Author: The Book of Acts does not specifically identify its  author. From Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3,  it is clear that the same author wrote both Luke and Acts. The tradition from  the earliest days of the church has been that Luke, a companion of the apostle  Paul, wrote both Luke and Acts (Colossians  4:14; 2 Timothy  4:11).

Date of Writing: The Book of Acts was likely  written between 61-64 A.D.

Purpose of Writing: The Book  of Acts was written to provide a history of the early church. The emphasis of  the book is the importance of the day of Pentecost and being empowered to be  effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. Acts records the apostles being Christ’s  witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the rest of the surrounding  world. The book sheds light on the gift of the Holy Spirit, who empowers,  guides, teaches, and serves as our Counselor. Reading the book of Acts, we are  enlightened and encouraged by the many miracles that were being performed during  this time by the disciples Peter, John, and Paul. The book of Acts emphasizes  the importance of obedience to God’s Word and the transformation that occurs as  a result of knowing Christ. There are also many references to those that  rejected the truth that the disciples preached about the Lord Jesus Christ. The  lust for power, greed, and many other vices of the devil are evidenced in the  book of Acts.

Key Verses: Acts 1:8: “But  you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my  witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the  earth.”

Acts 2:4: “All  of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as  the Spirit enabled them.”

Acts 4:12:  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven  given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts  4:19-20: “But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is  right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking  about what we have seen and heard.’”

Acts 9:3-6:  “As he [Saul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven  flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul,  Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus,  whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you  will be told what you must do.’”

Acts 16:31:  “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be  saved.’”

Brief Summary: The book of Acts gives the  history of the Christian church and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as  well as the mounting opposition to it. Although many faithful servants were used  to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, Saul, whose name was changed to  Paul, was the most influential. Before he was converted, Paul took great  pleasure in persecuting and killing Christians. Paul’s dramatic conversion on  the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-31)  is a highlight of the book of Acts. After his conversion he went to the opposite  extreme of loving God and preaching His Word with power, fervency and the Spirit  of the true and living God. The disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to  be His witnesses in Jerusalem (chapters 1–8:3), Judea and Samaria (chapters  8:4–12:25), and to the ends of the earth (chapters 13:1–28). Included in the  last section are Paul’s three missionary journeys (13:1–21:16), his trials in  Jerusalem and Caesarea (21:17–26:32) and his final journey to Rome  (27:1–18:31).

Connections: The Book of Acts serves as a  transition from the Old Covenant of law-keeping to the New Covenant of grace and  faith. This transition is seen in several key events in Acts. First, there was a  change in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whose primary function in the Old  Testament was the external “anointing” of God’s people, among them Moses (Numbers 11:17), Othniel  (Judges  3:8-10), Gideon (Judges  6:34), and Saul (1 Samuel  10:6-10). After the resurrection of Jesus, the Spirit came to live in the  very hearts of believers (Romans  8:9-11; 1  Corinthians 3:16), guiding and empowering them from within. The indwelling  Spirit is the gift of God to those who come to Him in faith.

Paul’s  conversion was a dramatic example of the transition from the Old Covenant to the  New. Paul admitted that, prior to meeting the risen Savior, he was the most  zealous of Israelites and was blameless “concerning the righteousness of the  law” (Philippians  3:6 NKJV), going so far as to persecute those who taught salvation by grace  through faith in Christ. But after his conversion, he realized that all his  legalistic efforts were worthless, saying he considered them “rubbish, that I  may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that  comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness  that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:8b-9). Now we, too, live by faith, not by  the works of the law, so there is no boasting (Ephesians  2:8-9).

Peter’s vision of the sheet in Acts  10:9-15 is another sign of the transition from the Old Covenant—in this case  the dietary laws particular to the Jews—to the New Covenant’s unity of Jew and  Gentile in one universal Church. The “clean” animals symbolizing the Jews and  the “unclean” animals symbolizing the Gentiles were both declared “cleansed” by  God through the sacrificial death of Christ. No longer under the Old Covenant of  law, both are now united in the New Covenant of grace through faith in the shed  blood of Christ on the cross.

Practical Application: God can do amazing things through ordinary people when He empowers them through  His Spirit. God essentially took a group of fisherman and used them to turn the  world upside down (Acts 17:6).  God took a Christian-hating murderer and changed him into the greatest Christian  evangelist, the author of almost half the books of the New Testament. God used  persecution to cause the quickest expansion of a “new faith” in the history of  the world. God can and does do the same through us—changing our hearts,  empowering us by the Holy Spirit, and giving us a passion to spread the good  news of salvation through Christ. If we try to accomplish these things in our  own power, we will fail. Like the disciples in Acts 1:8, we  are to wait for the empowering of the Spirit, then go in His power to fulfill  the Great Commission (Matthew  28:19-20).

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