Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

A Commitment of the Evangelical Catholic Church for Academic Formation

















Website designed by:

Saint John the Evangelist Seminary


SC 503:  Acts     3 Credit Hours

Course Syllabus 




Course Objectives


  • Exegete a piece of narrative material and isolate the key theological themes it teaches.
  • Trace the arguments of Acts through its units.
  • Determine with appropriate support elements the background of a narrative account that contributes to the setting and argument of the text.
  • Be prepared to communicate the message of a passage that is accurate with regard to the text and relevant to a contemporary audience.




William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, 1953.

C. K. Barrett, Acts, Vols. 1-11, 1994, 1998.

F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary,

2nd ed., 1970.

______, Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, 1954; rev. ed., 1988.

H. J. Cadbury, The Book of Acts in History, 1955.

______, The Making of Luke-Acts.

______, The Style and Literary Method of Luke, 1920.

James D. G. Dunn, The Acts of the Apostles, 1996.

Floyd V. Filson, Three Crucial Decades, 1963.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles, 1998.

W. Ward Gasque, A History of the Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, 1989.

Joel B. Green, The Book of Acts and New Testament Historiography, 1994.

Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, Vol. 1, Gospels and Acts, rev. ed., 1990.

Colin Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, 1989.

E. Haenchen, The Acts of the Apostles, 1971.

Everett Harrison, Interpreting Acts, 1975.

Martin Hengel, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity, 1986.

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Acts of the Apostles, 1992.

W. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake (eds.), The Beginnings of Christianity, part 1. 5 vols.,


H. C. Key, To Every Nation Under Heaven: The Acts of the Apostles, 1997.

Simon Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles, 1990.

Robert Maddox, The Purpose of Acts, 1982.

I. H. Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles, 1980.

______, Luke: Historian and Theologian, 3rd ed., 1998.

______ and David Peterson, Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts, 1998.

A. J. Matill Jr. A Classified Bibliography of Literature on the Acts of the Apostles, 1966.

J. W. McGarvey, New Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, 1892.

Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed., 1994.

Watson E. Mills, A Bibliography of the Periodical Literature on the Acts of the Apostles,

1962-1984, 1986.

A. L. Moore, The Parousia in the New Testament, 1966.

Stephen Neill, The Interpretation of the New Testament—1861-1961, 1964; rev. 1990.

B. M. Newman and E. A. Nida, A Translator’s Handbook of the Acts of the Apostles, 1972.

Frank Pack, Great Preachers of Today series.

R. B. Rackham, The Acts of the Apostles, 1901.

A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 1963.

David John Williams, Acts, 1990.

Bruce Winter and Andrew Clarke (eds.), The Book of Acts in its Ancient Literary Setting.

Vol. 1 of The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting, 1993.

Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, 1998.






  1. Ascension of Christ – Selection of Matthias to take Judas’ place.
  2. Holy Spirit comes on the apostles – Peter’s sermon on Pentecost
  3. Lame man healed at Beautiful Gate
  4. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin
  5. Death of Ananias and Sapphira – Gamaliel’s speech
  6. Seven appointed to care for Grecian widows
  7. Stephen’s speech
  8. Philip preaches in Samaria – conversion of the eunuch
  9. Luke’s account of the conversion of Saul
  10. Conversion of Cornelius
  11. Peter retells Cornelius’ conversion – church established at Antioch
  12. Peter’s release from prison – death of Herod Agrippa I
  13. Beginning of first missionary journey – Paul’s longest recorded sermon at Pisidian Antioch
  14. Paul at Iconium, Lystra, Derbe – return from first missionary journey
  15. Jerusalem conference on circumcision – beginning of second missionary journey
  16. Conversion of Lydia – Paul and Silas beaten and thrown in prison
  17. Church established at Thessalonica – Paul’s speech in Athens
  18. Paul’s arrival and work at Corinth – beginning of third missionary journey
  19. Paul’s work at Ephesus – the uproar in the theater
  20. Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders
  21. Paul observes Jewish rites in temple of Jerusalem
  22. Paul relates his conversion before the Jews in Jerusalem
  23. Jews take an oath not to eat or drink until they kill Paul – Paul brought to Caesarea
  24. Paul speaks before Felix
  25. Paul appears before Festus – Paul appears to Caesar
  26. Paul speaks before Herod Agrippa II
  27. Beginning of voyage to Rome
  28. Paul imprisoned in Rome



  1. Theme Study.  Isolate for special study a theme of your choice from Acts, which may range from exegetical issues to a given theme in Luke/Acts, and prepared a (8) page single-spaced paper covering your finds.
  2. Short Exegetical Paper.  Choose a passage from Acts and write an exegetical paper that reflects care use of and interaction with the text.  This paper should be (9) single-spaced pages and should note any points of background that apply as well as isolate and develop any key theological themes.

Final Project:



1.        Discuss the plan and contents of Acts.  How would you outline Acts?

2.        Outline the main reasons for believing that Luke was the author of Acts.

3.        Select some of the main themes of Acts.  Develop these themes by way of specific Scriptural references throughout the book of Acts.

4.        Discuss the purpose(s) of Acts, with primary reference to what Acts itself says.

5.        Who was Theophilus?  Was he a Christian?

6.        Discuss the “promise of the Father” in light of Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, and Acts 2:1ff.

7.        Discuss Acts 1:8.  Show the importance of this verse for the remainder of the book.

8.        Discuss the feast of Pentecost.  How and when was it observed?

9.        Discuss phrase by phrase the meaning of Acts 2:3-4.  How is this connected with Acts 1:5?

10.     Outline the main ideas of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14ff.

11.     Explain phrase by phrase the meaning of Acts 2:37-38.

12.     From Peter’s sermon in Acts 3, discuss the following expressions: “Author of life” (3:15), “times of refreshing” (3:19), and “whom heaven must receive…” (3:21).

13.     Explain about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Why did Luke record this?

14.     Who were the Hellenists?  What was the problem in Acts 6 and how was it met?

15.     Discuss some of the main themes of Stephen’s speech in Acts 7.

16.     Briefly discuss the conversion of the Samaritans.  In what sense had they not received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-16)?  (Be sure to see McGarvey here.)

17.     Beginning with Acts 8:26, discuss the main points in Luke’s record of the eunuch’s conversion.  What lessons do we learn from this example of conversion?

18.     Sketch out the main points in the conversion of Saul (Acts chaps. 9, 22, 26).  In view of Acts 26:16, what was the purpose of Christ’s appearance to Saul?

19.     In Acts 10 and 11, what was the purpose of Peter’s vision on the housetop?  Why did Peter have to go and preach to Cornelius?

20.     In Acts 13, explain the following expressions: “prophets and teachers” (v. 1), “proconsul” (v. 7ff), and “baptism and repentance” (v. 24).

21.     Acts 15 is regarded as a very important chapter.  What was the problem and how was it solved?  What does this chapter teach on the “way of salvation” for all?

22.     Acts 17 records Paul’s great speech to the Areopagus.  What was the Areopagus?  Where did it meet?  Summarize the main ideas of Paul’s speech.

23.     Briefly explain Apollos’ characteristics as listed by Luke.  What did Priscilla and Aquila and others do for him?

24.     Explain about the baptism of the men at Ephesus (Acts 19:1ff).  Explain verse 2 in light of the context. (See McGarvey here.)

25.     Who was Artemis or Diana?  Describe her temple and her worship.  Who were the “Asiarchs”?

26.     Discuss the meaning of “break bread” and the significance of Acts 20:7.

27.     Discuss the main ideas of Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders (20:17ff).

28.     When Paul came to Jerusalem, what was James’ counsel to him (21:18ff)?

29.     Acts 22:16 shows the importance of water baptism.  Trace this idea throughout Acts and briefly discuss the relevant passages.

30.     Write a few sentences of description on the following persons: Claudius Lysias, Tertullus, Felix, Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice.

31.     Summarize Paul’s preaching to the Jews at Rome (28:23ff).  What themes here are echoes of earlier themes in Acts?  What is the significance of the concluding statement of Acts (v.31)?


Saint John the Evangelist Seminary
An Online Academic Program