Every year, the bishop of the Diocese of West Texas invites congregations and individuals to study a particular book of the Bible. In 2019, the book was The Acts of the Apostles.
As part of that study, the diocese produced five podcasts featuring Bishop David Reed or a member of the diocesan staff. The podcasts were posted during September 2019, but are excellent resources for background to the study of Acts at any time.
Also on this page are suggested Bible study and commentary resources for Acts.
In the first of five teaching podcasts on the book of Acts, Bishop David Reed links the narrative of Acts to the liturgical life of the church. “Just as we do now, the Church in Acts is gathered, and continues gathering,” says Reed. “The Good News is proclaimed and taught. And the people are sent out…in the Name of Christ…in the power of the Holy Spirit. The story of Acts begins with the band of disciples waiting for something to happen. It is essentially what we do when we gather for worship on Sundays: we are “waiting upon the Lord,” waiting expectantly and attentively to hear and see God on the move in Word and Sacrament…so that we might be fed, strengthened and sent out.
How does everyone explain a life-changing event? We say, “It was like this . . .” For Luke, the author of Acts, the day of Pentecost was like a rushing wind and flames of fire. But not just for a particular people at a particular time and place, adds Bishop David Reed, in the second installment of our five-part audio series on the book of Acts.”The coming of the Holy Spirit,” says Reed, “revealed that the Good News of the Kingdom is global and is for all.”
Listen to the entire audio below. We suggest that you read chapters 1 and 2 of Acts before you listen.
In the third podcast of our five-part series on the book of Acts, Bishop David Reed talks to Dr. Marthe Curry, Director of the Department of World Mission for the Diocese of West Texas. As the apostles did in Acts, the work of our diocesan mission teams is to tell the story of Jesus through the experience of the local culture. “Jesus really is making himself known around the world,” says Curry. “Our job is find where Jesus is already there and to work with local cultures, with indigenous people, in a way that makes the story of Jesus real and relevant to them.”
Listen to the podcast below.
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46 NIV). Listen as the Rev. Mike Besson talks about what the Kingdom of God means to him. Mike is the Archdeacon of the diocese, and we welcome him to our Acts podcast series.
Before you begin, have your Bible handy.
It was the persecution of the first apostles that forced them out of Jerusalem and into “Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world” as Jesus had told them they would do. In this last of our five podcasts on the book of Acts, Bishop Reed talks to Marjorie George about the mission of the church as found in Acts, which remains the mission for us today.
Acts by N. T. Wright. Part of the For Everyone series of Bible study guides.
Luke places importance on two things in writing the history of the early church, says Wright: First, everything is based on the resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection, there is no gospel, no ongoing work of Jesus. Luke’s second focus is that as they spread the Good News, the apostles discover the Spirit as a new and powerful reality in their lives. The 24 lessons in the study include questions both about the scripture text and for personal reflection. Good study for small groups. Likely to take more than 24 weeks to complete if all the questions are addressed.
Available from Amazon.
Into the World: the Acts of the Apostles by Carol Miller. From The Kerygma Program
From the Kerygma website: “Luke is your guide as you relive the events of the early church. Catch the wind of the same spirit that brings renewed life to today’s Christians. Participants visit the key personalities, review their activities, reflect on their meaning, and discover their message to the Church today.” Resources include a Resource Book and Leader’s Guide. Good scholarship and lessons that are well-thought-out and easy to follow.
Available from Kerygma.com
Acts, part of the Life-Change series from Nav Press.
From the Navigators, an international, nondenominational Christian organization. Acts tells the story of how from tiny beginnings the young church spread throughout the world. The study is thorough and comprehensive with scripture text and personal reflection questions. Deep study but not overly academic. Good for small groups.
20 lessons but each lesson could take more than one session.
Available from navpress.com
A Journey through Acts, ed. Marek Zabriskie.
Part of the 50-Day Bible Challenge series. Each day has a manageable amount of scripture reading, a short reflection, questions for thought or discussion, and a prayer written by one of several authors. Oriented to personal reflection and application. Best used with a commentary. Ideal for individual study.
Available from forwardmovement.org
For Young People
Youth Curriculum for Acts: The Youth Cartel’s easily downloadable Viva! The Early Church, Viva! Holy Spirit, and Viva! Missions. Each one of these has 4 lessons for a total of 12 weeks. Each lesson has an objective, Bible passage, activity, and discussion questions.
Available from The Youth Cartel.com
Find it at https://theyouthcartel.com/s=acts&post_type=product
Suggested Commentaries for Acts
Acts for Everyone by N. T. Wright.
The book of Acts, says Wright, is full of the energy and excitement of the early Christians as they found God doing new things all over the place and as they learned to take the good news of Jesus around the world. Writing in his characteristic anecdotal style, Wright presents a commentary that, he says, is for everyone, especially people who wouldn’t normally read a book with footnotes and Greek words in it. Includes a glossary. A good companion to the 24-lesson Acts Bible study by Wright.
Find it at Amazon.
The Acts of the Apostles – New Collegeville Bible Commentary.Written by Dennis Hamm, S. J.
Scripture text and a fairly readable commentary. Of the study, Luke Johnson wrote, “Dennis Hamm reads the story of Acts as the dramatic continuation of Luke’s story of Jesus and the longer story of Israel. His interpretation is uncluttered and clear and helpful. He is especially good at showing how Luke uses speeches to interpret events as well as the words of scripture. Here is a scholarship that makes great learning available to ordinary Christians in a manner that is both responsible and accessible.”
Available from Liturgical Press (litpress.org).
Scripture & Discernment: Decision-making in the Church by Luke Timothy Johnson.
The author invites readers into an exercise of practical theology, saying that what a group claims to be ought to connect with the way it does things. When the church makes decisions, the Bible ought to be involved. Using one of the central events in Acts, Johnson finds a scriptural basis for making decisions based on scripture and discernment. Not light reading and not for everyone.
Available from several sources, including Amazon.
The Message of Acts from the Bible Speaks Today series by John Stott.
Stott praises Acts not only for the history of the early Church which it portrays but also for the inspiration it can bring to the Church today. Without romanticizing the early Church, we can learn from its confidence, vision, power and enthusiasm. Despite the struggles of the early Church, it was inspired in its growth by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Available from Amazon and other sources.