Week Five Acts of the Apostles Summer Reading Challenge
The Summer Reading Challenge has been a popular part of the Rule of Life as together we have read and reflected on scripture. Previous challenges saw us reading Jonah, 1 Peter and the Psalms. This year the Bishop of Liverpool, Right Reverend Doctor John Perumbalath will be guiding us through the Acts of the Apostles.
Bishop John’s Commentary
Reflection on last week’s learning
Last week we asked the question about the relationship between the Church and the State while reading Acts 25: 1-12. It appears an uneasy relationship:
a) We need to call civil authorities to accountability. Paul recognizes that the magistrates have not been faithful to their own responsibilities, and not stuck by their own laws. Paul announced his citizenship and demanded an apology from the magistrates, calling on them to do their jobs as they are supposed to be done. Bold witnesses in the face of civil powers and authorities.
b) We experience an Inner freedom as Christians. Apostles enjoyed this freedom because they knew that the authorities they were dealing with were not the final authority. Paul is the freest person of those present. The priestly group is captive to its perceived self-interests and Festus seems hardly free or powerful under pressures. The one in chains is the only one who is truly free!
c) We should recognize that God’s hidden purposes are accomplished through the powers of this world, sometimes in spite of themselves. The appeal process constituted by Roman law is the means by which Paul arrives in Rome, the city of his destiny.
This week’s focus
Having read the whole Book of Acts, it might now be appropriate to recapture its structure and key messages. I have given here my outline summary of the book. What you find in my outline includes more than what you find in the Book of Acts – I have tried to put Paul’s letters in their possible context. You may like to read this summary alongside your reading of the whole book (again!).
You have now completed the Summer Reading Challenge!
The Acts of the Apostles is about the life, ministry and mission of the Church. May we be inspired and challenged by the life and work of the first Christians.