Read Acts Chapter 11
For a printable version of this study, click HERE
What stands out to you as you read this chapter?
Are there any words or phrases that you feel are key ideas in this chapter?
What other features do you wish you knew more about (culture, religion, customs, etc.) in order to help
you understand this chapter?
How do you think this chapter fits in the larger story of Acts and the Bible as a whole?
ACT OUT: How does the Holy Spirit want to use this text in your life, for others or for yourself?
It’s hard to overestimate the shock wave that hit the Jewish believers in Jerusalem when they heard
about Cornelius and the “Gentile Pentecost” (Acts 10). The question that vexed the infant church was
this: does a person have to become Jewish in order to be fully included with Jews in this new community
that would eventually be called the church? Peter recounts the entire episode with his vision and
encounter with Cornelius (further evidence that those two events must be connected in order to be fully
understood) and adds one detail. In Acts 11:16, Peter ties what happened back to the words of Jesus in
Clearly, Luke wants us to see that it’s Jesus himself who meant for the Gentiles to be included, since his
words confirm their experience of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:17-18). But Cornelius’s
crew were just the beginning. The leaders of the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to Antioch to
investigate reports of a large number of Gentiles turning to the Lord (Acts 11:20-22). Barnabas,
convinced this “Gentile church” was God’s doing, sent for Saul (Paul) to come teach the new converts
about this new work of the Spirit and the Old Testament prophecies it was built on (Acts 11:25-26).
These Greek-speaking believers at Antioch got a new nickname formed from the Greek word for Messiah
(Christos) plus a typical Latin ending: Christians (Acts 11:26). It seems to have stuck. (See Acts 29:28, 1
Prayer: Lord, I was a stranger to your people and your promises until you sent Jesus! Thank you, Jesus,
for sending the Holy Spirit to all who believe, the gift that makes someone like me a part of your family.
Help me to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord!