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The Messianic Community of Jews and Gentiles in the Book of Acts

The Messianic Community of Jews and Gentiles

in the Book of Acts - February 2023

Teaching by David Woods

This is a four-week study which will take place on each Saturday during the month of February 2023 at Beit Ariel. The shiur (teaching) will follow after our morning (shacharit) service which commences at 10h00 every Shabbat morning. We invite you to come earlier and schmooze from 09h00 – 10h00 every Shabbat morning over some tea and rusks.

The teaching of the book of Acts with a focus on Messiah's community as it spread both geographically and also ethnically, from Jews in Jerusalem to a multi-ethnic, worldwide body of believers. As a community of Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua, we can learn a lot from the earliest community of Yeshua's disciples.

4 February: Expanding the Camp:

The mission of Acts to every nation. This teaching covers literary, historical, theological, and geographical aspects of Acts before summarizing the growth of Messiah's community, in Acts 1–9, from a modest assembly of Jews in Jerusalem to a widespread international movement in its first twenty years.

11 February: Mixing it up:

Two prominent men each receive a divine vision that brings them together. One, a military commander of the Roman Empire and representative of Caesar, falls at the feet of the other, a Galilean fisherman whom Messiah had appointed to represent his kingdom on earth. Although Peter's vision is commonly interpreted as having a twofold message, Peter himself only presents one meaning: the acceptability of Gentiles to God. (T's and C's apply)

18 February: Unity with difference:

"No distinction" in Acts 15. Rapid uptake of the good news of the Jewish Messiah by Gentiles soon puts them in the majority over Jewish believers, yet they are not undergoing formal conversion to Judaism. What is to be done? Acts 15 recounts a pivotal moment in the history of the Messianic community, a council in Jerusalem on requirements for Gentile members. Its legal ruling is straight-forward, but has routinely been misapplied to Jewish members—to the ruin of Messianic witness for nearly 20 centuries.

25 February: Proof in the pudding:

The Messianic community in Acts 16-28. If we have interpreted key events in the growth of the Messianic community in Acts 1–15 correctly, we should see this confirmed in the teaching and practice of its leaders in the remainder of the book. This study examines the rest of Acts, from 15:30 to 28:31, to see if the observance of Torah by Messianic Jews differs from that of Gentile believers. The narrative reaches another climax when Paul, who has been evangelizing to all whom he encountered in the Diaspora, returns to the Messianic community of Jewish Zealots in Jerusalem, and enters the holy temple itself to offer a sacrifice (Acts 21:17–26).


David grew up in a Christian home, and dedicated himself to the Lord in his early teens. Since then he has worshiped in diverse communities in Westville, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg, Sukuza, and Cape Town. He lived as a bachelor most of his adult life, studying and working as a geographer. In 2013 he married Anne, widowed mother of Caitlyn (now 17), and they have since had Rachel (7).

David started exploring Messianic Jewish faith about 20 years ago, and presentations by John Atkinson and Dan Juster in 2009 shed light on the composition of Yeshua's people—with Jews living as Jews and Gentiles as Gentiles, distinct yet united in Messiah. This triggered David's move in 2010 to study and teach the Bible. He has a Master’s degree from the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), where he has worked since 2011.


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