We can stand firm knowing God will do the work, opening doors of opportunity even in the midst of severe opposition. The cast of characters in the book of Acts is quite numerous and includes Peter, James, John, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Ananias, Barnabas, Silas, James, Cornelius, Timothy, Titus, Lydia, Luke, Apollos, Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. Acts of the Apostles, abbreviation Acts, fifth book of the New Testament, a valuable history of the early Christian church. This is the story of Christianity's beginnings and how evangelism played a role in the spread of faith around the world. The opening of Acts discloses a primary theme throughout the book. In Acts, as Luke describes the spread of the gospel and the ministry of the apostles, he focuses primarily on two, Peter and Paul. Acts was written in Greek, presumably by St. Luke the Evangelist. This is how the church is established and continues to grow, spreading locally and then continuing to the ends of the earth. Black Friday Sale! Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Without Acts, a picture of the primitive church would be impossible to reconstruct; with it, the New Testament letters of St. Paul are far more intelligible. The witness spreads beyond Jerusalem - Acts 6:1-12:25. Written by Luke, Acts is the sequel to Luke's Gospel, furthering his story of Jesus, and how he built his church. Christ's work, both in the church and in the world, is supernatural, born of his Spirit. As a result, the preaching of the gospel and the witness of the newly formed church sparks a flame that spreads across the Roman Empire. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. ", Peter the Apostle - Member of Jesus' Inner Circle, What It Means to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit, Explaining the Differences Between John and the Synoptic Gospels, General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center. Omissions? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Updates? Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Corrections? Between 62 and 70 A.D., with the earlier date being more likely. For instance, the letters narrate conflict between Paul and people in his communities—rather than between Paul and Jewish and Gentile authorities, as we see in Acts. He also describes the church’s gradual drawing away from Jewish traditions. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. The preparation of the church for ministry - Acts 1:1-2:13. The witness reaches Caesarea - Acts 24:1-26:32. (NIV), Acts 5:41-42The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul, in addressing the Athenians, noted that their altars included one “to an unknown god.” Whether that designated a supreme deity or simply one who might have been left out, Paul took the opportunity to teach them about “the God who… The book is written to Gentiles as well, and all people everywhere. As previously noted, the book of Acts gives us a historical look at Paul’s life and times. In later chapters of Acts, the writer uses the first-person plural narrative, "we," indicating that he was present with Paul. First, we learn that God can … (NIV), Acts 2:1-4When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. He was a Greek and the only Gentile Christian writer of the New Testament. Historians are not sure who this Theophilus (mentioned in Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) was, although most likely, he was a Roman with an intense interest in the newly forming Christian faith. It is an important book in understanding how we can be directed by the Holy Spirit and the role of Jesus' lessons in our lives. In Acts, as Luke describes the spread of the gospel and the ministry of the apostles , he focuses primarily on two, Peter and Paul . The Gospel According to Luke concludes where Acts begins, namely, with Christ’s Ascension into heaven. Although we, the church, are Christ's vessels, the expansion of Christianity is God's work. So, what can we learn from the life of the apostle Paul? The book of Acts details the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church from Jerusalem to Rome. It's important to recognize that the church did not begin or grow through its own power or initiative. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. The witness reaches Ephesus - Acts 18:23-21:16. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Acts concludes rather abruptly after Paul has successfully preached the gospel in Rome, then the acknowledged centre of the Gentile world. The witness reaches Cyprus and Southern Galatia - Acts 13:1-14:28. Acts says nothing of Paul the letter writer, and he is not called an apostle except in one instance (Acts 14:4, Acts 14:14). Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... biblical literature: The Acts of the Apostles. The book ends quite abruptly, suggesting to some scholars that Luke may have planned to write a third book to continue the story. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. The witness reaches Rome - Acts 27:1-28:31.

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