The Acts of Apostles in Early Church History is a website of Bible-study tools focused on the book of Acts and the life and times in early church history. We invite you to explore the site's articles adapted from recognized sources. Also puruse suggestions for further reading, and useful links and images. We pray these will help you grow in your faith in the Lord Jesus and knowledge of the early church.
Jesus told his apostles, "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
There was a great harvest recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, a remarkable ingathering of believers as God's Spirit worked through the lives of the apostles. This same gospel continues today by faithful witnesses around the world. It's our privilege, as it was for the apostles and others through the centuries, to be sowers and reapers in the great harvest.
The Acts of the Apostles is unique among the books of the New Testament. Its main purpose is to record a selective history of the early church after the resurrection of Christ. It is the second part of a two-volume work, with the Gospel of Luke being the first one. Both books are dedicated to a person named Theophilus. Without Acts, we wouldn't be able to explain how a small band of disciples came together to become an expanding worldwide church.
The book of Acts presents the history of a dynamic, growing community of believers from Jerusalem to Syria, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the first century it spread from believing Jews to non-Jews in 39 cities and 30 countries, islands, or provinces.
Acts has a number of unique features. It's the only New Testament book that tells about the ministry of the apostles, primarily Peter and Paul. Among other features are its early church life summaries and its missionary journey narratives. But the most distinctive feature in Acts is its many speeches, or sermons, which make up about a third of the total text.
Peter, John, Philip, Paul, Barnabas, and thousands more witnessed to their new faith in Christ. By personal testimony, preaching, or defense before authorities, they told the story with boldness and courage to groups of all sizes. But they also were persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles, suffering imprisonments, beatings, riots and plots against their lives.
The church did not start to grow by its own power or enthusiasm. The disciples were empowered by God's Holy Spirit. He was the promised Comforter and Guide sent when Jesus went to heaven.
In Acts, believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the good news of Christ among both Jews and Gentiles. And in doing this they establish the church. In addition, Acts explains how Christianity is in reality the one true religion, rooted in God's promises from the beginning of time.
The Holy Spirit's work demonstrated that Christianity was supernatural. Thus the church became more spirit-conscious then problem-conscious. By faith, any believer can claim the Holy Spirit's power to do Christ's work.
Four early Christian leaders wrote accounts of the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Only one of them, however, continued the story into the events if the decades to come.
From the earliest times Luke the evangelist has been identified as its writer. He was the only Gentile writer of the New Testament. We know very little about Luke. He was a doctor and one of Paul's most valued friends on his many travels. But he also was a historian, theologian and diplomat.
We are God's people, chosen to be part of his plan to reach the world. In love and by faith, we can have the Holy Spirit's help as we witness or preach. Witnessing is beneficial to us because it strengthens our faith as we confront those who challenge it.