Uploaded on Oct 6, 2010
The Acts of the Apostles, usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age. The author is traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist.
Acts tells the story of the Apostolic Age of the Early Christian church, with particular emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles and of Paul of Tarsus. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, discuss Jesus' Resurrection and Great Commission, his Ascension with a prophecy to return, the start of the Twelve Apostles' ministry, and the Day of Pentecost. The later chapters discuss Paul's conversion, his ministry, and finally his arrest and imprisonment and trip to Rome.
The structure of the book of Luke is closely tied with the structure of Acts. Both books are most easily tied to the geography of the book. Luke begins with a global perspective, dating the birth of Jesus to the reign of the Roman emperors in Luke 2:1 and 3:1. From there we see Jesus' ministry move from Galilee (chapters 4--9), through Samaria and Judea (chs. 10--19), to Jerusalem where he is crucified, raised and ascended into heaven (chs. 19--24). The book of Acts follows just the opposite motion, taking the scene from Jerusalem (chs. 1--5), to Judea and Samaria (chs. 6--9), then traveling through Syria, Asia Minor, and Europe towards Rome (chs. 9--28). This chiastic structure emphasizes the centrality of the resurrection and ascension to Luke's message, while emphasizing the universal nature of the gospel.
This geographic structure is foreshadowed in Acts 1:8, where Jesus says "You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem (chs. 1--5), and in all Judea and Samaria (chs. 6--9), and even to the remotest part of the earth (chs. 10--28)." The first two sections (chs. 1--9) represent the witness of the apostles to the Jews, while the last section (chs. 10--28) represent the witness of the apostles to the Gentiles.
The book of Acts can also be broken down by the major characters of the book. While the complete title of the book is the Acts of the Apostles, really the book focuses on only two men: The Apostle Peter (chs. 1--12) and St. Paul (chs. 13--28).
Within this structure, the sub-points of the book are marked by a series of summary statements, or what one commentary calls a "progress report". Just before the geography of the scene shifts to a new location, Luke summarizes how the gospel has impacted that location. The standard for these progress reports is in 2:46--47, where Luke describes the impact of the gospel on the new church in Jerusalem. The remaining progress reports are located:
Acts 6:7 Impact of the gospel in Jerusalem.
9:31 Impact of the gospel in Judea and Samaria.
12:24 Impact of the gospel in Syria.
16:5 Impact of the gospel in Asia Minor.
19:20 Impact of the gospel in Europe.
28:31 Impact of the gospel on Rome.
This structure can be also seen as a series of concentric circles, where the gospel begins in the center, Jerusalem, and is expanding ever outward to Judea & Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Europe, and eventually to Rome.
Dedication to Theophilus (1:1-2)
Resurrection appearances (1:3)
Great Commission (1:4-8)
Second Coming Prophecy (1:10-11)
Matthias replaced Judas (1:12-26)
the Upper Room (1:13)
Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (2), see also Paraclete
Peter healed a crippled beggar (3:1-10)
Peter's speech at the Temple (3:11-26)
Peter and John before the Sanhedrin (4:1-22)
Resurrection of the dead (4:2)
Believers' Prayer (4:23-31)
Everything is shared (4:32-37)
Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-11)
Signs and Wonders (5:12-16)
Apostles before the Sanhedrin (5:17-42)
Seven Greeks appointed (6:1-7)
Saint Stephen before the Sanhedrin (6:8-7:60)
First mentioning of Saul (St.Paul) in the Bible (7:58)
Saul persecuted the Church of Jerusalem (8:1-3)
Philip the Evangelist (8:4-40)
Simon Magus (8:9-24)
Ethiopian eunuch (8:26-39)
Conversion of Saul (9:1-31, 22:1-22, 26:9-24)
Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (9:32-43)
Conversion of Cornelius (10:1-8, 24-48)
Peter's vision (10:9-23, 11:1-18)
Church of Antioch founded (11:19-30)
term "Christian" first used 11:26
Saint James the Great executed (12:1-2)
Peter's rescue from prison (12:3-19)
Death of Herod Agrippa I [in 44] (12:20-25)
"the voice of a god" 12:22
Mission of Barnabas and Saul (13-14)
"Saul, who was also known as Paul" 13:9
called "gods ... in human form" 14:11
Council of Jerusalem (15:1-35)
Paul separated from Barnabas (15:36-41)
2nd and 3rd missions (16-20)
"God...has set a day" 17:30-31
Trip to Jerusalem (21)
Before the people and the Sanhedrin (22-23)
Before Felix-Festus-Agrippa II (24-26)
Trip to Rome (27-28)
called a god on Malta 28:6
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