Overview of Acts
This year our church is reading the New Testament together. One chapter a day. Five days a week. We started with the Gospel of Mark, and this week we began reading through the Book of Acts. My hope is to provide a little bit of an overview of each book as we read through them so that we can better understand God’s Word.
Most Bible scholars believe that Luke wrote the book of Acts as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke between AD 65-70. Both books are addressed to Theophilus (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:3), and both have a similar structure and style. We know from the Book of Acts that Luke was with Paul on multiple missionary journeys as you will notice in Acts 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18, and 27:1-28:16.
The outline and theme of the Book of Acts can be found in Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” As you read Acts this month, you will be able to trace the Gospel as it travels from Jerusalem to Rome. There is a progression as Luke presents the history of the Gospel moving from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
Some Things to Notice:
Sermons: There are quite a few sermons/speeches in Acts. The first is by Peter, but there is also a long sermon by Stephen and multiple sermons/speeches by Paul. You might notice that these sermons differ depending on who the audience is.
Holy Spirit: Acts introduces the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Some scholars have even referred to Acts as “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” because it shows us what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit and to receive power and boldness from the Spirit. Acts demonstrates what God does through the obedience of normal people who are committed to Christ.
The Importance and Power of the Word: The devotion to know the Word and proclaim the Word is a prevalent theme in Acts. Keep an eye out for phrases like “the word,” the “word of Christ,” and “word of God.” You will see that many times these phrases are synonymous with the preaching of the Gospel. Also, pay attention to the power of the Word to change lives and even cities like Ephesus.
As you read Acts you will see some controversial doctrines in action. Things like speaking in tongues, healing, and even resurrection of the dead. Remember that Acts is a book that describes the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church. It does not necessarily command us to do these things. It shows us the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word of Christ.