ACTS OF THE
ELEMENTS HELPFUL TO THE GROWTH OF A RELIGION MOVEMENT
are some of the factors that might help explain the rise of a religious
movement. In preparing for Study Question #5, think about how much
information Acts gives us on some of these factors.
- Money (Does Acts make it clear what
financial resources the church had available and how it used those
resources? Does it make it clear how the
church handled disputes over money?)
- Conditions (What does Acts show about
the 30-62 A.D. period that helps explain the growth of Christianity?
Does it show things that needed change in society?)
- Relationship to secular authorities
(Does Acts make clear how the relationship between the early church and
secular powers/how these powers helped/hindered the growth of the
- Message and a means for communicating
that message (Does Acts make it clear why certain people found the
message of the church attractive? Does it show how the message was
transmitted? Does it show how that message challenged the status
quo? Does it show what hope for change it offered?
What about forgiveness?)
- Leaders (Does the book of Acts make
clear who the leaders were that helped the early church grow? Does it make it clear what qualities these
leaders had that made them successful?)
- Structure (Does Acts show the
organizational structure of the church, giving info. on how leaders
related to one another, how they settled differences, how they related
to their followers, how they added additional leaders, how they handled
- Followers and opponents (Does Acts
make it clear who the people were that converted to Christianity and
why they did so? Does it make clear who opposed Christianity and why?)
- Unity (Does Acts make it clear how
unity was maintained in the church? How
the early church handled differences? )
- Worship (Does Acts make it clear how
the early church worshipped, where they worshipped, and why this style
of worship attracted people?)
- Evidence (Does the book of Acts make
it clear why people began to be convinced that Christianity was true?
Does it make clear what kind of things Christians did, i.e., good
works,that might have made their message more attractive?
- Other factors (Does Acts make clear
how unexpected factors might have played a role in the growth of the
church? Does it show how the church provided ethical guidance and
emotional fulfillment? Does it show the
power of certain symbols? Does it show a
connection to earlier religions? Does it
show the alternatives and why individuals would have chosen that
religion over the alternatives?