Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles is a book totally unlike anything else in the New Testament, or the Bible more broadly. The book we call “Acts” is part history, part courtroom drama, and part adventure. It tells the story of what happened after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ as Christ’s followers figured out what they were supposed to do next. Each day, you will receive a text or email with a brief summary of the reading, along with a link to that day’s verses. To sign up for the Good Book Club, email Alice Whitson.
Download the complete list of the daily readings with links to the text.
Author: The story of Acts begins with “in the first book…” signaling that it is one of a pair of stories. Scholars have long agreed that the author of the Gospel we call “Luke” also authored Acts. A significant reason why these books have come to be associated with Luke is because Luke was an associate of Paul’s who traveled with him. In Acts, there are several so-called “we” passages, where the author speaks of Paul’s travels in the first person as if the author is there with them (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:8-18; 27:1- 28:16). To take this author at their word, they are someone who did not witness the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Luke 1:2) but did have extensive experience with the apostles who did and collected eyewitness accounts of the life of Christ.
Audience: Both Luke and Acts are written to “Theophilus,” whose name literally means both “beloved of God” and “one who loves God.” One theory is that Theophilus was an individual, most likely a very rich patron who commissioned this Gospel to be written and distributed (an expensive task). Alternately, scholars have proposed that “Theophilus” is a title given to Gentile “God-fearers” spoken of in Acts (Acts 13:16; 13:26) who despite being unwilling or unable to become fully, culturally Jewish, they were nonetheless interested in and devoted to the worship of the God of Israel. Scholars and archaeologists are finding more evidence all the time to suggest that these Gentile God-fearers were greater, both in numbers and influence, than was ever previously thought. Whether the name Theophilus is referring to a group or an individual, the strong evidence is that this Gospel is written with these Gentile God-fearers in mind.
Additional Resources: Here are some short videos that lay out the complete story of Acts in an accessible way.
- Pentecost: Acts 1-7 https://youtu.be/JQhkWmFJKnA
- The Apostle Paul: Acts 8-12 https://youtu.be/oiVAbkINtRU
- Paul’s Missionary Journeys: Acts 13-20 https://youtu.be/fglsbcGSr3A
- Bound for Rome: Acts 21-28 https://youtu.be/FJsiwOB0Pvg
Adult Formation Coordinator