Essay: Book of Acts Is the Fifth

Pages: 5 (1602 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

Book of Acts is the fifth book of the New Testament of the Bible, following the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is widely believed that the apostle Luke wrote this book. It was written after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and chronicles the many miracles and wonders that were done by the apostles after Jesus' death as well as the persecution that many Christians suffered. The significance of Jesus' resurrection is of importance because the birth, crucifixion and resurrection had already been foretold several times in the Old Testament. Now that it had come to pass, Christians knew that it was imperative to spread the gospel or good news. After Jesus' death, the gospel was spread throughout many countries. The apostles Peter and Paul, among others played a significant part in the spreading of the word.

When it is said that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, it is important because this was also something that was mentioned in the Old Testament. One place it is mentioned is in the Book of Psalms. Psalms 110:1 says that Christ will be seated at the right hand of God until his enemies are made his footstool. Traditionally, one that sits on the right hand has equal rank and authority to the one seated at the throne. Jesus, before he came to earth, was already at the right hand of God. He came to earth and died for our sins so that we might have everlasting life. Once he was raised from the dead, he ascended to heaven and was seated again at the right hand of God where he will remain until his enemies are defeated. Once this happens, the second coming of Christ will have taken place.

When Jesus ascended to the Father, he knew that the apostles, in order to carry out his work, would need a comforter. Spreading the gospel in those days was not like it is today. Back then Christians were persecuted and tortured for their beliefs and to stand fast to Christianity could not be done by man's sheer determination alone. This is evident by the fact that Peter swore to Jesus that he would stand by his side, but eventually denied knowing him three times before the crucifixion. He did this because of fear. He knew those that stood with Jesus might suffer the same fate. So, Jesus left them the Holy Spirit which guided and showed them the way. Had Christ not left a comforter, the disciples and apostles would not have been able to carry out their mission on sheer bravery alone.

Many newer versions of the Bible have translated Acts 1:16 so that it includes women in the statement. The King James Version of this scripture starts out, "Men and brethren" and throughout the years as women have gained more power and independence, there is the possibility that there was pressure to translate the scripture to include females. This is unnecessary because the love of God encompasses us all and he is partial to none. The fact that the female was not included in this verse just goes back to the time when it was written. The woman's role during Biblical times was far different that it is today, but this does not mean that they did not or could not partake in Christianity. Women have played important roles throughout the Bible. The book of Ruth is inspirational in itself.

However, there are those that blame man's fall on Eve. They feel that had she not been so easily tempted by the serpent and in turn convinced Adam to eat fruit from the forbidden tree, we would still be living in paradise. This shows lack of understanding of the Scriptures and the purpose of Jesus coming to earth. He did not come just to save the male species, but he came so that all of us should have everlasting life. The newer translation of this scripture is unnecessary, but if it helps some women feel validated and included then it does not hurt either.

Right after the death of Jesus, Christians suffered a tremendous amount of persecution. Christianity was a new religion that was being spread to people who were used to Judaism. When Jesus came, he changed a lot of things that were written in the Old Testament. It was no longer an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. He taught love and forgiveness and said that we could not get into heaven without practicing both of these. This was not something that the Jews were accustomed to. They believed in the old laws and many could not or would not convert to Christianity because it was a religion that was foreign to them. This is part of the reason the early Christians were persecuted. They did not accept Jesus, nor did they accept his teachings. Persecuting Christians was a way to shut down the spread of this new religion. It is possible that many did not convert to Christianity for fear of persecution.

Today, some Christians still suffer persecution. However, it is not like it was in Biblical days. Nowadays, a person may be teased or ridiculed for their religious beliefs. If a person proclaims he is a Christian today, he may be watched closely by others to see if there are any flaws in his behavior or character. Right after Jesus' death, proclaiming to be a Christian could get a person tortured and killed. To say that it is normal for Christians to suffer persecution may be a bit extreme. In western civilization, people are pretty much free to choose any religion they wish. There may be slight annoyances that come with their choices, but it is difficult to say if this can be considered persecution. Being a Christian today is somewhat popular in that there are so many televangelists on television that make Christianity the religion to choose.

The Jerusalem Consultation serves to show us that Christians were no longer under the old laws that the Pharisees and other Jews held onto. The old laws were very ritualistic and circumcision played a large role in whether or not a man was considered saved. Under the new law, men did not have to be circumcised as they did under the Jewish laws. Christianity was all about faith and the newer Christians spread the word that the rituals under Moses' law are not what cleansed the soul. Faith in God is what saved the soul. However, early Christians did not ignore all of the laws in the Old Testament. They made it clear that they were against idolatry, fornication and other forms of sin that were included in the Old Testament.

It was difficult, but not impossible for the early Christians to spread the gospel. In Acts 17, Paul shares with the Athenians his faith. The Bible says that he noticed that the Athenians had many altars, some of which were built to an unknown god. He did not condemn these people or judge them. He preached the truth to them. He shared with them his beliefs. He spoke to the Athenians about God and the resurrection of Jesus. He let them know that God is not something that man can create for worship, but that it is God who created us and we must acknowledge that and worship him to the fullest. He told the Athenians how God sent Jesus to earth to spread the good news and perform signs and wonders. Some of the Athenians believed Paul and wanted to know more, while others mocked him.

He did not get offended by their disbelief, nor did he try to argue with them or force them to believe. He accepted those that believed what he preached and they joined… [END OF PREVIEW]

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