The apostles’ gospel (Acts)

A quick survey of the good news announced by the apostles in Acts.

Here’s an interactive study for you or your small group. We scan the Acts of the Apostles, asking “What was the gospel they proclaimed?”

Below are 16 texts that summarize their message. Print the list (or use a notes app) to jot down the key phrase in each one. We’re not asking how they asked people to respond; just the content of the good news the apostles proclaimed.

See what words/phrases keep popping up. We’ve filled in the first two to get you started.

Acts 2 36 [Peter:] “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is Messiah
4 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus is resurrected.

4 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

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5 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

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8 12 When they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

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8 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

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10 36 [Peter:] “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”

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11 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.

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13 32 [Paul:] “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”

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14 15 [Barnabas & Paul:] “We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.”

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16 31 [Paul & Silas:] “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

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17 18 … Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

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19 8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

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20 21 [Paul:] “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. … 24 My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 25 Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.”

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28 23 He [Paul] witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.

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28 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ — with all boldness and without hindrance!

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Okay, based on that survey, what were the top 4 or 5 words/phrases that recurred as the content of the apostolic gospel?

1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now ponder these results. Are these the words you would use to explain the gospel to someone? Or would you use other terms, such as justification by faith, forgiveness of sins, making a decision, inviting Jesus into your heart, praying the Sinner’s Prayer, or bringing outsiders into the church?

What’s the same and what’s different in how you present the gospel compared to how the apostles proclaimed it?

In our next post, we’ll try to make sense of why the apostles presented the gospel in these terms.

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview College Dean

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