Acts & Visited Cities – September through December

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Authorship of the book of Acts
That the author of Acts was a companion of Paul is clear from the passages in the book in which “we” and “us” are used (16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). These sections themselves eliminate known companions of Paul other than Luke, and Col. 4:14 and Philem. 24 point affirmatively to Luke, who was a physician. The frequent use of medical terms also substantiates this conclusion (1:3; 3:7ff.; 9:18, 33; 13:11; 28:1-10). Luke answered the Macedonian call with Paul, was in charge of the work at Philippi for about six years, and later was with Paul in Rome during the time of Paul’s house arrest. It was probably during this last period that the book was written. If it were written later it would be very difficult to explain the absence of mentioning such momentous events as the burning of Rome, the martyrdom of Paul, or the destruction of Jerusalem.

Importance of the Book
(1) Acts gives us the record of the spread of Christianity from the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to Paul’s arrival in Rome to preach the gospel in the world’s capital. In this regard, then, it is the record of the continuation of those things that Jesus began while on earth and that He continued as the risen Head of the Church and the One who sent the Holy Spirit (1:2; 2:33). The book is sometimes called The Acts of the Holy Spirit.
(2) The 30 years covered by the book were important years of transition. The gospel was preached first only to Jews, and the early church was composed largely of Jewish believers. As more and more Gentiles were included, the church became distinct from Judaism.
(3) Doctrines that are later developed in the epistles appear in seed form in Acts (the Spirit, 1:8; the kingdom, 3:21; 15:16; elders, 11:30; Gentile salvation, 15:14). However, the book emphasizes the practice of doctrine more than the statement of doctrine.
(4) Acts furnishes principles for missionary work.
(5) The book reveals patterns for church life.
(6) Archaeological discoveries confirm in a remarkable way the historical accuracy of Luke’s writing.

Contents
In the first 12 chapters of the book the important figures are Peter, Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, and James. From Acts 13 to the end, the dominant person is Paul. The book may also be divided according to the geographical divisions mentioned in the Great Commission (1:8).

 

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