Thematic Threads in Acts

The book of Acts features many sub-themes that run throughout the narrative Luke provides. Can you name any of them or share any themes I’ve missed? Here is a list of thematic threads I’ve compiled (in no particular order):

  1. First things
  2. The Holy Spirit
  3. Prayer
  4. Preaching
  5. Spirit filling
  6. Jewish hostility
  7. Church expansion
  8. Money

I give my thanks to Jon Gleason at Mind Renewers for pointing out the money theme here. And now, here is the theme list again, with Scripture references included.

First Things

The first sermon of the church era (2:14-40). Peter preached to the crowds that gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost.

  • The first conversions of the church era (Acts 2:41) Three-thousand people converted as a result of Peter’s sermon.
  • The first persecution of the church (Acts 4:1-4). Peter and John were prosecuted by the Sanhedrin for healing a lame man in the name of Jesus.
  • The first divine judgment in the church (Acts 5:1-11). Ananias and Sapphira died as the consequence for their dishonesty about their financial contributions.
  • The first selection of deacons (Acts 6:1-7). The church chose seven men to administrate the practical functions of the church.
  • The first church martyrdom (Acts 7:54-60). Religious Jews killed Stephen by stoning, accusing him of blasphemy.
  • The first use of the term “Christian” (Acts 11:26). Local citizens called the believers at Antioch by this name, because of their testimony of allegiance and likeness to Christ.
  • The first missionary call (Acts 13:1-2). Paul traveled with Barnabas and Mark, preaching the gospel in the cities of Asia Minor.
  • The first gospel preaching in Europe (Acts 16:12-13). This occurred in Philippi during Paul’s second missionary journey.

The Holy Spirit

Over 50 times, so too exhaustive to provide here

Prayer

Acts 1:14, 2:42, 3:1, 4:24, 6:4, 7:60, 8:15, 9:11, 10:2, 11:5, 12:5, 13:3, 14:23, 16:13, 20:36, 21:5, 22:17, 27:35, 28:15

Preaching

  • Four sermons by Peter
    • Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21)
    • To the Jews a Solomon’s Porch in the Temple complex (Acts 3:12-26)
    • At the home of Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts 10:34-43)
    • Before the apostle and elders in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:7-11)
  • Six sermons by Paul
    • In the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:34-43)
    • To philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31)
    • To the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts 20:17-38)
    • To a hostile Jerusalem crowd (Acts 22:1-22)
    • Before Felix, the Roman governor (Acts 24:10-21)
    • Before Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26:1-24)
  • One sermon by Stephen, to hostile Jews (Acts 7:2-53)
  • One sermon by James, from the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15)

Spirit filling

Acts 2:2, 4, 3:10, 4:8, 31, 5:3, 17, 28, 9:17, 13:9, 45, 52, 14:17, 19:29

Jewish hostility

Acts 4:1-3, 21, 5:17-18, 40, 7:54, 58, 8:1-3, 9:23, 12:1-3, 13:50, 14:1-2, 19, 17:2-9, 13, 18:12, 19:33-41, 20:3, 21:31, 23:12, 26:31-32

Church expansion

Acts 2:41, 47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:7, 9:31, 11:21, 12:24, 16:5, 17:6, 19:20

Money

Acts 1:18, 2:44-45, 3:2-6, 4:32-37, 5:1-5, 6:1-8, 6:11, 8:8-23, 8:27-40, 9:36-39, 10:4, 11:29-30, 12:20-23, 16:16-19, 17:9, 18:3, 19:18-20, 19:24-28, 20:4, 20:33-34, 20:35, 21:24, 22:28, 24:17, 24:26, 28:30

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