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Week Two 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

This week, we will be re-reading chapters 1-12 of the Acts of the Apostles, but this time, we'll take it more slowly and pay closer attention to the text.

In chapters 1-7, we learn about the beginnings of the Church among the Jews. The Christian community is based in Jerusalem, and all of them are Jews. Pentecost unites those Jews from different parts of the world by breaking down linguistic and cultural barriers. Persecution by Jews and internal tensions increase. Stephen becomes the first martyr.

Moving on to chapters 8-12, the narrative focuses on a significant transition. The new Faith is no longer limited to Jerusalem or to the Jews. Philip takes the Gospel to Samaria, and the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch marks a pivotal moment. Paul, who becomes the messenger to gentiles, gets converted. The conversion of Cornelius, a non-Jew, serves as an eye-opener to the Jewish community.

After reading this section, I encourage you to concentrate on two specific passages. Frist is Chapter 1. You have read it many times, but can you read this from the perspective of ‘Leadership Change’ – from Jesus to the Apostles? Read as if the passage is a ‘succession narrative’. What elements of transition do you see here?

The second passage is 6:1-6. I suggest a focus on conflict resolution and decision-making. What do we learn about mediation and moving from exclusion to inclusion?

Week Two Challenge

• After completing the reading, shift your focus to two specific passages.

• Begin with Chapter 1 and read it from the perspective of 'Leadership Change' – specifically, the transition from Jesus to the Apostles. Approach it as if the passage is a 'succession narrative.'

• Identify and reflect on elements of transition you observe in Chapter 1.

• Move on to the second passage, which is 6:1-6.

• For this passage, concentrate on conflict resolution and decision-making.

• Reflect on how mediation plays a role in resolving conflicts and moving from exclusion to inclusion within the early Christian community.


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