ACTS, introduction

Introduction to Acts:

Author, Date, Setting

Luke wrote Acts as a sequel to the gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician, a disciple, and traveling companion of the apostle Paul. Acts is a fast-paced, action pack, a historical narrative spanning across 29 years, from the first Christian church’s birthday in 33 AD on Pentecost day to Paul’s house arrest at Rome in 62 AD. Acts is an account of the adventures of the apostles in evangelising the gospel from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and Rome. The first 13 chapters of Acts highlighted the adventures of the apostle Peter from Jerusalem. The subsequent 15 chapters highlighted the adventures of the Apostle Paul from Antioch of Syria. Acts recorded Paul’s first three missionary journeys culminating in his subsequent house arrest in Rome. Acts did not record Paul’s trial, release, 4th missionary journey, rearrest, and subsequent execution in the Mamertine prison.

Setting:

Acts covered 29 years of church history and recorded 30 miracles. Following the footsteps of Jesus, Peter raised a dead woman, healed a lame man, healed the sick, and exorcised the demonised. Similarly, Paul also raised a dead man, healed a lame man, healed the sick, and exorcised he demonised. Luke joined Paul’s missionary team in Macedonia and became an eyewitness from Acts 16:10, when he started to use the plural pronouns, we and us, instead of they and them.

Purpose

Luke wrote the Book of Acts for a person called Theophilus, whose identity and relationship to Luke were unknown.

Themes

The apostles witnessed the resurrection of Christ. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they evangelised the gospel from Jerusalem to Romero Jews and Gentiles. Acts had a lot of first, e.g. the first Christian church, Peter’s first sermon, Peter’s first miracle, the first Christian martyr, Stephen, the first Christian burial, Ananias, the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, Paul’s first missionary journey, etc. You should be looking out for all the “first” as you study the book of Acts.

Outline

Acts 1: 1-26, salutation, Christ’s ascension

Acts 2: 1-47, Pentecost, the birthday of the first Christian church, Peter’s first sermon

Acts 3: 1-26, Peter’s first Miracle

Acts 4: 1-47, Opposition from the Sadducees, earthquake prayer

Acts 5: 1-42, the first Christian funerals, the great escape

Acts 6: 1-15, the rise and arrest of Stephen

Acts 7:1-60, trial, sermon, and martyrdom of Stephen

Acts 8:1-40, from Jerusalem to Samaria

Acts 9:1-43, Saul’s Damascus road conversion

Acts 10:1-48, Cornelius’ conversion

Acts 11:1-30, Revival at Antioch

Acts 12:1-25, Peter’s great escape

Acts 13:1-52, Paul’s first missionary journey

Acts 14:1-28, Paul’s second missionary journey

Application:

We witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the apostles and disciples in Acts. You should pray for spiritual gifts and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fulfill your God-ordained destiny.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us by Your word. We pray for the next 28 day’s journey into the book of Acts. We come to You in quietness and solitude to hear from. We present our bodies to You as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, as our reasonable acts of worship. We pray for nourishment, instruction, conviction, confrontation, and empowerment to share the gospel with others, in Jesus’ name, Amen.