DATE: 61 AD
Luke, known as “the beloved physician” (Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:11; Philemon 24) is clearly connected with his earlier work, as author of a “former treatise” (1:1), the Book of Luke, addressed also to Theophilus (Lk 1: 1-4) Passages in the book, in which “we” and “us” are used (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16), reveal the writer of this Gospel as a companion of Paul and support it being Luke. Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 point affirmatively to Luke’s authorship. The frequent use of medical terms further confirms Luke as the author (Acts 1:3; 3:7ff.; 9:18, 33; 13:11; 28:1-10).
Luke answered the Macedonian call with Paul, was in charge of the work at Philippi for about six years, and later was with Paul in Rome during the time of Paul’s house arrest. The book was probably written in Rome. If it were written later it would likely have made mention of some momentous events such as the burning of Rome, the martyrdom of Paul, or the destruction of Jerusalem.
Acts is a transitional book, a “bridge” between the Gospels and the epistles. In comparing the last chapter of each Gospel with the first chapter of Acts: Matthew refers to Resurrection, Mark to Ascension, Luke to promise of Spirit, and John to the Second Coming. All four facts are included in the introduction to Acts (1:1-11). Each Gospel gives an account of the Great Commission and it is repeated and confirmed in Acts 1:8. The “bridge” from Acts to the epistles is that Acts introduces the Apostles and tells of their works (the Acts of the Apostles) and the epistles tell of their doctrine.
The Book of Acts covers the time from the giving of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to Paul’s arrival in Rome to preach the gospel in the world’s capital and the transition from the early church being primarily Jewish to the spread of the church to the Gentile nations and the increasing number of Gentile believers. The book is sometimes called The Acts of the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s epistles define doctrines that first appeared in “seed form” in Acts (the Spirit, Acts 1:8; the kingdom, Acts 3:21; Acts 15:16; elders, Acts 11:30; Gentile salvation, Acts 15:14). The book gives principles for missionary work, patterns for church life, and many historical facts that have been confirmed through the centuries by archaeological discoveries.
The first 12 chapters of the book introduce important church leaders–Peter, Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, and James. From chapter 13 to the end, the primary person is Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who was instrumental in the spread of the gospel, the growth of the church, and the defining of all Christian doctrines.
OUTLINE OF ACTS
I. Christianity in Jerusalem, 1:1-8:3
A. The Risen Lord, 1:1-26
1. The Lord confirming, 1:1-5
2. The Lord commissioning, 1:6-11
3. The Lord choosing, 1:12-26
B. Pentecost: Birthday of the Church, 2:1-47
1. The power of Pentecost, 2:1-13
2. The preaching of Pentecost, 2:14-36
3. The results of Pentecost, 2:37-47
C. The Healing of a Lame Man, Acts 3:1-26
1. The miracle, 3:1-10
2. The message, 3:11-26
D. The Beginning of Persecution, 4:1-37
1. The persecution, 4:1-22
2. The prayer, 4:23-31
3. The provision, 4:32-37
E. Purging and Persecution, 5:1-42
1. Purging from within, 5:1-11
2. Purging from without, 5:12-42
F. Choosing Colaborers, 6:1-7
G. Stephen, the First Martyr, 6:8-8:3
1. The stirring of the people, 6:8-15
2. The sermon of Stephen, 7:1-53
3. The stoning of Stephen, 7:54-8:3
II. Christianity in Palestine and Syria, 8:4-12:25
A. The Christians Scattered, 8:4-40
1. The preaching in Samaria, 8:4-25
2. The preaching on the Gaza road, 8:26-40
B. The Conversion of Paul, 9:1-31
1. The account of Paul’s conversion, 9:1-18
2. The aftermath of Paul’s conversion, 9:19-31
C. The Conversion of Gentiles, 9:32-11:30
1. The preparation of Peter, 9:32-10:23
2. The preaching of Peter, 10:24-48
3. The plea of Peter, 11:1-18
4. The church at Antioch, 11:19-30
D. The Christians Persecuted by Herod, 12:1-25
1. The death of James, Acts 12:1-2
2. The deliverance of Peter, 12:3-19
3. The death of Herod, 12:20-23
4. The dissemination of the Word, 12:24-25
III. Christianity to the Uttermost Part of the World, 13:1-28:31
A. The First Missionary Journey, 13:1-14:28
1. Events in Antioch, 13:1-3
2. Events in Cyprus, 13:4-12
3. Events in Galatian cities, Acts 13:13-14:20
4. Events on the return to Antioch, 14:21-28
B. The Council at Jerusalem, 15:1-35
1. The dissension, 15:1-5
2. The discussion, 15:6-18
3. The decision, 15:19-29
4. The letter delivered to Antioch, 15:30-35
C. The Second Missionary Journey, 15:36-18:22
1. The personnel chosen, 15:36-40
2. The churches revisited, 15:41-16:5
3. The call to Europe, 16:6-10
4. The work at Philippi, Acts 16:11-40
5. The work at Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens, 17:1-34
6. The ministry at Corinth, 18:1-17
7. The journey completed, 18:18-22
D. The Third Missionary Journey, 18:23-21:26
1. Ephesus: The power of the Word, 18:23-19:41
2. Greece, 20:1-6
3. Asia Minor: Troas and the elders of Ephesus, 20:7-38
4. From Miletus to Caesarea, 21:1-14
5. Paul with the Jerusalem church, 21:15-26
E. The Journey to Rome, 21:27-28:31
1. Paul’s arrest and defense, 21:27-22:29
2. Paul brought before the Sanhedrin, 22:30-23:10
3. Paul escorted to Caesarea, 23:11-35
4. Paul’s defense before Felix, 24:1-27
5. Paul’s defense before Festus, 25:1-27
6. Paul’s defense before Agrippa, 26:1-32
7. Paul’s voyage and shipwreck, 27:1-44
8. Paul in Malta and on to Rome, 28:1-16
9. Paul in Rome, 28:17-31
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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