As part of one of the Bible reading plans at New Life, we read through the book of Acts. Here we get a look at the birth and early growth of the very first church after Jesus’s ascension into heaven. This fledgling community of believers faced immense challenges and opposition, yet their unwavering faith and obedience to God’s mission and calling on their lives provide some timeless lessons that still resonate with us today.

One of the most striking aspects of the first church was their profound unity and shared purpose. Acts 2:42-47 beautifully portrays how they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. As a community, they had a tangible sense of oneness found in Christ that bound them together, as they held all possessions in common to ensure everyone’s needs were met. This radical love and concern for one another should inspire today’s believers and Churches to foster authentic community built on biblical truth.

Another resounding theme was the believers’ bold witness in the face of daunting persecution. Empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the early disciples proclaimed the gospel with remarkable courage, undeterred by opposition, arrest, or threats. They became leaders, especially Peter. Their example challenges churches today to have that same fearless zeal to make disciples of all nations, even when the cultural tides turn against the message of Christ.

Chuck Colson once said, “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

Perhaps most importantly, the book of Acts highlights the early church’s total dependence on God through continual seeking of the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance. From their prayer and fasting to their bold preaching and miraculous works, it was abundantly clear these believers could not advance the gospel in their own strength. Only by walking in step with the Spirit and fixing their eyes on Christ could this small movement spark a wildfire that would spread rapidly across the ancient world.


Believers today have a powerful example to follow in the first church. By embracing biblical community, boldly proclaiming truth, and relying utterly on the Holy Spirit, we can experience similar spiritual awakenings and growth in the kingdom amongst our circle of influence today. May we learn from our spiritual ancestors and model that same fiery devotion and world-changing faith.

At New Life, we offer a variety of Bible reading plans for exploring God’s word and practically applying it to our lives today. If you would like to be part of a Bible reading plan, check out the different options here.