The Acts Bible Study Introduction is a great way to get the bigger view of what the book is all about. As you will see below, we cover background info like who the subjects are, where all of this takes place, what happened, when it happened and why it happened. Whenever you study a book of the bible, an introduction to the study is really important. It will help put everything into its proper context.
If you happen to land on this page and want to start from the very beginning, just click here to see the first Acts Bible Study post to get you started.
- You will be my witnesses – Acts 1:1-8
- The Ascension/Waiting/ReForming the 12
- Pentecost – Acts 2
- Healing the lame man – Acts 3-4
- Ananias & Sapphira – Gamaliel’s Counsel – Acts 5
- Deacons in the church & Accusations against Stephen & his martyrdom – Acts 6-7
- Persecution, Christians flee to Samaria (Philip, Simon the magician, Ethiopian Eunich
- Conversion of Saul – Acts 9:31 (What conversion looks like)
- Healing by Peter, Cornelius’s vision, Gentiles here the Gospel message – Acts 9:32 – 10:48
- Peter reports to the Jerusalem Church – The Gentiles are included in the Kingdom – The response – The Church at Antioch – Acts 11
- Peters arrest, deliverance & the death of Herod
- Paul’s first missionary journey – Acts 13-14
- The Jerusalem Council – The apostles finally get it – Acts 15
- Paul’s second missionary journey – First converts in Europe – Lydia, Jailer converted, Mars Hill
- Paul’s third missionary journey – Ephesus – Acts 18-21
- Paul on trial in Jerusalem, Before Felix, Festus & Agrippa – Acts 22-26
- Paul sent to Rome, shipwrecked, Malta, preaching the Kingdom of God in Rome
Let’s get started
So, to get started, please read the introduction/overview section of Acts in your study Bible or other resources. Other than the big picture of the book we will want to pay attention to the purpose of Acts, the author, audience, themes, key verse, unique topics and much more as we kick off this great study.
Map Handouts – These two maps were given as handouts. The first map represents the theme verse for the book of Acts (Acts 1:8) You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the rest of the world. The second map shows the immediate area surrounding Israel. You can see the two maps here at this link.
Timeline & Overview Chart – This was another handout that organizes the entire book of acts, breaking the chapters in a timeline.
Click this link to see the chart:
What are some of the names of the book of Acts found in your Bibles?
- Acts of the Apostles
- Acts of the Holy Spirit
- Acts of Jesus
- The History of the Acts of the Apostles
Who wrote Acts?
Luke – This is part 2 of Luke’s Gospel writing to Theophilus See Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-2
What style (Genre) is Acts written?
- Historical Narrative
- A Work of Apologetics (defense of truth claims)
Where does the book of Acts take place?
Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria Galatia, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, Rome, Malta, Others……..
Who are the main people written about in Acts?
Jesus – John – James – Peter – Stephen, Phillip, Saul,Paul (half of Acts is devoted to Paul’s Ministry) – Barnabas – Luke (us)
Who was Acts written too?
- Theophilus (name means God lover)
- Possibly a government official – “your excellency” Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1
Some have entertained the possibility that Theophilus was a Roan official in charge of administering Paul’s case before Caesar and that the gospel and Acts were written to help him understand the cats of Jesus Christ and Paul’s role in the history of the church.
When was Acts Written?
Many believe Acts was written before the end of Paul’s first Roman imprisonment (60-62 AD). Since Acts ends abruptly with Paul under house arrest awaiting his trial in Rome (Acts 28:16-31). Luke devotes more than half of Acts to Paul’s ministry and most likely would have stated the outcome of his second imprisonment (2 Tim 4:11) and death, the martyrdom of James who was the head of the Jerusalem church (62 AD), Persecution under Nero (64AD) and the fall of Jerusalem (70AD) if they occurred before he wrote Acts
What is the Theme Verse for Acts?
Acts 1:8 –
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
What was the main purpose of the Book of Acts?
- Narrative of what Jesus continued to do through the work of the Holy Spirit and His Apostles who he commanded to be his Witnesses and go to Jerusalem, Juda, Samaria and the ends of the earth.
- Historical Record of the Birth of the Early Church
- Documents the work of the Holy Spirit
- Answers many questions about what happened after the Resurrection of Christ.
- Stresses the work of the Holy Spirit (mentioned over 50 times)
How does Acts fit in with the rest of the Old & New Testament?
- Acts makes frequent references to the Old Testament.
- Just as Genesis is the historical narrative of the beginnings, Acts is the historical narrative of the beginning of the Christian Church
- Acts is rooted in History (kings, governors, historical events and places are included in this letter.
- While the book of Hebrews discusses the theology of the transition from the old covenant to the new, Acts depicts the new covenants’ practical outworking in the life of the church.
What are some Unique Features about Acts?
- It is the history of the Birth of the NT Church
- Paul’s conversion testimony is 3 different times
- The Holy Spirit is highlighted throughout the book
- It is a continuation (part 2) of the Gospel of Luke
- It reveals the lives of several of the disciples (now Apostles) and what they did after the resurrection/ascension of Christ.
- History is intertwined with the activities of Acts
- Paul’s position as Apostle is confirmed in Acts
What are some themes we might see in the book of Acts?
- God’s Sovereignty (Providence)
- What is happening here is unstoppable.
- He will see his new institution established
- Opposition within (Ananias & Sappharia)
- External – Pharisees
- Kingdom of God (Opens & Closes the book)
- The disciples think the kingdom of God is an earthly ruler
- When we learn that both Samaritans and gentiles are included, everything changes.
- By the end of the book, we learn the Gospel is for everyone
- The dual Israel
- The National Israel rejects Christ and is in opposition to God’s ultimate purposes. – Israel continues to disbelieve
- New Israel – (those who believe) are the primary agency for taking the gospel to the ends of the world. (the remnant). It’s all Jewish people until we come to the Ethiopian eunuch
- God promised to Abraham is that Israel would be a blessing to the nations of the world.
- Prayer appears in 19 of the 28 chapters
- The last miracle is Paul healing a man in malta and Paul is praying.
- Prayer is the means by which the will of God is unfolded
- In prayer, the disciples wait for the power of the spirit
- In Prayer, the spirit of God is poured out on various occasions
- In Prayer, the last healing event occurs
- In the kingdom age, Prayer is the means by which God does his work in the Kingdom
- Christians are asked to suffer whether the enemy is National Israel or Wicked People
- Matthew 5:10 (blessed are those who suffer for my namesake)
- Being willing to suffer means the kingdom of God will succeed
- Examples of suffering for the Kingdom of God
- Stephen is martyred
- Christians suffer under Saul the great persecutor of the Church
- Paul will suffer greatly
- James is Martyred
Why should we have confidence in the Written Word of God?
- Rooted in history
- God breathed
- Without error
- This is a Historical Account/Narrative that has stood the test of time and textual criticism.