Our second Question and Answer episode!
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Acts 9 marks a transition in the story of the early church – the conversion of Saul, apostle to the Gentiles. That’s the part everyone knows (and it’s important, to say the least). But there are other interesting and noteworthy things going on in the chapter: the multiple references to Damascus (why Damascus?), the vocabulary (and theology) of “holy ones,” and the matter of how “son of God” meant more than a claim to be the Davidic king.
Acts 8 features snippets from the ministries of Peter and Philip. Against the backdrop of Jesus’ words that the disciples would take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the “uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8), as well as the messaging of the place names in Acts 2, it is no accident that the material of Acts 8 focus on Samaria, Ethiopia, and the little-known Azotus. This podcast episode discusses the significance of these places, the events associated with them, and two featured converts: Simon the magician and the Ethiopian eunuch.
Acts 6-7 are familiar to most Bible students as being about the selection of deacons and Stephen’s martyrdom. For sure those items are important, but there are other items of interest in these chapters that are frequently overlooked. Some of these connect back to the divine council worldview and provide hints as to how the early believers understood the kingdom of God was not only about the future but had already begun.
Here is the paper referenced in the show: