II.1 – Acts of the Apostles 1-12

Recorded December 13th 2011.

The Acts of the Apostles is also written by the evangelist Luke, so it is in many ways Luke part 2. This is made clear in the greeting to Theophilus which opens both works (Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-2a).

We looked at the story of the Ascension in Acts (1:1-11) and how it differs from the story of the Ascension in Luke (24:50-53). The Church uses the longer version from Acts in its liturgy.

The action and presence of the Holy Spirit is the driving force of the Acts of the Apostles, as in fact it also was in Luke’s Gospel. The highlight of this is the story of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-6) when the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to the disciples. The gift of tongues (speaking foreign languages) here reverses the confusion of tongues which happened at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

Acts includes much information about the life of the early Church, including its common life, especially sharing of property (2:42-47; 5:1-11), the institution of the ministry of Deacons (6:1-7), and the experience of persecution (7:54-60).

Acts also includes many discourses, which represent the proclamation of the early Christians, especially how Jesus fulfills the messianic expectation and prophecies of Judaism, for example, Peter’s speech at Pentecost (2:14-36, also 3:12-26) and Stephen’s speech before his martyrdom (7:1-53).

Chapter 9 features Saul’s conversion (1-30), and his story is told later in Acts, and Chapter 10 includes Peter’s vision (9-16) in which he is commanded to eat animals regarded as unclean by Jewish law. Peter interprets this as an indication from God that the Gentiles are acceptable as Christians, and they are not to be required to follow Jewish dietary law, nor to be circumcised.

CBS – Acts 1-12


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