Day 2

People Groups in Acts

from the Countdown to Acts reading plan

Colossians 3:1-17

One of the most beautiful outcomes of the spread of the gospel is how the redeeming work of Jesus Christ unifies people across lines of ethnicity, gender, and class.

Acts was written during a time when people were more divided than perhaps any other era in history. But the gospel of Jesus Christ unified those who were separated by culture, race, and social standing. For those living in first century Rome, this unity was not only beautiful, it was astonishing. Acts repeatedly calls this to our attention by identifying people not just by name, but by their people group, to show us how the gospel unifies them.

Here is a brief overview of the key people groups named in Acts:

Jews / Hebrews / Israelites: Descendants of Abraham, and inheritors of God’s covenant. Devoted to the Law given to Moses at Mount Sinai (Genesis 17).

Gentiles: Literally, “the nations,” or everyone who was not Jewish. Romans, Greeks, and “barbarians” were regarded by most Israelites as “unclean” (Acts 10:45, 13:48, 14:4-7).

God-Fearers: Gentiles who worshipped Israel’s God but had not converted to Judaism, and did not adhere to the Jewish laws about food or circumcision (Acts 13:16, 13:26).

Romans: Roman citizens protected by Roman law; had legal rights in the Roman Empire. Citizenship could be obtained by birth, and a ruling of law (Acts 22:25-29).

Greeks: People born in Greece, or Greek-speaking people living in the eastern part of the Roman Empire (John 7:35).

Post Comments (93)

93 thoughts on "People Groups in Acts"

  1. Jeremy Head says:

    The gospel unifies us. It puts us all on equal ground. We’re all in desperate need of a Savior. Jesus filled the void.

  2. Jeremy Head says:

    I will pursue and build relationships with those who don’t look like me for the sake of the gospel. This is God’s will. Gospel unity needs to be shown to the world, and it should be at the heart of every believer and community.

  3. Jeremy Head says:

    There is none outside of the reach of God.

  4. Jeremy Head says:

    God isn’t for one specific group of people. He calls all who will hear.

  5. Jeremy Head says:

    God, help me to get outside of my comfortable place in order to pursue relationship with those who don’t look, walk, talk, dress like me. Help me to cultivate the heart desire for gospel unity, and may it be evident in my life and relationships.

  6. Jake says:

    This passage teaches that God is above earthly things. That is wrath is coming for and against sexual immorality, impurity passion, evil desires, covetousness, idolatry. But that God also calls us to put away anger, rats, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lies. The passage also tells us that God is renewing us. He calls us to compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patients, forgiveness and love.

  7. Jake says:

    For me personally I need to examine my heart exam and my actions, examine my life to see where I am violating these commands. Then I need to ask forgiveness and ask that the Holy Spirit would guide me into more compassion, kindness, humility, patience and love. Not because I deserve it, not because it will make me more acceptable in his eyes, but because he has called me to that and I need to be obedient to his calling.

  8. Jake says:

    This passage clearly teaches that man is easily swayed by the passions of this world. The things that we collect, the things are neighbors collect, the things we don’t have and the jealousy that comes with all of that. God is higher and therefore we as man should aim higher. Not that we are to be emotionally or physically absent from the world, Just not trapped by the world.

  9. Jake says:

    This passage reminds me that the gospel is about hope and grace. We, and me especially, fall into everyone of the sens listed virtually every day. But if God is renewing us and continues to call us, we have hope in the forgiveness and grace from our Lord.

  10. Jake says:

    I pray particular that covetousness, idolatry, and self-centered evil desires would be exterminated for my life. Too often I know that I seek to serve myself, collect for myself, put myself before others. I know just how many corners I have been willing to cut to get what I want. And with that comes a diminished witness for Christ for my wife, my kids and my community. I pray that those people would come first in my life, right behind the glory of God.

  11. Luke Stockeland says:

    God, help me to focus on You, even while I tend to the responsibilities you’ve given me. Amen.

  12. Luke Stockeland says:

    A great reminder that God is beyond the mere human perspective that I experience every day. My focus needs to be on Him, primarily.

  13. Luke Stockeland says:

    I am going to focus/meditate on God more. And spend more quiet time with Him.

  14. Jake Davis says:

    Pray that God will give me a heart for all his people like he has. That he would allow me to not see people for their differences but instead for the way we were all molded in his image

  15. Jake Davis says:

    God loves people of all races, abilities, personlities, and all other things the same. We are all molded by God for his purpose and loved by him

  16. Steven says:

    This shows us that man is capable of being united with the gospel.

  17. Steven says:

    This shows us that the gospel is capable of uniting our world today that is split along so many boundaries of race, ethnicity, and gender.

  18. Steven says:

    This shows that God does not desire for us to be split up along worldly boundaries such as race, social class, ethnicity, or gender.

  19. Steven says:

    I will respond by allowing God to work in me and for him to abolish any worldly boundaries I have set up.

  20. Steven says:

    I will pray for the Lord to change my heart into a more loving one where I can show the love of God to everyone through my actions.

  21. Jonathan says:

    That man has become divided and that we continue to divide ourselves into superficial people groups, although God Himself recognized at the Tower of Babel the power of man when United.

  22. Jonathan says:

    Give me courage, Jesus, to tell the story of the Gospel as I go. To share your Gospel is to galvanize and unify people, to celebrate diversity.

  23. Jonathan says:

    I need to continue sharing the story with people.

  24. Jonathan says:

    The Gospel is a Gospel of Unity and it’s available to all people groups! It crosses superficial walls and division easily by its nature. This is a message for all people.

  25. Jonathan says:

    This teaches me that God values both diversity and unity.

  26. Isaac Jones says:

    God is not like the world. He wants us to focus on holy things which are separate from what people focus on. God wants us to be pure and holy. The Holiness of God is not just abstinence from pleasure on earth and debauchery in Heaven. We are supposed to abstain from debauchery and evil desires on earth, then have joy, purity, love, and glory in Heaven.

    What God gives in heaven is different from what people get on earth, but people seek the gross things of earth hoping to steal the joys of heaven and ignore the sickness of sin and death all around them.

  27. Isaac Jones says:

    God has given us the Holy Spirit. We know if we have Gods Spirit of we first believe in Jesus as our savior. If we are then able to obey His commands based on belief; not for righteousness, but to obey because we trust that we are truly free to, then we have the Holy Spirit. If we cannot or do not obey then we do not.

  28. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is evil. We want to focus on wrath, malice, sexual immorality, and slander. We chase these evil things trying to make a righteousness for our selves. We try to condemn others, and we make pleasure palaces for ourselves on our computers or phones; maybe we even visit brothels.We are so naturally evil and petty and vindictive. Even families fight each other, and gossip/slander. But God has given us a way that even the Jews did not have during the Old Testament…

  29. Isaac Jones says:

    Having God’s Spirit; I will seek to have faith in Jesus and deny sin. I will pray against my hard heart to ignore the work of Jesus and pleasure myself. I will seek to honor God though my body wants sin like an addict wants drugs.

  30. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,

    I desire sin daily. It is a craving I have which leads to very real withdrawal symptoms of restlessness and get, boredom, frustration, and emotional pain when I deny sin. Father please help me overcome these withdrawal symptoms. Help me to turn from sin. Help me to believe in you and honor you with my mind and body. Forgive me for my son and heal my hard heart from its rebellion. I love you Lord, help me serve and obey you. By Jesus’ blood I pray to you directly; amen.

  31. Nick says:

    Man divides. Man separates. “Looks on the outward appearance.” 1 Samuel 16:7
    Man is exclusive.
    Therefore, man continually looks at their own appearance or standing before each other, instead of before their loving God!

  32. Nick says:

    He has no “taste” or class. He is what He is.

  33. Nick says:

    Please Jesus take OFF my lenses.
    Grant me clear vision to see others not as size, color, slang, or status;
    But as your children, your creation, set in motion with divine purpose.

  34. Nick says:

    Redemption awaits at every corner; I will lay down my differences (owning them!) but trusting God’s perfect judgement.
    Remember I’m in His family now, and anyone else can be for the same reason.. belief.

  35. Nick says:

    I will sin, separate, divide from others.
    The Gospel is the only hope I have to live fully.

  36. Matt Price says:

    That man is fallen, sinful, and that we live in a world where temptation and sin lurk around every corner.

    Man needs Christ and His Holy Spirit in order to keep on the narrow gate which leads to Him.

  37. Matt Price says:

    I will work hard to die to myself and give my all to Christ. Getting out of Gods way, allowing me to live more compassionately towards other and love them as Christ does

  38. Matt Price says:

    The Gospel is ever reaching! It is the living word of God, which relays the gift of Gods grace for all man. Regardless of what a person’s people group may be, the Gospel was written and ordained by God, through God, for all to accept and become a follower of Christ

  39. Matt Price says:

    I will pray deep, thankful driven, and with surrender and acceptance as my precept.

    I know I need prayer more in my life, to allow me to let go and stop controlling myself, allowing God to take control.

  40. Matt Price says:

    God is ever reaching, ever loving, and in total control. His love and call is to all people who choose to follow. For those that have accepted and followed Gods call, we are directed as Christians to love a life of humility, compassion, forgiveness, and most of all a love that mimics Christ.

  41. Adam Tichenor says:

    That no matter what our skin color is,where we grew up, or what we’ve done, God loves each of us the same.

  42. Adam Tichenor says:

    We are all different and that is nothing to be ashamed of. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory. We need to put our differences aside and come together in love not separate ourselves through hate.

  43. Angelo Rosario says:

    This teaches me that God desires us to do everything in his name through Jesus Christ.

  44. Angelo Rosario says:

    That all people, whether Jew or Gentile should be loved and reached out to with the truth of Jesus Christ,

  45. Angelo Rosario says:

    I will be eager to share the truth about Jesus to anyone. Even those who offend me or intimidate me.

  46. Angelo Rosario says:

    This shows me even more so how valuable the gospel is in our lives and the lives of others.

  47. Angelo Rosario says:

    I will pray that God gives me courage and confidence to take advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel.

  48. Luis Majano says:

    2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

    It really exhorts me to look and inspect myself. It really lays out the difference between old sinful behavior and new Christ mind behavior.

    It also shows me how God does not segregate. He wants all his children to come to him. It should give us and outlook that anybody can come to Christ no matter background, culture, religion, etc.

  49. Luis Majano says:

    That we are always looking to label people while God removes labels.

    It teaches me that we are sinful in nature but reminds me that we are set apart and free. That we no longer need to submit. We can resist.

  50. Luis Majano says:

    These verses in Colossians really admonishes me that life is not meant to be dealt with alone. That we must surround ourselves with Godly people to do life.

    It also admonishes me on direction and choices. It reminds me of how I was and what I am now in Christ. That I must persevere and always remind myself that love is what binds everything together.

  51. Luis Majano says:

    That it is perfect and for all without reservations. It joins the most unusual characters together.

    It is also so cohesive. The last verse is a life verse to me.

    5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

    12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  52. Luis Majano says:

    5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

    Lord I pray today that I may leave my sinful nature behind. Help me kill it. Help me focus on my redemption rather on why I was Redeemed. My past is behind me. But you are in front of me. Help me seek your character and goodness. Help me love all those who do not know you yet. Strengthen me to be bold about my faith.

  53. Joel Jeske says:

    He is not being exclusive. He does not reject those of different backgrounds. Rather he calls us all to give up the “freedoms” of sin and in exchange gives us true freedom – freedom from sin. Our culture is ready to exchange it’s freedom for government control in our more and more socialistic society. It’s a shift to whom you give control that makes all the difference.

  54. Derek Beatrice says:

    This shows me Gods ultimate plan of having every nation and tongue reconciled to him.

  55. Derek Beatrice says:

    I will respond by seeing people in 2 groups: believers and unbelievers. That is the only distinction that matters.

  56. Derek Beatrice says:

    The Gospel is universal. It isn’t just for Jews or America. It is for every man, woman, and child. God didn’t restrict the grace to any one group.

  57. Derek Beatrice says:

    This shows me that man, while culturally, ethnically, or physically different, are really all the same, in terms of Gods grace, love, and joy for us.

  58. Derek Beatrice says:

    I will pray that God will show me and lead me to reach those without the Gospel so that Christ can renew, transform, and live in them, as he does me.

  59. Joseph Neville says:

    That we are really messed up. We are often small minded and lack perspective.

  60. Joseph Neville says:

    That we need to view life with an eternal perspective. Turn away from sinful desires and passions.

    Also that we are to live in peace with one another.

  61. Joseph Neville says:

    I will try and fight the worldly desires I have. Sexually, professionally, everything. I need to fight that by keeping my eyes on Jesus and think about His kingdom more than I do my own.

  62. Joseph Neville says:

    That we are forgiven and have no right to hold forgiveness from someone else.

    Also that no one is excluded from the promises of Jesus.

  63. Joseph Neville says:

    Father help me. I am such a mess. I get caught up in this world so easily. I face a constant seduction by the things of this world. Women, music, bitterness, selfishness, pride. There is so much.

    I feel so unmotivated father. I feel unmoved. I feel alone and as if I am working on my own. Help me.

  64. Parker Levy says:

    We are His. We are meant to love one another. We are meant to respect one another. And we are meant to spread His word – that is what will unify the nations. The power of people is incredible, especially when driven by a true and righteous purpose.

  65. Parker Levy says:

    We are sinners and broken. We struggle with sin in so many different facets of our lives and we all walk in sin. But, at the same time, we have the opportunity to walk in truth and spread that truth to those we love – everybody.

  66. Parker Levy says:

    The Gospel is the truth and we must spread it. In times of division (#electionday), we must bring people together on the one thing that is true, good, and steady. He will always prevail and we mustn’t forget that.

  67. Parker Levy says:

    Love your neighbor as yourself. Love others as if it’s my dying day in an attempt to depict how we’ve been loved. Show people why I’ve been set free of my sin.

  68. Parker Levy says:

    Pray for those who struggle and are separated. That, a worldly leader is nothing compared to our God. Our God is the one who appoints kings. We must simply stay true to Him and His commands.

  69. Dalton Beaty says:

    This passage teaches of the unified body that Christ’s long for his people to be. Christ’s coming had one purpose, and that was to unify God, and his children. There were no limitations on who the sacrifice was made for. It was for all creation. And that sacrifice is the one thing that ever being to walk this Earth will forever have in common.

  70. Dalton Beaty says:

    Man are so selfish. Ever group was separated because of their beliefs, and they had closed minds to any outside views. Which is not necessarily a bad thing to be solid in belief, but when a people begin to push others away, that is where God has a problem, he longs for unity in Him. But we as people always want to have what no one else has and we become selfish when we think we are set apart.

  71. Dalton Beaty says:

    I have to refuse to allow my mind and heart to conform to the worldview of differences. Differences are good, we are different in many ways which creates beauty in variety in the kingdom of God. I must begin to view people in God’s eyes, and not my own.

  72. Dalton Beaty says:

    The Gospel is so beautiful because it is the one thing on this Earth that is FOR EVERYONE. The world is all about separation and exploiting differences, but the gospel is all about sharing common unity.

  73. Dalton Beaty says:

    I must pray consistently for God’s love for ALL creation to manifest in me and overflow in my life to reach out to those around me that He ever so longs to have in relationship with Him.

  74. Dillon Davis says:

    God calls whomever He wishes to call whenever and wherever He wishes to call them. He’s not bound by anything like culture, race, gender, or economic standing. He created everyone therefore He picks whom He wants and uses them how He wills. I would expect nothing less from an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Creator King.

  75. Dillon Davis says:

    Man chose many things in his quest to fill the hole left by the Fall from Grace. All of these things like immorality, or selfish ambition or whatever seem capable of at least riding us over until we can find the next best thing. But they give way to obscene talk, anger, slander and malice. Those pesky sin diseases that threaten to destroy even the kindest of souls. Man is an imperfect creature in need of a perfect God regardless of Man or Woman’s societal standing.

  76. Dillon Davis says:

    God fulfilled mankind’s needs at the cross and subsequently at the resurrection. These acts (hahahah get it?) led to the barriers between God and Man being torn down which is represented I think by the curtain ripping in the temple on the day Jesus died.

  77. Dillon Davis says:

    Remember that all I run across are equal recipients of grace and are all in need of the same saving grace I received.

  78. Dillon Davis says:

    Lord be with those hurting today. You see and hear them. Love them deeply. Save those who’ve not accepted you. Open the eyes of their hearts. May we who call on the Name be open to sharing our salvation with others and truly grab hold
    Of the Truth this year.

  79. Sean Thelen says:

    I respond by working to be united with fellow believers and by revealing the Gospel to everyone, not just those who I think would fit in the best at my church.

  80. Sean Thelen says:

    God is concerned about reaching all people.

  81. Sean Thelen says:

    The Gospel is the collision between peoples’ ideas about division and God’s desire to unite us. Jesus died once for all, not just a certain group of people.

  82. Sean Thelen says:

    There is a great amount of diversity between people. We desire to divide into groups.

  83. Sean Thelen says:

    I will pray for people to be open to the message that God seeks to be reunited with everyone, not just a certain type of people.

  84. Tyler Gardner says:

    It teaches me that his move isn’t just for a divided few but it’s for everyone.

  85. Tyler Gardner says:

    Man divides itself because of money, language, color, beliefs and etc

  86. Tyler Gardner says:

    That the Gospel isn’t just for believers. It’s for everyone to learn about God’s love and how much he loved us because he gave us Jesus Christ his only son who died a death he didn’t need to so that he could pay a debt that we couldn’t pay and that’s a perfect sacrifice.

  87. Tyler Gardner says:

    I’m going to use this passage to minister to people who don’t think God loves or that God can’t use them because of reasons.

  88. Ethan Wymer says:

    It teaches that God does not discriminate between different types of people, and that He loves all people the same.

  89. Ethan Wymer says:

    It teaches us that Jesus unified those that would be separated by culture, race, and social standings.

  90. Ethan Wymer says:

    We can respond by using the gospel as our tool and leaving behind earthly things to help us become closer with God so that we can bring others closer to God as well. With that, we take Jesus as our model to not look at others like they are lesser or better than anyone else.

  91. Ethan Wymer says:

    This teaches us ways to bring people together in times of separation. He wants us to be able to work together to build His kingdom, which we can’t do if we put borders between us.

  92. Ethan Wymer says:

    We will pray that we can take what we have learned from our readings and that we can apply that to our lives. We pray that we can seek Jesus in all areas of our lives.

  93. Jaime Silva says:

    At times we can be cruel to one another but we need to start remembering that God did not die just for one group of sinners but he did for all groups. We need to be thankful for our brothers and sisters and praise God for his glory and honor.

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