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Week Three 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 focused on delving deeper into Acts chapters 1 and 6:1-15. In Acts 1, we explored the theme of leadership change and noticed several elements of transition:

a) Connecting with the primal narrative of the story (v1-2);

b) Preparing the new leaders through 40 days of appearances and teachings (v3);

c) Articulating the expectation for the new leaders -n being witnesses (v8);

d) A significant religious experience – ‘wait for it’ (v4);

e) The actual departure of the leader (v9-11); f) The new leaders step into their roles (vs 12-26).

In chapter 6:1-6, we observed steps in conflict resolution and decision-making:

a) Pay attention to conflicts that go to the community’s core values and practices. Those are the ones we must face. To have “no one in the community in need” was a core identity issue;

b) Framing the challenge. The Apostles hear the distress call, but they don’t simply accept the matter as stated in the complaint; they frame the challenge differently – as a deeper matter than mere food distribution. Responding to the community’s growth, they moved to widening the leadership circle;

c) Involve the whole community in discussions; empowered the community to engage the issue and come to some decision after discerning the will of God. The Apostles did not control the whole process; they provided some guiding principles and gave the work back to the community.

d) Delegated and shared leadership. The apostles, were willing to prioritise their work and give away a major part of their work to the newly included leaders, deacons.

e) Public ritual to ratify and mark the decision and resolution.

This week’s focus

Now, for this week's reading, let's explore Acts 13-21 together. In these chapters, we witness Paul's ministry to the Gentiles and the spread of the Gospel in Asia. These chapters cover what is commonly known as Paul's three missionary journeys He begins each of these journeys in Antioch, and the last stop is Jerusalem before returning to Antioch. Jerusalem Council (Ch. 15) is an important turning point in the theological landscape of the early church where it was decided that the gentiles did not have to observe Jewish Law in order to be Christian.

Once you have read the whole section, please read Chapter 15 in depth. The question I want you to ask and reflect in this chapter is: How does the Church face the challenge of change and conflict in the church?

Week 3 Challenge

• Reflect on the following question while reading Chapter 15: How does the Church face the challenge of change and conflict in the church?

• Consider the decisions made during the Jerusalem Council and their implications for the early Church's development.

• Take note of any insights or lessons learned about addressing change and conflict in the church from your reading and reflection on Chapter 15.


  • Called To Read
  • Reading

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