Giving Life Meaning
Module 3 - The Apostle's Response
3/0 Introduction
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.Picture, Disciples Waiting Teaching Into Practice
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This Module looks at what the disciples did after Jesus returned to heaven, as recorded in ‘The Acts of The Apostles’ (often just called ‘Acts’), plus a summary of St Paul’s Letters to the Romans and Corinthians.

The main Module has 6 parts that explore how the Apostles took out Jesus’ message to the wider world, plus Paul’s summary of the Gospel principles and ways of putting them into practice.

There is also an optional Appendix that explores the rest of the New Testament Letters which were written to individuals and groups, so help us apply Jesus’ teaching to our own life today.
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          Module 3 Index
    3/0  Teaching Into Practice (this page)
    3/1  Drawing People In

    3/2  The Need To Change 
    3/3  The Message Goes Out - 1
    3/4  The Message Goes Out - 2
    3/5  Paul's Letter To Romans 
    3/6  Paul's Letters To Corinthians
Optional Appendix
    3/7  Paul's Other Letters 
    3/8  The General Letters - 1
  3/9  The General Letters - 2  
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.Picture, Fellowship of Believers Module 3/1 – Drawing People In
After Jesus returned to heaven, the Apostles first received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised, which gave them courage and strength to preach Jesus’ message to anyone who would listen – and thousands believed.

At first they were drawn into a ‘Fellowship of Believers’, sharing everything in common (as they thought Jesus would return very soon – certainly in their lifetime), but they were persecuted by the established religious authorities, so the Fellowship broke up and they were scattered. (Return to top)
  • Peter took the lead and guided the Apostle's activities.

  • Although supposedly equal, some converts complained they were being treated worse than others, so ‘Deacons' (servants) were appointed to assist. One of those, Stephen, became the first Christian martyr.
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Picture, Philip and Ethiopian. Module 3/2 – The Need To Change
The scattered disciples went different ways, teaching Jesus’ message and performing miracles where they went. Philip was guided to meet with and convert a Gentile (an Ethiopian Eunuch).

A man called Saul, (later called Paul), who had been one of the persecutors, was challenged by a vision of Jesus. He became a believer and an effective teacher of the faith. Meanwhile, Peter had a vision that changed their approach, and they began to take the message out to where people were, instead of inviting them in to a closed Fellowship. (Return to top)
  • Up to now, converts were required to adopt the Jewish way of life. After his vision, Peter was guided to meet with, and baptise, a Roman Centurion who was a Gentile, a non-Jew.

  • Peter explained his vision and actions to the other believers, who agreed God intended all people to be included in his Kingdom, not just Jews.
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Picture, Paul & Barnabas. Module 3/3 – The Message Goes Out – 1
Paul and Barnabas make the first and second of four missionary journeys, taking the message out to, and making converts of, the people in Greece and ‘Asia Minor’ (parts of modern Turkey). They met with both success and resistance, some of it life threatening, including Paul being stoned (but surviving).

Some still insisted all Christian converts must adopt the Jewish way of life too, but Paul and Barnabas disagreed and took their concerns to the Apostles in Jerusalem, where a ‘Council’ met and produced a clear instruction. (Return to top)
  • On the first journey they visit 4 towns in the region of Galatia but Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement over Mark so make the second journey separately.

  • On the second journey, Paul visits Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth and Ephesus.
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.Picture, Paul's Ship Module 3/4 – The Message Goes Out – 2
Paul makes a third missionary journey by choice but the fourth journey is forced on him when he’s arrested and sent to Rome to defend himself before Caesar. Although under house arrest, he’s still able to preach the Gospel.

The Book of ‘Acts’ ends here, but other authors record Paul was eventually decapitated by order of the Emperor Nero. (Return to top)
  • For the third journey, Paul returns to Ephesus then on to Macedonia (northern Greece) before returning to Jerusalem, via many stops on the way.

  • The route to Rome is delayed by a shipwreck, which takes them to the island of Malta.
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.Picture, Scribe 2 Module 3/5 – Paul’s Letter To The Romans
In this Letter to the People of Rome, Paul provides a summary of the Gospel message that many find useful to us today.

Scholars acknowledge that St Paul wrote many of the New Testament Letters, but the author of several is ‘unsure’, some may be by Paul, as their style is similar, or they could be by someone who admired him so wrote in his name. (Return to top)
  • Scholars accept the Letter to Romans is by Saint Paul.

  • Romans and Corinthians are the longest of Paul’s letters.
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.Picture, City of Corinth Module 3/6 – Paul's Letters To The Corinthians
Where the Letter to the Romans gives a summary of Jesus teaching, the two Letters to the Christians in Corinth give a good summary of how to put it into everyday practice. (Return to top)
  • Scholars accept the 2 Letters to the people of Corinth are by Saint Paul (ie: 1 and 2 Corinthians).
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Optional Appendix – Letters of Guidance
.Picture, Paul Writing in Prison Module 3/7 – Paul's Other Letters
Paul wrote several other Letters to churches he founded on his journeys, or to people he worked with to support them or correct them where he’d heard they might be going wrong. They include guidance on Christian forgiveness, dealing with heresy, faith leaders, and elders. (Return to top)
  • Some, but not all, of these Letters are attributed to Saint Paul – the description of each Letter identifies the generally accepted author.
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Picture, Priest
. Module 3/8 – The General Letters - 1
This Part begins with a substantial Letter addressed to the Hebrews justifying Jesus as the Messiah and declaring him the ‘High Priest’ of the New Covenant, different from the priests of the Old one, plus the first Letter by the Apostle Peter.
  • The letter to the Hebrews is shown in some Bibles as being by Saint Paul, but recent scholars now doubt that, so it’s now attributed as author ‘unsure’.
. Module 3/9 – The General Letters - 2
Part 2 begins with the second Letter by the Apostle Peter, then a Letter thought to be by James, Jesus’ brother, and three Letters by John (the one who wrote the Gospel?), and one by Jude who writes about false teachers

It concludes with an introduction to the last book – Revelation – which is effectively a Letter to us all but, because of the difficult style in which it’s written (‘Apocryphal’), it’s best to read with it along with a book that interprets it, so it’s not explored here at length. (Return to top)
  • This Module completes the currently available ‘Modulo’ material so ends with a recommendation of what to do next.
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