The Acts of the Apostle is one of the five historical books in the New Testament. It forms the link between the Gospels and the epistles. The book of Acts is the history of the disciples who took the great commission of Christ seriously. This is the second volume of the two-part book of the gospel story written by Luke. His gospel records the biography of Jesus Christ. It is the glory to glory story. The book of Acts of Apostles is the account of the beginning and practices of the early church. The four Gospels tell us what Christ did while on earth through His physical body but the Acts of Apostles tells us what Christ is doing through His spiritual body, the church. This book reveals the vitality of the gospel and God’s great plan of world evangelization. This book essentially records the birth and growing pain of the church. It reveals the importance of the gospel proclamation.
There is a general agreement that Luke wrote the book of Acts. The tradition and early church also ascribe the authorship to Dr. Luke a close associate of Apostle Paul. Luke the beloved physician is the only gentile writer in New Testament (Col 4:14). He wrote the Acts of Apostle as a sequel to his Gospel. Theophilus was the recipient of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of Apostles (Luke 1:4; Act 1:1). Obviously Theophilus knew the identity of the author. The Acts of the Apostles is the most reliable history of the early church. In fact it is the thought through account of eye witnesses. Luke was close companion and fellow worker of Apostle Paul. The use of personal pronoun used by Luke is significant. (16:10-18). Scholars suggest that external and internal evidences show that Luke wrote the book of Acts between A.D. 61-63.
The Acts of Apostles cannot be separated from the Gospel of Luke. It was written that we may know the certainty of the orderly account of the gospel and the early church (Luke 1:1-4). Since the church was growing rapidly in the Roman world, an authoritative account of the birth of the early church became necessary. The early church saw the value of the book of Acts and circulated it widely. Scholars suggest that this book covers the first 30 years of church history. No historian ever had a better background to write this book than Luke. He was a close associate of Apostle Paul. Dr. Luke was a man familiar with culture, history and Greek language. The book of Acts is the chief sourcebook of the birth of the church, world missions, cross cultural evangelism and the spread of Christianity. Witness is the key word in the book of Acts and is used 29 times. All believers are expected to be witnesses of Christ. While the apostles are mentioned collectively as witnesses, this book records the acts of Peter (1-12) and of Paul (13-28) in particular. Some suggest that this evangelistic mission lasted 2 years in Jerusalem (1-7), 13 years in Judea and Samaria (8-12) and 15 years in the foreign mission (13-28). It is always true that the light that shines the farthest will shine the brightest at home. The early church was a worshiping and witnessing community.