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Outline your knowledge and understanding of the main characteristics and structure of the Acts of the Apostles

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Outline your knowledge and understanding of the main characteristics and structure of the Acts of the Apostles [35] The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the New Testament which outlines the events of 'Apostolic Age' of Christianity. Within the book, there is a definite structure behind it with reoccurring and consistent themes and characteristics that continually appearing throughout it. In terms of the structure of the book, there are three consistent themes which consistently appear and develop throughout Acts as the Apostles progress through the journey. The themes I refer to are geographical, biographical and theological. The geographical theme is first made evident by Jesus's final command before he ascended into heaven, in 1:8 of Acts. Jesus said "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." The book of Acts then proceeds to tell the story, where the events fulfil this prophecy and the actual book could be divided into sections based on what Jesus said. ...read more.


The Holy Spirit is the most common reoccurring characteristic present in the book of Acts, and also one that is existent in Luke's Gospel and shows the connection between his Gospel and Acts. As said by the scholar Guthrie, "God is seen to be active in the early Church through the Spirit's power". The Holy Spirit was a promised gift from Jesus and is shown to have much effect when it came into one's life. On Pentecost, the spirit is shown to have changed the Apostles from being scared and in hiding, to being open and speaking out proudly of their religion, particularly Peter, who became a fearless and insightful leader. It also changed Paul from being one of the persecutors to being one of the persecuted. The general message is that if one accepts the message with enthusiasm, the spirit would change their life, with an example of this being the Crippled Beggar as well. Another common characteristic of the book is the sacrament of Baptism, as Luke commonly writes that baptism is necessary in order to become a part of the Church, for it is not only symbolic of a change of heart ...read more.


Another characteristic which is present throughout the book is the act of Miracles, which as CS Lewis said are "what God writes across the sky in capital letters what he usually writes in small letters everyday". The point behind them is to make valid the claims that Jesus is indeed the Lord and that his power and presence is still very much alive. An example of a miracle is how Peter healed the crippled beggar, enabling him to jump up and run about. And the final characteristic of Acts is the importance of prayer in Christianity. Luke uses prayer to emphasise the community aspect of the religion and encourages others to worship in numbers as prayer gives people time to give praise to God, whilst also bringing about fellowship and equality - especially after the division between Jewish and Gentile converts. Paul was seen to have prayed often, such as when he was imprisoned and he prayed and sang hymns which lead to divine intervention as he escaped from the prison. Overall, one can see that there are many characteristics that the book is based around and that there is a definite structure which really builds up the story. ?? ?? ?? ?? June 2004, Question 1, Part A Conor Dowds 1 ...read more.

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