Study Guide

Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles Summary

The Short Story

Our story starts off where the Gospel of Luke left off—Jesus is back. 

Now that he's resurrected, Jesus decides to hang out and chat with his disciples (whom Luke calls apostles) for forty days. The fun can't last forever, though, and Jesus ascends into Heaven on a cloud. What can we say? The guy knows how to make an exit.

What are the apostles supposed to do now? Luckily, Jesus left very specific instructions. First, they're to spread his message to the ends of the Earth. Second, they're supposed to pick up his dry cleaning. Jesus loves freshly laundered robes. Ok—not so much on that whole second part. Plus, the first part should keep them plenty busy.

So the apostles get to work. Peter takes the lead and they all preach and teach about how Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the fulfillment of everything that Jewish scripture says will happen. Awesome, right? They also perform lots of miracles (your run-of-the-mill healing and raising from the dead… no biggie). Oh, and their preaching also makes the religious authorities in Judea very, very mad. Like master, like disciples. The whole crew gets arrested a couple times (luckily, angels break them out of prison—angels are crafty like that) and one of the disciples, Stephen, even gets stoned to death. It's a bad time to be a believer.

But because God likes irony, one of the guys involved in the death of Stephen gets converted (and blinded) when he's on his way to Damascus to persecute some more Christians. He changes his name to Paul and takes up the discipleship torch. Paul and some friends travel all around the Roman Empire talking about Jesus non-stop. He has all kinds of zany adventures. He's stoned, worshiped as a god, starts riots, and talks so long that people fall asleep. He's also pretty good at the whole spreading-the-word-of-God thing and he manages to set up churches in loads of different cities around the Empire. Go, Paul.

Meanwhile, back in Judea, there are issues. When Peter sees a vision from God, he realizes that Christians have got to branch out and start trying to convert Gentiles (i.e., non-Jews) as well as Jews. This is big. Like Mark Zuckerberg creating Facebook big. Paul thinks this is a swell idea, but he just wants to know one thing—do Gentile converts need to follow Jewish law and be circumcised? Because that's gonna make convincing the guys to join up a little bit harder.

Finally, Paul manages to tick off enough people and he's arrested when he comes back to Jerusalem to visit. This time, it's the Jewish people who are against him (they're mad about the whole you-don't-have-to-follow-Jewish-law-if-you're-Christian thing). The naysayers haul him before Roman authorities and Paul is tried and held as a prisoner for a really long time. We're talking years.

Finally, he gets tired of all the nonsense in Judea and asks to be shipped to Rome so he can take all this up with the emperor. Paul lands on Roman soil and is welcomed by the church there. He hangs out for a couple years, but we never find out what really happens. We've got a hunch it's not good, though. Poor Paul.

  • Chapter 1

    Jesus: Part Deux

    • Luke begins by giving a shout to Theophilus and pointing us towards a little gem he wrote called The Gospel of Luke. Ever heard of it?
    • Basically, that book told the story of Jesus. All the awesome things he said and did and the super cool way he died and came back to life again. It's pretty swell. You should definitely check it out sometime.
    • Anyhoo… Acts starts with Jesus already back in black. He decides to hang around with all his favorite disciples for forty days. Not typical behavior for a dead guy, but we are talking about Jesus here.
    • So while Jesus is hanging around, he gives the disciples (whom Luke calls apostles) some advice. Don't leave Jerusalem—good stuff is about to start happening. Also, don't worry so much about how Jesus is gonna fix all the Jewish people's problems. He's totally going to. He's just not telling when.

    He Ascended Into Heaven And All That Good Stuff

    • One day, while hanging on the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells the apostles that they're gonna be his "witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Wow. That's a pretty tall order.
    • Just then, Jesus is lifted up into the air and a cloud takes him away. Whoa!
    • The apostles are all like, "What the what?" when two other guys dressed in white robes come along. No worries, the two guys tell the apostles. Jesus went up into Heaven and he's gonna come back in the same way. So look for that. We get the feeling those weren't just two random guys.
    • Okay, so after that, the apostles head back into Jerusalem.
    • There's a whole group of them staying in a room in the city. You've got Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. That brings their number to eleven. (Judas Iscariot is no longer welcome. He knows why.)
    • In addition to these dudes, there were also some women who stayed with them, Mary the mother of Jesus, and some of Jesus's brothers, too. It was a pretty full house.

    Apostles Wanted

    • Around this time, Peter gives a little speech to a crowd of about 120 believers.
    • He explains that Judas was part of the inner circle before he became a nasty little turncoat. Now he needs to be replaced.
    • Apparently, in the time between his betrayal of Jesus and now, Judas bought himself a nice piece of land (he had just come into thirty pieces of silver). But then oops! He took a nasty fall and "burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out." Um, gross.
    • So, we need a new apostle #12. Who's it gonna be?
    • Peter lays down the qualifications: this new dude has to have been hanging around since the baptism of John and until Jesus was taken up into Heaven. Wow, they are not casting a wide net for applicants.
    • Surprisingly, two different guys fit the bill exactly—Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias.
    • The apostles pray for God to help them choose. Then they cast lots (God, apparently, loves gambling) and Matthias comes out on top.
    • Better luck next time, Barsabbas.
  • Chapter 2

    The Easiest Way to Pass Spanish 101

    • Fifty days after Passover, Pentecost comes around.
    • All the apostles are hanging around together when the sound of a really strong wind rushes through the house. Tornado? Nope. Just some "tongues of fire" that drift into the house and then settle on each of the apostles. No biggie, right?
    • But the really cool thing is, all the apostles can now speak in any other language. That's pretty darn handy.
    • Other Jewish folks in Jerusalem hear this ruckus and come to check it out.
    • They're pretty amazed that the twelve apostles—who they know are from Galilee—can perfectly speak dozens and dozens of different languages.
    • Some people are awed and others just think the apostles are a bunch of crazy drunks. Crazy drunks who are really good at ancient Arabic.

    Simon Peter: Motivational Speaker

    • Peter decides to give a speech. He claims the apostles aren't drunk, and instead that what's happening here is what the prophet Joel (from the Hebrew Bible) predicted would happen.
    • God is just pouring out his spirit so that everyone is able to prophecy. Joel said this would all happen before God decides to end the world.
    • This will also probably involve the moon turning to blood. So there's that to look forward to.
    • Peter then goes on to tell them a little bit about Jesus and how he is the fulfillment of everything it says in Hebrew scripture. Jesus is cool like that.
    • He quotes a couple psalms to prove that Jesus is the Messiah they've all been waiting for.

    They're Converted

    • Apparently Peter's a really good public speaker, because this convinces about 3,000 people in the crowd. They all decide to repent and be baptized so that their sins can be forgiven and all that. As a bonus, they also receive the gift of the Holy Sprit. It's that or a nice set of steak knives.
    • These new Christians spend their time hanging with the apostles and each other, breaking bread together, and praying. Good times abound.
    • They also sell all their stuff and distribute the money among the whole community so that everyone can be equal. Sounds a bit like a hippie commune. Kumbaya.
  • Chapter 3

    Healing Powers

    • One day, Peter and John are taking a stroll through the temple in Jerusalem when they see a man who can't walk. The poor guy is begging for money at one of the gates.
    • Peter tells the man to look at him and the guy does (he thinks they're gonna give him some much needed cash). But Peter tells him he doesn't have any money for him (bummer). Instead he does bring some pretty cool miracles in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
    • Oh, tell us more, Peter.
    • He grabs the man's hand and pulls him up. Crazily enough, the dude can walk now. In fact, he's so strong, he can jump and shout and praise God all over the temple. Yeah, miracles are pretty awesome.

    Why So Amazed?

    • So, the temple goers see the guy and realize he's been healed and they're pretty darn amazed.
    • Peter tells them there's no need to be so weirded out. The same God that they worship in the temple brought Jesus into the world. The apostles now can perform miracles in his name. Simple, right?
    • Of course, these same folks hanging out in the temple weren't too interested in hearing this a little over fifty days ago when they turned Jesus over to the Romans to be executed. Yeah. Peter remembers you guys.
    • But never let it be said that the disciples of Christ are not forgiving guys. If the people repent and get on the Jesus train their sins are totally gonna be forgiven. Sweet!
    • Peter name checks Moses, Samuel, and Abraham to let the people know he means business. The Jewish people need to start listening to Jesus (and, by extension, his apostles). Otherwise, things are not gonna be pretty. Harsh, God, harsh.
  • Chapter 4

    Arrested Development

    • As Peter is giving his big pep talk, some of the priests and Sadducees stroll by (you may remember them as the bad guys from the gospel stories).
    • As usual, they're pretty ticked that Peter and John are still going on about Jesus. Seriously—didn't they just have that guy killed?
    • So they have Peter and John arrested. No chance of them turning over a new leaf, we guess.
    • The joke's kind of on them though, because thanks to Peter's little speech, about 5,000 people decide to start following Jesus. Boo-yah!

    Preach, Peter

    • The next day, the religious authorities get together to question Peter and John. It's a who's who of guys who killed Jesus.
    • They want to know exactly how Peter and John healed the man who couldn't walk.
    • Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and goes off on another long defense.
    • First of all, what they did was a good deed (not a crime). Second of all, they did it by the power of Jesus Christ. Remember him, haters?
    • Jesus was like a piece of stone that these guys said couldn't go into their holy building, but now he's become the cornerstone for the whole project. Yeah, he's a pretty big deal.

    Keep It Quiet

    • Now the religious authorities are between a rock and a hard place. They know that Peter and John were with Jesus from the beginning.
    • They also know that they're just a bunch of uneducated commoners (they don't have fancy degrees from high priest school). And yet somehow, they managed to convert 5,000 people to their cause. Even the guy they healed is standing beside them in defense.
    • What are they supposed to do?
    • The religious authorities decide that, if they can't deny what happened, they'll just order Peter and John not to talk about it. Yeah, this plan should work.
    • Peter and John straight out tell them they're not gonna stop talking about Jesus (it's kind of what they do).
    • Then the religious authorities release them since they can't think of any way to punish them. Wow. These guys have really lost their mojo.

    They Feel the Earth Move

    • Peter and John head back to the other apostles and company and let everyone know what happened.
    • Everyone prays that God will protect them from these naysayers and let them keep healing people because they're sure as heck not gonna stop doing his good work.
    • After they finish praying, the whole place starts to shake and everyone is filled with the Holy Spirit. We're thinking that's a good sign that God was listening.
    • Meanwhile, the followers of Jesus keep on living their communal hippie lifestyle. No one owns anything; they just pool all their resources together to live.
    • People sell their houses and donate the proceeds to the community. No one is poor or needy, and everyone shares everything. Awww.
  • Chapter 5

    This Is Where it Gets Real (Estate)

    • There's this one guy, though—Ananias—who sells some property in order to pass along the proceeds to his fellow Christians.
    • His wife, Sapphira, knows about it, but they agree between themselves that, while they will give money to the apostles, they won't give all of it. Oh, this plan is not gonna work out well.
    • Ananias comes to bring the money and Peter instantly knows that the community is being short-changed. Peter's second calling might have been accounting.
    • Peter calls Ananias out as a liar and Ananias falls down dead right in front of him. Whoa. Peter doesn't mess around.
    • Later, Sapphira stops by to check in and Peter accuses her of being not so great at sharing either. She drops dead, too.
    • The moral of the story: don't lie to God about your real estate transactions.

    In And Out Of Prison

    • The apostles still keep performing all kinds of awesome miracles. They even go to the temple and manage to win some more believers.
    • They also heal the sick and everyone gets cured. Miracles all around!
    • Naturally, the high priest does not like this at all. Good deeds make him really mad.
    • He and the other religious authorities have the apostles arrested.
    • But as luck would have it, an angel of the Lord sneaks into prison during the night and unlocks their jail cell. It's a prison break!
    • The angel tells them to head up to the temple and keep on preaching on.
    • The next day, when the religious authorities find out that these guys have broken out of their cell and are preaching in the temple, they are not pleased.
    • They have the apostles re-arrested and then start questioning them.
    • The religious authorities are wondering why in the heck the apostles are talking about Jesus when they've been expressly forbidden from doing just that. These guys are pretty clueless.
    • The apostles tell them that they have to listen to God, not ordinary humans. (Ordinary humans who killed Jesus, we might add.)
    • After all, the apostles know about all the amazing things God is trying to do through Jesus. You think they can just shut up about it?
    • The definitely cannot.
      At this point, the religious authorities pretty much want the apostles to go the way of Jesus.

    This Christian Thing Isn't Really Going Anywhere, Right?

    • One of the Pharisees (his name is Gamaliel) stands up and tries to reason with everyone.
    • Look, he says, these so-called prophets come along all the time. Remember Theudas? He had a whole bunch of followers, but when he died they disappeared. Same thing with Judas the Galilean. You can bet the followers of Jesus are gonna die out soon, too. Oh, Gamaliel, if you only knew.
    • Gamaliel tells them not to worry. If they're just a bunch of schmucks running around preaching a false message, it'll all fall apart on its own. But if, just by chance, they are following God himself, then it would probably be best not to mess with them. Smart move.
    • The religious authorities seem okay with this. They have the apostles flogged and then release them and tell them not to talk about Jesus any more. Really guys?
    • As soon as they leave, the apostles all start celebrating because they got to suffer for Jesus.
    • And they also head right back to the temple and start talking up Jesus again. Apostles don't quit, man.
  • Chapter 6

    Let's Form A Committee

    • Everything is going pretty well for a while, but then a little issue comes up.
    • Some of the Christians claim that they aren't getting the same quality charity as other Christians. Jealous much?
    • The twelve apostles don't have time for this nonsense—they need to spend time preaching about Jesus and making the religious authorities stew with anger.
    • So they appoint seven other men to oversee these ministries and make sure everything is running smoothly. Their names are Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus. Some of those names would have more staying power than others.
    • This fixes the issue and the good word about Jesus keeps spreading and more new recruits join up every day.

    Stephen Does Time

    • So, of this group of seven, Stephen is pretty awesome. He can even perform miracles.
    • Naturally, some of the folks in the temple don't appreciate this too much.
    • One day they start arguing with Stephen. When they can't win the argument fair and square, they get him arrested on charges of blasphemy even though Stephen would never blaspheme. He just doesn't roll like that.
    • Stephen goes before the council and the baddies get people to come foreword and tells lies about Stephen and the things he's been saying.
    • The whole time Stephen just stands there with the face of an angel. How could you not acquit him, council?
  • Chapter 7

    Preach, Brother Stephen

    • Then Stephen gets his chance to speak and goes on for a really long time. His topic? The Hebrew Bible.
    • The whole speech is kind of a summary of the story of the Jewish people. He goes through highlights on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon all in one chapter. Whew! It's not easy packing all of history into one lecture.
    • The point of all of this is that the folks from the temple are just as stubborn as their ancestors were. Just like the ancient Israelites didn't always welcome God's prophets and chosen ones with open arms, these guys are doing the same thing to poor Stephen. We guess it's true. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
    • Stephen tells them that they're "uncircumcised in heart and ears" (oh, burn!) and that they're opposing God. They've been given God's law, but they're tossing it aside because they're too pig-headed to recognize the truth.

    They Don't Call Him The First Christian Martyr For Nothing

    • Okay, so Bible stories aside, this last assessment does not make the people feel very warm and fuzzy about Stephen.
    • When Stephen looks up into the sky and says that he sees Jesus in the heavens, it's just too much for them.
    • The crowd grabs him and drags him into the city to stone him. (Which is just another way to say he was bludgeoned to death by big freakin' rocks.)
    • Between peltings, Stephen prays that God will receive his spirit and also asks God not to hold this whole stoning thing against the crowd. Wow. Talk about forgiveness.
    • Stephen finally dies from rock-related injuries. Break out the tissues.
    • All the while, there's a guy named Saul hanging around thinking all of this is a-okay. He'll become pretty important later.
  • Chapter 8

    Persecutions Are Coming

    • The same day Stephen is killed, the baddies start persecuting other Christians, too.
    • Everyone, except the main apostles, makes a run for it to avoid meeting the same rock-hurling fate as Stephen.
    • Saul is one of the ringleaders of all this. He's having people arrested left and right all on account of them being followers of Jesus.
    • Whoa. Saul is a real jerk.

    Adventures In Samaria

    • Philip (one of the newly appointed seven) makes his way over to Samaria. There he starts preaching the good word about Jesus, healing people, and exorcising demons and all kinds of evil spirits. Philip has got the goods.
    • Everyone in the area is pretty impressed.
    • He runs into a guy in Samaria named Simon. Simon is kind of a big deal in Samaria. He goes around town doing all kinds of magic.
    • Just think of him as a first-century Criss Angel.
    • Even Simon is impressed by the wonders Philip is able to produce, so he decides to be baptized and start following Jesus too. Cool, right?
    • Kind of. The apostles hear about the headway Philip is making in Samaria, so they send in the big guns, Peter and John to help out.
    • Peter and John pray for the Samarians who converted to receive the Holy Spirit. They put their hands on them and—poof—they have the Spirit. Hallelujah!
    • Simon is pretty darn impressed by this, too. He comes up Peter and offers to pay him if he can give him a share of that sweet Holy Spirit summoning power. Will $50 be enough?
    • Um, no! Peter tells him that you can't buy yourself into God's good graces! Simon better start praying for forgiveness now, because dude has got some wicked thoughts in his head.
    • Simon seems pretty frightened and he asks the apostles to pray for him. We're hoping they did… for Simon's sake.
    • After they stay in Samaria for a while spreading the good news, Peter and John head back to Jerusalem. Ciao, Samaria!

    Philip Helps A Eunuch

    • Meanwhile, an angel of the Lord tells Philip that he should take a little trip south.
    • On his way, he meets a eunuch who serves as the minister of finance to Ethiopia's Queen Candace. Oh, fancy.
    • The eunuch is on his way home from Jerusalem, when Philip comes across him and sees that he's reading Isaiah. That's a book Philip knows a thing or two about.
    • The eunuch invites Philip to travel with him and explain. He just so happens to be going over Isaiah 53:7-8. Isaiah says that someone will suffer and die, but who, oh who, could it be?
    • Luckily, Philip knows the answer—it's Jesus! (The answer is always Jesus.)
    • Apparently Philip is quite the evangelizer, because the eunuch is convinced and decides to be baptized in a river right there on the road.
    • Philip does the dunking, but when the eunuch comes up out of the water, Philip is gone. Weird.
    • Turns out the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and sent him to Azotus and Caesarea to keep right on preaching the word. No rest for the weary disciple, we guess.
  • Chapter 9

    Saul Is Blinded By The Light

    • Meanwhile, Saul is still hard at work persecuting Christians. Seriously, Saul, give it a rest.
    • He's on his way to Damascus to find even more Christians he can throw in jail, when he sees a light suddenly flash from Heaven.
    • Saul falls on the ground and hears a voice—"Saul, why do you persecute me?" Um, good question.
    • Saul asks the voice to be more specific. Who's calling, please?
    • "It's me, Jesus" the voice tells him. Seriously. Did you not see that coming? It's called dramatic irony.
    • Anyhow, the voice of Jesus tells Saul to keep heading towards the city and that he'll let him know what to do. Maybe stop persecuting people? Just a thought.
    • Saul gets up and—holy crud—he's blind. Luckily, he's traveling with a couple other guys (really confused guys who just heard a crazy voice from Heaven). They help him into Damascus, but it's three days before Saul can see anything again.

    Goodbye, Scales; Hello, Discipleship

    • There just so happens to be a follower of Jesus named Ananias (not the greedy, dead one from before… a different guy) living in Damascus.
    • Ananias has a vision where God tells him to go find Saul and restore his sight.
    • Ananias is a tiny bit skeptical, though. Um, God, hasn't Saul been rounding up Christians left and right? Are you sure I should just walk in there and introduce myself and heal him in the name of Jesus?
    • Yeah, it's totally cool, God tells him. He's gonna bring my message to the Gentiles and all that good stuff. And he's gonna suffer quite a bit, too. I kind of dig irony.
    • So Ananias goes and heals Saul and "something like scales fell from his eyes." Gross.
    • After that, Saul is baptized and eats a little and then starts to feel better. Heavenly visions are a like a really nasty flu sometimes.

    Saul Just Wants To Fit In

    • Once he feels better, Saul rushes out into the synagogues and starts talking up Jesus.
    • The people are pretty astonished. Didn't Saul come to town to arrest Christians? Now he's become one? Weird.
    • Naturally, after Saul's been preaching for a while and convincing lots of people, the religious authorities hatch a plot to kill him. Don't these guys have anything better to do with their time?
    • The disciples find out about it, though, and sneak Saul out of town at night by lowering him down the wall outside the city in a basket.
    • Those disciples are always thinking.
    • Saul makes his way to Jerusalem to meet up with his fellow disciples, but they're a little bit skeptical. Um, these are the same guys you were just trying to get killed a while ago, Saul.
    • Barnabas vouches for him in front of the apostles, which puts them a little more at ease. You know what really puts them at ease though? Sending Saul home to Tarsus to do some preaching there instead.

    Peter's Doing Stuff Too, You Know

    • Peter's also having his own adventures all over the country. He heals a man who's been paralyzed and converts loads of folks in the process. Score!
    • When he hears that a disciple named Tabitha (her Greek name is Dorcas) has died in Joppa, he rushes there and brings her back to life. Whoa. Peter has got Lazarus-level healing powers!
  • Chapter 10

    It's God On Line Two

    • In Caesarea, there's a guy named Cornelius who's a Roman centurion. He's a Gentile, but he observes Jewish customs and prayers.
    • Basically he's living the Jewish life, but hasn't made things official.
    • One day, while Cornelius is praying, an angel of God appears and tells him to send some men to Joppa to pick up Peter.
    • Cornelius is a little freaked, but he sends two of his slaves and a soldier right away. You don't mess around when God gives you divine directive.

    He Saw A Vision Of Sheets

    • Meanwhile, the next day in Joppa Peter is on the roof praying when he gets a little hungry and sees yet another vision.
    • He sees a sheet being sort of lowered down from the sky with all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds running around on it. Um, okay.
    • God tells him to go ahead and kill one and eat it.
    • Nice try, Lord, Peter tells the Almighty. I don't eat unclean foods. I keep kosher all the way.
    • The voice tells him again, Seriously? I just told you it was fine. "What God has made clean, you must not call profane."
    • Peter hears this three times and the whole vision disappears.

    Peter In Caesarea

    • Just then, Cornelius's men come into town looking for Peter.
    • God tells Peter that there are some guys searching for him and he should go ahead and meet them. Get a move on, Peter.
    • Peter meets the guys, they talk, and Peter agrees to head with them to Caesarea the next day. Things are pretty simple when they've been pre-okayed in vision form.
    • When Peter gets there he explains that it's actually against Jewish law for Jews to associate with Gentiles. Who knows what kind of weird Gentile germs they could pass on? But Peter decided to come because God showed him in that vision that he shouldn't go around labeling things as unclean. Good takeaway.
    • Cornelius tells Peter about his vision and asks Peter to tell him whatever it is that God needs him to hear. This should be good.
    • Peter tells him that God doesn't play favorites. Jew? Gentile? God is cool with whatever your background is because he's "Lord of all."
    • Amen.
    • Peter gives a quick backstory about Jesus (lived, died, rose again) and the Holy Spirit falls on everyone who hears him. Nice job, Peter.
    • Since the Gentiles in the group want to be baptized, Peter doesn't see any reason why they shouldn't be. Equality is awesome.
  • Chapter 11

    Gentiles Are So In

    • Back in Judea, word reaches the apostles and Jewish followers of Jesus that Peter has been baptizing Gentiles. The horror!
    • Later, when Peter comes back into town, he has some 'splaining to do.
    • Peter tells them all about the vision and that God said unclean things are now a-okay.
    • He explains that it was God who let the Holy Spirit fall on the Gentiles while he was speaking. What was Peter supposed to do? Stop
    • God from giving out his gifts? Good luck with that.
    • The other apostles are speechless, but then they realize this is actually a great thing. God wants to save everyone. 

    Spreading The Word In Antioch

    • Lots of disciples are still traveling around. Some only preach the good news to fellow Jews, but others started telling Gentiles, too.
    • And it's working!
    • The church in Jerusalem sends Barnabas to Antioch to check out the new Gentile converts.
    • Things looks good, so Barnabas heads to Tarsus to pick up Saul and bring him to Antioch. The two men stay there for a year and help the church get up and running.
    • This is the first place that the disciples were called "Christians." Memories. Awww.
    • Around the same time, a prophet named Agabus comes to Antioch and says that there's gonna be a really terrible famine soon.
    • The disciples decide it's up to them to make sure that fellow believers are cared for if this happens, so they send supplies with Barnabas and Saul. Way to think ahead, guys.
  • Chapter 12

    Off With His Head

    • Around this time, King Herod decides to stir up a little trouble for the Christians. Typical.
    • He has one of the disciples, James, beheaded. Ouch.
    • Then he arrests Peter. Oh, this is not looking good. All the followers of Jesus are praying for Peter in prison (he needs it).

    Angels Really Know How to Pick Locks

    • Their prayers are answered in the form of an angel of the Lord who appears and releases Peter from his chains.
    • At first, Peter thinks he's having another vision (or just hallucinating), but when the angel leads him outside the gates of the city, he knows it's for real.
    • He rushes over to Mary's house (she's John's mother) and knocks on the door. The maid, Rhoda, answers and recognizes Peter right away.
    • But she's so excited that she forgets to let him in and just runs to tell everyone he's back. Comic relief!
    • They all think she's nuts or worse, that Peter's dead and she's just seen his angel.
    • Eventually, everyone opens the door and sees Peter and starts freaking out. Peter's out of prison! Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo!

    Herod Gets His

    • The next morning, the soldiers and Herod are pretty confused about what happened to their prisoner. They had chained him up so nicely!
    • Since Herod's a jerk, he questions the prison guards and then has them put to death. What a meanie.
    • Later, Herod is sitting in front of his subjects and they start chanting about how he is a god, not just a mere man.
    • Now it's God's turn to be angry because Herod isn't giving him his props. An angel of God strikes him down and Herod is eaten by worms and dies. Graphic and terrible, yet fitting.
    • Even though King Herod's dead, the church lives on and gains even more new members. Take that, ghost of Herod.
    • Meanwhile, Barnabas and Saul head back to Jerusalem with their new pal, John Mark.
  • Chapter 13

    Paul In Cyprus

    • In Antioch there are a group of prophets and teachers hanging around, but God singles out Barnabas and Saul for some special duties.
    • The pair head over to Cyprus where they run into a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus.
    • When the Roman governor in the area asks Saul and Barnabas to come chat with him about Jesus, Bar-Jesus tells the governor that they're just spewing lies. Oh, Bar-Jesus.
    • Saul (who, did we mention, is better known as Paul?) tells Bar-Jesus that he's a terrible, awful, no good guy and that he's gonna be blind for a while. It matches his spiritual blindness.
    • Sure enough, Bar-Jesus goes blind and the governor believes that what Saul/Paul said about Jesus must be true. After all, if you can blind a guy, you must be holy, right?

    Paul In Galatia

    • Paul and friends leave Cyprus and head to Galatia where they head straight for the synagogue. The religious officials there invite them to speak (this is a first).
    • Paul stands up and gives a little speech about the history of the Jewish people leading up to King David. From David, Paul claims, comes Jesus, who is the fulfillment of everything God has ever promised the Jewish people. Yay!
    • Of course, the folks down in Jerusalem didn't realize this (even though it was obvious) and they had Jesus put to death on trumped up charges.
    • Paul ends by telling that they can free themselves from sin if they put their faith in Jesus (and, of course, God). Everyone that doesn't listen is going to die. Metaphorically, of course.
    • As Paul and Barnabas are leaving, the people in the synagogue ask them to come back next week to talk some more. (Wow, this visit went well!) Loads of people start to become followers of Jesus, too.
    • The following week, almost the entire city turns out to hear Paul preach (he's quite a draw). But there's a group of Jews who aren't so pleased with what's going on, and they let everyone know that they think Paul's full of it.
    • Paul and Barnabas tell everyone that the good news about Jesus was passed on to the Jewish people first. But since they're so good at rejecting it, God has asked them to move onto the Gentiles. Don't be upset when you see that they've run out of good spots in Heaven, guys.
    • Lots of Gentiles start following Jesus after this, but the naysayers get someone to spread rumors about Paul and Barnabas and they're forced to leave town and head for Iconium. Preaching ain't easy.
  • Chapter 14

    Paul In Iconium

    • Same thing goes down in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas make some headway getting people to follow Jesus, and then the naysayers start spreading the seeds of doubt. Boo.
    • When the naysayers threaten to stone them, Paul and Barnabas get the heck out of Iconium.

    Paul In Lystra

    • They head to Lystra, where they meet a man who has never been able to walk. Guess what? Paul heals him and then dude can walk.
    • The people are amazed (as usual) and decide that Paul and Barnabas must be gods come to Earth. Obviously.
    • They call Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes and they rush off to the temple to offer a sacrifice to their new gods.
    • Paul and Barnabas are pretty freaked out when they hear about this. They tear their clothes (so dramatic) and tell all the people that they're just regular guys like them. Their job is to tell people about the one true God, not to become him.

    Paul Is Dead

    • Later on, some Jewish naysayers come from Antioch and Iconium to speak against Paul and Barnabas. Can't they just leave them alone?
    • The naysayers get the crowd so worked up that they actually get them to stone Paul.
    • When the crowd of stone-throwers thinks Paul's dead, they drag him out of the city and leave him there. Bummer.
    • But when the disciples come to find him, they see that Paul hasn't quite been stoned to death. Note to naysayers: use heavier rocks next time.
    • Paul gets up and walks back into the city. He's crazy like that.

    Paul Gets Out Of Dodge

    • Paul and Barnabas travel around to lots of other places preaching about Jesus and converting Jews and Gentiles alike. Good work, guys.
    • All the time, they're happy to be persecuted because it means they're doing right by God. God likes people to be unhappy and downtrodden while serving him, we guess.
    • In the end, Paul and Barnabas head back to Judea and give a report to everyone there on the status of the church around the Roman Empire. Everyone is pretty psyched.
  • Chapter 15

    To Snip Or Not To Snip?

    • In Judea, there's a bunch of guys talking about circumcision. Mainly, they're saying that no one can be saved unless they're circumcised. Paul and Barnabas don't agree. Male Gentiles everywhere rejoice.
    • Paul and Barnabas decide to head to Jerusalem to take up the topic with the twelve apostles and elders to get their opinion on the big snip.
    • Some of the Christians there say that male converts need to be circumcised. After all, a follower of Jesus still has to follow the laws of Moses.
    • But Peter stands up and tells everyone that God is cool with the Gentiles. If he wants to give them the Holy Spirit, the fact that their junk is still intact isn't gonna stop him. Besides, they all know that the path to salvation goes through Jesus, not Jewish law.
    • Paul and Barnabas agree and tell all kinds of stories about how faithful and spirit-filled the new Gentile-Christians are. They're model converts.
    • James also tells everyone that he agrees with Peter. He decides that there are only a few things Gentiles need to avoid. They shouldn't worship idols, have sex outside of marriage, eat any animal that hasn't been ritually slaughtered, or drink animal blood. Sounds simple enough.

    The Penis Monologues

    • So it is debated, so it is done. The apostles write up a letter that Paul and Barnabas will circulate to the Gentile believers. Judas Barsabbas and Silas also tag along with them.
    • In Antioch, everyone is glad to hear the news. No animal blood means intact penises all around.
    • Sadly, Paul and Barnabas have a bit of a falling out over who gets to come to the next town with them. Paul doesn't want John Mark tagging along with them again.
    • The dynamic duo splits. Barnabas takes John Mark with him and Paul goes on ahead with Silas. It's the end of an era.
  • Chapter 16

    Paul Meets Timothy

    • Paul's next stop is in Lystra where he meets a Christian named Timothy.
    • Timothy's dad was Greek, which means he was never circumcised, so Paul goes ahead and asks him to have it done. Ouch. Paul thinks it will strengthen their street cred with the Jews they'll meet in their upcoming travels.
    • Paul, Silas, and Timothy travel around the eastern part of the Roman Empire spreading the word and winning converts.
    • One night, Paul has a vision telling him to head to Macedonia. Sure thing!

    Paul In Macedonia

    • In Macedonia, Paul meets a wealthy Gentile woman named Lydia who promptly decides that she and everyone who lives in her house will be baptized after talking with Paul. Way to win hearts and minds, Paul.
    • Lydia invites Paul and company to stay with her. What a lovely hostess.
    • One day, Paul and friends meet a slave girl who has a gift for fortune-telling. In fact, her owners make a lot of money from her gift.
    • Every time the disciples pass by her, she yells that they are servants of God who could point you to salvation.
    • Even though this description is accurate, Paul is pretty annoyed by the constant yelling. He orders the fortune-telling spirit to come out of her and, just like that, it's gone.
    • Not surprisingly, the owners of the girl aren't too happy. They were making some cash money off that girl's possession.
    • They drag Paul and Silas in front of the Roman magistrates and tell them that the two are nothing more than Jewish agitators.
    • The magistrates have them stripped, beaten with rods, and thrown in jail. They don't mess around in Macedonia.

    It's A Divine Prison Break

    • At midnight, while Paul and Silas are praying in their cell (that's some dedication for you), there's an earthquake. All the cell doors open and the chains fall off the prisoners. God has arranged another prison break.
    • When the jailer wakes up and sees that all the cells are opened he takes out his sword so that he can kill himself for letting prisoners escape on his watch. Yikes.
    • Paul tells him that they're still there and that he should hold off on offing himself. He has so much to live for, right?
    • The jailer is so impressed by the two men that he decides to believe in Jesus, too.
    • The jailer takes Paul and Silas to his house and treats their wounds. Everyone in the whole house decides to believe in God. Pretty impressive.

    Apology Please

    • The next morning, the magistrates send word to the jailer to let Paul and Silas go.
    • But Paul, who seems to be feeling a little over-confident after the whole earthquake prison break, tells them no way.
    • After all, Paul says, we're Roman citizens and you beat and humiliated us in public. You're so gonna pay.
    • Okay, so the magistrates totally did not know that and now they're a little freaked out. You do not treat a Roman citizen that way.
    • The magistrates come and apologize to each of them personally. Paul and Silas head back to Lydia's house with their heads held high.
    • Way to play the Roman citizen card.
  • Chapter 17

    Paul Is Thessalonica

    • Paul and Silas visit Thessalonica, and immediately upon arrival they rush to the synagogue to start arguing that Jesus is the Messiah. Of course.
    • Some Jews and Gentiles are persuaded, but another group of Jewish naysayers is not having it. They form a mob and hunt down Paul and Silas, as usual.
    • The naysayers are claiming that Paul and company are preaching against the Roman Emperor. After all, they are saying that Jesus is King. The emperor might not be too thrilled about that.

    Paul In Beroea

    • Paul and Silas leave town and head to Beroea. The Jews and Gentiles are way warmer and friendlier there, and they enjoy listening to Paul's preaching.
    • The Jews from Thessalonica find out that Paul is in Beroea though, and they head on over to get some trouble brewing.

    Paul In Athens

    • The Christians in town send Paul to Athens, where he'll be (a little) safer.
    • When he arrives, Paul is pretty sad to see that the whole city is covered in idols. Second commandment, everyone.
    • Naturally, he books it to the synagogue to start arguing with everyone about Jesus. Paul is consistent at least.
    • He moves on to the marketplace and starts to engage some of the non-Jewish Greeks in the crowd. He gives a sermon that's one part biblical and one part Greek philosophy.
    • Paul tells the citizens of Athens that they are obviously very religious (they have all those idols hanging around, after all), but God is the one who created the whole world and who should actually be worshiped. Oh yeah, and He also sent a guy (Jesus) who will lead the way—a guy who died, but was raised from the dead. Pretty awesome, right?
    • The Athenians are intrigued and tell him that they'd like to hear more. Some even become believers because Paul is just that darn good.
  • Chapter 18

    Paul In Corinth

    • Paul leaves Athens, heads over to Corinth, and meets a Jewish couple named Aquila and Priscilla who have just been kicked out of Rome.
    • The couple happens to be tentmakers (like Paul), so the three of them work together making tents and enjoying the sights in Corinth.
    • Every time the Sabbath rolls around, Paul heads over to the synagogue to start telling everyone about Jesus. The guy does not stop.
    • In the meantime, Silas and Timothy meet up with him from Macedonia.
    • Paul isn't making any headway with the Corinthian Jews, so he decides to go talk to the Gentiles in town.
    • Paul has better luck among the Gentiles and manages to convert lots of people.
    • One night, God speaks to Paul in a vision and tells him not to worry. Corinth is a safe place for him because there are lots of sympathetic Christians hanging around.
    • God is right. Corinth is so safe that Paul stays there for a year and a half.
    • Later, some of the Jews drag Paul off to the Roman governor, Gallio.
    • But Gallio doesn't think much of their concerns. He basically tells them to figure it out themselves because the Christians aren't breaking any Roman laws.

    Priscilla And Aquila Take The Reins For A Second

    • Finally, Paul leaves Corinth and heads for Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila.
    • He leaves the couple in Ephesus, and travels on to various places.
    • In Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila run into a Jewish-Christian guy named Apollos.
    • Apollos is really into Jesus and speaks pretty well, but a couple things he says about baptism aren't exactly right. So Priscilla and Aquila pull him aside and explain where he's going wrong. Problem solved.
    • The newly-schooled Apollos heads to Corinth to help out there. Way to pitch in, Apollos.
  • Chapter 19

    Paul In Ephesus

    • After this, Paul comes back to Ephesus.
    • When he arrives, he runs into a dozen followers of Jesus who don't even know what the Holy Spirit is. Seriously, what are Christians teaching in Ephesus?
    • Paul helps them understand and then baptizes them in the name of Jesus. Then he lays his hands on them and they get the Holy Spirit and start to speak in tongues and prophecy. It's pretty cool.
    • Paul keeps on preaching about Jesus in the synagogues around Ephesus. Some folks are into it and some are pretty dead set against him. Go figure.
    • But Paul's got the power. He stays in Ephesus for two years and manages to convert and heal loads of people. Take that, naysayers.

    The Exorcists

    • One day, there are some random Jewish exorcists who are trying to cast out evil spirits in Jesus's name.
    • The evil spirit is unimpressed. It tells the men that it knows Jesus and it knows Paul, but who are you guys again? The man who's possessed attacks them and runs them out of the house.
    • After this, lots of people who practice magic (the kind that doesn't come from God) repent of their evil ways and start following Jesus.
    • Paul decides that's he's ready for another trip. He plans to go through Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and then onto Rome. An ambitious itinerary.

    We Predict A Riot

    • Paul sends Timothy and Erastus ahead of him and stays back in Ephesus.
    • Good thing too, because a crisis breaks out.
    • There's an Ephesian named Demetrius who worked as a silversmith. His main job was to make statutes of Artemis. Since Paul started preaching about Jesus, production has been down.
    • Demetrius gathers some other silversmiths together and they wring their hands about the danger this poses to their industry (oh, and to the proper worship of the goddess).
    • The men start shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians" and they drag two of Paul's companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, into a huge theater. It's chaos.
    • Paul wants to try to calm things down, but his friends urge him to stay away. He does have a habit of creating riots after all.
    • The people are all shouting and carrying on. Some of them don't even know why they're there. We guess they just like a good mob scene.
    • Some of the Jews try to have a man named Alexander come forward to silence the crowd, but he doesn't have any luck. Two hours of chanting follows. Seriously. Two hours.
    • Finally the town clerk gets everyone to quiet down.
    • Look, he tells them. Everyone knows how great Artemis is. No one is disputing that. These Christians aren't some crazy criminals or blasphemers, so what's the big deal? If anyone wants to try to take them to court, go ahead. Otherwise, people need to shut up about it.
    • Surprisingly this works and the crowd goes on its way. You go, town clerk.
  • Chapter 20

    Paul In Philippi

    • After all the craziness dies down, Paul leaves town to travel a bit more.
    • He winds up in Philippi, where he celebrates Passover with his travelling buddies.
    • One day, Paul is discussing stuff with his companions and keeps going on until midnight. A guy named Eutychus dozes off during his speech and falls out a third-story window. The moral of the story: don't fall asleep when Paul is talking.
    • Everyone thinks Eutychus has bit the bullet, but when Paul goes down to check out the body, he tells everyone not to worry. He's not dead yet!
    • Then Paul goes back upstairs and keeps talking until the sun comes up. Everyone else wisely moves away from the open windows.

    This Is The End

    • Paul leaves town. On his way to Jerusalem, he meets with the church elders in Ephesus.
    • He tells them that he has faithfully served God (even when times got tough). Now he's on his way to Jerusalem and the Ephesian Christians will never see him again. (Jerusalem can be a tough crowd.)
    • He tells them to stay strong after he's gone, remember everything he taught them about Jesus, and not to let anyone tell them otherwise.
    • Paul explains that he never took charity and always supported himself because he could. He quotes Jesus's words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
    • Naturally, this speech bums everyone out. They're all crying because they're never gonna see Paul again. Tissues all around!
  • Chapter 21

    Paul In Caesarea

    • Paul gets on a ship and starts the journey toward Jerusalem. Bon voyage!
    • The group stops in a bunch of ports and are well-received by various Christians before arriving in Caesarea.
    • Upon arrival, Paul meets with Philip (who was one of the seven that was appointed by the apostles in Chapter 6).
    • At Philip's house, a local prophet named Agabus tells Paul that he will be imprisoned and turned over to the Gentiles.
    • All Paul's friends hear this and beg Paul not to go to Jerusalem.
    • No way, Paul tells them. He's ready to die if that's what God needs him to do to spread the word.
      Well, in that case, go ahead, they tell him.

    Paul In Jerusalem

    • When Paul sets foot in Jerusalem, everyone is pretty psyched to see him.
    • The day after he arrives, Paul heads over to visit with James and the church elders.
    • He gives them a full account of all the awesome things he's done for the Gentiles in the name of Jesus. Everyone is thrilled.
    • Not so fast. They group tells Paul that they have lots of faithful Jewish-Christians right here in Jerusalem. Jewish-Christians who really like their Jewish roots.
    • Word has reached them that Paul's been telling his Jewish converts that they don't have to worry about the laws of Moses anymore. He says they shouldn't circumcise their children or obey Jewish customs. What the heck, Paul?
    • These folks are gonna find out that Paul's in town and, the elders warn him, once they do all heck is gonna break lose.
    • James and the elders give Paul some advice: he should go with four other men who are about to undergo a Jewish ritual to purify themselves. Not only should Paul join them, but he should pay their expenses.
    • Paul agrees. What other choice does he have?

    Paul Makes People Angry

    • When the ritual is almost over (it takes seven days to complete), the non-Jewish-Christians in town see him in the temple and freak out.
    • They grab Paul and tell everyone that he's been teaching "everyone everywhere" that Jewish law stinks. They also (wrongly) assume that he has—horror of horrors—taken a Gentile into the temple. It's a pretty big no-no.
    • The Jewish naysayers are all attacking Paul when a group of soldiers comes along and stops them from beating him up. They also arrest Paul, but hey, it's better than a beating by an angry mob.
    • The soldiers are trying to figure out what Paul did, but the whole crowd is in chaos. The men lead Paul away while the mob is still trying to get at him.
    • Before putting him in prison, Paul asks the soldiers if he can address the people. They tell him to have at it and then (we're guessing) sit back to watch Paul get torn apart.
  • Chapter 22

    Hi, My Name Is Paul

    • Paul addresses the crowd in Hebrew (which makes their ears perk up a little) and tells them his life story. This better be good.
    • He is a Jew who was born in Tarsus and brought up in a good Jewish home where he learned respect for Jewish law and customs. He's a real mensch.
    • He tells them how he persecuted Christians himself (who doesn't love a little persecution) until he saw a light that blinded him on the road to Damascus and heard the voice of Jesus himself. Impressed yet, everyone?
    • Then he explains that Ananias restored his sight and encouraged him to be baptized. God himself warned Paul that the people in Jerusalem weren't gonna take to kindly to the new and improved him, so he sent him to the Gentiles.

    Flog Him!

    • When the people hear this, they freak out and start screaming that Paul should be killed. The soldiers decide to take Paul aside and flog him.
    • But before they can start, Paul points out that he was born a Roman citizen and it's not exactly legal for them to flog him.
    • The Romans are all freaked out by this. If Paul was born a Roman citizen, then tying him up to flog him is a big no-no.
    • They release him and order him to appear before the Jewish high priests and council.
  • Chapter 23

    The Trial Before The Council

    • Paul tells the Jewish council that he's always lived a good life and that's he's totally right with God.
    • The high priest, Ananias, orders some of the others to punch Paul in the mouth. And they do it. What a bunch of followers.
    • Paul gets angry and calls the high priest a "whitewashed wall." Burn! He also points out that it's against Jewish law to hit him. Check and mate.
    • But the council tells Paul that he has no right to insult the high priest and then Paul does a 180, agrees with them, and apologizes.
    • Hmmm. That apology might be a first for Paul.
    • Paul tells them that he himself is a Pharisee and that he's there because of the things he's been teaching about Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. That's sort of right.
    • A fight breaks out between the Pharisees and Sadducees who both have different views about the resurrection of the dead. No one can agree on anything apparently in this story. Go figure.
    • The Pharisees take Paul's side for a bit (good work, Paul), but things start to get out of control and the Romans remove Paul from the room and take him back to prison. Darn. Just when he was making some headway

    Paul Is Saved

    • That night, Paul hears God tell him that things are gonna be fine. Paul's going on a trip to Rome soon to talk up Jesus. A free trip to Rome? Score!
    • Meanwhile, about forty of the Jews on the council agree that they're gonna kill Paul (and they won't eat or drink until they achieve their goal). They arrange to have him brought back to the council so they can unleash their secret plan to attack and murder him. It's getting really sinister up in here.
    • Somehow, Paul's nephew hears all about this and manages to find the Roman tribune in charge of Paul's case, Claudius Lysias, and warn him about the plot against Paul's life.
    • Claudius Lysias has his soldiers take Paul to Caesarea to appear in front of the governor there (named Felix). He also sends a nice long letter explaining the whole crazy situation. How polite.
    • The governor meets with Paul and tells him that he'll arrange a hearing when the Jews from Jerusalem arrive to accuse him of something. Let's not hold our breath.
  • Chapter 24

    Paul's Trial In Caesarea

    • Five days later, the high priest Ananias, some of the council elders, and a lawyer named Tertullus come up to Caesarea.
    • When the hearing begins, Tertullus accuses Paul of being an outside agitator who has come in and said blasphemous and profane things in the temple. That's serious business.
    • Paul defends himself to the governor. This better be good.
    • He tells the governor that no one in the temple saw him arguing or teaching about Jesus (it's true—he was just there performing his fancy ritual). In other words, the charges against him are straight-up lies.
    • Paul admits that he is a follower of Jesus, but he's also a Jew who believes in God and the authority of Jewish law and the prophets and all that good stuff. Jesus is just the natural continuation of all this.
    • Paul explains that when he was in the temple just minding his own business and not upsetting anyone, some Jews from Asia came along and had him arrested. Basically, this whole shebang is bogus.

    Felix Wastes Paul's Time

    • The governor, Felix, actually knows quite a bit about Jesus, so he tells Paul he'll decide what's going to happen when Claudius Lysias stops by. He also gives Paul some freedom in jail because, apparently, he's cool like that.
    • A few days later, Felix and his wife Drusilla (who happens to be Jewish) send for Paul and ask him to tell them a little more about this Jesus fellow. Paul obliges. Jesus is his favorite subject after all.
    • Over the course of two years, Felix keeps Paul in jail, but keeps talking to him every once in a while about Jesus. Felix isn't very convinced. In fact, he thinks that one of these days Paul will offer him a bribe to get out of jail. But Paul never does. He's so honest.
    • When Felix retires and a new governor, Porcius Festus, takes over, Paul is still locked up.
  • Chapter 25

    Festus Takes The Reins

    • As soon as Festus takes charge, he makes a little trip to Jerusalem. The Jewish authorities there chew his ear off about Paul.
    • The religious authorities want Paul transferred back to Jerusalem (where they can finish up their murder/death/kill plot). We're guessing they gave up on the whole not-eating-until-Paul-is-dead thing.
    • But Festus is all like, No, come to Caesarea and we'll totally do a trial. Dude, we just did that two years ago. Roman bureaucracy is the worst.
    • About a week and a half later, everyone is back in Caesarea and it's trial time.
    • The Jewish guys from Jerusalem say a bunch of completely untrue stuff about Paul. Typical.
    • Then it's Paul's turn. His defense: not guilty.
    • Festus says that since it sounds like they're all disputing over Jewish religious stuff, maybe Paul should just head down to Jerusalem and face trial there (maybe then the council members can kill Paul and Festus can cross one thing off his to-do list).
    • But Paul says he's appealing to the emperor's tribunal in Rome. Darn. He's headed up to the highest court in the land. He hasn't done anything wrong to the Jewish people, so why should they try him? To the emperor it is!
    • Several days later, King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice, come into town and stop by Festus's house.
    • Festus discusses the case with Agrippa, who decides he wants to meet this Paul guy. Maybe they can figure out something intelligent to tell the emperor about him.
    • Two heads are better than one.
  • Chapter 26

    Paul Before King Agrippa

    • When King Agrippa tells Paul to go ahead and talk, he does. Oh, he does.
    • Paul starts by sucking up to Agrippa a bit (not a bad idea). The king knows about Jewish customs and he should know that Paul has lived a good Jewish life. He even persecuted Christians for their crazy, wacky beliefs. Oh, Paul.
    • Everything changed one day when he was on his way to Damascus and… well, you know the rest of that story.
    • After his conversion, Paul explains that he roamed all over the place spreading the good word about Jesus.
    • That's why the Jewish authorities had him arrested even though he didn't even do anything wrong. He's only been talking about Jesus this whole time. The same Jesus who Jewish prophets and scripture predicted would come. So what's so terrible and anti-Jewish about that?

    Don't You Want To Convert?

    • Festus tells Paul that he sounds nuttier than a fruitcake.
    • But Paul says he's not mental, and he asks King Agrippa if he believes in the Jewish prophets.
    • Geez, trying to convert me to Christianity already? Agrippa asks. At least buy a guy a drink first, Paul.
    • Paul says that he hopes everyone will come to believe in Jesus and to be like him—um, except for the chains he's wearing right now.
    • Those people could do without.
    • Agrippa has heard enough. When he leaves with Festus, he tells him that he can see Paul hasn't done anything wrong. Too bad he had to go and appeal to the emperor. Otherwise they could have let him go free today. Major bummer.
  • Chapter 27

    On The Road To Rome

    • Paul sets sails for Rome. Bon voyage!
    • He is put on a ship with other prisoners headed for Italy, but the journey isn't quick or easy. When the ship docks in Crete for a bit, Paul warns them not to go onto the island. For some odd reason, the soldiers and sailors don't listen to the criminal in their midst.

    Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat

    • Once they set sail the winds pick up and things are not looking good. It's a northeaster and it rocks the ship around for days. Food and supplies run short. Everyone thinks they're gonna die.
    • Um, I told you so, Paul says. He explains that he saw a vision all about this. The good news is they're all gonna make it in one piece to Rome. The bad news is the ship is not.
    • After fourteen days of storm and terror, the sailors think they might be near land, so some of them lower boats to escape the ship.
    • Paul lets everyone know that if people leave the ship it's not going to go well. He reminds everyone about his vision. The whole everyone survives bit is kind of contingent on nobody jumping ship. The men come back and all is well.
    • As the sun is coming up, Paul offers everyone food. Apparently no one has eaten for fourteen days because they've been busy freaking out at sea. He breaks bread and gives thanks to God and then passes it out to everyone.
    • The whole ship (all 276 people on board) start to feel better.

    Land, Ho!

    • Finally, the ship comes near land, hits a huge reef, and start to break apart. It's like Titanic, but without the iceberg… and way fewer lifeboats.
    • The soldiers on the ship want to kill all the prisoners so they can't escape and run off once they reach land. But the soldier who's in charge of Paul stops them. He's taken a bit of a liking to Paul during this whole crazy journey.
    • The head solider tells everyone to jump overboard and swim for land. Everyone makes it safely off the ship and Paul's vision totally comes true.
  • Chapter 28

    Paul In Malta

    • Turns out they shipwrecked on Malta. Luckily, all the native people are really nice to them and welcome everyone. Awww.
    • The first night, Paul and company are sitting around a fire with some of the folks from Malta when a viper jumps out and bites Paul's hand. Freaky. Looks like Paul is dead now for sure. That is a poisonous viper.
    • But you know Paul. He just shakes the viper off into the fire. No biggie. The Maltese are amazed that he hasn't dropped dead yet. They think that Paul might be a god or something. We've heard that before.
    • A while later, Paul heals a man who's sick with dysentery. After the Maltese people see this, they flock to Paul to get all kinds of cures.
    • Three months later, when they get a new ship to sail on, the Maltese give Paul and his friends some food and supplies for the journey.
    • Maltese people are good people.
    • After making a few more stops (and converting some more folks), Paul and company finally arrive in Rome.

    When In Rome

    • The Roman Christians come out to greet Paul and, even though he's still a prisoner, Paul is allowed to live by himself there (well, along with the solider that's been guarding him).
    • Three days after arriving in Rome, Paul decides to meet with the Jewish leaders in town and tell his story. He says he's been wrongly accused by their fellow Jews and sent to Rome to stand trail.
    • The Jews in Rome have never heard anything bad about him, so they're open to listening to whatever he has to say. That's when Paul is at his most awesome.
    • He sets up a time to meet at his home (What? No synagogue?) with a bunch of the Jews in town, and he tells them what he knows about Jesus.
    • Some folks believe him and some think he's off his rocker (as usual).
    • Before they leave, Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9-10. He tells them that God knew they wouldn't believe all the good things he had to tell them.
    • Now the message has to go to the Gentiles. They're the ones who are gonna listen. Snap.
    • Paul lives in Rome for two more years and continues to preach and teach about Jesus. No one can stop him. And… we're done. Whew!