Study Guide

Acts of the Apostles Truth

Truth

[The apostles] asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" [Jesus] replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority." (Acts 1:6-7, NRSV)

[The apostles] asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (Acts 1:6-7, KJV)

They can't handle the truth! Jesus has told the apostles a lot of stuff, but this is the one date he's still keeping secret. Though we're guessing the apostles didn't think it would take 2,000+ years for God to make good on this one.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought [the apostles] out, and said, "Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life." (Acts 5:19-20, NRSV)

But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought [the apostles] forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. (Acts 5:19-20, KJV)

You can't lock up the truth. When God sees that his messengers are sitting in prison instead of preaching his word, he quickly rectifies the situation.

Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:29-32, NRSV)

Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:29-32, KJV)

Peter knows that truth only comes from God. Even though he's been told to keep the whole Jesus thing on the down low, he can't do it. God has showed him the truth and there's nothing Peter can do to stop it.

"So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!" (Acts 5:38-39, NRSV)

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:38-39, KJV)

This is pretty good advice from Gamaliel, who is one of the members of the synagogue. He's not saying that the Christians are in the right, he's just leaving room for the truth to come out. If they're not from God they'll fizzle out. But if they are—watch out.

Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. (Acts 6:9-10, NRSV)

Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. (Acts 6:9-10, KJV)

Stephen brings the truth so hard that his enemies can't even stand it.

Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." (Acts 9:17-20, NRSV)

Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:17-20, KJV)

Before he was literally blinded, Paul couldn't see the truth. Now, the scales fall from his eyes and he instantly knows the score. Blinding lights and voices will do that to a guy.

When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, "Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them." (Acts 14:11-15, NRSV)

When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. (Acts 14:11-15, KJV)

Paul and Barnabas are so impressive that the people of Lystra start to worship them as gods. It seems like a pretty sweet deal, but Paul and Barnabas know the truth. Only God is God and you do not want to mess with him.

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, "These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation." She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18, NRSV)

As we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18, KJV)

Even though this slave girl is possessed by a really annoying spirit, she speaks the truth. Paul has never been one to hide the truth, but he just can't take it anymore. He really wants this girl to stop hollering every time he passes.

"I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears." (Acts 20:29-31, NRSV)

I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31, KJV)

Even other Christians will fail to see the truth, so watch your back. Yikes.

While [Paul] was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, "You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!" But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth." (Acts 26:24-25, NRSV)

As [Paul] thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. (Acts 26:24-25, KJV)

The line between insanity and genius is so fine. The Roman official thinks Paul is nuts, but he's just bringing the truth about God. This can't end well for Paul.

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