Overview of the Book of Acts


Luke and Acts

The “Gospel of Luke” and the “Acts of the Apostles” are parts of the same story, with one following directly after the other.  The two parts, or books, were written by Luke as a narrative that is an orderly (not necessarily chronological) account of the story of Jesus and his first followers.  Both were addressed to a man named Theophilus.

The Gospel According to Luke

The Book of Luke is called a “gospel” because it contains the good news of the birth, life, ministry, death,  resurrection and enthronement of Jesus and what that means to the world.  Luke opens his telling of the gospel in the following way:

To Theophilus: Many have tried to give a history of the things that happened among us. They have written the same things that we learned from others—the people who saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message. I myself studied everything carefully from the beginning, your Excellency. I thought I should write it out for you. So I put it in order in a book. I write these things so that you can know that what you have been taught is true.   Luke 1:1-4, ICB

The Acts of the Apostles

Sometimes referred to as the “Book of Acts” Luke’s second writing opens with Jesus saying farewell to the apostles before returning to heaven to sit in his rightful place as King.  Before leaving them, Jesus commissions the Apostles with the task of taking the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ and spreading it throughout the world.  He tells them that the Holy Spirit will provide them with the ability to accomplish this task.

The rest of the book is a record of how the Holy Spirit worked through the Apostles in telling everyone about Jesus.  The opening verses of the book again refer to Theophilus:

To Theophilus, The first book I wrote was about everything that Jesus did and taught. I wrote about the whole life of Jesus, from the beginning until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, Jesus talked to the apostles he had chosen. With the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told them what they should do.  Acts 1:1-2, ICB

In his final words to the Apostles, before he returned to heaven, Jesus outlined what would happen next.  He said to them,

 “Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. But the Holy Spirit will come to you. Then you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”  Acts 1:7-8, ICB


Lessons from the Book of Acts

Jesus Ascends to Heaven (Acts 1:1-11)

The Gospel Spreads to the Jews (Acts 1:12-9:31)

The Gospel Spreads to the Gentiles (Acts 8:4-12:25)

Paul Spread the Gospel and Plants Churches in Asia and Greece (Acts 13-21:14)

Paul, the Prisoner, Spread the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts 21:15-26:31)

Click below for the 16 lessons about the Life of Paul grouped together as a set.



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