The fifth book of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles reflects the second half of the work began in the Gospel of Luke. A historian and travel companion of Paul, Luke wrote this book somewhere between 80 and 90 AD, describing the early church after Jesus’ death. Like the Gospel of Luke, the Acts of the Apostles (or simply “Acts” as it is often called) continues to address an unknown reader Theophilus while targeting both Jews and Gentiles. Covering roughly 38 years, this book serves as a bridge between Jesus’ life as portrayed in the Four Gospels as well as the ministries of Paul along with the other apostles in continuing the work Jesus began to do and teach, but now through the Holy Spirit. It begins with Jesus’ ascension into heaven in 30 AD and ends with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome in 68 AD, where he awaits trial.
Divided into two parts, this book covers the following:
- Early Development of the Church (Acts 1-11). This section focuses on the presence and acts of the Holy Spirit, beginning with the conversion of 3000 people at Pentecost (Acts 2) then continuing with the spread of the Gospel in Jerusalem (Acts 2-8); the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9); and the witnessing of Peter (Acts 8-11). For this reason, many theologians refer to this book as the “Acts of the Holy Spirit.”
- Paul’s Ministry (Acts 12-26). This section focuses on Paul’s ministry in spreading the Gospel to Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, and to the rest of the world.
Whether you refer to the book as “Acts of the Apostles”, “Acts of the Holy Spirit”, or simply “Acts”, this book offers all who read it valuable insight into the development of the church during the first century and describes the characteristics of early Christians. Interspersed throughout the book are seven examples of conversions, illustrating the steps the faithful follow, leading to salvation through God’s grace.
What steps did you take in your life that led to your salvation?