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Explain the Purpose of Acts of the Apostles.

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Introduction

Explain the Purpose of Acts of the Apostles. "In one sense Acts is the most important book in the New Testament. It is the simple truth that if we did not possess Acts, we would have, apart from what we could deduce from the letters of Paul, no information whatever about the early church." - William Barclay (Acts of the Apostles 1976). This book is called the "Acts of the Apostles" but other from Paul this book only mentions three other Apostles, in Acts 12:2 we get a brief account that says James, brother of John was executed by Herod, john also appears in the book, but he never speaks, nor are we given any information about him. Peter is the only other Apostle (apart from Paul) who the Author goes into any detail on. But even Peter, Jesus' rock, soon fades from the scene. In Greek there is no 'The' at the beginning of the sentence, the correct title is "Acts of Apostolic Men" - (Ronald Brownrigg) and this is what it is, a series of typical acts from the early heroic figures of the early church. ...read more.

Middle

"There are two ways of writing History. There is the way that attempts to trace the course of events from week to week and from day to day; and there is a way that, as it were, opens a series of windows and gives us vivid glimpses of great moments and personalities of any period. The second way is the way of Acts" - William Barclay (Acts of the Apostles Vol. III 1976). This quote suggests that Acts wasn't written as a boring narrative (as any reader will know) but as an overview of about 35 years in the 1st Century AD. It suggests that it wasn't just written as a historical document but as a book that anyone could read and enjoy. This is actually very clever, because if you are reading something and you enjoy it then you will take most of it in. This is a very good way for learning, and begs the question that maybe Luke was writing a book that would have had to be learnt by heart, or maybe as an equivalent of the Jewish Scriptures, for a lot of the passages out of that would have been learnt by heart by Rabbi's and some others. ...read more.

Conclusion

The contents of Acts seems to suggests that the questions that Theophilus might have had must have been to do with the coming and activity of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of the Apostles, Paul and his dealings with Jerusalem and the advance of Christianity to the Imperial Capital. "In a sentence, given the emphasis on the unity of the church and its expansion from Jerusalem to Rome we may say that Luke's purpose was to demonstrate to Theophilus the sovereign, united and unmitigated advance of the Gospel into all the world. I.e. From Jerusalem to Rome." - Greg Herrick Ph. D. (A Study Outline of Acts) this confirms Longenecker's view that it was written for Theophilus, who was probably a Roman Official. There are seven progress reports in the book (2:47, 6:7, 9:31, 12:24, 16:5,19:20, 28:30, and 30) and with this knowledge Theophilus could understand how Christianity reached his city (if he was a Roman) or Rome. "The book that many call the Acts of the Apostles is the major historical account of the primitive Christian period from a Christian point of view. As the church spread from Jerusalem to Rome, this recorded history leaves no question to the progress and development of the church." - Dr. James Stone (Acts of the Apostles bible studies course.) James Sandberg RE - GRP 20/04/2007 ...read more.

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