Introduction to the Book of Acts: Acts 1:1-2
“1) The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2) until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.” Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭1‬-‭2‬ ‭
The book of Acts was written by the same human author that penned the Gospel of Luke. He was both a researcher and an accomplished historian. He was known as “Luke, the beloved Physician.” (Colossians 4:14)
From this context of Colossians 4:10-14, we discover that Luke was not from “the circumcision.” He was not Jewish. Judging by the style of his Greek language usage, which approaches that of Classical Greek Literature, he was by far the most Greek cultured of all New Testament writers.
This means the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are the only two books in the Bible not written by a Jewish author. The book was often quoted by early Christian writers and not one of them questioned the authorship or authenticity of the book.
As you read the book of Acts, suddenly the word “we” is include in the text. Some believe that Luke accompanied Paul on three separate occasions. (See Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; and 27:1-28:16) He is the earliest example of “a media team.” Though he is subtly mentioned in these three texts, he ascribes no ministry or works to himself.
Both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are addressed to Theophilus. (Compare Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) The name “Theophilus” is a bit of a mystery. It is a Greek name that could be translate as “God Lover” or “Loved by God.” Some ascribe the name to a real person, others see it more generally as meaning “all who love God.”
The books may have been written from Rome where Luke accompanied Paul in his imprisonment. The date of the two books seem to be around AD 62 or 63. The book of Acts oddly and abruptly ends with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome with no mention of his trial or martyrdom.
This leads me to a personal speculation about these two books. They may have been prepared by Luke as part of the legal defense for Paul before Caesar. This would help explain the abrupt end of the book of Acts prior to Paul’s actual trial in Rome. It also explains why Luke did not track the history of the other more prominent Apostles like Peter, James or John. After the arrest of Paul in Jerusalem, they were completely dropped from the record.
Whatever the human purpose, the book of Acts was divinely inspired by God to be the only history of the early church. Nearly all other Epistles of the New Testament can be fit into the time line of the book of Acts. The big exception is the book of Revelation, which was written later by the Apostle John.
Join me as we begin a detailed study of the book of Acts.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global