Know Your Bible: The Book of Acts

The book of Acts is an important book in understanding the actions of the apostles, mostly Paul and Peter, after Jesus's ascension into Heaven. 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. This is the story of Christianity's beginnings and how evangelism played a role in the spread of faith around the world.

Who Wrote the Book of Acts?

It is widely believed that the book of Acts is the second volume in Luke's gospel.

While the first volume was what happened while Jesus was here on earth. It described the past. It described Jesus' story. However, in Acts, we learn more of how all the lessons inherent in Jesus's time with His disciples came to influence their lives after He ascended unto Heaven. Luke, most likely, was a highly educated gentile. He was a physician who was believed to either be a very close friend to Paul or even Paul's doctor.

What Is the Purpose of the Book of Acts?

There seem to be several purposes of Acts. Like the gospels, it presents a historical account of the church's beginnings. It describes the founding of the church, and it continues to put an emphasis on evangelism as we see the church's teachings grow around the world. It also gives gentiles a reason for possible conversion. It describes the way people fought against the other prominent religions and philosophies of the day.

The Book of Acts also goes into principles of living.

It describes persecutions and specific situations that we even face today as we evangelize and live our lives in Christ. It gives examples of how Jesus' promises came to fruition and how the disciples faced persecution and hardships head on. Luke describes the great devotion of the disciples to Jesus.

Without the Book of Acts, we would be looking at a far shorter New Testament. Between Luke and Acts, the two books makes up a quarter of the New Testament. The book also provides a bridge between the gospels and the epistles that will come later. It provides us with a contextual reference for the letters we will read following.

How Acts Guides Us Today

One of the biggest impacts of the book of Acts is that it gives us all the hope that we can be saved. Jerusalem, at the time, was primarily made up of Jews. It shows us that Christ opened up salvation to all. It also shows that it was not just a chosen group of men that would spread God's word. The book reminds us that it was not, in fact, the apostles that lead the way in converting gentiles. It was believers that had run from persecution that brought the message of salvation to non-Jews.

Acts also reminds us of the importance of prayer. There is a reference to prayer 31 times in this book, and prayer is present before almost any significant event described by Luke. Miracles are preceded by prayer. Decisions are preceded by prayer. While much of Acts is descriptive rather than prescriptive, in this particular way, we can learn a lot about the power of prayer.

The book is also a guide to the church. Many of the principles of church-growing are found in this book. There are basic ideas that are still practical today present int his book, especially in the depiction of how the church teaching spread from Jerusalem to Rome. It demonstrated that God's hand is in everything, and that Christianity was not the work of men, but the world of God.