Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:9-16, Eph. 2:11-19, Acts 11:1-26, Acts 12:1-18.
Memory Text: “Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears [H]im and does what is right is acceptable to [H]im” (Acts 10:34, 35, NRSV).
With Paul’s departure to Tarsus, Peter is again the main character in Luke’s narrative of the early days of the Christian church. Peter is portrayed in a sort of itinerant ministry throughout Judea and the surrounding regions. Acts here tells two brief miracle stories, the healing of Aeneas and the resurrection of Tabitha (Dorcas), which are then followed by the story of Cornelius in chapter 10.
The conversion of Gentiles was the most controversial issue in the apostolic church. Though the discussions that followed Cornelius’s baptism were far from solving all the difficulties, the outpouring of the Spirit, reminiscent of what had happened at Pentecost, helped to convince Peter and the brethren in Jerusalem that the blessings of the gospel were not restricted to Jews. Meanwhile, the church in Antioch had already started moving toward the Gentiles, as well.
This week’s study also includes the rise of a new, short persecution—this time under King Herod—and its impact on the apostles, who had been spared in the persecution carried out by Paul.