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The Acts of the Apostles
What did the people say that Paul was after a snake bite did not hurt him?

The Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles talks about the Roman Empire.

The fifth book in the New Testament is the Acts of the Apostles. It was written around 60 AD by Luke, a Greek physician and author of the Gospel which shares his name. Like his Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles is addressed to a Greek man named Theophilus, and is a sequel to the first book.

Luke tells us of Jesus' ascension into Heaven, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent spreading of Jesus' message throughout the Roman Empire and the growth of the early Church. The story, which covers a period of 30 years, sees Jesus' followers, or Christians, grow to an enormous number, and spread from their origins in Jerusalem to the distant city of Rome.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven His disciples asked Him when the nation of Israel would be restored. How did Jesus reply?
He said that it was happening already
He said that God would decide
He said that it would not be long
He said that it would take thousands of years
Acts 1:6-11
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven"
After the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter gained many converts to the faith when he gave a sermon. In his sermon, Peter quoted which ancient king, who spoke about Jesus' resurrection?
Acts 2:25-28
"For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance."

Peter managed to gain 3,000 new believers with this sermon
Two of Peter's followers lied to him about how much money they had. What were their names?
Antipatris and Sabtah
Annas and Salathiel
Andronicus and Sarai
Ananias and Sapphira
Because they tried to swindle God, the two dropped dead on the spot.

Acts 5:1-10
"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband"
The first of Jesus' followers to be executed was Stephen. Stephen was stoned to death because he said that he had seen Jesus where?
On God's throne
Inside the temple
At God's right hand
Upon the temple altar
Stephen's words were so blasphemous to his listeners that they covered their ears so as not to hear.

Acts 7:55-60
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep"
Saul was a Pharisee who witnessed Stephen's death. He hated the Christians and hunted them down. What became of those Christians who Saul caught?
They were imprisoned
They were exiled
They were sold as slaves
They were executed
Saul was so intent on finding Christians to persecute that he even entered into people's private houses.

Acts 8:1-3
"And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison"
Saul, who was persecuting the Christians, was converted when he saw a light and heard the voice of Jesus. He had his vision whilst he was on the road to which city?
Saul's vision changed his mind completely about the Christians and he became one of the leaders of the early Church. He is better known to us as Saint Paul.

Acts 9:3-9
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink"
To show Peter that Jesus' message should be spread to Gentiles as well as to Jews, God showed him a vision of what things, being carried inside a large sheet?
Flowers of all kinds
Many types of fish
People from all nations
Unclean animals
Acts 10:11-15
"and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common"

Peter had wished to spread the good news to the Jews but God wanted him to tell all nations. Peter obeyed, and was eventually the first Bishop in Rome, far from the Jewish homeland
Peter had been imprisoned by King Herod, but someone came to his aid and rescued him. Who was it?
Berenice, Herod's mother
The Angel of the Lord
Paul, his friend
Andrew, his brother
Acts 12:6-9
"And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision."

After Peter's rescue he went to a friend's house. The servant who answered the door was so overjoyed at his escape that she rushed off to tell her masters and forgot to open the door for Peter!
Paul journeyed far and wide, spreading Jesus' message. When he was in the Greek city of Philippi he was imprisoned after casting a prophesying demon out of a woman. Whilst in prison Paul prayed to God. How were his prayers answered?
An earthquake destroyed the prison gates
The gaoler freed Paul
An angel came to rescue Paul
The gates were miraculously unlocked
Though he could have walked free, Paul remained in prison. This miracle was enough to convert the gaoler to the Christian faith.

Acts 16:25-31
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house"
After he had again been arrested, Paul was sent to Rome to be tried by the Emperor because he was a Roman citizen. On the way to Rome Paul landed on the isle of Malta. What did the people there say that Paul was after a snake bite did not hurt him?
They said that Paul was a prophet
They said that Paul was an angel
They said that Paul was a demon
They said that Paul was a god
Acts 28:1-6
"And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god."

After he finally arrived in Rome Paul was placed under house arrest for two years. He received visitors and preached to them and he also wrote letters to other Christians during this time. We do not know what became of Paul after those two years, though tradition says that he was beheaded. By comparison, Peter, who was not a Roman citizen, suffered the more agonising death of crucifixion


Author:  Graeme Haw

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