ACTS: Structures discerned by John R. Bradley

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The Rev'd John R. Bradley, an outstanding  Methodist student from England, spent a year of his ministerial training at UTC, Bangalore.  I introduced him to chiastic structuring.  After he had worked out one of the 1 Corinthians secondaries for me, he then started on structures in Acts.  These, mostly chiastic, are set out below.

Chiastic Structure of Acts 2.1-22a-2.47
The Parallel Structure of Acts 1.14-17 and Acts 8.10-21
Chiastic Structure of Acts 2.1 - 4.33b - 8.8

Chiasm in Acts 14.22 - 15.35 - 18.23

Chiastic Structure of Acts 2.1-22a-2.47 (1st February, 1977)

2.22a: Men of Israel hear these words

21 day of the Lord 22b Jesus of Nazareth - a man attested by God
19 wonders and signs 22c Mighty works, wonders and signs
18 they shall prophesy 30 Being therefore a prophet
17c on all flesh 31 his flesh see corruption
17b my Spirit 33a promise of the Holy Spirit
17a I will pour out 33b he has poured out
16 the prophet Joel 34 David (a prophet, v. 30) himself says
14c let this be known (γνωστὸν ἔστω) 36a let ... know (γινωσκέτω)
14b Men of Judaea and all who live in Jerusalem 36b all the house of Israel
14a Peter ... with the eleven 37a Peter and the rest of the apostles
12 What does this mean? 37b What shall we do?
11b telling the mighty woks of God 38 the gift of the Holy Spirit
9-11a Parthians et al. 39a promise to you and your children and to all that are far off
8 How is it that we hear? 39b everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him
7 all those speaking Galileans 40 with many other words
6 the multitude 41 about three thousand
5 from every nation 43 came upon every soul
4 they were all filled 44 all who believed all things common
3b distributed (διαμεριζόμεναι*) and resting on each of them 45 distributed (διερμέριζον*) them to all
3a tongues of fire (Isa. 6.6) 46a Attending the temple together
2b filled all the house (τὸν οἶκον) 46b breaking bread in their homes (κατ᾿ οἶκον)
2a a sound (? voice, ἄφνω) from heaven 47a praising God
1c in one place (ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό) 47b to their number (ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό) those being saved added
1b Pentecost (proselyte baptism, harvest, etc.)    
1a When the day ... had come 47c day by day

*Only two occurrences in Acts
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The Parallel Structure of Acts 1.14-17 and Acts 8.10-21

1.14a All those with one accord 8.10 They all gave heed to him
1.14b devoted (προσκαρτεροῦντες) themselves to prayer 8.13 Simon continued (προσκαρτερῶν) with Philip
1.15 Peter among the brethren 8.14 apostles sent to them Peter and John
1.16 Holy Spirit 8.15 Holy Spirit
1.17 "potential" discipleship 8.16 "potential" discipleship
1.18 reward of his wickedness: burst open, etc. 8.20 Your silver perish with you ...
1.17 He was allotted to share (κλῆρος) 8.21 You have neither part not lot (κλῆρος)

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Chiastic Structure of Acts 2.1 - 4.33b - 8.8

2.1 in one place [Jerusalem] 8.8 in that city [Samaria]
2.2a a sound came from heaven 8.7 unclean spirits came out ... with a loud voice
2.2b filled all the house 8.3 Saul ... entering house after house
2.5 devout men (ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς*1) from every nation 8.2 devout men (ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς*1) buried Stephen
2.6 at this sound the multitude came together 7.57 they cried out with a loud voice ... and rushed together upon him
2.11 we hear them telling the mighty works of God 7.55 [Stephen], full of the Holy Spirit, ... saw the glory of God ... and he said, "Behold, I see ..."
2.16 the prophet Joel 7.52 which of the prophets ...?
2.17a pour out my Spirit on all flesh 7.51 uncircumsized in heart and ears ... always resist the Holy Spirit
2.17b your old men shall dream dreams 7.44 Moses made the tent of witness 'according to the pattern he had seen'
2.18 I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy ... 7.38b he received living oracles to give to us
2.19 blood, fire and vapour of smoke 7.38a Mount Sinai
2.22a Men of Israel ... Jesus of Nazareth 7.37 Moses said to the Israelites ... prophet from your brethren
2.22b mighty works and wonders and signs 7.36 wonders and sign in Egypt
2.23 this Jesus whom you crucified 7.35 this Moses whom they refused
2.24a But God raised him up 7.34b I have come down to deliver them
2.24b having loosed the pangs of death 7.34a I have seen the ill-treatment of my people ... heard their groaning
2.25 I saw the Lord always before me 7.22 Moses trembled and did not dare look
2.26 flesh will dwell in hope 7.17 time of promise
2.27 not abandon my soul to Hades 7.17 Jacob not buried in Egypt
2.28 Thou hast made known to me ... 7.13 Joseph made himself known
2.29 patriarch David ... his tomb is with us 7.9 the patriarchs sold Joseph ... but God was with him
2.30 one of his descendants 7.5 to his posterity after him
2.33 exalted at the right hand of God [// glory of God, cf. 7.55] 7.2 the God of glory
2.35 enemies                                       \ 6.13   / false witnesses
2.36a all the house of Israel                 > 6.12 < people. elders, scribes, council
2.36b this Jesus whom you crucified / 6.14   \ this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place
2.37 they were cut to the heart 6.10 they could not withstand the wisdom and spirit
2.41 baptism 6.6 ordination
2.42 they devoted (προσκαρτεροῦντες*2) themselves 6.4 we will devote (προσκαρτερήσομεν*2) ourselves
2.45 distributed all as any had need 6.1b neglected in the daily distribution
2.47 the Lord added ... those who were being saved 6.1a disciples were increasing
3.1 Peter and John went up to the temple 5.42 every day in the temple
3.2 man lame from birth ... being carried [dishonourable?] 5.41 worthy to suffer dishonour for the name
3.6 in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth 5.40 charged them not to speak
3.12 Men of Israel, why do you wonder 5.35 Men of Israel, take care what you do
3.13 God ... glorified his servant Jesus 5.32 ... Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him

(cf. 'dependence' pneumatology in Luke-Acts *3)

3.15a killed the Author (ἀρχηγὸν*4) of life 5.31b as Leader (ἀρχηγὸν*4) and Saviour
3.15b whom God raised from the dead 531a God exalted him
3.16a by faith in his name [wisdom] 5.29 We must obey God rather than men [wisdom]
3.16b has made this man strong [power] 5.28 you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching [power]
3.16c and has given perfect health [well-being] 5.26 officers ... brought them .. without violence [well-being]
3.17 your rulers 521 high priest ... those with him ... council ... all the senate of Israel
3.21 all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old 5.20 Go ... and speak all the words of this life
3.26 God, having raised up his servant 5.19 at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out [resurrection motif]
4.1 Sadducees 5.17 Sadducees
4.4 many of those who heard ... believed 5.14 more than ever believers were added to the Lord
4.10 be it known ... to all the people of Israel 5.12 signs and wonders were done among the people
4.13 they saw the boldness of Peter and John 5.11 great fear came upon the whole church
4.15 Thy conferred together 5.9 you have agreed together
4.16 a notable sign has been performed (γέγονεν) 5.7 not knowing what had happened (τὸ γεγονὸς)
4.21 no way to punish them 5.5 Ananias ... fell down and died [punishment]
4.24a they lifted their voices together to God 5.4b You have not lied to men but to God
4.24b Sovereign Lord, who didst make ... everything in them [i..e. owner of all] 5.4a did it not remain your own?
4.31 filled with the Holy Spirit (τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος) 5.3 Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον)
4.32a no one said the things he possessed (τῶν ὑπαρχόντοων) was his own 4.34b as many as were possessors (ὑπῆρχον) of lands or houses sold them
4.32b they had everything in common 4.34a there was not a needy person among thm
4.33a with great (μεγάλῃ) power 4.33c great (μεγάλη) grace was upon them all
4.33b the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus
*1  Only 4 times in Luke-Acts  (Back to text)
*2  6 times in Acts  (Back to text)
*3  I.e. Jesus is the servant who lives in total dependence on and obedience to God, and is given the Holy Spirit, as now is the Church.  (Back to text)

*4  Only occurrences in Luke-Acts (+ 2x in Hebrews = 4x in NT)  (Back to text)

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Chiasm in Acts 14.22 - 15.35 - 18.23 
(24th Sept., 1976)
15.36b  teaching and preaching the word of the Lord
15.35a Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch 15.35c with many others also
15.33 after ... some time
... in peace
sent off ... by the brethren
after some days
sharp contention
commended by the brethren
15.32 strengthened (ἐπιστηρίζειν) the brethren 15.41 strengthening (ἐπιστηρίζειν) the churches
15.30 they delivered the letter 16.4 they delivered the decisions
15.28 Holy Spirit (τῷ πνεὺματι τῷ ἁγίῳ) 16.6 Holy Spirit (τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος)
15.26 Paul and Barnabas risked their lives 16.22 Paul and Silas beaten with rods
15.19f. James' judgement on Gentile converts 16.23f. Gentiles' judgement on Paul and Silas
15.17 the rest of men may seek the Lord 16.25 the prisoners were listening to Paul and Silas
15.16 dwelling of David, which has fallen 16.26a foundations of prison were shaken
15.10 unbearable yoke 16.26b unfastened fetters
15.9 he made no distinction 16.30-34 salvation of jailor; n.b. v. 34 implies table fellowship
15.5 ignoble Jews (see below) 17.11 noble Jews (see below)
15.1 Jewish particularity: apart from Moses and circumcision you cannot be saved 17.22-31 Paul's universality: through seeking God (v. 27) through the risen Christ (v. 31) you can be saved
14.21-26 Derbe to Antioch 18.18-22 Corinth to Antioch
14.22 strengthening (ἐπιστηρίζειν) disciples 18.23 strengthening (ἐπιστηρίζειν) disciples



Jew/Gentile controversy
about the church's


Jew/Gentile controversy
about the church's

ANTIOCH - the meeting place of Jew and Gentile

  Note: Who is a noble Jew?    


  (wise)         believers   searched the scriptures
  (powerful)  rose up   with all eagerness
  (well-born) "circumcize them"   noble

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