Church.

Study 3

This study continues the background to Acts, especially in matters related to the new ministries of the Holy Spirit in the age of the church. This includes a discussion on the matter of the miraculous in Acts as well as other portions of the scriptures.

Study 4

This study continues the discussion of “miracles” as well as looking at the prologue of Acts found in 1:1-5.

Study 5

The final words of the Lord Jesus are found in Acts 1 as well as the actions of the Apostles as they were left on their own by Jesus. They prayed and they selected a twelfth apostle, Matthias, to replace Judas Iscariot. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and the phenomena surrounding His coming was unmistakeable. These matters are the focus of this study.

Study 6

When the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, one of the phenomenon that took place was the speaking in tongues. This subject has proven to be controversial but often in the discussion the O.T. background is not brought in. This study focuses on Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 in an attempt to come to a biblical understanding of the subject.

Study 7

This study is the second part of the discussion on the gift of tongues.

Study 8

This study is over Acts 2:14-40 on the content of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. It looks at Peter’s emphasis and the response to the message from those who were deeply convicted by that sermon.

Study 9

Why did the Apostle Peter quote Joel 2 in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost? This has been a problem for expositors since the events found in Joel 2 did not take place at Pentecost and the speaking in tongues which did take place at Pentecost are not found in Joel. This study looks at the ways in which N.T. authors used the O.T. in their writings.

Study 10

Acts 2:42-47. Part 1. After the large influx of new believers on the day of Pentecost, there was the need for the spiritual maturing of these new believers. This section of Acts is uniquely important in that it record the five basic elements that are needed for believers to mature in Christ. The church was “continually devoting themselves” to these matters. And these five elements become a guide for any church and ministry that desires to bring believers to a mature faith. The first three elements of teaching, fellowship and worship are discussed.

Study 11

Acts 2:42-47. Part 2. This study looks at the final two elements that were part of the life of the early church. It also looks at the matter of the outreach of the church in evangelism, including the two matters that must be true for the church to say it has “evangelized” a person. The study also takes a brief look at the content of the gospel noting what is it that a person must be believe in order to receive eternal life.

Study 12

Acts 3 and 4 records the first persecution of the early church by the Jewish leadership. As Peter and John spoke to the crowds in the temple area, they were not reoffering the messianic kingdom to Israel but “offering” Israel their messiah Jesus. It was then that the apostles were arrested and jailed. But 5,000 were added to the church. This study focuses on the message delivered that day.

Study 13

This study begins with the defense of Peter and John before the Jewish Supreme Court and the discussion revolves around their being “filled” with the Holy Spirit. The study focuses on the two kinds of Spirit filling that is found in the NT and is available to those who are believers today.

Study 14

This study is the first of two that specifically focuses on the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers today. The Book of Acts makes a wonderful contribution to the ministries of the Spirit in this current church age but there is a great deal of uncertainty and even confusion about those ministries. This study (and the next one) seeks to clarify the various ministries of the Spirit for us today. This first study includes a review of Jesus’ statements about the coming work of the Spirit and also that of “filling” and “baptism”. The study then goes on to discuss the matters of the Spirit’s work in “common grace”, “efficacious grace”, regeneration and indwelling.

Study 15

This study continues the previous one on the Spirit’s ministries to believers today. This study has a focus on the Holy Spirit’s ministries of indwelling, sealing and anointing.

Study 16

Acts 4 and 5. This study deals with the the groups and individuals that played a key role in the early days of the church in Jerusalem. This includes the Jewish Supreme Court and the groups that comprised that powerful group. Included also is the introduction of the man Barnabas and a look at the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira who died suddenly, judged by the Lord.

Study 17

This study is a development of the Ananias and Sapphira story as their deaths was proof that the Lord wants a church that is pure. This study is devoted to a look at the subject of “church discipline” which is rarely practiced in the 21st century North American church. This study brings together the key N.T. passages on this key subject.

Study 18

Acts 5:12-6:7. Satan attacks the church by persecution from the outside or by problems and corruption from within. This study looks at both of these areas. It also shows the church’s understanding in dealing with problems it needs to have spiritually mature men to deal with those problems.

Study 19

Spiritual gifts #1. One emphasis of this series in Acts is on the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers today. Each and every believer is anointed by the Spirit at the moment of regeneration. Part of our being set apart as “believer-priests” is our service for Christ within the Body of Christ. Each has been given an ability to serve effectively as part of our anointing. This includes our reception of spiritual gifts. This study and the three to follow deal with the NT discussion of spiritual gifts.

Study 20

Spiritual gifts #2.

Study 21

Spiritual gifts #3.

Study 22

Spiritual gifts #4.

Study 23

Acts 7:1-8:4.  A look at the sermon that cost Stephen his life as he faithfully served the Lord.

Study 24

This study from Acts 8 centers on the ministry of Philip. Philip was introduced by Dr. Luke in Acts 6 and he is an example of one who is a true bondslave of Christ, ready to do whatever He wants His servant to do.

Study 25

Aside from the resurrection of Christ, the Conversion of Saul of Tarsus is one of the greatest proofs of the validity of the Christian faith. This study focuses on this event and looks at the issue of what happened on the road to Damascus.

Study 26

Acts 9:19-30. Discussion continues of the strategic conversion and early ministry of Saul (the Apostle Paul) and how he suffered for his identification with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Study 27

Acts 9:32-11:18.  Luke takes time out from talking about the ministry of the Apostle Paul and shifts to a new discussion of the work of the Apostle Peter.

Study 28

Going to the Gentiles – Acts 10:1 – 11:18. For the very first time the gospel goes to gentiles, who are not proselytes to Judaism.  Using extraordinary means, God makes it clear the church that gentiles and Jews are equal in this new entity the church, the body of Christ.

Study 29

Church Government (Part 1) – Acts 11:30 mentions “elders” for the very first time in connection with the NT church.  Yet, there is no explanation given by Luke about elders in the church.  So, are elders necessary for the function of the church?  Where does authority lie in the local church?  Pastors? Congregation? A Bishop?  This is a two part investigation into the governing of the local church and answers the question, “who is in charge here?”

Study 30

Church Government (Part 2).

Study 31

Persecuting the Church – Acts 12:1-25 – About nine years after the persecution that surrounded the killing of Stephen, persecution led by a government official, Herod Agrippa I took  place.  The Apostle James was beheaded and Peter was arrested but escaped prison because of angelic involvement. Some important spiritual lessons emerge from this account. The study ends with a very brief look at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 where the first great theological debate within the church took place.