Acts of the Apostles Introduction

“Gospel Authentication

and the

Expansion of the Early Church”

An Exposition of The Acts and Teachings of the Ascended Christ

Proving the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ

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File:JanStyka-SaintPeter.jpg

St. Peter Preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs by Jan Styka

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Importance of Acts

Why a whole class on Acts 1-12? Why is the book of Acts important? The book of Acts is important for several reasons.[1]

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  1. Size

Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. This is one work in two volumes. Combined, it makes up over 25% of the New Testament. Luke, not Paul, contributed the most words in the New Testament than any other author.[2] Acts is the second largest book of the NT, second only to Luke itself.

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  1. The Origin of the Disciples’ belief

As we will see in this class, the book of Acts has an apologetic function. Apologetics is the study of how to defend the faith.

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What we have in the book of Acts is the second part of some of the disciple’s lives. This is before and after Pentecost, similar to you and your life being before and after Christ.

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  • In the Gospels, Peter denied the Lord, even with cursing. In the book of Acts, he fearlessly preaches Christ to the point of persecution.
  • In the Gospels, the disciples fearfully flee when Jesus is arrested. In the book of Acts, the disciples joyfully suffer for Christ sake.

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What best accounts for the origin of the disciples beliefs about Jesus and the resurrection? As we will see, the best explanation is the truth of what they are saying: that Jesus did in fact die on the cross, was buried, and was raised from the dead.

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  1. Explains transition from largely Jewish to a largely Gentile movement, from small to large.

As the Gospels end, there is no “local church.” And the epistles clearly assume that a large number of churches have sprung up all over the known world. The book of Acts explains how this happened.

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Jesus is crucified in Jerusalem at the end of the Gospels and at the end of the book of Acts, we are in Rome. We go from a few Jewish disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem to large numbers of churches at the end of the book of Acts. The book of Acts fills in the gaps of this transition, telling us of a geographical transition in ever increasing circles from Jerusalem to Rome. We understand the theology behind God’s working through a nation (Israel) to God working in a church. And we can also see the transition racially, from God working with only Jews (Gentile proselytes) to God working with Gentiles.

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  1. The activities of the early church

In the book of Acts, we have the activities of the early church. What did the early church do? How did they react to opposition?

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Practically, this is quite helpful. What did the early church do that we should do? How should we translate what they did into the 21st century church?

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How did they preach the gospel? What was going on in those early churches? How does our understanding of the book of Acts affect how we interpret the epistles?

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Church purity, the miraculous, mission theology… It helps instruct the pastor on “how to do church” as well as the laymen on how to help his church stay on track.

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No other book in the NT opens the window in such a way as the book of Acts.

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Title

The traditional title is “The Acts of the Apostles.” That title, like any other title of a book in the New Testament, is not inspired. However, this title is found in nearly every single ancient manuscript of the book of Acts.

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Acts begins this way …

Acts 1:1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,

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Luke is saying that in his first account he wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach. And so the second account would be what then?

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In the first volume, Luke wrote about what Jesus began to do and teach. Now Luke records with Jesus continued to do and teach.

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And so, an appropriate title may be “The Acts and Teachings of the Ascended Christ.”

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Author

Luke…who else? But how do you know?

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Internal Evidence

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Unity of Authorship

  1. Both Luke and the book of Acts are dedicated to the same person, Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1).
  2. The book of Acts refers to “the first account” (Acts 1:1) which is presumed to be Luke.
  3. Style and language is very similar.

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Therefore, whoever wrote one of the books, wrote the other as well.

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The Author was Paul’s companion

  1. The “We” passages. Read Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16.
    • Point: One of Paul’s traveling companions was writing the book of Acts.
  2. These sections in the book of Acts mention Silas (Acts 15:22, 27, 32, 34, 40; 16:19, 25, 29; 17:4, 10, 14f; 18:5), Timothy (Acts 16:1; 17:14f; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4), Sopater (Acts 20:4), Aristarchus (Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2), Secundus (Acts 20:4), Gaius (Acts 19:29; 20:4), Tychicus (Acts 20:4), and Trophimus (Acts 20:4; 21:29).
  3. It is not customary to speak of yourself by your own name, if you use the word “we.” Therefore, none of these men wrote Luke/Acts.
  4. But where’s Luke? Paul mentions him as a travelling companion in Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11.
  5. Therefore, Luke was the one who wrote Acts.

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While not conclusive, it does “hem us in” by process of elimination that it was indeed Luke. Plus, coupled with the external evidence below, we are certain it was indeed Luke.

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External Evidence

Early attestation from the second century A.D. on uniformly identifies Luke as the author of this Gospel.

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The following early sources attest to Lukan authorship.

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  1. Irenaeus (c. 130-202)[3]
  2. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)[4]
  3. The Muratorian Canon (c. 170)[5]
  4. Origen (c. 185-254)[6]
  5. Eusebius (c. 324)[7]
  6. Athanasius (c. 367)[8]

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The oldest known manuscript that contains the end of the gospel, c. 200, uses the subscription “The Gospel According to Luke”.[9]

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Date

AD 65 or earlier

  1. There is no mention of important events which happened between AD 60 and 70. These were major events directly affecting the early church. [10]  
  2. The early church in Acts dealt with the Jew-Gentile controversy primarily before the fall of Jerusalem. Because that is recorded in the book of Acts suggests an early date.
  3. Phrases like “the Christ” and “disciples” and “the Way” suggests an early date. These phrases are not mentioned as heavily later.
  4. Nero’s persecution broke out in A.D. 64. Notice how the book of Acts ends. Acts 28:31. Therefore, the book of Acts likely was completed before Nero’s persecution started.
  5. Paul’s death is not mentioned. Therefore, the book of Acts may have even completed before Paul’s death in AD 62.

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AD 65 or earlier is close enough! It is interesting to note that Acts 1-12 took place in a rather short time frame, within 10-15 years after the earthly ministry of Jesus.

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Hermeneutics

When approaching any book of the Bible, hermeneutics is crucial. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. How do we interpret the book?

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And approaching the book of Acts is unique. A common question regarding the book of Acts is, “is it only descriptive or is it also prescriptive?”

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In other words, does Acts simply record history or is it a blueprint? Is it required? Are there commands to obey? So how applicable and relevant is the book in our historical context today?

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How “instructive” or “suggestive” is the book of Acts?

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Acts 1:26: Are we to do this to select church leaders?

Tongues passages: are we to expect this when anybody get saved?

Peter’s sermons: Is this a paradigm for all future preaching or an example of what Peter did?

Acts 2:42: Are these the basics for Christian fellowship today?

Acts 2:44-45: Are we to sell property and give the proceeds to other believers?

Acts 2:46: Meeting in the Temple and in houses. Does this mean that God wants us to worship in a larger complex as well as in small groups?

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“In fact it is our lack of hermeneutical precision as to what Acts is trying to teach that has led to a lot of the division one finds in the church. Such diverse practices as the baptism of infants or of believers only, congregational and Episcopalian church polity, the necessity of observing the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, the choice of deacons by congregational vote, the selling of possessions and having all things in common, and even ritual snake handling (!) have been supported in whole or in part on the basis of Acts.[11]

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The book of Acts is difficult for group study. Each of us comes to the book for our own reasons. Some of us are interested in early church history. Others are interested in Luke’s apologetic, how he defends the faith and how the historical details themselves defend its own historicity.

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Most of us come for devotional reasons. It is simply the next book to read in our Bible reading plan. And for that reason, we may be more interested in some parts of the book of Acts rather than others. We tend emphasize the day of Pentecost and Paul’s conversion, but we tend to forget about Gamaliel’s speech.

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But the question to ask is, “What are Luke’s interests? What does he care about that we should care about?” Remove yourself from the text until the text puts you in there!

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Acts is Historical

Luke, as a Gentile, wrote his two volume work in keeping with what is called Hellenistic historiography. This is not simply biography or history, just like the Gospels are not simply history. They are written with a purpose. These kinds of works can encourage, inform, present moral lives, or argue for something in particular.

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And although they are written with a purpose, that doesn’t mean they lack historical accuracy.

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It’s similar to a journalist. A politically conservative writer can write about the happenings of present day politics and a political liberal can as well. And you might get a different sense or feel after having read each piece.

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For example, John wrote his gospel for a particular purpose … John 20:30-31 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

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And if you read John in light of these verses, you’ll come away with an understanding that yes indeed he is attempting to convince you of his position!

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Similarly, in the book of Acts, Luke wrote not just for sake of recording history.

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And so for Luke, he is concerned that the reader understand the divine activity that is occurring. These are the “Acts of the Ascended Christ.”

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So with the book of Acts, we are not only asking, “What happened in the first century church?” We’re also asking, “What should we learn from this history, Luke?”

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A Point: Broadly speaking, as we will see in our study, Luke’s primary interest is in the geographical movement of the gospel. Acts 1:8 is a “table of contents” for the book.

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Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

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Jerusalem: Acts 1-6:7

Judea-Samaria: Acts 6:8-9:31

Antioch: Acts 9:32–12:24

Asia Minor: Acts 12:25–16:5

Aegean Area: Acts 16:6–19:20

Church to Rome: Acts 19:21–28:31

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Notice as well what Luke does not tell us. We don’t have biographies of the apostles. Also, after chapter 12, Peter nearly drops from sight except in chapter 15. This is because the Gospel’s movement to the Gentiles is in full swing. And Peter contributes his experience with that movement to the Gentiles.

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So Luke is preoccupied with the movement of the gospel. This presents the church as being on mission. So as we read the book of Acts, we get an exciting triumphant presentation of the church moving the gospel into the Gentile world. And this seems to be an example. So, the book of Acts is somewhat normative, but not necessarily in the details (although many may be appropriate), but in the fact that the church is committed to expanding the reach of the gospel. They were filled with the knowledge of His will (Eph. 1:1-14; 5:15-17).

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So, what is normative and what isn’t? When are the details a good example to follow?

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Important here is authorial intent. Luke’s organization of the book of Acts tells us something of his intent. He is focused on the geographical expansion of the gospel and thus the mission of the church to spread the gospel. The structure tells us his intent.

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But what of the details? Do the details have the same teaching value.

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For example, read Acts 6:1-7.

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What’s one teaching point? Could it be that here we have an example of a minority group who is to have its own leadership from within the local church? So does this mean then that we must have a youth pastor, a seniors pastor, a college and career pastor, a walk-the-dog on Tuesday’s pastor … ? Not necessarily. Although we do see that when the need arises, we need to meet that need. And we see the example of leadership being chosen from within the local church. But we don’t invent programs for the sake of programs!

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These are gleanings and teaching points and principles that can be drawn. But these gleanings may not be Luke’s intention. Luke’s intention is clear, Acts 6:7. The problem arrived, the problem was resolved, and the word of the Lord kept spreading.

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So, keep in mind …

  1. What Luke intended to teach. He often tells us!
  2. That our gleanings may not be God’s point from the passage, although they may be valuable gleanings.
  3. That for gleanings to be normative for all time, it must be related to authorial intent. In other words, before we impose our gleanings and principles from the book of Acts on each other, we must that the purpose of that narrative is to establish precedent.

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Thus, imposing most of Acts on the church today is unlikely. Take Gideon’s fleece as an example. How many believers have mistakingly “put out their fleece” because of Gideon’s example in Judges 6? Yet nowhere were they told by God to put out their fleece.

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Certain practices in the book of Acts set a pattern. Some don’t. How do you decide? Here’s how…

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  1. Only one pattern is found and is repeated in the New Testament. This is a strongest case for church practice.
  2. More than one pattern is found. To be practiced only if it appears to have divine authority and it is in harmony with Scripture. Weaker case.
  3. A pattern occurs once but it appears to have divine authority or it is in harmony with Scripture. Weaker case.
  4. Cultural conditioning/False analogy. Weakest, not to be practiced.

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So, take for example… Which has the strongest case for us to practice it today?

  1. Baptism by immersion: #1
  2. Lord’s Supper each Sunday: #2
  3. Feet washing: ?
  4. Infant baptism: #4
  5. NT church priests: #4. OT priests, but difference between OT and NT shows no need for NT church priests.

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Purpose of Acts

Luke 1:1-4 provide for us the purposes for which Luke writes his two-volume work.

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Luke 1:1-4 1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

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Luke wrote Luke/Acts to give an accurate account of Christ’s teachings and accomplishments in the early church so that his readers may have assurance in Christian doctrine

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Luke 1:1, “to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us.” “Have been fulfilled” addresses what was accomplished. And what was accomplished in the gospel of Luke was what Christ accomplished. Now, Luke begins his second volume this way Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

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Luke’s gospel was what Jesus began both to do and teach…Luke’s Acts was what he continued both to do and teach. So Luke’s first purpose in writing Luke/Acts is to recount what Christ did in the early church.

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Luke writes in verse three that he “carefully investigated all things from the very beginning” … And that he wrote it out in “consecutive” order. He wants to provide an accurate account.

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Luke seeks to teach his readers truth. Remember, Luke is writing about things “accomplished among us” Lk. 1:1 and about what Jesus continues “to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). And Luke is writing so that Theophilus … Luke 1:4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

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Theophilus was instructed in Christian doctrine. Luke is writing so that he might know the certainty of that doctrine. He’s writing for the purpose of Christian assurance.

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Luke wrote Luke/Acts to give an accurate account of Christ’s teachings and accomplishments in the early church so that his readers may have assurance in Christian doctrine.

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And so what we will see is that Luke is arguing for the reliability of the Christian faith. He writes in Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

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Luke includes many sermons and speeches that are apologetic in value. They preach truth and they attempt to convince those who hear and to persuade them concerning the person of the Messiah’s work as well as the response of trust and repentance. Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17 is an example of this.

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Theology of Acts[12]

As I indicated from Luke 1:1-4, Luke writes the book of Acts with historical accuracy, for an apologetic purpose, and for the sake of instruction.

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This brief theology will detail these 3 purposes and their associated themes.

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Themes Associated with the Historical Purpose

  1. Geographic and Numeric Expansion of the Church

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Geographic Expansion

Luke wrote Acts as a history. The expansion of the church is a primary theme within Luke’s historical purpose. Acts 1:8 serves as a summary or table of contents of that geographic expansion.

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Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The outline below will show this in more detail.

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Numeric Expansion

They were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Following Peter’s sermon, 3000 souls were added to the church. Luke uses similar language in Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 11:24; 16:5.

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Chapters 7-12 of the book of Acts recount the expansion of the church and the gospel. The “ends of the earth” concern chapters 13-28.

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Luke records Paul’s three missionary journeys which take up a large amount of literary space.

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This shows that the book of Acts is essentially the church on mission.[13]

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  1. Historical Accuracy

Luke states his concern for historical accuracy in Luke 1:3. We would assume that this accuracy is well-attested in the book.

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  • Luke mentions over 100 proper names. Knowledge of these individuals requires accuracy in historical research.
    • Past figures: John the Baptist, David, Moses, Samuel, etc.
    • Present day political figures: Herod, Pontius Pilate, Claudius, etc.

Accurate historical presentation of political figures demonstrates Luke’s careful research.

  • Luke even mentions certain unnamed individuals, the lame man of Acts 3:2, Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:27), etc. He is historically accurate and we know that because he didn’t choose to make up names for these unknown names individuals.
  • Luke mentions over 100 specific places in the book of Acts.
  • Luke includes events, letters, and speeches made by those opposed to Christianity. For example, Gamaliel (Acts 5:36f), the famine during Claudius’ reign (Acts 11:28), Blastus and Herod’s disagreement and Herod’s death (Acts 12:20-23).

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Themes Associated with the Apologetic Purpose

Remember, Luke wrote the book of Acts so that his readers may know with certainty the things in which they were instructed. Luke wants his readers to have Christian assurance concerning Christian doctrine. They were to be certain of the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

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Luke accomplished that in five ways. He authenticated Christian teaching through Christian witness, through the resurrection, through miracles, boldness, and the fulfillment of Scripture.

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Authentication through Witness

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

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A witness is someone who has seen an event firsthand and can give an account of that event. But witnesses of what? Of the resurrection. Acts 1:22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

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They were to give their firsthand account of having seen the risen Lord after his death.

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This was a major activity in the book of Acts (Acts 2:40; 5:42; 8:4, 35; 10:36; 18:5, 28; 20:21-24; 22:15; 23:11; 24:24; 26:16; 28:23)

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The Holy Spirit witness to Christ (5:32) along with the Old Testament (13:22), the prophets (10:43), and creation itself (14:17).

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The word witness, along with similar words, testify to the verbal proclamation of the gospel message.

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They were the witnesses of the resurrection, and they proclaim Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This is a major part of the message (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:10; 4:33; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 37; 17:3, 18).

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Authentication through Miracles

Miracles authenticated their witness. There are 18 specific miracles recorded in Acts.

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  • Death as a judgment from God: (Ananias, Sapphira, and Herod in 5:5, 10; 12:23 respectively)
  • Blinding as judgment from God (Elymas in 13:11)
  • Exorcism (girl in Philippi in 16:18)
  • Physical relocation (Philip in 8:29)
  • Resurrections (Dorcas and Eutychus in 9:40 and 20:10)
  • Prison escapes (5:19 and 12:7)
  • 6 healings (a lame man, Paul’s eyes, Aeneas’ palsy, a cripple, Paul’s snake bite, and Publius’ fever in 3:6-8, 9:18, 9:34, 14:10, 28:5, 8)
  • 3 instances of speaking in tongues (2:4; 10:46; 19:6).

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And actually, there were many more miracles that were not recorded. See Acts 5:12, 15-16. Stephen (Acts 8:6, 13), Philip (Acts 8:6, 13), and Paul (Acts 14:3; 19:11) each are said to have accomplished many different miracles.

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Authentication through Jesus’ Name

Luke records how the miraculous and other events are all tied to Jesus. For example, Acts 3:16; 4:10. This is also true for their teaching (5:28), for baptizing (10:48), and for casting out demons (16:18).

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All this was done in Jesus’ name. Luke leaves little doubt whom the disciples serve.

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Authentication through Fulfillment

We conclude Luke’s apologetic theme with the fulfillment of Scripture. Christ fulfilled His promise of sending the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 5; 11:16).

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Christ’s death fulfilled prophecy (Acts 3:8, 21; 13:27).

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Also, Luke quotes from the Old Testament over 40 times. Notice how many times Peter quotes from the Old Testament in Acts 2.

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Themes Associated with the Instructional Purpose

Prayer and Other Practices of the early church

Prayer: Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42; 6:6; 9:11; 10:9, 31; 11:15; 12:5; 13:3; 14:23…etc.).

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We see prayer serving to advance the mission of God’s purposes in salvation by giving believers wisdom, fellowship and joy, and strength in trial. It also demonstrates devotion to God.

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Unity

The early church was clearly unified. Acts 2:1, 42-47; 4:24-30, 32; 11:39, etc. they are described as a “congregation” (Acts 6:2, 5) and the “disciples” on a number of occasions (Acts 6:1f, 7; 9:1, 10, 19, 25f, 36, 38; 11:26, 29; 13:52; 14:20ff, 28; 15:10; 16:1; 18:23, 27; 19:1, 9, 30; 20:1, 30; 21:4, 16).

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Persecution

The result of the disciples’ witness was often persecution. There are over 40 instances of persecution in the book of Acts.

  • Threatening (4:21, 29)
  • Imprisoning (4:3; 5:18)
  • Beating (5:40)
  • Stoning (7:58)
  • Killing (12:2)

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We have Stephen’s stoning at the end of chapter 7 and Paul’s persecution of the church in chapter 8. The Jews were a major source of persecution, as indicated by Luke in Acts 9:24.

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Universal Inclusion

A predominant theme is the expansion of the gospel from the Jewish world into the Gentile world. The Jews had rejected their Messiah by killing him (Acts 2:23; 3:13-15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:39). This begins the age of the Gentiles.

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Much of the first part of the book of Acts, up to Acts 15, is this issue of what to do with the Gentiles.

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God’s role for Israel was to live according to the Mosaic Law and then the Gentiles would recognize the wisdom in their laws and then recognize the God who gave it. And on the day of Pentecost there were men from every nation under heaven there in attendance. Acts 2:5

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There was a general attraction of Judaism and it led many of these people out from their nation in order to follow the Law of Moses.

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Under the Old Covenant, nonJews were required to become Jews in order to participate in the nation of Israel. But in the book of Acts, Gentiles are receiving the message of Christ. Acts 13:46

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Of course, Jesus predicted this in Acts 1:8. Peter alludes to it, Joel 2:17-18. The Holy Spirit would be poured out on every believer regardless of their previous religious experience, social status, race, or age.

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Outline of Acts

The outline below is based on Acts 1:8. This shows the geographic nature of the expansion of the church.

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  1. Gospel Authentication and Church Expansion in Jerusalem (1:1-6:7)
  2. Gospel Authentication and Church Expansion in Judea and Samaria (6:8-9:31)
  3. Gospel Authentication and Church Expansion to the Ends of the Earth (9:32-28:31)
    1. Antioch (9:32-12:25)
    2. Asia Minor (Acts 13:1-16:5)
    3. Aegean Area (16:6-19:20)
    4. Rome (Acts 19:21-28:31)

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Go to BibleTrove.com Home Page from Acts of the Apostles Introduction

Go to New Testament Books Page

Go to Acts Main Page

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  1. Some material adapted from https://bible.org/seriespage/getting-ahead-god-acts-11-26

  2. Paul contributed the most books.

  3. Irenaeus writes in Adversus Haereses 3.11.8, “Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these. ….. That according to Luke, as having a priestly character, began with the priest Zacharias offering incense to God. For the fatted calf was already being prepared which was to be sacrificed for the finding of the younger son. [c.f. Luke 15:23]

  4. Bruce Metzger (p. 131), “One finds in Clement’s work citations of all the books of the New Testament with the exception of Philemon, James, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John. Bruce M Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1987, 131.

  5. http://www.ntcanon.org/Muratorian_Canon.shtml, “The third Gospel book, that according to Luke.”

  6. Origen attributes Acts to Luke, the author of the Third Gospel (Metzger, 137).

  7. But Luke, who was of Antiochian parentage and a physician by profession, and who was especially inti-mate with Paul and well acquainted with the rest of the Apostles, has left us, in two inspired books, proofs of that spiritual healing art which he learned from them. One of these books is the Gospel, which he testi-fies that he wrote as those who were from the beginning eye witnesses and ministers of the word deli-vered unto him, all of whom, as he says, he followed accurately from the first. The other book is the Acts of the Apostles which he composed not from the accounts of others, but from what he had seen himself. And they say that Paul meant to refer to Luke’s Gospel wherever, as if speaking of some gospel of his own, he used the words, “according to my Gospel.” (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter 4)

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  8. The 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius (367 CE), “It being my intention to mention these matters, I shall, for the commendation of my venture, follow the example of the evangelist Luke and say [cf. Luke 1:1-4]: Since some have taken in hand to set in order for themselves.”

  9. Achtemeier, Paul J., and Joel B. Green. Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2001. 154.

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  10. The fall of Jerusalem (66-70), Neronian persecution (64), and the James’ death by the Sanhedrin (62).

  11. Fee, Gordon D.; Stuart, Douglas (2014-06-24). How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition (Kindle Locations 2082-2085). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

  12. Structure adapted from my former colleague in doctoral studies, Jonathan Bolin, “The Theology of Acts.”

  13. I. Howard Marshall, vol. 5, Acts: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 52.

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