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Bible Commentaries
Acts

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

- Acts

CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

A Commentary On

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

By JOE J. HISLE

Publisher Charles Allen Bailey

Editor

Executive Editor - Joe L. Norton, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2002
Contending for the Faith Publications
4216 Abigale Drive, Yukon, OK 73099

[email protected] <http://[email protected]/>
[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>

All Rights Reserved

All scripture quotations,
unless otherwise indicated, are taken from
The King James Version, KJV

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my wonderful parents, Inez and Walker Hisle, who have encouraged and helped me all along the Way; to my delightful daughters, Deborah and Jody; and to the love of my life, my wife Darlene.

Joe J Hisle

INTRODUCTION

The Acts of the Apostles is an on-going commentary of the preaching of the gospel in the first century. From the beginning on Pentecost through the missionary journeys of Paul, the book chronicles a monumental effort to spread the "faith" in Jesus Christ and to expose "the way" to the whole world. This task is accomplished by a handful of zealous men who labored with the burning knowledge that "Jesus is the Lord."

This book records the successes and failures of the infant church, a church cast into a world of religious prejudice, hypocrisy, hopelessness, and corruption. Acts answers the age-old question, "what must I do to be saved, " with a call for obedience to the gospel plan. In a world filled with idolatry, unholiness, and gross immorality, this book persuades men to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

The treachery of scheming men, their hypocrisy, lies, and deceit are exposed and often dealt with severely in the book of Acts. The endless vigilance against the enemies of Christianity is revealed. The need for discipline and the beneficial results of invoking necessary discipline are made plain.

The book of Acts should bring rejoicing to the hearts of all men but especially to those who would have been classified as "Gentiles." The Gentiles, who for so long have "begged for the crumbs" that fell from the Jewish table, now are invited to sit at the "the King’s table!" Finally, the promise of "salvation by grace " as made to Abraham is a reality, and the grace of God is no longer reserved for the Jews. We may now perceive, even as did the Apostle Peter, "God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-35).

This book describes the bringing of men’s souls out of darkness into the "marvelous light of Jesus Christ." It signals the throwing off of the shackles of bondage of the Old Testament and the giving of freedom that comes from being "in Christ." The book of Acts holds out to lost men the hope of heaven.

AUTHORSHIP

The beloved physician Luke is the author of The Acts of the Apostles. Scholars do not question the authorship of the book. It is fairly obvious that the same person writes the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. In the introduction of both books, Theophilus is named as the recipient.

We understand that Luke writes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but the undeniable style of Dr. Luke shows through. In short, precise sentences, he describes amazing events in a characteristic unembellished, matter-of-fact tone. We can only guess how many volumes would have been required if this task would have been undertaken by some of our modern journalists. Luke’s comments are often spiced with precise medical terms that reveal the former profession of the writer.

DATE

There is some speculation about the time that Acts is written. This speculation ranges from A.D. 50 to the ridiculous A.D. 135. It really is not too difficult at least to narrow down this time frame. It is evident Luke writes the book before A.D. 70. The following clues help to establish an approximate time: Luke mentions Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. The lives of these men cover the time from about A.D. 50 through the year A.D. 62. The city of Jerusalem is destroyed in 70 A.D., and yet there is not a single word in the entire book that mentions this event. The imprisonment of Paul at Rome is during the reign of Nero (A.D. 54-68), and it is generally agreed Paul is executed in A.D. 63 or 64. Our conclusion is The Acts of the Apostles is written sometime shortly after the end of Paul’s captivity in Rome, perhaps late in A.D. 63 or early in A.D. 64. The reader must understand there is much speculation and discussion as to exact dates; but, except from a purely academic standpoint, there is no real reason to be concerned.

THEME OF THE BOOK OF ACTS

Acts reveals many truths in God’s plan for mankind, but most of these revelations are tangents to the central theme of the book.. Acts is the book of conversions. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John "are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name, " (John 20:31). After one comes to believe in Jesus, the burning question arises, "What must I do?" The answer is provided in this book of conversions:

The three thousand on the day of Pentecost (2:6-41).

The Samaritans (8:12).

Simon the Sorcerer (8:13).

The Ethiopian Eunuch (8:38).

Saul of Tarsus (9:1-18).

Cornelius, the Roman Centurion (10:47-48).

Lydia, the seller of purple (16:14-15).

The Philippian jailor (16:33).

Dionysius and Damaris (17:34).

Crispus and the Corinthians (18:8).

Multitudes at such cities as: Jerusalem, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Antioch, Athens, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Troas, Tyre, Caesarea, Ephesus, Colosse, Rome, etc.

PURPOSE OF THE AUTHOR

It is with earnest expectations to learn that we enter into the study of The Acts of the Apostles. It is our desire that this commentary may be of some benefit to the concerned student of God’s word. It is hoped we all will be inspired by the courage of the fledgling church of the first century in her struggle to preach Jesus–that in some way we might become better acquainted with our heroic brethren who left us a divine legacy of success against tremendous opposition. It was a genuine pleasure for this writer to walk the dusty roads and to sail the tempestuous seas with my brothers: Paul, Peter, Luke, Timothy, Philip, Barnabas, Silas, and a host of others who burned with the knowledge "Jesus is Lord." May we be encouraged to carry the gospel message to the "whole world, " even those unlikely places, as did our forefathers. Above all, may we be encouraged to continue the "good fight, to finish the course, and to keep the faith."

SOURCES USED IN COMENTARY

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Bales, James. D. The Holy Spirit and the Christian. Shreveport, Louisana: Lambert Book House, 1966.

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Bruce, F. F. "The Book of Acts." The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1973.

Bullinger, Ethelbert W. A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.

Campbell, Alexander. Acts of the Apostles. Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, California.

Coffman, James Burton. Acts. Abilene, Texas: A C U Press, 1985.

Conybeare, W. J. and Howson, J. S. The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul. Hartford, Connecticut: The S. S. Scranton Company, 1906.

DeHoff, George. Alleged Contradictions in the Bible. Murfreesboro, Tennessee: George Dehoff Publications, 1970.

De Welt, Don. Acts Made Actual. Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1958.

Edwards, Doug. 1989 Preacher Study Notes. Ozark, Missouri: A Christian

Expositor Publication, 1990.

Fussell, Wayne L. Christian Expositor, Vol. 6, Number 3. Columbia, Missouri: September, 1992.

Gaertner, Dennis. The College Press NIV Commentary. Joplin, Missouri: College Press Publishing Company, 1993.

Hervey, A. C. The Acts of the Apostles. The Pulpit Commentary. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1950.

Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman. A Bible Atlas. New York: Rand McNally & Company, 1947.

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Johnson, Carl M. The Gospel of Mark. Irving Texas: Contending for the Faith Publications, 1995.

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New Analytical Greek Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990.

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Thayer, Joseph H. Greek - English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977. The page number in Thayer’s is given, and the column on the page follows the hyphen, followed by the word number.

Unger, Merrill F. Unger’s Bible Dictionery. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1979.

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Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Second Edition. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Co., 1965.

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World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago, Illinois: Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1976.

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