Book of Acts – Acts of Apostles

The Book of Acts

The Book of Acts

photo by liz west

Acts, or the Book of Acts, is the 5th text of Next Testament. It is also referred to as the Acts of the Apostles. It presents a historical account of Apostolic Age. Although the exact author of this book of Acts is not known and is a subject for much debate, most scholars agree on the fact that it was created by a person who spoke in Koine Greek dialect and wrote the piece for Gentile Christians. Classically, it is believed that the Acts of the Apostles or Book of Acts was written by the same author who wrote the Gospel of Luke. Hence the authorship of Acts is usually attributed to Luke who was a physician from Antioch and a friend of Apostle Paul.

Even the title of the text “Act of the Apostles” or Book of Acts was not present in the original scripture and was only added later by Irenaeus in 2nd century. The main subject matter presented in this book of Acts focuses on great acts by people or cities during the ancient age. Hence it forms a definite genre by itself, in keeping with other books of the same type, including Acts of John and Acts of Thomas. The most likely date of its composition is around 62 AD to 70 AD, although an earlier date is also probable.

The material of the book of Acts concerning Paul’s ministry and the early days of the church was compiled by taking information and inspiration from a number of sources, including oral traditions. This is indicated by the prologue at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. There is also enough evidence to suggest that whoever might have written the Book of Acts, he did not have any access to Paul’s letters. Even though half of the book focuses on Paul and his acts, the book never presents any direct quotes from Pauline epistles nor refers to the collection of letters written by Paul.

Along with the style of writing itself, the main use of the Book of Acts has also been a matter of much intellectual debate. Often regarded as a continuation to the Gospel of Luke, its purpose is usually considered in conjunction with Book of Luke. The book is written for Theophilus in order to inform him about the truth of things on which he has been instructed. The literal meaning of the name “Theophilus” is one who loves God, and might point to a Greek individual who is fond of God. Alternatively, the book of Acts is written for the community of Gentiles or for God-loving people everywhere.

One of the most common and oldest claims concerning the purpose of this book is associated with an apologetic approach. The writer may have written the book of Acts for the Roman authorities, trying to convince them that Christianity is not some kind of political threat to them and may even have positive aspects. Alternatively, the book of Acts is also believed to portray the Romans in a positive light to the saints and adherents of Christian faith.

The author might also be looking to convince authorities to legitimize Christianity by stating that Christianity has its origins in the Jewish religion. Another proposed purpose of the book of Acts might have been that the author was trying to strengthen the morale of the saints by saying that trials and prosecution might come in their way of doing God’s work. Many scholars also believe that Luke considered Roman Empire to be just a political reality and not as any kind of threat to spreading of Gospel of Jesus. This view proposes that the central theme of the book do not underlie a political situation but deals with essentially spiritual matters.       Sign up now to receive bible quotes from the Book of Acts.