Genre,Date, and Author
Actsof the Apostles is the fifth book in the New Testament just afterJohn and before Romans. It recounts early Christian literature on theworks and lives of the Apostles. Many people believe that it waswritten by the same author who wrote the Gospel of Luke. It is datedin the 2nd century at around 80-90 AD. It has twenty-eight chaptersin total ("TheHoly Bible – King James Version", 2016).
Actsof Apostles narrates the story of the early church.
Majorpersonalities and events
ApostlePeter is centrally placed as the leading figure at the beginning ofActs Paul, a Pharisee who was once a great persecutor of Jesus’disciples but later became an ardent follower himself, is the majorfigure in the last half of the book.
Thebook commences with a letter to Theophilus reminding him of the lifehistory of Jesus. The book contains the message to the ChristianChurch members irrespective of whether they are Gentiles or Jews. Itscontents and intended message are the ultimate consequence to theentire Christian Churches of today. It describes the immediatehappenings just after the death of Jesus Christ.
Itbegins with the Apostles confining to choose Judas’ successor(Acts, 1:12-26). (Judas Iscariot who took away his life afterbetraying Jesus leaving the disciples’ number as eleven). Theychose Mathias to replace Judas. Just as Jesus had assured Hisapostles that He would send them a helper, the Holy Spirit, thepromise was fulfilled in this book.
Goduses St. Peter to do His work and pass the message to the people. Hebecomes the chief factor under God in founding the first church. Heaccomplishes the mission by healing the lame beggar, passing God’smessage to believers, Ananias and Sapphira, performing miracles andwonders, among others. Peter prepares Saul of Tarsus for the work ofGod (Alsup& Gering, 2016).
The“new” Paul journeys and preaches under many perils, stripes, andeventually imprisonments while testifying in Jerusalem. The secondhalf describes the works of Apostle Paul even when testifying inRome. The story of Acts occupies about thirty-three years. I feelthat the place of writing was Roma where St. Paul spent two yearspreaching the gospel (Acts 28:30) ("TheHoly Bible – King James Version", 2016).
Dateand place of birth
MaryMagdalene is prominent in the narration of Jesus’ crucifixionjourney and resurrection. Her story is dated between the early firstcentury and late fourth century. From the description, she came fromthe town of Magdala.
Roleand position held
Shejourneyed with Jesus to Calvary, watched Him undergo thepersecutions, and watched His crucifixion and resurrection.
MaryMagdalene is used as a symbol in describing Christ’s ministry. InLuke 8:2, she is reported as one of the people who had journeyed withJesus. She had just been set free from seven demons. At one point inher life she was tied up and a servant of the evil one. In Luke 8,she is now portrayed as a free follower of Jesus.
InMatthew 27:58-60, we encounter two women sitting at the tomb, Maryand Mary Magdalene ("TheHoly Bible – King James Version", 2016).After Jesus’ death, the two women brought incense to the grave tocover the odor of the decaying body. The two women were the first tolearn about the risen Christ on a Sabbath morning.
Fromthe Gospel of John, we read of Mary Magdalene talking with the risenChrist. Jesus called her, “Mary.” At this moment she regained hersenses and realized it was the “Rabboni,” a Hebrew name meaningteacher (John 11-18).
MaryMagdalene remained at the foot of Jesus’ cross till it was over.She waited until the body was removed and taken from the cross byJoseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:61, Luke 23:55, Mark 15:47).
Itencompasses Deuteronomy through second Chronicles but more in thebooks of Kings and Chronicles.
Thename Judah originated from Leah, Jacob’s wife, praising the Lord onaccount of his birth. It is the name of the fourth born son of Jacob(Genesis 29:35). The kingdom of Judah was established between the 8thand 9th centuries (1050–931 BC) in what was referred to as theLevantine Iron Age. It is to the south of Kingdom of Israel, west ofMoab and north of Edom.
Thedescendants of Judah occupied the south of Palestine, thus theterritory of Judah. Joshua conquered Judah and Israel (Joshua 11:21).Caleb too defeated a portion of this land as read from Joshua 14:12,15:13. When the countdown was taken at Sinai, the number of Judah wasfound to be about 74,600 persons (Numbers 1:26-27).
Thetribes of Judah and Simeon settled in the southern territory, aposition they maintained after the occupation of the land. There wasa weak correlation between Judah and the northern tribes such thateven during the fights between these tribes against Sisera, Judahcould not assist in any way. There were many judges in Israel fromthe other 11 tribes, but Judah only produced one judge, Othniel(Judges 3:9-11).
TheSupreme reigns of King David and Solomon assisted vindicate the land.It was from this lineage that the Savior of the world, Jesus, wouldcome. The families of Judah occupied positions among communitieswhich were likened to those taken among patriarchs (Alsup& Gering, 2016).
Atthe north side, Judah boundary was the tribe of Benjamin whichextended to river Jordan on the one hand which extended to theMediterranean Sea just about four miles from Joppa. To the east sidewhere the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean formed part of the boundaryon the west side. The territory had an average of fifty miles breadthand a length of forty-five miles.
Judeankings worked to destroy the temples of Baal but failed to kill “highplaces” as Yahweh instructed. They practiced Canaanite religions upto levels of being utterly corrupt.
Jacobwas named Israel after he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:28). It isused in the Bible to name the twelve tribes apart from Judah(southern kingdom) tribe. It was assumed as the name of the northernkingdom (1 Kings 12:16). The kingdom of Israel was establishedbetween 930 BC until 720 BC. It borders the Mediterranean Sea to theEast.
TheIsrael’s history is covered mostly in the Old Testament books. Thebook of Judges describes the establishment of the northern andsouthern kingdoms.
Godchose Israelites as His people so as to make His mighty deed known tothe entire world. After Babylon was out of captivity, the exiles whoreturned acquired the name Israel of their nation. The land isdescribed as the original home for priests, Levites, and prophets(Nehemiah 11:3).
Godcalled and elected Israel as His chosen nation because he loved them(Deuteronomy7:7). He placed responsibilities before the kingdom. Theywere to be His people and God their King. Israel neighbored Canaanand was to be spiritual, cultural, and social ("TheHoly Bible – King James Version", 2016).
Thecommunity of Israel grew and suffered in Egypt as slaves. They wereruthlessly treated under the Pharaoh Reign. Israel’s daughters andsons suffered, but under Moses’ intercession, they came to knowthat God was faithful and abiding by His covenants. As a nation,Israel had leaders like Moses, Joshua, Aaron, among others ("TheHoly Bible – King James Version", 2016).
Theevidence that Israel developed as a nation was seen by the ploddingestablishment of a league of several tribes of various origins.Archaeologists and historical critics have presented studies gearedtowards proving that Israelites existed as a nation (Fleming, 2012).However, scholars and evangelical conservatives are yet to accept theresearch findings even though they do not contradict the records ofthe Bible but illuminate it.
Religionand social aspects
Theywere religiously organized since the time of Moses. They were foundedby God’s acts and revelations. Israel was a holy nation supposed toexhibit God’s kingdom to the rest of the world and perform thecultural mandate. There were several clans and tribes together whichjustified Israel as a nation. It was organized socially, culturally,and politically with Yahweh, the king (Henry, 2008). Elders andjudges assisted in carrying out judicial and administrative roles.The people were not supposed to consider themselves as the God’schosen generation but to consider themselves as subjects called toserve humanity
Alsup,W. & Gering, J. (2016). Judah- Smith`s Bible Dictionary Online.BibleStudy Tools.Retrieved 13 October 2016, fromhttp://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/smiths-bible-dictionary/judah.html
Fleming,D. E. (2012). The legacy of Israel in Judah`s Bible: history,politics, and the reinscribing of tradition. Cambridge UniversityPress.
Henry,M. (2008). Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume I (Genesis toDeuteronomy). CCEL.
TheHoly Bible – King James Version.(2016). O-bible.com.Retrieved 13 October 2016, from http://www.o-bible.com/kjv.html