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The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as w ...

New Testament
; it tells of the founding of the
Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. ...

Christian church
and the spread of its message to the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
. Acts and the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringi ...
make up a two-part work,
Luke–ActsLuke–Acts is the composite work of the ''Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, tells of the origins, ...
, by the same anonymous author, usually dated to around 80–90 AD, although some experts now suggest 90–110. The first part, the Gospel of Luke, tells how
God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
fulfilled his plan for the world's
salvation Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its co ...
through the life, death, and resurrection of
Jesus of Nazareth Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
, the promised
Messiah In , a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ', , and of a originated in , and in the , in which a ''mashiach'' is a king or traditionally with . ''Ha mashiach'' (), often referred to as ' ...
. Acts continues the story of
Christianity in the 1st century Christianity in the 1st century covers the formative history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world ...
, beginning with the
ascension of Jesus The Ascension of Jesus ( anglicized from the Vulgate la, ascensio Iesu, lit=ascent of Jesus) is Christian teaching that Christ Jesus; he, יֵשׁוּעַ, ''Yeshua, Yēšū́aʿ''; ar, عيسى, ʿĪsā ( 4 BC AD 30 / 33), also ref ...
to
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also ...
. The early chapters, set in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, describe the
Day of Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is a moveable feast A moveable feast or movable feast is an observance in a Christian liturgical calendar, borrowed from the Hebrew Lunisolar calendar, which therefore occurs on a different date (relative to t ...
(the coming of the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
) and the growth of the church in Jerusalem. Initially, the Jews are receptive to the Christian message, but later they turn against the followers of Jesus. Rejected by the Jews, the message is taken to the
Gentiles Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards develope ...
under the guidance of the
Apostle Peter An apostle (), in its most literal sense, is an emissary, from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located ...

Apostle Peter
. The later chapters tell of Paul's conversion, his mission in Asia Minor and the Aegean, and finally his imprisonment in Rome, where, as the book ends, he awaits
trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...

trial
. Luke–Acts is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah of the Jews came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church; the answer it provides is that the message of Christ was sent to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected it. Luke–Acts can also be seen as a defense of (or "apology" for) the Jesus movement addressed to the Jews: the bulk of the speeches and sermons in Acts are addressed to Jewish audiences, with the Romans serving as external arbiters on disputes concerning Jewish customs and law. On the one hand, Luke portrays the followers of Jesus as a sect of the Jews, and therefore entitled to legal protection as a recognised religion; on the other, Luke seems unclear as to the future God intends for Jews and Christians, celebrating the Jewishness of Jesus and his immediate followers while also stressing how the Jews had rejected God's promised Messiah.


Composition and setting


Title, unity of Luke – Acts, authorship and date

The title "Acts of the Apostles" was first used by
Irenaeus Irenaeus (; grc-gre, Εἰρηναῖος ''Eirēnaios''; c. 130 – c. 202 AD) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Rep ...
in the late 2nd century. It is not known whether this was an existing title or one invented by Irenaeus; it does seem clear that it was not given by the author, as the word ''práxeis'' (deeds, acts) only appears once in the text (
Acts 19 Acts 19 is the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of ...
:18) and there it does not refer to the apostles but refers to deeds confessed by followers to the apostles. The Gospel of Luke and Acts make up a two-volume work which scholars call
Luke–ActsLuke–Acts is the composite work of the ''Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, tells of the origins, ...
. Together they account for 27.5% of the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as w ...

New Testament
, the largest contribution attributed to a single author, providing the framework for both the Church's liturgical calendar and the historical outline into which later generations have fitted their idea of the story of Jesus and the early church. The author is not named in either volume. According to Church tradition dating from the 2nd century, the author was the "Luke" named as a companion of the
apostle Paul Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus A ...
in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself; this view is still sometimes advanced, but "a critical consensus emphasizes the countless contradictions between the account in Acts and the authentic Pauline letters." (An example can be seen by comparing Acts's accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–31, 22:6–21, and 26:9–23) with Paul's own statement that he remained unknown to Christians in Judea after that event (Galatians 1:17–24).) The author "is an admirer of Paul, but does not share Paul's own view of himself as an apostle; his own theology is considerably different from Paul's on key points and does not represent Paul's own views accurately." He was educated, a man of means, probably urban, and someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself; this is significant, because more high-brow writers of the time looked down on the artisans and small business people who made up the early church of Paul and were presumably Luke's audience. The earliest possible date for Luke-Acts is around 62 AD, the time of Paul's imprisonment in Rome, but most scholars date the work to 80–90 AD on the grounds that it uses Mark as a source, looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, and does not show any awareness of the letters of Paul (which began circulating late in the first century); if it does show awareness of the Pauline epistles, and also of the work of the Jewish historian Josephus, as some believe, then a date in the early 2nd century is possible.


Manuscripts

There are two major textual variants of Acts, the
Western text-type In textual criticism of the New Testament, the Western text-type is one of the main Textual criticism#New Testament, text types. It is the predominant form of the New Testament text witnessed in the Vetus Latina, Old Latin and Syriac language, Syri ...
and the Alexandrian. The oldest complete Alexandrian manuscripts date from the 4th century and the oldest Western ones from the 6th, with fragments and citations going back to the 3rd. Western texts of Acts are 6.2–8.4% longer than Alexandrian texts, the additions tending to enhance the Jewish rejection of the Messiah and the role of the Holy Spirit, in ways that are stylistically different from the rest of Acts. The majority of scholars prefer the Alexandrian (shorter) text-type over the Western as the more authentic, but this same argument would favour the Western over the Alexandrian for the Gospel of Luke, as in that case the Western version is the shorter; the debate therefore continues.


Genre, sources and historicity of Acts

The title "Acts of the Apostles" (''Praxeis Apostolon'') would seem to identify it with the genre telling of the deeds and achievements of great men (''praxeis''), but it was not the title given by the author. The anonymous author aligned Luke–Acts to the "narratives" (διήγησις, ''diēgēsis'') which many others had written, and described his own work as an "orderly account" (ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς). It lacks exact analogies in Hellenistic or Jewish literature. The author may have taken as his model the works of
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
, who wrote a well-known history of Rome, or the Jewish historian
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
, author of a history of the Jews. Like them, he anchors his history by dating the birth of the founder (Romulus for Dionysius, Moses for Josephus, Jesus for Luke) and like them he tells how the founder is born from God, taught authoritatively, and appeared to witnesses after death before ascending to heaven. By and large the sources for Acts can only be guessed at, but the author would have had access to the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
(a Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures), the
Gospel of Mark The Gospel according to Mark ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον , translit=Euangélion katà Mârkon), also called the Gospel of Mark, or simply Mark, is the second of the four Gospel#Canonical_gospels, canonical gospels and of ...
, and either the hypothetical collection of "sayings of Jesus" called the
Q source The Q source (also called Q document, Q Gospel, or Q from german: Quelle, meaning "source") is a hypothetical A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to desc ...
or the
Gospel of Matthew The Gospel according to Matthew ( el, Κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εὐαγγέλιον, translit=Katà Matthaîon Euangélion), also called the Gospel of Matthew, or simply Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three s ...
. He transposed a few incidents from Mark's gospel to the time of the Apostles—for example, the material about "clean" and "unclean" foods in Mark 7 is used in Acts 10, and Mark's account of the accusation that Jesus has attacked the Temple (Mark 14:58) is used in a story about Stephen (Acts 6:14). There are also points of contacts (meaning suggestive parallels but something less than clear evidence) with
1 Peter The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) ...
, the
Letter to the Hebrews The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews (Πρὸς Ἑβραίους) is one of the books of the New Testament. The text does not mention the name of its author, but was traditional ...
, and 1 Clement. Other sources can only be inferred from internal evidence—the traditional explanation of the three "we" passages, for example, is that they represent eyewitness accounts. The search for such inferred sources was popular in the 19th century, but by the mid-20th it had largely been abandoned. Acts was read as a reliable history of the early church well into the post-Reformation era, but by the 17th century biblical scholars began to notice that it was incomplete and tendentious—its picture of a harmonious church is quite at odds with that given by Paul's letters, and it omits important events such as the deaths of both Peter and Paul. The mid-19th-century scholar Ferdinand Baur suggested that the author had re-written history to present a united Peter and Paul and advance a single orthodoxy against the
Marcion Marcion of Sinope (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ; 85 – c. 160) was an Diversity in early Christian theology, early Christian theologian, an Evangelism, evangelist, and an important figure in early Christianity. Marcion preached that the benevo ...

Marcion
ites (Marcion was a 2nd-century heretic who wished to cut Christianity off entirely from the Jews); Baur continues to have enormous influence, but today there is less interest in determining the historical accuracy of Acts (although this has never died out) than in understanding the author's theological program.


Audience and authorial intent

Luke was written to be read aloud to a group of Jesus-followers gathered in a house to share the Lord's supper. The author assumes an educated Greek-speaking audience, but directs his attention to specifically Christian concerns rather than to the Greco-Roman world at large. He begins his gospel with a preface addressed to Theophilus ( Luke 1:3; ''cf.'' Acts 1:1), informing him of his intention to provide an "ordered account" of events which will lead his reader to "certainty". He did not write in order to provide Theophilus with historical justification—"did it happen?"—but to encourage faith—"what happened, and what does it all mean?" Acts (or Luke–Acts) is intended as a work of "edification," meaning "the empirical demonstration that virtue is superior to vice." The work also engages with the question of a Christian's proper relationship with the Roman Empire, the civil power of the day: could a Christian obey God and also Caesar? The answer is ambiguous. The Romans never move against Jesus or his followers unless provoked by the Jews, in the trial scenes the Christian missionaries are always cleared of charges of violating Roman laws, and Acts ends with Paul in Rome proclaiming the Christian message under Roman protection; at the same time, Luke makes clear that the Romans, like all earthly rulers, receive their authority from Satan, while Christ is ruler of the
kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but ...
.


Structure and content


Structure

Acts has two key structural principles. The first is the geographic movement from Jerusalem, centre of God's Covenantal people, the Jews, to Rome, centre of the Gentile world. This structure reaches back to the author's preceding work, the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringi ...
, and is signaled by parallel scenes such as Paul's utterance in Acts 19:21, which echoes Jesus's words in Luke 9:51: Paul has Rome as his destination, as Jesus had Jerusalem. The second key element is the roles of Peter and Paul, the first representing the Jewish Christian church, the second the mission to the Gentiles. * Transition: reprise of the preface addressed to Theophilus and the closing events of the gospel (Acts 1–1:26) * Petrine Christianity: the Jewish church from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 2:1–12:25) :: 2:1–8:1 – beginnings in Jerusalem :: 8:2–40 – the church expands to Samaria and beyond :: 9:1–31 – conversion of Paul :: 9:32–12:25 – the conversion of Cornelius, and the formation of the Antioch church * Pauline Christianity: the Gentile mission from Antioch to Rome (Acts 13:1–28:31) :: 13:1–14:28 – the Gentile mission is promoted from Antioch :: 15:1–35 – the Gentile mission is confirmed in Jerusalem :: 15:36–28:31 – the Gentile mission, climaxing in Paul's passion story in Rome (21:17–28:31)


Outline

* Dedication to Theophilus (1:1–2) * Resurrection appearances (1:3) *
Great Commission In Christianity, the Great Commission is the instruction of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciple (Christianity), disciples to spread the gospel to all the nations of the world. The most famous versio ...
(1:4–8) * Ascension (1:9) * Second Coming Prophecy (1:10–11) *
MatthiasMatthias is a name derived from the Greek Ματθαίος, in origin similar to Matthew. People Notable people named Matthias include the following: In religion: * Saint Matthias Matthias (Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ; ...
replaced
Judas Judas Iscariot (; he, יהודה איש-קריות ; arc, ܝܗܘܕܐ ܣܟܪܝܘܛܐ; el, Ὶούδας Ὶσκαριώτης; died AD) was a Disciple (Christianity), disciple and one of the original Apostles, Twelve Apostles of Jesus Chris ...
(1:12–26) ** the '' Upper Room'' (1:13) * The Holy Spirit came at
Shavuot (''Ḥag HaShavuot'' or ''Shavuos'') , nickname = English: "Feast of Weeks" , observedby = Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international sta ...

Shavuot
(Pentecost) (2:1-47), see also
Paraclete Paraclete ( el, παράκλητος, la, paracletus) means advocate or helper. In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teac ...
*
Peter Peter may refer to: People * List of people named Peter, a list of people and fictional characters with the given name * Peter (given name) ** Saint Peter (died 60s), apostle of Jesus, leader of the early Christian Church * Peter (surname), a sur ...

Peter
healed a crippled beggar (3:1–10) * Peter's speech at the
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

Temple
(3:11–26) * Peter and
John John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), including a list of people who have the name John John may also refer to: New Testament Works ...
before the
Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...

Sanhedrin
(4:1–22) **
Resurrection of the dead General resurrection or universal resurrection is the belief in a resurrection of the dead, or resurrection from the dead (Koine Greek, Koine: , ''anastasis nekron''; literally: "standing up again of the dead") by which most or all people ...
(4:2) * Believers' Prayer (4:23–31) * Everything is shared (4:32–37) *
Ananias and Sapphira Ananias and his wife Sapphira were, according to the Acts of the Apostles Acts 5, chapter 5, members of the early Christian Local church, church in Early centers of Christianity#Jerusalem, Jerusalem. The account records their sudden deaths after ...
(5:1–11) * Signs and Wonders (5:12–16) *
Apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

Apostles
before the Sanhedrin (5:17–42) * Seven Deacons appointed (6:1–7) *
Stephen Stephen or Steven is a common English given name, first name. It is particularly significant to Christianity, Christians, as it belonged to Saint Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ), an early disciple and deacon who, according to the Book of Act ...
before the Sanhedrin (6:8–7:60) ** The "
Cave of the Patriarchs , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the complex, 2009 , map_type = West Bank#Palestine , map_alt ...
" was located in
Shechem Shechem , also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם / Standard ''Šəḵem'' Tiberian ''Šeḵem'', "shoulder"; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician lang ...

Shechem
(7:16) ** "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (7:22) ** First mentioning of Saul (Paul the Apostle) in the Bible (7:58) **
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
confesses his part in the martyrdom of
Stephen Stephen or Steven is a common English given name, first name. It is particularly significant to Christianity, Christians, as it belonged to Saint Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ), an early disciple and deacon who, according to the Book of Act ...
(7:58–60) * Saul persecuted the
Church of Jerusalem
Church of Jerusalem
(8:1–3) *
Philip the Evangelist Philip the Evangelist ( el, Φίλιππος, ''Philippos'') appears several times in the Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), ofte ...
(8:4–40) **
Simon Magus Simon Magus ( Greek Σίμων ὁ μάγος, Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium ...
(8:9–24) **
Ethiopian eunuch upA stained glass diptych showing the baptisms of the Ethiopian eunuch by St. Philip the Evangelist and of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist, from the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Garden City, New York). The Ethiopian eunuch ( gez, ኢትዮ ...
(8:26–39) *
Conversion of Paul the Apostle The conversion of Paul the Apostle (also the Pauline conversion, Damascene conversion, Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , ima ...
(9:1–31, 22:1–22, 26:9–24) **
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
confesses his active part in the martyrdom of
Stephen Stephen or Steven is a common English given name, first name. It is particularly significant to Christianity, Christians, as it belonged to Saint Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ), an early disciple and deacon who, according to the Book of Act ...
(22:20) * Peter healed
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father ...
and raised
Tabitha Tabitha () is an English language, English Grammatical gender#Personal names, feminine given name, originating from the New Testament. In the Bible The English name is derived from an Aramaic language, Aramaic word, ''ṭaḇīṯā'' " emale ...
from the dead (9:32–43) * Conversion of Cornelius (10:1–8, 24–48) *
Peter's vision of a sheet with animals According to the Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth bo ...
(10:9–23, 11:1–18) *
Church of Antioch The Church of Antioch ( ar, كنيسة أنطاكية) was one of the five major churches of the pentarchy in Christianity before the East–West Schism in 1054, with its primary seat in the ancient Greek city of Antioch (present-day Antakya, Tu ...
founded (11:19–30) ** term "
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
" first used (11:26) *
James the Great James the Great, also known as James, son of Zebedee or as Saint James the Greater (Aramaic: ܝܥܩܘܒ ܒܪ ܙܒܕܝ; Arabic:يعقوب; Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew: , ''Jacob (name), Yaʿăqōḇ''; Latin: ''Iacobus Maximus''; Biblical Greek, Gree ...
executed (12:1–2) * Peter's rescue from prison (12:3–19) * Death of Herod
Agrippa I Herod Agrippa, also known as Herod II or Agrippa I (; 11 BC – AD 44), was a Herodian Dynasty, King of Judea from AD 41 to 44 and of Philip's tetrarchy from 39. He was the last ruler with the royal title reigning over Judea (Roman province), J ...

Agrippa I
n 44 N44 may refer to: * London Buses route N44 The London Night Bus network is a series of Night bus service, night bus routes that serve Greater London. Services broadly operate between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00. Many services commence from o ...
(12:20–25) ** "the voice of a god" (12:22) * Mission of Barnabas and Saul (13–14) ** "Saul, who was also known as Paul" (13:9) ** called "gods ... in human form" (14:11) *
Council of Jerusalem The Council of Jerusalem or Apostolic Council was held in Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυ ...
(15:1–35) * Paul separated from Barnabas (15:36–41) * 2nd and 3rd missions (16–20) **
Areopagus sermon The Areopagus sermon refers to a sermon delivered by Apostle Paul in Athens, at the Areopagus, and recounted in wikisource:Bible (American Standard)/Acts#17:16 , Acts 17:16–34... The Areopagus sermon is the most dramatic and most fully-reported ...
(17:16–34) *** "God...has set a day" (17:30–31) ** Trial before
Gallio Gallio may refer to: People * Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus or Gallio ( el, Γαλλιων, ''Galliōn''; c. 5 BC – c. AD 65) was a Roman senator and brother of the famous writer Seneca the Younger, Seneca. He i ...
c. 51–52 (18:12–17) * Trip to Jerusalem (21) * Before the people and the
Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...

Sanhedrin
(22–23) * Before
Felix Felix may refer to: * Felix (name), people and fictional characters with the name Places * Felix, Spain, a municipality of the province Almería, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain * St. Felix, Prince Edward Island, a rural com ...

Felix
Festus
Herod Agrippa II Herod Agrippa II (; AD 27/28 – or 100), officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes shortened to Agrippa, was the eighth and last ruler from the Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dy ...

Herod Agrippa II
(24–26) * Trip to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
(27–28) ** called a god on
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
(28:6)


Content

The
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringi ...
began with a prologue addressed to Theophilus; Acts likewise opens with an address to Theophilus and refers to "my earlier book", almost certainly the gospel. The apostles and other followers of Jesus meet and elect Matthias to replace Judas as a member of The Twelve. On
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
, the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
descends and confers God's power on them, and Peter and John preach to many in Jerusalem and perform healings, casting out of evil spirits, and raising of the dead. The first believers share all property in common, eat in each other's homes, and worship together. At first many Jews follow Christ and are baptized, but the followers of Jesus begin to be increasingly persecuted by other Jews.
Stephen Stephen or Steven is a common English given name, first name. It is particularly significant to Christianity, Christians, as it belonged to Saint Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ), an early disciple and deacon who, according to the Book of Act ...
is accused of
blasphemy Blasphemy is an insult that shows contempt, disrespect, or lack of reverence concerning a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male de ...
and stoned. Stephen's death marks a major turning point: the Jews have rejected the message, and henceforth it will be taken to the Gentiles. The death of Stephen initiates persecution, and many followers of Jesus leave Jerusalem. The message is taken to the Samaritans, a people rejected by Jews, and to the
Gentiles Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards develope ...
.
Saul of Tarsus Paul the Apostle,; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח; – AD commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Tarsus,; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, ...
, one of the Jews who persecuted the followers of Jesus, is converted by a vision to become a follower of Christ (an event which Luke regards as so important that he relates it three times). Peter, directed by a series of visions, preaches to
Cornelius the Centurion Cornelius ( el, Κορνήλιος, translit=Kornélios; la, Cornelius) was a Roman centurion A centurion (; la, centurio , . la, centuriones, label=none; grc-gre, κεντυρίων, kentyríōn, or ) was a position in the Roman army T ...
, a Gentile God-fearer, who becomes a follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit descends on Cornelius and his guests, thus confirming that the message of eternal life in Christ is for all mankind. The Gentile church is established in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
(north-western Syria, the third-largest city of the empire), and here Christ's followers are first called Christians. The mission to the Gentiles is promoted from Antioch and confirmed at a meeting in Jerusalem between Paul and the leadership of the Jerusalem church. Paul spends the next few years traveling through western Asia Minor and the Aegean, preaching, converting, and founding new churches. On a visit to Jerusalem he is set on by a Jewish mob. Saved by the Roman commander, he is accused by the Jews of being a
revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. D ...
, the "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes", and imprisoned. Later, Paul asserts his right as a Roman citizen, to be tried in Rome and is sent by sea to Rome, where he spends another two years under house arrest, proclaiming the
Kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but ...
and teaching freely about "the Lord Jesus Christ". Acts ends abruptly without recording the outcome of Paul's legal troubles.


Theology

Prior to the 1950s, Luke–Acts was seen as a historical work, written to defend Christianity before the Romans or Paul against his detractors; since then the tendency has been to see the work as primarily theological. Luke's theology is expressed primarily through his overarching plot, the way scenes, themes and characters combine to construct his specific worldview. His "salvation history" stretches from the Creation to the present time of his readers, in three ages: first, the time of "the Law and the Prophets" (Luke 16:16), the period beginning with Genesis and ending with the appearance of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–3:1); second, the epoch of Jesus, in which the
Kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but ...
was preached (Luke 3:2–24:51); and finally the period of the Church, which began when the risen Christ was taken into Heaven, and would end with his
second coming The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianit ...
. Luke–Acts is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah, promised to the Jews, came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church; the answer it provides, and its central theme, is that the message of Christ was sent to the Gentiles because the Jews rejected it. This theme is introduced in Chapter 4 of the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus, rejected in Nazareth, recalls that the prophets were rejected by Israel and accepted by Gentiles; at the end of the gospel he commands his disciples to preach his message to all nations, "beginning from Jerusalem." He repeats the command in Acts, telling them to preach "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the Earth." They then proceed to do so, in the order outlined: first Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, then the entire (Roman) world. For Luke, the Holy Spirit is the driving force behind the spread of the Christian message, and he places more emphasis on it than do any of the other evangelists. The Spirit is "poured out" at
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
on the first Samaritan and Gentile believers and on disciples who had been baptised only by
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
, each time as a sign of God's approval. The Holy Spirit represents God's power (at his ascension, Jesus tells his followers, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"): through it the disciples are given speech to convert thousands in Jerusalem, forming the first church (the term is used for the first time in Acts 5). One issue debated by scholars is Luke's political vision regarding the relationship between the early church and the Roman Empire. On the one hand, Luke generally does not portray this interaction as one of direct conflict. Rather, there are ways in which each may have considered having a relationship with the other rather advantageous to its own cause. For example, early Christians may have appreciated hearing about the protection Paul received from Roman officials against Gentile rioters in Philippi (Acts 16:16–40) and Ephesus (Acts 19:23–41), and against Jewish rioters on two occasions (Acts 17:1–17; Acts 18:12–17). Meanwhile, Roman readers may have approved of Paul's censure of the illegal practice of magic (Acts 19:17–19) as well as the amicability of his rapport with Roman officials such as Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6–12) and Festus (Acts 26:30–32). Furthermore, Acts does not include any account of a struggle between Christians and the Roman government as a result of the latter's imperial cult. Thus Paul is depicted as a moderating presence between the church and the Roman Empire. On the other hand, events such as the imprisonment of Paul at the hands of the empire (Acts 22–28) as well as several encounters that reflect negatively on Roman officials (for instance, Felix's desire for a bribe from Paul in Acts 24:26) function as concrete points of conflict between Rome and the early church. Perhaps the most significant point of tension between Roman imperial ideology and Luke's political vision is reflected in Peter's speech to the Roman centurion, Cornelius (Acts 10:36). Peter states that "this one" ὗτος i.e. Jesus, "is lord ύριοςof all." The title, κύριος, was often ascribed to the Roman emperor in antiquity, rendering its use by Luke as an appellation for Jesus an unsubtle challenge to the emperor's authority.


Comparison with other writings


Gospel of Luke

As the second part of the two-part work Luke–Acts, Acts has significant links to the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringi ...
. Major turning points in the structure of Acts, for example, find parallels in Luke: the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple parallels the opening of Acts in the Temple, Jesus's forty days of testing in the wilderness prior to his mission parallel the forty days prior to his Ascension in Acts, the mission of Jesus in Samaria and the Decapolis (the lands of the Samaritans and Gentiles) parallels the missions of the Apostles in Samaria and the Gentile lands, and so on (see
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringi ...
). These parallels continue through both books. There are also differences between Luke and Acts, amounting at times to outright contradiction. For example, the gospel seems to place the Ascension on
Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages (made of ...

Easter Sunday
, immediately after the
Resurrection Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of religions, a Dying-and-rising deity, dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. Reincarnation is a similar process hypothesized by ot ...

Resurrection
, while Acts 1 puts it forty days later. There are similar conflicts over the theology, and while not seriously questioning the single authorship of Luke–Acts, these differences do suggest the need for caution in seeking too much consistency in books written in essence as popular literature.


Pauline epistles

Acts agrees with Paul's letters on the major outline of Paul's career: he is converted and becomes a Christian missionary and apostle, establishing new churches in Asia Minor and the Aegean and struggling to free Gentile Christians from the
Jewish Law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → ...
. There are also agreements on many incidents, such as Paul's escape from Damascus, where he is lowered down the walls in a basket. But details of these same incidents are frequently contradictory: for example, according to Paul it was a pagan king who was trying to arrest him in Damascus, but according to Luke it was the Jews (2 Corinthians 11:33 and Acts 9:24). Acts speaks of "Christians" and "disciples", but Paul never uses either term, and it is striking that Acts never brings Paul into conflict with the Jerusalem church and places Paul under the authority of the Jerusalem church and its leaders, especially James and Peter (Acts 15 vs. Galatians 2). Acts omits much from the letters, notably Paul's problems with his congregations (internal difficulties are said to be the fault of the Jews instead), and his apparent final rejection by the church leaders in Jerusalem (Acts has Paul and Barnabas deliver an offering that is accepted, a trip that has no mention in the letters). There are also major differences between Acts and Paul on
Christology In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
(the understanding of Christ's nature),
eschatology Eschatology is a part of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
(understanding of the "last things"), and
apostleship
apostleship
.


See also

* ''
Les Actes des Apotres ''Les Actes des Apotres'' (French: ''The Acts of the Apostles'') was a French royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Lif ...
'' *
Acts of the Apostles (genre) __NOTOC__ The Acts of the Apostles is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes ...
*
Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary ...
* Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles *
List of Gospels Image:Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpg, 320px, alt=A large old Bible, open and displaying two pages of densely-written calligraphy, with some decoration surrounding one section on the left-hand page., The canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John c ...
*
List of omitted Bible verses The New Testament verses not included in modern English translations are verses of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of t ...
* ''
The Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles The ''Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles'', also known as the ''Sonnini Manuscript'', is a short text purporting to be the translation of a manuscript containing the 29th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, detailing Paul the Apostle's journe ...
'', also known as the ''Sonnini Manuscript'' * Textual variants in the Acts of the Apostles


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


A Brief Introduction to Luke–Acts

''Book of Acts'' at Bible Gateway (NIV & KJV)


* * Various versions {{DEFAULTSORT:Acts Of The Apostles 1st-century books 1st-century Christianity New Testament books