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Tutorial Topic Paper

All students will be randomly allocated a tutorial topic paper. The student will be required to research the topic in the book of Acts, in preparation for leading a class tutorial on the topic. These tutorials will start in Week 4, and continue until Week 10. You will then turn your research into a topical essay, which is to be handed in a maximum 3 weeks after you have led your tutorial. Marks for this task will be allocated both for your classroom presentation and for your paper.

Guide for the Presentations

You and your study partner should prepare a small talk to give in front of class that should go for no less than 15 minutes and no more than 30 minutes, which summarises the results of your research. You are free to give out handouts, make PowerPoint presentations, show videos, as part of your presentation.

You should be prepared to provoke some discussion from your presentation, by asking questions of the class, inviting their contribution, etc.

You should be prepared to answer questions on your topic from both your fellow class members and the lecturer.

Marking Scheme for the Essays

The tutorial essays will be marked according to the marking scheme provided at the back of this handout. A summary of what will be assessed:

Clarity of argument

Clear essay structure (introduction, body, conclusion)

Demonstrated wider reading based on bibliography and what you have found in your own research

Clear presentation of your own view, which also fairly evaluates opposing views, and reasonably demonstrates the superiority of your view.

The following bibliographies have been checked in terms of availability at Wesley Library. If you have any trouble locating a resource, please contact your lecturer immediately to notify. Otherwise, it will be assumed you had access to the resource.

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts (Presentation Due August 20 Paper Due 20 September)

Questions to guide your presentation for class:

What roles does the Holy Spirit play in the book of Acts?

What is the significance of the Holy Spirit for a) becoming a Christian and b) doing ministry?

Does Luke present a consistent pattern for how the Spirit is received by Christian believers?

What is the significance of the Holy Spirit in the story of Cornelius’ conversion?

How do Luke’s emphases on the Spirit differ from Paul’s emphases?

First:

Read the book of Acts, and make a note of all the passages where the Spirit is involved. Put together your own thoughts.

Then: Read….

In particular, see David Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, PNTC (Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 2009), 60-65

D.A. Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 137-160

Max Turner, “The Spirit and Salvation in Luke-Acts,” in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 103-116

Gordon Fee, Gospel and Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics (Peabody:

Hendrickson, 1991), 83-104

Craig Keener, The Spirit in the Gospels and Acts (Hendrickson, 1997).

Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St Luke (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1992)

Nearly all major commentaries (i.e. Bock, Fitzmyer, Dunn, Bruce, etc.) will have a section, either in the introduction or in the commentary, on the role of the Holy Spirit in Acts. If in doubt, look up comments on Acts chapter 2, or better still, look up the index of the commentary, and see where there are extended discussions on the Holy Spirit.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

What role does the Holy Spirit play in the book of Acts? Does Luke believe the gift of the Spirit is an added blessing that comes after you are saved, or is the Spirit part of the gift of salvation?

Money and Possessions in the Book of Acts (Presentation Due Augusr 23 Paper Due 20 September)

Questions to guide your presentation for class:

Do you think Luke presents all early Christians as practicing common ownership of goods? Does Luke think common ownership was a mistake in the early church?

What do you think is Luke’s attitude to wealth?

How does the teaching on money and possessions in Acts compare with teaching on money and possessions in the rest of the Bible?

First:

Read the book of Acts, and make a note of all the passages where wealth, poverty, and sharing of possessions is important. Put together your own thoughts.

Then:

See the article by T. E. Schmidt on “Riches and Poverty” in the Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments (Not all of this article is on the book of Acts but at least some of it is).

Craig L. Blomberg, Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions (Apollos, 1999), pp.160-175

Steve Walton, “Primitive Communism in Acts?” Evangelical Quarterly 80 (2008): 99-

111

Luke T. Johnson, The Literary Function of Posessions in Luke-Acts (Scholars, 1977).

Ben Witherington’s new book, Jesus and Money, also has a chapter on “Wealth” in Luke- Acts. We don’t have it at Wesley Library, but it is well worth a look.

You should also look at major commentaries and see their comments on key passages such as 2:44-45 and 4:32-35.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

What do we learn about a Christian attitude of wealth in the book of Acts? To what degree is the communal sharing of Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-35 a model for contemporary Christians to follow?

Miracles in the Book of Acts (Presentation Due August 30 Paper due 20 Sep 2010)

Questions to guide your class presentation

What is the frequency of miracles across the book of Acts (i.e. are they always present?)

What do miracles function to show?

Who does miracles?

On what occasions do miracles not happen where we might expect them to?

Summarise Luke’s attitude to miracles.

First:

Read the book of Acts, and make a note of all the passages where miracles happen. Put together your own thoughts.

Then:

See the article “Miracles in Acts” by P.H. Davids in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments.

David Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 83-92

M.M.B. Turner, “The Spirit and Power of Jesus: Miracles in Lucan Conception,” Novum Testamentum 33 (1991): 124-52.

Ben Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 220-228;

577-583.

Keith Warrington, “Acts and the Healing Narratives: Why?” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 14 (2006): 189-217 (accessed through ATLA database)

Most major commentaries will have some discussion of miracles and their function in Acts. Check table of contents and indexes for guidance.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

What is the function of miracles in the book of Acts? Does Luke intend to present miracles as the normal experience of the church, or as a unique feature of the apostolic age?

Prayer in the Book of Acts (Presentation Due 20 September Paper Due 12 October)

Questions to guide your class presentation

What do Christians pray about in the book of Acts?

Is prayer a regular feature in the life of the church?

How does God answer prayer in the book of Acts?

What is the relationship between prayer and mission?

Is prayer individual or corporate

First:

Read the book of Acts, and make a note of all the passages where prayer happens. Put together your own thoughts.

Then:

David Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 196-203 (as a starting point).

David Crump, Knocking on Heavens Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 179-96.

Allison A. Trites, “The Prayer-Motif in Luke-Acts,” in Perspectives on Luke-Acts (Danville: Assoc. of Baptist Professors of Religion, 1978), 168-86.

P.T. O’Brien, “Prayer in Luke-Acts,” Tyndale Bulletin 24 (1973): 111-27 available at

M.M.B. Turner, “Prayer in the Gospels and Acts,” in D.A. Carson (ed.), Teach Us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World (London: World Evangelical Fellowship, 1990), 58-83.

S. S. Smalley, “Spirit, Kingdom, and Prayer in Luke-Acts,” Novum Testamentum 15 (1973): 59-71.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

What are the prominent features of the prayer life of the church in the book of Acts?

Church in the Book of Acts (Presentation due 27 September Paper Due 19 October)

Questions to guide your class presentation:

What kinds of church gatherings do we find in the book of Acts? How much similarity and diversity is present?

What is the size of church gatherings?

What kinds of things happen in early Christian gatherings, according to the book of Acts? Preaching? Prayer? Singing?

Are there any identified leadership positions, like pastor, bishop, worship leader?

How do the types of gatherings pointed out in Acts match up with our gatherings? Are the similarities and differences important?

First

Read through the book of Acts, and make a note of all passages where “gatherings” of Christians happen. Put together your own thoughts.

Then

Read the articles by K.N. Giles “Church” and “Church Order, Government” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. Not all of these articles are on the book of Acts.

Read the article by B.B. Blue “Architecture, Early Church” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. Not all of this article is on the book of Acts.

Robert Banks, Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in their Historical Setting (Homebush: ANZEA, 1979)

Bradley Blue, “Acts and the House Church,” in Book of Acts in its First Century Setting:

Volume 2: The Book of Acts in its Greco-Roman Setting (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1994),

119-222.

Gordon D. Fee, “Laos and Leadership under the New Covenant,” in Listening to the Spirit in the Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 121-146.

Consultation of the commentaries on relevant passages will also help a great deal.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

Describe what we know about early Christian gatherings according to the book of Acts, in terms of what they did, where they met and how they were led. What don’t we know? What is the significance of church life in the book of Acts for modern Christian gatherings?

Evangelism and Witness in the book of Acts (Presentation Due 11 October Paper Due 2 November)

Questions to guide your class presentation:

What is the range of methods that early Christians used to witness to the gospel?

How does evangelistic preaching differ according to different contexts in the book of Acts?

How much is evangelism the special province of special evangelists, and how much did it involve all Christians?

Are there any implications for contemporary church practice?

First

Read through the book of Acts, and its various accounts of evangelistic situations, and jot down some of your own thoughts.

Then

See D.S. Lim, “Evangelism in the Early Church,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments (Not all of this article is on the book of Acts).

Dean Flemming, Contextualization in the New Testament (Leicester: Apollos, 2005), 25- 88 (not at Wesley)

John B. Polhill, “Evangelism in the Acts of the Apostles,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 5 (2001): 4-16. (Available at

Mans Ramstead, “Evangelism from the Book of Acts,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 36 (2000): 200-204.

George W. Murray, “Paul’s Corporate Evangelism in the Book of Acts,” Bibliotheca Sacra 155 (1998): 189-200.

Thom S. Rainer, “Church Growth and Evangelism in the Book of Acts,” Criswell Theological Review 5 (1990): 57-68 available online:

Peter Bolt, “Mission and Witness,” in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 191-214.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

How is evangelism done in the Acts of the Apostles? To what degree is there consistency in methods and preaching, and to what degree is their difference? What are the implications for the contemporary church?

Women in the Book of Acts (Presentation due 11 October Paper Due 2 November)

Questions to consider for your presentation:

How are women presented as involved in the church and its mission?

Do these roles reflect their social level in the first century, or is early Christianity different?

What might be the relevance to today’s women in the Christian church?

First

Read through the book of Acts and examine all the passages which reflect woman’s involvement. Jot down your thoughts.

Then

Read C.C. Kroeger, “Women in the Early Church,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments.

C.S. Keener, “Woman and Man,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments (not all of this article is about the book of Acts).

Ben Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 334-339.

David Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles (PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 458- 462, 507-510

Examine commentaries on key passages like Acts 18:26, 16:11-15 or 21:8-9.

Essay Question for 1500 word paper

According to Acts, what role did women play in the life and ministry of the early church? To what degree was women’s involvement in early Christianity counter-cultural according to first century standards?