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Background: Acts

May 13, 2009

Acts is the second book written by Luke.  The first was the Gospel of Luke.  Acts was addressed to Theophilus and assumes he has read Luke’s gospel.  Initially, both books were circulated as one complete volume.  Several dates are given for the writing of Acts but I prefer the earlier dates of 65-70AD.  It best explains why Luke does not say anything about the death of Paul.  There is an indication that Paul took a fourth missionary journey too.   He supposedly was released in 63AD, took a fourth trip, and was martyred by Nero in 67AD per the written historical literature.  The pastoral epistles of I and II Timothy and Titus indicate a fourth journey.  Luke did not accompany Paul on that journey for some reason.  Perhaps he returned home because he was too old to travel.  I believe that Luke was with Paul to be his personal physician in addition to supporting Paul in the preaching of the Gospel.  So either Luke was ill or was not able to accompany Paul for some reason. Assuming a fourth journey, Luke was with Paul when he wrote II Timothy [II Tim. 4].  So perhaps Paul was visiting Luke in Philippi or they were together in Rome when II Timothy was written.

To help with the transition between the Gospels and Acts, consider the following scenario and outline:<ol>

<li>The disciples stayed in Jerusalem one week after the resurrection of Jesus because they were <em>Bereaved </em>by His death and were Recovering.  [John 20:19-26]</li>

<li>The disciples went to Galilee for four weeks to meet with Jesus.  They needed a <em>Breather</em>; a vacation between school [the past three years] and work [their commission].  This was a time of <em>Regrouping</em>.  [John 21; Matt. 28:16]</li>

<li>The disciples then returned to Jerusalem where they <em>Blossomed</em>.  It was here they were <em>Re-commissioned</em> and <em>Refocused </em>by Jesus before His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  [Luke 24:48-49]</li>

</ol>

We see:

<ul>

<li>Christ’s Charge                          Acts 1:6-8</li>

<li>Christ’s Ascension               Acts 1:9-11</li>

<li>Christ’s Chosen                         Acts 1:12-26</li>

<li>Christ’s Gift                                 Acts 2:1-41</li>

</ul>

To help with the transition between the Gospels and Acts, consider the following scenario and outline:

  1. The disciples stayed in Jerusalem one week after the resurrection of Jesus because they were Bereaved by His death and were Recovering. [John 20:19-26]
  2. The disciples went to Galilee for four weeks to meet with Jesus. They needed a Breather; a vacation between school [the past three years] and work [their commission]. This was a time of Regrouping. [John 21; Matt. 28:16]
  3. The disciples then returned to Jerusalem where they Blossomed. It was here they were Re-commissioned and Refocused by Jesus before His ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. [Luke 24:48-49]

We see:

  • Christ’s Charge                         Acts 1:6-8
  • Christ’s Ascension                  Acts 1:9-11
  • Christ’s Chosen                        Acts 1:12-26
  • Christ’s Gift                                Acts 2:1-41

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