The writer of Acts of the Apostles was also the author of Gospel According
to Luke (Acts 1:4 cf. Lk. 1:1-3). He was a fellow-laborer and beloved
companion of Paul at certain times of his journeys. His name is recorded
only three times in the New Testament (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24;
2 Timothy 4:11). Of Paul's companions, only Luke and Titus are not
named in Acts. Luke was a Greek, traditionally from Antioch, but
possibly from Trôahs where he first joined Paul (Acts 16:10) and possibly
brother of Titus (2 Cor. 8:18,19 cf. 12:18). He is the only Gentile
writer of the New Testament Books
Internal evidence to Luke's authorship of Acts is dependent upon the
"we" passages as revealed in the change from third personal pronoun
"they" to first personal pronoun "we" (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18;
27:1-28:16). Additionally there is similarity of language in both books
including precise medical language. The writer must have been a
companion of Paul. Only Luke of all Paul's companions had medical
knowledge (Col. 4:14).
External evidence External evidence comes from the writings of the "church fathers"
(patristic tradition of the early church). Irenaeus (A.D. 98-195) wrote,
"Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple
and follower of the Apostles says . . . (Acts 8:9-11)" (A.D. 170).
The Muratorian Canon (A.D. 160-200): "Moreover the Acts of all the
Apostles are included in one book. Luke addressed them to the most
excellent Theophilus, because several events took place when he was
present; and he makes this plain by the omission of the passion of
Peter and the journey of Paul when he left Rome for Spain." Clement
of Alexandria (A.D. c. 153-217) wrote and taught in Egypt, "As Luke
in the Acts of the Apostles relates that Paul said, Men of Athens, . . .'
(17:22)." There is no contradictory evidence found in the early church.
All that evidence points to acceptance of Luke as the writer of Acts.
Dating of Acts is after the writing of Luke (Acts 1:1 cf. Lk. 1:1)
and after Paul's first imprisonment in Rome (April A.D. 62-64) and
prior to five histor- ical events which are not mentioned in the book
of Acts: (1) the Jewish re- bellion of A.D. 66; (2) the burning of
Rome and the first Imperial persecution (A.D. 64-66); (3) the martyrdom
of Peter in A.D. 67; (4) the martyrdom of Paul in A.D. 68; and (5)
particularly the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
The purpose of Luke is to give historical account of the acts which
Jesus continued to do by His Holy Spirit in and through the Apostles
after He was taken up to Heaven (1:1-5) and to show, through Peter
and Paul, the progress of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome.
Acts is characterized by: prayer, primitive theology, and transition
between: the Gospels and the Epistles, Law and Grace, and Israel
and the Church. It is a supplement to the Gospels and explains the
Church, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the Great Commission.
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I. Witnessing in Jerusalem (1:1-7:60).
II. Witnessing in Judea, Samaria, and Provinces (8:1-12:25).
III. Witnessing in uttermost parts of the Earth (13:1-28:31).
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