God’s Message goes to All Nations

Unit 6

The Third *Missionary Journey Acts 18:23-21:17

An EasyEnglish Study Unit (2800 word vocabulary) on the New Testament from Acts to Revelation


G. Barrie Wetherill and M. P. H. Stear

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

This commentary has yet to go through Advanced Theological Checking.


1. Paul sets off again 18:22-29

Antioch was the city where Paul lived. His own church was in Antioch. However, Paul cared very much for the churches that he had set up (2 Corinthians 11:28). Soon he set out to visit them again. This was important to him. He had to be sure that the people trusted Christ. He had taught them to trust Christ. He had to be sure that they still did this.

One of the things that he did was to visit the people. Paul returned to the churches again and again (Acts 18:23). He also sent Timothy and Titus, who were his good friends, to teach them. He wrote letters to the churches. The letters helped them and advised them. We can read many of these letters in the *New Testament. These letters show how much Paul cared about the churches and about the people. We can also read about his constant prayers for them, (see Romans 1:9, 10; Ephesians 1:15, 16; Colossians 1:9).

Paul wanted to set up strong churches. He knew that there would be trouble for the churches. Some teachers would come and teach wrong things. Some people in the churches would pretend to believe. Also, they had to tell people in the area about Jesus.

These journeys were long and tiring. They were difficult and dangerous. Paul refers to bands of thieves. The journey through Antioch and Galatia to Ephesus (18:22, 23) is 1500 miles. We also know that Paul suffered much on these journeys. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul says that men beat him three times. Three times his ship broke up. Five times men beat him with a whip for 39 strokes. Luke wrote the book that we call Acts. He does not mention all these things. Men opposed Paul, but they did not stop him. Paul saw that people need *spiritual help. Other people prayed for Paul. Paul believed that the *Lord would hear those prayers. The *Lord would help him and keep him safe (2 Corinthians 1:9-11). He did not trust in his own strength and wisdom. Paul trusted in God.

Acts 18:22, 23 do not tell us much about the journeys. It is interesting to note that Luke was not with Paul. He did not go with Paul on a journey again until Paul reached Philippi, (Acts 20:6). Luke did not write a history of all the journeys. He says little or nothing about the journeys of other *apostles. Luke wanted to show the work of the *Holy Spirit.

Luke does write about Apollos’s visit to Ephesus. This explains a little about the trouble later in Corinth. Apollos had come from Alexandria. In Alexandria, many *Jews liked Greek culture. Apollos seems to have been a good speaker. He was the right person to tell the people in Greece about Jesus. He was probably a better speaker than Paul was. He knew *scripture well, but he did not know all about Jesus. He knew that John *baptised Jesus. This is all that he knew. Priscilla and Aquila were very kind to him. They took him to their home, and taught him more about the way of Christ. Apollos then went on to Achaia and Corinth.

2. The Ephesian *disciples 19:1-7

Paul came to Ephesus. He met a group of *Jews there. Perhaps Apollos had told them about Jesus. They did not know all about Jesus. They only knew what John the *Baptist had said. He had said that the *Messiah would come after him. Paul now explains that Jesus was that one. The *Messiah had come. He had lived. He had died on a *cross. He had become alive again. He had given the *Holy Spirit. The *Holy Spirit is for those who *repent and believe.

Many people knew about John the *Baptist’s life and work. People heard about John’s message about *repentance. His message was that someone else would come. *Jews had to attend the three *festivals which their law mentioned. However, *Jews who lived far away from Jerusalem did not attend them very often. They attended them sometimes. Many of these *Jews would not know about Jesus’ life, death and *resurrection. They were like Apollos. This situation would not last. The situation would change. This is why we read about it. It was an unusual situation, not a normal one.

Some people have read about this and taught wrong things from it. They teach that the *Holy Spirit comes to a person after he becomes a Christian. They say that this happens at a different time. However, this is not why this account is in *Scripture. It describes what happened to make a wrong situation right. It does not describe what should usually happen.

Paul wanted to *preach the whole truth about Jesus. He taught this even to new *disciples. He often taught that men would attack *disciples. *Disciples would suffer. He taught that Jesus would come back again. Before that, the *disciples would suffer. If we do not *preach all the truth of the *gospel, we get people in the church with this kind of *faith. Their *faith is not complete. We do not know if they are really Christians. This particular group that Paul met do seem to have been real *disciples.

3. Ephesus 19:8-10

Ephesus was a city in Asia. It was in the west part of the modern Turkey. Pergamum was the capital city of that part of the world, but Ephesus was the chief city. It was the wealthiest city in the east part of the *Roman *empire, and it had many inhabitants. Ephesus was at the end of the great route for travellers who were going by land from India through Galatia. It was an important place for a church. From Ephesus, Christians could tell a whole region about Jesus.

But the city was a place where people came to practise evil magic. There were many people who cheated, and pretended to do magic. There was a large *temple of Artemis (Diana). People thought that Diana was the daughter of the god Zeus. She was the *twin sister of the god Apollo, and she was not married. The ways of *worship at the *temple of Artemis were evil. People also *worshipped other *cults there, and other false gods. Often pictures of Artemis show that she had seven breasts.

There was a special stone above the entrance to the *temple. People believed that it had come from heaven. They thought that Artemis herself had placed it there. The stone was probably a meteorite. A meteorite is a piece of stone that has fallen to earth from space. The people in Ephesus thought that all this was very important. There was a good trade in *idols at Ephesus. This trade spread far and wide. There were other *temples to Artemis in the Mediterranean region that were not so important.

Paul worked for the money that he needed (Acts 20:33, 34). He also supplied his companions with what they needed. This was important in Ephesus. There, people thought about religion and money together. Paul showed that this did not have to happen. He *preached to the *synagogue for three months. Some of the *Jews opposed him, and, at last, they forced him to leave. He then moved to a lecture hall. Probably Paul spoke there in the middle of the day. That was when many people would sleep because of the heat. Other people would not use the hall at that time.

Visitors to Ephesus heard about Jesus and became Christians. They took the *gospel back to their own towns. This is probably the way in which the *gospel reached Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis (Colossians 4:13). Paul never visited those places (Colossians 2:1). One of the men who did this was certainly Epaphras, (Colossians 1:7, 4:12, Philemon 23). He probably heard the *gospel from Paul at Ephesus, and became a Christian. Another important person who believed at this time was Philemon. Later, Paul wrote the letter to him that is in our Bible.

It is likely that Paul suffered a lot here. He writes to the Ephesians about the need to put on the *armour of God, (Ephesians 6:10-20). He tells the Corinthians that he suffered in Asia, (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 and 2 Timothy 4:14).

There is some evidence that Paul developed a new plan on this trip. Before this, some important local men or women encouraged other citizens to chase him away. Now he seems to have tried to speak to some of the important people, such as Gaius at Corinth (Romans 16:23, and see Acts 16:14, 15; 17:4; 17:12). This might have protected him a little. Certainly, Paul was able to stay for more than two years in Ephesus. There were still people who opposed him, but other people were now *preaching the *gospel in Asia.

4. *Miracles and *demons 19:11-20, 23-41

Here at Ephesus, the *demons were very active. It is interesting that here we have several *miracles. The *Lord helped Paul to cure people by *miracles. This shows that the *Lord approved of what Paul did. The *Lord had also approved of what Peter had done earlier (Acts 5:12-15). Even the Bible says that these *miracles were ‘extraordinary’.

People often used to take handkerchiefs from Christian leaders to people who were sick. However, the writer of Acts did not write about the *miracles to encourage us to do that. He wanted to describe how God was powerful in a particular place at a particular time. As time has passed, many people have not understood God’s power. They have thought that God used magic. This has made them try to use magic too.

Some *Jews tried to imitate Paul. They used the name of Jesus to defeat *demons. Some people think that the activity of *demons is only a clever *trick. The story in the *New Testament never means that. On one particular occasion, these *Jews tried to cure a man like this. He attacked them and hurt them. They ran away, naked (Acts 19:16). If a person has *demons inside him, he also has great strength (Mark 5:4). Many people through the ages to the present day have seen this. But Paul used the name of Christ well, when he defeated *demons.

The result of all this was good. People recognised that Christ is *Lord completely. Many people came and destroyed their magic things. They knew that Christ had much more power than the *demons. They wanted to tell everyone this. They destroyed many very valuable books and other things. The value was huge. It was the same as about 142 years of daily wages. This shows that they had been very interested in evil spirits and magic. It also shows that the *Gospel made a great difference to the town.

Paul was teaching the people and many people were listening to him. In Ephesus, people used to buy *idols. Now they did not buy so many *idols. The men who made these *idols began to worry about this. A man whose name was Demetrius called together a noisy crowd. Fortunately, the crowd could not find Paul. When Paul wanted to go and speak to the crowd, his friends prevented him. Paul did have the courage to meet an angry crowd!

The same thing happened in Ephesus as had happened in Philippi. Paul attacked and defeated *demons. Then men opposed him. This is what Paul thought about their attack. It was an attack from men, but it was like the attack in heaven (Ephesians 6:10 and after). The same things happen today.

However, Ephesus was a *Roman city and had many advantages. People would hear about the noisy crowd. The *Romans could take action against the city. The city clerk was worried about this, and sent the crowd away. Paul realised that this was time to leave. If he stayed, there would be more trouble. He then set out to visit Macedonia and Corinth again.

At Ephesus, the *miracles showed that God was at work through Paul. We should note that there was not yet a *New Testament. *Miracles in the Bible do come several at a time. We should clearly note their purpose. It is to prove that the message is from God. The speaker has not made it up. We now have the Bible. The *Lord wants us to use the Bible as our authority. There are not so many *miracles now. But in some important *mission situations there continue to be stories of *miracles. God is working still in wonderful ways. As in *New Testament days, true *miracles will always support those who *preach about Jesus. They bring *glory to the *Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Paul’s plans 19:21, 22

When Paul was at Ephesus, news came from Corinth. He had to hurry to Corinth to visit the church there. But Paul was beginning to understand something. This part of the lands round the Mediterranean Sea had several strong churches now. He could move elsewhere.

Paul was taking the message about Jesus to *Gentiles. However, he also wanted very much to do something for his own nation of the *Jews. Paul’s desire was for more *Jews become Christians (Romans 9:1-5). He wanted to go to Spain, through Rome. There was already a church in Rome. He decided to go to Jerusalem first. He arranged for the *Gentiles to collect money, to help the poor people at Jerusalem, (2 Corinthians 8:1-15). Clearly, he hoped that this might help to make the *Jewish Christians and the *gentile Christians better friends. The first collection of money had done this (Acts 11:30).

However, Paul had been away from Jerusalem a long time. A lot of things had changed there. The recent *Roman ruler there had not liked the *Jews. When there were problems, he was very fierce. This made the *Jews even more proud to be *Jews. They hated *Gentiles more than before. This affected the church in Jerusalem. Probably some false teachers from Judea went to Corinth. They said that they were as important as Paul. They taught that Christians must keep the *Jewish law (2 Corinthians 11:1-6, 12:11-13). Paul knew that this was wrong. If they had to obey the *Jewish law to become Christians, they did not understand the death of Jesus. Christ’s death is enough on its own for *salvation. So Paul calls their message ‘another *gospel’. Christians at Jerusalem did not think that Paul respected the law. They thought that he did not pay attention to the Acts 15 decision. (This said that Christian *Gentiles should obey the *Jewish way to prepare some food.) It is true that Paul did not pay attention to this! – There could be no agreement here.

Paul could not have known about all these arguments. Many people think that because of them, he should not have returned to Jerusalem. Whether this was so or not is difficult for us to decide. All through the Bible, the accounts of events do not say if the event was right or wrong. However, we should note that Paul had great determination. We can read about that later. And we mention it here further on in these notes. Paul had decided to go to Jerusalem, and the *Lord did not stop him. The *Lord just used this to spread the *gospel further.

[Source: Paul Barnett, ‘Bethlehem to Patmos’, Paternoster.]

6. Paul and Corinth

The story about Paul and his church at Corinth is complicated. We have to work out what happened from various writers. Relations between the Corinthians and Paul were often difficult. It does not surprise us that Luke does not mention it. But it is an interesting story. It shows how much Paul had cared about his *converts. He is willing to go on dangerous and expensive journeys. He is willing to meet groups of angry men. He is willing to send his companions. He is willing to write letters and to pray all the time. Paul is willing to do all this, to serve his *converts and churches.

After Paul left the Corinthians on the second *missionary journey, Apollos came to them. We have already noted that he was a very good speaker. He had a different style from Paul. This caused some difficulties for the Corinthians, which we can read about in 1 Corinthians 1:11, 12. Some of the Corinthians preferred Apollos, and some preferred Paul. The church was in a city that did not behave in a holy way. Some of the people in the church were not moral. Paul therefore wrote a letter to them, which he refers to in 1 Corinthians 5:9. (The people in Corinth lost this letter, but they also did not understand it.)

People who lived in ‘Chloe’s house’ (1 Corinthians 1:11) then wrote to Paul. They told him about problems in the church. The Corinthian church itself wrote a letter to him with various questions, (1 Corinthians 7:1). Probably Stephanas, Fortunatas and Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17) took this letter to him.

Paul immediately sent Timothy to Corinth. Then he wrote the letter that we call ‘1 Corinthians’ (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10). Timothy’s visit seems to have been short, because he joins Paul in the greetings in 2 Corinthians 1:1. However, they did not solve the problems. The problems rather became worse. Paul stopped his work in Ephesus and hurried to Corinth, (2 Corinthians 13:1; 12:14; 12:2). That visit was a sad one, (2 Corinthians 2:1). Some people in the church spoke against Paul. They said that when he spoke it meant nothing (2 Corinthians 10:10).

The problem did not end with that visit, and Paul wrote another letter, (2 Corinthians 2:4; 7:8). They lost this letter also. Titus took it to them. He was to visit Macedonia and Troas on his way back to Paul. Paul wanted to know news about the church. Paul went from Ephesus to Troas, but he did not find Titus. He did not think that he should stay in Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12, 13), and so he went to Macedonia. Paul worried very much about the church at Corinth. Here in Macedonia, Titus met him and said that all was well, (2 Corinthians 2:14f, 7:6f). Paul then wrote the letter that we call ‘2 Corinthians’. He was very pleased. By the time that Paul wrote the letter, false teachers had come from Judea. They said that they were ‘*super-apostles’. Paul had to show that their teaching was wrong. He does this, very clearly, in the later part of 2 Corinthians. It is very likely that he visited soon afterwards. Acts 20:3 mentions this.

[Source: Leon Morris, ‘1 Corinthians’, Tyndale NT commentary.]

7. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians

Sometimes people say that the church today should be like the early church. Usually this is because they admire the way the early church told other people about Jesus. The very earliest Christians were also very kind to each other. They were not selfish. They gave other Christians anything that they needed. We read about the early church in the book of Acts.

In his letters to the churches, Paul mentions different subjects. This shows us that the early church had problems. The people were weak as well as strong. In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he teaches them well about some difficult situations. The same situations have been in the church all through the years, to the present day. Paul heard about these situations from other people. He also replies to questions from the churches. Look at the list:

1.    Some of the church members wanted to follow one leader and some of them wanted to follow another leader. Paul tells them to think about Christ. He is the *Saviour and Head of the church. Paul and the other leaders are Christ’s servants.

2.    Wisdom and *miracles. Some people thought too much about the Greek ideas of wisdom and about *Jewish demands for *miracles. Paul says that Christ has the wisdom of God and the power of God.

3.    Often behaviour between men and women was not moral. Sometimes the Christians’ behaviour was even worse than the behaviour of *non-believers. Paul’s answer is that Christ is *holy. His church must be *holy too. They must deal with this problem completely, but with love. Paul knew that it was essential for Christians to be models of good behaviour.

4.    Arguments - When the Corinthian Christians did not agree, they did not behave well to each other. They were going to the law court. They should have asked someone in the church to help them. Again, this did not give honour to Christ.

5.    To marry or not to marry – In chapter 7, Paul teaches many details about this. Married people must have no other partners. People who are single are not to behave as if they are married. Some recent Christians have a husband or wife who now wants to leave them because of this. Christians need God’s help to control their feelings, and their desire for sex. Paul writes about all these problems. He reminds them about *holiness. He reminds them that this is the time before the *Lord returns.

6.    *Feasts in honour of *idols - these were very common at that time. At the feasts, people met one another and had time to talk. They also gave meat to *idols. Then they ate the meat. It was very difficult for Christians. Meat was offered to *idols before it came to market. People could not refuse to eat such meat. Paul teaches an important rule about this problem. We must think about the consciences of our friends who are not strong Christians. A mature Christian will know that an *idol is nothing. However, another Christian might not like to see a Christian eat such meat. Paul says that we should be very careful. Our actions must not hurt other Christians. Our actions should help them (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). The important rule is Christian freedom. There is a new freedom in Christ. It is not a freedom just to please ourselves. We must think about other people. Some people attacked the way that Paul lived as an *apostle. He defended himself. He said that he did not use his freedom or his rights. He did not want to make trouble for the Corinthian Church.

7.    The way to *worship – first of all, the *Lord’s Supper. This should have been a special time, quiet and *holy. It was not like this at all. It was noisy and there was no control. It divided the people. It should have given *glory to God. It should have been a time for people to meet together. Second, Paul wrote about the use of *spiritual gifts, and *reverence in Christian *worship. The Corinthians thought that they were very *spiritual people. They praise themselves for this. The reality was different. They were not wise in the way that they lived as Christians.

8.    The *resurrection – There was trouble in the church because of false teachers. They taught that the *resurrection of dead people had already happened. They said that it was a *spiritual *resurrection. Other people taught that there is no *resurrection. Chapter 15 is the most important one in the Bible about this. It teaches us what the *resurrection really means for us. Paul writes about this again in 2 Corinthians 5. There he goes on to describe the *Gospel in a wonderful way again.

9.    Gifts to poor people and rules about Christian gifts (chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians). These are perhaps the most important chapters on gifts in the Bible.

10.  The letter that we call ‘2 Corinthians’ is Paul’s fourth letter to them. There had been much communication from Paul to the church, and from the church to Paul. This is why he wrote this letter. Their behaviour had changed. It was much better. Paul tells them how glad he is about this. He had said that he would visit them again. Now he explains why he did not do this (2 Corinthians 1:23–2:1). He tells them not to be too strict. He also repeats some of the things that he said earlier.

11.  A lot of ‘2 Corinthians’ is about people in the church who pretended to be ‘*super-apostles’. They said that they had special help from God, and *visions. Paul is very severe about them. False teachers were like a disease in the church. They have always been like a disease in the church. We must clear them out. Paul has to write about what he himself suffered (2 Corinthians 11:22-33). He tells about a *vision that he had. Otherwise, he would not have spoken about this. The people in Corinth looked at leaders in the world. They thought that the church leaders should be like that. Leaders in the world had to seem to be strong and powerful. They had to be attractive and handsome. They had to speak well, and not seem to be weak. In chapters 10 to 12, Paul said that this is foolish. It is not the way that God thinks about leaders. He speaks about himself as an *apostle. He was weak, and he suffered. This gave God the opportunity to show his own strength. At the end of the letter, Paul promises to visit them again (2 Corinthians 12:14).

8. The letter to the Romans

As we have noted, Paul intended to visit Rome. He probably wrote the letter to the Romans from Corinth. Two things were in Paul’s mind at this time. The letter shows us these things.

First, there were still people who taught Christians the *Jewish law. This is the reason for the first chapter of Romans. Paul wanted to make Christians sure about *justification by *faith. Probably Paul taught the Corinthians about this on that last visit to the church in Corinth. All men, *Jews and *Gentiles, are *sinners. God *saves us from the results of *sin only by *grace, when we trust in Christ (Romans 3:23, 24). It is a gift from God (Romans 6:23). Nothing that we can do will bring *justification. This has always been God’s method, even in the *Old Testament. However, when a person really becomes a Christian, his life will change. We cannot continue in *sin and yet have *salvation (Romans 6:1). A person who is a true Christian will have the *Holy Spirit in his life. This is the proof that he is a true Christian. The *Holy Spirit will help to defeat what is wrong in a person’s thoughts and actions (Romans 8:13). This will help the person to be really confident as a Christian. Paul writes about this in Romans chapter 8.

Some *Jews clearly thought that Paul was against the law. He was not. He said that the law helps us to understand Christ (Galatians 3:24). We can obey the law only when we trust in Christ (Romans 3:31).

Second, some people were thinking that Paul was now against the *Jews. This was not so. In Romans chapters 9 to 11 we clearly see Paul’s great desires for the *Jews. He was arranging to collect money for the church in Jerusalem. There was not enough food there, and people were hungry. This shows us that Paul cared very much about his own nation.

The final chapters of Romans, chapters 12-16, are about how we should live as a Christian. They are very practical, and they give us a lot to think about. Paul writes that we must be humble, and love other people. We must be ready to suffer. We must obey those who have authority. This part of the letter reminds us about what Jesus taught, in the *Sermon on the Mountain.

Much of this great letter to the Romans comes from Paul’s experiences as a *missionary. He had had a difficult time. There had been arguments, fights and struggles. We might say that he wrote the letter with tears. He had suffered so much. He had fought with false teachers, especially with those who taught *Jewish ways to *gentile Christians. The *Holy Spirit had put this teaching deeply in his heart and in the way he lived.

In these letters, Paul shows a real love and care for the churches and the people. The letters would not have been easy to write. He must have spent much time and prayer when he wrote them. The letters are very practical. Paul wants to see people who have the *Holy Spirit inside them. He will give them power and change them. They will then live in the way that God wants.

Romans 12:1, 2 Therefore, I urge you, my friends, because God has *forgiven you, to offer your bodies to him. [This means that all that we do must please him. All that we say must please him. And all that we think must please him.] This will be a *living *sacrifice, perfect, that will please God. This is how to *worship. Do not live any more by the pattern of this world. Be completely different, as your mind becomes different. Then you will be able to test and approve of what God wants. What God wants is his good and perfect will.

9. Troas and the Ephesian *elders

As Paul leaves Macedonia, Luke went with him and his friends again. (Another part of Acts, using the word ‘we’, begins at Acts 20:6.) Luke is with Paul now all through the rest of Acts. Luke saw what happened with his own eyes. He writes with many exact details of the journeys. At the beginning of the journey, there was another plot against Paul (20:3). This made Paul change his plan.

Paul stopped at Troas. He seems to have spoken all through the night. He knew that this might be his last visit to the area. One young man fell asleep as Paul talked. He fell down dead from a window on the third storey. Paul picked him up and gave him life again.

Miletus was the port for Ephesus. There Paul called for the Ephesian church *elders to come to him. Luke writes down details of Paul’s message to them. It is good for us to have this. There are a number of points:

(a) Paul has told them all that the *gospel is. He has not missed anything out to make it easier. He has told them everything that God wants. He therefore declares that he did not teach them anything that is wrong. No one there could ever say before God that they had never heard the truth. Paul knows that one day God will have judgement on his *ministry.

(b) The *elders are responsible for the people in the church. Paul will no longer be there. (In fact, he perhaps made one further visit, after he came out of prison. However, there is no good evidence for this.)

(c) Paul warns the *elders that false teachers will come from inside their church. They must not allow them to speak. He describes these false teachers in a very severe word. He warns that they will cause very great trouble.

(d) Paul asks them to note what he does. He worked for his own money. He was wise with money. He cares for weak people.

(e) Paul gave the *elders and the church to a wonderful and powerful God: he trusted God to care for them.

Acts 20:32 Now I give you to God. And I leave you the message about his *grace. He can make you strong. He will bring you into the family of all who belong to him.

10. Arrival in Judea

On this final journey to Jerusalem, people warn Paul several times that he will suffer. Nothing will stop him. Paul is sure that God wants him to go there. When Paul is sure about something, no-one on earth could stop him!

In these journeys, Paul did things in a new way. He showed other people what to do. No one through all history has been like him. But his life on earth was not over yet. God wanted him still to be a witness. God also knew that Paul would suffer still more. Paul would stand in Rome, and declare the success of the *cross of Christ.

We finish this section with words that show Paul’s great care for those without Christ. It refers in particular to *Israel. However, we can see here that this was the reason for all of Paul’s *missionary work. This was why he travelled and worked.

Romans 9:1-3 I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying. My conscience declares it in the *Holy Spirit. I feel very sad, all the time. I even wish that God would *curse me. I wish that God would separate me from Christ. [This shows us how much Paul loved the people of *Israel. He wanted them to love Christ.] I wish this because of my brothers, those of my own nation, the people of *Israel.

Word List

angel ~ a servant from God who brings messages to men.

apostles ~ the 12 men that Jesus chose to be his helpers. He chose them to teach other people about him. Christians call Paul an apostle.

armour ~ a soldier’s uniform, which protects him from injury.

baptise ~ put a person in water, or put water on a person; this shows that the person belongs to Christ and his church.

Baptist ~ a man who *baptises people.

being ~ a person or animal that is alive.

converts ~ people who have changed from one belief to another; people who have become Christians.

cross ~ two pieces of wood fixed together. Jesus died on a cross, and so the cross is now the sign of the church.

cults ~ groups of people with wrong beliefs.

curse ~ wish evil upon someone.

demons ~ evil *spirits.

disciple ~ a person who believes in Jesus and obeys him.

elders ~ church leaders, usually older, wiser.

emperor ~ a very important king.

empire ~ the land that an *emperor rules over.

faith ~ belief and confidence in someone or something; trust in God and in his Bible.

feasts ~ special meals.

festivals ~ special times for *worship and happiness.

forgive ~ when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.

Gentiles ~ people who are not *Jews; people who do not know God.

glory ~ the power and greatness of God.

gospel ~ the good news for everybody that God forgives people’s *sins.

grace ~ a gift from God that we do not deserve and cannot earn; his help and protection.

holiness ~ being completely good.

holy ~ description of God; perfect, completely good.

Holy Spirit ~ God’s Spirit; Jesus sent him to help people.

idol ~ anything that people *worship instead of God.

Israel ~ the *Jewish people.

Jew ~ a person who is from the family of Abraham. God chose Abraham’s family to know and serve him.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

justification ~ to declare that God has accepted someone. God does this at the moment when he saves us; he saves us when we trust Jesus; the state when God has put us right.

living ~ being alive.

Lord ~ a title for Jesus, or for God, to show that he is ruler of everything.

Lord’s supper ~ a special meal that Christians share. They remember the supper that Jesus had with his *disciples before his death.

Messiah ~ the name that God chose for Jesus Christ, who saves people from God’s anger. He also makes them right with God.

ministry ~ special work for God.

miracles ~ wonderful events that show that God is at work.

mission ~ a place where people tell the news about Jesus to those who do not know it.

missionary ~ a person who goes to another country to tell people about Jesus.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught; and it is about the Christian church.

non-believers ~ people who do not believe in Jesus.

offering ~ a gift to please God.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, about the world before Jesus.

preach ~ tell and explain the good news about Jesus to someone, or to a group of people.

repent ~ to be sorry for wrong things; to begin to trust and obey God.

repentance ~ you are sorry that you have done wrong things; you turn to God.

resurrection ~ a return to life, after death.

reverence ~ a quiet way to do something, when you respect someone.

Roman ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. That which belonged to Rome was Roman.

sacrifice ~ a special offering to God.

salvation ~ when God saves us from the results of our wrong beliefs and actions.

Satan ~ the evil *being who opposes God.

save (from *sin) ~ stop punishment for the wrong things that we have done.

Saviour ~ Jesus, who helps us to trust God.

Scripture ~ another name for the Bible, or part of the Bible.

sermon ~ a speech that tells us about God.

sin ~ when people do not do what God wants; wrong things that we do or say.

sinners ~ people who do not do what God wants.

spirit ~ the part of us that lives when our body dies. A *being that is always alive, even without a body; the part of a person that will always be alive, even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his *angels. And there are bad spirits, like *Satan and his *angels.

spiritual ~ belonging to the part of a person that is alive, but which we cannot see.

super-apostles ~ men who were better than the *apostles.

synagogue ~ the place or building where *Jews met together for prayer, to study the *scriptures, and to attend other public meetings.

temple ~ a building where people go to *worship a god.

trick ~ something false, that is not what it seems to be.

twin ~ when brothers or sisters are born at the same time.

visions ~ dreams, sometimes dreams that come to a person who is awake.

worship ~ when people respect God. They pray and sing his praises. Some people respected other gods. They often gave *offerings to these gods.

Book List

Craig Keener ~ Bible Background *Commentary NT ~ IVP

B. M. Newman and E. A. Nida ~ A Translators Handbook on The Acts of The *Apostles ~ UBS

F. F. Bruce ~ The Book of The Acts ~ MMS

Donald Grey Barnhouse ~ Acts – An expositional commentary ~ Zondervan

In the Footsteps of Paul ~ CWR (Daily Bible Readings 1988)

I. Howard Marshall ~ Acts ~ Tyndale

Campbell Morgan ~ Acts of the *Apostles ~ Pickering and Inglis

Paul Barnett ~ ‘Bethlehem to Patmos’ ~ Biblical Classics Series ~ Paternoster ~ ISBN 0-85364-874-3

Werner Keller ~ ‘The Bible as History’ ~ Hodder and Stoughton

F. F. Bruce ~ ‘Israel and the Nations’ ~ Paternoster ~ ISBN 0-85364-762-3

Also: Personal notes and material from many other sources


© 1999-2003, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

March 2003

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