As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed. The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!” So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported, “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!” When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!” The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about Him, and you want to make us responsible for His death!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. Then God put Him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey Him.” When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered. “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”Acts 5:15-42
Now we come to the next block of text we have to deal with from Acts 5. Before we start we have to work out how many segments or sense units are involved so that we can make the best sense of it. What naturally fits together into units so that we can make better sense of the pieces? Again I am giving that task to you so you can hone your skills. Divide it into the sections that you think best enable us to make sense of it. Where would you put the unit breaks to enable us to see how this fits together or doesn’t fit together? What needs to be broken into separate units to help us make better sense of the whole? Divide the units and give them a title to aid your understanding of how the parts come together to make the whole. Remember, neither the divisions nor the segment titles (pericope headings) were present in the original text. So now you have the chance to put the divisions and the headings to help you understand it better.
When you have divided it into its parts, list the questions you think need to be asked in order to better understand each unit. Questions to help your understanding about the details in each part and questions to ask about the whole to help you see how the parts come together. Which parts need to be separated and set apart as separate part(s) that don’t fit with the unit before or after it? Remember, its the questions you ask which determine the depth of your understanding. What elements need further examination in order for us to better understand what was intended by the author? What words or elements are in focus to help us understand what the speaker or the writer is intending here? Now is your chance to determine what you think, based on your division of the passage. Don’t forget to look at how it follows from what went before it and how it merges with what follows.
There is another component for us to consider and that is the overall flow and thrust of the Book of Acts as a whole. How does this section further the total purpose of the book?
And now I will leave the challenge with you.
The more you get out of your comfort zone, the more opportunities you will find.Rick Godwin
The more weight your faith has to carry, the bigger your faith is going to get!T D Jakes
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.Jim Rohn
Whatever you are, be a good one.Abraham Lincoln