Brief overview of the Book of Acts of the Apostles

Luke wrote the “Acts of the Apostles” according to Acts 1:1-3 and is considered by many to be the 5th gospel. It tells the story of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus. They are now called primarily apostles. Apostles mean those who are “sent.” Jesus gave them the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) to make disciples. To accomplish this commission, they depended on the Holy Spirit, not just their experience with Jesus.
It tells how the “early church” developed throughout Jerusalem, Samaria, and the “uttermost parts of the world.” It is an action-filled book that will inspire you to take your discipleship into the apostleship.

Our study will be divided into three sections: KNOW, GROW, GO

1. KNOW the word of God (Bible Study)  
2. GROW in faith (applying the word of God)
3. GO share your faith (Ideas for sharing what you've been studying)


Read Acts 1-2
1. How did Luke conduct his research into the life and teachings of Jesus? (Acts 1:1-3)
  • He did a careful examination.
  • He interviewed people about what they heard and saw.
  • He only included the things that made the apostles look good
  • He was a biased reporter with an agenda.
  • Other.

2. What do you think the apostles thought when Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem until they are baptized by the Holy Spirit? Acts 1:5
  • They were going to be baptized like Jesus when the dove came down.
  • They were not sure what that meant on that particular day.
  • "Now many days from now" is not a definitive day.
  • Why not now? Why wait?
  • Other.

3. Why hadn't the apostles really understood the nature of God's kingdom? Acts 1:6 
  • They still equated God's kingdom with an earthly kingdom, specifically in Israel.
  • They were tired of the Roman Empire ruling over them.
  • They thought it would be better to make disciples in an easier environment.
  • For them, restoring "the kingdom to Israel" meant better days were coming.
  • Other.

4. Why is it more important to receive the power of the Holy Spirit than knowing "times or seasons" of when God will restore all things? 
  • Getting caught up in dates distracts from our real mission.
  • You can have dates, but if you are not filled with the Spirit, it does you no good.
  • If we prayed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, our concern over "times" would become less important.
  • It's easier to focus on time-tables than to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives.
  • Other.

5. How seriously did the apostles take the need to have someone take Judas' place among the 11 apostles? Acts 1:15-26
  • They acknowledged their loss of a colleague in ministry.
  • They didn't let it deter them from their mission.
  • They felt that having one more was necessary to make them more effective.
  • They prayed about it.
  • Other.

6. Pentecost is fifty (50) days after Passover. The apostles waited about a month and a half for the promise of the Holy Spirit. What did the apostles do in the meantime?
  • They stayed together to encourage one another.
  • They stayed in Jerusalem.
  • They were celebrating Pentecost.
  • They were continually in the temple praising and blessing God - Luke 24:53
  • Other.

7. Why did the Holy Spirit give the apostle the gift of tongues on that day? Acts 2:5-13
  • To get people's attention as to what was happening and what was being said.
  • For those who spoke in different languages (tongues) and for those who were listening. 
  • There are really no obstacles in preaching the gospel if we depend on the Holy Spirit.
  • The mission is more important than formalities.
  • Other.

8. Compare Peter before and after the day of Pentecost?
  • Peter was never shy; now, his boldness is accompanied with greater power.
  • Peter had a greater love for his Lord. Romans 5:5
  • He had a greater perspective of what Jesus came to do.
  • He had a greater appreciation for Jesus, who didn't cast him out after Peter denied him.
  • Other.

9. How else did the Holy Spirit manifest himself that day?
  • People were "cut to the heart" and wanted to change. Acts 2:37
  • People were baptized.
  • Three thousand people were "added" to the group of disciples.
  • People were reminded of what Jesus taught and what he did.
  • Other.

10.What was the result of what happened on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:42-47
  • People developed a devotional habit of going over the teachings of the apostles, spending time together, eating together, and praying together.
  • People shared their belongings.
  • They went to each other's homes.
  • Every day more people were added to the group of disciples.
  • Other.


From a human standpoint, the disciples had to learn how to “fend for themselves.” They no longer had the physical presence of Jesus to accompany them, speak to them and teach them directly. It almost seems like a plan destined to fail. He only spent three and a half years with them. I’m sure the disciples didn’t think that 3.5 years was enough time to know everything they needed to know. This tells us that Spiritual growth doesn’t happen only when you have enough information and training.

Spiritual growth happens when...
  • we trust God in different situations where we don’t feel qualified. 
  • we believe God, even when we don’t have all the answers. 
  • we talk to someone else about God, we get asked something that we don’t know how to answer.

Our limited knowledge drives us to God in prayer and into the Bible for answers.

We also grow through trials. The disciples were suddenly without Jesus. In a hostile environment where those who had just crucified Jesus may want to come after his disciples. Peter denied him, Judas betrayed him, and most of the others dispersed. In that trial, the disciples had to take stock of their relationship with Jesus. Would they just move on the next thing and count the last three and a half years as an adventure or would they press on trusting the words of Jesus?

We also grow when we realize that God uses us regardless of our shortcomings . The disciples doubted; they were full of fear after the crucifixion. But the resurrection renewed their spirit. Jesus resurrected and came back to them. The same ones who scattered during the trial before the crucifixion. Jesus hadn’t given up on them. He shows up to assure them that he will be with them even when he is not physically with them. What more, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to the very ones who weren’t too confident about their standing with Jesus. Jesus entrusted the preaching of the gospel to them. Jesus entrusted the power of the Holy Spirit to them. Jesus entrusted the forming of the new church to them. The apostles experienced firsthand how their obedience to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit was better than trying to fend for themselves.

Prayer helps us to grow. When we pray, we are releasing ourselves from taking any credit for the outcome. If we cease to pray and a positive result happens, we will want to take credit. When we pray, we remember that it’s not about us. They prayed “in one accord” (Acts 1:14) for Judas’ successor (Acts 1:24), and I think we can safely say they were praying together when the Holy Spirit filled them with power (Acts 2:1).


I don't think the apostles knew what would happen after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. After the crucifixion, they were hiding. After the resurrection, their hopes had resurrected too. Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem. He gave them simple instructions. Stay there until you receive the Holy Spirit. They didn't have much more information besides that they would be witnesses locally and globally. But before Jesus sent them out to GO, let's take a quick review of how they started.

Here are the invitations Jesus made to his disciples from the time they met until he was taken up to heaven.

  1. Come and see - John 1:38-39. "Come and see" is an invitation to check Jesus out. The prelude to commitment. Come and see could be as simple as inviting someone to church, to a church activity to see for themselves what Jesus is all about. Jesus' invitation to come and see effectively was saying, "come and see how l live and what my mission is." No manipulation or intimidation on Jesus' part. We could share the teachings of Jesus and the rest of the Scriptures with "no strings attached." Sharing your testimony (conversion story or an experience) without expecting a response right away. Just show them the Jesus you follow.
  2. Come and follow me - Mark 1:16-20. The disciples had gone back to fishing, deciding if they would commit to ministry with Jesus. When Jesus makes the next invitation, they were ready to drop everything and follow him. This invitation came two to three months after the “come and see” invitation. They had time to think it over. Jesus planted the seed, and they were ready to act at this point. Our invitation after the initial “come and see” period would be similar. Invite them to join you in this journey in following Jesus with a more significant commitment. Like the disciples, this decision was out in the open, public. John the Baptist had baptized many of the disciples already. Hence, the public decision here was to fully commit to being Jesus' disciples and formally coming under the teacher's tutelage.
  3. Come and be with me - Mark 3:13-14; Luke 6:13; Matthew 9:37-38. Here we see a transition from student to partner in ministry. This transition doesn't mean that the disciples weren't ministering before. Jesus called them to be with him to go deeper into this journey. For Jesus to be with his disciples, he had to limit the number to 12. Jesus couldn't personally minister to the multitudes and give them the attention they wanted. Jesus understood his human limitation. It is hard to build meaningful relationships with a lot of people at the same time. Even among the twelve, Jesus seemed to dedicate additional time to three of the twelve (Peter, John, James). By doing this, Jesus expanded his ministry instead of diminishing it. If we follow the example laid out by Jesus, we don't have to worry about having many "followers." If Jesus had twelve men that were his core group, with three of them being in his inner circle, then for us, we could consider starting even smaller. Maybe a group of three (3), possibly one of the three with deeper mentorship.
  4. Go - Matthew 28:19-20. The “going” part is very similar to "Come and be with me." The difference is that the spiritual presence (the Holy Spirit) of Jesus will accompany the disciples. We are never alone in this mission. Jesus doesn't send us on our own. Go and do what? Make disciples, teaching them, and baptizing. In other words, Jesus tells them to do what they did for the last three and a half years. Invite people to "come and see," invite them to "follow me," and invite them into the long-lasting, deeper relationship of being partners in growing God's kingdom.

In the upcoming weeks, we will learn (KNOW) from the apostles how their trust in God and dependence on the Holy Spirit increased (GROW) and how this made their outreach effective (GO).

Songs of Worship