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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Acts

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28

Book Overview - Acts

by Gary H. Everett

STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Using a Theme-based Approach

to Identify Literary Structures

By Gary H. Everett

THE BOOK OF ACTS

January 2013Edition

All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.

All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.

The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.

Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.

Foundational Theme - Justification Through Faith in Jesus Christ

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Song of Solomon ,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Structural Theme - The Eye-Witness Testimony of the Apostles that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

There is another that beareth witness of me;

and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

Ye sent unto John , and he bare witness unto the truth.

John 5:32-33

Imperative Theme - The Office of the Apostle

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:

and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria,

and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:8

His Church

(1) We'll hear him say, Oh, church devine,

I am your Lord and you are mine.

Because that you have stood the test,

You are the ones that I love best.

I died for you on Calvary's tree,

That you from sin could be set free.

What greater love could one empart

To helpless souls, to broken hearts.

(2) You cost me all that Earth could give.

I died for you that you might live.

I did it all because that you believed in me

And I in you.

And now My Church you are My bride.

I'll keep you ever by My side.

From you My church I'll never stray.

I'll love you through the endless day.

(3) And Song of Solomon , dear Church its worth it all

To trust His Word, obey His call.

You will never regret the choice you made

For you, dear Church, the price He paid.

Thares nothing more that one could do

No greatest love for Me and you.

I'm satisfied to wait on Him

And never shall my hope grow dim.

(4) Oh blessed Church you are His choice

And you will be through endless day.

Just listen to the Spirit's voice

Oh, blessed church look up and pray.

The end

"Oh, Holy Spirit, go with this song and bless whoever sings it as you did the one to which You first gave it.

All my love." Mother Everett.

(Flossie Powell Everett 1910-1987)

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ACTS

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Message of the Book of Acts - The book of Acts is one of the most amazing records of mankind ever written. One commentator describes it as the incredible story of how God used such unlikely people to overcome such enormous obstacles using such simple means to achieve such astounding results. The impact of the early Church shook the known world of its time. J. B. Phillips says that in no comparable period of human history has "any small body of ordinary people so moved the world that their enemies could say, with tears of rage in their eyes, that these men ‘have turned the world upside down!'" 1]

1] J. B. Phillips, The Young Church in Action [on-line]; accessed 9 July 2010; available from http://swanseastpeters.blogspot.com/2010/04/jbphillips-on-early-church.html; Internet, "Preface"; cited by William MacDonald, The Acts of the Apostles, in Believer's Bible Commentary, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Introduction."

This book serves as a master plan for any ministry to follow in achieving world evangelism. It also serves as a bridge between the testimonies of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ found in the Gospels and the ministry of the Holy Spirit of sanctification for the believer found in the Epistles. It is priceless in the fact that it is the only record that we have of the birth and beginning of the early Church in Jerusalem during its first thirty years. This record provides us the historical context in which the New Testament epistles were written.

The book of Acts also helps us to understand how the message of salvation made its transition from a Jewish culture into a universal message for all of mankind. We know from the testimony of Peter in Acts that this transition did not come easy. As a result of the Gospel being made available to all people, it provides us with the divine pattern of church order and growth and ministry that all people are to follow if we want God to work in our midst as we share the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

Why did God choose to record the missionary efforts of Paul the apostle to a greater degree than that of the other apostles of Jesus Christ, for they, too, went out and performed mighty signs and wonders in His name? Early church history tells us that they went to Alexandria and as far as India. Perhaps it is because Paul's life was the most faithful testimony of the grace of God and of the endurance and commitment to fulfill the Great Commission; or, perhaps because Western Civilization was built upon Christianity from the region that Paul ministered, whose faith and work laid the foundation for the Christian faith of this great civilization upon which we live today. Although the work of other apostles seems to find itself in the ancient past, Paul's efforts forever changed the face of Europe, which eventually embraced Christianity and carried the Gospel into our modern world. The development of Europe based upon Judeo-Christian beliefs became the foundation of what is called today "Western Civilization." This civilization has forever changed the face of societies around the world.

Introductory Material- The introduction to the book of Acts will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 2] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.

2] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).

HISTORICAL SETTING

"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture

if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."

(J. Hampton Keathley) 3]

3] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.

Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the Luke -Acts will provide a discussion on its historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the early Church tradition that the Luke the Evangelist wrote Luke -Acts in Rome while Paul was in his first Roman imprisonment during the early 60's as a legal brief to defend Paul in court.

I. Historical Background: The Relationship of Luke and Acts

Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were originally written as a two-part work, and circulated as such until the late first or early second century. At that time, the first volume was collected into the four Gospels, with the book of Acts left as a separate, fifth book of the New Testament. It was perhaps at this time of separation that Acts received its descriptive title as the "Acts of the Apostles." The Gospel of Luke records the events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ while the book of Acts can be viewed the first recorded history of the early Church.

A. Internal Evidence- There is much internal evidence that allows us to link these two books of the Holy Bible to a single author:

1. The Preface- We can find some evidence of single authorship within the prefaces to these two books. Goodspeed tells us that the preface to Luke's Gospel can serve as an introduction to both volumes, 4] with the preface to the book of Acts making a reference to the Gospel of Luke and with both prefaces being addressed to the same Theophilus.

4] Edgar J. Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1937), 181.

Luke 1:3, "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,"

Acts 1:1, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,"

These two prefaces reveal that the purpose of this two-volume work is to record the development and spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. In addition, the preface of the later work claims common authorship to the former work, the Gospel of Luke. Both use the first person singular to introduce both books.

2. Continuity- Both books have continuity with one another. Goodspeed also explains that Jesus' closing remarks in Luke 24:44-49 tell us that there is more to this story in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with the Gospel closes before developing this important part of the history of the early Church. When Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem ( Luke 24:47) and to tarry in Jerusalem unto they be endued with power from on high ( Luke 24:49) He is making a clear reference to the contents of the book of Acts. 5] Since the Gospel of Luke does not reach this goal of spreading the Gospel, we must rely upon an additional volume to fulfill our Lord's commission. Thus, the book of Acts opens with the fulfillment of power coming from on high and closes with the fulfillment of the spread of the Gospel to Greco-Roman world of its day. Thus, the author clearly links these two writings in an unmistakable way.

5] Edgar J. Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1937), 181-182.

3. Vocabulary and Literary Style- Luke and Acts are closely related in vocabulary, syntax, and style. Plummer tells us that if one compares special, peculiar, and characteristic words, phrases and constructions found in the two writings, he would see the same literary peculiarities.

a) Vocabulary

(1) For example, Adolf Harnack says the temporal use of the Greek word ώς is used forty-eight times in Luke -, Acts , while not being used a single time in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. 6] He says that there are forty-nine verbs found in Luke -Acts that are not found in Matthew ,, Mark , and John. 7]

6] Adolf Harnack, Luke the Physician: Author of the Third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, trans. J. R. Wilkinson, in Crown Theological Library (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1908), 40.

7] Adolf Harnack, Luke the Physician: Author of the Third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, trans. J. R. Wilkinson, in Crown Theological Library (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1908), 20.

(2) William Hobart lists three hundred thirteen (313) Greek words in his index that are either unique to Luke -Acts or they are used in "a medical sense" unlike the other Evangelists. 8]

8] William Kirk Hobart, The Medical Language of St. Luke (London: Longmans, Green, and Co, 1882), 299-305.

(3) The phrase "kingdom of God" is used frequently throughout both books.

(4) Philip Schaff tells us that there are about fifty words common to Luke -Acts that are not found anywhere else in the New Testament. 9]

9] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 725.

(5) The Greek word for "grace" ( χαρις) does not occur at all in Matthew and Mark , while being used in John's Gospel four times in a single passage ( Acts 1:14-17). However, it occurs eight times throughout Luke's Gospel and seventeen times in the book of Acts. It is also a word that is peculiar to the Pauline epistles, being used hundreds of times.

b) Literary Style

(1) Both books show a polished style of Greek that none of the other New Testament books equal.

(2) Both books have similar styles, such as placing emphasis on individual characters in the narratives.

4. Theme and Structure - These two books have common themes as well as common structures. One simply can compare the descriptions used, the arrangement of passages, and the author's points of view and see that they are similar in these respects.

a) Theme

(1) The preaching of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Acts is based upon the events of Luke's Gospel. Both books attempt to bridge the gap between Jews and Gentiles. Luke and Acts present the Gospel as a message for all people.

(2) F. F. Bruce gives a number of examples of similar emphases:

(a) Universal application to all nations

(b) Sympathy for Jews and Gentiles

(c) Emphasis upon the role of women

(d) Similar apologetic tendencies

(e) Jesus' resurrection appearances limited to Judea in both

(f) Christ's appearance before Herod Antipas only mentioned in Luke and Acts. 10]

10] F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles (London: Tyndale, 1951), 2; in Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 115.

b) Structure

(1) Both books are structured around localities. The Gospel of Luke begins Jesus' ministry in Galilee, then focuses on His journey to Jerusalem, discusses His ministry in this city, and reaches a climax with His death in Jerusalem and resurrection. The book of Acts begins with the Gospel being preached in Jerusalem, spreading to Judea, then Samaria and reaches a climax in Rome.

(2) Both Jesus and Paul are well received by the general populace. Both are rejected by the Jewish leaders. Both are seized by an angry mob. Both undergo several trials. As Luke shows a lengthy trip of Paul to Rome, so does he write of a lengthy journey about Jesus to Jerusalem. Both faced the same fate of a trial and judgment.

(3) Both books take the time to date events using historical references. His careful use of places and names reveals Luke's intent for accuracy. He intends to add credibility to his story using these details.

5. Size- The equal size of this two-volume work indicates a relationship between the two. The material contained in these volumes seems to have been divided into two equal parts, with each part fitting conveniently into the average length of an ancient papyrus roll. Daniel B. Wallace says, "Customarily, the longest usable scroll was about thirty-five feet. Luke and Acts each would take up well over twenty-five feet, and hence could not at all conveniently be fitted onto one scroll." This means that these two works would have been written upon two scrolls, since they could not have fit together on even the longest scroll of the day. 11]

11] Daniel B. Wallace, Acts: Introduction, Argument, and Outline (Biblical Studies Foundation, Richardson, Texas, 1998) [on-line]; accessed 6 July 2010; available from; Internet, 9.

B. External Evidence- Besides the internal evidence, there is unanimous agreement with the early Church fathers as to the single authorship of Luke -Acts.

As a result, the internal and external evidence supporting Luke and Acts as a single work enables us to gather information about one volume and apply it to the other volume. This we will do in the introduction of these two works as we discuss authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, occasion, purpose, theme and characteristics.

II. Authorship and Canonicity

In establishing the authorship of the New Testament writings, one must also deal with the issue of canonicity, since apostolic authority was the primary condition for a book to be accepted into the biblical canon of the early Church. This section will evaluate three phases in the development of the canonicity of the book of Acts: apostolic authority, church orthodoxy, and catholicity. The first phase of canonization is called apostolic authority and is characterized by the use of the writings of the apostles by the earliest Church father in the defense of the Christian faith (1st and 2nd centuries). The second phase of canonization is called church orthodoxy and is characterized by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). The third phase of canonization is characterized by the general acceptance and use of the books of the New Testament by the catholic church, seen most distinctly in the early Church councils (4th century).

A. Apostolic Authority- Scholars generally agree that the New Testament canon went through several phrases of development in Church history prior to its solidification in the fourth century. F. B. Westcott says the earliest phase is considered the apostolic age in which "the writings of the Apostles were regarded from the first as invested with singular authority, as the true expression, if not the original source, of Christian doctrine and Christian practice." He says the "elements of the Catholic faith" were established during this period in Church history. 12] At this time, the early Christian Greek apologists defended the catholic faith during the rise of the heresies of the second century using the writings that carried the weight of apostolic authority. The Church clung to the books that were either written by the apostles themselves, such as Matthew ,, John , Peter, and Paul, or directly sanctioned by them, such as Mark and Luke , the assistances of Peter and Paul respectively, and the epistles of James and Jude , the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, scholars believe apostolic authority was the primary element in selecting the canonical books. This phase is best represented by evaluating the internal evidence of the authorship of these New Testament books and by the external witnesses of the early Church fathers who declare the book's apostolic authorship and doctrinal authority over the Church.

12] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 21. The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) alludes to the criteria of apostolic authority for the New Testament writings, saying, "The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Pius sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time." (Fragments of Caius 33) (ANF 5); Corey Keating says, "In the first two centuries, ‘apostolic authority' was the important factor in deciding to keep or reject a particular writing." See Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church (2000); accessed 15 April 2012; available from http://www.ntgreek.org/SeminaryPapers/ChurchHistory/Criteria%20for%20Development%20of%20the%20NT%20Canon%20in%20First%20Four%20Centuries.pdf; Internet.

Although the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts do not declare their author within the text, there is overwhelming evidence that Luke , the beloved physician and companion to Paul the apostle, wrote these two books. The lack of identification of an author within the body of their text does not detract from the strong evidence that supports Lucan authorship. In fact, none of the four Gospels state their authors. A further observation may be noted that, in contrast, some of the New Testament apocryphal gospels, which are recognized as merely imitations, frequently attribute themselves to apostolic authorship in the body of these writings, which helps to identify them as unauthentic in origin. Both internal and external evidence strongly support Lucan authorship. In fact, the authorship of Luke -Acts was never contested until modern times, when several radical schools of thought emerged, whose views are no longer taken seriously by evangelical Bible scholars today.

1. Internal Evidence- One of the first observations that we can make about the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts is that they do not have Jewish overtones like the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and John. Thus, the author of Luke -Acts was not a Palestinian Jew like the other three Evangelists. From the text we can conclude that he was a second-generation Christian who had access to those who were eyewitnesses of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that the author was well educated and skilled in the Hellenistic Greek language leads us to the conclusion that he was a Greek and possible Gentile proselyte to Judaism before conversion to Christianity. Finally, the common authorship of Luke -Acts and the "we" passages in the book of Acts indicate that Luke the beloved physician was the author of these two books of the New Testament.

a) The Author Was a Second-Generation Christian- The opening dedication of the Gospel of Luke suggests that the author was a second-generation Christian, who was attempting to compile accurate testimonies of those who had been with Christ Jesus. In other words, he was not an eyewitness of the events in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ

b) The Author Had Access to Firsthand Accounts- The preface tells us that the author had access to firsthand testimonies of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. This tells us that he was in a position of influence with the early Church to gather such vital information. Such a person would have had to be a Jewish Christian or a Gentile converted to Christianity.

c) The Author Was an Educated Prayer of Manasseh - The preface of the Gospel of Luke tells us that the author had done a thorough investigation into the facts surrounding the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and had rejected many written accounts as inaccurate. The author's references to dates in history and to geography tell us that he was well educated and well traveled in this first century world. This leads us to conclude that the author was a man who was educated enough to do such research and to make such conclusions.

d) The Author Was Skilled in Hellenistic Greek- Because the literary quality of the Greek language in Luke's Gospel is the highest of any New Testament writing, it implies that the author was of Greek origin. This is because the Jews did not easily embrace the Greek culture. The Gospel of Luke shows two Greek styles, that of classical Greek and Greek Hebraisms. Thus, the author of Luke shows that he had an understanding of the Jewish culture as well as of the Greek culture. This implies that the author was very possibly a Greek proselyte and not a Jew.

e) "Their tongue" meaning the Author was a Gentile- In Acts 1:19 the author refers to the Jewish language as "their tongue", which excludes him from being a Jew.

Acts 1:19, "And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood."

The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts Have a Common Authorship- In looking for internal evidence for the author of the books of Luke and Acts , one must look at the several points that they have in common. It is obvious that these two books are companion books, being written by the same author, as is discussed above in the preceding paragraphs.

f) The "We" passages in Acts Indicate Luke as the Author- One of the more obvious evidences as to the authorship of Luke -Acts can be seen in the well known "we" passages. ( Acts 16:10-17; Acts 20:5-15; Acts 21:1-18; Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:16). These verses tell us that the author actually traveled with Paul the apostle on some of his missionary journeys. In fact, three-fifths of the book of Acts is devoted to Paul's missionary journeys. The brevity of the account of the first missionary journey, along with the lack of "we" passages in this account indicates that the author did not accompany Paul on this first trip. But the lengthy details of the other missionary journeys, along with their "we" passages, indicate that the author was an eyewitness who was able to give greater detail to these events. These particular accounts with "we" passages include the second and third missionary journeys, Paul's trip to Rome and his confrontation with the Jews at Jerusalem. An author who was writing at a later date than Paul would have given a more balanced description of Paul's life, rather than the disproportionate one given in the book of Acts.

In addition, the fact that Acts mentions many of Paul's traveling companions by name eliminates them as a possible author. For example, Acts 20:4 mentions "Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus."

Acts 20:4, "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus."

"Silas" is mentioned thirteen times in the book of Acts. "Mark" is mentioned four times. "Jesus," or "Justus," is mentioned one time. If we eliminate this list of travel companions, we come up with a few men who were with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome (Epaphras, Demas, Luke , Epaphroditus). The fact that Demas later abandoned Paul disqualified him as a possible author. Thus, Luke is one of three possible authors by this process of elimination.

One "we" passage gives us a clue to the fact that the author was not a Jew. In Acts 16:16-24 the author begins the story of how Paul cast out a spirit of divination from a damsel. He writes, "as we went to prayer," and "the same followed Paul and us." Once the men of the city seized them, the author writes, "they caught Paul and Silas," and "these men, being Jews." This passage of Scripture implies that the author was not seized because he was not a Jew. 13]

13] Daniel B. Wallace, Acts: Introduction, Argument, and Outline (Biblical Studies Foundation, Richardson, Texas, 1998) [on-line]; accessed 6 July 2010; available from; Internet, 5.

Finally, we find three New Testament passages that indicate Luke was a companion of Paul's on his missionary journeys, and was with him during his Roman imprisonment. Thus, he seems to have spent more time with Paul than either Epaphras or Epaphroditus. Some scholars suggest that these last two names refer to the same individual, with one name being in its abbreviated form.

Colossians 4:14, " Luke , the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you."

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

Philemon 1:24, "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers."

Thus, of the three possible candidates for the authorship of Luke -, Acts , internal evidence supports Luke as the most likely author.

2. Patristic Support of Lucan Authorship- Early Church history tells us that Luke was the author of the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts. Many of the early Church fathers directly affirmed Luke's authorship and tell us that the authenticity of this Gospel was not in question. Therefore, the external evidence for Lucan authorship is very strong.

a) Marcion (d. c. A.D 160) - The heretic named Marcion, the son of a bishop of Sinope, attempted to write a simplified version of the Gospel of Paul by accepting only ten Pauline epistles and an edited version of the Gospel of Luke (A. D 140-160). Although his writings are lost, some of the early Church fathers, particularly Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225), offer us enough evidence to partially reconstruct his theories and writings. For example, in his work The Five Books Against Marcion, Tertullian argues extensively against Marcion's rejection of many of the books of the New Testament. Walter Liefeld tells us that in this condensed edition, Marcion acknowledged Luke as the author of the third Gospel. 14]

14] Walter L. Liefeld, Luke , in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 8, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), "Introduction: Section 3: Authorship."

b) Justin Martyr (A.D 100 to 165) - Justin Martyr appears to have known about the four Gospels, as he frequently refers to the "memoirs of the apostles," and he tells us that they were also called "Gospels" as early as his time.

"For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them;" (First Apology 66)

"For in the memoirs which I say were drawn up by His apostles and those who followed them, [it is recorded] that His sweat fell down like drops of blood while He was praying, and saying, "If it be possible, let this cup pass:'" (Dialogue of Justin 103)

Justin Martyr also tells us that the Gospels were read during assemblies along with the Old Testament books of the prophets. This tells us that the early Church had equaled the Gospels to other divinely inspired Scriptures.

"And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things." (First Apology 67)

c) Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) - The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D 200, is considered the earliest attempt at listing the canonical books of the New Testament. It was discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan and formerly in the monastery of Bobbio. It tells us that Luke wrote his Gospel under the influence of Paul the apostle.

"The Acts of all the apostles have been written in one book. Addressing the most excellent Theophilus, Luke includes one by one the things which were done in his own presence, as he shows plainly by omitting the passion of Peter and also Paul"s departure when he was setting out from the city for Spain." (Fragments of Caius 31)

d) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Irenaeus tells us that Luke wrote his Gospel by relying on the testimony of Paul the apostle:

"Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark , the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John , the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia." (Against Heresies 311)

Irenaeus later gives us a very lengthy defense for Luke's authorship of his Gospel and the book of Acts , stating that he was an inseparable companion of Paul:

"But that this Luke was inseparable from Paul, and his fellow-labourer in the Gospel, he himself clearly evinces, not as a matter of boasting, but as bound to do so by the truth itself. For he says that when Barnabas, and John who was called Mark , had parted company from Paul, and sailed to Cyprus, "we came to Troas;" and when Paul had beheld in a dream a man of Macedonia, saying, "Come into Macedonia, Paul, and help us," "immediately," he says, "we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, understanding that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel unto them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we directed our ship"s course towards Samothracia." And then he carefully indicates all the rest of their journey as far as Philippi, and how they delivered their first address: "for, sitting down," he says, "we spake unto the women who had assembled;" and certain believed, even a great many. And again does he say, "But we sailed from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to Troas, where we abode seven days." And all the remaining [details] of his course with Paul he recounts, indicating with all diligence both places, and cities, and number of days, until they went up to Jerusalem; and what befell Paul there, how he was sent to Rome in bonds; the name of the centurion who took him in charge; and the signs of the ships, and how they made shipwreck; and the island upon which they escaped, and how they received kindness there, Paul healing the chief man of that island; and how they sailed from thence to Puteoli, and from that arrived at Rome; and for what period they sojourned at Rome. As Luke was present at all these occurrences, he carefully noted them down in writing, so that he cannot be convicted of falsehood or boastfulness, because all these [particulars] proved both that he was senior to all those who now teach otherwise, and that he was not ignorant of the truth. That he was not merely a follower, but also a fellow-labourer of the apostles, but especially of Paul, Paul has himself declared also in the Epistles, saying: "Demas hath forsaken me,...and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." From this he shows that he was always attached to and inseparable from him. And again he says, in the Epistle to the Colossians: " Luke , the beloved physician, greets you." But surely if Luke , who always preached in company with Paul, and is called by him "the beloved," and with him performed the work of an evangelist, and was entrusted to hand down to us a Gospel, learned nothing different from him (Paul), as has been pointed out from his words, how can these men, who were never attached to Paul, boast that they have learned hidden and unspeakable mysteries?" (Against Heresies 3141)

Irenaeus quotes from the Gospel of Luke and states Luke as its author.

"For when He came to be baptized, He had not yet completed His thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age (for thus Luke , who has mentioned His years, has expressed it: ‘Now Jesus was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years old,' when He came to receive baptism); and, [according to these men,] He preached only one year reckoning from His baptism." (Against Heresies 2225)

Irenaeus quotes numerous times from the book of Acts. Here are a few examples:

"Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke , the disciple and follower of the apostles, says, "But there was a certain Prayer of Manasseh , Simon by name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one…" (Against Heresies 1231)

Acts 8:9, "But there was a certain Prayer of Manasseh , called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:"

"It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy…" (Against Heresies 1133)

Acts 16:16, "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:"

"Then, at last, He came on to death itself, that He might be ‘the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence,' the Prince of life, existing before all, and going before all." (Against Heresies 2224)

Acts 3:15, "And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."

"The Apostle Peter, therefore, after the resurrection of the Lord, and His assumption into the heavens, being desirous of filling up the number of the twelve apostles, and in electing into the place of Judas any substitute who should be chosen by God, thus addressed those who were present: "Men [and] brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before concerning Judas, which was made guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us… Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein; and, His bishop-rick let another take." (Against Heresies 3121) (See Acts 1:16-20)

e) The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke (A.D 160 to 180) - The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke tells us that Luke was the writer of his Gospel.

"Indeed Luke was an Antiochene Syrian, a doctor by profession, a disciple of the apostles: later however he followed Paul until his martyrdom, serving the Lord blamelessly.He never had a wife, he never fathered children, and died at the age of eighty-four, full of the Holy Spirit, in Boetia.Therefore--- although gospels had already been written---- indeed by Matthew in Judaea but by Mark in Italy---- moved by the Holy Spirit he wrote down this gospel in the parts of Achaia, signifying in the preface that the others were written before his, but also that it was of the greatest importance for him to expoundwith the greatest diligence the whole series of events in his narration for the Greek believers, so that they would not be led astray by the lure of Jewish fables, or, seduced by the fables of the heretics and stupid solicitations, fall away from the truth.And so at once at the start he took up the extremely necessary [story] from the birth of John , who is the beginning of the gospel, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ, and was a companion in the perfecting of the people, likewise in the introducing of baptism and a companion in martyrdom.Of this disposition the prophet Malachi , one of the twelve, certainly makes mention.And indeed afterwards the same Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles.Later the apostle John wrote the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, and then the Gospel in Asia." 15]

15] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

f) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Clement of Alexandria attributes Luke to the book of Acts in his own writings by quoting from Acts 17:22.

"It remains that we understand, then, the Unknown, by divine grace, and by the word alone that proceeds from Him; as Luke in the Acts of the Apostles relates that Paul said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious." (The Stromata 512)

g) Tertullian (A.D 160 to 225) - Tertullian makes one of the earliest and clearest references to the authors of the four Gospels. He refers to John and Matthew as apostles and calls Luke and Mark "apostolic men" in the context of the writings of the four Gospels:

"Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; whilst of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfil the law and the prophets. Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of their narratives, provided that there be agreement in the essential matter of the faith, in which there is disagreement with Marcion. Marcion, on the other hand, you must know, ascribes no author to his Gospel, as if it could not be allowed him to affix a title to that from which it was no crime (in his eyes) to subvert the very body." (Against Marcion 42)

Again he affirms the Gospel of Luke to be his own work:

"The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage--I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew --whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter"s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke"s form of the Gospel men unusually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters. Well, then, Marcion ought to be called to a strict account concerning these (other Gospels) also, for having omitted them, and insisted in preference on Luke; as if they, too, had not had free course in the churches, as well as Luke"s Gospel, from the beginning. Nay, it is even more credible that they existed from the very beginning; for, being the work of apostles, they were prior, and coeval in origin with the churches themselves." (Against Marcion 45)

In his work On Fasting, Tertullian frequently quotes from and alludes to the book of Acts , and name Luke as the author.

"…since even prayers the ninth hour generally concludes, after Peter's example, which is recorded in the Acts." (On Fasting 2)

"Finally, granting that upon the centurion Cornelius, even before baptism, the honourable gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the gift of prophecy besides, had hastened to descend, we see that his fasts had been heard." (On Fasting 8)

"Nay, but you would more easily find that Peter at the sixth hour had, for the sake of taking food, gone up first on the roof to pray; so that the sixth hour of the day may the rather be made the limit to this duty, which (in Peter's case) was apparently to finish that duty, after prayer. Further: since in the self-same commentary of Luke the third hour is demonstrated as an hour of prayer, about which hour it was that they who had received the initiatory gift of the Holy Spirit were held for drunkards; and the sixth, at which Peter went up on the roof; and the ninth, at which they entered the temple…" (On Fasting 10)

h) Hippolytus (A.D 170 to 236) - Hippolytus calls Luke one of the Evangelists.

"Mark the evangelist, bishop of Alexandria. Luke the evangelist - These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, ‘Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me.' But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter"s instrumentality, and the other by Paul"s, they were honoured to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree." (Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus 49: The Same Hippolytus on the Seventy Apostles 14-15) (ANF 5)

i) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Origen tells us that Luke wrote the book of Acts.

"Judas of Galilee also, as Luke relates in the Acts of the Apostles, wished to call himself some great personage, as did Theudas before him." (Against Celsus 611)

Eusebius quotes Origen as telling us that Luke wrote the third Gospel as well as the book of Acts.

"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew , who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a Song of Solomon , saying, "The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son." And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John….The statement of some who have gone before us is that Clement, bishop of the Romans , wrote the epistle, and of others that Luke , the author of the Gospel and the Acts, wrote it." (Ecclesiastical History 6254-6, 14)

j) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius tells us Luke wrote both the Gospel bearing his name as well as the book of Acts.

"That Paul preached to the Gentiles and laid the foundations of the churches ‘from Jerusalem round about even unto Illyricum,' is evident both from his own words, and from the account which Luke has given in the Acts….But Luke , who was of Antiochian parentage and a physician by profession, and who was especially intimate with Paul and well acquainted with the rest of the apostles, has left us, in two inspired books, proofs of that spiritual healing art which he learned from them. One of these books is the Gospel, which he testifies that he wrote as those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered unto him, all of whom, as he says, he followed accurately from the first. The other book is the Acts of the Apostles which he composed not from the accounts of others, but from what he had seen himself." (Ecclesiastical History 341, 7)

He also tells us that when the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and Luke were handed to John the apostle for his approval, he accepted them as authentic and truthful.

"And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John , who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry." (Ecclesiastical History 3246)

k) Athanasius (A.D 296 to 373) - St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, supported Lukan authorship for the books of Luke and Acts by quoting from them while declaring "as Luke wrote". He quotes from Acts 1:1.

"All things whatsoever our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as Luke wrote, "both hath done and taught," He effected after having appeared for our salvation; for He came, as John saith, "not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."" (To the Bishops of Egypt 11)

He also quotes from Luke 17:2.

"And the party of Ursacius, who were at the bottom of all this, did not understand what wrath they were storing up (Rom. ii 5) against themselves, as our Lord says by His saints, "Woe unto them, through whom My Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles" (Is. lii 5; Rom. ii 24); and by His own mouth in the Gospels (Matt. xviii 6), "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea, than," as Luke adds, "that he should offend one of these little ones" (Luke xvii 2)." (Councils of Ariminum and Selecia 12)

He also quotes from Luke 2:1.

"And as according to the Evangelist Luke, there "was made a decree" (Luke ii 1) concerning the taxing, and this decree before was not, but began from those days in which it was made by its framer, they also in like manner, by writing, "The Faith is now published," shewed that the sentiments of their heresy are novel, and were not before." (Councils of Ariminum and Selecia 14)

He lists Luke among the four Evangelists.

"Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James , one; of Peter, two; of John , three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John" (Festal Letters 395)

H. D. M. Spence-Jones and John Lang cite Pseudo-Athanasius (4th -6th c.) as saying that the Gospel of Luke was dictated by the apostle Paul.

"The Gospel according to Luke was dictated by Paul the apostle, but written and put out by Luke , the blessed apostle and physician." (Synopsis of the Sacred Scriptures) (PG 28 Colossians 433A) 16]

16] H. D. M. Spence-Jones and John Marshall Lang, Luke , in The Pulpit Commentary, ed. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction: 5 Luke the Beloved Physician."

l) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome tells us that Luke wrote the Gospel bearing his name as well as the Acts of the Apostles as an eyewitness of the journeys of Paul. In the early parts of the book, he relied upon Paul's testimonies and the testimonies of other apostles.

" Luke , a physician of Antioch as his writings indicate, was not unskilled in the Greek language. An adherent of the apostle Paul, and companion of all his journeying, he wrote a Gospel, concerning which the same Paul says, "We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches" and to the Colossians "Luke the beloved physician salutes you," and to Timothy "Luke only is with me." He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul"s sojourn at Rome, that is to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city. Therefore the Acts of Paul and Thecla and all the fable about the lion baptized by him we reckon among the apocryphal writings, for how is it possible that the inseparable companion of the apostle in his other affairs, alone should have been ignorant of this thing. Moreover Tertullian who lived near those times, mentions a certain presbyter in Asia, an adherent of the apostle Paul, who was convicted by John of having been the author of the book, and who, confessing that he did this for love of Paul, resigned his office of presbyter. Some suppose that whenever Paul in his epistle says "according to my gospel" he means the book of Luke and that Luke not only was taught the gospel history by the apostle Paul who was not with the Lord in the flesh, but also by other apostles. This he too at the beginning of his work declares, saying "Even as they delivered unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word." So he wrote the gospel as he had heard it, but composed the Acts of the apostles as he himself had seen. He was buried at Constantinople to which city, in the twentieth year of Constantius, his bones together with the remains of Andrew the apostle were transferred." (Lives of Illustrious Men 7)

"He (Luke) also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles…" (Lives of Illustrious Men 9)

Jerome also affirms that Luke wrote a second volume called the Acts of the Apostles.

"He (Luke) also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles…" (Lives of Illustrious Men 9)

m) St. John Chrysostom (A.D 347 to 407) - John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, supports Luke as the author of his Gospel.

"Now Luke tells us also the cause wherefore he proceeds to write: "that thou mayest hold," saith Hebrews , "the certainty of the words wherein thou hast been instructed;" that Isaiah , that being continually reminded thou mayest hold to the certainty, and abide in certainty." (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. Matthew 1:7)

n) Sophronius (A.D 560 to 638) - Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, says Luke wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts.

"Luke wrote the Gospel to which Paul himself refers when he says, And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches ( 2 Corinthians 8:18). And in his letter to the Colossians he says, Luke , the beloved physician, greets you ( Colossians 4:14). And to Timothy he says, Only Luke is with me ( 2 Timothy 4:11). Luke wrote another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, a history which ends with Paul's two-year stay in Rome, that Isaiah , in the fourth year of Nero's reign. This leads us to believe that The Acts of the Apostles was written in Rome." (The Life of the Evangelist Luke) (PG 123col 675) 17]

17] Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist Luke , in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]. Accessed 1December 2010. Available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.

o) Coptic Inscription (6th or 7th century) - Geoffrey C. Bingham tells us that an inscription found in a 6th or 7th century Coptic chapel on Mount Assuit in Egypt reads:

"As for Luke the physician, he was a disciple of the apostles until he followed Paul. He lived eighty-four years. He wrote his Gospel in Achaia. Then he wrote Acts." 18]

18] Geoffrey C. Bingham, The Acts of the Apostles, in New Creation Publications Commentary Series (Adelaide, South Australia, c 1982) [on-line]; accessed 10 July 2010; available from http://www.newcreation.org.au/books/pdf/029_ActsApostles.pdf; Internet, "Introduction: Authorship (A) External Evidence."

p) Photius (A.D. c 810 to c 895) - Alfred Plummer cites, Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople, who says that the authorship of the book of Acts was questioned as belonging to Clement of Rome or Barnabas, but it clearly belongs to Luke:

"Some say that the writer of the Acts was Clement of Rome, others Barnabas, and others again Luke the Evangelist; but Luke himself decides the question, for at the beginning of his preface he mentions that another treatise containing the acts of the Lord had been composed by him." (Ad Amphilochium Quaestio 123) (PG 123col 716A-B) 19]

19] Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of Luke , in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902), xiv.

3. Manuscript Evidence of Lucan Authorship- The earliest Greek manuscripts of the third and fourth centuries contain the Gospels and Acts. No other book of the New Testament has endured such a variety of title changes as has the book of Acts. Scholars tell us that the simple title of "Acts" is found in a number of sources, such as Aleph, Origen, Tertullian, Didymus, Hilary, Eusebius, and Epiphanius. It's most ancient title is "Acts of the Apostles," found in the Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Bezae, D, Aleph in subscription, Athanasius, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, and Hilary (Robertson's Word Pictures). Jerome (A.D 324to 420) confirms this title by telling us that this book was originally called, "The Acts of the Apostles."

"He (Luke) also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles…" (Lives of Illustrious Men 9)

Jerome's statement finds support in the Anti-Marconite Prologue (A.D 160 to 180), which also gives us the earliest known title to the book of Acts as "The Acts of the Apostles."

"Indeed Luke was an Antiochene Syrian, a doctor by profession, a disciple of the apostles…although gospels had already been written---- indeed by Matthew in Judaea but by Mark in Italy---- moved by the Holy Spirit he wrote down this gospel in the parts of Achaia, signifying in the preface that the others were written before his…And indeed afterwards the same Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles." 20]

20] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006); the translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, Revue Bndictine 40, (October 1928) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet, 193-214.

The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D 200 calls this book "the Acts of all the Apostles."

"The Acts of all the apostles have been written in one book" (Fragments of Caius 31)

Scholars says the longest ancient manuscript title is called "The Acts of the Holy Apostles," as found in Codex Alexandrinus, A 2, E, G, H, A, K, and Chrysostom.

The fact that this many titles have been attributed to a single work by reputable sources is an indication that Luke never attached a title to this work, having considered it the second part of the Luke -Acts story. Since the book of Acts does not bear the author's name, its title does not serve as a witness to authorship, as does the titles of the four Gospels, which each bear the names of the authors.

John Gill tells us that the title of the book of Acts in the Syriac versions of the fourth century Isaiah , "the Book of the Acts: that Isaiah , the history of the blessed apostles, which my Lord Luke the Evangelist collected for the saints," 21] thus, bearing witness to Lucan authorship. Its title in the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (1514) Isaiah , "The Acts of the Apostles of Saint Luke the Evangelist." 22]

21] John Gill, Acts , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), "Introduction."

22] The Greek title of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible of 1514reads " αιωράξεις τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ ἁγίου λουκᾶς τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ." See Novum testamentum: Grece & Latine in academia complutensi nouiter impressum (Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros and Diego López de Zúniga, 1514).

George Salmon notes that if the phrase "according to" only refers to the fact that these Gospels contain the traditions that emanated from the four Evangelists, but was not written by them, then it would follow that Mark's Gospel would be entitled "according to Peter" and Luke's Gospel "according to Paul." 23] Thus, much weight can to be placed upon these most ancient titles to support authorship.

23] George Salmon, Matthew , in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Pub. House, 1954), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2002), "Introduction: Titles of the Gospels."

Thus, we see an unbroken tradition from the early Church fathers in support of Lucan authorship. This widespread support comes from many geographical regions of the known Christian world. The tradition until the time of the Reformation was that Matthew wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew language and someone translated it into Greek.

It is easy to see how canonicity is a testimony to Lucan when we understand that the debates of the early Church fathers to accept the general epistles of 2Peter, 2,3John, and Jude was simply a debate about their authorship. Apostolic authorship meant that the works were authentic, and thus, authoritative. It was the writing's apostolic authority that granted its inclusion into the New Testament canon. Therefore, canonicity was based upon apostolic authority, and this apostolic authority was based upon the authenticity of the writing, and its authenticity was based upon the fact that it was a genuine work of one of the apostles or one who was serving directly under that apostolic authority.

B. Church Orthodoxy- The second phase in the development of the New Testament canon placed emphasis upon Church orthodoxy, or the rule of faith for the catholic Church. F. B. Westcott says, "To make use of a book as authoritative, to assume that it is apostolic, to quote it as inspired, without preface or comment, is not to hazard a new or independent opinion, but to follow an unquestioned judgment." 24] The early Church fathers cited these apostolic writings as divinely inspired by God, equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures. They understood that these particular books embodied the doctrines that helped them express the Church's Creed, or generally accepted rule of faith. As F. B. Westcott notes, with a single voice the Church fathers of this period rose up from the western to the eastern borders of Christendom and became heralds of the same, unified Truth. 25] This phase is best represented in the writings of the early Church fathers by the collection of the apostolic writings into the distinctive groups of the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, and the Catholic epistles, and their distribution among the churches as the rules of the Christian faith (late 2nd century thru 3rd century). These collected works of the apostles were cited by the Church fathers as they expounded upon the Christian faith and established Church orthodoxy. We will look at two aspects of the development of Church Orthodoxy: (1) the Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy and (2) Early Versions.

24] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 12.

25] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan anc Co, 1875), 331.

1. Patristic Support of Authenticity, Authority, and Orthodoxy- In addition to direct statements by the early Church fathers declaring Lucan authorship, patristic support for the authenticity of the Luke -Acts can be found in the form of direct quotes, strong allusions and weak allusions. Direct quotes are word for word citations from this book, strong allusions are apparent paraphrases, and weak allusions are words or phrases that appear to come from this book. Scholars tell us that references are made to Luke's Gospel and the book of Acts in the writings of some of the earliest church fathers. The Pulpit Commentary notes that there are many quotes from the time of Justin Martyr until Eusebius, such as The Epistle of Barnabas (c 70-130), Polycarp (c 110- 50), the Didache (c 120-50), Irenaeus (c 130-200), Justin Martyr (c 100-165), Clement of Alexandria (c 150-215), Tertullian (c 160-225), Julius Africanus (A.D 160 to 240), Hippolytus (A.D 170 to 236) and Origen (c 185-254), which supports the authenticity of the Gospel of Luke and Acts by alluding to or quoting verses from the Gospel of Luke. 26] Thus, Luke -Acts was used by the Church fathers to establish Church orthodoxy.

26] H. D. M.Spence-Jones and John Marshall Lang, Luke , in The Pulpit Commentary, ed. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1950), in Ages Digital Library, v 10 [CD-ROM] (Rio, WI: Ages Software, Inc, 2001), "Introduction."

Here are some examples of the earliest quotes of the book of Acts: 27]

27] There are many other citations available from the early Church fathers that I have not used to support the traditional views of authorship of the books of the New Testament. Two of the largest collections of these citations have been compiled by Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768) in The Works of Nathaniel Lardner, 10 vols. (London: Joseph Ogle Robinson, 1829, 1838), and by Jacques Paul Migne (1800-1875) in the footnotes of Patrologia Latina, 221vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1844-55) and Patrologia Graecae, 161vols. (Parisiis: Excudebat Migne, 1857-66).

a) Clement of Rome (c 96) - Clement of Rome quotes a phrase that is only found in Acts 20:35.

"Moreover, ye were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it, and were more willing to give than to receive." (1Clement 2)

Note Acts 20:35.

Acts 20:35, "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Whether Clement of Rome was quoting directly from Acts or from oral tradition, it confirms the authenticity of the narrative material contained in the book of Acts. He also makes an apparent quote from Acts 13:22.

"But what shall we say concerning David, to whom such testimony was borne, and of whom God said, ‘I have found a man after Mine own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him?'" (1Clement 18)

Note:

Acts 13:22, "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."

In addition, he clearly quotes from the Sermon on the Mount out of Matthew or Luke.

"…being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: ‘Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye Judges , so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you.'" (1Clement 13)

Clement of Rome also quotes from Matthew 18:6; Matthew 26:24, Mark 9:42, or Luke 17:1-2.

"Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He said, "Woe to that man [by whom offences come]! It were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about [his neck], and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones. Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continueth." (1Clement 46)

These quotes show that Clement of Rome was familiarity with the New Testament writings.

b) Epistle of Barnabas (A.D 70 to 100) - The Epistle of Barnabas has been ascribed by Clement of Alexandria to the apostle Barnabas, 28] who is referred in the book of Acts as an early co-worker on Paul's first missionary journey. However, many scholars believe that the author was a Christian of Alexandria who wrote between A.D 70,100. 29] Regardless of the author's identity of this early epistle, he alludes to Luke 4:18.

28] Clement of Alexandria was the first to ascribe this epistle to the apostle Barnabas. He writes, "Rightly, therefore, the Apostle Barnabas says, ‘From the portion I have received I have done my diligence to send by little and little to you; that along with your faith you may also have perfect knowledge. Fear and patience are then helpers of your faith; and our allies are long-suffering and temperance. These, then,' he says, ‘in what respects the Lord, continuing in purity, there rejoice along with them, Wisdom of Solomon , understanding, intelligence, knowledge.'" (Stromata 26) and, "And Barnabas the apostle having said, ‘Woe to those who are wise in their own conceits, clever in their own eyes,' added, ‘Let us become spiritual, a perfect temple to God; let us, as far as in us lies, practise the fear of God, and strive to keep His commands, that we may rejoice in His judgments.'" (Stromata 27)

29] The Epistle of Barnabas, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D 325, vol 1: The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Ireneaus, American ed, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, Grand Rapids; Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997, electronic edition), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2009), "Introduction."

"And again, the prophet saith, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the humble: He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense; to comfort all that mourn.'" (The Epistle of Barnabas 14)

Again he quotes from either Luke 6:30 or Matthew 5:42.

"Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor murmur when thou givest. ‘Give to every one that asketh thee,'" (The Epistle of Barnabas 19)

c) Ignatius (A.D 35 to 107) - Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, quotes from Acts 10:41; Acts 1:11 showing his familiarity of the writings of Luke and his consideration of them as divine Scripture.

"And on this account also did they despise death, for it were too little to say, indignities and stripes. Nor was this all; but also after He had shown Himself to them, that He had risen indeed, and not in appearance only, He both ate and drank with them during forty entire days. And thus was Hebrews , with the flesh, received up in their sight unto Him that sent Him, being with that same flesh to come again, accompanied by glory and power. For, say the [holy] oracles, ‘This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen Him go unto heaven.'" (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyraeans 3)

Note:

Acts 10:41, "Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead."

Acts 1:11, "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

In The Epistle to the Magnesians, Ignatius appears to take the phrase "every one shall go unto his own place" from Acts 1:25.

"Seeing, then, all things have an end, these two things are simultaneously set before us--death and life; and every one shall go unto his own place." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 5)

Note:

Acts 1:25, "That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."

d) The Didache (A.D 80 to 100) - The Didache, or The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, was a short early Christian manual on morals and Church practice. The Gospel of Matthew is used extensively throughout the sixteen chapters of this ancient manual, particularly from the Sermon on the Mount (See The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations) (ANF 7). There is a possible allusion to the book of Acts. Note the following example:

"And concerning food, bear what thou art able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly on thy guard." (The Didache 6)

Acts 15:20, "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

e) Polycarp (A.D 69 to 155) - The epistle of Polycarp contains numerous quotes and allusions from the Gospels, revealing the fact that he was acquainted with them. We also find a specific reference to the book of Acts.

"I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endureth even until now, and bringeth forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] ‘whom God raised froth the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave.' ‘In whom, though now ye see Him not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;' into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that ‘by grace ye are saved, not of works,' but by the will of God through Jesus Christ."(The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 1)

In this chapter, Polycarp makes a very clear reference to Acts 2:24.

Acts 2:24, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

He makes possible allusions to Acts 17:31; Acts 5:41.

"He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead" (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 2) ( Acts 17:31)

"Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name's sake, let us glorify Him." (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 8) ( Acts 5:41)

There is a possible allusion to Acts 21:14 when Polycarp said, "The will of the Lord be done."

"His pursuers then, along with horsemen, and taking the youth with them, went forth at supper-time on the day of the preparation? with their usual weapons, as if going out against a robber. And being come about evening [to the place where he was], they found him lying down in the upper room of a certain little house, from which he might have escaped into another place; but he refused, saying, "The will of God be done." (The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrna Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy Polycarp 7)

Acts 21:14, "And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done."

f) Justin Martyr (A.D 100 to 165) - Justin Martyr, writing in the middle of the second century, made ample use of the Gospel of Luke. Note also an allusion to Acts 7:22 in the following passage.

"These things, ye men of Greece, have been recorded in writing concerning the antiquity of Moses by those who were not of our religion; and they said that they learned all these things from the Egyptian priests, among whom Moses was not only born, but also was thought worthy of partaking of all the education of the Egyptians, on account of his being adopted by the king"s daughter as her son; and for the same reason was thought worthy of great attention, as the wisest of the historians relate, who have chosen to record his life and actions, and the rank of his descent,--I speak of Philo and Josephus." (Justin's Hortatory Address to the Greeks 10)

Note Acts 7:22.

Acts 7:22, "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds."

g) Titian' edition of the Diatessaron (A.D 150 to 160) - The Diatessaron is an edition of the four Gospels compiles as a Harmony and written as one continuous narrative. It was compiled by Titian, a pupil of Justin Martyr, about A.D 150-60. At an early date, it began to circulate widely in the Syriac-speaking churches and became the standard text of the Gospels down to the fifth century, before it was finally replaced by four separate Gospels.

"But their original founder, Tatian, formed a certain combination and collection of the Gospels, I know not how, to which he gave the title Diatessaron, and which is still in the hands of some." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4296)

h) Shepherd of Hermas (2nd century) - There are a few probable references in the Shepherd of Hermas to the book of Acts.

"And she answered and said to me, "Has nothing crossed your path?" I say, "I was met by a beast of such a size that it could destroy peoples, but through the power of the Lord and His great mercy I escaped from it." "Well did you escape from it," says she, "because you cast your care on God, and opened your heart to the Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other than by His great and glorious name. On this account the Lord has sent His angel, who has rule over the beasts, and whose name is Thegri, and has shut up its mouth, so that it cannot tear you." (Visions 42)

Note Acts 4:12.

Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Note another probable reference to the book of Acts.

"Have a care, therefore, ye who are planning such things, lest that suggestion remain in your hearts, and ye perish unto God. And ye who suffer for His name ought to glorify God, because He deemed you worthy to bear His name, that all your sins might be healed. [Therefore, rather deem yourselves happy], and think that ye have done a great thing, if any of you suffer on account of God." (Similitudes 928)

Note Acts 5:41.

Acts 5:41, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

i) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius quotes from a late second century letter written by the church at Vienne and Lyons, in Gaul, to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, which makes a reference to Acts 7:60.

"They absolved all, but bound none. And they prayed for those who had inflicted cruelties upon them, even as Stephen, the perfect witness, ‘Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' But if he prayed for those who stoned him, how much more for the brethren!" (Ecclesiastical History 525)

Compare Acts 7:60.

Acts 7:60, "And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

The Gnostic literature in the New Testament Apocrypha, written largely during the second century after Christ, and the refutations of heresies by the early Church fathers, reveal to us that the Christian Gnostic heretics largely supported the canonicity of the New Testament and their apostolic authority in an attempt to identify themselves with Christianity. 30] For example, the heretic Marcion (d.c 160) compiled his own version of the New Testament canon, which Tertullian refutes in his work Against Marcion. Philip Schaff says, "The Gnostics of the second century, especially the Valentinians and Basilidians, made abundant use of the fourth Gospel, which alternately offended them by its historical realism, and attracted them by its idealism and mysticism. Heracleon, a pupil of Valentinus, wrote a commentary on it, of which Origen has preserved large extracts; Valentinus himself (according to Tertullian) 31] tried either to explain it away, or he put his own meaning into it. Basilides, who flourished about A.D 125, quoted from the Gospel of John such passages as the ‘true light, which enlighteneth every man was coming into the world' ( John 1:9), and, ‘my hour is not yet come.'( Acts 2:4)….Celsius, in his book against Christianity, written about A.D 178, he refers to several details which are peculiar to John , as, among others, the blood which flowed from the body of Jesus at his crucifixion ( John 19:34), and the fact that Christ ‘after his death arose and showed the marks of his punishment, and how his hands had been pierced' ( Acts 20:25; Acts 20:27)." 32] Philip Schaff tells us that a disciple of Valentinus named Heracleon (A.D 145 to 180), a Gnostic heretic, went so far as to write a commentary on the Gospels of Luke and John. 33] Others wrote Gnostic Gospels and Acts.

30] Philip Schaff writes, "The Old Testament they [the Gnostics] generally rejected, either entirely, as in the case of the Marcionites and the Manichseans, or at least in great part; and in the New Testament they preferred certain books or portions, such as the Gospel of John , with its profound spiritual intuitions, and either rejected the other books, or wrested them to suit their ideas." Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 2 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922), 451-452.

31] See Tertullian's work On the Flesh of Christ 15.

32] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 707.

33] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 707; "Herecleon," in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised, eds. F. L. Cross, and E. A. Livingstone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 637.

The fact that the early Church fathers quoted from the book of Acts along with other Holy Scriptures bears witness to the truth that they believed that this Gospel was authentic.

2. Early Versions- In addition, the earliest translations of the New Testament included the four Gospels and the book of Acts; the Old Latin (2nd to 4th c), the Coptic (3rd to 4th c), the Peshitta (4th c), the Armenian (5th c), the Georgian (5th c), and the Ethiopic (6th c). 34] Luke -Acts would not have been translated with the other New Testament writings unless it was considered a part of the orthodox beliefs of the Church at large.

34] The Old Latin Bible manuscripts of the fifth century, Codex Bezae (Gospels, Acts , Catholic epistles), Codex Claromontanus (Pauline epistles), and Codex Floriacensis ( Acts , Catholic epistles, Revelation) were used prior to Jerome's Vulgate (beginning A. D 382), and these Old Latin manuscripts testify to the canonization of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament at an early date. See Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds, The Greek New Testament, Third Edition (United Bible Societies, c 1966, 1968, 1975), xxxi-xxxiv.

C. Catholicity- The third and final phase of New Testament canonicity placed emphasis upon the aspect of catholicity, or the general acceptance of the canonical books. F. B. Westcott says, "The extent of the Canon, like the order of the Sacraments, was settled by common usage, and thus the testimony of Christians becomes the testimony of the Church." 35] This phase is best represented in the period of Church councils of the fourth century as bishops met and agreed upon a list of canonical books generally accepted by the catholic Church. However, approved canons were listed by individual Church fathers as early as the second century. These books exhibited a dynamic impact upon the individual believers through their characteristic of divine inspiration, transforming them into Christian maturity, being used frequently by the church at large. We will look at two testimonies of catholicity: (1) the Early Church Canons, and (2) Early Church Councils.

35] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 12.

1. Early Church Canons- Every major canon of the early Church lists four Gospels as an authentic writings. Although the Muratorian Canon does not begin its damaged text until the Gospel of Luke , Matthew and Mark can be assumed to be a part of this early canon (A.D 180) (Fragments of Caius 3: Canon Muratorianus 2) (ANF 5). Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) includes them in his list of "acknowledged books." 36] The four Gospels are listed in the Cheltenham List (A.D 359). 37] Athanasius gives us a canonical list that includes them (c 367). 38] Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D 315-386) includes them in his list. 39] The Apostolic Constitutions includes all but the book of Revelation (late 4th c.). 40] Inclusion into these canons indicates that the Gospels were universally accepted by the Church at large.

36] See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 331-7; 324-25.

37] W. Sanday, The Cheltenham List of the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament and the Writings of Cyprian, in Studia Biblica ed Ecclesiastica: Essays Chiefly in Biblical and Patristic Criticism, vol 3 (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1891) 217-303.

38] See Athansius, Festal Letters 395 (Easter, 367) (NPF 2 4).

39] See Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 436 (NPF 2 7).

40] See The Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles 4785 (ANF 7).

2. Early Church Councils- The earliest major Church councils named the four Gospels and Acts as authentic writings; Nicea (c 325-40), Hippo (393), Carthage (397), and Carthage (419). This would not have been done unless the Church at large believed them to be canonical.

During the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and ordered Eusebius to produce fifty copies of the Scriptures. 41] The production and distribution of these Bibles, along with the Church synods that followed, served to confirm the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical and authoritative. The early Church traditions of authorship and authenticity became firmly embedded within their canonicity. Therefore, citations of the New Testament Scriptures and later manuscript evidence after this period of Church history only serve to repeat traditions that had already become well-known and established among the churches of the fourth century.

41] Brooke Foss Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, fourth edition (London: Macmillan and Co, 1875), 422-426.

We see an unbroken tradition from the early Church fathers in support of Lukan authorship. This widespread support comes from the many geographical regions of the known Christian world in ancient times. For a modern scholar to reject Lucan authorship means that he has to reject all of the testimonies listed above. Such a person would have to lean upon speculations that have no ancient support. This is why Lucan authorship is the most widespread view today.

III. Date and Place of Writing

The date and place of writing of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts is uncertain according to many scholars. There are two major traditions proposed by the early Church. Some ancient witnesses adhere to the belief that Luke wrote his books in Rome while Paul was in his first Roman imprisonment. Other witnesses say that he wrote years later while residing in the regions of Achaea. I support the first view because it has stronger internal evidence, such as the facts that the book of Acts ends with Paul's two-year imprisonment and Luke -Acts makes no reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D 70. However, external evidence is divided and difficult to use in making a judgment. Thus, I place the writings in Rome during the early 60's.

A. Date - There is both internal and external evidence to support the view that Luke wrote his books while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. He may have relied upon previously written notes and memoranda and speeches in order to compile these books. Luke could not have written them earlier because Luke -Acts represents a continuous flow of events up until Paul's imprisonment. This view is strongly supported by the fact that Acts ends with Paul's two-year imprisonment. Therefore, a conclusion may be drawn that states it could not have been written later, since tradition tells us that Paul was released from this first imprisonment and Luke would have recorded this important event. This would give us a date of writing in the early 60's.

1. Internal Evidence- Internal evidence supports a date of writing in the early 60's.

a) Acts Ends With Paul's First Roman Imprisonment- We know that the book of Acts had to have been written after Paul's first Roman imprisonment, for this book ends with Paul's two-year imprisonment in Rome. The fact that Acts has such an abrupt ending after spending about eight chapters on this event suggests that the author recorded this event during or shortly after Paul's imprisonment. This means that Luke could not have written before the mid-60's. The fact that no mention is made of Paul's trial before Nero, his acquittal, his possible trip into Spain, his second imprisonment and ultimate martyrdom suggests that these events have not yet taken place. The fact that Luke was with Paul years later during his second imprisonment ( 2 Timothy 4:11) suggests that Luke had completed his two written works because he had no need to include into the book of Acts these later events.

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

b) The Status of the Jews With Rome - The book of Acts clearly shows that the Jews held a positive status with the Roman government at the time of its writing. This would not have been the case hade Luke -Acts been written after the Jew's treacherous treatment by Emperor Nero in the mid-60's and by Titus in A.D 70 when he destroyed the city of Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders both in Jerusalem and during Paul's missionary journeys wrongly accused the Christians before the Roman rulers. If Luke wrote the book of Acts after A.D 70, he would not have had the need to defend the Christian faith against Jewish accusations as is clearly seen in his stories. Luke bases his arguments upon the facts that the Jews were a legal religion in Rome at the time and that they had a strong voice under Roman rule.

c) Historical Accuracy of Geography and Politics - Luke's accuracy in describing the locations of cities and territories and in political events suggests that Acts was written during the period of history when Paul the apostle and the other apostles traveled throughout the Rome and Asia Minor and not at a much later date when the geography and politics were different.

Bruce Metzger notes that the author of Luke -Acts mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities and nine Mediterranean islands. In addition, he alludes to ninety-five people, sixty-two of which are mentioned in no other place in the Holy Bible. Twenty-seven of these people were civil or military leaders. 42]

42] Bruce M. Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, Content (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2003), 171.

No one has yet been able to prove any inaccuracies regarding people and places in Luke's writings to date. J. B. Lightfoot says that no ancient work provides as many tests of reliability as does the book of Acts. 43] This earliest of church histories makes points of contact with every part of its civilized world: with contemporary history, with politics both Jewish and Roman, and with typography whether Jewish, Roman or Greek. Luke knew when to designate a person a proconsul and when to call him a governor. He knew the classification of Roman provinces, which often changed during Rome's history. Philip Schaff and others list numerous Lucan references that have been proven reliable through the works of ancient Latin writers to recent archeological discoveries. 44] Here are some examples that support the historical reliability of Luke -Acts.

43] J. B. Lightfoot says, "No ancient work affords so many tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics, and topography, whether Jewish, Greek, or Roman." See J. B. Lightfoot, Essays of the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion (London: MacMillan and Co, c 1889, 1893), Appendix, 19-2. See Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 732.

44] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 732.

(1) The Revolt of Judas of Galilee - In Acts 5:37 Luke mentions a revolt of the Jews against the Romans under Judas of Galilee. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) quotes Josephus in referring to this event as taking place during the time of Cyrenius, which scholars believe to be about A.D 6. (Antiquities 181; 2052, War 281) (Ecclesiastical History 152-3) According to Luke 2:1-2, Cyrenius was the governor of Syria at that time.

(2) Candace Queen of the Ethiopians - Acts 8:27 refers to a lady named Candace, who was queen of the Ethiopians. Philip Schaff says, "Strabo mentions a queen of Mero in Ethiopia, under this name, which was probably, like Pharaoh, a dynastic title (The Geography of Strabo 17154). 45]

45] Strabo writes, "Among these fugitives were the generals of Queen Candace, who was ruler of the Aethiopians in my time- a masculine sort of woman, and blind in one eye." See The Geography of Strabo, vol 8, trans. Horace L. Jones, in Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1967), 139; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 733.

(3) Agabus Prophesies of a Great Dearth - In Acts 11:28, Agabus prophesies of a great dearth throughout all the world. Claudius Caesar was Emperor of Rome A.D 41-54. Around the fourth year of his reign, Josephus records such a drought taking place, which would place this event about A.D 45 (Antiquities 2025).

(4) King Herod Agrippa's Death- Josephus gives us a similar detailed account of the death of King Herod Agrippa found in Acts 12:20-23, saying that the king died after five days in bed (Antiquities 1887).

(5) Sergius Paulus - Acts 13:7 mentions a Sergius Paulus who was a deputy of a certain country. Schaff tells us that General di Cesnola discovered a long, mutilated inscription on a pedestal of white marble, at a city in the north of the island of Cyprus called, Solvi, which, was the most important city. This inscription reads, "EPI PAULOU ANTHUPATOU," which Schaff translates, "In the proconsulship of Paulus." Many scholars believe this inscription refers to the actual (Sergius) Paulus of Acts 13:7. 46]

46] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 734.

(6) The Cities of Lystra and Derbe- As an example of reliability that supports an early date to Acts , William Ramsey believes that the geographical boundaries between Phrygian city of Iconium and the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe in Acts 14:6 was accurate at no other time except between A.D 37-72. 47]

47] William M. Ramsey, St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen (New York: G. P Putnam's Sons, 1896), 110-111.

(7) The People of Lycaonia - In Acts 14:11 Paul and Barnabas are mistaken for Zeus and Hermes by the people of Lycaonia. Philip Schaff tells us that according to Greek myths described by Ovid in his work "Metamorphoses," the gods Jupiter and Mercury (Zeus and Hermes) had appeared to the people of Lycaonians in the likeness of men (Metamorphoses 8611-678). 48] As a result, this place was visited by devout pilgrims and adorned with offerings, so that it would have been natural for these people to mistake Paul and Silas for these Greek "gods" after having seen the miracles. 49]

48] Ovid: Metamorphoses with an English Translation, vol 1, trans. Frank Justus Miller, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1951), 449-453.

49] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 734-735.

(8) The City of Thyatira - Acts 16:14 tells us of a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira. Philip Schaff says, "Thyatira (now Akhissar), in the valley of Lycus in Asia Minor, and the birthplace of Lydia, was famous for its dying works, especially for purple or crimson." (see Strabo, Geography 13414). 50] He says that an inscription found in this place verifies that a guild of purple-dealers existed. Lydia could have belonged to this same guild. 51]

50] The Geography of Strabo, vol 6, trans. Horace Leonard Jones, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1960), 189.

51] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 734-735.

(9) "The Magistrates of Philippi" - Everett Harrison tells us in Acts 16:20 that Luke uses the word " στρατηγό ς," which is equivalent to "praetor," to describe the rulers of the city of Philippi. However, the technical term for leaders in charge of Roman colonies was "duumviri," but inscriptions have showed that Luke's term was also commonly used. 52]

52] Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1964, 1990), 243.

(10) "The Rules of the City" - The Greek phrase found in Acts 17:6; Acts 17:8 is the single word πολιτάρχης (politarchs) in the Greek text. Schaff tells us that this title was rarely used, so some scholars may assume that Luke was wrong to refer to such an office. However, some nineteen inscriptions have now been found that make use of this title. Everett Harrison tells us that one inscription on the Vardar Gate of the city reads, "In the time of the Politarchs." 53] Philip Schaff tells us that an inscription is still legible on an archway in Thessalonica, giving the names of seven "politarchs" who governed before the visit of Paul. 54]

53] Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1964, 1971), 243.

54] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 735.

(11) The City of Athens- Philip Schaff notes that ancient classical writers have confirmed many of the details that Luke gives of Athens in Acts 17. The description of Athens, the Areopagus, the schools of philosophy, the idle curiosity and inquisitiveness of the Athenians (mentioned also by Demosthenes), the altar of an unknown God, and the quotation from Aratus, or Cleanthes in this chapter, all have support from secular, classical writers. 55]

55] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 735-736.

(12) The City of Ephesus- Schaff says the archeological discoveries made by John T. Wood between 1863,1874of the ancient city of Ephesus support the reliability of Luke's description in Acts 19. He writes, "The excessive worship of Diana, ‘the great goddess of Artemis,' the temple-warden, the theatre (capable of holding twenty-five thousand people) often used for public assemblies, the distinct officers of the city, the Roman proconsul ( ἀνθύπατος), the recorder or ‘town-clerk' ( γραμματεύς), and the Asiarchs ( ἀσιάρχης), or presidents of the games and the religious ceremonials, have all reappeared in ruins and on inscriptions, which may now be studied in the British Museum." 56]

56] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 736.

(13) Paul's Voyage to Rome - Schaff says the story of Paul's voyage and shipwreck at sea while on his way to Rome in Acts 27 provides more detail about ancient navigation than any other work of Latin or Greek literature. It reveals the historical reliability of the book of Acts as well as the support that the author of Acts was an eyewitness of this event. No less than sixteen technical terms are used by Luke to describe the navigation and management of an ancient ship at sea, all of them found to be accurate. Luke is also accurate is his description of the locations of numerous islands and cities that were encountered on this voyage. 57]

57] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 736-737.

(14) Paul's Term For the Leading Man on the Island of Malta - Everett Harrison tells us that Paul's use of Greek word " ό πρωτος" in Acts 28:7, which has an otherwise broad application, to designate the "head man" of the island was discovered to be "a technical term for the governor of the place," according to archeological discoveries of Malta inscriptions. 58]

58] Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c 1964, 1971), 243.

This brings us to an event that Luke records in Acts 5:36 of one named Theudas, who led four hundred men in a revolt against Roman rule. Historians find a problem with Luke's statements in this verse when they read Josephus, who says that Judas's revolt took place about A.D 6 under Cyrenius, while the insurrection of Theudas took place about A.D 45 under Fadus, the procurator of Judea, in the reign of the emperor Claudius, (A.D 45 or 46) (Antiquities 2051-2). Historians are further confused when they date this speech by Gamaliel at A.D 34to 37. Perhaps the most common explanation given by scholars for this discrepancy is that the name Theudas was a common name and could have referred to a difference person and a different event that occurred much earlier than A.D 45. This explanation is supported by the fact that Josephus described Judea as a place of much insecurity, with "ten thousand other disorders" and "full of robberies." (Antiquities 17104; 17108; 2061) Unfortunately, many scholars focus on this one single suggested discrepancy surrounding the revolt of Theudas in Acts 5:36 while failing to mention the overwhelming evidence of support for the historical accuracy in the writings of Luke -Acts. In summary, the detail of places and people found in Luke -Acts as well as its historical accuracy support an early date of writing.

d) Historically Events in Acts Coincide With the Pauline Epistles - We find that the book of Acts serves as a framework by which to hang dates upon the Pauline and General epistles. There are not conflicts between the events contained within the New Testament epistles and the events found in Luke -Acts. In fact, it is possible to reconstruct the dates of many events in the book of Acts by using information found within the epistles.

e) No reference to the Pauline Letters - Somewhere in the latter half of the first century Paul's thirteen epistles were collected and began to circulate among the churches. Luke makes no reference to these epistles and their significance to the early church and to the unique biographical stories of Paul found in these epistles. Luke apparently did not use these epistles as his source for Acts. This indicates that Luke wrote before these epistles gained wide circulation and importance to the early Church.

f) No Reference to the Neronian Persecutions in Rome - The Emperor Nero began persecuting the Christians of Rome in A.D 65. This led to the deaths of Paul and Peter. Yet the tone of the book of Acts leads us to believe that that author was hopeful that the Roman system of justice would vindicate Paul and accept Christianity as a legal religion. In fact, the church in the book of Acts see no direct attack from the Roman government other than that provoked by Jews or disgruntled Roman citizens. This could hardly have been the tone after Nero's persecutions had begun.

g) No Reference to the Destruction of Jerusalem - If Luke -Acts would have been written after the terrible destruction of Jerusalem in A.D 70, it is almost certain that the author of history would have made some reference to this event and those events of the Roman war with the Jews (A.D 66 to 70). This leads to the conclusion of a date for the early 60's.

h) No Reference to the Martyrdom of James the brother of the Lord - Josephus tells us that James , the brother of the Lord and bishop of the church at Jerusalem, was martyred (Antiquities 2091). According to Hegesippus this event is believed to have taken place around A.D 62 (Ecclesiastical History 2231-20). 59] It would have been very difficult for the author of the book of Acts to omit this event had it already occurred. It is likely that this event had not occurred before Luke had compiled his material for publication.

59] "St. James , the Lord's brother," eds. F. L. Cross, and E. A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 722.

i) No Reference to the Later Organization of the Early Church - The book of Acts makes no reference to the later development of Church polity which began to emerge late in the first century. There were numerous bishops appointed over various cities and none of these are referred to in Acts.

j) No Reference to the Gnostic Heresies of the Late First Century - While the Johannine literature written in the late first century makes clear references to the Gnostic heresies that had attacked the teachings of the Lord and His apostles, Luke makes no reference to this major issue (except by way of prophecy - Acts 20:30). It implies that these heresies had not yet developed.

Acts 20:30, "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."

k) The Use of Primitive Language - Guthrie tells us that terms such as "the Christ," "disciples," "the Way," and the references to the fact that Christians began to meet together on the first day of the week, all point to language used during the earliest period of the church. 60] This type of Church language would have been more developed by the later part of the first century and would have been reflected in the book of Acts had it been written in the late first century.

60] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 360.

l) The Subject Matter Reflects a Primitive Period - The fact that the book of Acts places emphasis upon the Jewish-Gentile controversy in the spread of the Gospel indicates a pre-70's date of writing, since this issue became insignificant after the fall of Jerusalem.

2. External Evidence - Most witnesses from early Church history tells us that the four Gospels were written in the order of Matthew ,, Mark , Luke then John. This is the order that we find them placed in the New Testament.

a) The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke (A.D 160 to 180) - The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke tells us that Luke wrote his Gospel after Matthew and Mark:

"And indeed afterwards the same Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles.Therefore--- although gospels had already been written---- indeed by Matthew in Judaea but by Mark in Italy---- moved by the Holy Spirit he wrote down this gospel in the parts of Achaia, signifying in the preface that the others were written before his… And indeed afterwards the same Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles." 61]

61] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

b) Irenaeus (A.D 130 to 200) - Eusebius, quoting Irenaeus, gives to us the order in his history in which Luke wrote his Gospel. He says that the Gospels were written in the order of Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John.

"Since, in the beginning of this work, we promised to give, when needful, the words of the ancient presbyters and writers of the Church, in which they have declared those traditions which came down to them concerning the canonical books, and since Irenaeus was one of them, we will now give his words and, first, what he says of the sacred Gospels: ‘Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia.' He states these things in the third book of his above-mentioned work." (Ecclesiastical History 581-5)

c) Clement of Alexandria (A.D 150 to 215) - Later in his work, Eusebius tells us that Clement of Alexandria gives a slightly different order of the writing of the Gospels than that of Irenaeus. Clement gives the order as Matthew and Luke , then Mark and John.

"Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark"s had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark , who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John , perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is the account of Clement." (Ecclesiastical History 6145-7)

d) Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Eusebius then quotes Origen, who gives us the same order of the writing of the four Gospels as Irenaeus gives us. They are given by him as Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John.

"In his [Origen] first book on Matthew"s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: "Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew , who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark , who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a Song of Solomon , saying, "The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son." And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John." (Ecclesiastical History 6253-6)

e) The Muratorian Canon (c. A.D 200) - The Muratorian Canon, an ancient Latin document dated around A.D 200, tells us that Luke omitted the deaths of Peter and Paul, since they occurred in his absence. This implies that Luke could have written years after their deaths.

"The Acts of all the apostles have been written in one book. Addressing the most excellent Theophilus, Luke includes one by one the things which were done in his own presence, as he shows plainly by omitting the passion of Peter and also Paul"s departure when he was setting out from the City for Spain." (The Fragments of Caius 32) (ANF 5)

f) Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) - Eusebius tells us that Luke probably wrote the book of Acts while Paul was in his second imprisonment in Rome, just before his death.

"And Luke , who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, brought his history to a close at this point, after stating that Paul spent two whole years at Rome as a prisoner at large, and preached the word of God without restraint. Thus after he had made his defense it is said that the apostle was sent again upon the ministry of preaching, and that upon coming to the same city a second time he suffered martyrdom. In this imprisonment he wrote his second epistle to Timothy, in which he mentions his first defense and his impending death….In his second epistle to Timothy, moreover, he indicates that Luke was with him when he wrote, but at his first defense not even he. Whence it is probable that Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles at that time, continuing his history down to the period when he was with Paul." (Ecclesiastical History 2221-2, 6)

According to Eusebius, Luke was with Paul during this second imprisonment. The Scriptures confirm this. Paul's second epistle to Timothy is considered his last epistle and was probably written during this second imprisonment. In it, Paul notes that Luke is with him.

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

Eusebius tells us that early tradition puts the order of writing as Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John (Ecclesiastical History 581-4, 6146-7, 6254-6). If Luke in fact wrote the book of Acts after Paul's first imprisonment of Paul, which took place around A.D 61-63, then Matthew and Mark would have to have been written prior to this date.

g) Jerome (A.D 342to 420) - Jerome gives us an exact year of its writing, which was the fourth year of Nero, making it as early as A.D 58. He gives us the place of writing as the city of Rome.

"He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul"s sojourn at Rome, that is to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city." (Lives of Illustrious Men 7)

h) Sophronius (A.D 560 to 638) - Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, follows the tradition of Jerome in placing Luke in Rome during the fourth year of Nero (A.D 58) when writing his Gospel and Acts.

"Luke wrote the Gospel to which Paul himself refers when he says, And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches ( 2 Corinthians 8:18). And in his letter to the Colossians he says, Luke , the beloved physician, greets you ( Colossians 4:14). And to Timothy he says, Only Luke is with me ( 2 Timothy 4:11). Luke wrote another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, a history which ends with Paul's two-year stay in Rome, that Isaiah , in the fourth year of Nero's reign. This leads us to believe that The Acts of the Apostles was written in Rome." (The Life of the Evangelist Luke) (PG 123col 675) 62]

62] Sophronius, The Life of the Evangelist Luke , in Orthodox Classics in English (House Springs, MO: The Chrysostom Press) [on-line]. Accessed 1December 2010. Available from http://www.chrysostompress.org/the-four-evangelists; Internet.

h) Eutichius (10th C. Patriarch of Alexandria) - Louis Berkhof cites Eutichius, who states that Luke wrote his Gospel in the time of Nero. 63]

63] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Luke , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 51.

i) Theophylact (11th to 12th) - Louis Berkhof quotes Theophylact (11th to 12th C. Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria), who says, "Luke wrote fifteen years after Christ"s ascension." 64] (PG 123col 685C)

64] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Luke , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 51.

j) Euthymius Zigabenus (early 12th C.) - Euthymius Zigabenus writes, "And after fifteen years of the ascension of the Saviour, being instructed by Paul, he [Luke] composed the Gospel to a certain Theophilos…" (Interpretation of Luke the Evangelist) (PG 129 Colossians 857C) (author's translation).

k) St. Thomas Aquinas (A.D 1225 to 1274) - In the 1200's St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in his Catena Aurea on Matthew , quotes Remigius of Auzerre (c. A.D 841to c. A.D 908) (PL 131cols 47-970), a medieval philosopher, who also wrote a commentaries on Genesis ,, Psalm , and Matthew. 65] In this quote, we see the thoughts of later centuries as to the dates and places of writings of the four Gospels:

65] F. L. Cross, and E. A. Livingstone, eds, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, revised (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 1173.

"Matthew wrote in Judaea in the time of the Emperor Caius Caligula [A.D 37-41]; Mark in Italy, at Rome, in the time of Nero [A.D 54-68] or Claudius [A.D 41-54], according to Rabanus (referring to Rabanus Maurus [A.D 776 or 784to A.D 856]); Luke in the parts of Achaia and Baeotia, at the request of Theophilus; John at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, under Nerva [began rule A.D 96]." 66]

66] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 1, part 1, second edition (Oxford: John Henry, 1864), 5.

John Gill tells us that "the time of the writing of it [Luke] is not certain; some say it was written in the fifteenth year after the ascension of our Lord; others in the twenty second; and others in the twenty seventh." 67] From these witnesses, Louis Berkhof dates Luke as early as A.D 54and not later than A. D 68. 68]

67] John Gill, Luke , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), "Introduction."

68] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Luke , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 51.

In these quotes, we see that many of the early Church fathers accepted the traditional order of the writing of the four Gospels as Matthew ,, Mark , Luke and John , which is the same the order found in the New Testament. With the rise of higher criticism in Europe in the 1700's, this order of writing and their respective dates began to be challenged.

My conclusion is that Luke most likely wrote Luke -Acts during Paul's first two-year Roman imprisonment (A.D 61-63), since Acts ends with a reference to this event. The early Church fathers seem to support this view. They add that Luke wrote his Gospel after Mark , who wrote before the death of Peter (A.D 64-65). Also, Luke must have written before Nero's persecution of the Christians (A.D 64) and before the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D 70), since Jesus predicts this event in Luke 21:20-24. The book of Acts makes no reference to either event. If the book of Acts was prepared as a defense for Paul's trial, it would certainly have been prepared before A.D 64, when Nero began an intensive persecution against all Christians because of the fire in Rome in that year. Luke wrote before the death of Paul (A.D 64-65), since he ends the book with Paul in prison. Therefore, Luke most likely wrote Luke -Acts in the early 60's.

In summary, most conservative scholars will date Luke -Acts between A.D 58 to 63, since this is supported by ancient tradition. In addition, it predates the fall of Jerusalem in A.D 70 and it allows Acts to be written shortly after Paul's first Roman imprisonment.

B. Place of Writing- The Anti-Marcionite Prologue for Luke says Luke wrote his Gospel in the regions of Achaea.

"Therefore--- although gospels had already been written---- indeed by Matthew in Judaea but by Mark in Italy---- moved by the Holy Spirit he wrote down this gospel in the parts of Achaia, signifying in the preface that the others were written before his…" 69]

69] The Anti-Marcionite Prologues to the Gospels, trans. Roger Pearse (2006) [on-line]; accessed 16 April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/anti_marcionite_prologues.htm; Internet. The translation was made from the text published by Donatien De Bruyne, "Les plus anciens prologues latines des vangiles," Revue Bndictine, vol 40, (October 1928), 193-214. See also R. G. Heard, "The Old Gospel Prologues," Journal of Theological Studies n.s 6 (1955), 1-16. See also Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, c 1990).

In his preface to the commentary on Matthew , Jerome mentions that Luke wrote in parts of Achaia and Boeotia, 70] which contradicts his statement in Lives of Illustrious Men that gives the place of writing in Rome. 71] John Gill explains that the titles prefixed to the Syriac and Persic versions say that Luke wrote his Gospel in Alexandria. He says the Syriac version reads, "The Gospel of Luke , the Evangelist, which he spake and published in Greek in Alexandria the great," and the Persic version reads, "The Gospel of Luke , which he wrote in the Greek tongue in Alexandria of Egypt." 72]

70] Jerome writes, "The third is Luke , the physician, by birth a native of Antioch, in Syria, whose praise is in the Gospel. He was himself a disciple of the Apostle Paul, and composed his book in Achaia and Boeotia. He thoroughly investigates certain particulars and, as he himself confesses in the preface, describes what he had heard rather than what he had seen." (Preface to Matthew) (NPF 2 6)

71] Jerome writes, " Luke , a physician of Antioch as his writings indicate, was not unskilled in the Greek language. An adherent of the apostle Paul, and companion of all his journeying, he wrote a Gospel, concerning which the same Paul says, "We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches" and to the Colossians "Luke the beloved physician salutes you," and to Timothy "Luke only is with me." He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul"s sojourn at Rome, that is to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city. (The Lives of Illustrious Men 7)

72] John Gill, Luke , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), "Introduction."

As quoted above, an inscription found in a 6th or 7th century Coptic chapel on Mount Assuit in Egypt states that Luke wrote Luke and Acts while in Achaia. 73] St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in his Catena Aurea on Matthew , quotes Remigius of Auzerre (c. A.D 841to c 908) as saying that Luke wrote his Gospel while residing in the parts of Achaia and Baeotia, at the request of Theophilus. 74]

73] Geoffrey C. Bingham tells us that an inscription found in a 6th or 7th century Coptic chapel on Mount Assuit in Egypt reads, "As for Luke the physician, he was a disciple of the apostles until he followed Paul. He lived eighty-four years. He wrote his Gospel in Achaia. Then he wrote Acts." See Geoffrey C. Bingham, The Acts of the Apostles, in New Creation Publications Commentary Series (Adelaide, South Australia, c 1982) [on-line]; accessed 10 July 2010; available from http://www.newcreation.org.au/books/pdf/029_ActsApostles.pdf; Internet, "Introduction: Authorship (A) External Evidence."

74] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 1, part 1, second edition (Oxford: John Henry, 1864), 5.

Goodspeed defends the city of Ephesus as the place of writing on the basis that content of the book of Acts places more emphasis upon this city than any other. 75] Some modern conservative suggest that Luke wrote his Gospel while waiting with Paul on his two-year imprisonment in Caesarea and the book of Acts during Paul's two-year imprisonment in Rome. This view is strengthened by the fact that Luke was with Paul during his arrest in Jerusalem until his arrival at Rome. Thus, it has been difficult for scholars to agree upon a place of writing. I favor the place of writing of Luke -Acts in Rome in the early 60's during Paul's two-year Roman imprisonment.

75] Edgar J. Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1937), 208.

IV. Recipients

Internal evidence supports the view that Luke's primary recipient was an unknown individual named Theophilus with the intent of the Church at large being secondary recipients. External evidence supports the view that Luke wrote to the Church, primarily the Gentile believers.

A. Internal Evidence- Luke opens both of his books with a dedication to an individual named "Theophilus," which means "lover of God." Some scholars suggest by its meaning that this name is intended to refer to believers and not to an individual. However, most scholars think that this was a Greek or Roman individual whom Luke esteemed, or who financed or supported the writing of Luke -, Acts , or he may have been a prominent leader in the Church or a Roman leader in the region that Luke lived. One indication to his prominence is the fact that Luke addresses him as "most excellent," a word used only three other times in the New Testament to refer to Roman officials, the other uses found when Paul addresses Felix ( Acts 23:26; Acts 24:3) and Festus ( Acts 26:25). Daniel Wallace says that the prologue to both the Gospel and Acts emulates so much the ancient historians' prefaces that it is quite evident that he wanted the work published. 76] Most likely, and the majority of scholars agree, Luke intended his work for a larger audience of believers even though he initially dedicated this work to an individual named Theophilos. Note the following internal evidence that supports non-Jewish recipients of the Gospel of Luke:

76] Daniel B. Wallace, Luke: Introduction, Argument, and Outline (Biblical Studies Foundation, Richardson, Texas) [on-line]; accessed 6 July 2010; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/ Luke -introduction-argument-and-outline; Internet, "D. Destination."

1. Explanations of Jewish Customs and Geography- Luke's description of Jewish geography, laws and customs appears to be addressed to someone who was not familiar with such details. He takes the time to explain these details.

Luke 1:9, "According to the custom of the priest"s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord."

Luke 2:4, "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)"

Luke 2:22-24, "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

Luke 2:27, "And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,"

Luke 2:39, "And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth."

Luke 2:42, "And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast."

Luke 4:31, "And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days."

Luke 5:14, "And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."

Luke 8:26, "And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee."

Luke 21:37, "And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives."

Luke 23:51, "(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God."

Luke 23:56, "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment."

Luke 24:13, "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs."

Acts 3:1, "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour."

Acts 5:17, "Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,"

Acts 5:34, "Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;"

Luke's comments that Cornelius was of the Italian band suggesting that his reader(s) were Italian, or Romans.

Acts 10:1, "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,"

Note how Luke refers to the Jews in Acts 1:19 in the third person singular as being a distinct group from his Gentile readers.

Acts 1:19, "And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood."

2. Little Emphasis Upon Fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures- After Luke's first two chapters, he places very little emphasis upon the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures, implying that a Gentile audience would not have found it of great interest since they lacked a knowledge of Jewish literature. Of the five direct references to the fulfillment of the Old Testament and three general references, only one prophetic quote is directed to the readers ( Acts 3:4). All others were addressed to the Jews by the person speaking within the narrative material.

a) To the readers:

Luke 3:4, "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

b) To the Jews following Jesus:

Luke 7:27, "This is Hebrews , of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."

c) To Jesus' disciples:

Luke 18:31, "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished."

d) To the people in the Temple:

Luke 20:17, "And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?"

e) To Peter the apostle:

Luke 22:37, "For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end."

f) General: to the people in the Temple:

Luke 21:22, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."

g) General: to Jesus' disciples:

Luke 24:44, "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalm , concerning me."

h) General: to Jesus' disciples:

Luke 24:46, "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:"

3. Lack of Aramaic Phrases- Luke's Gospel lacks the use of Aramaic phrases, unlike the other three Gospels. This is probably due to the fact that Luke was directing his writing to a Gentile audience who would not understand Aramaic phrases.

4. Tendency to Avoid Hebraisms - On a number of occasions, Luke uses terms that are better understood by Gentile readers than by Jewish readers.

a) On three occasion Luke uses the word αληθως for the phrase "Truly I say unto you" ( Luke 9:27; Luke 12:44; Luke 21:3), while Matthew and Mark use only a Hebrew word that has been transliterated into a Greek word αμή ν.

b) On three occasions Luke -Acts uses the Greek word διδά σκαλος (teacher) in place of the Hebraic γραμματεύ ς (scribe). All other Gospels restrict themselves to the word γραμματεύ ς.

c) When telling of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Matthew ( Matthew 21:9; Matthew 21:15), Mark ( Mark 11:9-10) and John ( John 12:13) all use the Hebrew phrase "hosanna" when quoting the shouts of the people. Only Luke avoids this Hebraism.

Louis Berkhof believes Luke was writing to a Greek audience, if not a Roman such as Theophilus, saying that the Greek used in his Gospel is less Hebraic than in the other Evangelists. 77]

77] Louis Berkhof, The Gospel of Luke , in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 48.

5. References of Roman Exoneration and Unjust Blame from Jews- Luke's description of Jesus' trial before Pilate shows the Roman governor repeatedly trying to absolve Jesus of guilt. At Philippi, Paul and Silas were accused of "teaching customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans" ( Acts 16:20-21). When they were let go, the magistrates apologized to them for beating them unlawfully ( Acts 16:35-39). At Thessalonica, Paul was accused of "doing contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus" ( Acts 17:7), but was immediately set free. At Corinth, Paul was accused of "persuading men to worship God contrary to the law" ( Acts 18:13). However, Gallio the proconsul was not able to determine any violation of Roman law. When the Jews accused Paul of sacrilege in Jerusalem, the governors Felix and Festus found no wrongdoing and would have let him go had he not appealed to Caesar ( Acts 19-26). The author attempts to reveal that Christianity was not a threat to the Roman Empire, as the Judaizers had accused them of being.

In contrast, Luke -Acts repeated shows how the Jews unjustly accused Christ Jesus and the early Church.

6. References to Salvation for the Gentiles - The Gospel of Luke makes repeated references to the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for the Gentiles. See the comments below on the Secondary Theme of Luke.

7. Emphasis Upon Jesus' Wisdom of Solomon - Only Luke mentions Jesus in the temple as a child, probably to reveal the wisdom that He had even before becoming an adult. This would be an important characteristic to the Greek mind, which sought men who were considered wise. Paul tells us that the Greeks seek Wisdom of Solomon , while the Jews seek after a sign ( 1 Corinthians 1:22).

B. External Evidence- Since Luke -Acts appears to be addressed to the same person, it is logical to quote the early Church fathers regarding who what they said about Luke's intended readers for his Gospel as well as the book of Acts. External evidence supports the internal evidence regarding the identity of Luke's recipients.

1. Origen (A.D 185 to 254) - Eusebius quotes Origen as telling us that Luke was encouraged by Paul to write his Gospel for the Gentile converts.

"And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts." (Ecclesiastical History 6256)

This statement would agree with Luke's prologue whether the word "Theophilus" was addressed to an individual or to the church community at large.

2. Gregory Naziansen (329-389) - Gregory Naziansen, the theologian, gives us a list of the primary recipients of the four Gospels that reflects the traditions of his day, saying, "In the first place, Matthew wrote to the Hebrews of the miracles of Jesus, then Mark to Italy, Luke to those of Achaia, and John to all, a great herald who walked in heaven." (Gregorii Nazianzeni Carmen de Libris Canonicis 15]) (PG 38, Colossians 843-845.) (author's translation). 78] This tradition has been interpreted modern scholars to say that Matthew wrote to the Hebrews , Mark to the Romans , Luke to the Greeks and John to Christians. 79] The three Synoptic Gospels addressed the three mindsets of the civilized world of their day. Matthew , Mark and Luke lived in a world where the Jewish mind took religion to the world's most ancient past. The Roman mind was focused on dominating and subduing nations. The Greek mindset sought the highest wisdom that man could find. Matthew wrote primarily to the Hebrews to establish Jesus as their Messiah. Mark addressed his Gospel to the Romans , who would bow before the Miracle-working power of the Jesus Christ. Luke gave attention to the Greek mind, where he spoke to logic and reason to convince his readers of the wisdom of believing in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Why would Matthew's Gospel come first? Perhaps it is placed first because to the Jews first was the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ prepared.

78] Cited by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

79] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 582.

3. St. John Chrysostom (A.D 347 to 407) - John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, appears to agree with Eusebius when he tells us that Luke wrote to the Christians in general, compared to Matthew's Gospel, which was written to the Hebrews.

For this cause then Matthew , as writing to Hebrews , sought to shew nothing more, than that He was from Abraham, and David; but Luke , as discoursing to all in general, traces up the account higher, going on even to Adam. And the one begins with His generation, because nothing was so soothing to the Jew as to be told that Christ was the offspring of Abraham and David: the other doth not Song of Solomon , but mentions many other things, and then proceeds to the genealogy." (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. Matthew 1:7)

In the nineteenth century, a popular view was to apply a four-fold scheme for the recipients of the Gospels, such as D. S. Gregory, who said Matthew wrote to Jews, Mark to the Romans , Luke to the Greeks, and John to Christians. 80]

80] D. S. Gregory, Why Four Gospels? Or, The Gospel for All the World (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1877), 346-347.

We can conclude this section of the identity of Luke's recipients by pointing to the Gentile church amidst a Greek culture of his time.

V. Occasion

There are a number of reasons that we can find as to what occasioned the need for Luke to write Luke -Acts.

A. A Need to Give Theophilus An Account of the Christian Faith- In the 1200's, St. Thomas Aquinas, writing in his Catena Aurea on Matthew , quotes Remigius of Auzerre (c. A.D 841to c 908), a medieval philosopher, who also wrote a commentary on Matthew. In this quote, we are told that Luke wrote his works in the parts of Achaia and Baeotia, at the request of Theophilus. 81] Thus, this request by Theophilus would have occasioned the writing of Luke -Acts.

81] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, vol 1, part 1, second edition (Oxford: John Henry, 1864), 5.

B. A Need to Give An Accurate Account of the Life of Christ- We find a clear remark by Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) as to why Luke wrote his Gospel. We are told in this most ancient record of church history that Luke felt the need to give an accurate account of the life of Christ because other accounts were bringing into question issues concerning Christ Jesus. This Luke was qualified to do because he was acquainted with Paul and the other apostles. Note:

"But as for Luke , in the beginning of his Gospel, he states that since many others had more rashly undertaken to compose a narrative of the events of which he had acquired perfect knowledge, he himself, feeling the necessity of freeing us from their uncertain opinions, delivered in his own Gospel an accurate account of those events in regard to which he had learned the full truth, being aided by his intimacy and his stay with Paul and by his acquaintance with the rest of the apostles. So much for our own account of these things. But in a more fitting place we shall attempt to show by quotations from the ancients, what others have said concerning them." (Ecclesiastical History 32415-16)

C. A Need to Prepare A Defense for Paul's Roman Trial- Some modern scholars suggest that a probable occasion as to the writing of Luke was his need to prepare a defense for Paul's Roman trial and that Theophilus was a Roman who could influence the outcome of such a trial. The impending trial of Paul would be a proper time for Luke to write to a Roman official in order to justify the Christian message as being worthy of acceptance in the Roman world. The early Church tradition that Theophilus was a Roman citizen of importance living in Italy finds some support within the text of Luke -Acts.

1. The descriptions of Jewish customs and geography of the land of Palestine suggest that the reader(s) was not familiar with them. In contrast, Luke's description of cities in Italy are so brief that they suggest the reader's knowledge of them ( Acts 28:11-16).

2. Luke's comments that Cornelius was of the Italian band in Acts 10:1 suggest that this comment carried some important to the reader.

3. The ending of the book of Acts suggests such a trial needed a legal defense. We know that the book of Acts had to have been written after Paul's first Roman imprisonment, for this book ends with Paul's two-year imprisonment in Rome. The fact that Acts has such an abrupt ending suggests that the author recorded this event during or shortly after Paul's imprisonment. This means that Luke could not have written before the mid-60's. The fact that no mention is made of Paul's trial before Nero, his acquittal, his possible trip into Spain, his second imprisonment and ultimate martyrdom suggests that these events have not yet taken place. The fact that Luke was with Paul years later during his second imprisonment ( 2 Timothy 4:11) suggests that Luke had completed his work because he had no need to include into the book of Acts these later events.

2 Timothy 4:11, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark , and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."

D. A Need to Record the Events of the Early Church - Within thirty years of the Lord's resurrection, the Gospel of Jesus Christ had spread to the ends of the known world. There certainly would have arisen a need to explain the rapid spread of the Christian faith.

LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)

"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.

If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."

(Thomas Schreiner) 82]

82] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.

Within the historical setting of the early church, the authors of the four Gospels and Acts chose to write their accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ using a literary style similar to the Greco-Roman biographies; however, they adopted a unique aspect within their ancient biographies by including kerygmatic material consisting of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Gospels and Acts are given a distinct literary genre called a "gospel," which combines biographical narrative material and kerygmatic teachings. However, the book of Acts may be considered a historical narrative rather than a gospel in its genre. The introductory section of literary style will make a comparison of usage of the Old Testament in Acts , and the various themes emphasized in Acts , as well as a brief look at the grammar and syntax of the book of Acts.

The book of Acts has many characteristics that are unique when compared to the books of the New Testament.

VI. Comparison of Usage of the Old Testament

A. Comparison of Usage of the Old Testament- The book of Acts contains numerous references to Old Testament prophecies that have been fulfilled. After the Gospel of Matthew , the epistles of Romans and Hebrews , and the book of Acts contain the fourth largest amount of Old Testament quotes of the New Testament books. In addition, F. F. Bruce tells us that the New Testament writers who quote from the LXX most often are Luke and the author of Hebrews. 83]

83] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 154.

VII. Various Themes Emphasized in Acts

B. Emphasis Upon the Ministry of Jesus Christ - The book of Acts contains many verses that reveal the office and work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church age ( Acts 1:1-11; Acts 1:21-22, Acts 2:22-36; Acts 2:38, Acts 3:6; Acts 3:13-26, Acts 4:2; Acts 4:10-13; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:25-27; Acts 4:30; Acts 4:33, Acts 5:30-32; Acts 5:40; Acts 5:42, Acts 6:14, Acts 7:55).

C. Emphasis Upon the Ministry of the Holy Spirit- The Holy Spirit is referred to almost fifty times in the book of Acts , more so than in any other book in the Holy Bible. It was the Holy Spirit who enabled the apostles to fulfill their ministries in Acts as it was the Lord Jesus Christ who did the enabling in the four Gospels ( Acts 1:2; Acts 1:5; Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:17-18; Acts 2:38, Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31, Acts 5:3; Acts 5:9; Acts 5:32, Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:8; Acts 6:10, Acts 7:51; Acts 7:55, Acts 8:15-17; Acts 8:29; Acts 8:39, Acts 9:31, Acts 10:19-20; Acts 10:38; Acts 10:44-47, Acts 11:12; Acts 11:15-16; Acts 11:24; Acts 11:28, Acts 13:2-4; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:52, Acts 15:8; Acts 15:28, Acts 16:6-10, Acts 19:2-6, Acts 20:23; Acts 20:28, Acts 21:4; Acts 21:11).

Smith Wigglesworth once said that a person could not understand the New Testament epistles until he has experienced the book of Acts. He said that the Gospels bring us to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and the book of Acts brings us into the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. He says that only after we have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can we understand many verses in the Epistles about the Spirit-filled life. He gave 1 Corinthians 14:2 as an example of a verse that is impossible to understand unless someone has experienced praying in tongues. 84]

84] Smith Wigglesworth, Smith Wigglesworth On Spiritual Gifts (New Kensington, Pennyslvania: Whitaker House, c 1998), 42-3.

1 Corinthians 14:2, "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries."

The book of Acts describes a number of believers who were full of faith and the Holy Ghost ( Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5-6; Acts 11:24). Also, Abraham was full of faith and wisdom.

Acts 6:3 - Seven men- "full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom"

Acts 6:5 - Stephen- "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost"

Acts 6:8 - Stephen- "full of faith and power"

Acts 11:24 - Barnabas- "full of the Holy Ghost and of faith"

We have access to both faith and the anointing in this dispensation, but may only have one of the two operating in our lives. 85] For example, Kenneth Hagin talks about an anointed healer he knew who did not, at first, have the faith to receive their own healing, but had healed many men by the Holy Ghost's anointing. 86]

85] Kenneth Hagin, Understanding the Anointing (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1983, 1994), 119-20.

86] Kenneth Hagin, Understanding the Anointing (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1983, 1994), 132-3.

D. Emphasis Upon the Ministry of the New Testament Church- The ministries of the Church found in the book of Acts:

1. Assembling together: ( Acts 1:4; Acts 1:6; Acts 1:13-14, Acts 2:1; Acts 2:42 [fellowship], 46, Acts 4:23-31)

a) For Prayer and supplication ( Acts 1:12-14) - The words, "pray, prayed, prayer, prayers, prayeth, and praying" occur 29 times in the book of Acts as it related to communication to God.

Individual prayers- 12times

Group prayers- 17 times

In the New Testament, Acts uses the word "prayer" most frequently, at 29 times, followed by Luke at 28 times. (References to Prayer- Acts 1:14; Acts 1:24-25, Acts 2:42, Acts 3:1, Acts 4:24-31, Acts 6:4; Acts 6:6, Acts 7:59-60)

Acts 1:14, "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."

b) For the Baptism of the Holy Ghost ( Acts 2:1-4):

Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

c) For the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers ( Acts 2:42):

Acts 2:42, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles" doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

d) For Praising God ( Acts 2:47; Acts 3:9; Acts 5:41):

Acts 2:47, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

Acts 3:9, "And all the people saw him walking and praising God:"

Acts 5:41, "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

2. Having all things in common ( Acts 2:44, Acts 4:32):

Acts 2:44, "And all that believed were together, and had all things common;"

Acts 4:32, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."

3. Giving to the church to meet the needs of the poor ( Acts 4:37):

Acts 4:34-35, "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles" feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

4. Preaching the Gospel ( Acts 2:14-41, Acts 3:11-26, Acts 4:8-12, Acts 4:33, Acts 5:25, Acts 7:51, Acts 8:5):

Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

Acts 4:8, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,"

Acts 4:33, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

Acts 5:25, "Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people."

Acts 7:51, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."

Acts 8:5, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them."

5. Performing Signs, Wonders, and Healings ( Acts 2:43, Acts 3:1-10, Acts 5:15-16):

Acts 2:43, "And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles."

Acts 3:6, "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."

Acts 5:15-16, "Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one."

6. Performing water baptism ( Acts 2:41):

Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

7. Performing the Laying on of Hands:

a) For the Holy Ghost ( Acts 6:6):

Acts 6:6, "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them."

b) For the work of the Ministry ( Acts 8:17):

Acts 8:17, "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."

8. Judging Sin ( Acts 5:1-11):

Acts 5:11, "And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things."

9. Ministering to Widows ( Acts 6:1-2):

Acts 6:3, "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdom of Solomon , whom we may appoint over this business."

10. Witnessing - Note the following verses that refer to witnessing- Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22, Acts 2:14-40, Acts 3:11-26, Acts 4:2; Acts 4:8-12; Acts 4:19-20; Acts 4:33, Acts 5:20-21; Acts 5:25; Acts 5:29, Acts 6:7, Acts 7:2-53, Acts 8:4

E. Emphasis Upon Church Growth- There are numerous references in the book of Acts to church growth.

One hundred twenty (120) saved before Pentecost:

Acts 1:15, "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)"

Three thousand (3000) added on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

The Lord added daily such as should be saved:

Acts 2:47, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

Five thousand (5000) added and persecution starts:

Acts 4:4, "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand."

Believers added more, multitudes both of men and women:

Acts 5:14, "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)"

Number of disciples multiplied:

Acts 6:1, "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews , because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration."

Number of disciples multiplied greatly, including many priests. Some are harder to win ( 1 Corinthians 1:26):

Acts 6:7, "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

1 Corinthians 1:26, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:"

The Church is persecuted and scatters abroad:

Acts 8:4, "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."

F. Emphasis Upon the Role of Women in the Ministry- There are a number of references to women in the ministry in the book of Acts:

Acts 16:13, "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither."

Acts 17:4, "And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few."

Acts 17:12, "Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few."

Note how there seemed to be more women converts than men converts on Paul's missionary journeys. This is also typical today. Women in society generally embrace the faith quicker.

G. Emphasis Upon Apostolic Sermons- Much of the content of Acts is dedicated to recording the sermons of the early apostles and evangelists. Perhaps the most common theme of all of these sermons is the message of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost Acts 2:14-41

2. Peter's sermon to the people in the temple Acts 3:12 to Acts 4:1

3. Peter's sermon to the Sanhedrin Acts 4:5-23

4. Stephen's sermon to the Sanhedrin Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60

5. Peter's sermon to Cornelius Acts 10:34-48

6. Paul's sermon in Antioch of Pisidia Acts 13:14-41

7. Peter and James' speeches at the Jerusalem council Acts 15:6-21

8. Paul's sermon at Athens Acts 17:22-34

9. Paul's sermon to the elders of the church of Ephesus Acts 20:17-38

10. Paul's defense to the Jewish people Acts 21:40 to Acts 22:21

11. Paul's defense before Felix Acts 24:10-21

12. Paul's defense before Agrippa Acts 26:1-32

H. Emphasis Upon the Persecution of the Church

Acts 4:1-21 - Threatenings and Warning

Acts 5:17-40 - Beaten

Acts 6:9-15 - Instigating lies, Stirring up people, False witnesses

Acts 7:54-60 - Death

Acts 8:1-3 - Great Persecution against church at Jerusalem

I. Emphasis Upon the Miraculous- Louis Berkhof gives us the following list of miracles that are recorded in the book of Acts. He says, "Besides the miracles that are not described and of which there were many…

1. "signs and wonders" by the apostles, Acts 2:43; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:15-16;

2. by Stephen, Acts 6:8;

3. by Philippians , Acts 8:7;

4. by Paul and Barnabas, Acts 14:3;

5. by Paul alone, Acts 19:11-12; Acts 28:1-9

6. the gift of tongues, Acts 2:1-11;

7. the lame man cured, Acts 3:1-11;

8. the shaking of the prayer hall, Acts 4:31;

9. the death of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11;

10. the apostles delivered from prison, Acts 5:19;

11. the translation of Philippians , Acts 8:39-40;

12. Eneas made whole, Acts 9:34;

13. Dorcas restored to life, Acts 9:36-42;

14. Paul's sight restored, Acts 9:17;

15. the deliverance of Peter from prison, Acts 12:6-10;

16. the death ofHerod, Acts 12:20-23;

17. Elymas, the sorcerer, struck blind, Acts 13:6-11;

18. the lame man at Lystra cured, Acts 14:8-11;

19. the damsel at Philippi delivered, Acts 16:16-18;

20. the jail at Philippi shaken, Acts 16:25-26;

21. Eutychus restored to life, Acts 20:9-12;

22. Paul unhurt by the bite of a poisonous viper, Acts 28:1-6;

23. the father of Publius and many others healed, Acts 28:8-9." 87]

87] Louis Berkhof, The Acts of the Apostles, in Introduction to the New Testament, electronic edition 2004-04-02 (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) [on-line]; accessed 23April 2010; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html; Internet, 62.

VIII. Grammar and Syntax

J. Grammar and Syntax: Greek Language at its Best- Because the book of Acts contains less Hebraisms than the Gospel of Luke , it is considered the closest to Classical Greek of any New Testament book, perhaps with the exception of the epistle of Hebrews.

L. Grammar and Syntax: Analysis of Word Usage in Luke -, Acts - Robert M. Grant gives us some insightful information as to the word usage of Luke -Acts. He says Luke's Gospel contains a total of 19 ,400 words while the book of Acts contains 13 ,380; Luke uses a total of 2 ,055 different Greek words while Acts uses 2 ,038; together, they use a total of 2 ,700 Greek words; Luke uses 261words that are unique to the Gospel while Acts uses 413unique words. 88]

88] Robert M. Grant, "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament- Part Two: New Testament Literature, Chapter 10: The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts ," (New York: Harper and Row, 1963) [on-line];

THEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."

(Andreas Ksenberger) 89]

89] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.

Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the book of Acts , an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the book of Acts for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.

IX. Purpose

The Gospels and Acts served a number of purposes for the early Church. They were written primarily to establish and defend the foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church; thus, there was a doctrinal and apologetic purpose. However, the authors chose to frame their work within a historical biography of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and each Gospel writer selected historical material that emphasized his own particular didactic purpose. Finally, the Gospels and Acts served a practical and kerygmatic purpose in calling the reader to believe in Jesus Christ and to proclaim the Gospel to the nations.

A. Doctrinal and Apologetic: To Establish and Defend the Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament Church - The primary purpose of the Gospels was to establish and defend the claim that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, which was the foundational doctrine of the New Testament Church.

The Doctrinal and Apologetic Purpose of Luke -, Acts - There is evidence throughout Luke's writings of an apologetic nature, as Luke presents to Theophilus a defense for the legitimacy of the Christian faith. The timing of Luke's publication suggests that it was used in preparation for a defense at Paul's impending trial. Some scholars have suggested that the book of Acts was prepared as a legal brief in anticipation of Paul's trial before Caesar. This would mean that Luke wrote the book of Acts in order to defend Paul during his trial. Although some scholars say that the clear fact that Luke -Acts is a two-volume work negates this option, a close study of the structure of Luke -Acts does reveal an underlying theme that shows these writings as a defense for the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as defending the ethics of these Christians who were accused by their adversaries of committing evil atrocities. We can easily surmise that the author did not intend this dual work to be purely a historical record of the early Church, since many important events were left out. A careful study reveals that Luke placed narrative material within his work in order to achieve an intended purpose. Scholars give internal support for its apologetic nature.

1. References to Exoneration by Romans and Unjust Accusation by Jews- Luke appears to emphasize the fact that Jesus' rejection by the Jewish leaders was unwarranted as well as reveal Jesus as a man of great wisdom. Luke's description of Jesus' trial before Pilate shows the Roman governor repeatedly trying to absolve Jesus of guilt. At Philippi, Paul and Silas were accused of "teaching customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans" ( Acts 16:20-21). When they were let go, the magistrates apologized to them for beating them unlawfully ( Acts 16:35-39). At Thessalonica, Paul was accused of "doing contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus" ( Acts 17:7), but was immediately set free. At Corinth, Paul was accused of "persuading men to worship God contrary to the law" ( Acts 18:13). But Gallio, the proconsul was not able to determine any violation of Roman law. When Demetrius the silversmith causes a riot in Ephesus by accusing Paul wrongly, Alexander stood up and defended Paul's innocence ( Acts 19:21-41). When the Jews accused Paul of sacrilege in Jerusalem, the governors Felix and Festus found no wrongdoing and would have let him go had he not appealed to Caesar ( Acts 19-26).

The author attempts to reveal that Christianity was not a threat to the Roman Empire, as the Judaizers had accused them of being. It was rather, the fulfillment of the hope of all Jews, and because Judaism was legalized, Christianity should be treated by Rome as a part of this religion. Thus, Luke -Acts also has an apologetic purpose.

2. Reference in Pauline Epistle to Paul's Defense- The Goodspeed translation of Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:17 shows that Paul appealed to Caesar in order to win a case for legalizing Christianity, which was seen at this time as an illegal sect of Judaism. This would support the view that Luke -Acts served in Paul's defense.

Philippians 1:7, "And I have a right to feel in this way about you all, because both when I am in prison and when I am defending and vindicating our right to preach the good news, I have you in my heart as all sharing that privilege with me." (Goodspeed)

Philippians 1:16, "These later do it from love for me, for they know that God has put me where I am to defend our right to preach the good news." (Goodspeed)

3. Luke's Preface Indicates a Petition- Daniel Wallace says the Greek word κρά τιστος is used in the vocative case here. He says, "The vocative is used almost universally in the papyri only in petitions, as far as my own cursory research reveals (an examination of the first two volumes on the papyri in LCL). If this is the case here, then a petition is implied in Luke -, Acts , even though none is stated." Wallace uses this argument to support his belief that Luke -Acts is primarily written as an apologetic work addressed primarily to a Roman official in defense of the Christian faith. 90]

90] Daniel B. Wallace, Acts: Introduction, Argument, and Outline (Biblical Studies Foundation, Richardson, Texas, 1998) [on-line]; accessed 6 July 2010; available from; Internet, 11.

4. Emphasis in Luke -Acts upon the Trials of Jesus and His Apostles- Luke 22:1 to Luke 24:53 records the lengthiest account of Jesus' arrest and trials leading up to His crucifixion. The trials recorded in Luke -Acts are numerous: of Jesus before the Sanhedrin ( Luke 22:66-71), before Pontus Pilate ( Luke 23:1-5; Luke 23:13-25), before King Herod ( Luke 23:6-12), and Peter's two trials before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 4:1-22; Acts 5:17-42), and Stephen's unjust trial and stoning ( Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60), and Peter's imprisonment by King Herod Agrippa I ( Acts 12:1-19), and Paul's arrest in the Temple and address to the Jewish mob ( Acts 21:26 to Acts 22:29), his hearings before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:10), the chief captain sending Paul to Felix the governor with a letter ( Acts 23:11-35), his defense before Felix ( Acts 24:1-27), his defense before Festus ( Acts 25:1-12), his defense before King Herod Agrippa II ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32), and his voyage to Rome to await his trial before Nero ( Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:31). There is an enormous amount of the content of Acts given to Paul's trials, both during his missionary journeys and before the Roman governors Felix and Festus. The last eight chapters focus entirely upon Paul's defense before Roman officials. All of these trials and events surrounding them serve as testimonies to prove the innocence of Jesus and His apostles.

5. Story of Shipwreck Tied to Ancient Belief of Innocence - Donald Guthrie and others note the suggestion by D. Ladouceur that it was a pagan belief in New Testament times that survival of a shipwreck proved a man's innocence. Perhaps Luke included this lengthy story as a defense for Paul's innocence. 91]

91] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 373; see D. Ladouceur, "Hellenistic Preconceptions of Shipwreck and Pollution as a context for Acts 27-28 ," HTE 73, 1980, pp 435-449 and G. B. Miles and G. Tromph, "Luke and Antiphon: The Theology of Acts 27-28 in the Light of Pagan Beliefs about Divine Retribution, Pollution and Shipwreck," THE 69, 1976, pp 259-267.

This view finds support from a verse in Acts 28:4 which alludes to such a belief

Acts 28:4, "And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live."

6. An Abrupt Ending- Some scholars feel that the abrupt ending to the book of Acts is an indication that the author is prompting Theophilus to do something about Paul's case, which has delayed for two years.

Luke -Acts appears to be a defense for the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as defending the ethics of these Christians who were accused by their adversaries of committing evil atrocities. Thus, whether Luke -Acts was directly intended to be used at one of Paul's trials or not, it certainly is structured as a defense for the Christian faith against the persecutions of the Rome government and from Judaizers. This structure is certainly a reflection of Pauline preaching of the Gospel, in that it reflects Paul's efforts to legalize the Christian faith in a Roman world.

Conclusion- This doctrinal and apologetic purpose of Luke -Acts reflects the foundational theme of the Gospels claiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

B. Historical and Didactic: To Record the Early Church Eye-Witness Testimonies of the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ and the Apostles that Prove He was the Son of God - The Historical-Didactic Nature of the Gospels- While the early Church used the Gospels to defend the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the authors of the Gospels chose to present this testimony within a historical biography of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the writings of the four Gospels, the characteristic of selectivity is clearly seen. They all have the common thread as a biography of record of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, each Gospel arranges these events in a way that teaches us a particular lesson. For example, the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures. He arranges his Gospel in a format that presents Jesus as the coming King, who delivers the laws of the kingdom of heaven to His people, how He performs the work of the kingdom, how man responds to this ministry, how to handle offences and persecution, and the departure of the King. Matthew's Gospel is packaged with the message of the coming King being woven within the major theme that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Messiah. Matthew closes his Gospel with the message of Jesus giving the commission to His disciples to teach all nations the laws of the kingdom of heaven. The Gospel of Mark also tells us of the events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, Mark's intent is to testify that Jesus Christ was the Son of God because of His many miracles that accompanied His preaching. Mark presents his material by following the outline of Peter's proclamation of the Gospel message to Cornelius in Acts 10:34-43. His Gospel shows John the Baptist's commission and proclamation, then shows Jesus' commission and preaching ministry, first in Galilee, then the regions round about. Jesus then made His way to Judea and into Jerusalem to face the Cross. Mark closes his Gospel with a commission to the disciples to preach the Gospel with these same signs and miracles following. The Gospel of Luke serves to give testimony from men. It gives the most extensive story on the birth, life and testimony of John the Baptist. It also gives the testimonies of many others, such as Zacharias, Elisabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna. Thus, Luke tells us the life of our Lord Jesus Christ in a format of testimonies that were compiled by those who were eyewitnesses of our Lord and Saviour. The Gospel of John emphasizes the events in the life of Christ that confirm His deity. John weaves within his Gospel seven divine names that Jesus declares about Himself, seven miracles that show His deity, seven Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus fulfilled. John closes His Gospel with Jesus calling His disciples to follow Him. Thus, we see in the book of Acts that it is not just a chronology of the history of the early church. Rather, Luke selected particular people and events in order to reveal most accurately the situations that Christians lived in during this part of history. The book of Acts is then able to explain why the Holy Spirit was able to move so mightily in the hearts and lives of certain men. The book of Acts becomes more than a history book. It provides a moral foundation for the establishment of the doctrines of the New Testament church in the midst of persecution from all established religions. It provides a defense for the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as defending the ethics of these Christians who were accused by their adversaries of committing evil atrocities. Finally, an additional theme can be found woven within all four Gospels and Acts , which is the lesson that persecutions always accompany those who choose to follow Christ. Thus, we see that these five books not only give us a biography of the life of Christ and of a history of the early Church, but they each weave within their collections of events a unique theme and a lesson to be learned.

The Historical and Didactic Purpose of Luke -, Acts - Luke goes to great lengths to place the origins and expansion of Christianity within a historical framework. Thus, Luke -Acts also has a historical purpose, although it is framed in a document that presents the beginnings and expansion of Christianity in order to convince the readers that the advance of the Gospel is the work of God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

This story begins in Luke's Gospel with the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ during the time of Herod king of Judea ( Luke 1:5) and during the reign of Caesar Augustus, while Quirinius was governor of Syria ( Luke 2:1-2). Luke gives much narrative material that took place in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas" ( Luke 3:1-2). Jesus' death took place under the trials of Pilate and Herod Antipas ( Luke 23:1-25).

The book of Acts continues telling us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ began at Jerusalem, spread throughout Judea and Samaria until it reached Rome. Walter Liefeld says that Luke dates these events "during the reign of the emperor Claudius ( Acts 11:28; Acts 18:2), when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia ( Acts 18:12-17), when Felix and Festus ruled in Judea and Ananias was the high priest in Jerusalem ( Acts 24-25), and between the times of the Jewish kings Herod Agrippa I ( Acts 12:1-23) and Herod Agrippa II ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32)." 92]

92] Walter L. Liefeld, "Introduction," in Luke , in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol 8, eds. Frank E. Gaebelien, J. D. Douglas, Dick Polcyn (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976-1992), in Zondervan Reference Software, v 28 [CD-ROM] (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corp, 1989-2001), in "Section 4: Luke's Purpose in Writing Acts."

Conclusion- The historical and didactic purpose of Luke -Acts reflects the secondary theme, which is the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Although the doctrinal and apologetic purpose are primary, they are less apparent than the historical and didactic because the historical material the heavier weight of content within the Gospel.

C. Practical and Kerygmatic: To Proclaim the Gospel to the Nations through the office of the Prophet and Apostle - The Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts serve a practical purpose as the readers are called to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as the Son of God in faith and obedience to Him. The book of Acts reveals that the early disciples of the Church "continued stedfastly in the apostles" doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." ( Acts 2:42) Alongside this practical application, the Gospels serve a kerygmatic purpose. The book of Acts reveals that these early believers were scattered abroad beginning with the persecutions in Jerusalem and "went everywhere preaching the word." ( Acts 8:1-4) In addition, the commissions of Jesus Christ at the close of each of the Gospels call believers to go forth and proclaim the Gospel to the nations. The commission in the Gospel of Luke ( Luke 24:44-49) commands believers to proclaim the Gospel through testifying through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which reflects the office of the prophet. The commission in the book of Acts ( Acts 1:8) commands believers to proclaim the Gospel to the nations through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which reflects the office of the apostle. Luke -Acts serves as a manual that empowers the Church to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Luke opens his Gospel by stating his purpose for writing this book. He said it was so that Theophilus (and the Gentile readers) "mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (Luke refers to the same individual in Luke 1:1 in a similar way that ancient Greek historians commonly arranged such opening dedications.) He wanted this person to know with certainty and with accuracy that the stories of the Lord Jesus Christ were genuine, being confirmed by many eyewitnesses. Therefore, Luke compiles testimonies from the best sources available. Luke also made an effort to place these events around historical dates and events of contemporary people in order to give support to his own historical accuracy.

Eusebius states that Luke composed his work for a Gentile audience, saying, "And the third by Luke , the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts…" (Ecclesiastical History 6256)

John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, tells us that Luke wrote his Gospel so the believers might be continually reminded of the certainty of the events regarding the life of Christ Jesus. Note:

"Now Luke tells us also the cause wherefore he proceeds to write: "that thou mayest hold," saith Hebrews , "the certainty of the words wherein thou hast been instructed;" that Isaiah , that being continually reminded thou mayest hold to the certainty, and abide in certainty." (Homilies on the Gospel According to St. Matthew 1:7)

We can easily surmise that the author did not intend this dual work to be purely a historical record of the early Church, since many important events were left out. A careful study reveals that Luke placed narrative material within his work in order to achieve an intended purpose.

The purpose that is stated in the opening of the Gospel of Luke applies to the book of Acts as well. Therefore, the primary purpose of Luke -Acts is kerygmatic in that Luke's intent is to proclaim a true and accurate message of Jesus Christ and of the early Church. In order to give an accurate proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the author attempts to:

1. Give the fullest account of the story of Jesus, starting at its beginning.

2. Use as many eyewitness accounts as possible.

3. Place these eyewitness accounts in an orderly manner.

4. Place these events within the time frame of current secular events.

5. Present his as a Gospel to the Greeks by making Jesus the Savior of the world to a sinful people.

6. Show that the Gospel has spread to the "ends of the earth" by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion- The practical and kerygmatic purpose of Luke -Acts reflects the third, imperative theme, which is a call to faith and obedience to Jesus Christ from the spirit-filled testimonies sent forth to the nations claiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This third purpose is clearly seen within sermons using the text of the Gospels as the preacher calls believers to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to their daily lives.

D. Conclusion of Three-fold Purpose of the Gospels and Acts - Having identified three purposes to the Gospels and Acts , it is logical to conclude that there are three themes embedded within these writings, with each theme supporting a particular purpose. Therefore, the three-fold thematic schemes of these books will be discussed next.

X. Thematic Scheme

Introduction- Each book of the Holy Scriptures contains a three-fold thematic scheme in order to fulfill its intended purpose, which is to transform each child of God into the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). The primary, or foundational, theme of a book offers a central claim that undergirds everything written by the author. The secondary, or structural theme, of the book supports its primary theme by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" made by the author as it fully develops the first theme. Thus, the secondary theme is more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary content of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. 93] The third theme is imperative in that it calls the reader to a response based upon the central claim and supporting evidence offered by the author. Each child of God has been predestined to be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures, and they alone, have the power to accomplish this task. This is why a child of God can read the Holy Scriptures with a pure heart and experience a daily transformation taking place in his life, although he may not fully understand what is taking place in his life. In addition, the reason some children of God often do not see these biblical themes is because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus Christ, allowing transformation to take place by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Without a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a child of God is not willing to allow Him to manage his life and move him down the road that God predestined as his spiritual journey. This journey requires every participant to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus, and not every believer is willing to do this. In fact, every child of God chooses how far down this road of sacrifice he is willing to go. Very few of men and women of God fulfill their divine destinies by completing this difficult journey. In summary, the first theme drives the second theme, which develops the first theme, and together they demand the third theme, which is the reader's response.

93] For an excellent discussion on the use of claims, reasons, and evidence in literature, see Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003).

The Three-fold Thematic Scheme of the Book of Acts - There are three major themes woven throughout the framework of the book of Acts. The primary theme serves as a foundation, while the secondary theme builds it structure upon this foundation, and the third theme gives support to this entire work. These three fit together in much the same way that a house is built.

The primary theme of the four Gospels and the book of Acts declare that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This theme lays a foundation within Luke -Acts upon which the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is built. The secondary theme of the book of Acts is the testimony of the apostles under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to take the Gospel to the nations. The secondary theme reveals through these eyewitnesses that Jesus, the Saviour of the world, must be preached to all nations. This secondary theme serves as the framework of this Gospel. Thus, the book of Acts can be outlined based upon the way the Gospel of Jesus began to be preached, first at Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. The third theme found within Luke is a supporting theme that calls us to take up our cross and follow Him, and all those who follow Him will suffer persecution as their Saviour suffered; for this is the message of the Cross, which gives muscle, or power, to the proclamation of Jesus Christ. A third theme that Luke weaves within his Gospel and the book of Acts is a responsive, or imperative theme calling its readers to follow Jesus Christ, although they will suffer persecution as their Saviour suffered on the Cross. In Luke -Acts the crucified life is seen in our obedience to Jesus' final commission to become witnesses of Him beginning where we are at unto the uttermost parts of the earth; for the plan of fulfilling this final command of Jesus Christ is laid out in Luke -Acts. This work best reflects the office and ministry of the apostle and prophet in the five-fold ministry; for this message of the Cross is what gives muscle, or power, to the proclamation of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts reveals how we serve the Lord by fulfilling the office and ministry of the apostle, which is one of the five-fold offices of the New Testament Church. Thus, we see the concept of how the early apostles saw themselves as building a house that is founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ, whose house are we ( 1 Corinthians 3:10-11). The apostles took this concept of building a house from the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ ( Matthew 16:18).

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Note a further explanation of the three-fold structure to the book of Acts:

A. The Primary Theme of the Gospels and Acts (Foundational): The Claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God - The Gospels and Acts share the primary theme presenting the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Each of the Gospels offers unique supporting evidence to this central claim. This emphasis continues through the book of Acts , where the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit also begins to merge with the Gospel theme, making a theme transitional from regeneration to sanctification.

1. The Primary Theme of the Holy Scriptures- The central theme of the Holy Bible is God's plan of redemption for mankind. This theme finds its central focus in the Cross, where our Lord and Saviour died to redeem mankind. The central figure of the Holy Scriptures is the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cross is the place where man meets God and where we die to our selfish ambitions and yield our lives to the God who created all things. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not intended to be a precise record of ancient history. Rather, its intent is to provide a record of God's divine intervention in the history of mankind in order to redeem the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

Every book of the Holy Bible makes a central claim that undergirds the arguments or message contained within its text. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD," to which all additional material is subordinate. The bulk of the material in the Old Testament is subordinate in that it serves as reasons and evidence to support this central claim. This material serves as the secondary theme, offering the literary structure of the book. In addition, the central claim calls for a response, which is stated in the following verse, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." ( Deuteronomy 6:5) Such a response is considered the third, imperative theme that runs through every book of the Holy Scriptures. This central claim is the primary, or foundational, theme and is often obscured by the weight of evidence that is used to drive the central message, which weight of evidence makes up the secondary theme; and thus, it contains more content than the primary theme. Therefore, the secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scripture are generally more recognizable than the primary theme. Nevertheless, the central claim, or truth, must be excavated down to the foundation and made clearly visible in order to understand the central theme driving the arguments contained within the book. Only then can proper exegesis and sermon delivery be executed.

2. Why Four Gospels? - The New Testament opens with the four Gospels and the book of Acts. The Gospels of Matthew ,, Mark ,, Luke , and John , and the book of Acts serve primarily as testimonies, or witnesses, of the deity of Lord Jesus Christ. 94] God could have included dozens of Gospels into the Holy Bible, but He only chose four. Why is this so? One reason is that a matter, or truth, is confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses ( 2 Corinthians 13:1). Two or three Gospels were enough to establish the validity of Jesus' ministry. Skeptics would not believe in the Savior even if there were dozens of Gospels. In essence, there was no need for additional Gospels. The question arises as to why there are four Gospels, and not three or five records of Jesus' life and ministry. The answer can be found clearly in the witnesses that Jesus lists of Himself in John 5:1-47. In this passage of Scripture Jesus tells us there are four witnesses to His Deity beside Himself: the testimonies of the Father ( Acts 5:19-30), of John the Baptist ( Acts 5:31-35), of the works of Jesus ( Acts 5:36-38), and of the Old Testament Scriptures ( Acts 5:39-42). The structure of the Gospel of John is built around these four witnesses. The Synoptic Gospels emphasis one of these particular witnesses: Matthew emphasizes the testimony of the Scriptures; Mark emphasizes the testimony of Jesus' works and miracles; Luke emphasizes the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses; John emphasizes primarily the witness of the God the Father. Although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses are also found in each Gospel.

94] Ernest Burton expresses a distinction between the primary and secondary themes of the Gospels, saying, "To us today the highest value of our gospels is in the testimony they bring us concerning the deeds, words, and character of our Lord Jesus. The ideas and purpose of the author, and even his personal identity, are to us matters of secondary consideration." See Ernest De Witt Burton, "The Purpose and Plan of the Gospel of Matthew ," in The Biblical World 111 (January 1898): 37.

2 Corinthians 13:1, "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

The four Gospels and the book of Acts reveal man's need for salvation, or the redemptive plan of regeneration, through faith in Jesus Christ, as He shed His blood on Calvary and made a way for man to be restored back into fellowship with the Heavenly Father through faith and obedience to His Word. Man's response to this claim results in his salvation, or regeneration, so that he becomes a child of God, which serves as the third, imperative, theme of the Gospels and Acts.

B. Secondary Theme (Structural): Testimony of the Apostles Under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit to Take the Gospel to the Nations - Introduction- The secondary themes of the books of the Holy Scriptures support the primary themes by offering reasons and evidence for the central "claim" of the book made by the author. Thus, the secondary themes are more easily recognized by biblical scholars than the other two themes because they provide the literary structure of the book as they navigate the reader through the arguments embedded within the biblical text, thus revealing themselves more clearly. For example, the central claim of the Pentateuch declares that the Lord God of Israel is the only God that man should serve, and man is to love the Lord God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, a statement found in the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which is the foundational theme of the Old Testament. The books of Hebrew poetry provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his heart as its secondary theme. The books of the prophets provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his mind as its secondary theme, as he set his hope in the coming of the Messiah to redeem mankind. The historical books provide evidence to this claim by expounding upon how man is to love God with all of his strength as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the four Gospel writers is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, each Gospel writer offers evidence as its secondary theme to support his claim. The Gospel of John offers the five-fold testimony of God the Father, John the Baptist, the miracles of Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures, and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself as its secondary theme. Matthew expounds upon the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures as its secondary theme; Mark expounds upon the testimony of the miracles of Jesus as its secondary theme; Luke expounds upon the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye-witnesses and well as that of the apostles in the book of Acts as its secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pauline Church Epistles is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone how the power to redeem and transform man into the image of Jesus, which is the foundational theme of this division of the Holy Scriptures. The epistle of Romans supports this claim by offering evidence of mankind's depravity and God's plan of redemption to redeem him as its secondary theme. The epistles of Ephesians and Philippians expound upon the role of God the Father in His divine foreknowledge as their secondary theme; the epistles of Colossians and Galatians expound upon the role of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church as their secondary theme; the epistles of 1, 2 Thessalonians , 1, 2Corinthians expound upon the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believers as their secondary theme.

The central claim of the Pastoral Epistles is that believers must serve God through the order of the New Testament Church. The epistles of 1, 2Timothy expound upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Titus expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a renewed mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Philemon expounds upon how to serve the Lord within the Church with a genuine lifestyle, which is its secondary theme.

The central claim of the General Epistles is that believers must persevere in the Christian faith in order to obtain eternal redemption. The epistles of Hebrews ,, James , and 1Peter modify this theme to reflect perseverance from persecutions from without the Church. The epistle of Hebrews expounds upon the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of James expounds upon a lifestyle of perseverance through the joy of the Holy Spirit, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of 1Peter expounds upon our hope of divine election through God the Father, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 2Peter, 1, 2, 3, John and Jude reflect perseverance from false doctrines from within. The epistle of 2Peter expounds upon growing in the knowledge of God's Word with a sound mind, which is its secondary theme. The epistles of 1, 2, 3John expound upon walking in fellowship with God and one another with a pure heart, which is its secondary theme. The epistle of Jude expounds how living a godly lifestyle with our bodies, which is its secondary theme.

The Apocalypse of John , though not considered an epistle, emphasizes the glorification of the Church, giving believers a vision of the hope that is laid up before them as a source of encouragement for those who persevere until the end. The central claim of the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming to take His Bride the Church to Glory. The secondary theme supports this claim with the evidence of Great Tribulation Period.

1. The Secondary Theme of the Gospel of John - The secondary theme of the Gospel of John is the five-fold testimony that supports the primary claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, 95] which is the fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. This explains why many new believers are asked to read this Gospel early in their conversion experience. Such a declaration of Christ's deity requires evidence. When a testimony is given in a court of law, it is accompanied by all of the available evidence. This is how John the apostle presents his case of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 5:1-47, Jesus tells us there are four witnesses to confirm His Deity, which are the testimonies of the Father, of John the Baptist, of the works and miracles of Jesus, and of the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus declares Himself as a fifth witness in John 8:18.

95] The emphasis on the deity of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John is widely recognized by scholars. For example, Louis Berkhof says, "The gospel of John emphasizes more than any of the others the Divinity of Christ." See Louis Berkhof, New Testament Introduction (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co, 1915), 104.

The secondary theme of John , which provides the structure to this Gospel, is built upon this five-fold testimony. John's Gospel relies on the testimonies of these five sources in order to declare the deity of the Savior. These five witnesses of Christ's deity support the primary theme of the Gospel of John , which is the declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. This is why John ends his testimony of witnesses with the declaration, "But these 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). The secondary theme of John's Gospel states that all available, supporting witnesses confirm that Jesus is truly God manifested in the flesh, the Son of God. Therefore, John's Gospel is a collection of five testimonies which are use to witness to this fact. The Gospel of John opens with the testimony of the Father declaring Jesus' eternal Sonship ( John 1:1-18). This is followed by the testimony of John the Baptist and his disciples ( John 1:19-26), the testimony of six of His miracles, the seventh being His resurrection ( John 2:1 to John 11:54), the testimony of seven Old Testament passages ( John 11:55 to John 20:31), and the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself ( John 21:1-23). Together these five witnesses support the claim that Jesus is the Son of God. John's Gospel also emphasizes Jesus' relationship with the Father much more than the other Gospels.

2. The Secondary Themes of the Synoptic Gospels- An examination of the secondary themes of the Synoptic Gospels find that they serve as additional witnesses to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing one of these five witnesses stated in John. Thus, the Gospel of John will serve as the foundational book of the Gospels, and of the entire New Testament. In fact, a person can simply believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and be saved, whether or not he has a deeper and fuller revelation our Saviour and the other New Testament books. Faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God is the foundational message of the John's Gospel, while the other Gospels support this message. The Gospel of Matthew portrays Jesus Christ as the Messiah who fulfilled the prophecies of Old Testament Scripture. Matthew testifies from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews to support His claim as the Messiah; for in this Gospel is a chronological list of Scriptures that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Matthew serves as the testimony from Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah sent to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel of Mark testifies of the many miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing the preaching of the Gospel as the way in which these miracles take place. The Gospel of Mark centers it theme on the miracles of our Lord and Savior. Thus, the witness of Jesus' works and miracles is revealed by Mark. The Gospel of Luke serves to give testimony from men who were eye-witnesses of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It gives the most extensive story on the birth, life and testimony of John the Baptist. It also gives the testimonies of many others, such as Zacharias, Elisabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna. Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world that was under the authority of Roman rule, and he was writing to a Roman official who was able to exercise his authority over men. Thus, Luke was able to contrast Jesus' divine authority and power to that of the Roman rule. Jesus rightfully held the title as the Saviour of the world because of the fact that He had authority over mankind as well as the rest of God's creation. Someone who saves and delivers a person does it because he has the authority and power over that which oppresses the person. Finally, the book of Acts gives the testimonies of the Apostles and early Church. In summary, Matthew represents the testimony of the Scriptures, which sees Jesus Christ as the Messiah and coming King of the Jews. Mark represents the works and miracles of Jesus, and sees Him as the Preacher of the Gospel with signs and wonders following. Luke represents John the Baptist and other eyewitnesses, who testify of Jesus as the Saviour of the World. It is important to note that although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses can be found within the framework of each Gospel, but only one has a major emphasis. Finally, the book of Acts gives us the testimony of the early disciples, which builds upon Luke's theme, as they testify of Jesus as the Saviour of the World ( John 15:26-27).

John 15:26-27, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

In fact, every book of the Holy Bible serves as some form of a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus stated this in John 5:39.

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Although each of the four Gospels emphasizes one particular witness, the testimonies of the other three witnesses are also woven within the framework of each Gospel.

3. The Secondary Theme of the Book of Acts - The secondary theme of the book of Acts supports its primary theme by giving us the testimony of the apostles under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to taking the Gospel to the nations. This secondary theme also provides the structure to Acts as the apostles take the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth ( Acts 1:8).

The book of Acts continues Luke's theme of eyewitness testimonies as it centers on the testimonies of the apostles under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to take the Gospel to the nations. This two-fold witness is mentioned in John's Gospel when Jesus is addressing his eleven apostles at the Last Supper ( John 15:26-27).

John 15:26-27, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

The book of Acts places emphasis upon the testimonies of the early apostles. Note the many verses that refer to the testimony of the apostles.

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Acts 2:40, "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."

Acts 3:15, "And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."

Acts 4:33, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

Acts 5:32, "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

Acts 8:25, "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans."

Acts 10:39, "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:"

Acts 13:31, "And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people."

Acts 14:17, "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

Acts 15:8, "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;"

Acts 18:5, "And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ."

Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."

Acts 22:15, "For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."

Acts 23:11, "And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."

The book of Acts also shows the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering these men with a testimony. These men who bore witness with the greatest power were full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Note:

Acts 6:3 - Seven men- "full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom"

Acts 6:5 - Stephen- "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost"

Acts 6:8 - Stephen- "full of faith and power"

Acts 11:24 - Barnabas- "full of the Holy Ghost and of faith"

Acts states that this Gospel must be testified to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, by witnesses that are filled with the Holy Ghost. The book of Acts opens with the disciples in the upper room being filled with the Holy Spirit and preaching the Gospel under their anointing ( Acts 2:1-4). Paul will be filled with the Holy Spirit at the inception of his ministry by the laying on of hands by Ananias. As Luke accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys, he learned the power of the testimony of a man like Paul under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We see this type of preaching as the Gospel message develops when Paul speaks to the Jews in Acts 21:40 to Acts 22:21 and when he speaks before King Agrippa in Acts 26:1-23. In Paul's preaching, he relies heavily upon his personal testimony and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to convince others to believe upon Jesus as the Christ. The book of Acts opens with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and ends with Paul giving witness with boldness and confidence (a manifestation of the anointing) in a Roman prison. Thus, the second part of Luke's writing is the book of Acts , which gives us eyewitness accounts, that of the early disciples coupled with the witness of the Holy Spirit (see John 15:26-27).

John 15:26-27, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

Thus, the secondary theme is the role of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to empower men who are chosen to take the Gospel to the world. Thus, we see Luke weave the testimony of men speaking under the power of the Holy Spirit woven throughout Luke -Acts.

4. Comparison of the Great Commissions of the Four Gospels- We can clearly see the themes of the four Gospels clearly emphasized in each of their Great Commissions. When Matthew's Great Commission is compared to the one in Mark , the distinction is obvious. The Great Commission ending the Gospel of Matthew serves as a final commission to the Church to build itself upon the foundational doctrines laid down in these five discourses through the teaching ministry. Mark's Gospel emphasizes the preaching of the Gospel with signs following. This supports the major themes of each Gospel. Matthew's underlying theme is to testify of Jesus through Scriptures, which lays the foundation for doctrine. Mark's theme is the testimony of Jesus through His miracles, which Gospel He delivers to His disciples. The structural theme of Luke's Gospel is the collection of verifiable eyewitness accounts as to the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, Jesus commands His disciples to be witnesses of these events by preaching the Gospel to all nations beginning at Jerusalem ( Luke 24:47), and to tarry in Jerusalem unto they be endued with power on high ( Luke 24:49). Thus, he is making a clear reference to the contents of the book of Acts; and thus, he establishes its theme. The structural theme of John's Gospel is the five-fold testimony of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. John's Gospel reveals His deity with the testimony of the Father, of John the Baptist, of Jesus' miracles, by the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures and finally in the last chapter by the testimony of Jesus Himself. This is why John's commission is simply, "Come, follow Me."

C. Third Theme (Imperative): The Proclamation of the Cross and the Persecution of the Church (The Office of the Apostle and Prophet: Being Witnesses of the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth) - Introduction- The third theme of each book of the Holy Scriptures is a call by the author for the reader to apply the central truth, or claim, laid down in the book to the Christian life. It is a call to a lifestyle of crucifying the flesh and taking up one's Cross daily to follow Jesus. Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29), and every child of God faces challenges as well as failures in the pursuit of his Christian journey. For example, the imperative theme of the Old Testament is that God's children are to serve the Lord God with all of their heart, mind, and strength, and love their neighbour as themselves ( Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The child of God cannot fulfill his divine destiny of being conformed into the image of Jesus without yielding himself and following the plan of redemption that God avails to every human being. This 4-fold, redemptive path is described in Romans 8:29-30 as predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. The phase of justification can be further divided into regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance. Although each individual will follow a unique spiritual journey in life, the path is the same in principle for every believer since it follows the same divine pattern described above. This allows us to superimpose one of three thematic schemes upon each book of the Holy Scriptures in order to vividly see its imperative theme. Every book follows a literary structure that allows either (1) the three-fold scheme of Father, Song of Solomon , and Holy Spirit: or (2) the scheme of spirit, soul, and body of man; or (3) the scheme of predestination, calling, justification (regeneration, indoctrination, divine service, and perseverance), and glorification in some manner.

1. The Third Theme of the Book of Acts - The third theme of Luke/Acts involves the response of the recipient to God's divine calling revealed in its primary and secondary themes. As believers we are to live a crucified life daily through obedience to the divine calling given in this book, which is to testify to all nations that Jesus is the Saviour of the world through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

This third theme that Luke weaves within his Gospel and the book of Acts is the message of persecution for all those who accepted the Gospel message. The early Church faced persecution from both the Jews and the Roman Empire.

a) Persecution by the Jews- The message that the Jews rejected Christ in contract to how many of the Gentiles embraced the message of the Gospel is woven throughout the book of Acts. The Jewish leaders of the temple in Jerusalem bought Peter and John into judgment ( Acts 4:1-22). The high priest threw Peter and other apostles in prison ( Acts 5:17-42). The Jews of foreign lands brought Stephen to the high priest to be stoned ( Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60). Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, raised up a great persecution against the Church ( Acts 8:1), which drove the believers into Gentile lands. Paul was challenged by the Jewish converts at the first Jerusalem Council ( Acts 15:1-29) about his Gospel to the Gentiles. Out of envy, the Jews at Antioch of Pisidia stirred up the people against Paul ( Acts 13:45-52). The Jews of Thessalonica ran Paul out of town and pursued him to Berea ( Acts 17:1-15). The Jews rose up against Paul at Corinth ( Acts 18:12-16). The Jews participated with the Gentiles against Paul's companions in the riot at Ephesus ( Acts 19:33). Paul is beaten by the Jews in Jerusalem and given an audience by the Gentile rulers ( Acts 21-26). Paul met with the Jews in Rome, who rejected his words ( Acts 28:17-29), and thus he preached to the Gentiles.

Thus, Luke clearly shows to his readers why the Gospel of Jesus is as much a Gospel to the Gentiles as it is a Gospel to the Jews.

b) Persecution by Rome- The early Church not only suffered under the hands of the Jews, but under the Roman rulers as well. This was because the Romans did not recognize Christian as a legal religion. Unlike the Jewish religion, which the Romans allowed to exist in an effort to keep peace in their cities, the new Christian religion was perceived as a set of beliefs that conflicted with Roman rule. Luke attempts to show in his two-volume work that this persecution was unjustified and, in fact, illegal. In his Gospel, Luke emphasizes that Pilate, the Roman governor, stated three times that he found no fault in Jesus ( Luke 23:4; Luke 23:14; Luke 23:22).

In the book of Acts , the Jews took advantage of their legal status by accusing Jesus and the early Church of breaking the Roman laws. The Gentiles at Philippi accused Paul of "teaching customs which are not lawful for Romans to receive," ( Acts 16:21). Luke shows that Paul and Silas were imprisoned and beaten illegally ( Acts 16:36-39). The Jews at Thessalonica accused Paul of "doing contrary to the decrees of Caesar by saying that there is another king, one Jesus," ( Acts 17:7). The Jews at Corinth said that Paul "persuaded men to worship God contrary to the law," but the Roman deputy saw not fault in Paul ( Acts 18:12-16). When Paul was accused of turning people from their Greek gods, the town clerk defended their innocence ( Acts 19:35-41). The Jews at Jerusalem accused Paul of being one who causes seditions among the Jews throughout the world," ( Acts 24:5). However, Felix, Festus, and Herod Agrippa II found no fault in him ( Acts 24-26).

Luke even points out that one Roman proconsul of Cyprus was converted by Paul ( Acts 13:4-12). Thus, this work becomes apologetic in nature as it attempts to prove the innocence of the Christian faith.

The Filling of the Holy Spirit Empowered Jesus and Empowers Us to Testify to All Nations that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the World - The third theme of Luke/Acts supports its secondary theme by revealing the way in which to testify of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, which is through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught and ministered the Gospel under the anointing and authority as the Saviour of the World through His office as a Prophet. Jesus' first prophetic utterances is found in Luke 4:18 when He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…" The people recognized His prophetic ministry in Luke 4:32, "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power." Acts continues this theme by stating that this Gospel must be testified to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, by witnesses that are filled with the Holy Ghost. The third theme of the book of Acts is the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth through the testimonies of the apostles, with the Holy Spirit confirming the Gospel with miracles. A key verse in the book of Acts that reveals this theme Isaiah 1:8, where Jesus tells His disciples to spread the Gospel from Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke opens his Gospel in a similar way by stating that his Gospel was a collection of eyewitness accounts of the truth to the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Another passage that reveals the common themes of Luke -Acts can be seen in Luke 24:45-47. In this passage of Scripture, we see that the theme of the Gospel of Luke is the eyewitness testimonies of our Lord's suffering and resurrection in Jerusalem, while the book of Acts is that this testimony is to be preached to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:45-47, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Because the book of Acts is not strictly a history book, Luke leaves out many events in the life of the early Church. For example, if we excluding Judas Iscariot's tragic death, Luke only records the death of one of the apostles, which was James , the brother of John. Of the other ten apostles who went out across the known world, Luke makes no mention. Luke does not tell us about the church at Jerusalem after Paul's conversion, except when Paul went to the first Jerusalem council in Acts 15. It omits Paul's journey into Arabia ( Galatians 1:17) and first visit to Jerusalem to see Peter and James. Nor does it does the founding of the church at Rome and Paul's additional travels, shipwrecks and perils which are referred to in the Pauline epistles ( 2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

Thus, we see in the book of Acts that it is not just a chronology of the history of the early church. Rather, Luke selected particular key individuals and events in order to reveal most accurately the situations that Christians lived in during this part of history. The book of Acts is then able to explain why the Holy Spirit was able to move so mightily in the hearts and lives of certain men. The book of Acts becomes more than a history book. It tells us primarily that the message of the Gospel was empowered by God to spread across the world. It provides a moral foundation for the establishment of the doctrines of the New Testament Church in the midst of persecution from all established religions. It provides a defense for the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as defending the ethics of these Christians who were accused by their adversaries of committing evil atrocities.

The book of Acts tells us that within thirty years after the death of our Saviour these twelve men, most of them unlearned, had taken the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. They had penetrated the Roman Empire and placed this message at the feet of the Emperor himself. Nothing could stop these men or their message. Their imprisonment was used by God as a way of writing the most powerful messages in the history of the world in the form of epistles. Even the deaths of these apostles were used to flame the fire and spread the message even further. Taught and empowered only by the Holy Spirit, their success testifies to the truth of the message of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, the secondary theme of the book of Acts is the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth through the testimonies of the apostles, and the third theme reveals that this took place with the Holy Spirit confirming the Gospel with miracles. Luke uses four main characters in the book of Acts to deliver this theme. They are the apostles Peter and Paul, as well as Stephen and Philip the evangelist. The activities of Peter dominate Acts 1-5. After the persecutions of Acts 6-7 and death of Stephen, Luke records the evangelistic work of Philip to the Samaritans in Acts 8. Beginning in chapter 9, Paul becomes the leading figure throughout the rest of the book of Acts.

The roles of Peter and Paul dominate the book of Acts. One obvious reason is that these two individuals were considered the two most glorious apostles of the early church, as confirmed by Irenaeus.

"by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops." (Against Heresies 332)

Another possible reason that inspired Luke to give emphasis to these two leaders in the early church, as well as using Stephen and Philippians , would be the fact that Luke's theme of how the Gospel was carried from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria into the uttermost parts of the earth ( Acts 1:8) is clearly seen in the lives of these four men. In following this theme of the fulfillment of Jesus' commission in Acts 1:8, Luke primarily used the testimonies of the two apostles that he was most closely acquainted with. Luke was a close companion of Paul the apostle. We know from the early Church fathers that Peter was also in Rome at the time of Paul's visit, suffering martyrdom with Peter. Therefore, these two great men of God impacted the life of Luke the physician more so than the events of the other apostles. The fact that the book of Acts discusses at length the lives and ministries testifies to this fact. Although there were other great men of God ministering the Gospel at this time, Luke chose to write about the two men who influenced him the most.

Peter first preached the Gospel in Jerusalem, and then took it to Judea when he was commissioned by the Holy Spirit to offer salvation to the household of Cornelius, the first Gentile. It was Stephen's death that played a leading role in scattering the church of Jerusalem beyond its boundaries as far as Antioch. Philip played a role in taking the Gospel to Samaria. Finally, Paul was use by God to carry the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. Thus, Luke places these four men in the order that shows how the Gospel began at Jerusalem, and spread to Judea, Samaria and to Rome.

Where would Luke have received the story of Stephen's death? Most likely he received it from Paul the apostle, who witnessed this tragic event. Because Paul played a major role in the death of Stephen, he never forgot this event, which he certainly rehearsed in the ears of Luke on some of their long voyages. This would explain why Luke wrote at length about the death of Stephen in chapters 6-7.

Luke was not only touched by the events in the lives of Peter, Paul, and Stephen; but he also spent some time with Philip the evangelist. Note:

Acts 21:8-10, "And the next day we that were of Paul"s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus."

We know from this passage that Paul and Luke tarried with them many days and most likely heard Philip testify about this great evangelistic mission recorded in Acts 8. This could explain why Luke also included these events in the book of Acts , as the story fills the gap from Jerusalem, Judea, into Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Thus Luke wrapped his theme of the commission of Jesus Christ to spread the Gospel around four key figures in the early history of the Church in the order of how the Gospel spread across the world in fulfillment of Jesus' commission in Acts 1:8.

Thus, the book of Acts is kerygmatic in its attempt to testify of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as it spread across the civilized world and reached from Jerusalem to Rome.

This pattern we seen in Acts of spreading the Gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the world was not limited to these early churches. Acts shows us the path that the Lord will lead all ministries down if they will simply follow the pattern of New Testament evangelism in the book of Acts. But, a person must first begin in the Gospel of Luke , where Jesus went to the Cross. If a minister begins by laying down his life at Calvary, he can then begin to follow the pattern of evangelism seen in the book of Acts.

The Lord has often raised up a ministry that began small by impacting its city. The Lord then opened doors for such a faithful ministers and allowed their ministry to begin touching a nation. Eventually, this ministry is promoted by the Lord until it impacts the world. Such experiences have many men and women of God seen as they have followed this same New Testament pattern of evangelizing the world after such humble beginnings.

Every child of God has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ ( Romans 8:29). Luke/Acts emphasizes one aspect of this conformity through the crucified life of faith and obedience in Him. In Luke -Acts the crucified life is seen in our obedience to Jesus' final commission to become witnesses of Him beginning where we live unto the uttermost parts of the earth; for the plan of fulfilling this final command of Jesus Christ is laid out in Luke -Acts. I have seen this fulfillment in the life and ministry of Pastor Bob Nichols, who began as an associate pastor in a small Assembly of God church in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1950's. The Lord used this church to touch its neighbourhood. In 1964he started a church in Fort Worth. In the 70's the Lord brought a revival to this church that touched the city. In 1974the Lord moved him to a large church building in downtown Fort Worth. In 1993the Lord brought a revival in this church through Evangelist Rodney Howard-Brown that touched a nation. Then, in 1997 Nichols opened a Christian television station in Uganda, East Africa. After being on the air for nine years, it has changed this nation into a Christian nation. I know, because I have managed this station for those years. But the point of this story is to show how God used one man to reach first his neighbour, then his city, his nation and finally other nations of the world. This is the evidence of a life that has followed the plan laid out in Luke -Acts for New Testament church growth. Luke/Acts best reflects the office and ministry of the prophet and apostle in the five-fold ministry of the Church. The prophetic voice gives the Church a vision and direction, while the apostolic office leads the Church in that vision. Both of these voices work in unison in fulfilling the Great Commission. Thus, according to Luke -Acts the Kingdom of God is established upon earth through the prophetic and apostolic ministry working together to testify of the Saviour of the World through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

XI. Literary Structure

The literary structure of the book of Acts must follow the thematic scheme of the book. It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book of the Holy Bible was not necessarily intended by the original author, but it is being used as a means of making the interpretation easier. It is hoped that this summary and outline can identify the underlying themes of the book, as well as the themes of its major divisions, sections, and subsections. Then individual verses can more easily be understood in light of the emphasis of the immediate passages in which they are found.

A. Identifying the Structure of the Book of Acts - Before we can give a summary of the book of Acts , we must decide upon its structure. There are a number of different ways that scholars have chosen to outline the book of Acts. I have listed a few of the more common outlines.

1. Peter and Paul Outline- Some scholars see the book of Acts emphasizing two people, and thus, they break the book into two parts, with Acts 1-12emphasizing the ministry of Peter, and with Acts 13-28 placing emphasis upon Paul. The first twelve chapters show how Peter headed the spread of the Gospel throughout Palestine. The rest of the book shows how Paul spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. Supporters of this outline suggest that Paul refers to this geographical distinction between himself and Peter in Galatians 2:8.

Galatians 2:8, "(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)"

If the ministry of Peter is the focus of the first twelve chapters, then the city of Jerusalem is at the center of this ministry. In contrast, the city of Antioch is the focus of Paul's Gentile ministry. Peter was commissioned in Jerusalem while Paul was sent out from Antioch. In each of these two sections of Acts , both Peter and Paul face a number of imprisonments.

2. Progress Report of Church Growth Outline- Others see the book of Acts organized according to Luke's "progress reports" of Church growth and give it seven geographical divisions. Daniel B. Wallace gives the following outline.

a) The Birth of the Church in Jerusalem ( Acts 1:1 to Acts 2:47) - Parallels the birth of Christ in Gospel of Luke. The Spirit's descent on the day of Pentecost could parallel Jesus' baptism.

Acts 1:1, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,"

Acts 2:47, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

b) The Growth of the Church in Jerusalem ( Acts 3:1 to Acts 6:7)

Acts 3:1, "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour."

Acts 6:7, "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

c) The Spread of Church to Judea and Samaria ( Acts 6:8 to Acts 9:31)

Acts 6:8, "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

Acts 9:31, "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."

d) The Spread of the Church to the Gentiles ( Acts 9:32 to Acts 12:24)

Acts 9:32, "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda."

Acts 12:24, "But the word of God grew and multiplied."

e) The Spread of the Church to Asia Minor ( Acts 12:25 to Acts 16:5)

Acts 12:25, "And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John , whose surname was Mark."

Acts 16:5, "And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily."

f) The Spread of the Church to the Aegean Area ( Acts 16:6 to Acts 19:20)

Acts 16:6-8, "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas."

Acts 19:20, "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

g) The Spread of the Church to Rome ( Acts 19:21 to Acts 28:31)

Acts 19:21, "After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

Acts 28:31, "Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

3. Geographical Outline - Most scholars divide the book of Acts into three geographical sections, where the Gospel spreads from Jerusalem, to Judaea and Samaria until it reaches Rome. The key verse in Acts that reveals this outline of the book can be seen in Acts 1:8, where Jesus tells His disciples to spread the Gospel from Jerusalem, to Judaea and Samaria unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Each person who served as a witness in the book of Acts was characterized as being full of the Holy Spirit. In the first major section ( Acts 1:6 to Acts 5:42) Peter and John are the primary witnesses of the Gospel. This passage notes that they testified under the anointing of the Holy Spirit ( Acts 2:4; Acts 2:14; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:3). In the second major section ( Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25) Stephen, Philippians , and Peter serve as the primary witnesses. Stephen ( Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:55), Philip ( Acts 6:3), Paul ( Acts 9:17; Acts 9:20) Peter ( Acts 10:38; Acts 10:44-45; Acts 11:12; Acts 11:15), and Barnabas ( Acts 11:24) were all full of the Holy Spirit. In the third major section ( Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:31) Paul is again filled with the Holy Spirit ( Acts 13:9).

a) Prologue ( Acts 1:1-5) - The prologue to the book of Acts serves as a brief summary of the Gospel of Luke , which is the first of the dual writings of Luke -Acts. This prologue also states the theme of these books.

b) The Witness of the Church in Jerusalem ( Acts 1:6 to Acts 5:42) - After a brief prologue ( Acts 1:1-5) Luke begins his testimony in Jerusalem as we see the disciples ministering there in the first five chapters of Acts.

c) Key Witnesses that Began Spread of Gospel into Judea & Samaria ( Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25) - Beginning in chapter six the Gospel begins its spread into Judea and Samaria as the result of a great persecution fueled by the zeal of Saul of Tarsus. Philip the evangelist takes the Gospel into Samaria in chapter 8, and then to the first Gentile when he converts the Ethiopian eunuch. Peter takes the Gospel to the house of Cornelius in chapter 10, emphasizing the spread of the Gospel further abroad.

d) The Witness of the Church Growth to the Ends of the Earth ( Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:31) - Finally, Paul takes the Gospel to the further reaches in Gentile world, whose testimony ends with him in Rome. Thus, the book of Acts follows this geographical pattern of spreading the Gospel that Jesus commanded.

4. The Plan of Redemption Outline- The Lord spoke to me in a dream and said that the book of Acts reflects the duty, power, structure, and organization of the New Testament Church (30 July 2009). Perhaps Jesus' commission before His ascension reflects the church's duty; the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and again when the room was shaken reflects its power; the appointment of deacons and the offices of the prophet and teacher reflect its structure; Paul's missionary journeys in founding and managing churches reflect its organization. Since the four Gospels are structured by the plan of redemption (predestination, calling, justification, sanctification, and glorification), it seems logical that the book of Acts should be structured around God's plan of redemption for the New Testament Church. I therefore propose this scheme that incorporates the structure of the geographical outline.

In summary, the Plan of Redemption Outline best supports the themes of the book of Acts

B. A Summary of the Book of Acts Using the Plan of Redemption Outline I have chosen to use the Plan of Redemption Outline because it offers the best presentation of the three-fold thematic scheme of the book of Acts that is proposed in the preceding introductory section..

I. The Church's Duty (Predestination and Calling) ( Acts 1:1-26) - The prologue to the book of Acts serves as a brief summary of the Gospel of Luke , which is the first of the dual writings of Luke -Acts ( Acts 1:1-5). This prologue states the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled His ministry and now stands as head of the Church, empowering it with the Holy Ghost. After a brief prologue, Luke begins his testimony in Jerusalem where the disciples receive the divine calling ( Acts 1:6-11), including the calling of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot ( Acts 1:12-26). This calling serves as the theme of the book of Acts , in which Jesus commissions the Church to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

A. The Prologue: Reference to the Gospel of Luke ( Acts 1:1-5) - The prologue to the book of Acts serves as a brief summary of the Gospel of Luke , which is the first of the dual writings of Luke -Acts. This prologue also states the theme of these books. In Acts 1:1 the writer makes a clear reference to the Gospel of Luke , as a companion book to the book of Acts. He tells us that this "former account" was about all that Jesus began to do and to teach. If we examine the Gospel of Luke we can find two major divisions of Jesus' earthly ministry before His Passion. In Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50 we have the testimony of His Galilean Ministry in which Jesus did many wonderful miracles to reveal His divine authority as the Christ, the Son of God. This passage emphasizes the works that Jesus did under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 9:51 to Luke 21:38 the narrative material places emphasis upon Jesus teaching and training His disciples to do the work of the Kingdom of God. Thus, the Gospel of Luke can be divided into this twofold emphasis of Jesus' works and His teachings. Acts 1:2-5 then makes a clear reference to the rest of Luke's Gospel beginning from His Passion until His ascension ( Luke 22:1 to Luke 24:53).

B. Commissioning the Twelve and the Lord's Ascent ( Acts 1:6-11) - Acts 1:6-11 gives us the testimony of the ascent of our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven. However, it is important to note that each of the three major divisions of the book of Acts has an introductory passage in which the disciples are commissioned. Acts 1:6-11 serves as an introduction to the Jerusalem ministry as Jesus commissions the apostles to take the Gospel to the world. Acts 6:1-6 serves as an introduction to the spread of the Gospel out of Jerusalem as the result of a great persecution. Acts 13:1-3 serves as an introduction to Paul's missionary journeys.

C. The Appointment of Matthias ( Acts 1:12-26) - Acts 1:12-26 gives us the account of the early Church choosing a replacement for Judas Iscariot.

II. The Church's Power (Justification and Indoctrination): The Witness of the Church in Jerusalem ( Acts 2:1 to Acts 5:42) - In Acts 2:1 to Acts 5:42 we have the witness of the church in Jerusalem of how the disciples testified of the Lord Jesus under the power of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament Church receives witness to their genuine faith in Christ on the day of Pentecost as they are filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit ( Acts 2:1-41). They progress by the indoctrination of the Scriptures ( Acts 2:42-47), and begin to minister in power that brings many others to salvation while their faith is tested by persecutions ( Acts 3:1 to Acts 5:42). Under the conditions of men getting saved in the midst of signs and wonders and persecution, the genuine believers stand out as distinct among those who are false.

A. Peter's Sermon on the Day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:1-47) - Acts 2:1-47 gives the testimony of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost.

1. The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:1-13) - Acts 2:1-13 tells us the story of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As the physical world was created by the hovering of the Holy Spirit over the earth, so was the spiritual church birthed out of the same Holy Spirit coming upon God's people.

2. Peter's Sermon on the Day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:14-36) - In the Sermon at Pentecost, Peter preached Jesus ( Acts 2:22-36), just as Philip preached Jesus in Acts 8:5. In this sermon, Peter emphasized the fact of the resurrection as proof that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah. This made the hearers a candidate for salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, it was Paul who received the revelation of our identity with Christ's resurrection (note Romans 6:6-12, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3). This is because the Lord gave to Paul the work of putting the doctrine of the New Testament Church into writing. Faith in the fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the milk of the Word of God, but faith in our identification with Christ's resurrection is the meat of God's Word.

Acts 8:5, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them."

Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Colossians 3:3, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

We ask the question of how Peter quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures so extensively during his sermon on Pentecost. He certainly had no bible as we do today. These early disciples may have obtained a copy of some Old Testament books in the form of scrolls, and read them in the upper room. Most likely, Peter was quoting these passages without reading them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

a) The Prophecy of Joel ( Acts 2:14-21) - In Acts 2:14-21 Peter begins his sermon with a text from Joel 2:28-32. We must keep in mind that there were no books of the New Testament written for almost twenty years, so the early believers preached Christ Jesus from the Old Testament Scriptures. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a sign that gave Peter this opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

b) The Death of Jesus Christ ( Acts 2:22-23) - After quoting from Joel 2:28-32, Peter preaches Christ Jesus. He begins with a declaration of His death by the divine counsel and foreknowledge of God.

c) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ ( Acts 2:24-32) - After declaring the death of Jesus Christ, Peter preaches His Resurrection in Acts 2:24-32. In this part of the sermon, he cites Psalm 16:8-11 and interprets its prophetic fulfillment in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

d) The Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus Christ ( Acts 2:33-36) - Having preached the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Peter declares His ascension and exaltation at the right hand of the Father. In this part of the sermon, he cites Psalm 110:1 and interprets its prophetic fulfillment in the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

3. The Response of the People on the Day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:37-41) - In Acts Luke records the response of the people, as Peter's sermon adds three thousand people to the early Church.

4. Daily Life among the Believers ( Acts 2:42-47) - Acts 2:42-47 gives us a description of the daily life among the believers in the early Church.

B. Peter's Sermon in the Temple and Persecution ( Acts 3:1 to Acts 4:31) - Acts 3:1 to Acts 4:31 gives us the testimony of Peter during the birth of the early Church in Jerusalem as his sermon in the Temple stirs up persecution from the Jewish leaders. This passage will be followed by the testimony of the growth of the church in Jerusalem ( Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:42).

1. The Healing of the Man at the Gate Beautiful ( Acts 3:1-10) - In Acts 3:1-10 we have the account of Peter healing the lame man at the Gate Beautiful, which occasioned Peter's sermon in Solomon's portico. The theme of Acts 1:6 to Acts 5:42 is the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. This story is important in that the miracle serves as the spark that ignited the gathering of a multitude in the Temple to hear Peter's sermon. This sermon resulted in the first persecution of the Church.

2. Peter's Sermon in the Temple ( Acts 3:11-26) - In Acts 3:11-26 we have Peter's sermon in the Temple.

3. Peter's Testimony to the Sanhedrin ( Acts 4:1-22) - In Acts 4:1-22 we have the story of Peter and John being arrested and standing before the Sanhedrin. In this first incident of Peter and John standing before the Jewish leaders, they were simply given warnings. However, then they were arrested the second time ( Acts 5:17-42), they were imprisoned and then beaten. Richard Longenecker quotes Jeremias as saying the Jewish law of this day required that "a person be made aware of the consequences of his crime before being punished for it." That means a legal warning was given before witnesses for the first offense before the punishment was given for the second offence.

4. The Church Prays for Boldness ( Acts 4:23-31) - In Acts 4:23-31 the believers in the early Church pray for boldness after the arrest of Peter and John.

C. Witness of Church Growth and Persecution ( Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:42) - In Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:42 Luke records testimonies of the unity, power, miracles, and persecutions of the early Church.

1. The Witness of the Unity of the Church: Daily Life Among the Believers ( Acts 4:32-37) - In Acts 4:32-37 we have the testimony of the daily life of the early Church as they shared all things in common.

2. The Witness of the Power of the Church: The Judgment Upon Ananias and Sapphira ( Acts 5:1-11) - In Acts 5:1-11 we have the account of Ananias and Sapphira lying to Peter and being judged by the apostle.

3. The Witness of the Miracles of the Church: The Church Performs Many Signs and Wonders ( Acts 5:12-16) - In Acts 5:12-16 we have the testimony of the miracles of the early Church as it performs many signs and wonders. Note how the early Church knew their authority in Christ and were not afraid to face persecution and punishment for the sake of the Gospel. In Acts 4:23-31 the believers had prayed for God to perform mighty signs and wonders in the midst of opposition. As they continued to preach the Word of God, the unbelievers were afraid of them because of the mighty signs and wonders that were performed by their hands ( Acts 5:12-16).

Ananias and Sapphira dared to join the early Church without an understanding of obedience to the Gospel. At their death, no other people from the general population dared to attempt to join the mighty group ( Acts 5:13). It may have seemed popular to join such a congregation that could work signs and wonders, but they realized that it came with a heavy price of obedience. Yet, having stated that many people feared to join the church, the next verse states that many people were genuine converted and joined the church ( Acts 5:14). The judgment of Ananias and Sapphira had the effect of judging the church of sin.

4. The Witness of the Persecution of the Church ( Acts 5:17-42) - In Acts 5:17-42 we have the record of the first persecution against the early Church.

III. The Church's Structure (Divine Service): Key Witnesses that Began Spread of Gospel into Judea & Samaria ( Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25) - While Acts 2:1 to Acts 5:42 gives us the testimony of the founding and growth of the Church in Jerusalem, the stoning of Stephen gave rise to the spreading of the Church to Judea and Samaria. Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25 serves as the testimony of the spread of the Gospel to the regions beyond Jerusalem as a result of persecution, which was in fulfillment of Jesus' command to the apostles at His ascension, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." ( Acts 1:8) In Acts 6:1-7 the New Testament Church begins to structure itself with the office of the deacon. One of these deacons named Stephen becomes the first martyr of the Church ( Acts 6:8 to Acts 8:1 a). As the result of a great persecution fueled by the zeal of Saul of Tarsus, the Gospel begins to spread into Judea and Samaria (81b-4). Philip the evangelist takes the Gospel into Samaria and into an Ethiopian eunuch ( Acts 8:5-40), Saul of Tarsus is converted ( Acts 9:1-31), Peter takes the Gospel beyond Jerusalem to the house of a Gentile named Cornelius ( Acts 9:32 to Acts 10:48), while Luke provides additional testimonies of Church growth to Antioch and further persecutions ( Acts 11:1 to Acts 12:25). These testimonies emphasize the spread of the Gospel into Judea and Samaria.

A. Introduction: The Appointment of First Deacons ( Acts 6:1-6) - In Acts 6:1-6 we have the testimony of the appointment of the first deacons in the early Church. This passage of Scripture serves as an introduction to the section division of Acts as it prepares us for the spread of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem because of a great persecution. It is important to note that each of the three major divisions of the book of Acts has an introductory passage in which the disciples are commissioned: Acts 1:6-11 serves as an introduction to the Jerusalem ministry as Jesus commissions the apostles to take the Gospel to the world: Acts 6:1-6 serves as an introduction to the spread of the Gospel out of Jerusalem: Acts 13:1-3 serves as an introduction to Paul's missionary journeys. In addition, the introductory material in Acts 6:1-6 serves to prepare us for the stories of Stephen the Martyr ( Acts 6:6 to Acts 8:1 a) and Philip the Evangelist ( Acts 8:1 b-40). These two stories will testify of how the Gospel spread from Jerusalem because of persecutions.

B. The Witness of Stephen ( Acts 6:7 to Acts 8:4) - In Acts 6:7 to Acts 8:4 Luke records the witness of Stephen. The importance of his testimony is the fact that he is the first martyr of the Church, ushering in a period of persecution that spread the Gospel abroad.

1. Stephen's Arrest ( Acts 6:7-15) - In Acts 6:7-15 we have the account of Stephen's arrest by the Jewish leaders.

2. Stephen's Sermon ( Acts 7:1-53) - In Acts 7:1-53 we have the testimony of Stephen's sermon before the Sanhedrin.

3. Stephen is Stoned ( Acts 7:54 to Acts 8:1 a) - In Acts 7:54 to Acts 8:1 a we have the account of Stephen being stoned by the Jewish leaders to become the first martyr of the early Church.

4. The Persecution and Scattering of the Early Church ( Acts 8:1 b-4) - In Acts 8:1 b-4we have the testimony of how Stephen's death gave rise to the persecution of the early Church. As a result, the church scattered abroad.

C. The Witness of Philip the Evangelist ( Acts 8:5-40) - In Acts 8:5-40 Luke records the witness of Philip the evangelist. Philip plays a key role in early Church growth as one of the first disciples to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ outside of Jerusalem.

1. The Witness of Philip the Evangelist in Samaria ( Acts 8:5-25) - In Acts 8:5-25 we have the testimony of Philippians , perhaps the first evangelist, as he takes the Gospel to the region of Samaria.

2. The Witness of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch ( Acts 8:26-40) - In Acts 8:26-40 we have the testimony of Philip as he brings the Gospel to Ethiopia through the Ethiopian eunuch. Eusebius makes a reference to this story in his Church History. He says that this Ethiopian eunuch went and proclaimed this message to his people. Eusebius tells us that this was the first Gentile to receive and proclaim the Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"But as the preaching of the Saviour"s Gospel was daily advancing, a certain providence led from the land of the Ethiopians an officer of the queen of that country, for Ethiopia even to the present day is ruled, according to ancestral custom, by a woman. Hebrews , first among the Gentiles, received of the mysteries of the divine word from Philip in consequence of a Revelation , and having become the first-fruits of believers throughout the world, he is said to have been the first on returning to his country to proclaim the knowledge of the God of the universe and the life-giving sojourn of our Saviour among men; so that through him in truth the prophecy obtained its fulfillment, which declares that ‘Ethiopia stretcheth out her hand unto God.'" (Ecclesiastical History 2113)

D. The Witness of Paul's Conversion ( Acts 9:1-31) - In Acts 9:1-31 Luke records the conversion and early ministry of Paul the apostle. One important outcome of this event is that the wave of Jewish persecutions against the Church ceased ( Acts 9:31).

1. The Witness of Saul's Conversion and Divine Commission ( Acts 9:1-19) - In Acts 9:1-22 we have the witness of Paul's conversion and divine commission. We often find divine commissions opening the narrative material of God' servants in the Scriptures. For example, we see in the book of Genesis that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each received their commissions at the beginning of their genealogies, which divide the book of Genesis into major divisions. We also see how Moses received his divine commission near the beginning of his story found within Exodus to Deuteronomy. Joshua received his commission in the first few verses of the book of Joshua. Also, we see that Isaiah , Jeremiah and Ezekiel each received a divine commission at the beginning of their ministries. The book of Ezra opens with a divine call to rebuild the Temple and the book of Nehemiah begins with a call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which callings Ezra and Nehemiah answered. In the New Testament, we find Paul the apostle receiving his divine commission in Acts 9:1-22 at the beginning of the lengthy section on Paul's life and ministry.

Each of these divine callings can be found within God's original commission to Adam in the story of Creation, which was to be fruitful and multiply; for these men were called to bring about the multiplication of godly seeds. The patriarchs were called to multiply and produce a nation of righteousness. Moses was called to bring Israel out of bondage, but missed his calling to bring them into the Promised Land. Joshua was called to bring them in to the land. Esther was called to preserve the seed of Israel as was Noah, while Ezra and Nehemiah were called to bring them back into the Promised Land. All of the Judges , the kings and the prophets were called to call the children of Israel out of sin and bondage and into obedience and prosperity. They were all called to bring God's children out of bondage and destruction and into God's blessings and multiplication. The stories in the Old Testament show us that some of these men fulfilled their divine commission while others either fell short through disobedience or were too wicked to hear their calling from God.

One reason why these prophets received such a mighty visitation is understood in a comment by Kenneth Hagin, who said that when the Lord gives us a vision or a word for the future, it often precedes a trial, and is used to anchor our soul and take us through the trial. 96] If we look at the lives of the three Major Prophets, this is exactly what we see. These three men faced enormous trials and objections during their ministries. Their divine commissions certain were the anchor of their souls as it gave them strength and assurance that they were in God's will despite their difficulties. We see such dramatic encounters in the lives of Moses and Saul of Tarsus, as God gave them their divine commissions for a work that was difficult and even cost them their lives. Paul's divine visitation served as an anchor for his soul throughout his life. In fact, he will often refer back to this event ( Acts 22:1-21, Acts 26:1-23).

96] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 118.

2. Saul's Early Ministry in Damascus ( Acts 9:20-25) - In Acts 9:20-25 we have the account of Paul's early ministry as he began to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Damascus.

3. Saul's Ministry in Jerusalem ( Acts 9:26-31) - In Acts 9:26-31 we have the account of Saul's ministry in Jerusalem after he flees Damascus because of his testimony.

E. The Witness of Peter's Ministry Beyond Jerusalem ( Acts 9:32 to Acts 10:48) - In Acts 9:32 to Acts 10:48 we have the testimony of Peter's ministry beyond Jerusalem. In these passages he heals Aeneas ( Acts 9:32-35), he raises Dorcas from the dead ( Acts 9:36-43) and he preaches to the household of Cornelius ( Acts 10:1-48).

1. The Witness of Peter in Lydda ( Acts 9:32-35) - In Acts 9:32-35 we have the account of Peter healing Aeneas in Lydda.

2. The Witness of Peter in Joppa ( Acts 9:36-43) - In Acts 9:36-43 we have the account of Peter raising Dorcas from the dead in Joppa.

3. The Witness of Peter in Caesara ( Acts 10:1-48) - In Acts 10:1-48 we have the account of Peter preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the household of Cornelius. The story of Cornelius is unique to the New Testament. Why would Luke have chosen to tell the story of Cornelius? We know that Luke is giving testimony to the first Gentile convert to Christianity. But another answer may be found in The Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century. This ancient document states that a man named Cornelius became the second bishop of the church at Caesarea. This may not have been the same person recorded in the book of Acts. But when the names of Zacchaeus and Theophilus are found alongside the name of Cornelius in the same sentence, and when all three names are found to be unique to Luke's writings, one has to believe that it was very likely the same Cornelius. In other words, Luke's Gospel and Acts were a compilation of testimonies of the life and works of Lord Jesus Christ. For Luke to use the testimony of Zacchaeus, the living bishop of Caesarea at the time of his writing, would have fit the way in which Luke was gathering his testimonies.

"Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:--James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord;(5) upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Caesarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchaeus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus." (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7446)

F. The Witness of Church Growth ( Acts 11:1 to Acts 12:25) - In Acts 11:1 to Acts 12:25 Luke records particular events that were significant to the growth of the early Church.

1. Peter Reports to the Church at Jerusalem ( Acts 11:1-18) - In Acts 11:1-18 we have the account of Peter returning to Jerusalem and reporting his experience to the Church. Peter visiting the Gentiles would be today like going to speak to the mafia or working with drug addicts and prostitutes. Religious people would disagree with those types of involvements with sinners. In fact, we read in Acts 11:1-18 how the Church spoke against this act and Peter had to explain how he was led to this Gentile by a divine vision. Thus, n this testimony, Peter attaches the story of his vision with his visit with Cornelius.

2. The Witness of the Birth of Church in Antioch ( Acts 11:19-30) - In Acts 11:19-30 we have the testimony of the birth of the church in Antioch.

3. The Witness of the Persecution of the Early Church and Herod's Judgment ( Acts 12:1-25) - Acts 12:1-24 records the persecution of the early Church and Herod's judgment.

a) The Death of James and the Imprisonment of Peter ( Acts 12:1-19) - In Acts 12:1-19 we have the account of the third wave of persecution upon the early Church. Peter and John have been thrown in jail on two previous occasions, and Stephen had been stoned. It is interesting to note how Satan attacked the three leading apostles, those who were the closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry. Satan often attacks the heads of the churches in order to make the sheep scatter. In the order of events, James , the brother of John is killed; then, Peter is imprisoned and threatened with death, who, with John , was earlier imprisoned by the Jewish Sanhedrin.

b) Herod's Divine Judgment ( Acts 12:20-23) - In Acts 12:20-23 we have the account of how God judged Herod because of his pride and the wicked acts that he had done. Because of Herod Agrippa's loyalty to Rome, his kingdom was extended to nearly the former size once held by his grandfather Herod the Great during the time of the early Church (Antiquities 18610; 1872; 1951; 1961). Thus, he ruled over all of Palestine. 97] This sense of great power would have caused him to have such great pride. This story of God's fury is an illustration of Psalm 2:5, "Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." The judgment upon Herod Agrippa is similar to God's judgment upon King Nebuchadnezzar, when God turned his mind that that of a beast for seven years until he acknowledges the God of Heaven ( Daniel 4:1-37).

97] Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles, trans. Paton J. Gloag, ed. William P. Dickson (New York: Funk and Wagnalis, 1884), 228.

c) The Keys Church Growth ( Acts 12:24-25) - In Acts 12:24-25 Luke makes two brief comments that undergirded Church growth beyond Jerusalem and into Judea, Samaria, and into Antioch. The disciples were faithful to preach the Word of God ( Acts 12:24), and they were faithful to fulfill their ministries ( Acts 12:25).

IV. The Church's Organization (Perseverance): The Witness of the Church Growth to the Ends of the Earth ( Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:29) - Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:29 begins another major division of the book of Acts in that it serves as the testimony of the expansion of the early Church to the ends of the earth through the ministry of Paul the apostle, which was in fulfillment of Jesus' command to the apostles at His ascension ( Acts 1:8). However, to reach this goal, it required a life of perseverance in the midst of persecutions and hardship, as well as the establishment of an organized church and its offices.

A. The Witness of Paul's First Missionary Journey ( Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28) - Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28 serves as the testimony of Paul's first missionary journey. Peter, who has been the most popular apostle throughout the Gospels, and the leader of the early church in Acts 1-11, suddenly disappears from this narrative history, and Paul moves into the spotlight.

1. Introduction: The Commission of Paul and Barnabas ( Acts 13:1-3) - Acts 13:1-3 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas being commissioned and sent out by the church at Antioch.

2. Paul and Barnabas at Cyprus ( Acts 13:4-12) - Acts 13:4-14 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas at Cyprus.

3. Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia ( Acts 13:13-52) - Acts 13:13-52 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia.

4. Paul and Barnabas at Iconium and Lystra ( Acts 14:1-20) - Acts 14:1-20 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas at Iconium.

5. Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch ( Acts 14:21-28) - Acts 14:21-28 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas returning to strengthen the disciples as they made their way back to the church at Antioch.

B. The Witness to the First Church at Jerusalem of Gospel to Gentiles ( Acts 15:1-35) - In Acts 15:1-35 we have the account of the testimony of the Church at Jerusalem officially accepting the Gentiles to full membership. This passage is often called the First Council at Jerusalem, which met in Jerusalem around A.D 50. The New Testament church, because of its Jewish heritage, immediately incorporated the Old Testament Scriptures into its daily worship. But these new believers quickly realized that some of the Old Testament teachings, such as the Law of Moses, must now be interpreted in light of the New Covenant. We see this struggle of interpreting the Old Testament taking place at this first council of Jerusalem.

Those like Paul and Barnabas, who had been in the field ministry winning souls to Christ, understood how simple the Gospel is for those who simply believe. However, those Jewish converts who had isolated themselves in Jerusalem wanted to be rigid regarding their Old Testament faith. We can compare this story to similar issues that the Vatican faces in modern times. Those priests who live and work with their parishioners tend to be more compromising on ethical issues, while the bishops at the Vatican tend to be uncompromising on issues and follow their traditions. This is the similar situation that the church at Jerusalem was having to deal with.

C. The Witness of Paul's Second Missionary Journey ( Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22) - In Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22 we have the testimony of Paul's second missionary journey.

1. Paul and Barnabas Split Up ( Acts 15:36-41) - Acts 15:36-41 gives us the account of Paul and Barnabas splitting up over the issue of John Mark.

2. Timothy Joins Paul and Silas ( Acts 16:1-5) - The main point of Acts 16:1-5 is the account of Timothy joining Paul and Silas while they were ministering in Derbe and Lystra.

3. Paul at Philippi ( Acts 16:6-40) - Acts 16:6-40 records Paul"s work in the city of Philippi. Luke gives us three incidents of Paul's work in Philippi to illustrate how God was confirming Paul's ministry and decision to go over into Macedonia ( Acts 16:6-10): the story of the conversion of Lydia ( Acts 16:11-15), the casting out of a spirit of divination ( Acts 16:16-18) and their miraculous deliverance from prison and conversion of the Philippian jailer ( Acts 16:19-40). These three stories reveal how Paul's ministry touched the lives of all social levels. The jailer was perhaps of military status and a Roman citizen, while Lydia was of the working class and the Greek female slave who was delivered from a demonic spirit of divination was of the lowest class.

a) The Macedonian Call ( Acts 16:6-10) - In Acts 16:6-10 Luke records Paul's vision of a man calling him to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Macedonian. This event is popularly called "The Macedonian Call." Paul's original intent on his second missionary journey was to strengthen the churches that he had planted in Asia Minor on his first missionary journey ( Acts 15:36). He had no idea that God would lead him into Europe and beyond. Kenneth Hagin teaches how God will often give us a divine encounter in order to strengthen us for the journey that lies ahead. 98] This encounter becomes a source of strength that we can lean upon during difficult day ahead. We can draw strength from that divine experience for difficult times to come. This vision gave Paul direction and assurance ( Acts 16:10 "assuredly") that he was in God's will despite the hardships that lay ahead. Paul and his companions certainly faced persecutions when founding his first churches in Macedonia. He stood strong knowing that God had supernaturally spoken to him to go into Macedonia. Paul could lean upon this vision for strength in the days and months ahead assured that he was in the will of God despite the persecutions.

98] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 118.

Acts 15:36, "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do."

Paul's call to Macedonia was the open door that brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ into Europe. Although the church at Rome has been established earlier, Paul's journey into Macedonia was the first effort to evangelize Europe and lay a foundation for these early churches to become established, and later spread across Europe. Of all the major places on earth where Christianity spread during the early centuries, the people of Europe embraced the Gospel most readily. The Middle East was soon overran by Islam and forced into human traditions and bondages, keeping their societies in a primitive state of social development until modern times. Neither did the African and Asian continents embrace Christianity on a large enough scale to transform their societies. Only in Europe did Christianity become rooted in their society so as to transform the people's moral fiber, leading the way to modern civilization as we know it today. Although the European governments and churches leaders would corrupt the teachings of the Gospel through Roman Catholicism and other Orthodox sects, the light of the Gospel would shine through the Dark Ages and explode into the hearts of men during the Reformation. This explosion of Christianity led men into the period called the Renaissance, where men were free to expand their knowledge through inventions and modern sciences. This explosion of knowledge led to a modern civilization that practiced the Christian faith in nations like Germany, Britain and the United States. This environment of human development combined with Christian values allowed Europe to become the major portal, or gateway, of human achievement in many aspects of life, while much of the world lay bound in primitive superstitions and witchcraft. Paul's Macedonian call was the doorway to transforming Europe and the world with Christianity.

Many parts of the world are saying, "Come." We need a vision in order to go.

b) The Conversion of Lydia ( Acts 16:11-15) - In Acts 16:11-15 Luke records the conversion of Lydia.

c) Paul Cast into Prison and Miraculously Delivered ( Acts 16:16-40) - In Acts 16:16-18 Paul casts out a spirit of divination and is arrested for this event and cast into prison. At midnight the Lord miraculously delivers Paul from prison.

4. Paul in Thessalonica ( Acts 17:1-9) - Acts 17:1-9 gives us the account of Paul's ministry at Thessalonica. We must understand that this was a free city, which meant that there were no Roman soldiers stationed there. Therefore, it was autonomous in all of its internal affairs. Song of Solomon , when we read about the trouble that Paul encountered in this city, we must understand that there was no official tribunal that he was taken before, as was done when he appeared before Gallio, the Roman deputy of Achaia who was seated in Corinth, or when he appeared before Felix and Festus, the Roman governors over Judea who were seated in Caesarea Philippi. This trouble in Thessalonica was rather disorganized and haphazard. Nevertheless, Paul was advised to leave the city in order to promote peace.

5. Paul in Berea ( Acts 17:10-15) - Acts 17:10-15 gives us the account of Paul the apostle's ministry in the city of Berea during his second missionary journey, where he evangelized Macedonia.

6. Paul in Athens ( Acts 17:16-34) - Acts 17:16-34 gives us the account of Paul ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Athens.

7. Paul in Corinth ( Acts 18:1-17) - Acts 18:1-17 gives us the account of Paul's ministry in the city of Corinth.

a) Paul's Arrival in Corinth: Paul's Relationship with Aquila and Priscilla ( Acts 18:1-3) - Acts 18:1-3 records Paul's arrival in the city of Corinth. Paul's need to find work to finance the missionary trip was a top priority for him and the coworkers. They received gifts from the church at Philippi and others. But it was important that they appeared not as a group of wandering deceivers out for financial gain, but rather pious and sincere men who worked for their needs. Greece was probably infested with traveling philosophers who made a living by peddling their ideas to the simple-minded. Thus, Paul's friendship with Aquila and Priscilla are placed foremost in his work at Corinth; since this relationship enhanced Paul's ability to make a living and present himself and his coworkers as genuine members of society.

b) Paul's Ministry in Corinth ( Acts 18:4-11) - In Acts 18:4-11 Luke records the ministry of Paul in the city of Corinth. He boldly preaches in the synagogue until the Jews reject his message ( Acts 18:4-6). He begins meeting with the Gentiles and those Jews who believe in the house of Justus ( Acts 18:7-8). Paul received a vision in the night in which the Lord encouraged him to speak boldly in the name of Jesus ( Acts 18:9-11).

c) Paul is Taken Before Gallio ( Acts 18:12-17) - In Acts 18:12-17 we read of how Paul was taken before Gallio, the proconsul of Corinth. Archeologists have identified a number of structures in the ancient ruins of Corinth. One inscription of a Jewish synagogue has been discovered. There is an ornamented gateway that leads to a marketplace where many shops were located. In the center of this large area (600 ft. long and 300 ft. wide) has been found the judicial bench or tribunal platform of the city. There speakers would address the crowds that had gathered in the market center. On either side were built rooms where cases were heard by the judicial magistrates. We read in Acts 18:12-17 how the infuriated Jews drug Paul before this platform and condemned him before Gallio, the proconsul of the city at that time.

Paul was taken before this tribunal on the charges of propagating an illegal religion. The fact that Gallio refused to hear the matter can be interpreted to mean that he judged it as an internal dispute within the Jewish community. Since Judaism was under the protection of Roman law, this gave Paul the legal right to continue his evangelistic efforts in this region of Greece, provided that public order was maintained.

8. Paul Returns to Antioch ( Acts 18:18-22) - Acts 18:18-22 gives us the account of Paul returning to the city of Antioch from his second missionary journey.

D. The Witness of Paul's Third Missionary Journey ( Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38) - Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38 gives us the testimony of Paul's third missionary journey.

1. Apollo's Ministry in Ephesus ( Acts 18:23-28) - Acts 18:23-28 gives us the testimony of Apollo's ministry while in Ephesus.

2. Paul in Ephesus ( Acts 19:1-41) - Acts 19:1-41 gives us the testimony of Paul's ministry in the city of Ephesus.

a) The Disciples at Ephesus Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit ( Acts 19:1-7) - We know from Acts 19:1-7 that the believers at Ephesus were filled with the Holy Spirit with the gifts of tongues and prophecy. We can be pretty certain that the churches in the surrounding region of Ephesus partook of the same, being influenced by this key church. We know from 1 Corinthians 1:4-7; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 that the church at Corinth was operating in the nine-fold gifts of the Spirit. We also see in Galatians 3:5 that the churches throughout Galatia were receiving the Spirit and experiencing miracles. We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 that the gift of prophecy was active in the church in Thessalonica. Thus, we can be sure that most, if not all, of the churches that Paul established would be considered "Pentecostal" by modern definition.

b) Paul Turns to the Gentiles in Ephesus ( Acts 19:8-10) - Acts 19:8-10 records how many of the Jews in Ephesus became hardened in their hearts towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how Paul turned to the Gentiles.

c) Paul's Miraculous Work at Ephesus ( Acts 19:11-20) - Some of Paul's greatest miracles took place while he was ministering in the city of Ephesus. Acts 19:11-20 gives us a brief list of some of these miracles.

d) The Riot at Ephesus ( Acts 19:21-41) - Acts 19:21-41 gives us the account of the riot at Ephesus. It is important to gain some historical insight of the history and culture of the city of Ephesus so that someone can understand why the people of the city became so upset over their goddess Diana and it temple. The city of Ephesus boasted the great Temple of Artemis, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It boasted 127 columns, each being 60 meters in height. The Greek goddess Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo and was known as the moon goddess, the goddess of hunting, and the patroness of young girls. We learn from Acts 19:21-41 that the Ephesians were very proud of their great Temple and of their goddess Artemis, whom they called by the name of Diana in this passage of Scripture. Because of its mythological heritage, Ephesus hosted a vast number of religious pilgrims annually. The local craftsmen found much profit in manufacturing images of the goddess Diana, which they sold to these pilgrims and other strangers. This gained Ephesus its religious role in the Greek society, so much so that an ancient Roman coin was stamped "Diana of Ephesus". This is the reason that Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen were so threatened by the ministry of Paul the apostle. Their wealthy livelihood became threatened and their reputation as a city that worshipped their goddess Diana was being spoiled. If word spread abroad that the people of Ephesus were turning to this new religion called Christianity, its commercial, political, cultural, and religious importance in the Roman Empire would be diminished. Therefore, these craftsmen, who stood the most to lose, felt compelled to react and try to stop the ministry of Paul and his fellow workers. But since Paul had done nothing unlawful, the town clerk was forced to stop the madness of the riot that these craftsmen started.

3. Paul's Journey to Macedonia and Greece ( Acts 20:1-6) - Acts 20:1-6 gives us a brief account of Paul's journey into Macedonia and Greece.

4. Paul at Troas ( Acts 20:7-12) - Acts 20:7-12 gives us the account of Paul's ministry at Troas. The most significant event during this stay was the raising from the dead of a certain man named Eutychus. It is very possible that Eutychus was mentioned in the book of Acts because he played an important role in the church at a later date.

At some point there was a church planted at Troas. We have a record of Paul preaching the Gospel in this city in 2 Corinthians 2:12 where an effectual door had been opened for him. This was when Paul had left Ephesus and was planning on spending the winter in Greece. Mostly like Paul planted a church here at this time.

2 Corinthians 2:12, "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ"s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,"

5. Paul Journeys from Troas to Miletus ( Acts 20:13-16) - Acts 20:13-16 gives us a brief account of Paul's journey from Troas to Miletus as he makes his way to meet the elders of Ephesus and on to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost.

6. Paul Exhorts the Elders at Ephesus ( Acts 20:17-38) - Acts 20:17-38 gives us a lengthy account of Paul's brief visit to Miletus to meet the elders of the church at Ephesus. The importance of this event lies in the fact that the church of Ephesus would become the leading church in the region. After Paul's death, John the apostle would become the elder shepherd over the churches of Asia Minor and would minister out of the church in Ephesus.

E. Witness of Paul's Arrest, Imprisonment and Trials ( Acts 21:1 to Acts 28:31) - The final major division of the book of Acts ( Acts 21:1 to Acts 28:31) serves as Luke's testimony of the arrest and trials of Paul the apostle, his trip by sea to Rome, and preparation for a hearing before the Roman emperor, the highest court in the Roman Empire. G. H. C. MacGregor notes that this large portion of material devoted to Paul's arrest, imprisonment and journey to Rome fills about one fourth of the book of Acts. He suggests several reasons. (1) Luke was an Eyewitness of these Events - Luke was an eye witness of these dramatic events of Paul's arrest, trials and journey to Rome. The nature of such events must have created a strong impact upon his life. (2) The Gospels are Structured with a Similar Disproportion of Jesus' Arrest, Passion and Resurrection- By comparing this large portion of material to a similar structure in the Gospels, MacGregor suggests that Luke draws a parallel plot with the story of Paul. (3) Luke is Writing an Apology for Paul - Many scholars believe Luke is writing an apology in defense of Paul. MacGregor bases this view upon the five speeches of Paul's defense that are recorded in this section of Acts: Paul's speech to the Jewish mob ( Acts 22:3-21), to the Sanhedrin ( Acts 23:1-6), to Felix, the Roman governor ( Acts 24:10-21), to Festus, the Roman governor ( Acts 25:8-11), and to King Herod ( Acts 26:2-23). A number of scholars support the proposition that the impetus behind these events was an effort to legalize Christianity in the Roman Empire, which leads to the suggestion that Luke -Acts was prepared by Luke as a legal brief in anticipation of Paul's trial before the Roman court. MacGregor argues that this motif is woven throughout Paul's missionary journeys when Luke carefully records his encounters with Roman authorities in various cities. He notes that Luke records statements by Lysias, Festus, and Felix regarding the failure by the Jews to prove Paul's guilt under Roman Law. He adds that Luke ends the book by portraying Paul as a peaceful man entertaining guests while imprisoned in Rome, in stark contrast to the zealous violence of the Jews that Rome was accustomed to encountering. 99] We may add that Luke's opening to his Gospel and Acts serve as a petition to Theophilus.

99] G. H. C. MacGregor and Theodore P. Ferris, The Acts of the Apostles, in The Interpreter's Bible, vol 9, ed. George A. Buttrick (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1954), 284-285.

The accounts of Paul's five trials and apologetic speeches recorded in Acts 21:1 to Acts 26:32 show that Paul had exhausted the judicial systems in Palestine, both Jewish and Roman, before departing for Rome. In each of these trials, Luke proves Paul's innocence. The only court left was an appeal to the highest court in Rome. These five trials serve as a testimony that Paul had a legal right to appeal unto Caesar, and that he was beyond doubt innocent of his allegations by the Jews.

One more important aspect of this passage is that divine oracles are embedded within the narrative material of Acts 21:1 to Acts 28:31. For example, Paul received divine oracles from the seven daughters of Philip the evangelist and the prophet Agabus ( Acts 21:8-10); he testifies of his divine vision on the road to Damascus and of the prophecy of Ananias ( Acts 22:6-16); Luke records Paul's angelic visitation while in prison at Caesarea ( Acts 23:11); Paul testifies again of his divine vision on the road to Damascus ( Acts 26:12-19); Luke records Paul's angelic visitation at sea ( Acts 27:20-26).

1. Prophecies of Paul's Arrest in Jerusalem ( Acts 21:1-14) - Acts 21:1-14 describes Paul's final journey back to Palestine with an emphasis placed on two prophetic utterances predicting Paul's arrest and imprisonment.

2. The First Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before the Jewish Mob and Roman Chief Captain ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29) - Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29 records the testimony of Paul before the Jewish mob at the Temple and before the Roman's chief captain. This is the first speech that Luke records of Paul's defense of the Christian faith. Paul now stands before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he will stand before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he will stand before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he will stand before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12), and he will stand before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

a) Paul Meets with James and the Elders at Jerusalem ( Acts 21:15-26) - In Acts 21:15-26 Paul arrives in Jerusalem and meets James and the elders. Those who were traveling with Paul understood that they may be putting themselves into mortal danger by accompanying Paul. As Matthew Henry notes, Paul's boldness gave them courage to take the perilous journey with him. 100]

100] Matthew Henry, Acts, in Matthew Henry"s Commentary on the Whole Bible, New Modern Edition, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1991), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Acts 21:15-26.

Acts 21:17-25 records the meeting that Paul had with James and the elders. James is traditionally said to be the first bishop of the church at Jerusalem, which is implied in Acts 12:17; Acts 15:13, and Galatians 2:12. It is most likely that Paul officially handed over the collection for the poor saints at this time with the church leaders serving as eye-witnesses.

In this passage of Scripture James and the elders of the church in Jerusalem persuade Paul to join in a Nazarite vow with other Jewish believers, perhaps concerned with his presence renewing Jewish persecutions against the believers living in Jerusalem. In accepting this vow, Paul must have seen the Law as holy, and not as something bad ( Romans 7:12). In other words, he saw the vow as a holy act.

Romans 7:12, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

b) Paul's Arrest in the Temple ( Acts 21:27-36) - Acts 21:27-36 gives us the account of Paul's arrest in the Temple in Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that Paul is believed to have written the epistle to the Romans towards the end of his third missionary journey. In this epistle, he states his great love for his fellow Jews and his intense sorrow for their rejection of the Messiah ( Romans 9:1-3). Now, he is face to face with these same people, raging in anger and trying to kill him.

Romans 9:1-3, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:"

c) Paul's Testimony to the Mob ( Acts 21:37 to Acts 22:22) - In Acts 21:37 to Acts 22:22 we have the account of Paul addressing the angry mob in the Hebrew tongue. He took this opportunity to testify of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's divine calling on the Damascus Road and the visitation by Ananias ( Acts 9:1-18) served as an anchor for his soul throughout his life. In fact, he will often refer back to this event. It is during some of his most difficult trials that he stands upon his divine visitations to strengthen him and secure himself in his calling ( Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:1-23)

This account of Paul's conversion will differ slightly from that recorded in Acts 9:1-18 to the degree that he gives it a "Jewish flavor" in order to make it more palatable to this angry mob. 101] For example, he describes his years prior to conversion by emphasizing his training as a Jew under the famous rabbi Gamaliel, his strict adherence to and zeal for the Law, his efforts to persecute the Christians ( Acts 22:3-5); he then describes his vision of the Lord on the Damascus Road as a divine visitation beyond his ability to resist, and a visit by Ananias, "a devout man according to the law," who brought a message from the "God of our fathers"; he goes on to describe himself in a trance while praying in the Temple, where he makes a reference to consenting to Stephen's death.

101] William Ormiston, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles by Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, second edition, trans. Paton J. Gloag, and William P. Dickson, ed. William Ormiston (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1884), 420.

d) Paul and the Roman Chief Captain ( Acts 22:23-29) - In Acts 22:23-29 we have the account of Paul defending his right to a fair trial as a Roman citizen before the Roman chief captain. This is the first statement that would eventually lead Paul to the high court in Rome as he appealed unto Caesar, the highest authority in the Roman judicial system.

3. The Second Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35) - Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35 gives us the testimony of Paul's second trial as he stands before the Jewish Sanhedrin. This is the second speech that Luke records of Paul's defense of the Christian faith. Paul has spoken before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he now stands before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he will stand before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he will stand before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12); and he will stand before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

a) Paul Before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:11) - Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:11 records Paul's testimony before the Sanhedrin.

b) The Jews Plot Against Paul's Life ( Acts 23:12-22) - In Acts 23:12-22 we have the account of how the Jews plotted against Paul's life.

c) Paul is Sent to Felix the Governor ( Acts 23:23-35) - In Acts 23:23-35 we have the account of Paul being sent to Felix the governor.

4. The Third Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before Felix the Governor ( Acts 24:1-27) - Acts 24:1-27 gives us the testimony of Paul standing before Felix the governor and defending himself against the accusation of sedition. This is the third speech that Luke records of Paul's defense of the Christian faith. Paul has spoken before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he has been taken before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he now stands before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he will stand before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12), and he will stand before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

5. The Fourth Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before Festus the Governor ( Acts 25:1-12) - Acts 25:1-12 gives us the testimony of Paul standing before Festus and making his appeal to stand trial in the court of Caesar at Rome. This is the fourth speech that Luke records of Paul's defense of the Christian faith. Paul has spoken before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he has been taken before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he has stood before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he now stands before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12), and he will stand before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

6. The Fifth Witness of Paul's Innocence, Standing Before Agrippa and Bernice ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32) - Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32 gives us the lengthy testimony of Paul standing trial before King Agrippa. This is the fifth and final speech that Paul will make before his accusers before setting forth to Rome to face the highest court in the Roman Empire. Paul has spoken before the Jewish mob at the Temple ( Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29); he has been taken before the Sanhedrin and addressed the Jewish leaders ( Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35); he has stood before Felix the governor ( Acts 24:1-27); he has stood before Festus the subsequent governor ( Acts 25:1-12), and now he stands before King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32). These preliminary trials lead up to Paul's appeal to Caesar. Many scholars suggest Luke compiles this sequence of trials in order to reveal Paul's innocence as a legal defense that could have been used during Paul's actual trial.

a) Festus Recounts Paul's Defense to King Agrippa ( Acts 25:13-22) - In Acts 25:13-22 Festus the Roman governor recounts the events of Paul's defense to King Agrippa, which is essentially a description of the events recorded in the previous passage ( Acts 25:1-12).

b) The Opening Speech of Festus ( Acts 25:23-27) - Acts 25:23-27 records the opening speech that Paul the apostle made to King Herod and those in attendance, while Paul the apostle was brought in bound in chains and stood before this predominately Roman crowd.

c) Paul's Speech to King Agrippa ( Acts 26:1-29) - Acts 26:1-29 records Paul's speech before King Agrippa. This speech will be the third testimony of his conversion on the Damascus Road recorded in the book of Acts (see Acts 22:1-21, Acts 26:1-23). Paul's divine calling on the Damascus Road and the visitation by Ananias ( Acts 9:1-18) served as an anchor for his soul throughout his life. In fact, he will often refer back to this event. It is during some of his most difficult trials that he stands upon his divine visitations to strengthen him and secure himself in his calling.

John Chrysostom notes that Paul's argument builds itself upon two testimonies: the Old Testament Scriptures testify of the hope of the resurrection of the dead, and Paul himself encountered the resurrected Christ Jesus on the road to Damascus through a divine vision. 102]

102] John Chrysostom, The Homilies of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, On the Acts of the Apostles, Translated, With Notes and Indices, Part I Homilies XXIX-LV, in The Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Anterior to the Division of the East and the West (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1852), 686.

d) The Verdict of King Agrippa ( Acts 26:30-32) - Acts 26:30-32 records the final verdict of King Agrippa in which he official the official decision to send Paul to Rome.

7. The Witness of Paul's Journey to Rome ( Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:29) - Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:29 gives us the testimony of Paul's perilous journey to Rome by sea which many scholars estimate took place around A.D 60. This was not Paul's first shipwreck. His second epistle to the Corinthians, written prior to his arrest in Jerusalem, testifies of three shipwrecks that he suffered as well as a night and a day floating in the sea ( 2 Corinthians 11:25). Thus, we can assume that the shipwreck recorded in Acts is Paul's fourth life-threatening experience at sea.

2 Corinthians 11:25, "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;"

Luke organizes the narrative material of Paul's arrest, trials, and journey to Rome ( Acts 21:1 to Acts 28:31) as testimony of Paul's innocence, perhaps as a legal brief to be presented at Paul's first trial in Rome. Paul has been brought to trial five times leading up to his journey by sea to Rome. Within this context, this narrative account in the book of Acts records at least three events that testify to Paul's innocence. He is visited by an angel in the midst of the storm, he is bitten by a snake and suffers no harm, and he is given liberty in Rome to minister to those who visit him.

a) Paul Sails for Rome ( Acts 27:1-12) - Acts 27:1-12 gives us the account of how Paul and the others embarked on the long voyage for Rome.

b) The Storm at Sea ( Acts 27:13-38) - Acts 27:13-38 gives us the account of the storm at sea.

c) The Shipwreck ( Acts 27:39-44) - Acts 27:39-44 gives us the account of the shipwreck on the island of Malta.

d) Paul On the Island of Malta ( Acts 28:1-10) - Acts 28:1-10 gives us the account of Paul's ministry on the island of Malta.

e) Paul Arrives in Rome ( Acts 28:11-16) - Acts 28:11-16 gives us the account of how Paul finally reached Rome.

f) Paul Ministers in Rome ( Acts 28:17-31) - Acts 28:17-29 records Paul's ministry in Rome while awaiting his first trial before the Rome's highest court.

V. The Church's Rest (Rest): Conclusion ( Acts 28:30-31) - Acts 28:30-31 serves as a conclusion to the book of Acts , reflecting the theme of divine rest. The apostle Paul stands as the towering example of the office of the New Testament apostle in the book of Acts. He finds rest in fulfilling his destiny of taking the Gospel to Rome, which testifies of the divine commission of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ ( Acts 1:8).

Summary: The Thematic Scheme of The Book of Acts - Jesus' final words to His disciples in Acts 1:8 reveal the underlying theme of the book of Acts , which is the witness of the apostles as they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to testify of Jesus Christ unto the ends of the earth. This verse reveals the structure of the book of Acts , which reads, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The book of Acts reflects the progressive spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from Jerusalem ( Acts 1:6 to Acts 5:42), into Judea and Samaria ( Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25), unto the ends of the Earth ( Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:31). This work is accomplished as the New Testament Church embraces its duties, receives empowerment from the anointing of the Holy Spirit, sets offices in the Church, and organizes itself to spread to the nations, so that it may find its place of rest in fulfillment of its divine calling.

XII. Outline of the Book

The following outline is a summary of the preceding literary structure; thus, it reflects the theological framework of the book of Acts: its purpose, its three-fold thematic scheme, and its literary structure. As a result, this outline offers sermon sections that fit together into a single message that can be used by preachers and teachers to guide a congregation or class through the book of Acts. This journey through Acts will lead believers into one aspect of conformity to the image of Christ Jesus that was intended by the Lord, which in this book of the Holy Scriptures is to prepare Christians to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth through the apostolic ministry.

Here is a proposed outline of the book of Acts that emphasizes the geographical theme of taking the Gospel from Jerusalem, to Judaea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.

It is important to note that each of the three major divisions of the book of Acts has an introductory passage in which the disciples are commissioned. Acts 1:6-11 serves as an introduction to the Jerusalem ministry as Jesus commissions the apostles to take the Gospel to the world. Acts 6:1-6 serves as an introduction to the spread of the Gospel out of Jerusalem as the result of a great persecution. Acts 13:1-3 serves as an introduction to Paul's missionary journeys.

I. Introduction (Predestination & Calling)— Acts 1:1-26

A. Prologue— Acts 1:1-5

B. Commissioning the Twelve & the Lord's Ascent— Acts 1:6-11

C. The Appointment of Matthias— Acts 1:12-26

II. Witness of the Church in Jerusalem (Justification & Indoctrination)— Acts 2:1 to Acts 5:42

A. Peter's Sermon on the Day of Pentecost— Acts 2:1-47

1. The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit— Acts 2:1-13

2. Peter's Sermon— Acts 2:14-41

a) The Prophecy of Joel— Acts 2:14-21

b) The Death of Jesus Christ — Acts 2:22-23

c) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ— Acts 2:24-32

d) The Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus Christ— Acts 2:33-36

3. The Response of the People— Acts 2:37-41

4. Daily Life Among the Believers— Acts 2:42-47

B. Peter's Sermon in the Temple & Persecution— Acts 3:1 to Acts 4:31

1. The Healing of the Man at Gate Beautiful— Acts 3:1-10

2. Peter's Sermon in the Temple— Acts 3:11-26

3. Peter's Testimony to the Sanhedrin— Acts 4:1-22

4. The Church Prays for Boldness— Acts 4:23-31

C. Witness of Church Growth and Persecution— Acts 4:32 to Acts 5:42

1. The Witness of the Unity of the Church— Acts 4:32-37

2. The Witness of the Power of the Church— Acts 5:1-11

3. The Witness of the Miracles of the Church— Acts 5:12-16

4. The Witness of Persecution of the Church— Acts 5:17-42

III. Witnesses of Church in Judea/Samaria (Divine Service)— Acts 6:1 to Acts 12:25

A. Introduction: The Commission of the First Deacons— Acts 6:1-6

B. The Witness of Stephen— Acts 6:7 to Acts 8:4

1. Stephen's Arrest— Acts 6:7-15

2. Stephen's Sermon— Acts 7:1-53

3. Stephen is Stoned — Acts 7:54 to Acts 8:1 a

4. The Persecution and Scattering of the early Church — Acts 8:1 b-4

C. The Witness of Philip the Evangelist— Acts 8:5-40

1. Witness of Philip the Evangelist in Samaria— Acts 8:5-25

2. Witness of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch— Acts 8:26-40

D. The Witness of Paul's Conversion— Acts 9:1-31

E. The Witness of Peter's Ministry Beyond Jerusalem— Acts 9:32 to Acts 10:48

1. Witness of Peter in Lydda— Acts 9:32-35

2. Witness of Peter in Joppa— Acts 9:36-43

3. Witness of Peter in Caesarea— Acts 10:1-48

F. The Witness of Church Growth— Acts 11:1 to Acts 12:25

1. Witness to Church at Jerusalem of the Gospel to Judea— Acts 11:1-18

2. Witness of birth of Church in Antioch— Acts 11:19-30

3. Witness of Persecution of Church— Acts 12:1-25

a) Death of James and the Imprisonment of Peter— Acts 12:1-19

b) Judgment upon King Herod— Acts 12:20-23

c) The Keys to Church Growth— Acts 12:24-25

IV. The Witness of Church Growth to Ends of Earth (Perseverance)— Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:29

A. The Witness of Paul's First Missionary Journey— Acts 13:1 to Acts 14:28

1. Introduction: The Commission of Paul and Barnabas— Acts 13:1-3

2. Paul and Barnabas at Cyprus— Acts 13:4-12

3. Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia— Acts 13:13-52

4. Paul and Barnabas at Iconium and Lysrta— Acts 14:1-20

5. Paul and Barnabas at Antioch— Acts 14:21-28

B. The Witness to Church at Jerusalem of Gospel to Gentiles— Acts 15:1-35

C. The Witness of Paul's Second Missionary Journey— Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22

1. Paul and Barnabas Split Up— Acts 15:36-41

2. Timothy Joins Paul and Silas — Acts 16:1-5

3. Paul at Philippi — Acts 16:6-40

a) The Macedonian Call — Acts 16:6-10

b) The Conversion of Lydia — Acts 16:11-15

c) Paul Cast into Prison and Miraculously Delivered — Acts 16:16-40

4. Paul in Thessalonica — Acts 17:1-9

5. Paul in Berea — Acts 17:10-15

6. Paul in Athens — Acts 17:16-34

7. Paul in Corinth — Acts 18:1-17

a) Paul's Arrival in Corinth— Acts 18:1-3

b) Paul's Ministry in Corinth — Acts 18:4-11

c) Paul is Taken Before Gallio — Acts 18:12-17

8. Paul Returns to Antioch — Acts 18:18-22

D. The Witness of Paul's Third Missionary Journey— Acts 18:23 to Acts 20:38

1. Apollo's Ministry in Ephesus — Acts 18:23-28

2. Paul in Ephesus— Acts 19:1-41

a) The Disciples at Ephesus Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit — Acts 19:1-7

b) Paul Turns to the Gentiles in Ephesus — Acts 19:8-10

c) Paul's Miraculous Work at Ephesus — Acts 19:11-20

d) The Riot at Ephesus — Acts 19:21-41

3. Paul's Journey to Macedonia and Greece — Acts 20:1-6

4. Paul at Troas — Acts 20:7-12

5. Paul Journeys from Troas to Miletus — Acts 20:13-16

6. Paul Exhorts the Elders at Ephesus — Acts 20:17-38

E. The Witness of Paul's Arrest, Trials, and Journey to Rome— Acts 21:1 to Acts 28:29

1. Prophecies of Paul's Arrest in Jerusalem— Acts 21:1-14

2. Paul's Arrest and First Speech to Jewish Mob— Acts 21:15 to Acts 22:29

a) Paul Meets with James and the Elders at Jerusalem — Acts 21:15-26

b) Paul's Arrest in the Temple — Acts 21:27-36

c) Paul's Testimony to the Mob — Acts 21:37 to Acts 22:22

d) Paul and the Roman Chief Captain — Acts 22:23-29

3. Paul's Second Speech Before the Sanhedrin— Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:35

a) Paul Before the Sanhedrin— Acts 22:30 to Acts 23:11

b) The Jews Plot Against Paul's Life— Acts 23:12-22

c) Paul is Sent to Felix the Governor— Acts 23:23-35

4. Paul's Third Speech Before Felix the Governor— Acts 24:1-27

5. Paul's Fourth Speech Before Festus the Governor— Acts 25:1-12

6. Paul's Fifth Speech Before King Agrippa— Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32

a) Festus Recounts Paul's Defense to King Agrippa — Acts 25:13-22

b) The Opening Speech of Festus — Acts 25:23-27

c) Paul's Speech to King Agrippa — Acts 26:1-29

d) The Verdict of King Agrippa— Acts 26:30-32

7. The Witness of Paul's Journey to Rome— Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:29

a) Paul Sails for Rome — Acts 27:1-12

b) The Storm at Sea — Acts 27:13-38

c) The Shipwreck — Acts 27:39-44

d) Paul on the Island of Malta — Acts 28:1-10

e) Paul Arrives in Rome — Acts 28:11-16

f) Paul Ministers in Rome— Acts 28:17-29

V. Conclusion: The Witness of the Church's Rest— Acts 28:30-31

BIBLIOGRAPHY

COMMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

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