The Book of Acts - Part 1

An EasyEnglish Semantically Analysed Text (Level B) on the Book of Acts - Part 1

(A semantically analysed text makes implicit information explicit.)

Leslie Pride

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

Words in italics are not in the Greek text. We believe that they are implicit.


(This translation is for someone who translates the Bible into his own language. People may be able to use this to make translations into their national languages. And then, you can use such translations to translate into your own language.

This translation is clear and it explains itself fully. We have added some words to make the meaning clear. We write these words in italic[1] writing. You may not need to translate all the words that are in italics. But some people may not know much about the Bible. Or there may not yet be Christian churches in their area. Then the italic words could help such people to understand the full meaning of a sentence. In any particular language, you may need to use the right words to connect sentences.)

Acts 1:1-11 Jesus passes on his work to his *disciples and goes up into *heaven

v1 My dear Theophilus. Many people think well of you. I have already written one book for you about Jesus the *Christ. I wrote about many of the things that Jesus did and taught. v2 I told you about everything that happened. This includes the day on which God took him up into *heaven. Jesus gave orders to the *apostles whom he had chosen. There were many things that he wanted them to know. The *Holy Spirit helped him say those things. Then Jesus went up to *heaven.

v3 Jesus had suffered and died on the *cross. Then he had become alive again. And he allowed the *apostles to see him many times during a period of 40 days. In this way, Jesus proved to them in many ways that he was alive again. He talked with them about how God rules. He rules the lives of people who accept him as their king.

v4 While Jesus was still with the *apostles, he told them this: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem city yet. My Father has promised that he will send his Spirit to you. So, wait here until he does this. You have heard me speak to you about that’, Jesus said. v5 ‘John caused people to enter the water when he *baptised them. Something different will happen in a few days’ time. God will cause the *Holy Spirit to enter you and change you completely.’

v6 One day, the *apostles met together with Jesus. They asked him this question: ‘*Lord, King David was the man who ruled us *Israeli people long ago. Will you now become our king like he was?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not need to know the time periods and days when that will happen. v7 Only my Father will decide when he will make me king’, Jesus said.

v8 ‘But instead the *Holy Spirit will give you inner strength when he comes to you. Then you will be able to tell people about me in Jerusalem and wherever you go. You will go all over the Judea district and Samaria district. And you will also go to places far away all over the world’, Jesus said. v9 Then God took Jesus up towards *heaven while they were watching. Jesus went up into a cloud and they could not see him any more.

v10 They were still staring towards the sky as Jesus was going up. Then suddenly two men who were wearing white clothes stood near them. They were *angels. v11 Then the two men said this to the *apostles: ‘You men from Galilee district, do not stand here any longer just looking up at the sky. Some day, Jesus will come back to the world. He will be the same Jesus whom God took from you up to *heaven. And this Jesus will return to the world the same as he went up to *heaven.’

Acts 1:12-26 The *believers and *apostles choose Matthias to replace Judas

v12 Olive Hill was about one kilometre away from Jerusalem. The two *angels left. Then the *apostles also left Olive Hill and they returned to Jerusalem. v13 When they got there, they went to an upstairs room. Many *believers were living there. Peter and John were there. James, Andrew, Philip and Thomas were there. Bartholomew, Matthew and another James, the son of Alphaeus, were there. And Simon the *Zealot and Judas the son of another man called James were also there.

v14 All these *apostles continued to pray together. The women who had helped Jesus also prayed with them. Jesus’ mother, Mary, and his younger brothers were also there.

v15 One day a group of about 120 of Jesus’ people had gathered there. Then Peter stood up to speak to his *brother *believers. v16-17 ‘My *brothers’, he said, ‘long ago King David wrote about Judas in the *Scriptures. The *Holy Spirit told David what to write. And so, David wrote what would happen to Judas. The *Holy Spirit knew that Judas would do what he did. Now, Jesus chose Judas, together with the other 11 of us, to work as an *apostle. But Judas guided the people who arrested Jesus’, Peter said.

v18 The *Jewish leaders had given money to Judas so that he would help them arrest Jesus. Then Judas bought a field with the money that the leaders had given to him. And he hanged himself there. He fell down hard, face down. His body burst open, and all that was inside him spilled out. v19 Everybody who was living in Jerusalem heard about that. So people called that field Akeldama in their own *Jewish language. This name means ‘a field where someone’s blood was spilt’.

v20 Peter continued to speak: ‘This had to happen, because long ago David wrote about Judas in the book of Psalms: “*Judge him, *Lord, so that neither he nor anyone else may live in his house!” David also wrote this about Judas: “Let someone else take up his work as an *apostle” ’, Peter said.

v21 ‘Therefore we *apostles must choose a man to replace Judas. This man must have been with us all the time when the *Lord Jesus was with us. v22 He must have been there when John *baptised Jesus. And he must have still been there when God took Jesus from us up to *heaven. He must have seen Jesus alive again after he had died.’ Peter finished speaking.

v23 So the *apostles and other *believers suggested the names of two men who qualified. One man was Joseph Barsabbas who also had the *Roman name Justus. And the other man was Matthias. v24 Then they prayed together like this: ‘*Lord Jesus, you know what everyone in the world is like. Please show us which of these two men you have chosen. v25 Then he can replace Judas and serve you as an *apostle’, they said. ‘Judas has stopped being an *apostle. He has died and has gone to the place of punishment. That is the place where he deserved to be.’

v26 Then they took names out of a pot to choose between the two men. The name that they chose was Matthias. So they accepted Matthias as an *apostle together with the other 11 *apostles.

Acts 2:1-13 The *Holy Spirit first comes to the *believers

v1 The *Jews were enjoying their special day called *Pentecost. And the *believers were all together in one place in Jerusalem city. v2 Suddenly the *believers heard a noise that was coming from the sky. It sounded like a strong wind that was blowing. The noise sounded all through the whole house where they were sitting. v3 Then they saw what was like flames of fire. These flames separated themselves from each other, and one of them came down on each of the *believers’ heads. v4 Then the *Holy Spirit took complete control of all the *believers. The *Holy Spirit helped them to speak other languages which they had not learned.

v5 At that time many *Jews were staying in Jerusalem for the special day of Pentecost. They had come from many different countries. They were people who always tried to obey the *Jewish *laws. v6 They also had heard that loud noise that was like a wind. So then a crowd came together at the place where the *believers were. Those many foreign people did not know what to think. Each of them could hear the *believers speak in that person’s own language.

v7 So this greatly astonished them. They were saying to each other, ‘All these people who are speaking different languages have always lived in Galilee district. So they would not be able to speak our languages. v8 But each one of us hears that they are doing exactly that!

v9 Some of us have come from the regions of Parthia and Media and Elam. Other people live in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia. v10 Other people have come from Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions in Libya that are near Cyrene city. v11 Other people among us who are visiting Jerusalem have come from Rome. They include actual *Jews as well as *non-Jews. These *non-Jews have accepted what the *Jews believe. Also, other people among us are from Crete island and from the region of Arabia. However, those followers of *Christ are speaking in our languages! And they are telling about the great things which God has done!’

v12 So this astonished all those people. And they did not know what to think. They asked each other, ‘What does this mean?’ v13 But some other people laughed at those who believed the message about Jesus. They said, ‘These people are talking like this because they have drunk too much wine.’

Acts 2:14-40 Peter speaks to the crowd about Jesus

v14 Then Peter stood up with the other 11 *apostles. And he spoke out aloud to the huge crowd. This is what he said: ‘My *brother *Jews and all of you other visitors who are staying in Jerusalem: Listen to me and I will explain all of this to you. v15 These people here are not drunk like you think. It is only 9 in the morning, and people here never get drunk at this time of the day!’ Peter said. v16 ‘No, what has happened to us is something else. It is a great thing that only God could do.

The *prophet Joel wrote about this long ago. Joel wrote down God’s own words: v17 “During the final days before I bring judgement on all people, I will give my Spirit generously to people everywhere”, God says. “Your sons and daughters will give people messages from me. And I will make your young men see what will happen in the future. I will give your old men special dreams”, God says.

v18 “During those days I will give my Spirit generously to men and women who do my work. And they will be able to tell people messages from me. v19 I will cause wonderful things to happen in the sky, and I will do *miracles in this world. These things will show people that I am powerful”, God says.

“I will cause wars in the world. And people will kill other people, and they will spill their blood on the ground. And there will be fire and thick, dark smoke”, God says. v20 “People will see that the sun in the sky is dark. They will see that the moon is red like blood. One day, I the *Lord God will come to bring judgement on everyone. It will be an important and splendid day, and all these things will happen before then. v21 Then I the *Lord will rescue everyone who asks me.” This was what the *prophet Joel wrote.’

v22 Peter continued, ‘My *Israeli *brothers, listen to me! Jesus came from the town called Nazareth. He lived with you in your country. And God proved to you that he had sent Jesus. He let Jesus do many wonderful things. And those things showed that he was from God. You yourselves know that this is true’, Peter said. v23 ‘God had already decided what he would do. And he knew that someone would put this man, Jesus into your hands. Then people who do not obey God’s *law killed him. They did that by fastening him up on a *cross with nails’, he said. v24 ‘Jesus suffered very much when he died. But God did not let him remain dead. People had buried Jesus in the ground. But Jesus could not stay there in his grave. So, after he had died, he became alive again. And God did that’, Peter said.

v25 ‘Long ago King David wrote what Jesus the *Messiah would say:

“I always see that the *Lord God is near me”, the *Messiah says. “He is close by my side. So I will not fear people who want to hurt me. v26 Because of that I praise you, God. I am really happy! Also, I am completely confident that you will make my body become alive again.

v27 You will not allow my *spirit to remain in the place where dead people lie”, the *Messiah says. “I have given my life to you and I always obey you. And so, you will not let my body become nothing. v28 You have told me that you will make my body live again. You will make me very happy because you will be with me always”, wrote David.’

v29 Peter spoke boldly: ‘My *brother *Jews, I can tell you confidently that our royal *ancestor, King David, did die. People buried his body. And people still know even today where those people buried his body long ago’, Peter said. v30 ‘Now, David was also a *prophet. The words that he spoke were not about himself. He was speaking about the *Messiah. David knew that God had made him a firm promise. In later years, one of David’s family would become king like David was king then’, Peter said.

v31 ‘God had let David know what God would do before the time. So David was able to say that God would make the *Messiah live again. He had died. But David said that God would not let his *Messiah remain dead. Nor would God let his *Messiah’s body become nothing’, Peter said.

v32 ‘After this man Jesus had died, God made him become alive again. Jesus will now live for all time. All of us *believers have seen and know that Jesus has become alive again’, Peter said. v33 ‘God has made Jesus sit and rule close by his side in *heaven. In this way, God has given Jesus great honour. And God his Father has given him the *Holy Spirit, the same as he had promised. Now Jesus has generously given us the *Holy Spirit also. This is what you are seeing and hearing now.

v34 David did not go up into *heaven as Jesus did. So we know that David was speaking about the *Messiah. He was not speaking about himself when he said this:

“The *Lord God said this to my *Lord the *Messiah: “Sit down here by my side and rule my people. v35 Then I will completely defeat your enemies.” ’

v36 Peter finished by saying this: ‘Therefore, I want you and all other *Jewish people to know this certainly. God has made Jesus become both our *Lord and his *Messiah. But you now, you are the ones who killed Jesus on a *cross.’

v37 When the people heard what Peter said, they felt very guilty. So they asked Peter and the other *apostles: ‘*Brothers, what should we do so that God will not blame us for our *sins?’

v38 Peter answered them: ‘Each of you should turn back to God from your *sinful ways. Then we will *baptise you, if you now believe Jesus *Christ. Then God will give the *Holy Spirit to you. v39 God has promised to do that for you and your families in later years. He will also do it for all other people. He will do it even for those who live far away from here. The *Lord our God will give his Spirit to everyone whom he invites to become his people.’

v40 Peter told them much more and spoke even more strongly. He urged them: ‘God will certainly punish the evil people of this present time. So, ask God to rescue you from that punishment.’

Acts 2:41-47 How the first *believers lived

v41 So the older *believers *baptised the people who believed Peter’s *message. And about 3000 people joined the group of *believers that day. v42 Those new *believers continued to obey what the *apostles taught them. They also continued to meet together with the other *believers. They ate meals together to remember the *Lord’s last Supper. And they continued to pray together.

v43 The *apostles often did many kinds of *miraculous things. So, many of the people in Jerusalem city gave God great honour. v44 All of those who believed Jesus’ *message were united. They often met together. They had the habit of sharing everything that they had with each other. v45 There were some among the *believers who needed food or clothes. So, occasionally one of the other believers would sell some of their land or their possessions. And then they would give them some of the money from what they had sold.

v46 Every day they continued to meet together in the *temple area. They also ate together and remembered the *Lord’s Supper in their own houses. They gladly and generously shared their food with each other then. v47 In all of this, they were always praising God. And many other people in Jerusalem were thinking favourably towards them. As these things were happening, the *Lord Jesus continued to add other people to their group. These were people whom God was saving from the effects of *sin.

Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John heal a man who had never walked

v1 One afternoon at 3, Peter and John were going to the *temple area. It was the hour when people prayed publicly in the *temple. v2 There was a man there who had never been able to walk. He had never been able to walk from the time that he was born. This man was sitting by a gate of the *temple area, which people called the Beautiful Gate. His friends put him there every day, because people entered or left the *temple through that gate. Then the man could ask the people to help him with some money.

v3 Peter and John were entering the *temple area. The man who could not walk saw them. He asked them several times to give him some money. v4 Peter and John looked straight at him, and Peter said, ‘Look up at us!’ v5 So the man looked up at them. He was expecting that they would give him some money. v6 But Peter said to him, ‘I do not have any money. But what I can do I will now do for you. Jesus *Christ from Nazareth town has given me authority to heal you! So, get up and walk!’ v7 Then Peter took hold of his right hand and helped him to stand up. Immediately the man’s feet and ankles became strong. v8 He jumped up on his feet and he began to walk! Then he walked into the *temple area with them. He was jumping and praising God all the time!

v9 All the people there saw the man walking and praising God. v10 They recognised him as the man who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the *temple. He would sit there and ask people for money! So what had happened to him greatly surprised the people. They could not understand it at all.

Acts 3:11-26 Peter says that it was Jesus who healed the man

v11 The man who had never walked before hung on firmly to Peter and John. And all the people there were extremely surprised. They all rushed to where the *apostles were. This was the place in the *temple area which people called Solomon’s *Porch.

v12 When Peter saw this, he spoke to them, ‘*Brother *Israelis, stop staring at us! You should not be so surprised about what has happened to this man!’ Peter said. ‘You seem to think that we ourselves are powerful. And so we two were able to make this man walk. Or perhaps you think that we please God so much! Therefore God healed him because of us. Well, it was not because of us that this man was able to walk.

v13 It was God who did it’, Peter said. ‘Our *ancestors, including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, *worshipped God. And Jesus has always been God’s servant. So now God has given great honour to Jesus by causing him to live again. Your leaders took Jesus to governor Pilate so that his soldiers would kill him. Pilate had decided to free him. But then you *rejected Jesus as your king in front of Pilate.

v14 Jesus always did what was right [OR fair and good], but you would not accept him. And you urged Pilate that he would allow someone else to go free in his place. You wanted a man who had killed people. v15 Jesus gives people the *life that never ends. You killed him. But God caused him to become alive again after he had died. Many of us saw Jesus after he became alive again. And now we are telling you about what he has done’, Peter said.

v16 ‘You see and know this man here. This man believed that Jesus could heal him. That is why Jesus made him strong again. Yes, because he trusted Jesus, Jesus completely healed him. And all of you saw this.

v17 Now, my *Israeli *brothers, I know that you and your leaders did not know that Jesus was the *Messiah. v18 However, God had spoken a long time before about what the people would do to Jesus the *Messiah. All the *prophets said that God’s *Messiah would suffer and die. And God let you do exactly that to Jesus.

v19 So, confess to God that you did wrong. Then turn back to God so that he may completely excuse you for your *sins. v20 If you do that, then God’s time will come. The *Lord God will give you new strength. He will again send to this world the *Messiah whom he has chosen for you. He is Jesus, the one whom God chose to save and to rule you.

v21 But first, God will make new everything that he has created. Jesus must stay in *heaven until that time. Long ago God promised to do that. And he chose loyal *prophets to tell that *message to people.

v22 The *prophet Moses said this about the *Messiah: “The *Lord your God will choose someone to be a *prophet. He will tell you words from God”, Moses said. “God will send him to this world as he sent me. And this *prophet will be from your own people. You must listen to everything that he tells you. And you must obey him”, he said. v23 “Anyone who does not listen to this *prophet will no longer be one of God’s people. God will kill him.” ’

v24 Peter continued, ‘Also Samuel and all the other *prophets spoke long ago about what is happening in these days. v25 You as well as we are the people to whom God sent the *Messiah. And God strongly promised to look after you. This is the same promise that God made to our *ancestors long ago. God said to Abraham, “One of your people who will be born much later will do something wonderful. I will bless all people in the world because of what he does.” ’

v26 Peter ended what he was saying: ‘So God sent to this world the person who always obeys him. And God sent him first to you *Israeli people to do good things for you. This person, *Christ, will help each of you to stop doing what is wicked.’

Acts 4:1-22 The *Jewish *Council try to stop Peter and John’s work

v1 Peter and John were still speaking to the people in the *temple area. Then some other people arrived. There were some priests, and the officer who was in command of the *temple police. Also there were some members of the *Sadducee party. v2 These men were very angry, because the two *apostles were teaching the people about Jesus. They were telling them that God had made Jesus become alive again. And God would also make people who have died become alive again.

v3 So those officials arrested Peter and John. And since it was already evening, they had to stay in prison until the next day. v4 But many people had already believed the *message about Jesus, because they had heard it from Peter. So now about 5000 people had believed the *message about Jesus.

v5 The next day, the high priest called together the other members of the *Jewish *Council. They were: the other chief priests, and the teachers of the *Jewish *laws. They gathered together in the *Council room in Jerusalem. v6 Among those leaders were Annas, who was the high priest. Caiaphas was also a leader. The leaders also included a man called John, Alexander and other relatives of the high priest.

v7 They ordered the guards to bring Peter and John in to the *Council. Then one of the leaders asked them both many questions. ‘Who made you able to heal this man? [OR, who gave you authority to do this?]’ they asked.

v8 The *Holy Spirit completely controlled Peter as he replied: ‘I am speaking to you, my *brother *Israelis who rule us and to all of you other older leaders. Please listen to what I have to say. v9 You are asking us questions today about something good that we did. We helped a man who had never been able to walk. And you ask us how his legs became well again.

v10 We want you and all our other *Israeli *brothers to know this: It is because Jesus *Christ from Nazareth healed him. That is why this man is able to stand in front of you now. You people fastened Jesus up on a *cross to die. But God made him become alive again’, Peter said. v11 ‘The *prophets wrote this about the *Messiah in the *Scriptures:

“He is like a certain large piece of stone. The people who were making the building threw it away.

But now it has become the most important stone in that building.”

Jesus is that stone and you are those builders. And you threw away the stone that was the most important one. v12 God has sent only one person to the whole world to rescue us. And he can rescue us from the effects of our *sins. Only Jesus can do this’, Peter said.

v13 The *Jewish leaders realised that Peter and John were not afraid of them. The two men were ordinary people who had not studied in schools. The leaders knew that and they were astonished. They realised that these men had been with Jesus for some time. v14 Also, they saw the man whom God had healed. He was standing there with the two *apostles. So those leaders were not able to say anything against Peter and John.

v15 So the *Jewish leaders ordered guards to take Peter, John, and the man outside of the room. After they had left, the leaders talked with each other about Peter and John. v16 ‘There is really no way by which we can punish these two men!’ they said. ‘These men have done a definite *miracle. Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that. We cannot tell people that it did not happen.

v17 However, we must not allow other people to hear about this *miracle. So we must say this to these men: They must never tell any other people about this person called Jesus. If they do, we will punish them severely.’ v18 So the *Jewish leaders ordered guards to bring the two *apostles into the room again. Then they ordered them both that they should never teach anyone about Jesus again.

v19 But Peter and John replied, ‘It is not right that we should obey you. If we do that, we may not obey God. So you do what you think. v20 But as for us, we two cannot obey you about this. We will not stop telling people about Jesus. We have seen him do many things. And we have heard him when he was teaching.’

v21-22 The *Jewish leaders could not decide how to punish them. So they again said this to Peter and John: They would punish them if they did not obey. And then they let them go free. The leaders knew that they could not punish the *apostles. Very many people had seen the *miracle that had healed the man. And they were praising God about that. So they would become angry if the leaders did punish the *apostles. The man had never walked before, and he was more than 40 years old.

Acts 4:23-31 Peter and John return to the group of *believers

v23 After the leaders had freed Peter and John, they both went back to the other *believers. They reported all that the chief priests and other older men had said to them.

v24 The *believers listened to all that the two *apostles said. Then they all prayed together to God. This was what they said: ‘Oh *Lord God, our Master! You made the sky, the earth, the seas and everything in them. v25 Our *ancestor, King David, was a loyal servant of yours. And your *Holy Spirit caused him to write these words:

“We do not know why the nations of the world are so angry against you, our God. The *Jewish people made hopeless plans against you, and the *non-Jews were very angry with you.

v26 The kings of the world prepared to fight you. And the other leaders made agreements with them to oppose you, our *Lord God. They were also against the person whom you appointed to be the *Messiah.”

v27 And we know that what you said long ago was true’, they continued to pray. ‘King Herod and governor Pontius Pilate met together here in Jerusalem city. They met with *Jewish and *non-Jewish people. They had decided to kill Jesus. Jesus always loyally served you, and you chose him to be the *Messiah’, they said. v28 ‘You are so powerful and wise. So they did only what you allowed them to do. And you decided long ago that this would happen.’

v29 ‘So now, *Lord’, they prayed. ‘Listen to what those evil people say. They say that they will punish us! We want to serve you loyally. So please help us to speak very boldly the *message about Jesus! v30 Show us how great your power is! We pray that we will be able to heal people and to do other *miraculous things for you. We pray that many people will see these *miracles. Then they may believe Jesus, who always loyally served you.’

v31 The *believers finished praying. Then something shook the place where they were meeting. And the *Holy Spirit took complete control of all of them. And they continued to speak boldly the words that God told them.

Acts 4:32–5:11 The *believers use their property in a different manner

v32 The group of people who believed Jesus’ *message were all united. They thought the same and wanted the same things. None of them claimed that their property was only their own. Instead, they shared everything that they had with each other. v33 The *apostles continued to tell other people about Jesus in a very powerful way. They told how God had made the *Lord Jesus become alive again. God in his unlimited goodness was helping all the *believers. v34 None of the *believers were lacking anything that they needed. Some of them owned land or houses. And they would occasionally sell some of their property. v35 Then they would bring to the *apostles the money that people had paid them. The *apostles used that money to help other *believers. They helped those who had a real need.

v36 For example, there was Joseph. He was born on Cyprus island into the family group of Levi. The *apostles called him Barnabas. In the *Jewish language this name means a person who always encourages other people. v37 Joseph sold a field, which he owned. He received some money when he sold the field. Then he took the money to the *apostles.[2]

Chapter 5 v1 But there was a man from among the *believers whose name was Ananias. His wife’s name was Sapphira. They sold some land that belonged to them. v2 They kept some of the money from the sale for themselves. And his wife knew about this. Then Ananias took the rest of the money and he brought it to the *apostles.[3]

v3 Then Peter spoke to him: ‘Ananias’, he said, ‘*Satan has persuaded you to lie to the *Holy Spirit and to us. You have kept for yourself some of the money that you received from the sale. And you have pretended that you are giving all of it to us. v4 Before you sold that land, you really owned it. And even after you sold it, the money was still yours’, Peter said.

‘You should never have done this wicked thing. You did not merely tell us lies! No, you tried to lie to God himself!’ v5 Ananias heard that, and immediately he fell down dead. A lot of people heard about how Ananias died. They became very afraid. v6 Then some young men came forward and wrapped his body in a sheet. They carried the body out and buried it.

v7 About three hours after Ananias had died, his wife came into the house. She did not know that her husband had died. v8 Peter showed her the money that Ananias had brought. Then he asked her, ‘Tell me! You sold some land? Is this the amount of money that you two received?’ ‘Yes’, she said, ‘that is what we received for the land.’

v9 Then Peter said to her: ‘You both did a terrible thing! You agreed to try to lie to God’s *Holy Spirit! Listen! You can hear the footsteps of the men who buried your husband. They are coming to the door. They will carry your dead body out to bury it also!’ v10 Immediately Sapphira fell down dead at Peter’s feet. Then the young men came back in. They saw that she had died also. So they carried her body out. And they buried it at the side of her husband’s body.

v11 So all the *believers in Jerusalem were very afraid because of what God had done to Ananias and Sapphira. Also, everyone else who heard about it became very afraid.

Acts 5:12-16 God helps the *apostles to do some unusual things

v12 The *apostles were doing many wonderful *miracles among the people in the city. And God was helping them. All the *believers were meeting together regularly in the *temple area. They met at the place called Solomon’s *Porch. v13 But there were other people who had not yet believed Jesus’ *Message. Those people were afraid to join with the *believers. However, people continued greatly to respect the *believers. v14 But many more men and women started to believe the *Lord Jesus. And they joined the group of *believers.

v15 The *apostles were doing wonderful *miracles. People were bringing all their sick people. They laid them on beds and mats in the streets where Peter might walk. They hoped that Peter would touch the sick people. Or at least they hoped that his shadow would heal some of them. v16 Very many people were also coming to the *apostles from the towns near Jerusalem. Those people were bringing their sick relatives or friends. They also brought those to whom *evil spirits were causing trouble. And God healed all of them.

Acts 5:17-42 The *Council was causing the *apostles much trouble

v17 The high priest and the other *Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were members of the *Sadducee group. Many people were believing the *apostles’ *message, and the members of the *Council became very jealous of them. v18 So they told the *temple police to arrest the *apostles. They put them in the public prison.

v19 But during the night the *Lord God sent an *angel. The *angel opened the prison doors and brought the *apostles out. And the guards were not aware that the *angel had freed the *apostles. v20 Then the *angel told the *apostles: ‘Go to the *temple area. Stand there and tell the people all about this new *life’, he said. v21 So they went straight to the *temple area before sunrise, and they began again to teach the people about Jesus.

Meanwhile, the high priest and his men called together the other *Jewish *Council members. Together they made up the entire *Council of *Israel. They immediately sent guards to the prison to bring the *apostles to them. v22 The guards arrived at the prison. But they discovered that the *apostles were not there.

So they returned to the *Council and reported: v23 ‘We found that the prison doors were very well locked’, they said. ‘Also, the guards were standing at the doors. So we opened the doors and we went in to get those men. But then we saw that there was no one there inside the prison’, the guards said. v24 The captain of the *temple guards and the chief priests heard what the guards said. This report greatly confused them. They wondered what might result from this.

v25 Then someone came there from the *temple area and excitedly reported: ‘Listen to this! At this moment, the men that you put in prison are standing in the *temple. They are teaching the people about Jesus!’ v26 So the captain of the *temple guards and some of the guards went to the *temple. They rearrested the *apostles, and they took them to the *Council room. But the guards were afraid of the people. So they did not act badly against the *apostles. The people might throw stones at them if they hurt the *apostles.

v27 The captain and his officers took the *apostles to the *Council room. They ordered them to stand in front of the *Council members. Then the high priest asked them questions. v28 He accused them: ‘We strongly ordered you not to teach people about this man Jesus!’ the high priest said. ‘But you have not obeyed us, and you have taught people all over Jerusalem about him! In addition to this, you are trying to make us guilty of the death of this man!’

v29 Peter replied to them. He was speaking for himself and the other *apostles. ‘We must obey what God tells us to do. We do not just obey what you people tell us to do!’ Peter said. v30 ‘You fastened Jesus to a *cross to kill him! But God caused Jesus to become alive again after he had died. And he is the same God whom our *ancestors *worshipped. v31 God has given great honour to Jesus’, Peter said. ‘God took Jesus up to *heaven to be there with him. And then God gave him authority to rule people. God also made Jesus the person who can rescue people from the effects of *sin. In this way God helps us *Israeli people to turn away from our *sins. Then God can excuse us for all the wrong things that we have done’, Peter said. v32 ‘We are telling people all that we know about Jesus. And God has sent the *Holy Spirit to us who obey him. The *Holy Spirit also tells people that these things are true.’

v33 The *Council members heard what Peter said. Then they became very angry with the *apostles. They wanted to kill them immediately. v34 But there was a *Council member called Gamaliel. He was a *Pharisee, and he also taught people the *Jewish *law. All the *Jewish people greatly respected him. He stood up in the *Council. He ordered the guards to take the *apostles out of the *Council room for a short time. v35 Then he said to the other *Council members:

‘*Brother *Israelis, think carefully before you do anything to these men’, Gamaliel said. v36 ‘You should be very careful what you do. Not long ago there was a man here whose name was Theudas. He told people that he was an important person. He took up arms against the *Romans, and about 400 men joined his group. But the soldiers killed him, and they scattered all his followers. So Theudas’s group were not able to do anything more.’

Gamaliel continued: v37 ‘Later, officials were registering the names of people in order to tax them. Then a man called Judas from Galilee district took up arms against the *Romans. He also persuaded a lot of other people to fight against the *Romans. But the soldiers killed him also, and they scattered all his followers.

v38 So now I say this to you about these men who believe Jesus’, Gamaliel said. ‘Do not hurt these men! Instead, let them go free! What these men want to do may just be a human plan. Then they will fail, exactly like Theudas and Judas did! v39 However, God may have ordered these men to tell people about Jesus. Then you will not be able to stop them doing it. You may actually find that you are opposing God!’

v40 Then the other members of the *Council agreed with what Gamaliel said. They told the *temple guards to bring the *apostles into the *Council room again. Then the soldiers whipped them. The *Council members ordered them never to speak again to people about Jesus. Then the *Council freed the *apostles.

v41 So the *apostles left the *Council. They were very happy. They had suffered because they believed Jesus. They knew that God had given them special honour. He had allowed people to cause them shame. v42 Every day the *apostles went to the *temple area and to different people’s houses. They continued to teach people Jesus’ good *message. They told people that Jesus is the *Messiah.

Acts 6:1-7 The *apostles appoint seven men to look after practical service in the church

v1 During that time, many more people were becoming *believers in Jesus. There were some *believers who spoke only the Greek language. They began to complain about those who spoke the *Jewish language, Hebrew. Each day, the *apostles used to distribute food or money to widows who needed help. The *Greek *believers complained that their widows did not receive fair amounts from the *Hebrew *believers.

v2 The 12 *apostles heard what those *Greek *believers were saying. So they called together all the other *believers in Jerusalem, and they spoke to them: ‘We could stop teaching God’s *message about Jesus. Then we could distribute food and money to the widows. But that would not be right. v3 So, my *brother *believers, you should choose carefully seven men from among yourselves. They must be people whom God’s Spirit controls completely. They must have much practical wisdom. Then we will appoint them to take care of this work. v4 And we *apostles can then continue to pray to God, and to teach the *message about Jesus.’

v5 All the other *believers liked what the *apostles proposed. So first of all they chose Stephen. He was a man who strongly believed God. And the *Holy Spirit controlled him completely. They also chose Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, who was from Antioch city. Nicolas had accepted the *Jewish religion before he had believed Jesus’ *message. v6 The other *believers brought these seven men to the *apostles. The *apostles prayed that God would help those men. Then the *apostles put their hands on the men’s heads to appoint them to that work.

v7 So the *believers continued to tell many people God’s *message. The number of people in Jerusalem who believed Jesus’ *message was increasing greatly. Among those people very many *Jewish priests were believing the *message about Jesus.

Acts 6:8-15 The *Jewish leaders arrest Stephen

v8 God was giving Stephen special power to do many things. Stephen was able to do many wonderful *miracles among the people in Jerusalem.

v9 However, some people opposed Stephen. They were *Jews from a group of people who used to be slaves. They met together in a place which people called the Freedmen’s Meeting Place. They were *Jews from the Cyrene and Alexandria cities. Other *Jews from Cilicia and Asia *provinces joined in with them. All these people began to argue with Stephen. v10 But they were not able to deny what he said. The *Holy Spirit helped him to speak very wisely.

v11 Then those *Jews secretly persuaded some people to accuse Stephen falsely. ‘We heard him say bad things about Moses and about God’, they said. v12 So in that way they made the other *Jewish people angry. The older *Jewish leaders and the teachers of the *Jewish *law were also angry. Then all of them seized Stephen and they took him to the *Jewish *Council.

v13 They also brought in some other people who spoke falsely about him. Those people said: ‘That man Stephen is always saying bad things about the *temple which our people set apart for God. He also talks against the *law which Moses received from God. v14 And we have heard Stephen say other things. He talked about what this Jesus from Nazareth town taught. Jesus said that he would destroy this *temple. Moses taught the people before us how we *Jews ought to live. But Jesus said we would have to change all that. This is what Stephen is saying’, those *Jews falsely said.

v15 All the people in the *Council room heard what the *Jews said. Then they all stared at Stephen’s face. His face was shining like the face of an *angel shines.

Acts 7:1-53 Stephen’s speech

v1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, ‘Is what these people say about you really true?’

v2 Stephen replied to him and to the other *Jewish leaders: ‘My *brother *Jews and leaders respected by our people, please listen to me. Our *ancestor Abraham was still living in the Mesopotamia region, before he moved to Haran town. That was when the great God whom we *worship appeared to him.’

v3 ‘God spoke to Abraham: “Leave this country where you and your relatives are living. And go to the country to which I will lead you”, God said. v4 So Abraham left that country which people also called Chaldea. He arrived in Haran town and he lived there. Later, his father died. Then God told him to move again. This time he arrived in this country where you and I are now living’, Stephen said.

v5 ‘At that time God did not give Abraham any land here. God did not give him even a small piece of this country that would belong to him. But God did promise that he would later give this country to him. It would also belong to the people who would be born after him. God said that the country would always belong to them. However, Abraham did not yet have any children to receive the country later.’

v6 Stephen continued to speak: ‘Later, God told Abraham, “The people who will be born after you will live in a different country for some time. That country belongs to other people. For 400 years, your people will be those other people’s slaves. Your people will have to work very hard, and nobody will give them wages. They will suffer very much because of those other people.” v7 But God also said: “I will punish the people for whom they will work as slaves. Then, after that, your people will leave that country. They will come back here and they will *worship me in this country.”

v8 Then God told Abraham that someone should *circumcise him. Also, he had to *circumcise every male in his house and family and his slaves. This was to show that they all belonged to God. And they would obey God’s order to Abraham. Later Abraham’s son, Isaac, was born. And when Isaac was 8 days old, Abraham *circumcised him. Many years later Isaac’s son, Jacob, was born, and Isaac *circumcised him in the same way. Still later Jacob also *circumcised his 12 sons. And these 12 men began the family of all of us who are *Jews’, Stephen said.

v9 ‘It was even later, when Jacob’s sons had grown up. Jacob’s older sons had become jealous of Jacob’s younger son, Joseph. So they sold him to merchants, who took him to Egypt. There, Joseph became a slave of an *Egyptian official. But God helped Joseph. v10 God rescued Joseph whenever people made him suffer. God caused him to be wise. And God caused Pharaoh, the *Egyptian king to think well of Joseph. So Pharaoh appointed him as governor of the people of Egypt. Joseph also had to look after all of Pharaoh’s property’, Stephen said.

v11 ‘While Joseph was the governor, the people began to suffer greatly. There was very little food in all of Egypt and Canaan. People did not have enough food to eat. In Canaan, Jacob and his sons also could not find enough food. v12 But Jacob heard people say that they could buy grain in Egypt. So he sent Joseph's older brothers, our own people, to Egypt to buy grain. The first time that they went and bought grain from Joseph, they did not recognise him. They returned home.’

v13 Stephen continued: ‘When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt the second time, they again bought grain from Joseph. But this time Joseph told his brothers who he was. Also, people told Pharaoh that Joseph’s brothers were *Israelis who had come from Canaan. v14 Then Joseph sent his brothers back home. They told their father Jacob what Joseph had said. Joseph wanted their father and the entire family to come to Egypt. At that time, there were 75 people in Jacob’s family. v15 So when Jacob heard Joseph’s message, he and all his family went to live in Egypt.’

‘Later on, Jacob died there in Egypt. His sons also died there. v16 When our people left Egypt they brought the bodies of these important *ancestors back to Shechem city. They buried these bodies in the grave which Abraham had bought from Hamor’s sons’, Stephen said.

v17 ‘God had promised Abraham that he would rescue our people. And the time had come for God to do this. Meanwhile, there were very many of our people in Egypt. v18 Then another *Egyptian king began to rule the people in Egypt. He did not know how Joseph, long before that time, had greatly helped the people of Egypt. v19 That king tried to destroy our *ancestors with great cruelty. He caused them to suffer greatly. He even ordered them to leave their babies outside their homes. He wanted the *Israeli babies to die.’

v20 Stephen continued to speak: ‘During that time, Moses was born, and he was a very beautiful child. His parents hid him in their house and they looked after him for three months. v21 Then they had to put him outside the house, but they hid him. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and she adopted him. She looked after him completely like he was her own son. v22 The *Egyptian teachers taught Moses everything that the people in Egypt knew. And Moses became a strong man and he spoke in a powerful manner.’

v23 ‘Moses was about 40 years old. He wanted to help his own people, the *Israeli people. So, one day, Moses went to the place where they worked, to visit them. v24 He saw an *Egyptian man who was hitting one of the *Israelis. So Moses went over to help the *Israeli man whom the *Egyptian was hitting. And it happened that Moses killed the *Egyptian. v25 Moses was thinking that God had sent him to his *brother *Israelis. He had to free them from being slaves. And he thought that perhaps his *brother *Israelis would understand that. But they did not understand’, Stephen said.

v26 ‘The next day, Moses saw two *Israeli men who were fighting each other. He tried to stop them fighting. He spoke to them, “Men, you are *brother *Israelis! So stop hurting each other!” v27 But the man who was attacking the other man pushed Moses away. He said to Moses, “No one appointed you to rule us. No one told you to be our judge! v28 Do you want to kill me like you killed that *Egyptian man yesterday?” v29 Moses heard what the man said. And he became afraid. Many people must know what he had done. So he ran away from Egypt to Midian country. He lived there for some years. He got married, and he and his wife had two sons.’

v30 Stephen continued: ‘One day, 40 years later, Moses was in the desert near Sinai mountain. At that moment an *angel from the *Lord God appeared [OR, the *Lord God appeared as an *angel] to him. There was a bush there. It was in flames, but it was not burning up. v31 When Moses saw that, he was greatly surprised. He went over to the bush to look at it better.’

‘Then he heard the *Lord God speak to him: v32 “I am the God whom all the *Israeli people before you used to *worship. Yes, I am the God that your *ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob *worshipped”, God said. Moses was so afraid that he began to shake. He was afraid to look at the bush any longer’, Stephen said.

v33 ‘Then the *Lord God spoke to Moses. “Take the *sandals off your feet because you respect me. I am here. And the place where you are standing is very special to me”, God said. v34 “I have certainly seen how the *Egyptian people are hurting my people. And I have heard when my people cry for help”, God said. “So I have come down and I have appeared to you. I want you to rescue them from the *Egyptian people. Now get ready. I will send you back to Egypt to help them.” ’

v35 Stephen continued: ‘This Moses tried to help our *Israeli people, but they *rejected him. They said: “No one appointed you to rule us. No one told you to be our judge!” But God himself sent Moses to rule the *Israelis. He also freed them from being slaves. God’s *angel had spoken to Moses from the bush that was on fire. v36 Moses is the man who long ago led our people out from Egypt. He did many kinds of *miracles in Egypt. And he also did other *miracles at the Red Sea and in the desert. And the *Israeli people lived in those desert regions for 40 years.’

v37 ‘It was Moses who told the *Israeli people: “God will appoint a *prophet for you from among your own people. He will speak words from God, as I speak his words to you.” v38 Moses was our people’s leader when they gathered together in the desert. God sent his *angel to Moses on Sinai mountain to tell him our *laws. And Moses told our *ancestors what the *angel had said. Moses received from God’s *angel words about the *life that will never end. And Moses passed those words on to us’, Stephen said.

v39 ‘However, our *ancestors did not want to obey Moses. v40 So while he was on Sinai mountain, they spoke to his older brother, Aaron. “Make some images for us which will be our gods. We want them to lead us back to Egypt!” they said to Aaron. “As for that man, Moses who led us out of Egypt, something must have happened to him!”

v41 So, during those days they made an image out of gold, which was exactly like a young cow. Then they offered *sacrifices and other things to give honour to that image. They sang and danced. They gave honour to the image that they themselves had made. v42 But God refused to accept those people’s *worship. So God went away from them. He left them to *worship the sun, moon and stars in the sky. This agrees with God’s words that the *prophets wrote down:

“You *Israeli people, you were in the desert for 40 years. You constantly killed animals and offered them as *sacrifices. But you most certainly did not offer them to me”, God said. v43 “You did quite the opposite, you carried a certain tent with you from place to place. That tent contained the image of the god Moloch that you *worshipped. You also carried with you the image of the star which people called Rephan.

These were images that you yourselves had made. And you *worshipped those images instead of me”, God said. “So I will cause other people to take you away from your own country. They will take you far away from your homes to regions further than the Babylon region.” ’

v44 Stephen continued, ‘While our *ancestors were in the desert, they *worshipped God in a special tent. This tent showed that God was there with them. They had made the tent as God had told Moses. Moses had seen a model when he was up on the mountain. The tent was exactly like that model. v45 Later on, our *ancestors received that tent from their fathers. They took the tent with them when Joshua led them into this country. That was when they took this country for themselves. And God forced the people to leave who had lived there before them. So the *Israelis were able to completely possess the country.’

‘The tent remained in this country until the time when King David ruled. v46 God was very pleased with David. And David asked God to let him build a house for him. This house would be where David and all of our *Israeli people could *worship God. v47 But God did not allow David to do that. Instead God allowed David’s son, Solomon to build that house.’

v48 Stephen continued: ‘However, we know that God is greater than everything. People make houses in which to *worship God. But God does not live in houses that people make. God said the same things and the *prophet Isaiah wrote them down. Isaiah wrote:

v49 “Heaven is the place from which I rule everything. The world is merely a step on which I may rest my feet. So you human people really cannot build any house that would be suitable for me. You can not make a place great enough for me to live in. v50 I myself have made everything in the sky and on the earth.” ’

v51 ‘You people are extremely unwilling to listen’, Stephen said. ‘You do not want to obey or listen to God! You are absolutely like the people who lived before you! You always oppose the *Holy Spirit as they did! v52 The people who lived before you caused every *prophet to suffer. They killed all the *prophets who long ago had announced about the *Messiah. The *Messiah always does what pleases God, and he has come. And you have just handed him over to his enemies to kill him! v53 You people received the *Law which God gave our *ancestors. God sent his *angels to deliver that *Law to our *ancestors. Then they gave the *Law to us. However, you still do not obey it at all!’

Acts 7:54-8:1 The people kill Stephen by throwing stones at him

v54 The *Jewish *Council members and other people there heard all that Stephen said. Then they became very angry with him. They were actually rubbing their teeth together because they were so angry with him!

v55 But the *Holy Spirit completely controlled Stephen. He looked up into *heaven and he saw a bright light from God. Also, he saw Jesus standing at God’s side. v56 ‘Look’, he said, ‘I can see *heaven open. He who became a man is standing at God’s side!’

v57 The *Jewish *Council members and other people heard that. So they shouted loudly. And they put their hands over their ears so they could not hear him. They all rushed at him at once. v58 They dragged him outside Jerusalem city. Then they threw stones at him to kill him. The people who were accusing him took off their outer clothes. They put their clothes on the ground next to a young man whose name was Saul. Those people had to be the first to throw the stones. v59 While people continued to throw stones at Stephen, Stephen prayed: ‘*Lord Jesus, receive my *spirit!’

v60 Then Stephen knelt down and cried out aloud: ‘*Lord, do not punish them [OR, *Lord, please excuse them] for this *sin!’ And after he had said that, he died. Chapter 8 v1-2 Then some men who really believed the *Lord Jesus buried Stephen‘s body in a grave. And for a long time they shouted loudly. They were so sad because Stephen had died.

Acts 8:2-3 Some *Jews in Jerusalem cause the *believers terrible suffering

On that same day, people started to do a lot of bad things to the *believers in Jerusalem city. So most of the *believers ran away to other places all over Judea and Samaria districts. The *apostles were the only *believers who remained in Jerusalem. v3 Saul was the young man who had approved that people should throw stones at Stephen. So now Saul also began to try to destroy the groups of *believers. He went into people’s houses one by one. And he dragged away any men and women who believed Jesus. Then Saul caused people to put them into prison.

Acts 8:4-25 Philip opposes Simon, the man who did magic in Samaria

v4 The *believers who had left Jerusalem went to many different places. They continued to tell people the good *Message about the *Lord Jesus.

v5 Philip was one of the seven *believers whom the *apostles chose to help them. Now, Philip went to a city in Samaria district. He was telling the people there that Jesus is the *Messiah. v6 And many people there heard Philip speak. They also saw the *miraculous things which he was doing. They all listened very well to the words that Philip spoke.

v7 *Evil spirits controlled many people. And Philip ordered the *evil spirits to come out of those people. And those *spirits did come out of them, with loud cries and screams. Also, there were many *paralysed people and other people, who were not able to walk. They became well because God healed them by Philip. v8 So, many people in that city were very happy.

v9 But there was a man in Samaria city whose name was Simon. He had been doing magic for a long time. And what he did had astonished many people in Samaria district. He always said that he was a great person. v10 All the people there, both ordinary people and important people, listened to him carefully. Some of them said, ‘This man has lots of power because God has given him a *spirit of power.’ v11 For a long time he had astonished them by doing magic. So people continued to listen to him.

v12 But Philip taught them very clearly that they should believe that Jesus the *Messiah is powerful. And then God would rule the lives of those people who believed the good *message. Then Philip *baptised both the men and the women who had believed Jesus. v13 Simon himself believed what Philip said. Then Philip *baptised him, and he began to go round everywhere with Philip. Simon often saw Philip do many kinds of *miraculous things. And he was greatly astonished.

v14 The *apostles in Jerusalem heard reports about the people in the Samaria district. People said that many people there had believed the *message from God about Jesus. So they sent Peter and John to them. v15 Peter and John arrived in Samaria. Immediately they prayed that God would send the *Holy Spirit to those new *believers. v16 They realised that the *Holy Spirit had not yet begun to control any of them. Philip had *baptised them because they had believed the *Lord Jesus’ *message. But they did not yet know about the *Holy Spirit. v17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on the heads of each person. Immediately the *Holy Spirit began to control their lives.

v18 Simon saw the *apostles place their hands on people. That convinced him that this was the way that God gave his *Holy Spirit to people. So he offered to give money to the *apostles. v19 Simon said to them: ‘Please help me also to do what you are doing. Then everyone on whom I place my hands may receive the *Holy Spirit’s power.’ v20 But Peter replied: ‘I pray that you and your money will go to *hell! Only God can give his *Holy Spirit to people. You think that you could buy God’s *Holy Spirit from us. You are very wrong!’ Peter said. v21 ‘You cannot have any share with us in this work which we are doing. Because what you are thinking is completely wrong to God.’

v22 ‘Therefore’, Peter said, ‘stop thinking such evil thoughts. And now, you intended to do many wrong things. You must ask the *Lord that he will excuse you for that!’ v23 ‘Turn away from your *sin. I can see that you are extremely jealous of us. You are always wanting to do evil, and that desire holds you firmly like in a prison!’ v24 Then Simon answered, ‘Pray to the *Lord God for me. Do not let him do to me anything which you two have spoken about!’

v25 Peter and John told people there the *Message about the *Lord Jesus, and then they both returned to Jerusalem. Along the way they told the *Message about Jesus to people in many villages in Samaria.

Acts 8:26-40 Philip talks to a government official from Ethiopia country

v26 One day, an *angel whom the *Lord God had sent gave this command to Philip: ‘Get ready and go south along the road from Jerusalem city to Gaza town. That road passes through an area where very few people live.’ v27 So Philip got ready and he went along that road. Next moment, he met a man from Ethiopia in a fast horse cart. There was a queen called Candace who ruled Ethiopia country. And this man was an important official who took care of all her funds.

This man had gone to Jerusalem to *worship God. v28 He was on his way home and he was sitting in his fast horse cart. Someone else was driving the cart. But this man was reading aloud from what the *prophet Isaiah had written long ago.

v29 The *Holy Spirit told Philip: ‘Go over to that horse cart! Speak to the man who is travelling in it.’ v30 So Philip ran up close to the horse cart. He heard the official as he was reading the book of the *prophet Isaiah. So he asked the man: ‘Do you understand the words that you are reading?’ v31 The man answered Philip: ‘No! I cannot possibly understand these words unless someone explains them to me.’

Then the official from Ethiopia invited Philip to get into the horse cart. Philip sat down next to him. v32 The part of the *Scriptures which the official was reading was this:

‘People lead a sheep off to kill it. In the same way, people will lead him away to kill him.

A young sheep is quiet when someone cuts off its wool.

And in the same way, this man will not complain when people cause him to suffer.

v33 People will insult him. They will not let the rulers give him a fair judgement.

No one will be able to talk about his children.

People will kill him before he can have any human children.’[4]

v34 The official asked Philip about the passage: ‘Tell me, who was the *prophet writing about? Was the *prophet writing about himself or about someone else?’ v35 So Philip explained that *Scripture passage to him and he told him the good news about Jesus. So the official understood and believed Jesus’ *Message.

v36 They were still travelling along the road. They came to a place where there was some water near the road. Then the official from Ethiopia said to Philip: ‘Look, there is a pool of water here! Please *baptise me, if it is all right to do that?’ v37 [Philip said to him, ‘If you really believe Jesus’ *Message, I will *baptise you.’ The official answered Philip: ‘I believe that Jesus is the *Messiah. And I believe that he is also the *Son of God.’][5]

v38 So the official ordered the driver to stop the cart. Then both Philip and the official got out and went down into the water. And Philip *baptised him. v39 When they came out of the water, in one moment the *Holy Spirit took Philip away to another place. The official continued along the road. He never saw Philip again, but he was very happy deep inside himself.

v40 Philip realised that the Spirit had *miraculously taken him to Azotus town. So he travelled through all the towns between Azotus and Caesarea. And he continued to tell in public the *Message about Jesus as he travelled. And he was still telling this *Message to people when he arrived in Caesarea city.

Acts 9:1-19a Saul becomes a *believer

v1 Meanwhile Saul continued to be very angry. He went everywhere and he was saying: ‘I will kill those who obey Jesus as the *Lord.’ He went to the high priest in Jerusalem. v2 Saul asked him to write letters. He wanted the high priest to introduce him to the *synagogue leaders in Damascus. Saul wanted to arrest any *believers that he found in that city. It did not matter whether they were men or women. It only mattered whether they believed the *Way of Jesus. Then Saul would arrest them and take them to Jerusalem by force. The *Jewish leaders would be their judges and they would punish them.

v3 Saul and those with him came to Damascus city on their journey. Then, in one moment a bright light from *heaven shone all about him. v4 Immediately Saul fell to the ground. Then he heard the voice of the *Lord who was speaking to him: ‘Saul, Saul, you are hurting those who believe my words! Stop making me suffer.’ v5 Saul asked him: ‘*Lord, who are you?’ He replied: ‘I am Jesus, and you are making me suffer. You are hurting those who believe me. v6 Now stop hurting them. Stand up and go into the city! Someone there will tell you what I want you to do’, said the voice.

v7 The men who were travelling with Saul could not say anything. They had become so frightened that they just stood there. They had only heard the sound when the *Lord spoke. They did not see who was speaking. v8 Saul got up from the ground. But when he opened his eyes, he could not see anything. So the men with him grasped his hand and they led him into Damascus. v9 For three whole days Saul could not see anything. He did not eat anything and he did not drink anything.

v10 In Damascus there was a *Jew who believed Jesus’ *Message. His name was Ananias. The *Lord Jesus spoke to Ananias in a dream. ‘Ananias!’ the *Lord said. Ananias replied, ‘*Lord, I am listening.’

v11 So the *Lord Jesus said this to him: ‘Go to the house that belongs to Judas on Straight Street. There is a man there called Saul, from the city called Tarsus. Ask someone there if you can talk to Saul. He is staying there and he is at this moment praying to me. v12 Saul has had a dream. And in this dream, he saw you, Ananias. You were entering the house where he was staying. And you put your hands on him so that he could see again’, the *Lord said to Ananias.

v13 However, Ananias protested: ‘My *Lord, many people have told me about this man. He has done many evil things to the people in Jerusalem who believe your *Message. v14 And the chief priests have given him authority to come here to Damascus. He wants to arrest all the people who believe your *Message. Then he will take them to prison in Jerusalem.’

v15 But the *Lord Jesus told Ananias: ‘Go and meet Saul! I have chosen him to serve me. He will speak about me to *non-Jewish people and to their kings. He will speak to the *Israeli people. v16 I myself will show him that he must often suffer greatly because of me.’

v17 So Ananias went. He found the house where Saul was staying. He went into the house and he met Saul. He put his hands on Saul’s shoulders and he said: ‘*Brother Saul, the *Lord Jesus himself told me to come to you. He appeared to you while you were travelling on the way here. He sent me to you so that you could see again. Then the *Holy Spirit can come to you and completely control you’, Ananias said. v18 Immediately, some things that felt like the pieces on the side of a fish fell from Saul’s eyes. He was able to see again. He stood up, and Ananias *baptised him. v19 Then Saul ate some food, and he recovered his strength.

Acts 9:19b-31 Saul talks about the *Lord in Damascus and in Jerusalem

Saul stayed with the other *believers in Damascus. He was there for several days. v20 Immediately he began to speak to people about Jesus in the *Jewish meeting places there. He told them that Jesus is the *Son of God. v21 And all the people who heard him speak were astonished. Several of them were saying, ‘This man killed many people in Jerusalem who believe Jesus. He cannot be the same person’, they said. ‘And he has come here to take *believers to prison in Jerusalem. He is working for the chief priests.’ v22 But God helped Saul to speak in a way that would convince even more people. He was proving from *Scripture that Jesus really is the *Messiah. So the *Jews in Damascus city could not say that this was not true.

v23 Later, some of those *Jews plotted to kill him[6]. v24 However, someone told Saul what those *Jews intended to do. Each day and each night the *Jews were watching the people as they passed through the city gates. They hoped to kill Saul when they saw him. v25 Saul told about this to those whom he had helped to believe Jesus. So, one night they took him to the high stone wall that surrounded the city. There was an opening in the upper wall there. They put Saul into a large basket. Then they used *ropes to lower this basket through the opening in the wall. And so Saul escaped from Damascus.

v26 When Saul arrived at Jerusalem, he tried to join the other *believers. However, almost all of them were still afraid that he would arrest them. They did not yet believe that he had become a true *believer. v27 But Barnabas took Saul to the *apostles, and he explained to them about him. He told them what had happened to Saul on the road to Damascus. Saul had seen the *Lord Jesus, and the *Lord had spoken to him there. Barnabas also told them how Saul had not been afraid in Damascus. He boldly spoke to people about Jesus. The *apostles believed Barnabas and they told the other *believers about Saul. v28 So Saul began to join the *apostles and other *believers all through Jerusalem city. He was not afraid to speak to everyone about the *Lord Jesus.

v29 Saul also spoke about Jesus with the *Jews who spoke the Greek language. He had some long discussions with them. But they were thinking how they could kill him. v30 The other *believers knew that people were making plans to kill him. So some of the *believers took Saul to Caesarea city. And there they arranged for him to go by ship to Tarsus port.

v31 So, the groups of *believers in all the regions of Judea, Galilee and Samaria were able to live at peace. No one was hurting them at that time. The *Holy Spirit made them strong in their belief and he encouraged them. They continued to give honour to the *Lord Jesus. And the *Holy Spirit caused many other people to become *believers.

Acts 9:32-43 Aeneas and Dorcas

v32 Peter travelled all through the regions called Judea and Samaria. He also went to the coast to visit the *believers in Lydda town. v33 He met a man there whose name was Aeneas. Aeneas had not been able to get up from his bed for 8 years, because he was *paralysed. v34 So Peter spoke to him: ‘Aeneas, Jesus *Christ heals you this moment. Get up and roll up your mat!’ Immediately Aeneas stood up. v35 Many people saw Aeneas after the *Lord had healed him. They also believed about the *Lord Jesus. They were people who lived in Lydda town and the rest of Sharon plain.

v36 In Joppa city there was a woman *believer whose name was Tabitha. Her name in the Greek language was Dorcas. Both of these names mean an animal called deer or gazelle or antelope. That woman was always doing good things for other people. She especially helped poor people. She gave them things that they needed. v37 Then one day, Dorcas became ill and she died. The women there washed her body. They were following *Jewish custom. Then they covered the body with a cloth. They placed it in an upstairs room in her house. At that time, Peter was in Lydda.

v38 Lydda town was near Joppa. The *believers in Joppa heard that Peter was there. So they sent two men to go to Peter. They arrived there and they met Peter. They asked him many times: ‘Please come immediately with us to Joppa!’ v39 So immediately Peter got ready and he went to Joppa with them. They arrived at the house in Joppa. Dorcas’s body was lying in the upstairs room, and the *believers took him there. Many widows were there. They were standing round the body. They were crying and they were showing Peter many coats and other clothes. Dorcas had made these for people while she was still alive.

v40 But Peter sent all the people out of the room. Then he got down on his knees and he prayed. He turned toward the dead body and he said: ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ Immediately she opened her eyes. She saw Peter and she sat up. v41 He grasped one of her hands and he helped her to stand up. Then Peter called the *believers and especially the widows to come back into the room. And he showed them that she was alive again. v42 Soon people everywhere in Joppa knew about that *miracle, and many people believed the *Lord. v43 Peter stayed in Joppa for many days with a man called Simon. Simon made leather from animal skins.

Acts 10:1-33 Peter in the house of Captain Cornelius

v1 In Caesarea city there was a man whose name was Cornelius. He was a *Roman officer. He was in command of a group of several hundred *Roman soldiers from the country called Italy. v2 Cornelius always tried to do what would please the one true God. He and all the people in his house were *non-Jews who *worshipped the one true God. Cornelius often gave money to help poor *Jewish people. And he often prayed to God.

v3 One day, at about 3 in the afternoon Cornelius had a dream. He clearly saw an *angel whom God had sent. The *angel came into his room and the *angel spoke to him, ‘Cornelius.’ v4 Cornelius stared at the *angel and became afraid. Then, full of fear, he asked: ‘*Lord, what do you want?’ The *angel answered: ‘You have pleased God because you have often prayed to him. And God has seen how you give out your money. You give it to poor people to help them. God has accepted all this as if you were making a *sacrifice to him’, said the *angel.

v5 ‘So now order men to go to Joppa city. They must find a man called Simon, whose other name is Peter. v6 He is staying in the house of another man whose name is also Simon. Simon makes leather, and his house is near the sea.’ v7 The *angel who spoke to him left. Then Cornelius called for two of the family servants. He also sent one of his soldiers who also *worshipped the one true God. v8 Cornelius explained to them everything that the *angel had said. Then he told them to go to Joppa. And he told them to bring Peter to Caesarea.

v9 About midday the next day those three men were travelling along the road. They were getting near to Joppa city. At the same time, Peter went up on the flat roof-top of Simon’s house to pray to God. v10 After a while, he became hungry and he wanted something to eat. But while he was waiting for the people to prepare the food, he had this dream:

v11 He saw that someone had opened *heaven [OR, He saw an opening in the sky]. And someone was lowering something like a large cotton sheet to the ground. The four corners of the sheet had *ropes tied to them. v12 And inside the sheet were all kinds of living things. There were animals and birds which *Jewish people could not eat. Moses’ *Law forbade them to do it. Some of these living things had 4 feet, and other living things crawled on the ground. Other living things were wild birds.

v13 Then Peter heard a voice speak to him. He thought that it was God’s voice. ‘Peter, stand up’, the voice said. ‘Kill some of these animals and eat their meat!’ v14 But Peter replied, ‘*Lord, you do not really want me to do that! I have never eaten any meat of such animals. Our *Jewish *law says that those animals are not clean. It is not right that we eat it.’

v15 He heard that voice say to him a second time: ‘God says that it is right. You can eat these animals’ meat. You must not say that is not right.’ v16 Peter heard the voice repeat those words three times. And immediately after the third time, someone pulled the sheet up into *heaven [OR, into the sky] again. It went up with all the living things.

v17 Peter was still trying to understand what that dream meant. Then the men whom Cornelius had sent arrived. People had told them how to get to the house of Simon the leather worker. So they were standing outside the gate of the yard of the house. v18 They were asking if a man whose name was Simon Peter was staying there. v19 But Peter was still upstairs and he was thinking about the dream. Then the *Holy Spirit spoke clearly to him: ‘Listen! Three men are here who want to meet you. v20 So, get up and go downstairs. They are not *Jews, but go with these men anyway! Do not think that you should not go with them. I caused them to come here!’ the *Holy Spirit said.

v21 So Peter went down to talk to the men. ‘Greetings!’ he said, ‘I am the man that you are looking for. But why have you come?’ v22 They replied, ‘Our boss, Cornelius sent us here. He is a *Roman army officer. He is a good man who *worships the one true God. All the *Jewish people who know him say that.

Now, God sent one of his very own *angels to him with this message: “Send some men to Joppa to meet Simon Peter. Bring him here. Cornelius needs to hear what Peter will say to him” ’, the men said to Peter. v23 So Peter said that he would go with them. But first, he invited them into the house. He told them that they could stay there that night.

The next day Peter got ready and he went with them. Several of the *believers from Joppa city also went with them. v24 The day after that, he and the people with him arrived in Caesarea city. Cornelius was waiting for them. He had also invited his relatives and very good friends to come. So they were there in his house too.

v25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him. Then he began to *worship Peter as he bent down low in front of him. v26 But Peter grasped Cornelius’s arm and made him stand up. ‘Stand up and do not give me special honour!’ Peter said to him. ‘I myself am only human exactly like you.’

v27 Peter was still talking to Cornelius when they and the other people entered the house. He saw that many people had come together there. v28 So Peter said, ‘You all know how strict our *Jewish *laws are. Our *laws say that we must not do anything with *non-Jews. We must not even visit someone who is not a *Jew. If we did that, we would not be obeying the *Law.’

‘But God gave me a dream before I came here. He showed me that he accepts anyone. So then I cannot say that God will not accept someone’, Peter said. v29 ‘So when you sent people to me, I came back with them immediately. I did not say that I could not go with *non-Jews. Now, please tell me, why have you invited me here?’

v30 So Cornelius replied: ‘4 days ago, I was praying to God in my house. I always pray at 3 in the afternoon. Suddenly a person whose clothes shone brightly stood in front of me. v31 “Cornelius”, this person said to me. “God has heard you when you have prayed to him. Also, God has noticed and he is pleased with you. You have often given money to poor people to help them. v32 So now, send people to Joppa city, to bring Simon Peter here. Peter is staying in a house near the sea. The house belongs to another man called Simon who is a leather worker. When Simon Peter comes he is going to tell you something from God”, said the person in bright clothes

v33 So I immediately sent the men who brought you here’, continued Cornelius. ‘I certainly thank you for coming. And now we are all together here, together with the *Lord God who is also present. We want to hear everything that the *Lord God says. So please tell us God’s *message’, Cornelius said.

10:34-48 Peter’s message to Cornelius and his family

v34 So Peter began to speak to them. ‘Now I know that God really is fair to everybody’, he said. ‘He is not favourable only to certain groups of people. v35 Instead, God accepts everyone who *worships him. He accepts those who please him. It does not matter what nation they come from.’

v36 ‘This is the *message that God sent to us *Israeli people not long ago. It is about Jesus *Christ and about what he has done for all people. Jesus has made people to be at peace with God. This person, Jesus, is the *Lord who rules over all people. He does not just rule the *Jews. v37 You know what Jesus did all through the country called Judea. He began in Galilee. John had been telling people that they should turn away from their *sin. Then he would *baptise them.

v38 And then Jesus came from Nazareth town. God’s *Holy Spirit was always with him and the Spirit helped him to do *miracles. Jesus did good things in many different places and he healed people. He cured everyone whom the devil was causing to suffer. Jesus was able to do those things because God always helped him.

v39 We *apostles saw what Jesus did in the rest of Judea and in Jerusalem city. We can tell people about everything that he did. The *Jewish leaders in Jerusalem gave Jesus to the *Romans. They killed him by fastening him up on a *cross. v40 But three days later God caused him to become alive again. God also allowed some of us to see Jesus. This proved to us that he was alive again. v41 God did not let all the *Jewish people see him. God just chose us. This was so that we could tell other people about him. After his death and after he had become alive again, we even ate meals with him.

v42 And Jesus ordered us to speak to other people. We must tell people that God has chosen Jesus. He will *judge all people some day. He will *judge everyone who will still be alive. And he will *judge all those who will have died by that time. v43 All the *prophets who wrote long ago told people about the *Messiah. They said this: If a person believes the *Messiah, God will not blame that person for their *sins.’

v44 Peter was still speaking these words, and then, suddenly the *Holy Spirit came down. The *Holy Spirit began to control all the *non-Jews who were listening to the *Message. v45 The *Jewish *believers who had come with Peter from Joppa were astonished. They could see that God had given the *Holy Spirit also to the *non-Jews. v46 The *Jewish *believers knew that God had done that. They were hearing those other *believers speak strange languages. Those *believers had not learned those languages, but they were telling about God’s greatness.

v47 Then Peter spoke to the *Jewish *believers who were there. ‘You can see that God has given *non-Jews the *Holy Spirit’, Peter said. ‘They have received him exactly like God gave him to us *Jewish *believers. So you probably will all agree that we should *baptise these people with water.’ v48 Then Peter told the *non-Jews to let the *Jewish *believers *baptise them. This would show that they had believed the *Lord Jesus *Christ. So the *Jewish *believers *baptised all of them. Then Cornelius’s family asked Peter to stay with them for several more days. So Peter and the other *Jewish *believers stayed with them.

Acts 11:1-18 Peter reports to the church in Jerusalem city

v1 People told the *apostles that some *non-Jews had believed God’s *message about Jesus. So all the *believers who lived in Judea *province heard about this. v2 So, later on Peter and 6 other *believers went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. Then some *Jewish[7] *believers told Peter that he had done something wrong. They thought that *Jews should not do anything with *non-Jews. v3 They said to him: ‘You did something wrong when you visited *non-Jews. You even ate with them! How awful!’

v4 So Peter began to explain carefully exactly what had happened at Cornelius’s house. v5 ‘I was praying by myself in Joppa city’, he said. ‘But I fell asleep and I had a dream. I dreamt that someone was lowering something like a large cotton sheet from *heaven. The sheet had *ropes tied to its four corners. It came down exactly where I was. v6 I looked inside the sheet. It was full of animals. There were tame animals, and also wild animals, snakes, and wild birds. Many of these were animals which we cannot eat because of our *Law.

v7 Then I heard God tell me: “Peter, stand up! Now, kill some of these animals and eat their meat!” v8 But I replied: “*Lord, you cannot really want me to do that. I have never eaten the meat of any animal which our *Law forbids.v9 God spoke to me from *heaven a second time, “If some meat is suitable to me, do not say, ‘It is not right’.” v10 God said that a third time. Then someone pulled the sheet with all those animals and birds in it up into *heaven again.’

v11 ‘So I was still at the house where I was staying in Joppa. My dream had finished. At that exact moment, three men whom Cornelius had sent from Caesarea arrived at the house. (They told me why they had come.) v12 I knew that they were not *Jews. But the *Holy Spirit told me that I should be willing to go with them. I should not worry.

These 6 *Jewish *believers from Joppa also went with me to Caesarea. We arrived at a certain house. It belonged to a man who was not a *Jew. v13 He had seen an *angel, he said. The *angel was standing in his house. The *angel had told him: “Send some men to Joppa city to bring back Simon Peter. v14 Peter will tell you how God will save you and everyone else in your house and family.” ’

v15 ‘I had just started to speak’, Peter said, ‘and then the *Holy Spirit came down on them. The *Holy Spirit began to control them, exactly like when he first came on us during *Pentecost. v16 Then I remembered what the *Lord had said: “John made people enter the water when he *baptised them. But God will send the *Holy Spirit to you and change you completely.”

v17 We received the *Holy Spirit from God when we believed the *Lord Jesus *Christ. So now God has given to those *non-Jews the same *Holy Spirit that he had given to us. So I could not possibly stop God from accepting *non-Jews.’

v18 After the *Jewish *believers heard those words, they stopped accusing Peter. Instead, they praised God. They were saying: ‘Then clearly God also accepts people who are not *Jews. They may turn back from their *sin and believe Jesus’ *Message. And God has given them also the *life that never ends.’

Acts 11:19-30 The group of *believers in Antioch city

v19 After people had killed Stephen, they began to hurt very much the Jerusalem *believers. Because of this, many of the *believers ran away from Jerusalem and they went to many other places. Many of those *believers went to the Phoenicia region and to Cyprus island. And some of them went to Antioch city in Syria *province. In those places they always told people the *message about Jesus, but they told only other *Jewish people. v20 Now, some of the *believers were men from Cyprus island and Cyrene city in North Africa. They went to Antioch city. They spoke to *Jews, but they also spoke to the *non-Jews there. They told those *non-Jewish people about the *Lord Jesus. v21 The *Lord God greatly helped those *believers to speak powerfully. So, very many *non-Jews believed their *message and they trusted the *Lord Jesus.

v22 This news came to those *believers who were still in Jerusalem. People were saying that many Antioch people were believing Jesus’ *message. So the leaders of the Jerusalem group asked Barnabas to go to Antioch. v23 Barnabas arrived there. And he realised that God had acted in a very kind way toward the *believers there. So he was very happy and he greatly encouraged all of those *believers. He told them to continue to trust completely the *Lord Jesus. v24 Barnabas was a good man whom the *Holy Spirit completely controlled. He trusted God completely. And because of what Barnabas did, many people there believed the *Lord Jesus.

v25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus city in Cilicia *province to find Saul. v26 He found Saul and he brought him to Antioch. He wanted Saul to help him as he taught the new *believers. So during a whole year Barnabas and Saul met regularly with the group of *believers there. And they taught very many of them about Jesus. It was at Antioch that people first called the *believers Christians.

v27 Barnabas and Saul were still at Antioch. One day some *believers who were *prophets arrived there from Jerusalem. v28 One of them, called Agabus, stood up in the meeting of the group to speak to everyone. The *Holy Spirit controlled him as he spoke. He told them that people in many countries would soon go through a time of great hunger. They would not have enough food to eat. That time of hunger happened when the *Emperor Claudius was ruling the *Roman *empire. v29 And the *believers who lived in Judea *province were suffering badly. So the *believers in Antioch decided that they would send money to them. Each of them gave as much money as they could. v30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to take the money to Jerusalem. They would give it to the older leaders of the group of *believers.

Acts 12:1-25 King *Herod causes much trouble for Peter and all the *believers

v1 It was about this time that king *Herod Agrippa the First sent out his soldiers. They seized and put in prison certain leaders of the Jerusalem *believers. *Herod wanted to make the *believers suffer. v2 He ordered a soldier to cut off the head of the *apostle James. James was the older brother of the *apostle John. v3 *Herod realised that James’s death had pleased the leaders of the *Jewish people. So he ordered soldiers to arrest Peter also. This happened during a major *Jewish *festival. This was the *festival when the *Jewish people ate bread which did not have any *yeast in it.

v4 The soldiers had arrested Peter, and *Herod put him in prison. *Herod ordered 4 groups of soldiers to guard Peter. Each group had 4 soldiers and every few hours a different group would guard Peter. *Herod wanted to *judge Peter after the *Passover *festival had finished. Then he would bring Peter out of prison and *condemn him in front of the *Jewish people. *Herod then intended that his soldiers would kill Peter.

v5 So, for several days soldiers continued to guard Peter in prison. But the other *believers at Jerusalem were praying strongly that God would help Peter. v6 *Herod wanted to *judge Peter in front of the people. And it was the night before *Herod would bring him out from prison. Peter was in the prison, and he was sleeping between two soldiers. Two chains bound Peter’s arms to the arms of the soldiers. Other soldiers were guarding the prison door.

v7 Suddenly the *Lord God sent an *angel to stand at Peter’s side. And a bright light shone in the prison room. The *angel touched Peter on the side and woke him up. Then the *angel said to Peter, ‘Get up quickly!’ And while Peter was getting up, the chains fell off from his arms[8]. v8 Then the *angel said to him: ‘Put on your clothes and put shoes on your feet.’ Peter did so. Then the *angel said to him: ‘Now, put on your coat and follow me!’

v9 So Peter followed the *angel out from the prison room. The *angel was doing all this. But Peter had no idea that this was really happening to him. Instead, Peter thought that he was seeing the *angel in a dream.

v10 Soldiers were guarding the prison in two places in the prison. But Peter and the *angel walked past them. The soldiers did not see them. Then they came to the iron gate of the prison yard. That gate opened by itself, and they went through it. Peter and the *angel left the prison and entered a city street. They were walking along the street, and then the *angel suddenly disappeared. v11 Then Peter finally realised what had actually happened to him. So he thought to himself: ‘Now I really know that the *Lord God sent an *angel to me. *Herod wanted to do many evil things to me. And the *Jewish leaders expected Herod to kill me. But the *angel rescued me from all of that.’

v12 Peter realised that God had rescued him. So he went to Mary’s house. She was the mother of John whose other name was Mark. Many *believers had gathered there and they were praying. They were asking God to help Peter somehow. v13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance. Then a servant girl called Rhoda went to see who was there.

v14 When Peter spoke, she recognised his voice. However, she was so excited that she did not open the door. She ran back into the house. Then, excitedly she told the other *believers that Peter was standing outside the entrance. v15 They told her that she was crazy! But she continued to say that it was really true. They still replied: ‘It cannot be Peter who has come. It must be the *angel who guarded him. (He has come to tell us that Peter has died.)’

v16 But Peter continued to knock on the door. So someone finally opened the door. They were completely astonished when they saw Peter. v17 Peter made a sign with his hand for them to be quiet. Then he told them exactly how the *Lord God had led him out of the prison. ‘Tell our leader James and our other *brother *believers about this’, he also said. Then Peter left Mary’s house and he went away to another town.

v18 The next morning the soldiers who had guarded Peter were in real trouble. They did not know what had happened to Peter. v19 Then *Herod heard about it. He gave the soldiers orders to search for Peter. But they did not find him. He also spoke to the soldiers who had been guarding Peter. He asked them where he was. But they could not explain how Peter got away. So Herod ordered other soldiers to take them away and to kill them. Afterwards *Herod left Judea *province and he went to Caesarea city. And he stayed there for some time.

v20 At that time, *Herod was extremely angry with the people who lived in Tyre and Sidon cities. So some of those people came to Caesarea to meet with *Herod. They wanted to persuade Blastus, one of *Herod’s important officials. He had to tell King *Herod that the people in their cities wanted to have peace with the king. *Herod had ordered everyone to stop sending food to the people in Tyre and Sidon. But those people greatly needed to receive food from the king’s region.

v21 The king had announced that he would meet with them on a certain day. That day, *Herod put on the king’s very expensive clothes. Then he sat on his special chair from which he ruled people. He spoke like a king to all the people who had gathered there. v22 The people listened to the king, and then they shouted aloud again and again about *Herod: ‘He is speaking like a god and not like an ordinary person speaks!’

v23 At once an *angel whom the *Lord God had sent caused *Herod to become seriously ill. Herod had allowed the people to praise him. He did not tell them to praise God instead. That was why he became ill. So, many little animals ate Herod inside him, and soon he died very painfully.

v24 The *believers continued to tell people in many places the *message from God about Jesus. And the number of people who believed Jesus’ *message continued to increase.

Acts 12:25-13:12 Paul and Barnabas visit Cyprus island

Chapter 12 v25 Barnabas and Saul delivered the money to help the *Jewish *believers in Judea. When they had finished that, they returned to Antioch city, in Syria *province. They took John Mark back to Antioch[9] with them.

v1 Among the *believers in Antioch in Syria *province, there were several *prophets and those who taught God’s words. They were: Barnabas, Simeon, who was also called Niger [OR, the Black Man], Lucius from Cyrene city, Manaen and Saul. Manaen had grown up from childhood with governor *Herod. v2 One day, these *believers were not eating while they *worshipped the *Lord together. Then the *Holy Spirit spoke to them: ‘Immediately, appoint Barnabas and Saul to do my work!’ v3 So the *believers still did not eat and they prayed for a little while longer. They put their hands on Barnabas and Saul’s heads. They prayed that God would help them. Then the *believers told Barnabas and Saul to do what the *Holy Spirit had ordered them to do.

v4 The *Holy Spirit sent out Barnabas and Saul to go to various places. They left Antioch and they went to Seleucia port. There they got on a ship. And they travelled to Salamis port on Cyprus island. v5 While they were in Salamis town, they went to the *Jewish *synagogues. They told the people there God’s *Message about Jesus. John Mark had also gone there with them and he was helping them.

v6 Then those *apostles went across Cyprus island to Paphos city. There they met a *Jewish man called Bar-Jesus who was a *witch-doctor. He also claimed to be a *prophet, but it was a lie. v7 He often worked for the governor of the island, whose name was Sergius Paulus. Sergius was an intelligent man. He sent someone to bring Barnabas and Saul to him. He wanted to hear what God had to say. So Barnabas and Saul came and told him the *Message. v8 The *witch-doctor’s name was Elymas in the Greek language, and he opposed Barnabas and Saul. Many times, he tried to persuade the governor not to believe in Jesus.

v9 Saul now had a new name, Paul. And now the *Holy Spirit took full control of Paul. Paul looked directly at the *witch-doctor and he said: v10 ‘You are exactly like the devil himself, and you oppose everything good and true! You are always lying to people and doing other evil things to them’, Paul said. ‘Stop changing the truth about the *Lord God into what is not true! v11 Immediately the *Lord God will punish you! You will become blind and not even be able to see the sun for a period of time.’ At once Elymas became blind, like he was in a dark mist. He searched with his hands for someone to lead him by the hand. v12 The governor saw what had happened to Elymas. And he believed the *Lord Jesus’ *Message. He was astonished by what Paul and Barnabas were teaching about the *Lord Jesus.

Acts 13:13-52 Paul and Barnabas take the good news to *non-Jews in Pisidian Antioch after many *Jews oppose it

v13 Paul and the men who were with him left Paphos by ship. They went to the port called Perga in Pamphylia *province. At Perga, John Mark left them and he returned to his home in Jerusalem. v14 Then Paul and Barnabas left Perga and they went by land to Antioch city. Antioch was in the Pisidia district of Galatia *province. On the *Sabbath, they went to the *synagogue and they sat down. v15 Someone read aloud to the people there from the *Scriptures. They read from the books of Moses’ *law. Then someone else read aloud to them from what the other *prophets had written. Then the *synagogue leaders asked someone to go over to Paul and Barnabas with this message: ‘My *Jewish *brothers, please would you speak to us now. Perhaps one of you has something to say which might encourage the people here.’

v16 So Paul stood up and signalled with his right hand. He wanted the people to be quiet and to listen to him. ‘My *Israeli *brothers and you *non-Jewish people who also *worship God, please listen to me!’ he said. v17 ‘We *Israeli people *worship the one true God. This God chose our *ancestors to be his people. They were living in Egypt country as foreigners. But God allowed them to have many children. Then after many years, God helped them powerfully and he led them out of that country.’

v18 ‘God looked after them for about 40 years while they were in the desert’, Paul said. ‘They often did not obey God, but he still looked after them. v19 There were 7 people groups then living in the Canaan region. But God caused the *Israeli people to defeat those people. Then he gave their land to us *Israeli people to possess as our own. v20 Our *ancestors began to possess Canaan about 450 years after their *ancestors had arrived in Egypt.’

‘After this, God appointed leaders to lead the *Israeli people’, Paul said. ‘These leaders continued to rule our people until the time of Samuel. Samuel was a *prophet, and he led them. v21 Then, the people demanded that God appoint a king for them. Samuel was still their leader at that time. So God appointed Saul, Kish’s son, to be their king. Saul was from the Benjamin people, and he ruled our people for 40 years. v22 But God removed Saul from being king. He appointed David as their king instead of Saul. God said this about David: “I have noticed this: Jesse’s son, David is a man exactly like I want. He will do all the things that I want.”

v23 Very many people were born after David. But God caused one of them, Jesus, to come to us *Israeli people. Jesus came to save us as God had promised. God had told David and our other *ancestors that he would do this’, Paul said. v24 ‘Before Jesus began his work, many *Israeli people came to John. He told God’s words to all of them. John told them that they should stop *sinning. They should ask God to excuse them for their *sins. And then John would *baptise them. v25 Later, when John was coming to the end of his life’s work, he often told this to the people: “God promised to send his *Messiah. And you may think that I am the *Messiah. But I am not. Listen! The *Messiah will soon come. He is so much greater than I am. I am not even important enough to be his slave.” ’

v26 Paul continued to speak: ‘My *brother *Israelis, you who were born in the years since Abraham, please listen to me. Please listen also, you who *worship God but are not *Jews. Please listen to what I have to say’, he said. ‘God has sent the *Message about how he saves people to all of us. v27 But the people who were living in Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognise Jesus. They did not know that God had sent this man Jesus. Someone has always read aloud to *Jewish people messages from the *prophets every *Sabbath. But the people did not understand what the *prophets wrote about the *Messiah. So the *Jewish people said that Jesus deserved to die. The *prophets had written that they would say that. v28 Many people accused Jesus of doing wrong things. But they could not prove that Jesus was guilty. They could not prove that he should die. Instead, they insisted that Pilate should kill Jesus. So Pilate did what they asked him to do.

v29 Long ago the *prophets had written down all the evil things that people would do to Jesus. And this is exactly what they did to him. So they fastened Jesus to a *cross in order to kill him. Then some other people took Jesus’ body down from the *cross on which soldiers had fastened him. Those people placed his body in a cave that they closed. v30 However, God brought him to life again after he had died. v31 Then during many days Jesus appeared to certain people who had followed him. They had followed him from the Galilee region to Jerusalem. And these are the people who are now telling the *Jewish people about him’, Paul said.

v32-33 ‘God promised our *Jewish *ancestors what he would do. And he has now done this for us who were born into the world after them. So, at this moment we two are telling you this good *message’, Paul said. ‘God also did this for you who are not *Jews. And he did this when he brought Jesus back to life again. This is completely like what David wrote in the second *Psalm. It is what God said to his *Son: “You are my *Son. And today I have proved to people that I really am your Father.” v34 God brought the *Messiah back to life again after he had died. Now God will never let him die again. This was what God said to our *Jewish leaders in the beginning: “I will certainly help you my people exactly like I promised David.” v35 So David said this to God about the *Messiah.’

‘This is what David wrote in another *Psalm’, Paul said. ‘ “I have given my life completely to you and I will always obey you. So, when I die you will not let my body become nothing.” v36 David in his life did what God wanted him to do. Then David died, and people buried his body. They buried him in the same family grave where people had buried the bodies of other family members before him. David’s body did become nothing. So, in this *psalm, David could not have been speaking about himself. v37 Instead, David was speaking about Jesus. Jesus also died, but God brought him back to life again. So Jesus’ body did not become nothing.’

v38 ‘Therefore, my *Israeli *brothers and other friends’, Paul said, ‘this is the *message that we are telling you now: God can excuse you for your *sins because of what Jesus has done. v39 There are many things that people do which do not please God. But now God accepts every person who has believed Jesus. They are no longer guilty of their *sins. But God could not do that for you just because you obey Moses’ *laws. v40 Therefore be careful that God does not *judge you for your *sins’, Paul said. ‘One of the *prophets said that God would do that! v41 The *prophet said that God said: “I will do something terrible to you who laugh at me. You will certainly be astonished at what I will do. And you will certainly die. You will be astonished, because I will do something terrible to you during your life. Someone may explain it to you. But you will not believe that I would do that even then.” ’

v42 Paul and Barnabas were leaving the *synagogue, but many of the people there stopped them. They eagerly requested the two men to speak to them again on the next *Sabbath. They wanted Paul to talk again about many things that he had just told them. v43 The *synagogue leaders had ended the meeting, and the people there had begun to leave the *synagogue. Many of them went along with Paul and Barnabas. There were both *Jews and *non-Jews. Those people had become *Jews and now they *worshipped the one God. Paul and Barnabas continued to talk to them. They urged them to continue to believe God’s *message. It was the *message about God’s kindness because of Jesus that they did not deserve.

v44 On the next *Sabbath most of the people in Antioch city came to the *synagogue. They wanted to hear what Paul and Barnabas would say about the *Lord Jesus. v45 But the *Jewish leaders became extremely jealous of Paul and Barnabas. They saw many *non-Jews there. They had come to hear what the *apostles would say. So those leaders began to argue with Paul and also to insult him.

v46 But Paul and Barnabas were quite bold when they replied to those *Jews: ‘We two had to tell you God’s *message about Jesus to you *Jews first. God ordered us to do that before we told it to the *non-Jews. However, you are refusing to listen to God’s *message. God offers you a *life that never ends. But this shows clearly that you do not deserve that *life. So we are leaving you and from now on we will usually tell God’s *message to the *non-Jews. v47 The *Lord God has ordered us to do this. God said: “I have appointed you to teach things about me to other people. I do not want you to speak only to *Jews. You will be like a light that shows things to people”, God said. “I have appointed you to talk to people everywhere in the world. I want you to tell them about the God who came to save them” ’, Paul and Barnabas said.

v48 Those who were not *Jews began to feel extremely happy as they listened to those words. They kept saying that the *message about the *Lord Jesus was wonderful. All those *non-Jewish people whom God had chosen believed the *message about the *Lord Jesus. God wanted them to have the *life with him that never ends. v49 At that time, many *believers travelled all through that region to announce publicly the message about the *Lord Jesus. And many more people believed Jesus.

v50 However, some *Jewish leaders talked to the most important men in the city. They also persuaded some good and important women who were not of the *Jewish religion to oppose Paul and Barnabas. So those people who were not *Jews themselves caused other people also to make problems for Paul and Barnabas. That was how they managed to get Paul and Barnabas to leave their region. v51 When they left, Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet. This was to show those people that God would punish them. They left Antioch city and they went to Iconium city. v52 Meanwhile the *believers in Antioch continued to be extremely happy. And the *Holy Spirit continued to completely control them.

Acts 14:1-20 Paul and Barnabas in Galatia

v1 Paul and Barnabas went into the *Jewish *synagogue in Iconium city, the same as they did in Antioch. As they spoke, they tried to convince the people there about the *Lord Jesus. And because of what they said, many *Jews and also *non-Jews believed Jesus’ *message. v2 But some of the *Jews did not believe that *message. And they told the *non-Jews not to believe it. They said that the *message about Jesus was not true. So some of the *non-Jews became angry against the *believers there. v3 Paul and Barnabas spent some days there, and they spoke boldly for the *Lord. And the *Lord Jesus helped them to do many *miracles. The *apostles were talking about God’s great kindness. By those *miracles the *Lord showed the people there that the *apostles’ words were true.

v4 The people of Iconium city strongly disagreed with each other about the *apostles’ *message. Some of them agreed with the *Jews who did not believe that *message. Other people agreed with the two *apostles. v5 Then the *Jews and the *non-Jews who opposed Paul and Barnabas talked among themselves. They wanted to stop Paul and Barnabas’s work. Some of the important men in that city agreed to help them. And together, they decided that they would kill Paul and Barnabas. They would throw stones at them until they were dead. v6 But Paul and Barnabas heard about that, so they quickly escaped to the Lycaonia region. They went to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and to the surroundings. v7 And while they were in that area, they continued to tell people God’s *message about the *Lord Jesus.

v8 Once, Paul was speaking publicly to people in Lystra. And there was a man sitting there who was not able to walk. His legs were bad from the time he was born. He had never been able to walk. v9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking about the *Lord Jesus. Paul looked directly at the man. He could see in the man’s face that he believed. The man believed that the *Lord Jesus could make him well. v10 So Paul called out to the man, ‘Stand up!’ The man immediately jumped up and he began to walk normally.

v11 The crowds saw what Paul had done. They thought that Paul and Barnabas must be gods. By custom they *worshipped a variety of gods. So they began to shout excitedly in their own Lycaonia language: ‘Look! These people must really be the gods that we *worship. They have made themselves appear as if they were people. And they have come down from the sky to help us!’ v12 The people were saying that Barnabas was probably Zeus, the chief god. And they were saying that Paul was Hermes. They were saying that the other gods had sent him. They said that, because Paul had been the chief speaker.

v13 Close outside the city gates there was a *temple where the people *worshipped the god Zeus. The priest of that *temple had heard about Paul and Barnabas, so he came to the city gates. Many people had gathered there. The priest brought some bulls (male cows) with flowers round their necks. The priest and the people wanted to have a ceremony. They wanted to give special honour to Paul and Barnabas. And they were ready to kill the bulls as *sacrifices.

v14 But when the *apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about this, they were very upset. They understood that the people thought about them, the *apostles, as gods. And those people wanted to *sacrifice the *bulls to give honour to them. So the *apostles tore their own clothes and they rushed into the crowd. v15 ‘Everybody, you should not be doing this!’ they shouted. ‘You must not kill those *bulls to give us honour. We two men are not gods. We are just people, like you. We have come to tell you a new and good *message. We have come to tell you about the one God who is all-powerful. He wants you to stop *worshipping other gods. They cannot help you’, the *apostles said.

‘The one God, who is alive, made the sky, the earth, the seas, and everything in them. v16 In past years, all the people in the world *worshipped whatever gods they wanted to. God let you *worship such gods, because you did not yet know him. v17 But God has shown how kind he is towards all people. He causes the rain to fall and the crops to grow. He gives you plenty of food to eat, and he causes you to be very happy.’ v18 The people heard what Paul said. But it was still difficult to keep them from killing the *bulls as *sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas.

v19 And later, there were some *Jews who had come from Antioch and Iconium. They persuaded many of the people in Lystra to not believe Paul’s *message. What he had been telling them was not true, they said. And the people who believed those *Jews became angry against Paul. They let the *Jews continue to throw stones at him until he lost his senses. He fell down, and everybody thought that he was dead. So they dragged him outside the city. But some *believers in Lystra had followed Paul outside the city. They came to where he was lying. v20 They stood round Paul, until his senses returned. Then he stood up and he went back into the city with those *believers.

The next day, Paul and Barnabas left Lystra town and they travelled to Derbe town. v21 They stayed there some days and they told the people the good *message about the *Lord Jesus. Many people became *believers in Jesus. After that, Paul and Barnabas started to travel back to Antioch in Syria. First, they returned to Lystra, and then they went to Iconium. Then they went on to Antioch in Pisidia[10]. v22 In each town, they helped the *believers to become strong in their *spirits. And they urged them to continue to trust the *Lord Jesus. They told the *believers: ‘God will always rule over us who have trusted in Jesus. But before that happens many people will cause us a lot of hurt’, they said.

v23 Paul and Barnabas appointed leaders for each local group of *believers. Before Paul and Barnabas left each town, they gathered the *believers together. They prayed together for some time without eating any food. Then Paul and Barnabas prayed to the *Lord Jesus for those leaders and the other *believers. They had believed the *message of the *Lord Jesus. And now the *apostles put them in God’s hands so that he would look after them.

v24 Paul and Barnabas travelled through Pisidia district. Then they went south to Pamphylia district. v25 There, they came first to Perga town and told the people there God’s *message about the *Lord Jesus. After that, they went down to the sea coast to a town called Attalia. v26 There they got into a ship. And then they crossed the sea back to Antioch town in Syria *province. So Paul and Barnabas returned to where they had started their journey. They had taken the good news to other places. And now they met again the *believers who had first appointed them. They had asked God to protect Paul and Barnabas. And the *apostles had completed that work.

v27 As soon as they arrived in Antioch, they called the *believers together. Paul and Barnabas had told the *message about Jesus to *non-Jewish people in many towns. So they reported to the *believers in Antioch all that God had helped them to do. In particular, they told them how many *non-Jewish people had believed Jesus’ *message. v28 Then Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch with the other *believers for several months.

Word List

advocate ~ someone who speaks about or defends a person or thing; they are not just lawyers; they speak to officials or offices on behalf of other people. People often use this word nowadays in this second sense.

ancestors ~ people from whom our parents came; the old people who lived long ago.

angels ~ *spirits who live with God in *heaven. They carry messages to people in this world. And they do anything that God tells them to do.

apostle ~ someone whom God sends. In the beginning, Jesus chose 12 men. They were with him during his life. They heard what he said. They saw what he did. Then Jesus made them his *apostles. The word means that he had sent them. He told them to take his *message to other towns and countries. They should go there after he left this world. They also led the groups of *believers in the first years after Jesus left them.

bandit ~ someone who robs by force. A person or group of persons who oppose society or the government. In Jesus’ time, bandits fought the *Romans. They usually attacked from secret places where they were hiding.

baptise, baptism, baptiser ~ to put water on or over someone. Before Jesus started to teach, another man called John baptised people. He told them to stop their *sins. Then he put river water on or over them. This showed that they were clean for God. Jesus also asked John to baptise him. People heard the *Holy Spirit speak at that time.

believers ~ people who believe *Christ. They hear and believe Jesus' *Message. They also meet together often to *worship God.

brother, brothers ~ the name that people use sometimes when they speak to a group of people from their own town or country. They say this to other people even if they are not brothers by birth.

bull ~ a male cow.

Christ ~ God chose Jesus and God sent him. That is what this name means. This refers to the work that Jesus came to do in this world. Christ is a word in the Greek language. *Messiah means the same in the Hebrew language.

Christian ~ those who believe *Christ’s *message, and it affects their lives.

circumcise, circumcision ~ a custom that God set up for all male *Jews. It was a sign for each *Jewish man or boy that they intended to obey God’s *Laws. It started with Abraham and his people. God asked them to cut off the loose skin on the end of the male private part. *Jews usually did this when the male baby was only 8 days old. In the Bible, some *Jews are described as ‘the *circumcision (party)’. This group of people wanted to circumcise all the *non-Jewish male *Christians too.

condemn, condemns, condemned ~ to say that something is wrong; to say that someone is guilty.

Council, Jewish Council ~ the most important people in Jerusalem city. This included the chief priests, teachers of the *Law of Moses, *Pharisees and *Sadducees.

cross ~ two pieces of wood that someone has fixed together. This was how the *Romans punished bad people. They made a wooden cross and they fixed them on it with nails. They left them there until they died.

demons ~ see ‘evil spirits’.

disciples ~ students or learners. They watch their teacher as he travels. And they learn what he says. Or they learn from what he does. This is how the 12 disciples learned from Jesus.

Egyptian ~ a person or thing from Egypt.

empire, emperor ~ an empire is a large group of countries that one powerful person called the emperor rules. Usually, he has seized many of those countries by war. These countries were then called *provinces of the empire. The *Roman emperor was called a ‘Caesar’, and he lived in Rome city. He sent a ruler to each *province, to rule on his behalf.

evil spirits ~ a spirit is alive but we cannot see it. We can feel that evil spirits are present. But we cannot see them. They come from the devil (look below at note on ‘spirits’).

fast, fasting ~ sometimes people very much want God to hear or to speak to them. They do not eat anything for one day or several days, so that they can pray to God better. They just drink a little water.

festival ~ a day or days that people keep special as holidays. Or days when they have special meals and ceremonies of their religion.

forgive ~ when you do not take account of a wrong thing that someone does to you.

gospel ~ (1) The good news about Jesus; (2) the record of Jesus’ life in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

grape ~ a sweet, round fruit. The fruit hangs in large groups from *vines. People make a strong drink called wine with grape juice. The field or garden where grape *vines grow is called a *vineyard.

Greek ~ a person from Greece, or the language that Greek people speak.

heaven ~ God’s place that is wonderfully bright. From there, all of God rules everything that exists on earth or the sky and the sun and stars. As ‘the heavens’, people also use this word for the sky above.

Hebrew ~ the language of *Jewish people; a Hebrew is a *Jewish or *Israelite person.

hell ~ a terrible fire that never ends. There, God will destroy *Satan (God’s enemy) and all evil people when the world ends.

Herod ~ (1) Herod Antipas, or Herod of the Antipater family. It is the name of the king (or ‘herod’) of Galilee and Perea districts while Jesus was on earth. This Herod was king, but he had to obey the *Romans. He ordered the death of John the *Baptiser. He also helped to *judge Jesus before the soldiers killed Jesus on a *cross. He was a son of Herod the Great. (2) Herod Agrippa the First. He was a grandson of Herod the Great. He was the ruler in the early days of the *apostles. (3) Herod Agrippa the Second, last of the Herods. He *judged Paul (Acts chapters 25-26) before he sent him to *Rome.

Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit ~ one person of the three persons who are the one God. He is a *spirit that we cannot see. But we know that he is here. He lives deep inside all people who believe Jesus. He continues the work that Jesus began in this world. So he is also called the ‘Spirit of Jesus’.

Israel, Israeli ~ the *Jewish nation and people. They are called this name because of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. God had promised him that he would be the father of a great nation of many people.

Jews, Jewish ~ the people who live in *Israel and speak the Hebrew language. The *Jews began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose them as his special people (in the first part of the Bible). Jesus was a Jew. (Also see ‘non-Jewish’.)

judge ~ to decide about what people have done. When this world ends, God will decide about what everyone has done. He will say if it was right. He will say if it was wrong. Then he will punish everybody who does wrong things.

law, Law ~ the laws that God gave to Moses, who wrote them down. The Law begins with the Ten Rules in Exodus chapter 20. And it continues to the end of the book called Deuteronomy. The *Jewish priests, *Pharisees and teachers added other laws to those that Moses wrote. And they thought of thousands of other meanings for these rules. But Jesus did not agree with these laws that they had added.

leper, leprosy ~ a skin disease that many people fear; spots on the skin that finally destroy parts of the body. Such body parts are the nose, the ears, fingers or toes. These spots make the skin white, as if it was dead. In Bible times, they did not allow lepers to live in villages with other people. If they recovered from the disease, they had to go to the *Temple. The priest examined them. Then he told them what *sacrifice to give. And he told other people in the village that it was now safe. That person could now come back to live in the village.

life, this life (that never ends) ~ those people who have this life will live with God for all time. Jesus has made a promise to any person who believes him. Jesus says that such a person will always live with God. Also, God will live with them here in this world. And they will live with God after their bodies die. It is a new life, and it is a much better life.

Lord ~ the boss or owner of something or of a work. The Bible uses ‘Lord’ for God, because he controls everything. But the *apostles also called Jesus *Christ ‘Lord’, or ‘the Lord’.

Lord’s Supper, Supper ~ a meal that they ate in the early churches for the benefit of poorer *believers. This was like the last *Passover supper that Jesus had with his *disciples. And so the *believers remembered the words that Jesus had said then. The words ‘break bread’ need not mean any more than to share food. As the meal begins, one *believer divides a piece of bread. Then he gives the other half to the person next to him.

mercy, merciful ~ to be kind when you do not have to be kind.

message, true message ~ the Good News about Jesus *Christ.

Messiah ~ the word for ‘Christ’ in the Hebrew language. (See note above on ‘Christ’.)

miracle, miraculous ~ something great or wonderful that only God can do; something that God does to show people his power; or he does it to tell people something about himself.

non-Jewish, non-Jews ~ people in other nations than the *Jewish nation; any people in the world who are not *Jews.

ointment ~ a soft or oily medicine that people put on injuries; or, a substance to put on the skin to make a person more beautiful.

parable ~ a story from real life, that you are using to teach a truth. Jesus often used such stories when he taught people. Sometimes parables had hidden meanings. Then only people who wanted to believe *Christ could understand the meaning.

paralysis, paralysed ~ when someone absolutely cannot move an arm or a leg; or, when someone cannot move their whole body.

paralytic ~ someone who absolutely cannot move an arm or a leg; or, someone who cannot move their whole body.

Passover ~ the first major *festival or holy day in the *Jewish year. *Jews ate a special meal on this day every year of lamb (young sheep) and bread. They made the bread without *yeast. This was to remember the night when God freed them from being slaves in Egypt. The *angel of death passed over all *Jewish homes and God saved them. In Jesus’ time, all *Jewish families came to Jerusalem for this *festival.

Pentecost ~ another *Jewish holy day that came 50 days after *Passover (see Acts 2:1).

Pharisee ~ a group or party of *Jewish leaders, often rich people. They were very proud. They thought that they, and only they, obeyed all God’s rules. They did not like the things that Jesus taught. They opposed him strongly. But some Pharisees believed Jesus, like Nicodemus.

porch ~ an entrance to a building. It has a roof.

prophet ~ someone who speaks God’s word about a person, thing or event; or they speak about what will happen in the future.

province ~ a region or part of a nation or of an *empire with its own local government.

psalm ~ a song that people sing to God. One of the 150 psalms that David and other *Jewish musicians wrote down. They are in the Book of Psalms in the first part of the Bible.

reject, rejected ~ refuse to accept, throw out or throw away.

Roman ~ people from the city called Rome; or people who had the same rights as Roman citizens even if they lived elsewhere. A powerful *emperor or ‘Caesar’, who lived in Rome, ruled them. Romans did not *worship the one, true God. They had many gods of their own, and the ‘caesar’ was the head god. The Romans seized land from many European and Asian countries to make their *empire. And they had seized *Israeli land, before Jesus was born. They called that land, Palestine *province. The *Jews hated the Romans and all their laws and taxes, and they often fought against them.

Rome ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time.

rope ~ thick, strong string.

sabbath ~ the last day of the *Jewish week, and a day of rest. No one in *Israel could do any work on that day. But they could do things that pleased God. Sabbath began at sunset on Friday. It finished at sunset on Saturday.

sacrifice, sacrificial ~ when a priest killed a special or pure animal as a gift to God. By this, people asked God to excuse them for their *sins, or they gave special *worship to him. God told Moses and the *Jews to make several sacrifices. They did this to ask God to forgive their *sins, or to thank and praise him. Or they did it to get good harvests. Also, a sacrifice is something that a person gives up for a special purpose. The greatest sacrifice was when *Christ died on a *cross to save us from our *sin.

Sadducees ~ a group of *Jews. They did not believe that a person continued to live on after he had died. They only used the first 5 books of the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible).

sandal ~ a type of open shoe. A piece of leather covers the bottom of the foot, and leather string holds it on the foot.

Satan ~ the ruler of all *evil spirits; he starts all the lies and false things in the world; another name for the devil.

saviour ~ someone who saves or rescues people or things. Jesus *Christ is our Saviour, or the one who saves us. He rescues people from the devil or from their *sin. He also rescues them from hopeless situations.

scribes ~ teachers of the *Law of Moses. They said that they always knew what the *Jewish *Scriptures said. So they thought that they were very important.

Scripture ~ God’s *message that various people had written down over many years. In the Scriptures, God showed people, little by little, what he is like. And he showed people what he wants. The Bible that the early *believers had was mainly the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). Jews thought that the books of Moses, the *Law, were especially the *Scriptures.

sin, sins ~ the wrong things that we do. God says that they are wrong.

sinful, sinner ~ someone who does wrong things. Sinners do not do what God wants.

Son of God ~ a name similar to ‘Son of Man’. Some *Gospel writers use one name, some use the other name. ‘Son’ means that God did send Jesus. And it means that he came from God. But the word ‘son’ does not mean that Jesus was less important than God. (See ‘Father’.) Many times the *Gospels record stories that show how Jesus is God. We read that he had all the power and honour of God. Jesus is called ‘Son of God’ because he never lost his relationship with God. And he is God in himself. Also, Jesus showed us God perfectly in his life and in all that he said. And in all that he did.

Son of Man ~ Jesus called himself the ‘Son of Man’. He also called himself the ‘man that came down from *heaven’. He is God, but he was born as a human person.

spirit, evil spirit ~ a spirit is alive but we cannot see it. It does not have a body. But we know that it is there. It is like the wind. People’s spirits are inside them while they are alive. And their spirits continue to live after they die. There are spirits that do good things. And there are spirits that do evil things. We can feel evil spirits but we cannot see them. They come from the devil. (For God’s Spirit, see *Holy Spirit.)

spit, spat ~ mouth water; to send liquid out of the mouth; to throw out saliva (water) from the mouth. This often signalled an insult. But Jesus sometimes used spit to heal people.

synagogue ~ a house in every town or village where *Jews gather to pray. They also use this house to study the *Scriptures and for other public meetings.

temple ~ a special house that people built to meet in and to *worship God. A place that people keep ‘clean’ as their religion demands. Then it is ready for God to come and meet his people. It is a place where people keep special furniture for these purposes. The *Jews only had one temple – the temple that was in Jerusalem city.

vine, vine bushes, vineyard ~ a low tree with long, spreading branches, which produces groups of sweet fruit (called *grapes). The field or garden where grape vines grow is called a vineyard.

Way ~ when we believe Jesus’ *message, we do not just believe words. We have to do what the words say. It is like a road that we must follow all our life. That is why the first *believers often called it ‘The Way’.

witch-doctor ~ a person who does magic to hurt other people. People often pay them to do this. Witch-doctors also try to cure people who are ill because of magic.

worship ~ when we think about God. We think about what he is doing. And then we tell him how wonderful he is. We can worship him by ourselves. Or we can meet with other *believers to worship him. Then we all together say or sing about how great God is.

yeast ~ a live substance which people mix with wheat flour to make the flour mixture rise. There was one season every year, when *Jews only ate unleavened bread. This is bread that has no yeast in it. The word can also mean the bad effect that something evil can have on us.

Zealot ~ a member of a *Jewish political party. Zealots helped and encouraged other *Jews to fight against the *Roman government.


[1] sloping writing, writing where the letters slope.

[2] He wanted them to distribute it to other believers who were in real need.

[3] He pretended that he was giving them all of the money that he had received for the land.

[4] This translation uses the future tense because the original passage in Isaiah 53 used a prophetic perfect, a past tense form used to make a prediction about a certain future event. (Deibler)

[5] Some translations add these words.

[6] Saul had gone away from and returned to Damascus in the meantime.

[7] See note in Word List on ‘circumcise, circumcision’.

[8] Maybe the soldiers were not aware of this.

[9] Some Bibles say that this could have been Jerusalem.

[10] These towns were in the Roman province called Galatia.


© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

September 2005

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