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• When and Where

We do not know who wrote these texts. As with the other Gospels, the name Luke became associated with it in the 2nd Century, referencing a travel companion of Paul from the 50’s. Scholars doubt, or are at least very uncertain, that the author of these texts was that Luke, however.

Scholars consider the central purpose of Acts, the 2nd of the two volumes, was not to provide a biography of Paul but to trace the ongoing expansion of the Jesus movement. Thus, they dismiss that Paul’s death is not mentioned by pointing out how focusing on it would defeat the purpose – the point isn’t Paul’s life – it’s the continued, growing witness of the Spirit-led Christian community. To end both books with “and then they killed him” undermines the message and the focus on God revealed in Jesus and the Spirit.

• Key Insights

So many rich and vibrant passages here. Note the continuing emphasis on the inclusion of outcasts.

Wesley Study Bible Life Application Topic: A Fruitful Life

“There are many who testify to a before and after in their lives. God’s grace chased them until their lives blossomed with peace, justice, hope, caring, and humility. In Jesus' story of the fig tree, the gardener offers to put fertilizer (natural fertilizer!) around the barren tree (13: 8). Growth comes because the gardener works at it. Wesley believed that God finds ways to nurture and mature us into the fullness of love. These means of grace (Scripture, prayer, worship, fasting, Lord's Supper, holy conferencing, acts of mercy) become ways by which God nourishes us toward fruitful living: full love of God and full love of neighbor.”

• Big Picture Wesleyan Core Term: Spiritual Sight

“Can we see the kingdom of God? Wesley says God's kingdom does not come with such outward pomp as draws the observation of everyone (Notes, 17: 20). Yet we can see evidence of God's reign, Wesley taught. One of his favorite verses was Rom 14: 17, For the kingdom of God, is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Real Christians exhibit righteousness and justice, peace, and joy—true kingdom signs. Luke 17: 21 can mean the kingdom of God is within or among you. Wesley combined the two—the kingdom is within you as part of Christian experience through the Holy Spirit, and also among you (plural), especially in authentic Christian community. So, God's reign is visible. With time the kingdom will be increasingly visible as God’s grace works through Christians's lives. God's Spirit enables Christians to see what others don’t. We see things not through worldly eyes but through faith and in hope of the coming kingdom.”

Blessings on your reading!



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