How Ordinary People Become Extraordinary: Lessons from the Book of Acts

A study series exploring the early church’s remarkable devotion to God.

Now the leaders were surprised and confused. They looked at Peter and John and realized they were typical peasants—uneducated, utterly ordinary fellows—with extraordinary confidence. The leaders recognized them as companions of Jesus…

Acts 4:13 Voice

The Book of Acts tells us the story of ordinary men and women – not unlike you or me – who did extraordinary things. 

These men and women faced isolation and injustice. They had to navigate all kinds of unfamiliar circumstances without a blueprint. And yet they were courageous, resilient, and close-knit. They were joyful, innovative, and they changed lives wherever they went.

The early Christians not only contributed to the widespread growth of Christianity around the world, but historians say they also changed the world for the better in many other significant ways. Christians were known as people who took care of each other and built institutions that met the needs of the community

Christians took care of their widows, who otherwise would have been left in extreme poverty in Roman society. Amongst the Christians, the poor had food. They built hospitals because there were no public health services, and doctors were expensive.

They built educational institutions because they wanted their members to be able to read the Bible. By the third century, many members of the government were Christians because they had the ability to read and write.

How did these ordinary people – full of weaknesses and flaws just like us – become so emotionally strong in the face of difficulty? How did they become so faithful and generous? How did they make such an impact on the world? 

The answer, as we’ll see in this series of studies, lies in their extraordinary devotion to God. 

The stories and lessons we can learn from the first Christians in the Book of Acts seem especially relevant to us today, as we navigate our own set of uncertain circumstances. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and social and political unrest have shaken up many of the institutions we may have looked to in the past. 

This is a great time to reinvent ourselves spiritually so that we can have the extraordinary faith, strength, and impact of the first century Christians today.

Crises can be opportunities to grow, and we hope these seven Bible studies help all of us grow spiritually stronger through our current set of crises.

We’ve put together seven Bible studies based on seven core spiritual strengths of the New Testament disciples. Each Bible study will begin with a passage from the book of Acts, and then delve deeper into that topic through a variety of scriptures.

This is a great time to reinvent ourselves spiritually so that we can have the extraordinary faith, strength, and impact of the first century Christians today. 

Explore the series

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