New! Acts & Pentecost Bible Reading Plan
Are you interested in studying one particular book of the Bible inside its historical setting within a short time period? Along with the 6 comprehensive studies, Bible Journey is adding short study plans that cover important topics that figure prominently in one book of the Bible. These guided plans comprise 5 minutes of Bible reading and 10 minutes of curriculum each day for two weeks. Now free with any Unlimited Pass—just log in to your Bible Journey dashboard and find it under Bonus Content!
These reading plans make it easy to do a self-guided, self-paced study in Bible Journey. The organizing is done; you don’t have to figure out how quickly or slowly to move through the book, how much to read at a time or look for important themes. A reading plan also makes a good tool for small groups who want to explore a particular or topic together.
The plans are structured to make them easy to follow. With the entire plan laid out, you can spend your time reading and learning. You won’t need to decide where to begin each day or how much to do. You can choose to complete one lesson of the five at a time, or finish more.
The first of these is the Acts & Pentecost Bible Reading Plan. As in the longer studies, this plan approaches Acts with the perspectives of “In, Behind and In Front of the Text”: In being the text itself; Behind describing the world of the author and history; In Front of bringing the reader in the text and theology. You will discover how the events of Acts and Pentecost set in motion the long story of Christianity and the Gospel’s journey throughout the Mediterranean region, the Roman Empire and the world, which continues to this day.
How to Navigate
If you have an Unlimited Pass, log in and under Bonus Content in your Dashboard, find the Acts & Pentecost Bible Reading Plan and click View. You are taken to the syllabus. It’s helpful to save this page as a bookmark, because this is where you will begin your study each day. Follow the instructions: read the assigned chapters; watch the introductions, lectures, and videos; read texts and look at interactive maps. If you feel ambitious, dive into the next day’s offerings.
Each time you complete a reading or video, click your browser’s back arrow to return to the syllabus page—or click your bookmark, if you made one. This way, you go back to where you started, and you will know where to pick up the lesson again. (Note that the left column of each section of the lessons has navigation for a different, larger study of Acts & the Pentecost, which is one of the six long-term studies that you might want to pursue later on. So don’t use that left-column navigation for the two-week study.)
What Does this Acts Study Offer?
Begin the Acts & Pentecost plan by completing the assigned reading for Day 1—Acts 1 and 7. Each day you will read two chapters or one long chapter. Then explore that day’s lectures, readings, and videos that immerse you in Roman culture. View interactive maps as you deepen your understanding of the impact the early followers of Christ had in their time. Not only that, but you will find encouragement for today and learn how the events in Acts lead directly to how the Gospel spreads today. In the videos, you will see ruins from important ancient sites.
Each lesson describes the culture and beliefs of the people living at the time of the events following Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The often-oppressive weight of the Roman Empire bore down on the people of Jerusalem and elsewhere. The safest way of life was to never let one’s religion appear to override the authority—and even the presumed deity—of the emperor. Yet this is what the early believers did; they practiced their faith openly in the public square and in private, and paid a high price. You will learn how the persecution and resulting dispersion of believers through much of the empire led to the conversion of multitudes of Jews and Gentiles in many cities.
Alongside Roman oppression came progress. 50,000 miles of paved Roman roads made Paul’s 10,000 miles of missionary journeys possible. The interactive map in the Week 1, Day 2 lesson shows the many cities throughout the Mediterranean region where Paul traveled for his first missionary journey. Note that Antioch in Syria became the headquarters of the early church, especially the Gentile church, which never forgot its Jewish origin. Maps in later lessons display the fullness of Paul’s travels. Click the Information (“Hotspot”) buttons in each map to learn more about the various cities and regions.
The Acts & Pentecost Bible Reading Plan is full of rich biblical history, always keeping the culture of the time period up front. You’ll learn ways that Old Testament practices and Israeli customs are relevant to the events and people in Acts. Read and listen to discussions about the many religious practices followed in the empire. No one in that time denied the existence of God or a pantheon of gods, while today many people do. You’ll delve into how this book in the New Testament speaks to us today about our beliefs and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
More two-week reading plans are in development. All of them are appropriate for small groups or individuals, and all can be tailored to the needs of groups or individuals. New studies will appear on the Dashboard when they are ready to go. Do you have another book you’d like to study with a Bible Reading Plan? Suggest it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.