Over the summer, I spent a lot of time pouring through the Book of Acts. Although I’ve read and studied Acts before, I definitely learned some “new” things.
Chances are that, like me, you’ll know some of the following facts, but not all. I’d love to hear in the comment, if any of these were new to you! (See also “6 Things You May Not Know about the Apostle Paul.“)
7 Facts about the Book of Acts
- Only Biblical history of the church – The book of Acts is unique. Historically, it picks up where the Gospels end. Acts records the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost, and the spread of the Gospel all the way to Rome.
- Covers about 30 years – The events recorded in Acts cover roughly a thirty-year period – from just after the resurrection of Jesus around 30 AD to the early 60’s. When Acts ends, Paul is under house arrest in Rome. But based on Scripture and church tradition, Paul was released (Philemon 22, Philippians 1:19-26, 2:24) and continued his evangelistic work for a few more years (1 Timothy 1:3, Titus 3:12). Then, Paul was arrested a second time in the mid-60’s AD (2 Timothy 4:6-7) and beheaded by order of Emperor Nero.
- Probably originally one book with Luke – Acts and Luke were written by the same author, to the same recipient, as two halves of one work. Most scholars believe they were originally circulated as one book and intended to be read together. Later, when the Gospels were grouped together, Luke-Acts was separated.
- Likely written by a Gentile – A first-century Christian named Luke is widely accepted as the author of the two-volume collection of Luke-Acts. In addition to the internal evidence, strong external evidence also exists. For instance, a very early and unwavering church tradition holds to Luke’s authorship. Although we have few details about Luke, we do know he was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul and probably a doctor. In one of his letters, Paul described him as the “beloved physician” (Colossians 1:14). Some scholars believe Luke may have been a Gentile (Colossians 4:11).
- Acts was written to Theophilus – Although the book of Acts is for all believers of all time, Luke specifically addressed a man named Theophilus (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1). Luke’s use of “most excellent” to describe him (Luke 1:3) suggests that Theophilus was highly respected and perhaps a high-ranking Roman official. He may have even financially supported Luke’s investigation and writing.
- Records two resuscitations – Twice Acts reports the exciting miracle of God resuscitating someone from the dead. In the city of Joppa, Peter resuscitated Dorcas, a believer who faithfully served the widows (Acts 9:36-43). In Troas, Paul resuscitated a teenage boy named Eutychus who fell through an upper window to his death during a long sermon (Acts 20:7-16).
- Purpose of Acts – Luke clearly stated his purpose at the beginning of his two-volume work: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus,so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught”(Luke 1:3-4 NLT). Luke wanted Theophilus (and other readers) to be certain of God’s truth. So he acted as an investigative journalist. He checked all the facts and closely interviewed eyewitnesses to prepare a thorough, detailed, and reliable account. Some scholars believe Luke may have even interviewed Jesus’ mother Mary.
Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Acts
My newly released devotional book is a 50-day journey through the exciting book of Acts. Readers will experience the power of the Holy Spirit, witness the birth of the church, and walk the dusty roads with those first missionaries as they share the Gospel.
This book is the second in the “Deep Rooted” devotional series. “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark” released in 2020 and “Deep Rooted: Growing through the book of Romans” is coming Spring 2022.
I’d love for you to check it out! If you decide to take the journey, my prayer for you mirrors Luke’s desire for Theophilus. I pray that you will grow more and more certain of God’s truth in order to stand firm in your faith in Christ, steadfast and immovable in the face of any and every challenge.
Did you learn anything new about Acts?