Summary: The Study Of The Acts of the Apostles

The Study Of The Acts of the Apostles

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The fifth book of the New Testament is a book of history. Acts is the earliest history of the church of Christ. It has been called "the hub of the Bible." Neither the Old Testament, nor the first four books of the New Testament, would be complete without the book of Acts. The Old Testament foretold the coming of the Christ and His kingdom. The first four books of the New Testament tell of Christ’s coming to earth and the wonderful life He lived. They tell of His marvelous miracles, His death for the sins of the world, and His mighty resurrection from the dead. They end with Jesus giving the Great Commission to His disciples and His ascension back to Heaven.

Acts tells of Christ sending the Holy Spirit upon the apostles to prepare them for their work (John 14:26; 15:26,27; 16:7-15; Acts 1:4,5; 2:1-21). It tells of their preaching the Gospel (good news of salvation). It records the answer to the most important question one can ever ask, "What must I do to be saved" (Acts 16:30-34). Acts tells of the beginning of the church of Christ when those who first heard the Gospel believed in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, confessed Him before men, and were baptized for the remission of their sins. When they did this, they were added by the Lord to His church (Acts 2:36-47). Acts, chapter two, contains the fulfillment of the prophecies of the coming of the kingdom (Matthew 16:16-19; Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:36-45).

The Acts of the Apostles was written by Luke, "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). Luke was one of Paul’s companions on his second and third missionary journeys as well as on his trip to Rome. Luke addressed the book of Acts to Theophilus, the same person to whom he had addressed the book of Luke (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:1-4). The book of Acts is simply a continuation of the book of Luke.

The Acts of the Apostles does not contain all the acts of all the apostles. It would be more accurate to call it "some of the acts of some of the apostles." Acts mostly records the work of only two of the apostles - Peter and Paul. Peter’s labors for the Lord are recorded in chapters 2 - 12. Paul’s work in the kingdom is recorded in chapters 13-28. Peter worked mainly among the Jews. He carried the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Paul preached among the Gentiles and carried the Gospel to Rome and later to Spain (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:24, 28). While Peter and Paul were busy with their work, the other apostles were carrying the Gospel to other parts of the world.

The book of Acts was most likely written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. It ends with the mention of Paul under house arrest awaiting his hearing before Caesar (Acts 28: 30,31). During this time, he wrote the epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. These four books are known as the "Prison Epistles." The date of writing of Acts was probably 62 or 63 A.D.

Like the book of Genesis, the book of Acts is a book of beginnings.

• Acts records the beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit as He revealed and confirmed the Word of God through the apostles (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

• Acts records the carrying out of the Great Commission as it tells of the Gospel being preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth (Luke 24:46, 47; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23).

• Acts tells of the beginning of persecution against the church (Acts 4, 5, 7, 8, 12).

• Too, it speaks of the beginning of preaching the Gospel among the Gentiles (Acts 10, 11).

• Acts also tells of the first use of the name "Christian" as a Divinely given name for the members of the church of Christ (Isaiah 62:1,2; Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).

• Acts also speaks of the setting in order of the church when elders were appointed in the congregations (Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17,28).

The book of Acts has often been called "the book of conversions." When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His apostles, He told them the conditions of salvation. When the Gospel is preached, men must hear, believe, repent, confess and be obedient in order to be saved (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46,47). In order to be sure no one could be mistaken on such an important matter, the book of Acts contains several examples of people obeying the Gospel just as Jesus taught. From the thousands of cases of conversion in the first century, the Holy Spirit selected these to record in Acts as examples for all men to follow.

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