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Acts of the Apostles


Acts of the Apostles, the fifth book in the New Testament and the second treatise by the author of the third Gospel, traditionally known as Luke. The book commences with an inscription to one Theophilus, who was probably a man of birth and station. The readers were evidently intended to be the members of the Christian Church, whether Jews or Gentiles; for its contents are such as are of the utmost consequence to the whole Church. They are the fulfillment of the promise of the Father by the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the results of that outpouring by the dispersion of the gospel among Jews and Gentiles. Under these leading heads all the personal and subordinate details may be arranged. First St. Peter becomes the prime actor under God in the founding of the Church. He is the centre of the first group of sayings and doings. The opening of the door to Jews, ch. 2, and Gentiles, ch. 10, is his office, and by him, in good time, is accomplished. Then the preparation of Saul of Tarsus for the work to be done, the progress, in his hand, of that work, his journeyings, preachings, and perils, his stripes and imprisonments, his testifying in Jerusalem and being brought to testify in Rome—these are the subjects of the latter half of the book, of which the great central figure is the apostle Paul. The history given in the Acts occupies about 33 years, and the reigns of the Roman emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. It seems most probable that the place of writing was Rome, and the time about two years from the date of St. Paul’s arrival there, as related in ch. 28:30. This would give us for the publication about 63 a.d.