In the accepted order of the books of the New Testament the fifth book is called The Acts of the Apostles. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels, is anonymous.
Tradition reaching back to the second century identifies its author as Luke, a Gentile physician and traveling associate of the Apostle Paul. Explicit testimony for the Lucan authorship of Acts comes from early Christian Fathers such as Irenaeus (A.D. 180).
Few question that the author of Acts was also the author of the Gospel of Luke. The opening line of Acts refers to a “first book” that the same author dedicated to the same man, “Theophilus.” This is a clear reference to the Gospel of Luke.
Some have thought that the title of the book was affixed by the author himself. It seems far more probable, however, that the name was subsequently attached to the book just as the headings of the several Gospels were affixed to them.
In fact, the name, Acts of the Apostles, does not precisely convey the idea of the contents of the book; and such a title would scarcely be given to the work by the author himself. The book does not contain the Acts of all the Apostles, neither does it contain all the acts of any Apostle.
In Acts we see the fulfillment of Christ’s promises. In Acts 1:8, Jesus had declared that the Apostles should receive power when the Holy Spirit should come upon them, and should be His witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
The Book of Acts traces the first thirty years of Christian history from the Ascension of Jesus in Jerusalem to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. It is Luke’s intention to continue the story of Jesus through the life and mission of his first disciples.
Though it is the work of a careful historian, whose accuracy and reliability are increasingly confirmed in modern research, Acts gives us a narrative filled with inspiring heroes, moving speeches and daring adventures.
To learn more about this great book of the Bible, attend the upcoming Adult Faith sponsored sessions. (6:42)