Thursday, April 13, 2017

Reflection 1 on The Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles,

            I am not new to the Acts of the Apostles. Somewhere along the line I picked up the principle the Acts of the Apostles could just as well have been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
            I probably had my greatest exposure to the Acts of the Apostles when I was involved with Youth for Christ Bible Quizzing using the World Bible Quiz Association rules. I coached several teams both before and after joining the Catholic Church, Easter Vigil 1992. Bible Quizzing runs on a six year cycle. 2016-2017 they will be quizzing on the Gospel of Luke. They’ll be back to the Acts of the Apostles in the 2022-2023 school year. Over the coming years they will also quiz on 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians 2017-2018, John 2018-2019, Hebrews, 1 Peter and 2 Peter 2019-2020, Matthew 2020-2021, Romans and James 2021-2022, Acts 2022-2023 and  Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon 2023-2024. When they get back to Acts the younger kids will only quiz over Acts 1-6, 8, 9 while the older kids will quiz over the whole book.
            With this sequence of New Testament books the problem of connecting the Acts of the Apostles with Luke’s Gospel remains, but we certainly pointed out to our quizzers the sequence in which Luke wrote each. It might be clearer if we quizzed on Luke one year and on Acts the very next year, but we don’t. 
I suspect the way the Bible is laid out, the compilers wanted to keep the synoptic Gospels together and follow them with John, causing John to separate Luke from Acts. One alternative could have been to sacrifice placing the synoptic Gospels together and move John before Luke. I don’t think moving John to the front of the lot was considered very seriously because it seems to have been written later. It might not have worked as well as the first Gospel, although I often hear people advising new believers to read the Gospel according to John first. 
            The best way for Bible quizzers to compete successfully is to memorize the chapters covered for the monthly quiz competition. I most often coached the younger teams so we didn’t cover as many verses each month and usually did not cover all the chapters in a book. Even so I ended up drilling kids in practice and coaching them through Saturday afternoon Bible Quiz competitions on the Acts of the Apostles a few times over across the years.
            I remember how familiar we became with Theophilus and Cornelius, Peter and Paul, and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Bible Quizzing does not do anything about interpreting. We leave interpretation to the kids’ parents and churches but we help them know what the Bible says.
            After becoming Catholic in 1992 I continued to get teams together, including our own children or integrated our kids into other teams. I just asked our oldest daughter how much she remembers about Acts and she said she remembers the beginning of the year the best. That’s probably when we were all excited about the new quiz season and before so many other things diverted our attention.
            The kids were allowed to come up with their own names for their teams. We had some interesting ones like “Acts to Grind”, “GYAT - Get Your Acts Together”, and “Acts Your Age”.
            If in 2022 I am in a position to coach a team of Bible quizzers on Acts again I will certainly point out to them the most interesting information I found in the introduction to the New Collegeville Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. It was interesting and illuminating to learn the common practice of putting speeches in the historical participants’ mouths to help “tell the story". It’s a clever literary device.


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