Acts has it all—supernatural intervention, astounding miracles, powerful preaching, breathtaking escapes, harrowing journeys, life-and-death decisions, courtroom dramas, thrilling rescues, action, mystery, and adventure! Acts will grab your attention, trigger your imagination, and tug at your emotions. It’s a terrific story and a great read … and it’s true.
As you flip through the pages, however, don’t miss the story behind the stories. Underlying the stimulating sermons and the display of miracles, look for God at work in individuals. In fact, as much as Acts could be called the story of the early church, it could also be titled “The Miracle of Changed Lives.”
Consider this: When we last saw the disciples, they were running scared and abandoning their Lord (Matthew 26:56). Fleeing, denying, disillusioned, and crying, these men seemed the least likely candidates to be boldly proclaiming the gospel. Yet that’s what happened. Peter, James, John, and the rest had been transformed from cowardly to courageous, argumentative to articulate, and selfish to selfless. Then they were joined by Paul, whom God also miraculously transformed.
What made the difference? Acts reveals the profound answer. This is their story—the history of the early church and the changed men and women who changed the world.
As you read of the Holy Spirit, the gifts, persecution and power, Paul’s dramatic conversion, and the rapid spread of the gospel beyond Jerusalem and Judea to the ends of the earth, look for yourself in the stories. Ask God to transform you into the kind of person he can use to change your world.
Bruce Barton et al., Life Application New Testament Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2001), 465.