Thematic Analysis Essays Instructions

Thematic Analysis Essay 1, Acts 1:1–7:59

In an essay of 750-1000 words, analyze the thematic development of this first movement of the book of Acts. While this is not an exclusive list, be sure to address the following elements:

  1. Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 provide the inspired outline Luke follows in writing Acts. (Re-read “Theme and Structure of Acts” in the introduction, “Background of Acts.”) How does this segment develop the theme of the geographical/ethnic advance of the proclamation of the gospel in the first “geographic target” Jesus identifies in Acts 1:8? Trace the development of this theme through this section of Acts.
  2. What other major themes are developed in Acts 1–7 (of the nine themes identified by Fowler in his video presentation “The Key Themes of Acts”)? Trace the development of each of the themes introduced in the first seven chapters. Do not merely list the themes, and do more than give a single example. Trace each theme from its introduction through chapter 7.
  3. Luke records four of Peter’s evangelistic addresses in this section: his sermon on Pentecost (2:14–40), his sermon following the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (3:12–26), and his testimony in his two appearances before the Sanhedrin (4:8–12; 5:29–32). Read these and compare them in order to identify the core elements that Peter considered non-negotiable in his preaching of the gospel. What does Peter believe his audience must understand to be saved? Present those core truths.
  4. What are the two primary, recurring themes in Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin? How are these themes developed by Stephen? How does Stephen’s speech fit thematically into this movement of the book of Acts? ( Fowler’s video on “Unity, Disunity, and Opposition/Death” will help you to identify the “two main things” Stephen drives home in his speech.)

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Thematic Analysis Essay 2, Acts 8:1–12:25

In an essay of 750-1000 words, analyze the thematic development of this second movement of the book of Acts. While this is not an exclusive list, be sure to address the following elements:

  1. How does this segment develop the theme of the geographical/ethnic advance of the proclamation of the gospel presented in the key verse of the book, Acts 1:8? What is the new “geographic target” in this movement of the book? Trace the development of this theme through this section of Acts. You’ll note a definite transition in the audience of the gospel in these chapters. Trace that transition. (Remember that it is geographical, religious, and ethnic.)
  2. What other major themes are developed in Acts 8–12 (of the nine themes identified by Fowler in his video presentation “The Key Themes of Acts”)? Identify what you believe are the four most important themes in this segment, then trace the development of each of those themes through these chapters.
  3. Luke records the evangelistic encounter of Peter with Cornelius and his household in chapter 10 and Peter’s defense of his fellowship with these Gentiles in chapter 11. Read the account of what Peter said to the household of Cornelius to identify and present the core elements of Peter’s preaching of the gospel to Gentiles. How do these compare to the core elements you identified in Peter’s preaching to the Jews in the first movement of the book of Acts? What changes does Peter make in his approach to the Gentiles, and what is the significance of those changes?

Thematic Analysis Essay 3, Acts 13:1–28:31

In an essay of 1000-1500 words, analyze the thematic development of this third movement of the book of Acts. While this is not an exclusive list, be sure to address the following elements:

  1. How does this segment develop the theme of the geographical/ethnic advance of the proclamation of the gospel presented in the key verse of the book, Acts 1:8? What is the “geographic target”? Trace the development of this theme through this section of Acts.
  2. Identify what you believe to be the most important themes developed by Luke in this movement of the book (of Dr. Fowler’s nine themes) and trace those themes through this segment of the book. Fowler states that all of the key themes converge in the final chapter of the book. Describe this convergence.
  3. Luke presents three evangelistic messages by Paul in this movement of the book: his sermon in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch in chapter 13, his plea to the people of Lystra in chapter 14, and his address to the philosophers of Athens in chapter 17. He also narrates Paul’s defense appearances before Governor Felix, Governor Festus, and King Agrippa 2. The last of these includes a gospel presentation. Read the three evangelistic messages and the defense before Agrippa again. Compare/contrast Paul’s preaching to the Jews with his preaching to pagans.
  4. What pattern/progression do you see in the Jewish response to the witness of Paul in these chapters? (Give attention in your thinking to Paul’s words in 13:46–47, 18:6, and 28:25–28.)

The Thematic Analysis Essays are due through SafeAssign by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module/week.

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Thematic Analysis Essay 3, Acts 13:1–28:31

 How does this segment develop the theme of the geographical/ethnic advance of the proclamation of the gospel presented in the key verse of the book, Acts 1:8? What is the “geographic target”? Trace the development of this theme through this section of Acts.

            Acts 13:1–28:31 is in support of Acts 1:8 whereby gospel proclamations continue to take shape. However, in the chapters, one reckons the spread of the gospel to other parts of the world .the end of the earth can be seen as well. In Greco-Roman the phrase End of the earth, this means infinite of civilization. The geographic target includes all nations and gentiles. The message in Acts 13 is focused on salvation for everyone. Paul stars in the chapter when he focuses on the end of the earth. The theme progresses when Jesus assures apostles that they will receive the Holy Spirit after leaving Jerusalem, Samaria to other parts of the world, as discussed in the previous chapters. [1]Polhill defines Paul as the new witness of the messiah imparting the message “ends of the earth”. Paul, Barnabas starts their ministry in Cyprus. Paul, with other apostles, reaches other places such as Rome, Lystra, Tarsus, Cilicia, Syria, Antioch, Corinth, and Iconium, Macedonia amongst other places. Polhill cites that Paul influenced people to accept Jesus Christ message then get salvation. Acts 13 identifies circumcision as a significant concern that affected gentiles. The Jerusalem council, Paul and other apostle embark on flouting deceitful teachings about circumcision among the gentiles.

What other major themes are developed in Acts 13–28 (of the themes identified by Fowler in his video presentation “The Key Themes of Acts”)? Trace the development of each theme as applicable. Fowler states that all of the key themes converge in the final chapter of the book. Describe and explain this convergence.

Various themes are developed and articulated in Acts 13-28. World mission, spreading Jesus Christ teachings, the triumph of the gospel and salvation to gentiles are some of the themes developed in acts 13-28.[2] Paul and Barnabas embarked on this mission. In the eyes of Lycaonians, Paul and Barnabas were gods because they performed miracles. The chapters highlight the struggles that apostles encountered. The world mission theme is evident when Paul and Barnabas give sermons to gentiles in Cyprus. The theme is further seen when the acts 13-28 when the two apostles take the gospel to the Roman Empire. The gospel reaches other parts such as Samaria, role, Greece, Africa and other parts of the world. Gods’ providence is another theme expressed by Polhill.[3] Acts 15:16-17 cements God promise that David’s tent will be rebuild so that people become restored back to their creator. God pledges providence to his apostles as they spread his word. This theme is apparent when apostles and disciples crisscross all parts of the world, spreading the gospel. Despite the struggle and challenges that apostles underwent, the Lord was grateful enough to provide for them. An inclusive gospel is another theme that pops in acts 13-28. Gentiles from all parts are converted to accept the gospel. Like Jews, the gentiles could receive lord teachings without discrimination. The revolution steered by Paul starts in Cyprus until the last chapter, when he reaches Rome. The restoration of Israel from its old is also another theme in the chapter. Israel ceases to be a nation but the church, which is a representation of Jesus Christ. Faithful witness is the last theme. Saul, a critic of Christianity (persecutor), is reformed becoming a faithful witness of Christ. Paul denotes faithfulness to the Lord despite the struggles that he underwent. All themes are in line with fowler description of the newly found kingdom, an inclusive world and the new Israel.[4] Acts showcase how the kingdom is unfolding. Israel wanted to make Israel a blessing to the entire world.

Luke presents three evangelistic messages by Paul in this movement of the book: his sermon in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch in chapter 13, his plea to the people of Lystra in chapter 14, and his address to the philosophers of Athens in chapter 17. He also narrates Paul’s defense appearances before Governor Felix, Governor Festus, and King Agrippa 2. The last of these includes a gospel presentation. Read the three evangelistic messages and the defense before Agrippa again. Compare/contrast Paul’s preaching to the Jews with his preaching to pagans.

Acts 13 shows that Paul message created an impression in Pisidian people who wanted him to give a sermon about the next Sabbath. People who showed up in the synagogues were accustomed to the biblical verses. Paul speech depicts lords’ truthfulness to the promises he made for Israel. Jesus Christ fulfilled these promises. Jews sternly opposed gentiles who went to synagogues in large numbers. However, Paul message focused more on gentiles, who subsequently became the basis of the first church. A huge of activities in Acts 14 occurred in Lystra. Acts 14:8-10 Paul performed a miracle after healing a cripple. Acts 14:11-13 Lystra dwellers reaction was diverting because they perceived him and other apostles as gods. Paul and Barnabas received backlash for the homage. Those who adored Paul and Barnabas revolted and sort to stone him to death. Acts 17 describes Athens as a city of rational thinkers. Paul preaching in the Pisidian Antioch synagogue converses the message of dispersion amongst the Jews. The Areopagus, Athens sermon focused on pagan gentiles. Athens was well known for idol practice due to the statues erected. Athens architecture signifies that the city practised idolatry. Usually, Paul speeches had points of references as he gave sermons to the audience. His modus operandi hypothesized Gods message. Acts 26 illustrates how Paul defended Gods gospel and himself. Jews accused Paul wrongly.

Jews cited that Paul was against the temple, violated laws and resented Caesar. They incarcerated him in Caesarea waiting for trails for the allegations. None of the charges raised could be substantiated. Paul was not guilty of the allegations. Acutely, Felix and Festus who were roman governors at the time did not acquit him. When Agrippa approached governor Festus, he said that Paul would be acquitted if he had not involved Caesar. The father of King Agrippa believed in the rule of law. He headed the temple and its treasures. Jews high priest was appointed through his office. He knew the scriptures very well, yet the word of God was fiercely resented. On the contrary, Paul made the most of the philosophical thinking and Roman law when dealing with pagans.

What pattern/progression do you see in the Jewish response to the witness of Paul in these chapters? (Give attention in your thinking to Paul’s words in 13:46–47, 18:6, and 28:25–28.)

With reference to Paul utterances in 13:46–47, 18:6, and 28:25–28, one can notice that Jews appalled the word of God. However, the passages show that apostles did not have any of Jews believes because they spread the message to gentiles who were ready for the gospel. Jews were against all words Paul, a Christ witness. Imparting God’s grace to Jews was a struggle because the high priests were the leading revolts. The high priest did not like the gentiles at all. Acts 28 expressed Paul encounter with Pisidian Jews who resisted him. As a result, Paul preached to gentiles.

Bibliography

Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary, Vol. 26, Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992

Abbot, Kirsten. “Themes in Luke‟ s gospel: introduction to the Luke/Acts package.” Internet File: www. wn. anglican. org. nz/files/docs/some-themes-introd-to-luke-acts. Pdf.

[1] Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary, Vol. 26, Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992

[2] Abbot, Kirsten. “Themes in Luke‟ s gospel: introduction to the Luke/Acts package.” Internet File: www. wn. anglican. org. nz/files/docs/some-themes-introd-to-luke-acts. Pdf.

[3] Polhill, John B. The New American Commentary, Vol. 26, Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1992

[4] Abbot, Kirsten. “Themes in Luke‟ s gospel: introduction to the Luke/Acts package.” Internet File: www. wn. anglican. org. nz/files/docs/some-themes-introd-to-luke-acts. Pdf.

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