For the next few weeks/months I am going to be posting a devotional through the book of Acts. I had fun doing this and I thought I would share it with you. Today's devotional is pretty much just the background information of the book. I hope you enjoy it.
The Acts of the Apostles (which is the actual title) is an inspiring account of all the Apostles did in establishing the earlt Church but more importantly it shows how God can and will accomplish great things through the Holy Spirit. Today we are going to look at three aspects (Who, When and Why) to this book,
It is widely accepted that Luke (the author of the Gospel of Luke) was and is the author of the Acts of the Apostles. We know very little about Luke.
We presume Luke is the author because of who he was writing to. The first verse of Acts states, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach.” If you look at the Gospel of Luke 1:3 you will find the author writing to this same individual. Like Luke, not much is known about Theophilus. Some second century texts suggests that he was a man of great wealth and influence and quite possibly an official of Antioch. His name in Greek means “beloved of God” or “friend of God” so we can assume that he was a gentile (possibly Roman) believer.
The Book of Acts has become an excellent historical manuscript for both secular and Christian historians as it is one that is detailed and accurate. It was probably written around 63 A.D. and records the beginning, growth and spread of Christianity. Boice writes, “(Christianity) is not a religion based on an idea or philosophy. Most religions of the world can exist apart from their founder. You do not have to have a historical Buddha to have Buddhism. All you have are Buddhist teachings. So also with many other religions. This is not the case with Christianity. If you take away the history and reduce it to a religion of mere ethics and ideas- then Christianity evaporates. This is because Christianity is linked to the life and accomplishments of Christianities founder.”
So it is important for us to know and establish Acts as an important historical documentation of the early church and the works of the Holy Spirit. Acts comes as the Historical sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Some have even suggested that both The Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles is one book but due to the size of the scrolls it was needed to be put into two parts. Many refer to it as Luke’s second volume as he picks up where the Gospel left off and continues to write about Christ’s ascension through the coming of the Holy Spirit.
What was Luke’s purpose in writing the Book of Acts? I think we can find the answer in verses 1- 3. Luke writes that he is continuing to write about the work of Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection to the day of his ascension and then through the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. This is why he wrote the book. He wrote to tell us about the Aopstles activities and ministries. It is important to keep in mind that this is only the acts of some of the apostles (namely Paul and Peter). Many of the apostles are not even named in the book with the exception of a mere acknowledem of their presence in the list given before Pentecost. Acts is not a complete detail of all the acts of all of the Apostles, there are many other great acts of other apostles recorded in other scripts, it’s just that this book focuses more on the ministries of Paul and Peter.
The purpose of this book is three fold.
As we begin our journey through Acts I pray that God will do two things in your lives. I pray that you will be filled with hope... a hope in the reality that God is not finished with His Church. The Holy Spirit is still at work and He is empowering believers all around the world to do the work of Jesus Christ. The second is that you will be challenged to make Jesus known. Two thousand years after the birth of the Church, humanity is still called to fulfill the Great Commission; which is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost part of the world. There is a great deal that needs to be done.
May you fulfill the vision God has placed before you. May you all be a community of believers who are united under the banner of Jesus Christ as we share the good news of Jesus Christ which calls the needy, sick and spiritually deprived to come and seekforgiveness, grace, mercy and love in the same manner that God has given to you. Rejoice in the hope that God has given to you through the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross.
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