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

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? (Dr. Fowler’s video on “Unity, Disunity, and Opposition/Death” will help you to identify the “two main things” Stephen drives home in his speech.)

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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