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January 27    Scripture

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Bible Books: Acts
The Book of Acts in the Bible

Acts in the Bible. The Formation of the Church. Historical account from Jesusí ascension to travels of Paul in his missionary Church planting journeys. -Outline of the Books of the Bible


Acts of the Apostles in Easton's Bible Dictionary the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise" (1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date, but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of Certain Apostles." As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke, the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a great portion of that history from personal observation. For what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent history we have no certain information. The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the gospel when preached among all nations...

Acts of the Apostles in Fausset's Bible Dictionary The second treatise, in continuation of the Gospel as recorded by Luke. The style confirms the identity of authorship; also the address to the same person, Theophilus, probably a man of rank, judging from the title "most excellent." The Gospel was the life of Jesus in the flesh, the Acts record His life in the Spirit; Chrysostom calls it "The Gospel of the Holy Spirit." Hence Luke says: "The former treatise I made of all that Jesus began to do and teach;" therefore the Acts give a summary of what Jesus continued to do and teach by His Spirit in His disciples after He was taken up. The book breaks off at the close of Paul's imprisonment, A.D. 63, without recording his release; hence it is likely Luke completed it at this date, just before tidings of the apostle's release reached him. There is a progressive development and unity of plan throughout. The key is Acts 1:8; "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me in (1) Jerusalem, and (2) in all Judaea, and (3) in Samaria, and (4) unto the uttermost part of the earth." It begins with Jerusalem, the metropolis of the Jewish dispensation, and ends with Rome, the metropolis of the whole Gentile world. It is divisible into three portions: I. From the ascension to the close of Acts 11, which describes the rise of the first purely Gentile church, at Antioch, where the disciples consequently were first called See CHRISTIAN (see); II. Thence down to the special vision at Troas (Acts 16), which carried the gospel, through Paul, to Europe; III. Thence onward, until it reached Rome. In each of the three periods the church has a distinct aspect: in the first, Jewish; in the second, Gentile with a strong Jewish admixture; in the third, after the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15), Gentile in a preponderating degree. At first the gospel was preached to the Jews only; then to the Samaritans (Acts 8:1-5); then to the Ethiopian eunuch, a proselyte of righteousness (Acts 8:27); then, after a special revelation as Peter's warrant, to Cornelius, a proselyte of the gate; then to Gentile Greeks (not Grecians, i.e. Greek speaking Jews, but pagan Greeks, on the whole the best supported reading, Acts 11:20); then Peter, who, as "the apostle of the circumcision," had been in the first period the foremost preacher, gives place from Acts 13 to Paul, "the apostle of the uncircumcision," who successively proclaimed the word in Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome. Luke joined Paul at Troas (about A.D. 53), as appears from the "we" taking the place of "they" at that point in his history (Acts 16:8-10). The repetition of the account of the ascension in Acts 1 shows that an interval of some time had elapsed since writing the more summary account of it at the end of Luke 24; for...

Acts of the Apostles in Smiths Bible Dictionary 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 the 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 int he 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 Roma, and the time about two years from the date of St. Paul's arrival there, as related in Ac 28:30 This would give us fro the publication about 63 A.D.

Acts of the Apostles in Wikipedia The Acts of the Apostles (Latin: Acta Apostolorum), usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age. The author is traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist. While the precise identity of the author is debated, the general consensus is that this work was composed by a (Koine) Greek speaking Gentile writing for an audience of Gentile Christians. The Early Church Fathers wrote that Luke was a physician in Antioch and an adherent of the Apostle Paul. Luke is said to have written the volume entitled Acts of the Apostles...

Acts of the Apostles, 1-7 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE LITERATURE I. Title. It is possible, indeed probable, that the book originally had no title. The manuscripts give the title in several forms. Aleph (in the inscription) has merely "Acts" (Praxeis). So Tischendorf, while Origen, Didymus, Eusebius quote from "The Acts." But BD Aleph (in subscription) have "Acts of Apostles" or "The Acts of the Apostles" (Praxeis Apostolon). So Westcott and Hort, Nestle (compare Athanasius and Euthalius). Only slightly different is the title in 31,61, and many other cursives (Praxeis ton Apostolon, "Acts of the Apostles"). So Griesbach, Scholz. Several fathers (Clement of Alex, Origen, Dionysius of Alex, Cyril of Jerusalem, Chrysostom) quote it as "The Acts of the Apostles" (Hai Praxeis ton Apostolon). Finally A2 EGH give it in the form "Acts of the Holy Apostles" (Praxeis ton Hagion Apostolon). The Memphitic version has "The Acts of the Holy Apostles." Clearly, then, there was no single title that commanded general acceptance. II. Text. (1) The chief documents. These are the Primary Uncials (Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, Codex Bezae), Codex Laudianus (E) which is a bilingual Uncial confined to Acts, later Uncials like Codex Modena, Codex Regius, Codex the Priestly Code (P), the Cursives, the Vulgate, the Peshitta and the Harclean Syriac and quotations from the Fathers. We miss the Curetonian and Syriac Sinaiticus, and have only fragmentary testimony from the Old Latin. (2) The modern editions of Acts present the types of text (Textus Receptus; the Revised Version (British and American); the critical text like that of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek or Nestle or Weiss or von Soden). These three types do not correspond with the four classes of text (Syrian, Western, Alexandrian, Neutral) outlined by Hort in his Introduction to the New Testament in Greek (1882). These four classes are broadly represented in the documents which give us Acts. But no modern editor of the Greek New Testament has given us the Western or the Alexandrian type of text, though Bornemann, as will presently be shown, argues for the originality of the Western type in Acts. But the Textus Receptus of the New Testament (Stephanus' 3rd edition in 1550) was the basis of the King James Version of 1611. This edition of the Greek New Testament made use of a very few manuscripts, and all of them late, except Codex Bezae, which was considered...

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 13 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE XIII. Analysis. 1. The connection between the work of the apostles and that of Jesus (Acts 1:1-11). 2. The equipment of the early disciples for their task (Acts 1:12 through 2:47). (a) The disciples obeying Christ's parting command (Acts 1:12-44). (b) The place of Judas filled (Acts 1:15-26). (c) Miraculous manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13). (d) Peter's interpretation of the situation (Acts 2:14-36). (e) The immediate effect of the sermon (Acts 2:37-41). (f) The new spirit in the Christian community (Acts 2:42- 47). 3. The development of the work in Jerusalem (Acts 3:1 through 8:1a). (a) An incident in the work of Peter and John with Peter's apologetic (Acts 3). (b) Opposition of the Sadducees aroused by the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:1-31). (c) An internal difficulty, the problem of poverty (Acts 4:32 through 5:11). (d) Great progress of the cause in the city (Acts 5:12-16). (e) Renewed hostility of the Sadducees and Gamaliel's retort to the Pharisees (Acts 5:17-42). (f) A crisis in church life and the choice of the seven Hellenists (Acts 6:1-7). (g) Stephen's spiritual interpretation of Christianity stirs the antagonism of the Pharisees and leads to his violent death (Acts 6:8 through 8:1a). 4. The compulsory extension of the gospel to Judea, Samaria and the neighboring regions (Acts 8:1b-40). (a) The great persecution, with Saul as leader (Acts 8:1b- 4). (b) Philip's work as a notable example of the work of the scattered disciples (Acts 8:5-40). 5. The conversion of Saul changes the whole situation for Christianity (Acts 9:1-31). (a) Saul's mission to Damascus (Acts 9:1-3)...

Acts of the Apostles, 8-12 in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE VIII. The Speeches in Acts. This matter is important enough to receive separate treatment. Are the numerous speeches reported in Acts free compositions of Luke made to order a la Thucydides? Are they verbatim reports from notes taken at the times and literally copied into the narrative? Are they substantial reports incorporated with more or less freedom with marks of Luke's own style? In the abstract either of these methods was possible. The example of Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy and Josephus shows that ancient historians did not scruple to invent speeches of which no report was available. There are not wanting those who accuse Luke of this very thing in Acts. The matter can only be settled by an appeal to the facts so far as they can be determined. It cannot be denied that to a certain extent the hand of Luke is apparent in the addresses reported by him in Acts. But this fact must not be pressed too far. It is not true that the addresses are all alike in style. It is possible to distinguish very clearly the speeches of Peter from those of Paul. Not merely is this true, but we are able to compare the addresses of both Paul and Peter with their epistles. It is not probable that Luke had seen these epistles, as will presently be shown. It is crediting remarkable literary skill to Luke to suppose that he made up "Petrine" speeches and "Pauline" speeches with such success that they harmonize beautifully with the teachings and general style of each of these apostles. The address of Stephen differs also sharply from those of Peter and Paul, though we are not able to compare this report with any original work by Stephen himself. Another thing is true also, particularly of Paul's sermons. They are wonderfully stated to time, place and audience. They all have a distract Pauline flavor, and yet a difference in local color that corresponds, to some extent, with the variations in the style of Paul's epistles. Professor Percy Gardner (The Speeches of Paul in Acts, in Cambridge Biblical Essays, 1909) recognizes these differences, but seeks to explain them on the ground of varying accuracy in the sources used by Luke, counting the speech at Miletus as the most historic of all. But he admits the use of sources by Luke for these addresses. The theory of pure invention by Luke is quite discredited by appeal to the facts. On the other hand, in view of the apparent presence of Luke's style to some extent in the speeches, it can hardly be claimed that he has made verbatim reports. Besides, the report of the addresses of Jesus in Luke's Gospel (as in the other gospels) shows the same freedom in giving the substance exact reproduction of the words that is found in Acts. Again, it seems clear that some, if not all, the reports in Acts are condensed, mere outlines in the case of some of Peter's addresses. The ancients knew how to make shorthand reports of such addresses. The oral tradition was probably active in preserving the early speeches of Peter and even of Stephen, though Paul himself heard Stephen. The speeches...

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