Through the Bible in One Year

Days 187

Acts 2:42-47

Many churches today desire to pattern themselves after the New Testament church in hopes of experiencing the same power, growth and effectiveness that it had.  This passage gives a general overview of the things that gave the New Testament church the ability to experience God’s miraculous power and consistent growth.  Remarkably, these things were quite plain and practical.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.—2:42-45

The activity of the church is expressed as teaching and fellowship, then meals and prayers.  The teaching of the apostles likely refers to their unpacking of the Old Testament for the believers.  It was the basis for fellowship, which is an intimate sense of community and partnership in Christ.  The breaking of bread is a common metaphor for a meal, though is may include the Lord’s Supper.  Prayers include the activities of intercession, praise and supplication—all of which characterized early Christian worship.

Awe is the appropriate response to a holy God manifesting himself in miraculous ways.  Luke describes the change wrought in the hearts of the believers.  Sharing property was not unknown in Israel.  Some sects within Judaism practiced such community sharing.  The topic will reappear in chapters 4 and 5 as a voluntary activity.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.—2:46-47

The disciples’ devotion was daily, joyful and sincere.  It was centered on praising God in their homes and in the temple.  Their joyous fellowship with one another was noticeable to those outside the church, who were quite approving of what they saw.  God was adding believers to the church every day.  And that is where we will pick up tomorrow as we move into chapter 3.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17, Acts 25, Psalms 5:1-12 and Proverbs 18:19

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