Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

NT Lesson 38: To the ends of the earth

Posted by cherylem on October 27, 2007

This lesson’s outline is pretty simple and basic. Having read the notes for Jim’s lessons (where he gives lots of good stuff) and the conversation following, I decided to concentrate on the outline and history, actually. As we read some of the scriptures included, we’ll see where the discussion goes.
Here is my outline:

Acts 21-28, Lesson 38 The mission of Paul to the ends of the earth (which mission begins in 15:36)  

Review of Acts generally:

·       Acts is the 2nd volume of Luke’s two volume work (Luke/Acts).

·       Nearly a fourth of the book contains speeches given by Paul and other apostles.

·       The emphasis is on Jewish roots and gentile mission. This increasingly Gentile movement is situated squarely in the context of Judaism.

·       Christianity was not something new but something old, older even than the Jewish prophets, as old as the author of the Torah and Moses himself.

Acts sketches the history of Christianity from the time of Jesus’ resurrection to the Roman house arrest of Paul.

1.     Second of a two-volume work by the author of Luke. It too is dedicated to an otherwise unknown “Theophilus.”

2.     These books have been traditionally ascribed to Luke, the traveling companion of Paul; there are, however, reasons to suspect this tradition.

3.     Like the Gospel of Luke, the book was written around 80-85 C.E.

4.     A thematic approach to the book reveals several prominent themes: 

·       The Jewish origins of Christianity, its fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures, and its continuity with Judaism.

·       The portrayal of Jesus as a Jewish prophet, rejected by his own people.

·       The consequent movement of the religion from the Jews to the Gentiles and a concomitant geographical shift from the holy city of Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

·       The proclamation to Jew and Gentile alike of salvation through the repentance of sins and the forgiveness of God, with Gentiles who accept this offer of salvation not needing to adopt the ways of Judaism.

·       The delay of the time of the end to make this Christian mission a possibility.

·       The “rightness” of this religion in both the divine sense (it came from God in fulfillment of the Scriptures) and the human one (it did nothing to violate Jewish custom or Imperial law)

·       The complete unity and harmony of the church as guided by the apostles, who agree on every issue and resolve every problem through the direction of the Spirit

·       Ultimately, the hand of God directing the course of Christian history behind the scenes, from Jesus’ own life and death to the life and ministry of the apostles he left behind.                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (The New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman)

Background:

Paul and empire

Today’s lesson:

21:18-25            Paul is received by James and the elders and makes report to them.

21:26-30           What happens to Paul in the temple?

21:31-40            Who intervenes to save Paul?

22:1-21              Paul’s speech of defense

22:22-29           The speech produces conflict

22:30 – 23:11    Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin

23:12-22            Paul’s nephew frustrates the Jewish plot to kill Paul

23:23-35            Paul is sent to Caesarea and the Roman prefect Felix

24:1-27              Trial of Paul before Felix

25:1-12               Paul is interrogated by Festus

25:13-26:32       Festus passes Paul to the Herodian king Agrippa II

27:1-28:14a        Journey to Rome as prisoner

28:14b-31           Paul at Rome.

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