Place Written: Rome
Writing Completed: c. 61 C.E.
Time Covered: 33–c. 61 C.E.
Acts of Apostles describes the founding of the Christian congregation as a result of the operation of the holy spirit. Luke picks up the account where his Gospel left off. In Acts, Luke records important events of the period from 33 to about 61 C.E., covering approximately 28 years. The greater part of the material in the first 12 chapters reports the activities of Peter, and the remaining 16 chapters, the activities of Paul.
Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of Apostles to Theophilus. (Lu 1:3, 4; Ac 1:1) Theophilus was apparently a Christian, for he had already been “taught orally” about Jesus Christ and his ministry.—Lu 1:4; see study note on Lu 1:3.
The account of Acts reveals that it was first in Antioch of Syria that the disciples were “by divine providence called Christians.”—Ac 11:26.
Luke apparently became a believer sometime after 33 C.E. He was not one of the apostles, but he was associated with those who were. In three instances, the apostle Paul mentions Luke by name. For some years he was the constant companion of Paul, who called him “the beloved physician.”—Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 24.
The book of Acts mentions about 100 individuals by name. It makes reference to about 100 geographical places (including regions, provinces, cities, and islands) around or near the Mediterranean Sea. Archaeological findings support the accuracy of Luke’s account. For example, excavations at Ephesus have unearthed the temple of Artemis as well as the ancient theater where the Ephesians rioted against the apostle Paul. (Ac 19:27-41) Inscriptions have been discovered that confirm the correctness of Luke’s use of the Greek title rendered “city rulers” as applying to the officials of Thessalonica. (Ac 17:6, 8) Two Maltese inscriptions, one in Latin and one in Greek, show that Luke was also correct in referring to Publius by the Greek term rendered “the principal man” of Malta. (Ac 28:7) Similarly, an inscription was found that made it evident that Luke accurately identified Gallio as the “proconsul of Achaia.”—Ac 18:12.
Like the Gospel accounts, the book of Acts confirms the authenticity and inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures. For example, Peter cited two prophecies written by King David that found fulfillment in the traitor Judas. (Ac 1:16, 20; Ps 69:25; 109:8) And Peter told the astonished Pentecost crowd that they were witnessing the fulfillment of a prophecy of Joel. (Ac 2:16-21; Joe 2:28-32) Events recorded in Acts also show how Philip, James, and Paul based their teaching on the Hebrew Scriptures.—Ac 8:28-35; 15:15-18; 26:22; 28:23, 25-27.