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The Book Of Acts

Following the four Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is the Book of Acts. Its account naturally extends the gospels with the ascending of Jesus Christ into the heavens.

Dove The author of Acts is not specifically stated, although in Acts 1:1 the book is addressed to Theophilus, as is Luke's gospel book (Luke 1:3). Luke has long been assumed by many to be the author. Only in more recent times has there been speculation of other authors.

Acts covers the period from about 31 to 65 A.D. Although named the "Acts of The Apostles," or "Acts of the Holy Apostles," the book actually focuses most heavily on Paul and Peter, more Paul, and others who were in contact with them, including Barnabas and Mark.

Acts provides a rich historical account of the early Christian Church and the people who became the "pioneers" of our faith. A regular reading of the book, as part of a regular Bible Reading Plan is very much worthwhile.

The major sections:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction, Jesus Christ going up into the heavens, the selection of Matthias to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot.

  • Chapter 2: the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (an event often called the "birthday of the Church") with Peter's address to the crowd, the fellowship of believers.

  • Chapter 3-6: Peter's miraculous healing of a crippled man, Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, the incident of Ananias and Sapphira, persecution began, the choosing of the seven deacons, Stephen arrested.

  • Chapter 7: the witness and martyrdom of Stephen.

  • Chapter 8: the scattering of the church, Simon the Sorcerer, Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

  • Chapter 9: the conversion of Saul into Paul On The Road To Damascus.

  • Chapter 10-11: Peter's encounter with Cornelius and the new awareness that Gentiles were not excluded from the calling. A startling realization for many of the church pioneers - that Christianity was not just for the Jews! (Christianity at the beginning was viewed as the blooming of Judaism, not as a separate, or antagonistic, set of religious beliefs).

  • Chapter 12: Peter's escape with the aid of an Angel, the death of Herod Agrippa for blasphemy (he was the grandson of Herod The Great, who tried to kill Jesus Christ when He was an infant).

  • Chapter 13-28: the ministry and journeys of the apostle Paul. See Paul's First Missionary Journey and Paul In Athens.

Overall, the Book of Acts emphasizes the workings of the Holy Spirit, and the changes in people made possible through Its power. Acts includes people in the calling, gentiles, that were before excluded as "unclean." The book of Acts also records women's important involvement and acceptance very much at the center workings of the church, whereas before they were excluded to a large degree. Overall, Acts displays very ordinary people doing extraordinary things, all through faith and the power of God's Holy Spirit.

Fact Finder: What was the name of the island upon which the apostle Paul was shipwrecked?
(a) Cyprus (b) Malta (c) Sicily (d) Patmos
Acts 28:1

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