The Church in the Acts of the Apostles

The Church in the Acts of the Apostles

JPI 743
3 Credits

The book of Acts is the historical narrative of the events of early Christianity. Here the earliest Christians experienced what salvation was and had to grapple with articulating its meaning. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the life of the Church began with its claims upon the whole of humanity. Acts shows how the abiding power of the Holy Spirit guided the first community of believers and how that same Spirit developed the institutional structures that guided the Church’s life, mission, and decisions. Several key questions emerge in the study of Acts: what is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual Christian and the Church corporate? What is the relationship of the individual believer to the organic Church? How is truth determined as the Church faces difficult questions that must be resolved for the very life of the Church to continue? How were differing visions of the Church to be resolved? The struggle for the authentic nature of the Church to emerge is at the heart of the dynamic of Acts and will be the central focus of our study. Key to understanding this dynamic is found in the person and apostleship of Paul.

This is a highly intensive seminar in which the student has to make extensive preparations for each session and produce an in-depth paper for each session which deals with the assigned topic in a critical and incisive manner.

Selected Texts


Joseph Atkinson portrait

Joseph C. Atkinson

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture
S.T.L. and S.T.D. Program Advisor

Dr. Atkinson’s work has included foundational research in developing the biblical and theological foundation of the family. He is a primary authority on the concept of the Domestic Church, which explores the ecclesial structure and meaning of the family. He teaches on the biblical structure and meaning of marriage and the family, on the Jewish background of the family, and on the nature and role of covenant.

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