Sometimes it’s hard to outline a book in order to better understand and remember it. Acts, however, is rather easy. Acts 1:8 presents a clear outline with a title all found in one verse.
Listen to a translation most of you might not be familiar with, the Williams translation: “You are going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you must be witnesses for me in Jerusalem and all over Judea and Samaria, and to the very ends of the earth.”
The focus or title would be: Spirit directed and empowered witness. Here’s an outline amplifying this focus.
1. Witness in Jerusalem, chapters 1-7.
2. Witness in Judea and Samaria, chapter 8.
3. Witness to the rest of the world, 9-28.
In Jerusalem the disciples experienced a mighty work of the Holy Spirit. This resulted in a powerful witness that turned Jerusalem up side down.
The disciples seemed content to stay in Jerusalem, but God’s plan was for them to spread out and go beyond Jerusalem. Christians moved out of Jerusalem to avoid persecution, sharing what they knew about Jesus as they went, and God’s plan began to be fulfilled.
God did a further miraculous work, first in the heart of Peter and Paul and then in the lives of pagans.
We can make two applications based on this study. First, our witness is to be Spirit directed and empowered. Second, if we don’t obey God’s simple directions, He will find a way, even by using those who oppose the truth, to make us willing to obey. This is painful, and would be unnecessary, if we would readily trust and obey.