Acts of the Apostles

The New Covenant Proclaimed

The Acts of Jesus Christ Through His Apostles By the Holy Spirit


The Title

Common for biography:

“The Acts of Hannibal” or others

“The ______  Of _________”

Introduction - Acts 1:1 & Luke 1:1-4

Second Composition

Jesus began infers continuance

History - Acts 1:2

Luke intends to continue a history

Same research standard

Plus personal travel with Paul

Continuance of Holy Spirit’s work

Doesn’t cover all Apostles

Doesn’t cover all acts …includes at least two deacons…

Luke in Luke & in Acts

        Begins with an address to most excellent Theophilus

Same ascension story Luke 24:51

Reference to first writing

Characteristics like Luke’s gospel

Luke’s language the same

Prominent work of Holy Spirit

Medical terms

External Evidence

Anti-Marcionite Prologue c. 150AD

Muratorian Canon c. 160AD

Irenaeus 150AD

Tertullian 177AD

Known in Rome, Asia & Africa early

Date 63AD

Internal Evidence for early date 63AD

Abrupt end because Rome was the destination

Argument for “Religio Licitas” carried to Rome

Silence on the fall of Jerusalem

Fits with the timing of the publication of Luke and Mark

External Evidence for earlier date

Polycarp, Justin Martyr allude to Luke as the author

Sources for unknown history

                        Barnabas and others at Antioch

Purpose - Jesus still at work

1:1        Key verse - 1:8        1:4-9        9:4-16        11:16        16:7        18:9        20:35        23:11

Purpose - Witness to the Resurrection 2:32; 3:14-15; 4:32; 5:32

Holy Spirit

Calling Jews & Gentiles & JtB’s discs = 2:4; 10:44; 19:6

Moving by God’s plan = 8:29; 11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 19:21; 20:22

Speaking though the Word = 1:16; 4:31; 28:25

Source of power = 1:8; 4:31

Prayer = 1:14; 2:42; 4:31; 6:4; 8:15; 9:40; 10:2,19; 12:5; 13:3; 14:23; 16:13; 20:36; 28:8

Geographic Spread - 1:8

Jerusalem at Pentecost - 2:1-37

Judea & Samaria via persecution - 8:2,4,5,40

Antioch to Rome - 13:1ff

Missionary Characteristic

Presupposition of Christianity

Impetus: Jesus alive

Christianity without missions, impossible

Fragmentary Account

Not all Apostle’s stories told

Episodic presentation

Summary statements - 2:43; 9:31; 12:24

Biographical Interests

Personal stories as testimonies

More than 100 individuals

                Philip the evangelist                Barnabas

                Paul’s nephew                Priscilla & Aquilla

Sermons and Speeches

Examples of teaching

24 sermons and speeches

Key to establishment of the faith

Most are portions

Peter, Paul, Stephen, Gameliel, Demetrius, Festus

Historical Facts

80 Geographic references

Correct political terms

                Procurator, Consul, Politarch, Asiarch

Claudius 11:28

Historical and archaeological evidence corroborates

Doctrinal Importance

Substance of the gospel:

Jesus: Messiah, Son of God, Redeemer

The Holy Spirit is the agent of Christ

No shading of history with Theology

Examples of preaching:

                13:16-41 – Jewish audience

                17:22-31 – Secular audience

                20:18-35 – Church Leaders

No creeds inserted from later time

Visions & Dreams & Angels - See chart – pg. 351 in Nelson’s

5:19; 8:26; 9:3-9,10-16; 10:3-6, 9-18, 28; 16:9;         18:9-10; 23:11

Introduction - 1:1-11

Key personality: Jesus

Ties to Luke

Key event: Ascension

Key doctrine: procession of the Holy Spirit

Key geography: outside Jerusalem

Origin of the Church - 1:12-8:3

Key personality: Peter

Men vs. Holy Spirit

Key event: evangelism

Key doctrine: Presence of the Holy Spirit

Key geography: Jerusalem

Transition of the Church - 8:4-11:18

Key personalities: Philip, Peter, John, Barnabas & Saul

Spread of Spirit filled preachers

Key events: Peter at Caesarea & Saul’s conversion

Key doctrine: sealing by the Holy Spirit

Key geography: 9:31

Expansion to the Gentiles - 11:19-12:25

Key personalities: Barnabas, Saul, Peter, John Mark

Extends gospel to gentiles

Key event: Antioch conversions

Key doctrine: Holy Spirit resides in the church

Key geography: 11:19

First Missionary Journey - 13:1-14:27

Holy Spirit through Gentile church leaders

First intentional missionary work

Holy Spirit through missionaries

Asia (Minor) opened

Jerusalem Council - 15:1-35

Issue: Holy Spirit and the Law

Peter leads as does James

Unity with a cultural bridge

Second Missionary Journey - 15:36-18:22

Again conflict spreads the gospel

Spirit of Jesus forbids and directs

From Asia to Europe

Third Missionary Journey - 18:23-20:38

Discipleship and missions

Sealing by Holy Spirit at Paul’s hand

Writing of letters to sustain church teaching

Prominence of teaching/discipleship vs. evangelism

Imprisonment - 21:1-28:31

Two imprisonments: 2 years each @ Caesarea & Rome


Fourth missionary journey?

His defense of the gospel

                Temple                        Council

                2x in Caesarea                Sailors

Evangelizes:  2 governors                Herods        Officials at Malta

Phil. 1:12-13; 4:22

Acts 28:30-31

        30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.


There is an emphasis today on numbers: in evangelism, in church membership, and so on. How can this be assessed in light of the Book of Acts?

What are some of the principles for doing ministry that we can take from the book of Acts?

Key Verses

Acts 1:8 – scope of witness

Acts 4:19-20 –obedience

Acts 16:1-15 – Lord of the Harvest

Acts 17:24-27 –God’s Sovereign Love