Book of the Week 44: Acts

Greek Name: PRAXEIS APOSTOLON

Human Author: Luke                                              

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 28

Basic Facts

  1. Acts [of the Apostles] is the forty-fourth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Acts is classified as a book of history, though it could be classified as a letter written to Theophilus.
  3. Acts is the sequel to the two-part series known as Luke-Acts.
  4. The Greek name for the book of Acts is PRAXEIS APOSTOLON, which means “Acts of [the] Apostles” or “Deeds of [the] Apostles.”
  5. The book of Acts uniquely tells the story of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as foretold by Jesus.

Story of the Book

The Book of Acts begins with an introduction given by Luke to Theophilus, along with a brief account of the ascension of Jesus into heaven. Jesus tells His disciples that the Holy Spirit would soon come upon them. The disciples then cast lots and replace Judas Iscariot with a disciple named Matthias. Next, the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles at Pentecost with tongues of fire, and Peter addresses a crowd proclaiming the event to be prophetic fulfillment. Luke then gives some details regarding the practices of the community of the early church including persecution, the solidarity of the community, healings, signs and wonders, and believers praying for boldness. The book continues with many other stories which detail the acts of the Apostles and the early church including for following:

  • The testimony and martyrdom of Stephen
  • Ananias and Saphira,
  • The choosing of servers for the community
  • Persecution under Saul
  • Saul’s conversion
  • The vision of Peter
  • The church of Antioch
  • A meeting in Jerusalem

The rest of the book gives a detailed account of the missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas to various places in the Roman empire stretching from Jerusalem to Rome as God commissions Paul as a missionary to the gentiles, and the gospel continues to expand throughout the known world.

Jesus Revealed in Acts

 Jesus had promised His disciples that the Father would send another helper in Jesus’ name who would teach them all things, namely the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). After the resurrection, Jesus promises His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7-9). In Acts, the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples at Pentecost with tongues of fire and empowers them to fulfill their God-given mission to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. In addition to this, Jesus appeared on the road to Damascus to a man named Saul (Acts 9:1-22). Saul was a Pharisee and a zealous persecutor of the church. After Jesus reveals Himself to Saul, Saul’s heart is radically changed, and he begins to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ that he once tried to destroy (Galatians 1:23). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ mission began to be carried out to the ends of the earth accompanied by signs, miracles, and visions and dreams of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s coming was a fulfillment of the words of the prophet Joel, who proclaimed that visions and dreams would accompany the Spirit of the LORD (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:14-24). In this way, Jesus has and continues to appear to people around the world, spreading the gospel message and proclaiming the good news of himself to the ends of the earth.