Some Significant Verses in Acts
By Jonathan Mitchell

Below are verses that bear thoughtful meditation upon what they say to us, either for our attitude toward others, or about the results of the work of Christ for humanity. These are just some gems that shed Light upon the Way of following Christ as His apprentices. May they speak to your heart. From chapter 7:

59. Then as they continued stoning Stephen, [he] continued making an appeal and repeatedly saying, "O Lord Jesus, at once welcome and receive my breath-effect (or: spirit)!"

60. Now kneeling, he cried out with a great (or: loud) voice, "O Lord [= Christ or Yahweh], You should not place (or: set; cause to stand) this mistake (failure; error; sin) to (or: on) them (= do not charge this sin against them)!"

This sounds like Jesus speaking forgiveness to humanity, just before dying on the cross. This example of Stephen defines the attitude of a follower of Christ. From chapter 10:

15. Then again, a voice, forth from a second [one, saying] to him: "You are not to continue making, deeming or considering common (or: profane) [the] things which God cleansed (or: cleanses) and made (or: makes) clean!"
28. Thus he affirmed to them, "You folks continue well versed [in the fact] and are well aware of how illicit and inappropriate (impermissible and forbidden by [our] Law and contrary to [our] established order) it is for an adult man [who is] a Jew (or: is of the Jewish culture) to be intimately joined to, or to regularly come to (or: visit and associate with), a person from another race or tribe. And yet God pointed out and demonstrated to me not to continue saying [that] even one human [is] common (or: profane; = socially or ceremonially unhallowed or defiled) or unclean (or: impure).

In vs. 28, we see that Peter understood what God had said to him in vs. 15. Things had changed; as Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:17, the old things, situations and arrangements (i.e., covenants) had passed away, and the new had come.

34. At this Peter, opening his mouth said, "[Based] upon truth and reality, I continue grasping with force and fully receiving [understanding] that God is neither partial nor takes folks at face value (does not receive faces or appearances or show favoritism), [cf Deut. 10:17b]

35. "but to the contrary, within every nation and ethnic group the person habitually reverencing and fearing Him, as well as repeatedly doing works and performing acts of fairness, equity, justice, deliverance, or rightwised relationships which accord with the way pointed out (= covenant principles) is and continues being welcome and acceptable to Him.

36. "He sent forth the Logos (the Word; the laid-out Idea; the Thought; the Reason; the Message; the patterned Information) to, and then in, with, among and by the sons of Israel - repeatedly announcing the good news of ease and well-being: peace and harmony from the joining, through Jesus Christ ([the] Anointed One). This One is Lord (Master) of all humans, and Owner of all things! [cf Eph. 2:11-17]

Let the force of vs. 35 sink deep into your spirit. Peter is saying that we don't need religion or ritual, just treat people right and reverence our Creator/Father. Now take time to just stare at the last statement of vs. 36: Jesus is Lord of all humans; He is the Owner of all things. Nothing is left out here. As Peter said in vs. 34, God is not partial and does not show favoritism. The passage in Eph. that I've recommended explains the phrase "peace and harmony from the joining." The word "peace" comes from the verb "to join." Makes sense, doesn't it. It you are truly joined, you are "one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17) and there is peace.

43. "To this Man (or: Person) all the prophets (those who had light ahead of time) continue bearing witness, giving testimony and presenting evidence: through (or: by way or means of) His Name, everyone (or: all humanity) - keeping on placing trust and faith into Him, progressively believing into the midst of Him, or remaining faithful unto Him - [comes] to receive (obtain) a divorce from failures (a sending-away of mistakes; a cancellation of errors; a forgiveness of sins; a flowing-off of deviations)."

44. During the middle of Peter's still speaking these gush-effects and results of the flow (or: declarations), the set-apart Breath-effect (or: the Holy Spirit; the Sacred Wind) fell upon all the folks presently listening to and hearing the Logos (the message; the Word). [note: = a Gentile Pentecost]

45. Then the trusting (full of faith and loyal) folks from among [the] Circumcision (= those of the Jewish culture and religion) who came with Peter "stood out of themselves" in shocked amazement, that the free gift (the gratuity) of (or: which is) the set-apart Breath-effect (the Holy Spirit) had been poured out upon the nations (the ethnic multitudes; the non-Jews) as well.

Notice in vs. 43 first the inclusionary "everyone," or "all humanity." Next, observe the expanded renderings of what is commonly given as "forgiveness of sins":
a) a divorce from failures -- this means that people are liberated from their errors and failures;
b) a sending-away of mistakes - again, this frees the person that made them; they are no longer attached to what they had done (this removes both guilt and penalty);
c) a cancellation of errors - this implies a reversal of wrongs done in the past...a making things right;
d) a flowing-off of deviations - this is a removal of the effects of transgressions or of wandering; it flushes the results of the first Adam's disobedience (Rom. 5:12-21).

Notice vss. 44 - 45: the Holy Spirit simply fell upon the listeners - there is no indication that they did anything but listen. The observers made a broad, open-ended conclusion: the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the nations of the ethnic multitudes. In other words, the Gentiles were included in something that had started among the Jews. From chapter 11:

17. "Since (or: If), therefore, God gave to (or: gives in; grants for) them, as also to (or: in; for) us, the equal free-gift (the gratuity that is equal in quality, measure and rank): faithing, believing and putting their trust upon the Lord, Jesus Christ (or: [the] Anointed Jesus) - who or what [am] I? Was I able to cut off or hinder God?!"

18. Now upon hearing these, they were quiet (silent; still), and then they gave glory to, and enhanced the reputation of, God, as a group saying, "Consequently, God also gave (or: gives; grants) to the non-Jews (the ethnic multitudes of the nations; the Gentiles) the change of mind (or: change in thinking) into Life!"

Notice in 11:17 that the "free-gift" is expressed as a dependent, participial clause. What God "gave" to them was

"faithing, believing and putting their trust upon the Lord, Jesus Christ. Peter's listeners concluded, in 18b, that this gift was "the change of mind into Life."

That change of mind that was given by God was that of

"faithing, believing and putting trust upon the Lord."

We might ask, like Peter,

"Are we able to cut off or hinder God, with our doctrines?"


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