Witness Despite Resistance (April 28)

Acts 11:1-18

Comment

The early Christians struggled with accepting those who were different, in this case Gentiles. Till this day, I believe, we still struggle with accepting persons who are not like us.

The Global Bible Commentary is written by biblical scholars from around the world—from different cultures—bring a variety of new perspectives to the text.

Chinese Bible scholar, Benny Tat-siong Liew, has this to say about Acts from the perspective of Chinese Americans:

“Acts shows that despite fulfilling earlier qualifications (faith, baptism, and the ever-elusive coming of the Holy Spirit, 2:38), one’s legitimacy in the larger Christ(ian) community may still be questioned on the basis of economics and demonstrated loyalty. Such dynamics are too painfully familiar to many Chinese Americans. A Chinese born or ‘naturalized’ in the United States is still illegitimate without demonstrating loyalty to certain economic or patriotic principles such as capitalism, model minority upward mobility, or military ‘defense’ of national ‘safety’ at the risk of injury or death. As the disputes over ‘daily distribution’ (6:1-6) and circumcision (10:1-11:30, 13:1-15:35) show, the problem of community integration in Acts is entangled with matters of language and ethnicity” (Global Bible Commentary, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004, p. 422).

Reading the Scripture

Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Video:
o    The Book of Acts: The Visual Bible (Dramatized video movie, word for word from the NIV text. Available from Keith or the web page).
o    WatchWord Bible, New Testament on DVD is available in the library. (These videos display and read the text in Contemporary English Version with background pictures, video and sound. Not exactly dramatized or all that exciting, but could be another way to read the text.)

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)

•    Cotton Patch Gospel version (In Keith’s office). Excerpt: “Now news spread to both preachers and laymen throughout Georgia that other races were responding to the word of God. So when Rock returned to Atlanta, some who believe in segregation tore into him. ‘You went home with folks who aren’t white,’ they shouted, ‘and you were eating with them!,” (p. 110).

Teaching Suggestions

•    Our Church’s Witness to the World – Please invite you class to visit the Mission Fair on Sunday, April 28, 9:00-10:30 a.m. to see the many ways our church witnesses to the world.  Say to your class, “Your gifts to the church budget and to the Glocal Missions Offering helps support these ministries.” Dr. Greg Earwood of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky will be our guest preacher for this Sunday.

•    Missions Video: Show a video about the ministry of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (on our web site: /sunday-school-supplements/).

•    Maps: Show the locations mention in this passage, Jerusalem and Caesarea.
o    Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007): pp. 150-151.
o    Atlas of Bible Lands (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977): B-31.
o    Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land (John Bowker, Photography by Sonia Halliday and Bryan Knox, Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008): Caesarea, pp. 42-43, Jerusalem, pp. 142-145.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Map 17.

•    Sheet Full of Unclean Animals: I hope to hang a sheet in fellowship hall at the Missions Fair with representations of the unclean animals listed in Acts 11 as a reminder of this Sunday’s lesson: “Witness Despite Resistance.”

•    Pray for our committees, ministry teams, and leadership teams that we would follow the example of Peter and these early Christians listening to each other, seeking to understand, and being willing to change our perspectives when God leads us to do so.

Resources

I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons. Other resources are kept in my office.

•    Maps: Show the locations mention in this passage, Jerusalem and Caesarea.
o    Oxford Bible Atlas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007): pp. 150-151.
o    Atlas of Bible Lands (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977): B-31.
o    Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land (John Bowker, Photography by Sonia Halliday and Bryan Knox, Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008): Caesarea, pp. 42-43, Jerusalem, pp. 142-145.
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Map 17.

•    Commentaries in Keith’s office:
o    Acts: The New American Commentary, Volume 26, John B. Polhill (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992).
o    Acts: The Gospel of the Spirit, Justo Gonzalez (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2001).
o    Acts, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, J. Bradley Chance (Macon GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2007).
o    Journeying Through Acts: A Literary Cultural Reading, (Peabody MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997).
o    Global Bible Commentary (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004).

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)