Acts of the Apostles

W. Terry Varner
December 9, 2012

One of the great New Testament books is known as The Acts of the Apostles. It is a book that gives the first inspired history of the early church and the spread of Christianity among the nations. It was written by the beloved Luke, a converted Gentile, who by profession was a medical doctor. Interestingly, the book gives major information on only two of the apostles' work in the kingdom, Peter (Acts 1-11) and Paul (Acts 12-28).

The Acts of the Apostles is a book of Holy Scripture. Acts, as we normally refer to the book, is part of the New Testament canon; therefore, as Scripture, it is part "of the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). The word graphe (Scripture) means writing and was used in New Testament times to describe any written; however, when the word is used in reference to the New Testament, the word always refers to the Holy Scriptures or Holy Writings.

The word holy carries the meaning of "religious awe, venerate, sacred" (Abbott-Smith 5). The Scriptures are holy because they are given "by the inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Being inspired by God makes the Scripture (writing) different from the words of man's normal daily writing. They are indeed sacred and distinct because the Scriptures are "which things we also speak, not the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches" (2 Corinthians 2:13). This makes the books composing the Bible as nothing less than the Word of God. It is important that we have a proper biblical view of Scripture. "A person's view of the Scriptures, more than any other thing, determines his faith and practice" (Jividen 12).

The Value of Acts of the Apostles. What is the value of the book of Acts? First, Acts shows God's redemptive work which began "in Jerusalem" and spread to "all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Acts shows that God's redemptive work cuts across all racial, ethnic, and cultural boundaries promising love, forgiveness, and hope.

Second, Acts serves as a great apologetic (defense) for Christianity. Acts of the Apostles sets forth evidence for the three great pillars of Christianity. Pillar one is the fact of God's existence. We cannot claim that God does not exist. In Acts 17 Paul taught on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. The Athenians, who were very idolatrous and for fear that they may have missed an idol, erected an idol with the "inscription to an unknown God" (Acts 17:23). Paul seizing on their error argues that the God exists and can be known. "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing He is Lord of heaven and earth" (Acts 17:24) exists. Not only does God exist, but God can be known. We are to "seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each of us" (Acts 17:27, ESV). Pillar two is we can know the Bible is the Word of God. This we have shown earlier in the article. Pillar three is that Jesus is God's Son. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost that "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you yourselves know" (Acts 2:22). My teacher in Abilene, Texas, J. W. Roberts wrote: "The Book of Acts is the capstone of the NT. ... It caps the arch formed by the four Gospels on the one side and the epistles on the other" (173).