Exegesis Of The Book Of Acts And Luke

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Exegesis:
I. Historical Setting:
A. When:
There has been a long standing debate over the timeline in which both Acts and Luke were written. In my previous research of Luke, I concluded that Luke was written sometime between A.D. 58-62. In following with the traditional belief that the book of Acts was written as a sequel to Luke, it would place the writing sometime between A.D. 62-64. Others scholars may argue for a later date.
B. Setting:
The passage takes place in Jerusalem sometime after Jesus has ascended and the Holy Spirit has descended upon the apostles. The church has been handed over to the apostles (namely Peter). Everyone is trying to figure out this New Covenant. Traditions run deep throughout the culture and are not easily dismissed.
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This section of text is the last time Peter is mentioned in Acts and from this point forward Paul becomes the central figure for the remainder of the book.
A. Issues:
There were many issues throughout the book of Acts, however, this particular section of the text illustrates the issues regarding circumcision and the implementation of doctrine to follow in order to ensure obedience to God’s will. There was a great chasm forming between the Jewish followers and the gentile converts regarding important issues of obedience and holiness. These issues needed clarification and written instructions to ensure that the people would not be deceived by false teachers bent on the division of the church.
B. People Involved:
This section records the involvement of Paul and Barnabas engaging in a debate with a group of men teaching that salvation requires circumcision. As a result, Paul decides to take the question to the apostles for clarification and to ensure unification within the church. When he arrives in Jerusalem he is welcomed by the church, the apostles, and elders along with members of the Pharisees. They all convened to hear the account of Paul and
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Peter reminded the council of his authority and confirmed Paul by identifying him as having received the same Holy Spirit.
C. Message:
Having squelched the debate of authority, Peter continues to remind the council that no one had been able to maintain the Law of Moses; and that salvation comes through grace alone by faith. There is no difference nor distinction made between Jew nor gentile regarding salvation and the Holy Spirit. The same God is God over all.
D. Solution:
Having heard Peter, the council quieted and began seeking common ground that would bridge the gap between the Law of Moses and the New Covenant. The council wrote out those things which they agreed are of importance regarding obedience and purity. The “Agenda” of the church is to bring the gospel message to the ends of earth. The council recognized this, and set up guidelines to follow that would help the gentiles remain pure of heart; and not hinder the furtherance of the message by placing obstacles in the path of those who would chose to follow

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