For the past several weeks we have observed what the first century church devoted itself to based on Luke’s description in Acts 2:42-47. The seventh detail we discover about the first century church is that they were “praising God” (Acts 2:47).
According to Acts 2:42-47 the first century church was devoted to the Word of God (i.e. apostles’ teaching), fellowship, the Lord’s Supper (i.e. the breaking of bread), prayer, and, as we noted in the previous article, involvement. It was also devoted to benevolent activity. Throughout the book of Acts the church is depicted as a people who denounced materialism and adopted a communal lifestyle in order to meet the needs of the poor. In other words, they emphasized benevolence.
For the past few weeks we have been exploring the details outlined in Acts 2:42-47. In this brief passage, we are given a glimpse into the life of the first century church. In it, we not only learn that the first century church was “devoted…to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers” when they assembled, but we also learn that “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts [and] they broke bread in their homes” (Acts 2:46, emphasis added). A similar description appears just a few chapters later in Acts 5:42, which says, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah” (emphasis added). Additionally, we read about Paul’s work with the church in Ephesus and how “he withdrew from [the synagogue] and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus,” when opposition against his teachings arose (Acts 19:9, emphasis added). Based on these narrative statements about the life of the first century church we discover that the earliest Christians assembled on a “daily” basis. But why?
For the past few weeks we have been exploring the details outlined in Acts 2:42-47. In this brief passage, we are given a glimpse into the life of the first century church, and in particular what “they devoted themselves to.” According to Acts 2:42, the first century church “devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers.” We have already explored their devotion to God’s Word (i.e. “the apostles teaching”), fellowship, and the Lord’s Supper (i.e. “breaking of bread”), so now we turn our attention to “prayers,” and this is not the only occasion that the infant church is described as being devoted to prayer. After Jesus’ ascension the Apostles were “with one accord [and] were devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). Later, the Apostles appointed seven men to oversee the distribution of food to widows so that they could “devote [themselves] to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). So, what does it mean to be devoted to prayer?