AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS
The Book of Acts is the second volume of a two-volume set written by Luke, the physician. The "former treatise" of Ac.1v1 refers to the Gospel of Luke. Both books were written to Theophilus (Lk.1v3; Ac.1v1). Acts of the Apostles tells how the early followers of Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, did spread the Good News far beyond the confines of Jewish life to the whole world. Jesus said: "And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Ac.1v8). This is the three-part outline for the Book of Acts.
Acts reveals the sometimes painful implications of the gospel to the Gentiles. The Lord had never intended for the message of Jesus to remain "bottled up" in one little culture. New wine requires new winebags which can stretch (Lk.5v36-39). Everything before Acts was focused upon God's untiring love for Israel, His chosen people. But, from Acts onward, the second part of God's promise to Abraham (Gen.12v1-3), "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed," is being fulfilled.
From within the Book of Acts itself, one can learn that the writer was with the Apostle Paul on several occasions. Compare the "we" passages in Ac.16v10-17; Ac.20v5-21v18; Ac.27v1-28v16. Many believe that Luke was "the brother" who was praised by all the congregations (2Cor.8v18). Luke was especially careful to reassure Theophilus that Christians were not a subversive political threat to the Roman Empire. The Book of Acts ends with Paul imprisoned in Rome. Apparently, the author could write nothing further.
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