How to study Acts (NASB)
In a distinctive way mark in the text every occurrence of the keywords (along with their synonyms and pronouns): believe, baptized (baptism), Holy Spirit, witness (witnesses), word (word of God, scripture), gospel, saved, church, pray (praying, etc.), raised from the dead (any references to the resurrection), His name (the name of Jesus), any references to persecution, suffering, affliction), repent (repentance). Record these keywords on an index card that you can use as a bookmark while studying Acts.
Mark every reference to time with the symbol of a green clock. Do this throughout the book of Acts whether the time is indicated by an event (such as a feast) or by mentioning a certain period of months or years. Also, double-underline in green every geographical location.
In the first two chapter of the book of Acts, Luke gives an account of Christ's ascension and the holy Spirit's coming.
Read chapter 1, looking for Jesus' instructions and promises to the apostles.
In your notebook list everything you learn from the reference to the Holy Spirit.
Note the main events that occur in this chapter by either marking these events within the text or listing them in you notebook.
Acts 1:8 gives an outline for the book of Acts. Remember this as you read Acts. Observe when the gospel goes from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and the outermost parts of the world.
As you read chapter 2:
Observe how much is taken from the Old Testament.
List in the margin or in your notebook the main events that occur. As you note then, ask the "5 W's and an H": Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? For example: Who was present on the day of Pentecost? What happened? Whom did it affect? What was their response? Why did they respond as they did? How did they hear?
As you mark key words, watch the word promise and note its relationship to the Spirit. Compare this with Acts 1:4-5.
Observe the main points in Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. Note what he emphasized in his sermon and the result.
Determine the theme of each of these chapters. Then record the themes on Structure of Acts.
Chapter 3 - 7
As you study, do the following:
Read each chapter in the light of the "5 W's and H." What happens in that chapter? Where and when did it happen? Who is involved? How are things done or said?
Mark every references to the Holy Spirit and then list what you learn about the Holy Spirit, His ministry, and the results. Also mark in the text the other key words: believe, baptized (baptism), Holy Spirit, witness (witnesses), word (word of God, scriptures), gospel, saved, church, pray (praying, etc), raised from the dead (any reference to the resurrection), His name (the name of Jesus), any references to persecution (suffering, affliction), repent (repentance). (NASB) Remember to use your bookmark.
Is a message is proclaimed in these chapters, you may want to record in your notebook the main points.
Determine the theme of each chapter and then record the theme as before.
Chapters 8 - 12
Read Acts 8:1-8 and then Acts 1:8. What do you see happening in Acts 8 that is a change from the first seven chapters?
Read chapters 8 to 11 carefully, as significant events occur in these chapters. As you read:
List the main events in each chapter. Who does what? When? Where is it done? What is said? What is the result? Who is affected? How does it happen? Don' t add to the text, but simply observe it and record in your notebook what you learn.
Mark key works and list everything you learn about the Holy Spirit in you notebook. This is crucial to chapter 8, 10, and 11. Note to whom the Holy Spirit comes.
Record the theme of each chapter on Structure of Acts.
As you read and study chapter 12, keep in mind that this is a pivotal chapter. At this point the focus of the book from Peter's ministry to that of Paul (Saul).
Chapter 13 - 28
Included in these chapters is an account of Paul's missionary journeys: Paul's first missionary in 13 - 14; Paul's second missionary journey in 15:36 - 18:22; and Paul's third missionary journey in 18:23 - 21:17.
For easy reference ,write and color code in the margin where each journey begins.
As you study these chapters, mark the key repeated words. Add the word synagogue to you list. Also keep in mind what you learned from Acts 1:8 and watch carefully the work of the Spirit throughout these chapters. In your notebook, note your insights.
Examine each chapter with the "5 W's and an H." Note in the text who accompanies Paul, where they go, and what happens. Trace each of Paul's journeys on the map.
Carefully observe each time the gospel is proclaimed, whether to an individual or a group. Watch how Paul reasons with Jews and Gentiles. Also, note what their response is and how Paul handles it.
In several instances you will notice Paul giving his testimony. Compare each of these instances with Acts 9 and the account of Paul's conversion. This will give you a more complete picture of all that happened on that significant day.
Record the theme of each chapter on Structure of Acts. Then determine the main subject for the book of Acts and record it. Complete the chart and record the ways you might segment the book of Acts according to its themes.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Acts
The establishment of the church - the history of how the faith spreal (2:1; 4:23, 24, 32-37; 9:31; Matt 16:18; Rom 12:5; 1Cor 10:17; 12:12; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; 1TIm 3:15; Rev 19:8)
The work of the Holy Spirit - how the Spirit of God directed the church and individual believers (1:8; 2:2-4, 16-18, 38; 4:8; 8:29; 11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 21:11; Gen 6:3; Num 11:25-27; Neh 9:30; Is 48:16; Zech 7:12; John 15:26; Rom 8:16, 26; 1Cor 2:4, 9, 10; Heb 2:4; 1 John 3:24; 4:13; Rev 2:7, 11, 29)