Was Acts a letter from Paul to Theophilus? “In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning” (Acts 1:1 NRSV). Is it even significant here who Paul is writing?
Paul commands people to be witnesses to the ends of the earth in 1:8. How might one do this? Is everyone called to missionary work? Yes, then are we all, at some point, to minister to a completely different culture? We can witness to those who are different but local.
The apostles devoted themselves to prayer with certain women. Did they then elevate a woman’s status? What would it have meant in that culture to have a woman praying with men? Would they have to be married as conservative evangelical churches promote inter-sex prayer these days?
Do we still prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams or was that only for Paul’s time?
Is it good and beneficial to live communally. It was a fact in history and not necessarily a mandate for present day conduct. How then does a 21st century reader internalize such verses?
In a day and age where tolerance is seen as automatic agreement, it is interesting that Scripture refutes that. Acts 4:12- There is salvation in no one else besides Jesus Christ. Why then do Christians read such a thing and willingly accept synchronicity?
Acts 4:28—What does it mean that God predestines? Does this change who he is? Can a good God create some humans for destruction and hell? Why would he do such a thing?
Portions of Acts summarize the entire OT. Is this to refresh their memories? Wouldn’t Jews have known this?
After Stephen’s stoning, the Christians are all scattered. Why were all scattered except the apostles?
In 8:16, there were people who had been baptized but not received the Holy Spirit. This jostles what I have been taught in the church. What does baptism mean then? Is it a command from God or merely a symbol that is good to perform? Do not motives matter here too? Is it a command after having trusted Jesus? Why then did the Holy Spirit not come until afterwards?
Acts mentions a few times devout woman. What does it mean to be a devout woman of God. Is she permitted to preach at the altar? To distribute the “host” as Catholics call it?
Priscilla and Damaris—they joined Paul. What would joining Paul look like? Would these women have preached? Philip had 4 unmarried daughters with the gift of prophecy (sermon preaching). Why then do churches today often forbid women from preaching to men?
What does it mean to share of oneself? Paul calls the Thessalonians their crown and joy. Why? How would they have earned such a status? What was lacking in their faith?
Mind your own affairs and don’t get caught up in that which doesn’t concern you. <—Oh how I need to internalize that truth! Lord, come quickly to my aid!
If some are not destined for wrath but salvation through Jesus, does that mean there are people who were at one time, or even now, destined for wrath. How do we reconcile such notions with God’s goodness and kindness?
Does the present evil age extend even into today? How will humanity know the return of Christ and the completion of the Kingdom of God?
False gospels exist. Am I buying into some false teachings? Are you? How do we know?
James is called the Lord’s brother. What would this mean? Spiritual? Physical? Do we have evidence if it was physical? How would this affect Catholic doctrine?
Paul was sent to preach to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. Why then is the church (according to Catholicism) built on Peter?
The purpose of the Law was to reveal our transgressions. We are not justified by works (as Paul discusses in Romans) but faith without works is dead (James). How do we marry these ideas? Do they contain a discrepancy?
Jesus was born of a woman. Mary was his mother. What would it mean to be born of a woman? Would she have been sinful?
The works of the flesh include fornication. Why was this discussed so ardently in Scripture and yet we approach it so loosely in the present age? Those who discuss purity, especially for heterosexual purity, are touted as prude or even bigots at times. Why?
What would a truly Spirit guided life look like in application (principles as found in Gal. 5:22-23 NRSV)?
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Rom. 1:24-25 NRSV). Why would God give us up to our sensual desires? Did he not die for us to be free? Does God create some for evil and then why predestine those he made for evil to be destroyed? Why create that in the first place? Am I reasoning through human judgement, yes…How do I reconcile this though?
“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26-27 NRSV). Here homosexuality is called an unnatural act and awarded due penalty for erroneous action. How are our Westernized sensibilities to accept a homosexual but say that the lifestyle is wrong without being called a bigot, hateful, etc.? Are we to simply accept it? “They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them” (Rom. 1:32 NRSV). This is strong language. What would Paul say about American sensibilities to such acts?
God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance not license to do what we want. What does authentic repentance look like?
Are good works important to a degree because glory, honor, and peace is given to those who do good? How do we exercise faith without slipping into a mindset that thinks we can be saved through works?
Christ died once for all (Rom. 8:10). Can the idea of purgatory be supported with Scriptures like these? If so, how? Again, 8:29 discusses predestination. “You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction” (Rom. 9:19-22 NRSV). Would he predestine some people to be eternally separated from him? Why?
Rom. 11:22-God is kind and severe. What does this mean for a God who is good and holy?
We are to overcome evil with good. Did God create evil? Why or why not?
1:11—Chloe’s people. Was Chloe an overseer of a congregation? A preacher?
What does it mean to be called by God?
“For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you” (1Cor. 5:12-13 NRSV). We are to hold accountable those inside the church, not outside. How do we protect the church from false gospels and teachers properly? What guards are we to put in place so not to ostracize the outside world needing to come in, but to preserve truth?
What does glorifying God in the body really look like? What does it mean to destroy our bodies? Is it nutrition, tattoos, drugs? Or something deeper, like spiritually?
Lust was a major problem in the Corinthian church and is in the American church. How do we address issues of sexual immorality in a compassionate way while still preserving truth?
1Cor 7:14—children aren’t holy through their parents are they? What is the meaning of this text?
Why did the Corinthians even question Paul’s authority as an apostle?
Should we maintain traditions or do they distract us from pursuing faith?
How should Christians today observe Sabbath and partaking in the Lord’s supper? Full meal? Required or again getting caught up in traditions?
Aside: So many more questions than answers. God really does challenge. This is so fragmented. My mind is so full lately. Don’t fall for e-mail scams. Fixing the situation will take up all your brain power…more on that and how to protect yourself later.